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Old January 4th, 2009, 10:52 PM   #31
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Hi Jeff;

I feel a bit sheepish in admitting that I was sucked along by a bait and switch of sorts. It turns out that all they were selling was a camera body with no AC adapter, no battery, no wireless remote, etc. etc. That little fact was not evident in the web advertising that I saw. Fortunately, I found this out before the order was shipped and was able to cancel. The folks at Sonic said that Canon sells the cameras this way, which I doubted at first but since have found other sellers doing the same thing. Anyway, I'm in the middle now of regrouping and searching with a more enlightened view. The $299 HV30 is probably still a great deal, but I obviously need more than the body and did not want to piece it together from hither and yon.

Joy, Joy!

Wayne
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Old January 5th, 2009, 12:18 AM   #32
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Hi Wayne,

That's good news you were able to cancel your order with those guys. And just to reiterate, Canon does sell all their parts along with the camera!

I know how frustrating it was researching/choosing/buying a camera. At the time (almost three years ago) there were so many great and interesting choices, but wanted one that fit within our overall budget. After getting in touch with Brian, owner of Zotz Digital (a DVinfo sponsor), I ordered equipment from him. Not only did he give me a fair price, he gave info and advice, and excellent customer service. Sorry to stray off topic, but I'm glad you saw the ruse, and saw behind the curtain!

The HV30 is still a great little camera if you still decide to get it.

Best,
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Old January 5th, 2009, 12:48 AM   #33
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Looks like you figured this out in the nick of time. I hope they haven't got your $$$ - or if they have, I hope you get it all back.

By the way, at one point you mentioned that you were planning to use a directional mic - I was just wondering what you had in mind. Sound character will probably be quite different compared to a lav and cutting back and forth might not yield the desired result.

You might want to "drop in" on the audio section of the forum to get comments from more sound guys. I record mostly more or less "classical" music so don't have a lot of hands on interview experience, but different types of microphones are quite different in how they "hear" the room.

I don't have any experience with the HV30, but a lot of folks here recommend it quite highly. I downloaded the user guide tonight and looked at it and I think it has enough manual control capabiliy to enable you to avoid common "handycam" issues with auto focus, white balance, etc.

Something else also occurred to me re your comment abut watching the camera display and zooming in for tighter shots - given the high resolution of the camera and the lower resolution of most delivery media, if you're only doing moderate zooms, you might be better off leaving the camera wide and doing some zooming and panning in your video editing package to add some sense of motion to an otherwise fairly static setting. This would also avoid problems with auto exposure compensating for the wider/narrower field of view and shifting the exposure of your subject.

And it would let you concentrate on your subject and mostly ignore the camera which I think would improve the raport and really enhance your result.

Just a bunch of ideas. Hope some are helpful.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 01:01 AM   #34
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Wayne -

Don't feel bad, I'm pretty street smart, and I tried to buy from a couple of these places too <wink>! I had some of these scam sellers try to say they were just selling the "shell" without electronics at the "special" price... un-be-freak-in-lieve-a-BULL! RUN, don't walk...

Glad you were able to cancel, but keep an eye on your CC if they have that info - I've seen postings indicating that SOME of those outfits are a lot more dishonest than others.

As already noted, DVinfo has SPONSORS, and they have been vetted, so you aren't doing the "daredevil" act with your purchase... myself I do eBay, because secondhand gear is cheaper most of the time, it too is an adventure if you're not careful!

DVinfo has a classified board as well, and that's a good resource if you've been a member long enough to have access - since this is a "real names only" community, you can check out who you're dealing with, and there are often some incredibly good deals because of the professional camera addicts here!

If lightly used gear is an option, it might save you some $$...
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Old January 5th, 2009, 02:36 AM   #35
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Thanks guys for the comments on the HV30. I did labor with that decision for some time, but was ultimately swayed by the 24p capture mode and the more edit friendly format.
That may or may not be important, but it seemed useful to me from what I've read. The problem of course is that reading isn't like doing, and I am a babe in the woods. I'm still keen on the HV30, even after the NY experience, and believe that two cameras would reduce the strain and worry about a bad shot here and there. I'd have to be pretty inept to keep both cameras screwed up all the time. Another part of my logic was that I would have two completely independent audio tracks to work with. Mitchell asked earlier what editing system I'll use. I have imovie, Final Cut Pro HD, Sound Studio and a couple other misc. applications for video. The camera comes with some software, but I doubt that it will be very potent.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne G. Sayles View Post
Mitchell;

Thank you for the great equipment list. I noted immediately that you chose a Canon HV 20 instead of one of the AVCHD cameras that are selling for the same price or less today. That feeds directly into my comments earlier to Shaun about format uncertainties in my camera choice. Was there a particular reason that you avoided the AVCHD cameras?

Jim:

I understand and agree with the aesthetic considerations that you bring up. I hadn't thought about setting up my still camera too, but that's a great idea. I'll be using a lot of BW photo stills from the collections of these subjects, but I think they would provide the necessary nostalgia and the HD video would create a distinct then and now separation. Remember that these guys don't look the same today as they did in 1944, so a contrast of BW and HD color would be very effective I think. Thanks for the encouragement vis-a-vis quality on a shoestring budget. I am beginning to sense the importance of audio that several here have correctly pointed out.
IMHO, as others have said, sound is going to be the most important story element here with pictures supporting it. If you have to compromise because of budget, sacrifice video before you sacrifice audio quality. It is most important for us, the audience, to hear your subject's stories in their words and inflection. That's where most of the emotion will come through. As a case in point, review Ken Burns' "The Civil War" series - and his others as well - where most of the visuals were actually still photos.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne G. Sayles View Post
Hi Jeff;

I feel a bit sheepish in admitting that I was sucked along by a bait and switch of sorts. It turns out that all they were selling was a camera body with no AC adapter, no battery, no wireless remote, etc. etc. That little fact was not evident in the web advertising that I saw. Fortunately, I found this out before the order was shipped and was able to cancel. The folks at Sonic said that Canon sells the cameras this way, which I doubted at first but since have found other sellers doing the same thing. Anyway, I'm in the middle now of regrouping and searching with a more enlightened view. The $299 HV30 is probably still a great deal, but I obviously need more than the body and did not want to piece it together from hither and yon.

Joy, Joy!

Wayne
Just FYI - most camera manuals are available online in PDF form at the manfacturer's web site and most of them have a "What's in the box" page either in the product description or in the manual that tells you exactly what the manufacturer packs with the camera body. Here's a link to Canon's own site info on what comes stock in the box from the factory: Consumer Camcorders - High Definition Camcorders - DVD Camcorders - Single Chip CCD Digital Camcorders - Digital Camcorder - HV30- Canon USA Consumer Products

I might suggest it's rare you'll get a better legit deal than you'll find at B&H Photo, one of the DV Info sponsors.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Coleman View Post
Wayne,

Keep us posted about the deliver your new cameras. I am very interested to see if what they promised in terms of price and product turn out to be real. Their review on Store Ratings and Reviews by Real People - Trusted Online Shopping is terrible.
Lloyd, I can't thank you enough for the link to Store Ratings and Reviews. I may be new to this but I now know how to spot lipstick on a pig.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 02:46 PM   #39
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Just a quick update, I bought a single HV30 including an external AC and 12volt Auto type battery charger. No glitches at all and it arrived with everything that Canon includes with the package. Thanks for the warnings about bait and switch sellers. I am now going to do some test runs and if all goes as expected I'll buy another HV30 for the interview setup. My hope is to connect a Lav mike to one camera and a shotgun to the other, with both running independently and concurrently. That should eliminate the need for a mike adapter/mixer I believe. I am anticipating that I can choose the best of the two audios in edit. I have no idea how difficult it will be to synchronize these in editing, but I presume it is something that one can pick up with practice. Interviewer (me) will not be on camera for most shots, but I might set up a few wide shots or over the interviewee shoulder clips. Interviews will be merged into B roll and stills with professional narration. I'll check back in when I have some vague idea what I'm doing here :-)

Regards,

Wayne
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Old February 20th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #40
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OK. Moving forward. The Canon HV 30 was easy to learn and set up. I bought two units, identical, to do the interviews. One set up on a tripod slightly left of the interviewer/interviewee view line for a wide shot. The other is set up on a tripod at about 30 degrees right of the view line and maintains a fairly tight shot. That way, I figure that I will have redundancy of both video and audio and will be less occupied by camera issues. Either camera can be zoomed by the interviewer with a single remote and there's no need to move out of position. Practice interviews with my wife taught me that no matter what you tell the subject, they will follow you with their eyes if you move around much. For lighting, I am using a key of 85w 6400K with translucent umbrella and a fill of 26w 6500K with the same type umbrella and a back light of 26w 6500K in a simple metal reflector. The whole lighting arrangement cost me about $75 and seems to work, though I wouldn't call it professional quality. If I'm careful with it, I figure it will get me through the dozen or so interviews that I'm planning. My biggest problem was learning to eliminate the reflection from my wife's eyeglasses. I did notice the camera noise right away and also a 60 cycle hum. I got rid of the hum by unplugging the AC adapter and using the battery mode. I got rid of the motor noise by using outboard mikes. I'm using an ATR lavalier mike with one camera and a ATR 25 shotgun mike with the other camera. The shotgun is detached from the camera and mounted forward of the camera about two feet. So far, it seems like all is well from a technical point of view and my budget is still intact. I guess I've got about $1400 total in the setup. I downloaded about 35 gb of clips into my Mac and did some simple cropping. That all went well. So, now a bit more practice and I'm ready to start capturing some of the interviews. Thanks for all the help above, it did make a difference.

Best,

Wayne
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Old February 20th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #41
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Wayne: if I'm reading this right, your camera positioning is actually breaking one of the cardinal rules of video. It sounds like you're "breaking the axis". If I'm reading correctly, you have one camera to the left of an imaginary line running through the head of the interviewee and one on the right side of said line. When you cut back and forth between them, your interviewee will "flip" screen direction: in one clip he/she will be facing left and the other will be facing right. Get both cameras on one side of the line of axis.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:48 PM   #42
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Shaun;

You did read it right and yes, I probably did break one of the cardinal rules. Fortunately, I'm still connected here to people who care enough to bail me out of an ignorant situation. I'll reset both cameras to one side of the axis. I assume that the lighting stays the same? Should I set up the cameras on the Key light side or does it not matter? Any other comments are much appreciated.

Thanks so much for your help.

Wayne
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Old February 20th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #43
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Is it your intention to show the interviewer? As in an 'over the shoulder' - reverse setup for Q&A?

If you are simply cutting between a wide and tight shot, then absolutely the subject should stay on the same side of the frame, and his eyeline should remain constant - the cut should be seemless from wide to tight and back.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #44
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One of the "tricks" of lighting an interview is keying the side of the face AWAY from the camera to slim the faces of those of us who have ENJOYED our meals perhaps a little TOO much...

There is no right or wrong but it's nice to know what you can do to battle less than ideal visuals.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #45
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No, the interviewer (me) will not be shown during the interview as the interview is really intended to preserve an archive of clips that will be used in more than one project. It's not so much a coherent story from or about any one person, but a series of remembrances about a time and place that will be stitched together as part of broader narratives. I'll do two or three hours of taping and will probably extract only a few minutes from any one of the subjects. I wrote a biography about one of the pilots that was killed in action while serving with these gentlemen in 1944. Some of their remembrances will feed into a documentary about him. Others will be used as web videos on a memorial site to the Group that they flew in. Others will find their way into similar projects and sadly into obits as well.

If I understand correctly, the two cameras should be on the side of the axis opposite the key light -- in other words to my left as I face the subject because the key is on the right. The subject should look at me rather than at the camera(s). Richard, I don't understand your comment that "eyeline should remain constant". It seemed to me that the two cameras should be separated by perhaps 30 degrees, but to maintain a constant eyeline the cameras would have to be lined up with each other wouldn't they?
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