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Old November 10th, 2003, 05:00 PM   #1
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Newbie Questions (GL2 vs VX2000 related, etc)

Hello. I am new to filmmaking and digital camcorders, but I want to buy a camcorder and willing to a max of $3000 or so for semi-professional moviemaking. I have a bunch of general newbie type of questions that I can hope someone can answer for me. I am illiterate when it comes to new camcorders, but I really want to make an awesome movie and make it seem highly professional. My last camera was from 1996, an average regular Sony camcorder that had High8 format, but it broke down. Here are my questions:

1. I've heard a few peple telling me to get camcorders that have the FireWire IEEE 1394 and XLR ports. But, doesn't all the camcorders come with them? I know the IEEE 1394 is used for data transfering via the camcorder to the computer, but is XLR used for audio microphones? A friend of mine told me to get a XLR shotgun type of microphone because the internal microphones can pickup and record the humming of the camcorder itself. How does one of these microphones work? Do they just plug into the camcorder itself, and move along with the camcorder when you shoot?

2. I have done some research and found what I wanted and narrowed it down to two cameras. I am only using Sony and Canon because they seem like the best brands to me. I am having a hard time deciding whether to get the Canon GL2 or Sony DCR-VX2000/2100. My question is, which one is better for a high quality movie making? Probably in terms of the image and overall quality, features, performance in lowlights, etc, and newbie-user friendly perhaps. I don't care much for still-image or anything non-film based. I want to know if there are actual articles or comparisons comparing the two. My pros/cons addresses for each camera:

GL2: I want the frame movie mode feature. I want that movie look, but without spending too much to get a DVX100 (24P). I also heard the GL2 provides better optics.

VX2000/2100: Incredible low-light performance. Sony's reliability is unmatched, I think.

I want to know if GL2's frame mode does make a difference or not. The low-light performance and overall reliability of the VX2000 makes me also want to get that, but the features and frame movie mode is the thing that wants me to get GL2.
A friend of mine has told me not to get a camera because of one specific feature, but in terms of personal preference and personal likes. I will go to a camera store outlet next week to test one out myself.

3. I went to http://members.macconnect.com/users/b/ben/widescreen/index.html where they showed comparisons of digital 16:9 shooting and regular cropping. I don't have enough money to buy a true 16:9 adapter, but I want to mimic the widescreen as close as possible. On this website, it says digital 16:9 will give you a tiny bit better in the sharpness and image quality, but also when shown on TV, images can look tall, stretched out, and funny. So do you think my best bet is to just shoot in regular 4:3 and use a program to crop the edges when in editing later on?

4. I am an illiterate when it comes to hard drives on computers. I need more storage on my computer for movie-making. I am planning to format this movie into DVD or high quality DV. I will buy another 120GB HD and plan to just add it on. My question is, how do you do it? One friend told me you just pop it in and the comp auto detects two HD, another says you have to do some RAID configurations for two hard drives. I just need an extra drive on my comp, so instead of like C:\ there would be G:\ or H:\ designed especially for storage/movie-making of that sort.

I just don't know what to get and if you can all help me by sharing your comparisons/experiences. (Sorry for the length of my questions).
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Old November 10th, 2003, 05:13 PM   #2
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Spend some more time looking in old posts on this site. It will help you a bunch.

Short story -- Both cams are very good at what they do, but neither comes stock with XLR. There are adapters to give you XLR with either system (Beachtek, Canon, etc). Whichever system you get you should be quite happy.

Best suggestions -- Try before you buy. It may be wise to get cam that your friends have (nearby technical help & colleagues to shoot with).

Most people suggest doing the deinterlacing in your NLE as this improves resolution. Further 16:9 electronic does not enhance resolution. It is better to use anamorphic adapter to produce 16:9.

If you truly want to go to film, you may want to consider a PAL camera. However, plenty of people have no trouble getting NTSC copied to film. Be aware that the costs of going telecine are very high.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 05:34 PM   #3
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Re: Newbie Questions (GL2 vs VX2000 related, etc)

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho : I've heard a few peple telling me to get camcorders that have the FireWire IEEE 1394 and XLR ports. But, doesn't all the camcorders come with them?

1394 will be standard on all DV cameras, but not XLR mike inputs. Neither the VX-2000 or GL-2 have them. The PD-150 has them, but it's a more expensive camera.

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho : I am having a hard time deciding whether to get the Canon GL2 or Sony DCR-VX2000/2100. My question is, which one is better

Hmm... which kind of ice cream is better, chocolate or strawberry? ;-) Seriously, you will find plenty of people that are happy with both of your choices. You really can't go too wrong either way....

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho : GL2: I want the frame movie mode feature.

You can accomplish something pretty similar with any camera by using a de-interlacing program or plug-in for your editing software. This thread is one of many to cover that topic.

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho : I also heard the GL2 provides better optics.

I'm sure some would disagree with this. It is true that the GL-2 has a longer zoom lens though (20x vs 12x).

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho : I don't have enough money to buy a true 16:9 adapter, but I want to mimic the widescreen as close as possible.

You might want to add the Sony PDX-10 to your short list as well in that case. It's about the same price but will give you true 16:9 without any of the tradeoffs that you mention. As a bonus you also get excellent audio with XLR inputs and a high res black and white viewfinder. Of course it has a downside as well, but as you're learning, you will always have to make some tradeoffs when camera shopping. Read some of the discussions here which compare the VX-2000, GL-2 and PDX-10.

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho : but also when shown on TV, images can look tall, stretched out, and funny.

This isn't a "problem", but it's simply the way that standard 4:3 TV's display unprocessed widescreen footage. You will need to letterbox true 16:9 (anamorphic) video to properly display it on a 4:3 screen.

<<<-- Originally posted by David Ho :I just don't know what to get and if you can all help me by sharing your comparisons/experiences.

Relax, we were all beginners at one time or another. Hang around here for a little while and you'll find lots of helpful people. Spend a little while reading all the old posts in the forums dedicated to the cameras you're considering. It will be really helpful if you can get a chance to play with the different models in a photo store as you indicate.

But it sounds like you have a lot to learn, so take your time so you can make an intelligent choice. Congratulations, you're about to embark on an adventure!
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Old November 10th, 2003, 05:59 PM   #4
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I will most likely get the GL2 or VX2000. They are my primary choices which I have done a good amount of research on. But it comes down to the pros/cons that distinguishes me between which one to get. I just don't know. But, I will undoubtedly pick one based on personal preference, most likely when I actually hold the camera, test it out, and compare them myself. Are there actually any articles debating the two?
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Old November 10th, 2003, 06:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
3. I went to http://members.macconnect.com/users/b/ben/widescreen/index.html where they showed comparisons of digital 16:9 shooting and regular cropping. I don't have enough money to buy a true 16:9 adapter, but I want to mimic the widescreen as close as possible. On this website, it says digital 16:9 will give you a tiny bit better in the sharpness and image quality, but also when shown on TV, images can look tall, stretched out, and funny. So do you think my best bet is to just shoot in regular 4:3 and use a program to crop the edges when in editing later on?
Ben Syverson's site is pretty good about the best way to do 16:9. With the Sony VX2000, do not use its 16:9 and just change the footage to 16:9 in post. See adam wilt's DV FAQ regarding 16:9 about this and look at the widescreen pictures at http://babelfish.altavista.com/babel...0208_3CCD.html (at the bottom). That site (http://babelfish.altavista.com/babel....html&lp=ja_en) has image comparisons between different camcorders. The picture differences between the GL2 and the VX2000 are kind of subtle- IMO they don't make too much of a difference except for the difference in low light shooting. The differences I notice are that the GL2 has a bit more false colors on the black and white test chart, its colors are a little bit different, and it messes up on the picture of grass (looks unsharp). Depending on what kind of shooting you do the low light thing may not be an issue.

With the Canon GL2, ben syverson's site indicates you should consider shooting using the camera's 16:9 (although he didn't say if certain computer algorithms like Genuine Fractals or a professional ARC could do a better job). Only shoot in that mode if you plan to output to a format that supports 16:9 (HDTV, film, etc.).

There are some simple things that will REALLY improve the quality of your footage so you may not want to spend so much on your camera if it means sacrificing those. Tripod, some way of getting good sound (boom mic is good for most situations), and lighting. Those things (steady camerawork, good sound, and lighting) definitely have a huge impact on the technical side of your production. Content is still king though :)
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Old November 10th, 2003, 07:28 PM   #6
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On the site, is DM-XV2 aka GL2? I think that would be the japanese model name for it. Do you know of any frame-mode comparisons or such? I really want to see GL2's frame movie mode in action. The low lighting isn't TOO much of a difference. But probably the VX2100 will make it a superb difference among the low-light imaging. It all comes down to frame movie mode vs low-light performance. I am leaning toward the GL2 because the low-lighting doesn't seem to be TOO much of a difference, but I still want the frame mode. But, since VX2100 is about to come out which increases the low-lighting even further, that might change my opinion about the Sony VX2000/2100.

Does anyone have an answer to my question #4 about the hard drive issue? I don't know what to do about that.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 07:34 PM   #7
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makiing 16:9 footage from 4:3 on the VX-2000

<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Chan : With the Sony VX2000, do not use its 16:9 and just change the footage to 16:9 in post. -->>>

I agree this works best on the VX-2000. The builtin 16:9 seems to further mangle the image with DV compression. Funny, as I write this I'm waiting for VX-2000 footage to render as 16:9....I'm using it with a 16:9 sequence shot on the PDX-10.

Here's an easy way to do this using Final Cut Pro: create a 16:9 anamorphic sequence, then drop your 4:3 clip into it. Open the clip and make sure you're set to view the image+wireframe, then just drag the wireframe larger until it fills the entire width of the 16x9 frame. Now drag up or down to frame as desired.

I'm sure there's something comparable using PC software as well...
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Old November 10th, 2003, 07:57 PM   #8
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On that earlier site, does the DM-XV2 = GL2?
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Old November 10th, 2003, 11:40 PM   #9
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I think so. I remember checking the Canon website. It says they're the same.

Quote:
4. I am an illiterate when it comes to hard drives on computers. I need more storage on my computer for movie-making. I am planning to format this movie into DVD or high quality DV. I will buy another 120GB HD and plan to just add it on. My question is, how do you do it? One friend told me you just pop it in and the comp auto detects two HD, another says you have to do some RAID configurations for two hard drives. I just need an extra drive on my comp, so instead of like C:\ there would be G:\ or H:\ designed especially for storage/movie-making of that sort.
Unfortunately I don't know of any good PC tutorials for installing a hard drive, but it isn't too hard. Make sure you take precautions against electrostatic discharge (ground yourself to metal parts of the case). And don't apply force that can break parts off. Other than that I think it's really hard to damage your computer.

Don't bother with RAID. If you just pop in the hard drive your computer will automatically detect it. Newer computers should have no problems, some older computers (like maybe 5 years old?) may have problems. In that case you'd have to check the manual or online resources.

The hardest part for me (instaling a 120GB Western Digital) was getting the IDE cable to reach my hard drive since the cable wasn't too hard and it's a tight fit inside my computer. My current system is win98 / celeron733.

2- The VX2100 will be expensive for a while. I don't think it's worth waiting for.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 02:25 AM   #10
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Now that I have seen comparisons in the image quality, are there comparisons in the audio quality? All I know is that the GL2's onboard mike is omnidirectional, which can be bad. Anyone know what VX2000's like?
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Old November 11th, 2003, 06:52 AM   #11
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Well you probably shouldn't be using the on-board mic except for maybe ambience recording. I remember PC Magazine or something like that did a review and they liked the GL2 mic. Camcorder mics tend to suck a lot. A boom-mounted mic is a lot more versatile and will pick up better sound.

dv.com has a great comparison between the two in terms of audio quality (mic input). Register and read the Jay Rose article on DV cameras/sound.

There's also this thread in the dv.com audio forum http://www.dv.com/forums/showReplies...&tid=118600016
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Old November 11th, 2003, 05:19 PM   #12
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I was thinking of doing that, buying a mike that attaches to the camera. Any suggestions for the GL2/VX2000? And how much do you think they would cost?
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Old November 11th, 2003, 07:43 PM   #13
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"I want to buy a camcorder and willing to a max of $3000 or so for semi-professional moviemaking."

hummmmmmmm! either camera will do it ... try em both out as they do have different looks - you might prefer one over the other .. i'd wait to look at the 2100 before buying 2000..
i like frame mode. it looks good on TV however it is softer then interlace ( 25-30% less resolution) and projects little SOFT with digital projectors compared to interlace mode.

"My question is, which one is better for a high quality movie making?"

IMO neither camera will give you HIGH QUALITY movies ..
good quality movies YES . they will NOT look like film or shoulder size video camera's ..

IMO if you live in NTSC land then buy a NTSC camera. especially if you are "new" to "filmmaking" - you want the least amount of technical problems ...

IMO the last choice when choosing where to mount/place a mic is on the camera ...
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Old November 11th, 2003, 08:11 PM   #14
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I am going to probably, if I buy the GL2, use frame movie mode, recording it in 4:3, then just using a program to transfer it to widescreen/or cropping it using the program. Can you use the digital 16:9 on the camcorder and frame movie mode together, not like I will use the 16:9 on the camcorders. From what I've heard, I believe its best just to record it in normal 4:3, then just make it widescreen in post productions.
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Old November 12th, 2003, 07:12 PM   #15
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As for the computer issue, my editor uses 2 large hard drives. One for editing programs, one for the video. We asked a kid at Circuit City and he gave us that tip. Worked great. Go to a couple of computer stores and tell them what you want to do.

As for the camera, I have the VX and I am thrilled with it. Canons are great too, but I decided on the VX and have no regrets.

Now as for frame mode, widescrean, and such, I really don't know how much you should worry about that. I don't know what your long term goals are, but the image is great quality the way it is. I get the impression that you are looking to get "the film look." (nothing wrong with that) you may be better off with a PAL unit or one of the new Panasonics. (As a side note, I recenty started shooting film, the look is very different, very good. BUT expensive.) We are very lucky, we live in a time where we can find any tool to help us get the job done.

As for widescreen, get the lens if you need it. A cropped picture is a cropped picture. It's a lot of money though. Make sure you really need it. Think of the kind of films you will be shooting.

For mics, you are going to need a good shotgun. I have the Azden. It's good but there are better. You will also need wireless mics. Audio is very important. Get good quality.

Books: The Digital Video handbook, the 5 Cs of Cinematography, Screenwriting by Syd Field. Great Place to start. (Even if you don't want to get into screen writing, if some one wants you to get involved with a film, you need to know if you are getting ropeed into a dog)

Good luck and my best wishes for you and the new venture. You have come to the right place. Keep reading the board and you will learn tons.

Joe
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