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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:37 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
With 1/5" sensors, no xlr, and no manual controls? Professional level?
Well, like I said. I'm new and maybe I should have said "semi-professional" level. My miniDV is my first experience with camcorders (and I like it a lot, so far), which is why I used the qualifier that I am "new to this."
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #17
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Well, like I said. I'm new and maybe I should have said "semi-professional" level. My miniDV is my first experience with camcorders (and I like it a lot, so far), which is why I used the qualifier that I am "new to this."
Gotcha,

Typically "Pro level" cameras use rather expensive lenses, and have professional audio inputs so that long cables can be used without picking up interference. They also typically allow most adjustments to be made manually on the camera. Implementing these features is somewhat costly, especially good lenses, which is why traditionally, professional cameras were available in the $30k and above. In fact, even the tapes they often use (like DVCam 64 minute cassettes) are $30-$40 each.

Recently, a number of great breakthroughs have happened, with cameras like the Panasonic DVX100 offering many pro features, including the ability to shoot in low light and shoot 24 frames per second for less than $6k when it debuted. I bought one as soon as I could.

In recent months, Sony has introduced the EX1. This is a remarkable breakthrough, offering performance rivaling $30k+ broadcast level cameras for under $7k.

The imaging sensors on these cameras is often far larger (2/3" each or 1/2"), which lets them use more of the light coming through the lens. And those lenses tend to be MUCH larger than consumer level cameras with less distortion. I'd imagine replacing the lens on the EX1 would cost more than purchasing an Everio.

There is SO MUCH to learn about this video stuff when you start out. I've been at it 20+ years and I am still learning new things every day. But one thing I have learned for sure... there is still no free lunch. Good glass still costs lots of money, and tough, metal bodied cameras, that won't break in the field, push the price up a lot more.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #18
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Thanks for the information and for the understanding. I was just looking at some of the "pro" cameras and they range from $5k to over $10k! Yikes!

I was just taking in to consideration that Mr. Feder is wanting to stay at or below $2k.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:08 PM   #19
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Perron, I am looking into the AG-DVX100 and still keeping in mind the Canon HV30. As for the professional quality, is it to say that one of these cameras might be the best purchase for this application on the “Amateur Documentary” scale?? What about Microphones? Wireless, boom operated, camera mounted? What do I want to look for in a mic for these various applications; Interviews, walking etc? What if I get echos in the room in doing the interview? As far as lighting goes, what do you mean an Interview kit? Do I need to purchase a gel kit also and get into light meters and such?!?!? I have a lot to learn in little time but I do want to learn it. I purchased a book on documentary making and hopefully that will help me out a lot. If you could choose between MiniDV and HDD and money was no option what would you choose? I am only concerned about getting MiniDV tapes home from Afghanistan. Is there a way to transfer them onto a back up HDD system? Am I looking too much into this? I am not taking this as a personal attack, I came here for experience and education so I do appreciate the feed back and I’ll welcome it all day.

Personal Note: I’m sorry to hear about your best friend, War is hell. The funny thing about war is that Technology has done much to improve how wars are fought and to reduce the number of casualties. However, Technology has NOT done much to improve war itself…

Chris
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Lynne Good View Post
I was just taking in to consideration that Mr. Feder is wanting to stay at or below $2k.
$10k is considered bargain basement as far as true pro-cameras are concerned. Many people wouldn't consider a camera "Pro" unless you can change the lens on the front. Think of it like photo cameras. SLRs let you change the lens, while point and shoots do not. You won't see a pro photographer going to a job with a camera where the lens cannot be changed. It's fundamental to its use. Video is no different.

Nevermind that most of the bare lenses for those cameras cost more than my DVX! LOL!

Mr. Feder is going to have a VERY hard time finding something to meet his neesds without either buying used, extending his budget, or being more realistic about his potential results.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
Perron, I am looking into the AG-DVX100 and still keeping in mind the Canon HV30. As for the professional quality, is it to say that one of these cameras might be the best purchase for this application on the “Amateur Documentary” scale??
The DVX100 essentially revolutionized the amateur documentary market when it was introduced. It changed the game. And it's why now JVC, Canon, and Sony have 24fps shooting. None of them (in the consumer market) do it was well as the Panasonic though, in my view. If you want to shoot documentaries in the field, this is the camera I would buy. Actually, I'd by the HVX but it needs more light and costs $2k more.


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Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
What about Microphones? Wireless, boom operated, camera mounted? What do I want to look for in a mic for these various applications; Interviews, walking etc?

You are going to need to make some choices. Since you'll probably be working alone, boom operated would be a royal pain. You can put many mics on a boom pole, so don't let that limit you. I'd go with a short shotgun in your case though. Wireless will be $500 to get you in the door. More if you want something tough. Camera mounted is the ONLY way you are going to be able to run and gun alone. They won't sound the best, but it will be usable.


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Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
What if I get echos in the room in doing the interview?
Hey, you wanted to make "art"! :)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
As far as lighting goes, what do you mean an Interview kit? Do I need to purchase a gel kit also and get into light meters and such?!?!?
An interview kit generally consists of 2-3 lights, with stands. And when used correctly, it makes sure that the person you are interviewing has flattering light on them. If you're running and gunning, that's one thing. But when you sit down to do an interview with someone, you're going to want them to look decent.

Use these basics for a start:

http://www.mediacollege.com/video/in.../lighting.html
http://www.digitaljournalist.org/iss...videosmith.htm
http://www.bluesky-web.com/broadcast...les3point.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
I have a lot to learn in little time but I do want to learn it. I purchased a book on documentary making and hopefully that will help me out a lot. If you could choose between MiniDV and HDD and money was no option what would you choose?
I stopped shooting on tape a year and a half ago. Don't miss it. BUT, I am also not in the field, and I have an easy way to dump my footage to a computer. If I was going to be in the field for an extended time, I'd shoot tape.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
I am only concerned about getting MiniDV tapes home from Afghanistan. Is there a way to transfer them onto a back up HDD system? Am I looking too much into this? I am not taking this as a personal attack, I came here for experience and education so I do appreciate the feed back and I’ll welcome it all day.
Glad you aren't taking this personally. I wish I would have had someone to tell me the hard facts when I started. Would have saved me a lot of time and effort. I want you to come home with stuff you'll be proud of. And with your budget, there are only a few limited ways to do it. Unless you can do a capture to a computer in the field (a laptop with an external drive and a firewire connection to hook to your camera) you're going to have to edit when you get home.

One other suggestion I will make. Write your story NOW. Sit down, write up an outline of what it is you want to capture on tape, and work to get that onto tape during the deployment. You'll save a LOT of frustration later if you build the shell of your story now. Shooting with this in mind really changed how I shot. And all for the better.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Feder View Post
Personal Note: I’m sorry to hear about your best friend, War is hell. The funny thing about war is that Technology has done much to improve how wars are fought and to reduce the number of casualties. However, Technology has NOT done much to improve war itself…

Chris
Thanks for this. He was a Ranger and his transport flew into a mountain in heavy cloud cover. Not pretty. We did what we could for his wife and unborn child. I think of Paul every time the national anthem plays. One of the nicest men I ever met.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #22
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The $10k camera is where I stopped looking! I am sure they went up from there but I could not wrap my mind around paying that much money for a camera unless you are in the movie (or news) industry!

As for proprietary software/formatting, I am finding that a lot of the cameras out there are pretty much proprietary. It just depends on what you want to do with them. Some of them come with conversion programs or you can get the conversions separately. Judging from what I've read, it's not that expensive.

Another thing, I know with my miniDV camcorder, I can download the videos directly to my hard drive on my laptop without a problem. At least, that is what I understand. I have not attempted this yet (I just purchased it about a month ago and have only been experimenting with the settings so far).
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #23
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By the way, Chris, in case you don't get told this enough, thank you for being there!

Perrone, my sympathies to you and your friends. I lost a couple of friends to combat years ago and it still hits home when I hear military marches or the National Anthem.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:39 PM   #24
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The $10k camera is where I stopped looking! I am sure they went up from there but I could not wrap my mind around paying that much money for a camera unless you are in the movie (or news) industry!

As for proprietary software/formatting, I am finding that a lot of the cameras out there are pretty much proprietary. It just depends on what you want to do with them. Some of them come with conversion programs or you can get the conversions separately. Judging from what I've read, it's not that expensive.

Another thing, I know with my miniDV camcorder, I can download the videos directly to my hard drive on my laptop without a problem. At least, that is what I understand. I have not attempted this yet (I just purchased it about a month ago and have only been experimenting with the settings so far).

Proprietary is falling down. It used to be REALLY bad. But firewire leveled the game in the consumer market in both miniDV and HDV. In the pro market, the problem is the recording formats. Sony is ALWAYS different. It's Sony vs. the world. And in broadcast, often Sony wins.

One of the biggest pains in the rear is having to hand off tapes to the local TV stations. One needs Sony DVCam, one wants DVCPro, one can take full size or mini-DV, etc., etc. UGH!

On the computer, software conversion is generally easy. Which is why Cineform, and to a lesser degree, Raylight, are huge. They make everyone play nice together with AMAZING quality. From major motion picture level, to the consumer HDV shooter. And priced accordingly. I'll never go back to other formats.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #25
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Well the lighting will put me over my budget real quick. Ill just have to do the interviews in well light room. As far as the camera goes I am looking between the Panasonic DVX100 and the Canon H30. After reading the website about interviews it looks like im going to have to put consideration into the Mic also. I really never liked purchasing used cameras but if it has low hrs ill consider it. I hate to beat a dead horse but regarding the MiniDV vs. Hard Disk Drive (HDD). This will be edited when I come home so all I am doing here is shooting raw footage. But this is where im concerned. I have a laptop here and an external HD and will have the chance to download stuff many times a week, so should I still look into MiniDV? Do they make a MiniDV to HDD Converter? Can I record onto an external hard drive with the DVX100? Just so I understand the Video community, Weather I'm using DV tape, MiniDV or HDD there is still a way to manage it when I get it post in most professional editing studios? Who uses P2 cards? Are "Shotgun" mics able to come off and be secured to a boom or table stand? Lets say I get a boom mic system and set it up on a stand above the frame line, will that work, does it really have to be held by someone during and interview? As the camera Operator, am I supposed to wear the headphones during the whole interview?

I was looking at non-sponsoring lowballer link removed and they are selling the Pana AG-DVX100B from $999.00 when everyone else is selling it from $1,500.00 Is there something I should know?
Chris

(PS) Well My questions are neverending but hopefully soon I will be able to make a decision. I thank everyone for their support and advice on this subject matter.

Last edited by Christopher Feder; March 28th, 2008 at 12:39 PM.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 12:45 PM   #26
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OKay first of all forget the light kit. Just get a pop up reflector and do the interviews outside.

If I was you I would go with the DVX-100 it is gona look a little better than an hv20 on screen once it's all said and done.

Also sell your panasonic handycam and buy a used sony handycam with nightshot.

This camera will also be helpfull for other cool shots too.

Buy a lapel mic for the interviews and your set to go.

Also forget about all that tape, harddrive, memorycard stuff. What matters is the camera, not what it records on, as long as it has a decent record time. Tape is a tried and true formatt, Plus it's chep.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #27
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oh by the way I wouldn't trust that site. What some sites will do is sell the camera with nothing included, or it's broken, or it's used, or it's B-stock. And then charge you an arm and a leg for neccery accersories.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #28
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Anybody want to buy a Panasonic Handycam?!?!? LOLOLOL, Andrew, thanks for the advice. I’ll look into reflector kits. Now I just need some guidance on sound and anything else I am missing?!?!?!? Is there any special way to catalog media? Should I use the same tape for 3 different things i.e. Interview, reenactment, miscellaneous footage or should I stay with keeping one “job” on that tape? According to the website it comes with the same accessories as it would if purchased at one of the big name companies. I would just get additional accessories elsewhere like B&H Photo etc. What about back up??? As I said earlier I am concerned about maybe losing footage due to it traveling home via X-ray, Heat or what ever else can happen to it in Military Transit. I can only carry so many MiniDV tapes home after filming for a year. Any suggestions??? Whats “B” stock?

Chris
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Old March 28th, 2008, 01:56 PM   #29
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Chris,

First of all, you're mixing up terms, and its VERY confusing.

DV is a format. You can record it onto small tapes (miniDV), big tapes (Full Size DV), memory cards, or hard drives. It's still just DV. And it's fairly universal. But make no mistake. It is not professional in ANY way. Its a far sight better than VHS, but it's NOT a professional format. That doesn't mean it can't look good.

AVCHD is a very different format and for the moment is only used on cheaper consumer based cameras. This may change in a couple of weeks when Panasonic releases their upgrade to the DVX100. We are all waiting to see what they do with it. But it's most certainly not pro. Though it has the potential to be better than both DV and HDV.

Cataloging tapes is a major chore. But tapes are cheap. I'd date and number them, and keep a log (paper and electronic) of what you shot on each one. And try not to mix a bunch of stuff on them. If you shoot 4 interviews on a Friday, then do that, and change tapes.

I wouldn't sweat the x-ray stuff too much. But every couple of weeks, I'd be shipping that stuff to a trusted friend back home who could safeguard it. Tapes are quite durable and it's the method I'd choose for archiving this stuff until you could get home.

Andrew's advice about forgetting the light kit is probably on the money, but it means you'll be shooting everything outside. And if you use reflectors, you'll either need a stand or an assistant to hold a reflector. That will be a hell of a lot easier than dealing with lights and power for the lights. But you'll be pretty limited indoors.

I also agree that the lapel mic is a good idea. But be aware that you'll need to put it on the person well to keep noise to a minimum.

Stay away from the P2 cards. They are VERY expensive, and very few cameras or post houses use them. The cheapest P2 camera is the HVX and it's going to be $3500+ used.

Shotgun mics can come off camera. If you get a boom stand, you will not have to hold it. I'd suggest the shotgun approach over the lapel, just because its a lot more versatile. But you'll have to make the choice.

As for monitoring the mic, no you won't have to wear headphones the whole time, but I would check levels before the interview just to be sure you're getting what you THINK you are.

By the way, I wouldn't trust ANYONE selling a DVX100 for $999. I get bad feelings about that kind of thing.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 02:20 PM   #30
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By the way, I wouldn't trust ANYONE selling a DVX100 for $999. I get bad feelings about that kind of thing.

Same here.
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