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JVC Everio GZ-HD and GZ-HM Series
JVC's Everio Series 3CCD High Definition MPEG2 camcorders.


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Old August 31st, 2008, 04:36 PM   #1
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On camera lighting for GZ-HD7??

Unfortunately, the GZ-HD7 has a cold shoe mount which makes on camera lighting a little difficult. Has anyone come up with a solution for this?? "Stage" or "Studio" lighting is not a problem for me, but Im currently working on a documentary and at times I need an "on the go" light for certain times where lighting is bad. Has anyone done this yet? Thanks!
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Old September 1st, 2008, 08:33 AM   #2
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my buddy just told me of a self powered LED solution. I have not seen it and he lives in another state. I too am curious about this.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 08:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Colon View Post
Unfortunately, the GZ-HD7 has a cold shoe mount which makes on camera lighting a little difficult. Has anyone come up with a solution for this?? "Stage" or "Studio" lighting is not a problem for me, but Im currently working on a documentary and at times I need an "on the go" light for certain times where lighting is bad. Has anyone done this yet? Thanks!
Hello Gary

I am not aware of any modification to the HD7 for powered on board camera lighting or the addition of a D-Tap or PowerTap jack. The solution is either self powered or externally powered light heads.

My personal choice has always been to run an on camera light from a separate source, not the camera itself. Yes, it is a pain to carry a battery belt, but I believe the trade off is better. The camera battery is not drained more than necessary and will allow for maximum camera run time. While the light, with its own power source, can be operated independently of the camera. An example would be the need for a fill or bump light from the side.

Remember, we are use to seeing light from above, not directly in line with the subject. In most instances a light shining directly from the camera is not the most flattering for the subject. This lighting, called an obie, does require a bit of artistic control over the light.

What to get or use largely depends how much light you need and how much you want to spend. The defacto standard of most ENG operators had always been NRG lights. A 20 watt head would cost around $100.00 and a 100 watt Varalux about $200.00. Frezzolini/Freezi seems to be the current flavor, and are quite good, but they can be pricey, $250.00 for a 50 watt head to $500.00 for a dimmable unit or their Micro-Sun Gun. PAG heads, good lights as well, run around $350.00, similar to Frezzi. Mind you, the price and brands mentioned above are for DC heads only.

Litepanels offers the LED Micro around $300.00, and uses AA batteries. I do not know if this would endure the bumps of "run and gun" however.

Lowel, Cool-Lux, Luxman, Smith-Victor, Bescor have heads that run from $65.00 to $150.00 for a head to kits from $200.00 to $300.00 which includes a battery, charger, and some with barn doors. This may be more the range you are looking for.

For less expensive models there are some Canon or Sony lights, around 10 to 20 watts for around $100.00 that run off a separate camcorder battery that attaches to the light itself.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:05 AM   #4
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Will LED lights have ample amount of throw for video work? I have LED lights for DJ lighting, and I know it's not the same, but the throw is not as good as traditional lights.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 06:16 PM   #5
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I agree. Utilizing an accessory that draws power from the camera's battery simply reduces the operating time of the camera. In my experience that is a liability. Any on-camera light has to have some kind of diffusion for nearby subjects as well as the ability for removal of the diffusion for more distant subjects. I continue to use quartz on camera lights powered by a small, but heavy 12 volt sealed gel battery pack. LED lighting is great for its soft quality, but poor in regard to projecting beyond a few feet. I suspect LED lighting will significantly improve in the next year, as I am seeing some nice improvements in the flashlight products.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 07:41 PM   #6
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Hi Waldemar, thanks for chiming in. Yes diffusion is needed to avoid the "deer in the headlights" look or washing out the subject.

Mark, LED lights continue to improve, surprise, and are expensive. The main advantages are that the LED's give off almost no heat, use little power, and last a very long time.

The LED units like the Litepanel Micro and VariZoom output light at 5600K and would need to be color corrected to 3200K for indoor use. These two units are dimmable and do maintain correct color temperature through the entire dimming range and are about as bright as a standard 40 watt tungsten lamp at full intensity.

Unfortunately, of the few units I've seen, the Litepanel Micro is made entirely of plastic and has parts that look like they could break if handled too rough. The Varizoom case is made of metal and appears more durable, but uses plastic for the barn doors and filter holder. Considering these lights cost $300.00 to $350.00, I didn't expect to find any plastic, except for the on/off switch, dimmer and shoe knobs.

These units will not light up an entire room by no means. The main use would be to act as a fill light to partially eliminate shadows. You can expect even illumination out to around 8 feet or so from the camera. But that is what most on board camera lights would be used for anyway.
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