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Old August 24th, 2007, 05:47 AM   #1
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JVC HD video camera for bird filmmaking

Hi all,

I am a bird photographer from Sydney Australia.
http://www.oferlevyphotography.com

After 4 years of shooting stills I have decided to move to bird filmmaking.

20 years ago I have filmed a wildlife film which won the BBC Newcomers award in Wildscreen' 88 using a super 8mm film camera. I believe technology is a bit better now (-: and I am keen to get back to this fascinating scene.

I would appreciate any advice as to the right HD camera for bird filmmaking. I have heard good things about the JVC GY HD 201 and I wonder if anyone has some experience with this camera or a similar one and would be so kind to share some information.

I usually do my photography from hides so I get close to my subjects 4-10 meters.

I own all the prime long stills Canon lenses + the 70-200 f2.8 IS.

My intention is make documentaries to sell to TV channels.

Any good advice in all aspects of this vast area would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Ofer Levy
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Old August 24th, 2007, 08:15 AM   #2
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Ofer,

Welcome to the world of video. I made the move from still to video as well.

The JVC HD200 would be a great camera for you to use. There are adaptors that will allow you to use your 35mm film lenses on the camera. If you do a search on this board you will find lots of threads regarding their use.

You will of course find that your telephoto lenses will become super telephoto when you put them on a video camera. The sensor on the HD200 is much smaller than your 35mm film frame (though I am guessing that you shoot digital which may not be full frame anyway).

I looked at your website, you have some great stuff up there. Nice eye.

Do your research on this site and it will serve you well.

Good luck,

Dan Weber
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Old August 24th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #3
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Hi Ofer

I own the HD251,

recently I used it in the Pilbara and the Kimberleys, great unit, you'll definitely need good batteries for birdwatching, I want to also do wildlife material, but I think the 20x Canon lense would be needed if I were to do it full time. I know theres some good 35mm adapters out there which are definitely the cheaper route.

The only thing I would seriously include in the kit is a parabolic mic kit, one thing I found is my audio sucked with a lot of stuff as it was shot some way from the source, so it's fine when you are using voice overs etc, no good if you want to hear whats going on!

Its a great camera, you might want to consider the drdh100's, for as you know wildlife is unpredictable, and it'll save you wasting a lot of tape, just keep what you want off the drive and chuck the rest, also saves having drop outs.

Enjoy

Adam

Last edited by Adam Letch; August 24th, 2007 at 08:39 PM.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Adam Letch View Post
Its a great camera, you might want to consider the drdh100's, for as you know wildlife is unpredictable, and it'll save you wasting a lot of tape, just keep what you want off the drive and chuck the rest, also saves having drop outs.
And of course keep in mind that DR-HD100 has a cache function (10 second RAM or hours allocated to disk) that will allow you to run indefinitely until it is time to hit REC and keep what you have already digitized. This works best with Free Run TC.
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Old August 25th, 2007, 02:36 AM   #5
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Thanks guys for the valuable information. This is all so new to me that every piece of information can save me a lot of time, money and energy...(-:

Any other equipment I should consider buying? I have nice tripod and tripod head (Vinten fluid head).

Thanks again !!

Ofer
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Old August 25th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ofer Levy View Post
Hi all,

I am a bird photographer from Sydney Australia.
http://www.oferlevyphotography.com

20 years ago I have filmed a wildlife film which won the BBC Newcomers award in Wildscreen' 88 using a super 8mm film camera. I believe technology is a bit better now (-: and I am keen to get back to this fascinating scene.
I am a cinematographer from California. Less than 12 hours ago I was at Panavision shooting a super-8mm film short. Yes, technology has gotten a bit better now and that also includes film stocks and film transfer quality as well.
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Old August 25th, 2007, 10:22 AM   #7
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Thanks for your comment Alessandro! (-:

Super 8mm film camera is a nightmare for the nature filmmaker - I have done it once and left the business for 20 years....(-:
Nature photography involves endless hours of shooting in order to capture the special moments - unlike many other kinds of documentaries.
I have waited for the technology we have now for all those years and I am very happy to be not too old to join in....(-:
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Old August 25th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #8
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Ofer, if you find an adapter (like the Zork, not the Brevis for example) that mounts your 70-200 2.8IS lens to this JVC please give a shout. I've searched but come up with nothing (and yes, I know we'll lose control of aperture etc.).

Good luck Ofer. It's a long, steep, and expensive learning curve, but you'll love it
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Old August 25th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ofer Levy View Post
Thanks for your comment Alessandro! (-:

Super 8mm film camera is a nightmare for the nature filmmaker - I have done it once and left the business for 20 years....(-:
Nature photography involves endless hours of shooting in order to capture the special moments - unlike many other kinds of documentaries.
I have waited for the technology we have now for all those years and I am very happy to be not too old to join in....(-:
If you only did it once and then left the business for 20 years, i would suggest you were never really in it the first time around. No need to blame your former tools now that you found an alternative 20 years later.

Around 20 years ago I saw some of the most striking Super-8 footage ever taken of African Animals including Giraffes and Lions. On the other hand, one does not have to be 4-10 meters away from the Lions and Giraffes to get a great shot of them.

I don't know how much you strategized your super-8 shooting 20 years ago but I would have used single frame mode whenever I got a nibble than changed to regular filming speeds when necessary. Suddenly your small Super-8 cartridge offers 3,600 individual film frames to work with.

By the way, didn't you say your awful, horse and buggy technology won you all sorts of awards?

Last edited by Alessandro Machi; August 25th, 2007 at 03:41 PM.
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