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Old September 14th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #16
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Burbank
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Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
Posts like the above make me question how much video you've actually shot on a truly professional level.

You're just looking in the wrong place. While 72mm is a standard size for 35mm photography, you will be hard pressed to find a broadcast ENG lens with a 72mm filter thread. Try looking through broadcast dealers.
I'm not talking about professional lenses on big cameras. I'm talking about lenses on comparably priced cameras:

"A bit about filter sizes in mm: how many of you know--without looking--the lens filter thread size of your camera? The Z1U, for example, is 72mm; Canon's XL1 and XL2 are 72mm as well. The Sony HC1 is 37mm. Panasonic's DVX100 is 72mm. Any 77s out there? 82s?"

These are the cameras I meant when saying 72mm... as will be Canon's new cameras.

Regarding the form factor of a professinal ENG camera. I think the form came out the way it did for these reasons:
1. The cameras were very heavy.
2. There was no autofocus regular focus had to be easily accessible, so the 35mm still camera model was adapted.
3. The ENG camera persons had to run with the camera and hold it for a long time.
4 There was no LCD so the viewfinder had to be where it is to look through when the heavy camera was on the shoulder.
5. Certain controls had to be easily accessible and certain cables had to come out of the camera in certain directions and be out of the way.

This form factor may still be perfect for a certain style of shooting, but it is not right for others and/or not necessary.

Just like the old fly fisherman has his vest and hat, the old ENG guy will have his shoulder mount... but with new technology there are new and different options.

The variety of cameras on a show like "Girls behaving badly" is very interesting.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:13 PM   #17
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Location: Los Angeles
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Everyone makes good points here, but I agree with Stephan on most of what he said. Autofocus? Are you kidding? Out of curiosity, with what cameras have you found autofocus to be useful? The manual that ships with the DVX-100 specifically points out that in 24p, autofocus will be very slow and should only be used for focus confirmation. Perhaps it works on 60i, but I've never been confident enough to use it. Also, for autofocus to work in video, your subject must be center-frame and a MINIMUM of 30% of the frame for accuracy. So wait, how is that useful again?

In terms of stabilizers, there are many different types. Canon has a pretty incredible optical system which works quite well when you're hand-holding and trying to shoot a lock-off. However this technology has, until recently, never been incorporated in ENG-EFP style lenses. Why? Because it's not really necessary in balanced cameras. If you're locking-off, and shooting on your shoulder, the camera's CG is right above your shoulder. It's not terribly difficult to hold your shoulder steady. Adding an optical stabilizer to a camera which is easy to hold steady is...extra weight and power draw.

In terms of versatility, superficially handycams have the advantage. Producers love to spec DVX's and Z1U's because "they're very light, shooters love them!" A week later on set, they complain that they have to cut every 10 minutes because the operator's arms are falling off. Seriously, has anyone actually shot a 10-straight minute take with a handycam at eye level? No comment about WHY ON EARTH they would want it.

"We did this last year with Betacams and they were much bigger!" Size isn't everything! I would GLADLY take an HD100 ANY DAY over a DVX and not just from an image quality standpoint. I can shoot a Varicam or even a 900 all day where I need a break every few minutes with a handycam. And no, I'm not a wuss. Do the math. 6.5 LB camera (incl. mics, batteries and wireless receivers) in your hand is 6.5 lbs you have to support and operate perfectly steady IN YOUR HAND for a whole shot. 25lb camera balanced on your shoulder is at MOST a couple ounces in your hand to control the camera, body absorbs the rest. It's why real stedicam systems work. They divide the work from the control. Your body lifts the weight, the sled adjusts the CG, and your fingertips control the shot.

Have you ever shot a beta, varicam, large ENG cam? Watch somone shooting low angle sometime, you may learn some tricks to make your HD100 easier than your small cameras. Low is Easy, shoulder is easy, high angle hurts, but then again so does high angle with a small cam. If you need to hold a high-angle shot for a long time, why not stand on something and shoot from the shoulder?

Handycams have their place. They are small and easy to cart around. The image quality can be fantastic. But when it comes to "which camera would you choose," for me it is FAR easier to make quality shots without fatigue using a camera that can balance on my shoulder. 90% of what we shoot with small cameras is from shoulder (eye) level anyways. Why not use the right tool?
Jaron Berman is offline   Reply

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