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Old April 5th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #1
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camera selection question.

Hello everyone!

For some time my team and I have been raising money to start our own digital video company and have been positively progressing toward our goal. As a result of meticulous research I decided that the JVC GY-HD200u would best fit our needs. When I proposed this camera choice to the team they asked me what made this camera so much better than the XH A1 I had previously intended on buying. I honestly couldn't give them a clear and concise answer as to why a $5500.00 camera would better fit our needs as compaired to a $3300.00 camera. Why am I paying $2200 more for a camera and what am I paying for?

All I could come up with was that it had detachable lenses (not to mention better quality as well) and that it could shoot in 24p and 60p mode which makes slow motion acquisition much better when down converted to 24p.


Our goal is to purchase the equipment that can produce the closest quality "film look" without actually buying an F900 with panivision lenses. Since we only have a budget of about 7-8 grand to spend on equipment, the HD200u seemed to give me the quality I was looking for with a reasonable price. But what is it giving me that I need? and why can't the XH A1 give me the same thing?

Any enlightenment on this subject would be much appreciated.
Thank you
-Terry
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #2
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Both cameras take nice images and both record on miniDV tape. The largest difference is the professional shoulder-mount form factor of the JVC and its ability to be powered by industry standard V-mount or A/B mount batteries. (and of course a real lens)

From a client point of view, you will look like your offering more with the JVC camera vs a handheld camera. (because the JVC looks and acts like every other broadcast camera there is, you wont get the funny look like "Are you shooting my project with a handycam?)

Go with the jvc, you wont be dissapointed. Just my 2 cents.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 11:37 AM   #3
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A fully manual lens, free of servos for focus, and a back focus adjustment are the selling points for me. EVERYthing else (and there is a lot of "else" with this camera) is gravy. I've used many non-detachable lens cameras with great success but I always miss the ShoulderCam experience. I just REALLY like working with a "real" lens.

I should point out that I do have 10 years experience with broadcast cameras (Beta/SP/SX/Digi/DVCam) so there is no transition to shoulder mounted for me. "HandiCam" products have their place: they are typically easier to balance on lower priced camera stabilizers of the Steadicam variety; tight system integration on these cameras means everything works together; easier to transport on airlines; less attention is attracted abroad while shooting documentaries.

But, in the end, true system set-up is a huge boon for me. Gamma curves etc. exist only on true pro equipment. I don't need "consumer effects" like in-camera transitions: I need the best possible image at the best bang for the buck.

I should be ordering my 200 in the next 3-4 weeks. If I'm willing to spend MY money... that's high praise in my book.

Good luck!
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Old April 6th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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To be honest, I'm not entirely camera savy. I can understand the most basic of concepts but cannot relate to some of the technical aspects of the camera such as "back focusing" simply because I've not had the opportunity to work with a camera. Now, some will ask why I would start out with such a complicated camera as my first learning tool but I feel that learning at this degree will get me further faster, but that of course is my opinion. Some may say it will be harder to learn with this complicated of a machine, but I feel nothing is out of the reach of understanding no matter how complex.

what I do know is that a manual lens will give me optimal focus ability, something essential for HD. Plus with this camera, I have the option to attach a better quality thus more expensive lens for better image quality in the future.

What I am not entirely clear on are the importance of the features present in this camera. What I want to be able to do is explain the importance of all of this camera's features so that I know that every dollar is accounted for.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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What I am not entirely clear on are the importance of the features present in this camera. What I want to be able to do is explain the importance of all of this camera's features so that I know that every dollar is accounted for.
There won't be much difference in image quality. But for a start up I don't think the importance of "Looking professional" can be overestimated.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #6
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There won't be much difference in image quality. But for a start up I don't think the importance of "Looking professional" can be overestimated.

I was under the impression that the lens makes the camera...Therefore a 30 thousand dollar lens will perform at a higher degree than say the stock 16x fujinon lens.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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I was under the impression that the lens makes the camera...Therefore a 30 thousand dollar lens will perform at a higher degree than say the stock 16x fujinon lens.
Lens, format, CCD size, they all matter. But with regards to the two cameras you're considering, the images, regardless of lens, are far more alike than different. Look at some of the shootouts and see for yourself.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 03:35 PM   #8
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Both the HD200U and XH-A1 are good choices to imitate film. A nice advantage with the HD200U would be the ability to shoot 60p for slow mo. As far as shooting 24 frame progressive, the XH-A1 24F mode works well, and the image is almost infinitely adjustable (and there's way more to getting a film look than simply getting progressive images at 24fps). On the whole, the XH-A1 arguably offers the most bang for the buck, in general, for HD cameras, and you can do a lot with the roughly $2K difference in price between the XH-A1 and the HD200U (like maybe get a Letus35, for example).
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Old April 6th, 2008, 08:34 PM   #9
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I think a big factor in favor for the JVC is workflow.

The JVC runs 720p @24fps and matched up with a HD100DTE you can capture to tape and hard drive at the same time in your native final format for editing. Capture up to 10 hours of 720p footage, head back to the office... plug in the firewire drive to your DTE drive and instantly start editing. NO capturing, no exportation, just edit. OR if you want, drag and drop your 10 hours of footage to your RAID in 10-25% of real time. I routinely download 2.8 hours of footage in 30 minutes. How can you beat that? P2 cards on a PC are NOT that fast.

From what I understand the Canon is a different story. It captures ONLY 1080i @60i rate. But what about 24f? Well it's 60i with flags. So what you do is capture 60i into your editor, then export the footage. If you are on FCP you would export as AIC code, taking up to 10x the original hard drive space and more precious time spent. I don't know how Adobe or Avid handle 60i 24f, maybe someone else could chime in.

The canon is nice to be sure, and without doubt the BEST of the 1080i HDV camcorders out there, and I wouldn't mind owning one, BUT..... here is my list of reasons to go with the JVC.

1. Most new TV's sold today are HDTV's.
2. LCD and Plasmas are progressive scan. Old High Def tube TV's were interlaced.
3. Progressive scan DVD's look stellar on HDTV's, 60i footage look likes nice video, but looks likve video.
4. DVD's are in fact 60i, but recognize a 24p flag to recombine 24p footage that has been interlaced and burned on the DVD's by reading the 60i 24p flagged footage and recombines the 24p footage and sending it out to the HDMI and component cables.
5. So if all of the above it true, 24p or a 24f would be preferable for most footage.
6. JVC is 24p HDV 720. Shoot, capture, edit, output.
7. Canon 24f HDV 1080i. Shoot, capture, export, import, edit, output.
8. Time = money. More time spent with same money earned, means lower pay per hour.
9. How much is your time worth with saving $2,000 at the beginning? How about much more hard drive space for your footage with the added exportation of files. (AIC for instance on the Mac with FCP)
10. What if you DON'T have infinite time to finish a project? All that time exporting footage from the Canon 24f to 24p AIC you could have edited the JVC 24p footage and maybe finished before you were ready with the Canon's 24f footage.

If i'm wrong about the Canon, someone kindly let me know. The Canon would then make nice backup danger camera etc. But from I have read about the Canon's 24f is a couple more steps from shooting to 24p editing.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 09:25 PM   #10
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So my next question would be why would someone pay 2k more for the HD200u if you can do the same thing with the XH A1?

so far with the JVC GY HD200u my 2k is going toward V-mount or A/B mount battery capability. Lens interchangeability, not to mention a manual lens. 60p mode for slow motion and the "professional look."

...what do you all think? worth 2 grand?

I like the idea of the XH A1 with the Letus35. I had actually planned on buying one but to put on the hd200 (even though its not a 72mm thread..). I understand that alot of what makes the "film look" look like it does is the ability control the DoF to tell the story.

It has been highly illustrated that the professionality of the camera equipment is important in the film business which is also why I chose the hd200u.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 09:44 PM   #11
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Alex you beat me to posting. Give me a monent to consider everything you wrote and I will type a reply soon.

Thanks!
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Old April 7th, 2008, 02:09 AM   #12
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I've never really considered editing MPEG2 directly (from any camera). I believe all the major NLEs can directly edit 24 frame progressive footage contained inside a 60i stream with pulldown nowadays, but I guess I don't really know. I like Cineform - superb performance (very fast and visually lossless). Cineform's HDLink converts HDV to Cineform's codec considerably faster than real time (on a modern machine - not on an old, slow P4). It's also nice to be able to use a cheap camera, like an HV20, as a capture deck for the XH-A1 (instead of putting the extra wear and tear, of capturing, on the more expensive production camera). (It's nice to have an HV20 to take along in a small camera bag, when visiting the grandkids too.)

Personally, I prefer a fixed lens. The lenses on the Canons sure aren't junk. I doubt I would ever spend a few grand for a second lens for a camera in this price range (although I did spend a couple hundred for the Canon wide angle adapter - sure don't need more than the stock zoom on the A1), and I don't want the added issues of keeping the imager clean either.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 03:10 AM   #13
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So my next question would be why would someone pay 2k more for the HD200u if you can do the same thing with the XH A1?
The XH A1 doesn't focus and zoom at the same time, doesn't have independent audio channels, the focus precision is bad, doesn't have manual zoom, the controls aren't ergonomic, the view finder is bad, the image in DV mode is terrible... I'd rather pay 10k on a HD200 than 1k on any Canon model!
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Old April 7th, 2008, 02:03 PM   #14
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I'll take a half dozen A1s at $1K.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 09:15 PM   #15
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Alex,

Thank you sir for your reply. I have a few questions to get me up to par on some terms and technical stuff.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Humphrey View Post
OR if you want, drag and drop your 10 hours of footage to your RAID in 10-25% of real time. I routinely download 2.8 hours of footage in 30 minutes. How can you beat that? P2 cards on a PC are NOT that fast.
I'm not entirely sure what RAID is to be honest. I have only messed with PC computers. I am assuming this has to do with Mac..

Quote:
From what I understand the Canon is a different story. It captures ONLY 1080i @60i rate. But what about 24f? Well it's 60i with flags. So what you do is capture 60i into your editor, then export the footage. If you are on FCP you would export as AIC code, taking up to 10x the original hard drive space and more precious time spent. I don't know how Adobe or Avid handle 60i 24f, maybe someone else could chime in.
So the XH A1 doesn't capture true progressive? From the statement above I understand that there are a few loop holes that you have to jump through in order to obtain the progressive frame look?

from what I understand 720p @24fps is best suited for motion shots such as panning, tracking etc...? You get less atrifacts in each frame or something to that effect? (I probably totally butchered that...)

I guess what would be most helpful to me would be to better understand what "situations" these different frame rates would be the most ideal. I can kind of get the hint from what you and others have said about them but unless you come out and just say "since the camera captures 720p or 1080i you want to use 24p/60i/60p in this situation etc..."


I hope that made sense...
thanks for helping me with this. It is honestly helping me alot to be able to talk about this stuff.
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