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Old September 10th, 2013, 08:32 PM   #1
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New to video

Hi all,

I am new to video (meaning i know nothing). I'm a photographer by trade but am looking to expand my horizons and skills.

I want to purchase a HD camera to do some work with a local band that I do alot of photography for.

The main use for this camera will be to record rehearsals (so think a small sound proof room). However it will also be used for recording music videos down the track, so audio isn't an issue there as it will be over dubbed from a recorded track.

I have spoken with a guy from video pro who recommended 3 cameras to me after explaining to him what i intended to do, but i am still stuck.

My budget is maximum 3 grand, the camera has to be good in low light, 1080p HD, and audio is a massive thing too, ideally i would like to be able to record the audio directly into the camera with a shotgun mic or similar, but the main worry is that i will get too much distortion or clipping.

The three cameras recommended are:

Canon XA20: Canon Professional HD Camcorder XA20 Buy Cheap Canon Professional HD Camcorder ? Videopro - Videopro

Canon XA25: Canon Professional HD Camcorder XA25 Buy Cheap Canon Professional HD Camcorder ? Videopro - Videopro

Sony HXR-NX30P: Sony HD Professional Camcorder HXR-NX30P Buy Cheap Sony HD Professional Camcorder ? Videopro - Videopro

Now as i said, i know nothing about video (be gentle). So i am open to other suggestions for cameras as well as audio options (remember lamens terms may be required)

Cheers
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Old September 11th, 2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: New to video

I don't have experience with those cameras, but I did a quick look at the specs.
First of all I think any of them will easily do what you would want. The main difference I caught in the Canon's is that the higher one had wi-fi transfer. I'm not sure if that would be worth the extra money for me. Also make sure you understand the kit that you are getting. I'm not sure if the Canon comes with the XLR adapter that it is pictured with. Sometimes that can be an extra purchase. It also doesn't have a shotgun microphone. XLR is the type of connector on professional audio cables. You would need this type of input or you would have to adapt it in order to take a signal from an audio mixer console. This would be important for recording music. You would want to record from both a microphone and get a mix as well so you have more options.
The Sony says that it does come with the XLR adapter and a shotgun microphone.
Canon:
Pros - longer lens 20x, traditionally great images with a warm tone.
Cons- no shotgun microphone and may not come with XLR adapter.
Sony:
Pros - just a tad wider than the Canon, comes with XLR adapter and microphone, possibly a little better low light performance. Traditionally a little cooler tone than Canon.
Cons - 10x lens, may be a little front heavy with the adapter and microphone.

I would most likely go for the Sony for what you are doing, unless you think you may shoot them a live venue and if the camera needs to be at the back of a room or hall, then the 20x zoom would really come in handy.
Look up these cameras on Vimeo. Usually you can find clips from most cameras and can take a look at their performance. Just plug in the model number in the search menu and see what you come up with.

Cheers!
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Old September 11th, 2013, 10:38 AM   #3
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Re: New to video

The Canon XA-20 and XA-25 *do* come with the handle that contains the XLR jacks.

I'm not familiar with that specific Sony cam, but typically it's a fairly low-quality short shotgun mic that comes with prosumer Sony cams.

Another resource is the camera sections of these forums, you'll find quite a bit of info. I read through a few weeks of the XA-20/25 a couple days ago, users are really liking that cam (mostly the XA-20 except for those who need SDI out of the cam).

A camera-mounted shotgun mic is of limited use... check out the audio forum too!

Many dSLRs have very good video recording, audio tends to be a weak area for most, which leads to a more complicated workflow, but there is a lot of good work being done out there on dSLR cams.

A really important question is how you learn best? Lots more complexity in video production and post, so would you benefit from a class or two? Online video instruction? A textbook? Working with friendly people? Reading about stuff online?
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Old September 11th, 2013, 01:43 PM   #4
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Re: New to video

Monique Keen...welcome aboard! You have come to the right spot for information. I started this process shortly after I retired in '2009, so I completely understand your point of reference. Like you, I'm an old 'stills photodog'. The learning curve for video capture is pretty steep and I'm still on the incline. : )

I agree wholeheartedly with Seth Bloombaum, "A really important question is how you learn best? Lots more complexity in video production and post, so would you benefit from a class or two? Online video instruction? A textbook? Working with friendly people? Reading about stuff online?"

You can certainly learn a lot talking to people on DVInfo. However, in my case I needed to 'fast-track' my knowledge-base and for me that was best accomplished using a training video specific to the camera I purchased. At the time it was a Sony HXR-NX5U. An excellent camera that can be found 'pre-owned' for <$3K. It uses AVCHD CODEC which I found 'fiddly' to use, but then again, I'm not too smart. : )

I currently am using the excellent XDCAM CODEC with the Sony PMW-200.

The only recommendation I'll make at this juncture is to make sure the 'Audio Block' on whichever camera you decide to purchase uses industry standard balanced XLR jacks. That way, you can take the audio feed directly from the Mixing Board at a concert to the camera. This presumes you won't be doing a lot of handheld capture.

Regarding which 'brand camera' to purchase is very subjective. As you probably know from your own experiences folks get kind of stuck in their preferences and can't even consider another 'brand'. I myself am an old 'Canon' guy when it comes to still cameras. But, I ended-up a proponent of Sony's Video Camera family.

After a few searches on DVI will get you 'an embarrassment of riches' of opinions regarding every camera manufacturer and their camera lines out there.

Enjoy the hunt.

Best regards,

J.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #5
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Re: New to video

One question to ask is whether you intend to be on tripod, or whether you want to be able to go handheld. The NX30 has the excellent "magic eyeball" gyro stabilized lens block, meaning it is almost as good as having a steadycam rig when handheld. I'm familiar with the consumer Sony cams that use the same stabilization, it's hard to beat.

If you're going to be going "dual system" audio anyway, the audio section may become a secondary consideration - any camera will give you a "sync track" you can use for mixing, even the "best" camera audio block is likely to be "OK" in high volume audio (band) situations, so you'll want to use the main audio mix most of the time.

Since this opens up some possibilites, there are a few pretty good "still" cameras with good video functionality that will save you a lot on budget (or let you buy a couple cameras so you can have muti angle shoots, or tripod and handheld, etc...). Sony RX100MkII is worth a look, packs a lot of punch in your pocket, not a lot of zoom range, but the clear zoom/digital range is actually not too bad, and has a lot of contrrol overr the camera. Also worth a look at the Panasonic FZ200 and the Sony HX300, the Panny has lots of manual control and a constant f 2.8 aperature (meaning good in low light even when zoomed), the Sony doesn't have much manual control in video mode, but is a decent all around shooter.

I lean towards Sony cameras, because I'm familiar with how their menus and functions work, and what the results will be. Canon or Panasonic make great cameras too, so it'll really come down to what you find most comfortable. I'm testing the FZ200, and really debating some ergonomic "'issues" vs. the HX300, though I could easily shoot with the Panasonic and get good results, plus it has some nice features...


And as already noted, pretty much any SLR type camera (OK, ANY camera...) will have video capabilites to some degree or another, from a basic "press and shoot" with low grade video, up to cameras that will shoot very good full HD 60p.

In good to decent light most cameras will provide adequate or better results - it's when lighting gets tough that you run into issues and how the camera handles noise/color can be a challenge - while you can use an on camera light, or light for video, you really want to be able to shoot "ambient", so fast lenses, high sensitivity and larger sensors, and of course more $$ will be part of the equation.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:41 AM   #6
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Re: New to video

Thanks all for the advice, i would probably say my learning style is either learning by trial and error, or video tutorials. I think i want to avoid SLR's at this point, I already have one being a photographer.

I'm unfortunately still at a loss haha, the gyro on the sony would be great for obvious reasons but i have no issues using a tripod. I guess the gyro would give me more freedom, but then again i'm unsure whether i should sacrifice the 20x on the Canon for the gyro? Ahh!!!
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Old September 12th, 2013, 05:01 AM   #7
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Re: New to video

Hi Monique

Have you considered the next model up in the Sony range? The NX70P?

Sony Professional Camera HXR-NX70P Buy Cheap Sony Professional Camera - Videopro. - Videopro

It has been a possibility on my list for some time and the reviews I read on it were very favourable with regards to low light performance. It also seems to have a better designed lens hood for reducing the possibility of lens flare than the thirty. Others may be using it and want to give their opinion as to its applicability to your needs. I would be interested to know too.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 07:25 PM   #8
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Re: New to video

That was one on my list, but the guy from video pro said it's essentially the same as the NX30P but rain and dust resistant
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Old September 12th, 2013, 10:34 PM   #9
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Re: New to video

That sony model uses a 'switch' to change the lens control from focus - zoom - iris.... a real pain.
Have a look at the Panasonic AVCHD AC-AG 90. Better features / Similar price
http://www.videoguys.com.au/Shop/p/2...ag-ac90en.html
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Old September 13th, 2013, 07:12 PM   #10
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Re: New to video

Since you already have a DSLR... does it include video functions, or would you be upgrading the body sometime soon to one that does?

Reason being that it's not unusual to find someone shooting "both", as a dedicated video cam tends to function a bit differently from a "large sensor" cam like a DSLR. In which case having two cameras which have compatible images color wise (with maybe a little post tweaking) could come in handy.

It's sorta hard to find a camera (or even a cell phone!) that doesn't shoot video anymore, so your primary concern is with quality of output. Manual controls are a mixed bag - yes control is nice, but I'll take a well tuned "auto" that gives me a good image over "every adjustment in the book". When you're shooting live, you don't have time to tweak ad nauseam. Certainly it's important to be able to make adjustments quickly and efficiently on the fly, but you'll find in the wedding/even section of DVi that a reliable "auto" camera is highly regarded by many. Sony also uses some touchscreen adjustable functions, which you'll either love or hate, but are handy for most once you get used to them.



To clarify on the NX70, it is based off the CX700 (2011 model, IIRC), does NOT have the magic eyeball (but still has quite good stabilization). The NX30 is based on the PJ760V (2012 model), so while "similar", I don't think I'd call them "essentially the same". The "magic eyeball" alone is a SIGNIFICANT difference - especially if you want to shoot handheld. The sensor itself may be the same, but a year makes a lot of difference in how well Sony has tweaked in their products. The selling point of the NX70 is that it's "ruggedized" - so if you don't anticipate shooting in extreme conditions, it's probably not worth the extra (and a SportsPack can be had for the NX30 for a couple hundred $, if you need occasional bad weather protection).
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Old September 13th, 2013, 10:41 PM   #11
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Re: New to video

Hi Monique

The guys at VideoPro are awesome ..hard to find service like that around Australia. I bought both my Sony EA-50's from them and have no regrets at all. I got the 50's cos I love shoulder mount cameras and with an adapter I can use my entire lens set from my Nikon DSLR's on the cameras.

I would also seek out some advice from the regular contributors on the East coast too...take a look on the Wedding Forum ...nice guys and very helpful too!!

For me a really worthwhile purchase was a GoPro (don't laugh) I stick it at the back of the Church or ceremony and just let it run and it's got me out of trouble more times than I can remember as it's about 2 metres up in the air and cannot be blocked by enthusiastic guests or photographers. At around $300 it's an essential ...just put it on a ball head on a light stand and let it run ...you don't have to use the footage but it's often useful !!

Chris
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Old September 14th, 2013, 12:54 AM   #12
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Re: New to video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
That sony model uses a 'switch' to change the lens control from focus - zoom - iris.... a real pain.
Have a look at the Panasonic AVCHD AC-AG 90. Better features / Similar price
Hi Monique

I agree with what Brian says about the switchable ring control, it is why I sold my PDX-10P. The video pro price is quite a bit better for the Panny too.

Panasonic Professional Video Camera AG-AC90 Buy Cheap Panasonic Professional Video Camera - Videopro - Videopro

Interesting to hear Chris's opinion on the EA50's as well, they would have been my choice for a new camera if money were no object.
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Old September 14th, 2013, 12:59 AM   #13
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Re: New to video

Hi Monique,

I read your original post a few days ago and had a clarification question but didn't comment. The question is about audio:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monique Keen View Post
The main use for this camera will be to record rehearsals (so think a small sound proof room). However it will also be used for recording music videos down the track, so audio isn't an issue there as it will be over dubbed from a recorded track.

...... and audio is a massive thing too, ideally i would like to be able to record the audio directly into the camera with a shotgun mic or similar, but the main worry is that i will get too much distortion or clipping.
On the one hand the post said that it (the camera?) "... will be used for recording music videos .... so audio isn't an issue as it will be over dubbed...."
Then the post says "... and audio is a massive thing too, ideally I would like to be able to record the audio directly into the camera ...."

This leaves me a little confused and I need some clarification help. Are there two audio situations? One being the actual music video where the audio will be provided by the sound guy in the recording studio and the another situation where audio will be recorded during rehearsals and not by the recording studio equipment?

If there are two audio "situations" then it would be good if there was a little more discussion about the second one - the recording during rehearsals. I would assume (but you know what they say about that) that the rehearsal recordings for the video wouldn't have to be as important as the studio one. However, I'd think that it is probably still important, but the question is, how much?

What is your feeling about audio? Is audio "covered" or is it something that should be discussed more? The reason I ask is depending on what the audio goals are it could become more involved as well as potentially more expensive. There are people who do just the audio part of video for a living because it is highly technical and there is a real art to it.
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Old September 14th, 2013, 02:34 AM   #14
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Re: New to video

Hey Tim

The EA-50 from VideoPro is only a small amount over Monique's budget. They have it for around $3700 and bear in mind that includes GST and free shipping (Monique is in Brissie so that won't help of course)

For the extra I would definitely go for the EA-50 as a wedding camera!! I had Panny's before and they were good but the AC-90 has one HUGE issue which made me switch to Sony.

The XLR channels ONLY have manual control and no auto level at all so working at a wedding reception would be a complete nightmare!! The audio levels and DJ music change from 50db to 110db in an instant so my reaction here would be you would never get the audio right ...ceremonies are no issue of course in manual!

I was actually ready to buy two AC-90's until I discovered the omission ...I have no idea why Panasonic did this? All my previous cameras (all Panasonic!) had auto level on the XLR's so why did they leave it out on the AC-90 .... In very low light you also have to be careful with the tiny 1/5" chips on the 90 ...to eliminate noise they have a VERY powerful noise reduction circuit installed and it does an awesome job BUT it also tends to over-smooth fine detail so hair tends to look like it's spray painted on. To stop this one would have to use a decent video light all the time to keep the gain low enough so this doesn't happen.

Chris
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Old September 14th, 2013, 02:57 AM   #15
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Re: New to video

^^^^ Really no auto audio level?... Try page 49 of the manual its called ALC ... But works for internal mics only.
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