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Old May 12th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #1
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Best prosumer camera for shooting internet video?

I am looking to buy a camera to shoot short comedy sketches, primarily for distribution over the internet, i.e. YouTube and Vimeo but also higher quality video podcasts for downloading to video iPods etc.

In terms of 'future proofing' the content, it seems sensible to shoot HDV, but realistically this additional quality will only ever be required if I decide to put a compilation of material on a DVD. I can't ever see myself needing to do a film print for instance.

Here are the key facts:

- I am a relative novice - I have done a week long Sony Z1 course so I have some familiarity with this camera and I have been focussing on Sony models thus far
- I have a reasonably high-end Mac Pro with Final Cut Studio for editing
- I will mainly be shooting using available light rather than having complex lighting set-ups
- I intend to use radio mics (Sennheiser G2s probably) for most of the audio, to give the actors more flexibility and to dispense with the need for a separate sound guy/boom operator

I have been looking at the Sony V1E for the following reasons:

- It's relatively cheap and seems to be stable and highly regarded
- It's capable of 25p and I understand that progressive is better for web video
- Given that I know my way around a Z1 I figure I'll have a big headstart using a V1

However, I have some concerns about the V1's low light performance - I know it is less sensitive than the Z1 and certainly less sensitive than say Z7 or EX1 (the other cameras I have been researching...) but I don't really know how much of a factor this will be. The darkest place I would be looking to shoot would be say a restaurant with normal, i.e. subdued, artificial lighting...

Also I've read that 30p is the ideal framerate for web video, e.g. YouTube, but don't really know how much of a difference shooting 25p will make.

But in all other respects the V1E looks perfect for my needs (and my budget).

If I wanted to have great low light performance AND 30p it looks like I should go for the Sony EX1 but I worry that this is an unnecessary expense (the SxS cards are very expensive compared to tape) and a much more complex camera that I would struggle to get the best results from.

Anyway, thanks in advance to anyone who is able to advise...
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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Could you give us an idea of your budget?
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #3
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Roughly 5K for shooting kit including camera, decent tripod, 2 radio mics, spare batteries, wide angle adaptor and case.

However could stretch an extra 1000-1500 on the camera if getting significant benefit for what I am trying to achieve.

Put it this way, a V1 at ~2400 + VAT (creativevideo.co.uk) is fairly comfortable whereas ~3600 for a Z7 or EX1 is a quite a stretch, particularly when you factor in the cost of the SxS cards for the latter.

But I intend to shoot a lot of material on this camera over the next few months and obviously don't want to end up wishing I'd spent a little more.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 07:18 PM   #4
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With the week long course under your belt, why not just go with the Z-1? Leaves you upside of HD when you want to shoot it and shoots DVCam - and great picture.... and since you are doing it in SD, the sound does not suffer the MPG-2 compression issues as does HD.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 10:39 AM   #5
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It would be hard to go wrong with a Canon XH-A1.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #6
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I just got the sony HVR-Z7E so that i can shoot in HDV/DVCAM or even both to tape and compact flash at the same time.

I am doing similar things to you and it is a more pro camera than the z1 or v1.

A manfrotto tripod and some sennheiser g2 radio mics will add up to about 5k inc vat.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #7
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What kind of web video specifically? Video blog? Wedding reception? Drama?

If low light matters, choose the VX2100. If price matters more, choose the HV30 and operate it in DV mode. It's the best cheap camera right now.

Oh, by the way, HD is nothing but a waste of time for you. Rendering time.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
If price matters more, choose the HV30 and operate it in DV mode. It's the best cheap camera right now.
Oh, by the way, HD is nothing but a waste of time for you. Rendering time.
Vimeo supports HD. Here's a comparison of the same video on Youtube vs. Vimeo (shot w/ HV20 and built-in mic)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSENqlo2ry4
http://www.vimeo.com/672735
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 06:01 AM   #9
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Thanks for the various replies. Very helpful.

Basically I'm shooting a bunch of comedy sketches and short (approx 5 mins) comedy series.

I'm a comedy writer and I've had various things in development, but I'm just getting bored of 'development hell' and want to just get some of my stuff out there, on the basis that the strength of the ideas will carry it rather than high-end production values.

This stuff is never going to have to be broadcast quality but it would be nice if it looked acceptable if I cut it onto a DVD at some point.

Because I will be relying on favours for locations - quite a lot of the material is office-based - I want to be as uninvasive as possible, i.e. not bring in a bunch of big lights, and rely on available light. Having said that, I do have the luxury of choosing locations that are either naturally light or have good artificial lighting. It's not like I'm a wedding videographer who has no control over the choice of location.

Since I made my original post I've been thinking along some very different lines, and it would be very interesting to hear people's thoughts...

A friend has just started shooting a big project for Bebo, following a gap year student around the world, and all the footage is being shot on a Canon HF10. This camera seems to be getting very good reviews and sounds ideal for web and the fact that such a big production is happy to rely on this 'consumer' camera gives me confidence that it will be acceptable for my purposes. I know low-light won't compare to a 3-chip camera but I've seen some indoor footage on vimeo that looks fine.

Anyway, my idea is to get three of these cameras and do multi-camera shoots which should make the shooting and editing easier, particularly given that some of the content might end up being partially improvised by the performers.

I'd use a radio mic for each camera and mix the audio in the edit, giving me as many audio tracks as I have cameras, rather than being limited to two, which I would be with a single higher-end camera.

Any fundamental flaws to this approach...?
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Old May 27th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #10
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The only "flaw" I would see to your idea would be the sheer amount of tape/HD space involved in a 3 camera shoot. If you have the time and storage for whatever you're going to be shooting, multiplied by 3, and the time to edit it together, then there would be no real problem doing this. Especially if you're able to time-code sync. I'm not sure if the HF10's are capable of doing this, or what would be involved, but I'm sure someone could post their thoughts on it.

It is also possible to shoot it as you would a live event, using a laptop with DV switching software. This approach would save space, but would leave you with less flexibility in post-production.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:34 AM   #11
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Space is an interesting consideration. Since the stuff I am shooting is relatively short, say 1 - 3 minutes, and fairly static, my plan would be to wait until I had the 'perfect' take and then discard the rest of the footage.

I have a Mac Pro tower with ~2TB RAID array so I should have enough space I would hope.

I don't think the HF10/100 is clever enough for timecode syncing so I'd have to use some more old-fashioned method of bringing all the clips in sync - clapper board, camera flash, etc. but once in sync I should be able to use the wide shot to identify the best takes then discard the rest.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:55 AM   #12
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That approach is actually not a bad idea - if you go this direction, take a look at the Sony SR11 and their bluetooth wireless mic - might cost a bit more than the Canon HF10, but you've basically described my "low budget" event rig... 3-4 cams and accessories, everything but the tripods fits in an old TRV900 hard case!

As long as you've got "theatrical lighting", you'll probably have enough light to work with, and adding a 10/20W light with diffusion or similar light setup to one of your cams will give you a usable option.

File transfer is fast with AVCHD, and if you stay on top of file management, you should be able to keep disk space under control. All you need for sync is to start the cams simultaneously and let 'em run, or fire off a flash or clap or something to give a sync point - do it a couple times, and it's pretty fast and easy.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Long View Post
I...- I intend to use radio mics (Sennheiser G2s probably) for most of the audio, to give the actors more flexibility and to dispense with the need for a separate sound guy/boom operator
...
Anyway, thanks in advance to anyone who is able to advise...
Just an OT aside, radio mics do not eliminate the need for a sound person. All they eliminate is wire that runs from the microphone over to the sound person.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #14
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Just an OT aside, radio mics do not eliminate the need for a sound person. All they eliminate is wire that runs from the microphone over to the sound person.
At least they'd do away with the boom operator. Lowering budgets, 1 person at a time! :-)
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