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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old May 15th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #16
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Grant
Amanda,
if you're stretched for funds then I'd buy a cheaper camera and a good tripod, HDV and hand (or shoulder) held is not a good look. The Sony A1 still gives you XLR inputs via an audio bridge that can be removed. Add say a Miller Solo tripod (which is light and easy to rig) and you're set to roll.

Sure the A1 isn't a Z1, but it's nowhere near as threatening looking and does produce remarkable images for a camera of its size. Certainly if the budget can be stretched to the Z1 you will not be sorry. Just don't dismiss the A1 based on its size.
Good point, Bob.
Amanda, if you want big...here is a bulked up A1.
http://www.vasst.com/Tempfolder/Big-A1U.jpg
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Old May 16th, 2006, 03:28 AM   #17
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Douglas---Yes that is an A1 on steroids, but you know there are two small HDV cams, one is the A1 and the other is the other is the HD-10 by JVC which is pretty cheap considering the images, and get a decent set of legs on it. I reckon they are your best bet because they do have XLR inputs.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 03:47 AM   #18
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naaaahhhh Douglas... thats not a knife... This is a knife...

Greetings from OZ

Amanda, I own an FX1. And I believe that going HDV has assured me I wont have to buy another camera till maybe 2012. I'm a recent Theatre and film graduate and have done a lot of run and gun docos with the Z1 FX1, and the A1. As well as all the pro Canons (like the XL and XM/GL series) While in University.

I think the FX1 / Z1 are a perfect balance of size and maneuveability. However, the only downside is that these two cans can tax your arms if you hand hold them a lot.

If you are *really* serious about getting a camera, I'd go for the Z1. But if you want to be practical, the FX1 works. Because the add on costs for the likes of the Fx1 (like external mic & Beachteck) end up cheaper than a Z1 - You will however be giving up some really good pro tools that come with a Z1.. but, like any good film maker, it doenst make or break you, you just have to work harder, or be more creative.

As for the A1... For the price, it is amazing as a starter cam. Its audio is pretty much infront of the FX1 (But for a few hundred you can out do the A1) But the image will have to be handled like a baby because you will need a tripod, or some brace to get stable shots. Its really light and small, and footage can get really shakey. The strange thing is, becuase of Sony's looney nature to arbitrality determine what is "Pro" and what is not, the FX1 is a consumer cam, and the A1 is Pro... so you get some of the stuff the Z1 has (like black stretch and safety lines etc) but in a cheaper, smaller camcoderish looking camera. But dont let looks fool you - Its a powerfull camera...

Because the A1 has one CMOS chip, I have some issues with image quality and some red smearing... But its hardly noticeable sometimes... And because its one chip with 1440 x 1080 pixels... It is terrible in low light. And Even though the FX1 and the Z1 arent the best either, its not as bad and tollerable.

Now, having said all that, I believe that the FX1 sits nicely in the middle. And if you want the best of both world, get it... becuase in the end, after attaching a new mic, you pretty much have the same picture quality as the Z1, and *possibly* a better audio output if you get yourself a really good beachteck. And that to me is the reason I got an FX1...
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #19
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So, I think I'm gonna go with the FX1. Thanks everyone for the input! It has been much appriciated. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 12:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanda Warner
Thanks everyone for the input! It has been much appriciated. I'll let you know how it turns out.
No, no that won't cut it. We all gave advice so we all expect part of the profits!
;>)
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Old May 17th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #21
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Ken - you just added about 3 minutes of scrolling credits. :-)


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Old May 17th, 2006, 01:00 PM   #22
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Amanda, good luck with whatever you get. It may be too late, but I thought I'd suggest a Panasonic DVX as an option to consider as well. I'm biased as a DVX owner myself, but if you're interested in filmmaking and want a camera with good sound capability the DVX is worth considering. Progressive frame rates are great on this camera IMO. If you're only interested in HD, it's obviously not an option as an SD camera.

Hope you love whatever you get. Good luck!
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 12:57 PM   #23
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Hey all,

Two more questions about the FX1:

1) I am planning on using this camera at school. Right now the software we have does not support HD, and so I was going to shoot in HD and then down convert the footage to use it on Final Cut Pro (I think we have Final Cut Pro 4). I know that the camera can do the down conversion, but I was just wondeirng how this works with importing the footage because we also have tape decks for SD footage. I also want to make sure that this will work with FCP so if anyone has done it let me know.

2) Is the beachtek XLR adapter recommended? I know I could (and actually would like to) go with the Z1 but that's a little too far out of the price range. I just want to know if I can still use that with shooting run and gun docs. And what external mic do you recommend?

Thanks again - you all are a huge help!

Last edited by Amanda Warner; June 2nd, 2006 at 02:03 PM.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 05:09 PM   #24
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RE: Two questions

Hi Amanda,

I, too, am considering purchase of the FX1. I've shot with it on a handful of projects and like the kind of footage it produces.


Regarding question 1:
I brought HDV footage into FCP4.5 as DV from the FX1 with no problem. (Make sure you have the FX1 settings in the camera menu right for the camera to do the conversion before you connect it to the computer via the firewire cable. Also remember the FX1 HDV is in 16:9 format so consider that when creating your DV sequences - is your output going to be 4:3, letterboxed 16:9, or 16:9 anamorphic.) At that time I also experimented bringing the HDV in natively via iMovieHD using the Apple Intermediate Codec. I wasn't happy with the results I got in iMovie, but then, it could have been my inexperience with the whole workflow working against me. I've since then used HDV 1080i footage natively in FCP5 with no problems. (I really like the results!)

Re Question 2:
I use a BeachTek knock-off (a SignVideo XLRPro) that works great with the FX1. I like the ground lift which helps eliminate any hum that the ground differentials may be causing. Only thing mine doesn't have that the newer BeachTeks have is phantom power or the LED VU meters. Also, the volume level on the earphone output on the FX1 seems a little on the low side, but the meters on the FX1 seem to be accurate and the sound I've gotten on tape has been quite good.

As far as mics, you might look at the Rode Videomic, or something like a Sennheiser ME66/K6 for your "boom" and a wired lav setup for your talent. Wireless lavs can get expensive fast and most of the cheaper setups aren't worth the money if you can use a wired mic instead. (You might look for a Sony ECM44b or ECM55b for a wired lav that isn't too expensive and doesn't use a proprietary battery for power.) If you need a wireless lav setup, consider the Sennheiser G2 series.

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Old June 7th, 2006, 08:12 PM   #25
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Just my opinion...

I think a lot of people are "hung up" on the "must have XLR" thing. One of you high-end pro users please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that all an XLR cable gives you is a cleaner signal over a long distance, e.g. a 25-foot cable with a boom pole.

If you're just using a on-camera shotgun with a six-inch cable, I don't think an XLR will give you a much noticeable increase in sound quality over the 1/8" mini plug. I understand that the "real" pro mics are mostly XLR, but you can get acceptable quality with a $150 mic in a decent rubber shock mount. And if you can remember to change a battery, you don't need phantom power.

I personally don't see the need for a $1000+ XLR mic just to record speech--especially when the final product will probably be played back on some crappy little tv speaker anyway (or over the internet). If you're recording live music to be played back on a high-fidelity surround sound system, then yes, spend the thousands on XLR equipment. Dialogue has a very narrow frequency/dynamic range compared to music and sounds perfectly fine to most people when recorded with "cheap" shotguns. And BTW, subtle background music does wonders to camouflage any noise from the cheap mics.

Most of us here are on a budget and have to make compromises. I would have loved to have bought the Z1, but I didn't think $1500 for XLR was worth it.

(Sorry for the rant.)
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Old June 7th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #26
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thats no rant Stephen - that makes an awful lot of sense, especially as you said, if you're on a budget and have to make a decision to go without something on your wishlist.

Amanda - let us all know how it goes. I think FX1 will be a superb camera for you.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 09:38 PM   #27
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Claus
I think a lot of people are "hung up" on the "must have XLR" thing. One of you high-end pro users please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that all an XLR cable gives you is a cleaner signal over a long distance, e.g. a 25-foot cable with a boom pole.

If you're just using a on-camera shotgun with a six-inch cable, I don't think an XLR will give you a much noticeable increase in sound quality over the 1/8" mini plug. I understand that the "real" pro mics are mostly XLR, but you can get acceptable quality with a $150 mic in a decent rubber shock mount. And if you can remember to change a battery, you don't need phantom power.

I personally don't see the need for a $1000+ XLR mic just to record speech--especially when the final product will probably be played back on some crappy little tv speaker anyway (or over the internet). If you're recording live music to be played back on a high-fidelity surround sound system, then yes, spend the thousands on XLR equipment. Dialogue has a very narrow frequency/dynamic range compared to music and sounds perfectly fine to most people when recorded with "cheap" shotguns. And BTW, subtle background music does wonders to camouflage any noise from the cheap mics.

Most of us here are on a budget and have to make compromises. I would have loved to have bought the Z1, but I didn't think $1500 for XLR was worth it.

(Sorry for the rant.)
For the record, there are a LOT of differences between the Z1 and FX1, and XLRs are only one of them. However, you do need to choose what works best for you, and go with that. But to suggest that the only difference is XLR and phantom power...that's about 43 features short of what's actually different.
FX1 is a fine camera, and will work quite well for those on a budget, and no need to feel like you should defend the purchase.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:00 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Claus
I think a lot of people are "hung up" on the "must have XLR" thing. One of you high-end pro users please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that all an XLR cable gives you is a cleaner signal over a long distance, e.g. a 25-foot cable with a boom pole.

If you're just using a on-camera shotgun with a six-inch cable, I don't think an XLR will give you a much noticeable increase in sound quality over the 1/8" mini plug. I understand that the "real" pro mics are mostly XLR, but you can get acceptable quality with a $150 mic in a decent rubber shock mount. And if you can remember to change a battery, you don't need phantom power.


(Sorry for the rant.)
I think you're wrong on this one. From my experience the most common audio glitch in our company is a bad connection somewhere in the cables. I look at that puny mini jack on my old TRV900 and then look at the 20 odd people in our studio (all of whom are getting paid) and ask myself if I willing to bet on a flimsy mini jack. I don't take that bet. Even the XLR jacks on our betacam wear after a while. it's a constant worry.

And I'm not sure what type of situation you're refering to regarding using an on camera mic versus boom. But if a situation calls for a boom, it's madness to try and compormise with an on camera mic.

I'm not a sound person, I'm a producer, if anything goes wrong it falls on my lap. I have to minimize risks, sticking with XLR is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to ensure viable sound.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 04:43 AM   #29
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FX1 Z1u DVX200b

This is my first post on DV-i. I've been reading almost non-stop for several weeks. Will be starting to do a docu-project very soon. First shooting will be talking heads; interviews and conversations. Will move into outdoor scenes and the project will eventually, hopefully find some legs and be something of a long form project. But for now will be produced as an in house documentary and promotional for a sustainable community initiative conference for teams in NA and other countries coming to Halifax, NS .

After weighing all the paramaters and trying to future proof myself a little, still being very new but eager to dive in and learn (have had video experienes years ago at Rogers Cable Systems) - I was just about to pull the trigger on an FX-1. Lately and possibly from now on, they are MIA. They may be gone from the shelves for good - nobody quite knows. So another intense evaluation and then I'm just about to hop off on a sony vx2100 and someone tells me that it did not do true 16:9, which I must say is a sticking point for me for some reason. Am I being to fussy about this? 4:3 to 16:9 done acceptably is a reality? So I just decided to chomp down on the bullet even further and spin for a hvr-z1u - (a lot of camera) and then started to read all of the wonderful things (Adam Wilt's review in DV and other people making films) with/about the pana dvx200a/b - 24p/30p with possibility of pana and 3rd party anamorphic and wide angle attachments. Is this really worth going this rout to ge a more non-video but at the saame time "good" looking project?

This is my first camera; something that I need a lot of versitality and reliability with. I commiserate with you Amanda. Let us know what you decide. Meanwhile time is running out for me. I needed to decide yesterday (or the day before).
This is a great resource and it's been great reading. Thanks
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Old June 9th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #30
 
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Duane,
Trying to replace an FX1 with a VX or PD series camera is like replacing a Mercedes with a Volkswagen. Both german cars with four wheels, but the similarity ends there.
Taking 4:3 to 16:9 requires a fairly significant hit in resolution. Not good.
Additionally, it can easily mess up your composition.
If you letter box it, you lose a lot of screen space.
FX1's are out there, maybe the big stores are out, but I had one in my hand just last night in Edmonton.
Look deeper. Native 16:9 is important if your end product/future product is to be the best it can be. FX1, A1, Z1, all are native 16:9. In fact, ALL HD camcorders are widescreen. HD is widescreen.
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