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Old March 18th, 2006, 01:09 PM   #1
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Cheap HD or Panasonic AG-DVC60

For $1,899 the DVC 60 seems like a great deal. I know Steve Mullen reviewed it a while back and he said it was a great camera for a beginning professional.

My question is whether it is worth spending more for an HD camera. I have shot on an FX1 and it is beautiful, but is it worth the extra money.

Here is my situation. I have the potential to shoot training videos for a restaurant chain, the gig would pay anywhere from $6,500 to $13,000.

I was thinking about the Sony A1u but its form factor is just not as professional looking, and to be honest that matters when a customer is paying you so much.

Here is the real issue. Corporate Videography is a side gig. I am really trying to be an independent film maker. I have been looking at JVCís HD100. I canít buy this camera because it would take up all the profit from the gig (if it is on the low side), and I really want to wait until NAB to see what is coming down the line and make an informed decision.

So I really need the best camera for the money that will work great for DVD, possibly broadcast, and be able to tide me over till I can afford a camera that will work for movie production.

Thank you in advanced for all your help
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Old March 18th, 2006, 10:29 PM   #2
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The DVC60 will handle your corporate training video gig quite well. Unless you're already set up to edit HDV, I think you're better off with DV. It's affordable, you'll be up and running quickly, the camera and gear will pay for itself, and you'll be in a better position to move into HD later on when the time and money is right. If you can make the DVC60 pay for itself within a month or two, then you don't need to worry about its eventual obsolescense. I've always believe that "now is always the right time to buy." If you're waiting, then you're not creating.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 11:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
If you're waiting, then you're not creating.
What great wisdom.

Thank you very much for your response. I believe I will go with the DVC60. I could use the thousand I save (by not going with the FX1) to buy a boom mic, a decent tripod, batteries, a bag, or any other accessories I might need.

Iím graduating from college this May, so I will loose access to all the equipment Iíve been using. Switching to HDV would also require me to make a major computer upgrade. I can edit DV now.

Thanks for your help.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 12:19 AM   #4
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Don't be too quick to rule out the FX1: you can use it to record in DV mode for now if you're not equipped to handle HDV editing yet, and then you'll have the option to start shooting HDV when you're ready. Or you can even shoot HDV now and downsample to DV out of the camera, so editing is no problem and you'll have HDV source material to use for your demo reels in the future.

My advice for most people is not to invest any more money in SD-only cameras if you have a realistic opportunity to start getting into HD. But if you think of this camera as a short-term investment, then proven SD gear can be a useful option.
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Old March 19th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #5
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What Kevin said about having HDV source for future demo reels is probably very wise thinking. In just three short years SD will effectively be all but dead. Also, you would almost assuredly be able to get better looking SD footage from downconverted HDV with the FX1 (and far better widescreen SD footage - the pixel count and shape of the CCDs in a DVC60, and most cameras in that general class, limits 16:9 footage to about 360 effective lines of resolution, unless an anamorphic lens is used, which blows costs beyond that of an FX1 and places limitations on zoom). That said, if I were to get another 4:3 SD camera, it would be a 3-1/3" CCD, JVC GY-DV300U (fairly easy to find, in barely used condition, for around 1200-1300 USD - that's a heck of a lot of bang for the buck).

Last edited by Robert M Wright; March 19th, 2006 at 12:31 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for all your replies.

Besides the extra money, my biggest concern for moving to the FX1 is the lack of XLR ports. Can you use a simple XLR to mini cable to convert? Or would I have to use some sort of hot shoe adapter like the PDX10 uses?

Also, I need to buy a mic, a light kit, and a tripod. For under $500 each (or as low as possible), what mic and light kit would you recommend? We will be shooting inside the restaurant recording spoken dialog and maybe voiceovers. I was thinking a shot gun mic on a boom would be best, but Iím open for any suggestions.

Thanks
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Old March 20th, 2006, 03:04 PM   #7
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For a tripod (and head), you might consider this for starting out:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

For a mic, you might consider the Rode VideoMic for starting out (and maybe their boom pole):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

If you need to use XLR, a Beachtek device would probably be a good idea:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

For lighting, you'd really need to analyze what's needed for that gig (is this a restaurant chain like a McDonalds, for example, where the ambient lighting would generally be pretty bright, or a restaurant chain that would have fairly dim lighting in areas where you would be shooting?). Generally, I'd suggest using reflectors, and other low cost alternatives (you can do a lot with just a few pieces of white foam board, umbrellas, etc.), wherever practical, to help keep costs down.

You might want to look into renting some of the gear for the gig, especially if most the shooting would be done in just a few days time. Plan the shoots to minimize the need for rental gear. For example, if for some shooting you would be renting lighting gear or microphones, but not all the shots would require it, shoot the shots that don't require the extra gear on a separate day (if practical). Shoot all your b-roll footage, that wouldn't require additional rented gear, well ahead of time (again, if practical), and make sure you have plenty that is usable.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
If you need to use XLR ...
That brings up a good point. Do I really need an XLR microphone? Iíve heard some people say that the only advantage is it is harder accidentally unplug and you have access to more professional mics.

What other advantages are there? I've used some excellent mics that were not XLR.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:22 PM   #9
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XLR does allow longer cable runs that are much less prone to interference. A lot of the better microphones use XLR... which is not to say that miniplug microphones aren't good.

2- I would lean towards getting professional(-looking) lights so you make a better impression on your client. The future business should pay for the extra cost.

As well, you'll want lights anyways for making your own films.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #10
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Harder to unplug can potentially be a double-edge sword. Personally, I'd much rather have a mic come unplugged if someone trips on a wire or something like that, than have the camera pulled down or have someone hurt themselves because the connections are so solid that a wire becomes a potentially effective tripping wire. If you setup correctly, nothing of the sort should ever happen, but if it came down to it, I'd sure rather lose a connection, than lose a camera or get sued for personal injury.

As Glen mentioned, XLR is far superior for long runs, and going above a certain level of mic quality without XLR would be difficult. I certainly wouldn't want to go over 15-20 feet with non XLR, and the Rode VideoMic is probably fairly close to the ceiling for quality in non XLR shotgun mics.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #11
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Panasonic AG-DVC60 Great Results

I purchase my Panasonic AG-DVC60 in Feb 2006 and have been very pleased with the results. I am a professional sound engineer and the xlr's are a plus for quality and convenience. Also you can record in Stereo with multiple inputs from a professional mixing board (I have 32 channels with 4 grouping sends and 2 stereo sends) The cable length is not a problem also the length of cord I have used is from 25' to 100' without sound loss. I also use boom mics with lightweight and older style - Shure mic 16a which usese one AA battery (unidirectional) so phantom power is not always necessary off the board. Panasonic AG-DVC60 also has a switch for either installed mic l or r seperately and input 1/8" outside source along with the XLR. The lightweight of the Panasonic AG-DVC60 is another plus. Also downloading DV is also convenient with the firewire connection. You wont be unhappy with the Panasonic AG-DVC60, as I would give it a 9.5 out of 10.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 04:53 PM   #12
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What kind of proffesional You are triyng to become? If it's TV then there's no difference but if You planning to achieve some filmlook then... many Panasonics are easily acquire techinc of progressive scan, i belive that dvc60 as well. Corresponding feature from Sony, Cineframe, is an awful thing.
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