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Old April 2nd, 2008, 12:41 AM   #16
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So what camera would you recommend? Something like the JVC 250?

Thanks again,

Henry
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 12:54 AM   #17
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Hi Henry.............

If I may throw my 2 cents in here...........?

JIb? - when did you ever see anyone trying to shoot sports from a jib?

Forget it (IMHO). Go for a tower system or a truck top if you have to go up, with a suitable pedestal mount system to go with it (believe me, a tripod doing fast pans gets pretty tiresome the 27th time you've collected one of those legs).

Canon H1?

The H1 will have to be upgraded any time soon (it's getting pretty long in the tooth) and do you really need interchangeable lenses? A wide angle isn't exactly going to be much required for shooting sports.

Transfer to film?

Er, your doing video of sport, not shooting a remake of "Gone with the Wind".

60P?

Just where, exactly, are you going to be showing 60P? I know of no delivery system for 60P (doesn't mean there ain't one, just that I've never heard of it - ergo, who else will have it available?).

You've made no mention (that I can see) of where, exactly, this footage is to be shown and under what circumstances. You cannot make a camera decision untill you know the resultant video's final delivery system/ destination.

There is no mention of sound gear - Big/ Little Ears, mics, wireless systems, mixers etc etc. This stuff adds up real fast and will take a HUGE (third?) chunk out of that budget.

Apart from the jib, there is no mention of camera support systems. Going "Gold" on these (which you cannot afford NOT to do) will take another third out of your budget.

I cannot give you any pointers as there is too much missing information for me to do so, but I think you may have gone about this the wrong way - start at the end of the line and work back.

That will tell you what you NEED to get where you want to go.

All in my humble opinion, of course.


CS
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 03:49 AM   #18
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720p60 is a valid Blu-Ray format and HDTV broadcast format. Hopefully we will have reasonable options to deliver content that can be played on Blu-Ray players soon. If I was going to shoot sports exclusively, with high definition cameras, I would ideally want to shoot 60p, even if down converting for delivery in the short term (next couple years).

The EX1 could sure produce stunning sports footage, but you really need to look at who your target audience is, to make a decision between cameras like the EX1 and HD200U (or the HD250U, but only if you need SDI). Possibly Panasonic's HVX200 or HPX500 might make sense, depending on the specifics of what you plan to do.

Chris makes a good point, that we really don't have enough detail to be making specific recommendations. Up to this point, we've basically talked about what would be ideal for shooting sports, not what makes the most sense for your particular business and exactly what you intend to do (because we don't know).

Who will be your primary audience/customers? What/how will you be delivering to them?
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 09:32 AM   #19
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The target will be mainly parents and coaches to start, although there will be other apps as this gets going. Again, not wanting to go into whether or not people believe the business will work, the delivery will be via DVD to parents and coaches mostly.

Chris, I have seen guys shoot soccer in particular from a jib. When you are on the sideline directly behind parents or coaches with only 10-12 feet of space between one field and the next you need to get above them in order to shoot. Plus being 10-15 feet up in the air has the advantage of being able to see play develop so that's the thought process behind that. It gives you an advantage, I believe, when you don't have stands or a hill you can get up on to be able to shoot from a height advantage. I'm always open to other suggestions but the need here is to be up at least 10 feet. The only movement will be the camera on a motorized head. I don't see the arm moving around that much. For other apps, as we go forward though, that will probably change and the jib offers flexibility.

The sound isn't that big an issue. I will probably upgrade the camera mic but I think that's all that's needed. It's more about the visual presentation.

Having shot a couple of games on my HV20 in SD and HD, even with the conversion and burning to DVD, the stuff in HD still looks better even though it's not an HD disc. Again, it's about the visual presentation.

With the HD format war over and Blu-Ray starting to make even more in roads I'm trying to think ahead because at some point, sooner rather than later, I think, we're going to be able to start burning HD discs at a reasonable rate and I want to be forward thinking and not be totally behind the curve two years down the road.

And not transfering anything to film. I think that was just a point of discussion.

Again, having been a consumer the pro stuff is all new to me so I'm open to any suggestions or comments anyone is willing to offer. Just trying to do the research and best I can in order to make good, sound decisions.

Thanks again.

Henry
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 10:29 AM   #20
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Alright here is the problem with the jib. You want to use it as your main camera. Panning and following the action on a robotic head is not goning be no were near as smooth an operator on a tripod. So may some cheap scafolding or some kind of platform?

How many cameras do you want?

Are you gona live switch or edit.

I would probably do the HPX 500's with a firestore recorder.

Then maybe the jib for the second camera.

Sound: Make it simple. Wireless Lav on coach, Two long shotguns on the corners of the field. Run all the audio into one camera.(The HPX has 4 channels of audio)
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:55 AM   #21
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Maybe an ideal setup would be one HPX or JVC(could be an HD100) on some kind off platform in a studio configuration. Another camera on the ground with a tripod.

With either the JVC or HPX I would get firestores they would make life really easy.

May the third camera on the jib, but if you get three cameras the HPX's might be too expensive.

How about live switching Have you ever considered that. that's a whole nother ball game.

If you want quality maybe try for the HPX 500's
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 12:01 PM   #22
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The only thing though is that The HPX and Hd 200,100 series are big, complicated, pro cameras.

Are they difficult to opperate yes.
Are they hard to setup, yes.
Can you get better looking shots, faster, yes.

There is a lot to learn with pro cameras, manual Focus, formattts, color setup, and so on.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 01:37 PM   #23
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Andrew,

It's just going to be a one camera shoot. Not a lot of mixing involved at all. From a soccer perspective you're not zooming in too close because you're just concerned with following the overall action and not focusing in on one player. Think of that wide shot of a basketball game from the camera at half court or the wide football shot from the sideline covering the basic play. I understand the football camera moves but trust me, parents and coaches, for the most part, don't care. They just want the game and to be able to see the plays develop. The remote pan and zoom will be fine.

I understand that even the prosumer cameras can have a huge learning curve but, again, it's about the video presentation and ability to do HD DVD's (Blu-Ray) in the future for those who want it. Do I really have a choice? I figure since I figured out Pro-Tools with a little help I'll be able to handle a pro camera in time.

Thanks,

Henry
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 01:50 PM   #24
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I would be inclined to lean towards HD200Us (w/stock 16x lens) for cameras. The quality should be excellent (assuming good shooting) for delivering to an audience like parents and coaches, on DVD (while still yielding very nice footage for potential future use). Cameras like the EX1, HPX500, etc., seem a bit like overkill for the intended purpose, and would be more costly to operate. Shooting to something like a Firestore, while simultaneously shooting tape, would make for quick ingestion for editing (no need to capture from tapes, unless there is a failure with a Firestore - can happen on occasion), and the tapes serve as a nice backup and for archival purposes. That avoids the cost of expensive flash memory cards (SxS or P2), and also avoids the need for a complicated/time consuming/expensive system for archiving raw footage.

With a little ingenuity, I would think a small, older minivan could be modified to serve nicely as a mobile platform, to shoot from above the onlookers (as well as being useful for hauling the gear).
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 07:06 PM   #25
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Hi again.......

I have to assume that you have test marketed this concept somewhere/ somehow/ to someone and have, indeed, found a ready market.

The problem I'm having with it is pretty simple (and I'm quite prepared to be told "You just don't understand" if indeed, that is the case).

I don't watch a lot of sport, either transmitted or off DVD. However, when I do, the thing that leaps out of the screen is the following:

Production values

- there's usually anything up to a dozen cameras (or more) with experienced operators dotted around the ground and an exceedingly good Producer somewhere making sure the best of the bunch makes it to air. They also have spotters whose sole job is to keep the producer aware of "good stuff" developing which may not have been spotted by a camera op.

The cameras are on extremely sophisticated support systems giving pinpoint accuracy with silky smooth movement - they can follow every minute change in direction and speed in microseconds with nary a jerk/ jump or other nasties. If anything, their zooming is even smoother than their panning.

- there's always at least one, more usually two announcers/ narrators, knowledgeable about both the game/ event/ partcipants to keep a running commentary going to cover the "dead spots" and link it all together.

- shut your eyes and just listen to the sound. They have mics EVERYWHERE, covering everything, superbly mixed and balanced giving a wall of sound in 3D. They've got Big/ Little Ears to cover every sound on the pitch and skilled ops linked on two ways to make sure a mic is on that important collision coming.....NOW!

There's heaps more, but in short, that's what this Joe Public experiences whenever I watch televised sport.

My problem with your endeavour, and my point, is that the above scenario is what every other Joe Public experiences when they watch televised sport, and these Joe Publics are your possible future customers.

Now, I realise there must be some sales value in having one's own ugly mug on the telly, but is it really enough to overcome the lack of the above listed production values? Enough to get punters coming back for more, week after week, and plonking down cold hard cash?

OK, so, back to specifics.

The Jib. I've got one. Full underslung pan/ tilt head. The works. From my experience, you're making a rod for your own back.They're slow, ungainly and unless the P/T system costs an absolute kings ransom, jerky and slow. Unless you have twin cams mounted on the end, one wide and one for target, you can't see what is visible from the top of it. In order to satisfy your insurance company (public liability, right?) you will need to rope off an area bigger than the full possible 360 degree swing of the entire unit - that's a big chunk of real estate.

Can you make it work? Maybe, in time, with enough money and practice. I'd borrow one and have a serious play before jumping into that pot of boiling oil.

You would be far better off with a versatower/ ob truck or somesuch.

I do not agree with your "sound isn't that big an issue".

It's a huge issue.

It contributes at least 50% of the experience (you can argue the exact figure till Hell freezes over, it's still a huge figure unless you're into Charle Chaplin movies).

I think that treating it in such an offhand fashion is going to cost you sales (unless this is some sort of charity thing?).

Bottom line, Henry, I just cannot see the "sales value" in the product as descrbed to date.


CS
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 08:19 PM   #26
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I really see the Ideal setup Being One camera on a van(or scaffold) to get that Half of the field shot, And then at least one other camera ground level ( on tripod) get close ups. Take the two firestores home to edit. Add some graffics, tittles, and burn to blue-ray.

For sound you should be able just place some shotguns on the field and maybe a wireless or two on key people(coaches). The run all tha cables into your cameras and your all set.

Hpx Overkill? maybe
$60,000 overkill, yes so get the Hpx's
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 01:40 AM   #27
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Thanks all for your input.

Chris, I'm probably not making myself clear in my explanation of what I'm aiming to do. Being the rookie here I would bet that's the case. In any event we could go back and forth for days about what I think would work and why and what you think would (or won't) and why and that's something I don't want to get into. To your point of the research on the saleability of what I have in mind I've had a number of sales and marketing people look into it and it seems viable so let's just leave it at that. I do appreciate your input and will take away a number of things that will improve on my initial thoughts so thanks.

And that goes to everyone else who offered up advice - Thanks so much.

I think I've got things narrowed down, camera wise, and will continue to research the camera mounting options (the insurance thing was huge - the thought crossed my mind at one point and haven't really thought about it much since so thanks) and try to ensure that it's the best thing for what I have in mind. I know the learning curve is huge but I think it'll be worth it in the end so again, thanks. I'm sure I'll be back with questions on an number of other issues.

Henry
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 03:07 AM   #28
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Shotguns make sense. I think I would want to have good shotguns mounted on the cameras (at least somewhat tracking the action, with a very narrow pickup pattern), along with perhaps a couple stationary mics (with a little wider pickup pattern) aimed at the field also (wireless, so you don't have parents tripping all over long cables, slamming mics to the ground on a regular basis - keep the insurance costs under control too!). I don't know how practical getting microphones actually on the field or coaches would be (could get some great sound bites at times, but would require cooperative participants/coaches/officials - and wireless lavs might walk away, never to return, on occasion). Micing a parent might get a few choice sound bites (and lose a few more wireless lavs). If/when there is an announcer, that should be recorded.

I just can't see putting a camera on a jib for this. I don't see the advantage over a good-ole DIY minivan mobile platform (3/4" green treated plywood bolted down to an old van roof might not be real impressive looking, but sounds a whole lot better to shoot from, to me - could even run a 15' firewire, from the camera, to an inexpensive computer in the van for recording to a big hard drive, instead of using a PITA over-priced Firestore with an itty-bitty hard drive). It's certainly no easier to shoot by remote control, than on a solid platform with a high quality fluid-head tripod setup (secured to the platform), and a jib sure would seem like a great way to invite all kinds of unnecessary risks and problems (excellent lightening rod though).

Studying how sports are covered, on television broadcasts, is certainly a very good idea, but it sure wouldn't be practical to have a dozen cameras and even more microphones all over a high school soccer field, along with a couple announcers, a producer, and a host of production assistants (not to mention, a semi filled with broadcast gear) for this type of small scale production (now that's overkill!). This is a lot more like shooting a wedding, or similar event, where the primary audience is pretty much limited to family, friends, participants, coaches, etc. Shooting with cameras like an HPX500 wouldn't really seem cost effective. The revenues from each shoot are going to be fairly limited. Some of the bigger camera's distinct advantages (like better performance in dim lighting - not really much practical advantage when shooting outside in daylight or in a well lit gym) often would not be all that apparent in the delivered product, but the additional cost (an HPX500 w/any lens costs more than 3X as much as an HD200U w/stock lens) would impact the bottom line. Just because more investment capitol is available, doesn't mean it is a great idea to spend it all.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 04:11 AM   #29
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Henry....................

Good luck.

I mean that sincerely.

Please do not take my comments in a negative sense, they were meant in as positive a way as I could muster.

I do hope it all works out well.

Get back to us if you need anything else (just don't think it'll be an easy ride!).

CS
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 04:27 AM   #30
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Here's my specific camera suggestions (based on what you have told us thus far):

For shooting HD (@720p60): JVC GY-HD200U
60p is arguably ideally suited for shooting sports and the HD200U is a solid camera (yet reasonably priced) for that (especially for venues with ample lighting).

For shooting HD (@1080i60): Canon XH-A1
This is certainly a viable option, especially for delivering on DVD (and delivering 1080i60 on Blu-Ray, at some point in the future, would be quite reasonable). I don't really see any advantage to you, in going with the much more expensive XL-H1, especially to mount on a jib or tripod.

Another option, worthy of serious consideration, would be to shoot with standard definition cameras until you would actually be delivering on Blu-Ray. Camera cost could potentially be cut in half, while still achieving excellent results on DVD. Learning to operate cameras and editing would likely be somewhat easier also, and have you producing a marketable product a bit sooner as well. By the time Blu-Ray is indeed a viable delivery medium, camera choices should have improved considerably too (perhaps good AVCHD alternatives, for example). Only a very minuscule portion of the population currently even owns a Blu-Ray player at all, and there are serious issues with creating compatible disks on a small scale.
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