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Old May 24th, 2004, 02:08 PM   #1
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Great site for documentarians and others

http://alanbarker.com/

Thanks to my good friend and Director of Photography, Peter Smokler, for pointing me to Alan Barker's very interesting site, which should be must reading for all would-be documentary shooters, and will be of great interest to just about everyone with a camera.

Mr. Barker is a highly regarded sound recordist who also does a great deal of shooting, and has many excellent observations on the PD150, and a few interesting comments about the DVX100, as well. As you might expect, he also includes many excellent tips for sound recording.

Be sure to read Mr. Barker's resume, as it is quite interesting. And, he offers some very strong opinions that should prompt some lively discussions.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old May 24th, 2004, 05:00 PM   #2
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Some of what he says about the DVX100A is a little up to personal taste or experience, however, he is generally fair in his statements.

I think most people on this board who cover live events would agree with the statement that Sony's PD line is somewhat more geared for that sort of thing than the DVX.

Thanks for the link Wayne!
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Old May 25th, 2004, 12:27 AM   #3
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Mr. Barker's site offers many good tips and techniques. Thanks very much for passing it along to us.

Regarding his remarks on the DVX100/A, I'm inclined to agree with most of them, as an owner of one myself. In my opinion it's very much a camera designed for dramatic work, or at least more controlled shooting environments than many documentarians might routinely encounter. You really need to tweak the camera a bit before pressing the button. His white balance remarks, in particular, are spot-on. I'm sure that dedication and thoughtful process could partially overcome the hurdles. But if I were tasked with shooting something completely ad hoc I'd be much more inclined to grab my GL2 or XL1S for the job. I know I could lean more heavily on at least some of their auto functions to pull my trailer out of the ditch if need be.

Thanks again.
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Old May 25th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #4
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Addendum

No sooner did I post the note, above, than I read this brief article on Abel Cine's site. It's about a fellow who used a DVX100 and an SDX900 to shoot some documentaries for National Geographic in some pretty rugged environments. Of course, Abel is a big Panasonic dealer so their enthusiasm is to be understood. Even so, however, the DVX and its big brother can clearly be used effectively for doc work, eh?
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Old May 25th, 2004, 02:14 AM   #5
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I brought the link to Alan's site to our PD170 forum some months ago; thanks to Mike, it now resides in a locked thread at the top. Didn't think to pass it on to the rest of the dvinfo world! Good site.
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Old May 25th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #6
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Thanks for the site Wayne... I can definitely apply it to my VX2000. Got a question though (I will start a new thread) on what ISO ratings are!
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Old May 25th, 2004, 03:40 PM   #7
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I don't quite understand the comments about it taking longer to shoot something with the DVX100a because it has some additonal adjustments other 1/3" chip camcorders don't. So do fully professional cameras. You don't call up your deep menus on a DSR500 and start tweaking the camera before every shot. You decide on a look you want in advance, set it up and save the file setting or settings you want to work with. If you decide to change because, say, you're going into a situation that is very different and maybe you've got the camera adjusted too soft and warm, you just go in the menu and call up one of your other file settings. In most cases, you use the same look throughout the project; at least most people do.

I haven't had the opportunity to personally use the DVX100 or 100a, but know people who do, and they don't have any difficulties in setup time. It could be that someone new to the craft and the camera may fumble around a bit till he gets accustomed to it. I was that way when I first got involved with the 1/3" chip cameras, and, admittedly, it does take me a bit longer to set up a shot than it does with a professional camera. Overall, I'd say it takes me a second or two longer to focus and set exposure with a DSR250than it does with the DSR500. Unless the DVX100 has those funky little wheel controls like a TRV900, then I can't see why it would take longer for any given shot. And even then, only a few seconds at most. I have read that the DVX100a does not have quite the dynamic latitude of the Sony equivalent, so if you're dealing with a high contrast situation, you may have to take the time to flatten the light a little, but that's simply learning to work within the limitations of the equipment. If you've been shooting film and switch to even a high end video camera, you have to do the same thing, but once you learn that, your setup time for most any given shot isn't going to be that much longer than if you were shooting film.
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