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Old March 2nd, 2009, 04:45 PM   #1621
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Originally Posted by Mark Signor View Post
Thank you for reassuring my thoughts! Hv30 with some goodies it is!
You realize this is a tape based camera, right? And that you'll be spending an hour at least importing for every hour you spend shooting, right? This gets old fast.

And don't buy the "canons are great because so many people recommend them." These cameras are not particularly better than comparable cameras from other manufacturers. They just have a lot of people advocating them that, in my experience, aren't that familiar with other cameras. This line suffers from being difficult to get manual control over. The main purpose that they developed a cult like following is that they shoot a pseudo 24p. Great if you want to make a film and you like the impact of 24p photography-- but a lot of other features on other cameras are sacrificed by these people to get the 24p holy grail. Just because a cult is large, doesn't mean their leader is god.

I strongly recommend you get a camera that shoots to flash, preferably SDHC cards. This is much more convenient for editing than any other format, and more robust than HDs (though hard disks may not be a problem for you, you implied action photography.)

Also, seriously consider looking at the new cameras announced in the last couple of months-- it may be worth waiting a month or two for the spring cameras.

Figure out your priorities-- 24p? Full Manual Control? 1080p or 720p? Image Stabilization? and then pick the camera. You're not likely to get a bad camera, but by focusing on these features you'll get the one that works best for you.

Generally they all put out great video quality, but the feature set, and controllability are very different.

For instance, two cameras you might consider: the Xacti HD2000 which shoots 1080p to SDHC cards in MP4 format which is really easy to edit (compared to AVCHD) ... or the Panasonic Lumix G1 HD which has been announced but isn't shipping yet. The latter looks like it will be the premier camera for capturing filmlike footage in your budget. The former is the most portable, quality camera out there, and is fairly cheap leaving you a lot of money for other things.

Neither of those may be appropriate for you, but until you build the list of features you need you won't know.

Don't take this message personally-- main point is for everyone whose not sure what camera to buy-- this methodology works. There is no "Best" camera-- figure out your shooting style and the needs of what you're capturing, and go from there.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 04:51 PM   #1622
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Originally Posted by Liza With View Post
You really shouldn't be recommending that new people adopt tape. An hour of footage takes an hour to import from tape, while a camera that records to hard drive or flash, can import that footage in a couple of seconds. This is a major pain.
You've named the one and only advantage of a non-tape cam. And note that tapeless file transfer is about 1/3 real time, so rather than "a couple of seconds" it's about 20 minutes. For many of us, that slight advantage isn't worth the other hassles that often accompany other formats.

Tape is simply more reliable and easier to work with in nearly every case. If you're a tape-phobe, that's fine, but don't denigrate others for being able to deal with it.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:09 PM   #1623
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Originally Posted by Liza Witz View Post
Just because a cult is large, doesn't mean their leader is god.
On the strength of this shaft of wisdom I'm going to check out :

"the Xacti HD2000 which shoots 1080p to SDHC cards in MP4 format which is really easy to edit (compared to AVCHD) ... or the Panasonic Lumix G1 HD which has been announced but isn't shipping yet."
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:23 PM   #1624
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Is tape now a four letter word? How could I not have noticed? I must be getting senile!

Tape, Flash, HDD, whatever - each has it's advantages - and disadvantages.

Do you want to keep your flash/SD cards forever as your archive? Pretty expensive compared to tape even at current low prices for memory. If not, do you want to deal with a more complex process to manage the archive?

How inportant is capture time vs some of the other trade-offs?

Etc etc etc etc
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:28 PM   #1625
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You've named the one and only advantage of a non-tape cam. And note that tapeless file transfer is about 1/3 real time, so rather than "a couple of seconds" it's about 20 minutes.
Really? 20MBps video is about 9GB for 60 minutes, and at 30MB/s will transfer in about 5 minutes. And that's assuming you're using USB. It is too bad they don't have FW800 flash adapters, though.

Quote:
Tape is simply more reliable and easier to work with in nearly every case.
Hey, maybe these days tape is reliable. But its not "more reliable". Its absolutely not easier to work with, as a general statement. Its not random access, thus working with it is essentially a PITA. I figure most people either immediately move their footage onto a format that is random access (eliminating the hassle of tape) or they are constantly inserting tapes and winding to get the footage they need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
On the strength of this shaft of wisdom I'm going to check out :
"the Xacti HD2000 which shoots 1080p to SDHC cards in MP4 format which is really easy to edit (compared to AVCHD) ... or the Panasonic Lumix G1 HD which has been announced but isn't shipping yet."
Neither of which are cult cameras, obviously. Of course, I never said I haven't recommended a camera.

But I think people would be better helped by getting them to focus on what features are relevant to them.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:35 PM   #1626
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Tape, Flash, HDD, whatever - each has it's advantages - and disadvantages.
Some have more advantages than others, while others the converse is true! The main point, though, is to talk about these tradeoffs and the features of various cameras.

Quote:
Do you want to keep your flash/SD cards forever as your archive? Pretty expensive compared to tape even at current low prices for memory. If not, do you want to deal with a more complex process to manage the archive?
I suspect that if one wanted to keep cards as an archive format the price would be about the same as tape of archival quality. And that's this year. Next year, it will be half the price. But I don't, I copy the footage to a drive, and I back up the drive regularly. I keep three copies- the online one and two backups. The backups are physically disconnected and thus the only situation that would wipe out all three copies would be a fire. Offsite storage can be done for tapes and harddrives about as easily. (keep a backup locally and a backup offsite and then swap them once a week or whatever frequency you take tapes offsite.)

Quote:
How inportant is capture time vs some of the other trade-offs?
The thing is, there aren't really any tradeoffs for giving up tape. What exactly do you give up?
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:18 AM   #1627
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I think there are a lot of tradeoffs. I really think it's much easier to just keep the tapes than to make numerous back-ups to hard disk - which by the way is hardly an archival medium, particularly when stored on a shelf. Disk drives are designed to spin, not sit on shelves.

I think, to be more precise, that memory based acquisition is a good thing, but I also think that we need much easier to use and much more sophisticated and standardized/automated ways of dealing with capture and long term archive and that we need products in this space that are cost effective for the average videographer.

If I thought those products and processes were here today, I would probably never use another tape for acquisition (at least after I replace my current cameras!), although I really do think that other types of tape such as LTO do have a place in a well architected archival solution.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:43 AM   #1628
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Originally Posted by Liza With View Post
The thing is, there aren't really any trade offs for giving up tape. What exactly do you give up?
Really? You haven't spent much time reading the AVCHD forums, or the editing forums, where nearly everyone crying about being unable to edit/capture/archive/view/share their footage is using tapeless. What else do you give up, besides nearly universal functionality? Try batch capturing many small clips from an AVCHD cam with large files, of which you only need a small part. You can't without re-rendering.

You also give up, as Jim pointed out, a cheap, nearly permanent and nearly indestructible archive and backup system.

It's fine if you like your workflow, and no one will talk you out of it. But you really should know a little about what you're talking about before you make sweeping statements. The thing is, if you'd just said something sensible like "You should consider going tapeless because there are some advantages over tape," no one here would be disagreeing with you. But to come in after being a member here for five minutes and chide people for recommending a very good cam to a newcomer is just silly and irresponsible.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 02:39 AM   #1629
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The thing is, there aren't really any tradeoffs for giving up tape. What exactly do you give up?
Hey Liza - I edit all week, Monday to Friday. On Saturday I go out and shoot a wedding all day long. I come home with maybe 5 one-hour Mini DV tapes and know what? I love the fact that it takes me 5 hours to feed them into the computer - it gives me a breather, a chance to read the Sunday paper.

And when done the tapes all sit up there on the shelf as a cheap, compact, reliable archive.

I'm pretty sure my next camera won't be tape fed simply because they're fading away pretty fast and because computers are arriving with enough grunt to handle AVCHD.

The one issue which is proving most contentious is the quality versus
editablity of AVCHD. I have already had one club member with editing problems and of course asking 'why did you not check with me/anyone else first' is not helpful except to make him feel bad.

This is shameful on the manufacturers' part in my view. AVCHD was
introduced at the end of 2007 on a lot of diddy picnic-cams and must
have been so easy to sell. I can hear the salesman: 'No tapes, no noise, no moving parts, no crinkle, no dropouts, no hassle', that sort of thing. You want to edit the footage? Whoooh!

And till the 151 arrived the 'better encoding quality of MPEG4' was a
purely theoretical thing. If you couldn't effectively edit it, you might just as well be shooting VHS. And diddy-cams never had front ends capable of pushing AVCHD - they simply wanted to get away from
tape. Poor public.

A swimmer friend of mine has just had her first baby and what
camcorder should she buy? I told her straight - an HC9 or an HV30.
Tape driven, and her old Windows XP machine could edit it and make
DVDs in moments (Prem Elements for 60). What did she do? Got an SD card diddy-cam because the man in the shop told her tape was dead.

It's certainly dying, but that's more a marketing strategy than a fimmaking one.

tom.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:11 PM   #1630
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Tom, you are once again my hero, simply because I agree with everything you just said. I'm even willing to forget our disagreement about whether lens ramping is real or theoretical.

But I think the bottom line here -- Liza's well-deserved smackdown notwithstanding -- is that it really depends upon what kind of stuff you are shooting. Obviously I'm a tape kind of guy, but I have considered going tapeless (via a bunch of MRC1s) from time to time.

I mostly shoot two kinds of things: Sports and stage productions. Both are shot with multiple cameras. For baseball, I'll have cams set up on second and third base closeups to catch slides. These cams run uninterrupted for the whole game (save for tape changes -- here's one time a 2 or 3 hour card would be nice). Out of each hour of tape, there might be two slides -- it's like nature photography. So I scroll thorough the tape, mark the in and out points, and capture the ten seconds I need. You can't do that with a straight file transfer of a 13GB file. (Actually, I think it's 2GB because all these recorders are FAT32 and can't take anything bigger -- you stitch them together in post.) To my knowledge you'd have to transfer the whole file, mark the in and out points in your NLE, and make a new file, introducing the possibility of quality loss. I don't think you can just transfer a small part of a file.

On the other hand, when doing multicam stage shows, quick transfer of the entire show would be really helpful. As nothing will be cut out in the capture/transfer stage, here's where we could really benefit from a tapeless workflow, even if it is "only" a 66% time savings. And that's not counting time lost to flaky FW captures that abort midway through (I'm using Premiere, so I'm used to this), necessitating multiple captures of a single tape, at an hour a shot. But then you still have to stitch the files together to make a seamless whole, and I have no idea how good the SW is to do that.

So I can see both sides.

The only problem now is how to afford four to six MRCs or Firestores....
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Old March 4th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #1631
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Which camera should I buy a very small one?

Hi everyone,

I own a Canon XL2. I use it to do coverages for a community channel. I was interested in buying another very small video camera for my coverage's. The reason i need to get a very small camera is because most of the time people especially kids get confused when i take out my XL2 in front of them. You know what impression an XL2 gives out to people especially kids. I don't know anything about smaller version cameras. Please let me know of a camera small enough that it does the job and the quality should be good enough and in such a medium that it can be used for a TV channel.

Looking forward for your feedback.

Thanks
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Old March 5th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #1632
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Originally Posted by Ansab Khan View Post
Hi everyone,

I own a Canon XL2. I use it to do coverages for a community channel. I was interested in buying another very small video camera for my coverage's. The reason i need to get a very small camera is because most of the time people especially kids get confused when i take out my XL2 in front of them. You know what impression an XL2 gives out to people especially kids. I don't know anything about smaller version cameras. Please let me know of a camera small enough that it does the job and the quality should be good enough and in such a medium that it can be used for a TV channel.

Looking forward for your feedback.

Thanks
All depends on your feature expectations... almost any of the small HD cameras can be decked out with a few small accessories and be more than adequate for what you'd like to do. There was a guy who was using a kitted out CX7 for this purpose that posted a while back somewhere here... had a small light and the little Sony bluetooth wireless and a small cam support of some sort for stable shots. I'm set up with a similar rig, works good without being so noticeable!

Main challenge can be low light, but a small on cam light (the sima LX20 for instance) can help there.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #1633
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Great thread! Hope you can help

Hi guys,

I have saved up just under 3k to get a broadcast quality camcorder which can be used for my personal documentary and filmmaking projects as well as any small freelance projects I sometimes get.

I currently work freelance in TV in the UK and want to spend more time on my own things and would like a camera for that purpose.

I am currently double minded between a Sony V1E and the shiny new JVC solid state HM100.

I understand the arguments of why solid state may be the future but I do not think that tape will become obsolete. Although the idea of not having to Log and Capture is quite nice and I'm not adverse to storing all my footage on a separate hard drive. However I do not want to be losing picture quality for the sake of a solid state machine.

I do edit on FCP on my Mac. I don't know if I'm being a luddite by thinking the Sony may be better...

So I guess I would like product reviews that compare the two cameras in terms of picture quality and how they shoot in low light conditions.

I am unfortunately not at all a tech-head and hence was hoping for input which would reveal more of the pros and cons of these two cameras in terms of footage quality and usability. I have approached a few shops and they don't seem to be giving me very knowledgeable advice but give me mixed answers. One which is quite knowledgeable has recommended the JVC but only because "solid state is the future".

Currently I can get a hold of the Sony for a few hundred pounds cheaper than the JVC but I was wondering if this would be superficial as I wouldn't need to buy tapes on the JVC, which might be quite nice.

I look forward to all your opinions and hope you guys can help me out! Thanks in advance for all your feedback and help! Cheers! Sorry if I sound confused. 3k is a lot of money!
:)
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Old March 10th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #1634
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"solid state is the future".

Currently I can get a hold of the Sony for a few hundred pounds cheaper than the JVC but I was wondering if this would be superficial as I wouldn't need to buy tapes on the JVC, which might be quite nice.
Solid state is indeed the future in the same way that hydrogen cars are. There's nothing much wrong with the petrol engine right this very minute.

You wouldn't need to buy tapes for the JVC? You wouldn't need to buy SDHC cards for the V1 more like it. 13 gb of tape is 1, 13 gb of card is 16.

The Panasonic employs much bigger (70% bigger) CCDs, so from a photographic perspective that tops tiny " CMOS in my book. It also has a decent wide-angle right out of the box - the V1 needs a wide-converter practically all the time. But then again its telephoto reach is double that of the 13x Panasonic zoom.

If your Mac can handle the AVCHD files I'd take the HMC151. It's not as well built as the Sony but it's a lot newer and will be loads better in the gloom.

tom.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 04:46 AM   #1635
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Solid state is indeed the future in the same way that hydrogen cars are. There's nothing much wrong with the petrol engine right this very minute.

You wouldn't need to buy tapes for the JVC? You wouldn't need to buy SDHC cards for the V1 more like it. 13 gb of tape is 1, 13 gb of card is 16.

The Panasonic employs much bigger (70% bigger) CCDs, so from a photographic perspective that tops tiny " CMOS in my book. It also has a decent wide-angle right out of the box - the V1 needs a wide-converter practically all the time. But then again its telephoto reach is double that of the 13x Panasonic zoom.

If your Mac can handle the AVCHD files I'd take the HMC151. It's not as well built as the Sony but it's a lot newer and will be loads better in the gloom.

tom.
Thanks for this Tom! :)

I think I probably would prefer to go with a great wide angle than a telephoto anyway, although, not doubt, at some point I will regret saying that! heh heh.

I have FCP version 6 and that apparently supports AVCHD files. I have a 2.6GHz processor and 4gig memory. I assume this is enough? What is your opinion?

Just some questions in regards to your post:

First, you've suggested that tape is cheaper but in the long run, after the first investment, surely cards will work out cheaper if you use your camera often enough?

Also, by "in the gloom" you are referring to low light conditions right?

And what did you mean when you said the HMC151 is not as "well built" as the Sony?

Lastly, are the panasonic CCDs on the HMC151 better than the V1's?

Thanks again for all your expertise and I apologise for my ignorance!
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