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Old June 18th, 2004, 06:48 AM   #406
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The HD10u isn't working with the ichatAV. Unless someone else has gotten it to work??

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Old June 27th, 2004, 09:14 PM   #407
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small camcorder recommendation

I'm a XL1s shooter. Do mostly action and have not been following the latest and greatest when it comes to consumer camcorders. Trying to stay on my toes with FCP etc. But Im currently working on project and need some help.

We're building a pretty sophisticated flight platform that eventually will be HD (we're playing now with the JVC HD10u) but for our first on-site assignment in Europe, we need something in the one pound range that we can test our pan/tilt mechanism.

We're also playing with 3CCD security style cameras and the new Recon board from fast forward video as a direct to disk recorder to put airborne, but we've also come up with a time constraint.

So... knowing that this is not the long term solution to our filming needs, what 1lb prosumer/consumer camcorder is available that produces pleasing color similar to XL1s or GL1/2. Most all of the project will be shot with multiple cameras, but we're hoping to blend in some air footage. LANC control would be nice, but we could care less about the viewfinder(s) playback, usb, ilink etc. Just quality image onto miniDV.

I'm looking at the Optura 300, but not sure about what else is available.

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Old June 29th, 2004, 08:18 AM   #408
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which camcorder to buy PV-DV953 or TRV900/950

hi guys.

I'm fairly new to camcorder, and like anyone would start, i began by reading reviews. At first i was inclined to get panasonic's GS120, because its cheap and small. However, for the money i am told that i should either get DV953 or a used TRV900/950. I would like to get people's opinion on this.

I will mostly be using this camera for skiing (water, snow), wakeboarding. Is the TRV900 to big to transport on a mountain? Should i still consider getting the GS120? Thanks in advance for any input.

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Old June 29th, 2004, 09:11 AM   #409
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I've got a TRV900 and I consider it small, but my main cameras are big. So I guess it's a matter of what you are accustomed to. For your purposes, I think smaller would be better. If you go for something like the 950, I'd do that over a used 900 if you can afford it. I think they're selling for around $1600 from places like B&H. The 953 is supposed to be more compact, but I haven't seen one in person. I do know it has slightly smaller chips, so I would be inclined to go for the Sony. Panasonic has a new GS400 supposedly coming out in a month or so that looks to be directly competitive to the Sony 950 but a little smaller. You might want to track down the specs on that one. Personally, I'd go for the one that's already been on the market for awhile.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 09:50 AM   #410
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I've got horrible problems with halo effects with my Panasonic camcorder in snow and water scenes. It looks like a kid has drawn a white line around people, ski poles etc.

Leo's Cameras told me that many small time movie producers still use 16 mm film for snow scenes because of such problems which are very common especially with camcorders costing less than US$2500. They looked at the halo effect from my camcorder and said, yes, completely normal on cheaper camcorders. My camcorder listed for US$1700.

But it appears that the halo effect is caused largely by over sharpening processing in the camcorder and smaller chips. The camcorder you choose should have a manual sharpening adjustment for starters. Ideally find out which of these cameras produces less halo effect for your kind of work.

The Sony VX2000 (maybe VX2100 too) appears to produce little halo effect. Any camcorder smaller than this in my limited experience will not produce good commercial results. What is the point of having a smaller camcorder when the results look completely amateur.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 10:17 AM   #411
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Sharpening can be controlled on the trv950. Also, larger chips can only help in more challenging contrast situations, which the 950 has when compared with these smaller Pana 3ccd cams.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 11:07 AM   #412
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a little clarification

Thanks for your input so far.

I wanted to clear up one thing, i will not be using the camera i buy to be doing professional shots with. It would be nice if they were close to professional, but i don't have the money to spend. Again the camera will mostly be used for taping skiing (water, snow).

I guess i should have asked this question first. For a budget of 900-1000, what is the best camcorder to consider? From what i have heard/read, PV953 and sony TRV 950 were at the top. Do others have ideas/suggestions?

Also could someone explain to me what the halo effect is?

Thanks again.

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Old June 30th, 2004, 08:44 AM   #413
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Not too sure in the 1lb dept. but I do know that sony has a few on those handheld palm cameras that are pretty light.
Sony VX-1000
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 03:40 AM   #414
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Choosing a camera

First off, this is going to be my first venture into video production.

The primary use of the camera is going to be documenting professional car restorations. There will be a lot of detail shots of engine work, slow pans over car bodies and interiors, a few computer screens, welding and metal grinding, etc.

I want to try and keep the distraction level low so minimal cables, lights (everything shines), buzzing equipment and head bonking.

It's all ends up, hopefully lookin' good, on DVD and television.

Right now I'm considering the XL1S, GL2 or VX100A. So roughly 5 grand to spend. Which would you choose?

Thanks for reading this! Looking forward to any replies.
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 03:54 AM   #415
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Hi Jeremy and welcome aboard. By themselves, none of these cameras involve a lot of cables, lights, buzzing equipment or head bonking :-) Of course you may want to use external mikes and lights, but that would have a lot to do with what you're trying to accomplish.

The XL-1s and DVX-100a are in the $3,000 ballpark while the GL-2 is closer to $2,000 and has smaller chips. To further complicate your choice you might consider the DVC-30, VX-2100 and PDX-10 which would be in the $2,000 category and the PD-170 in the $,3000 range.

This is a broad topic, and a question that is frequently asked around here. Spend a little time browsing through our forums on each of these cameras and you will start to form some opinions of your own.

Of course you will want more than just the camera itself; tripods, extra batteries, lenses, filters, audio gear, lights, carrying cases, etc. can easily bring your cost above $5,000. Do you have a computer and software robust enough to edit your video? That could be another big expense. Be sure to keep this all in mind as you shop and draw up a realistic budget.

There is a lot of speculation that an XL-1s replacement is imminent and a $500 rebate just expired, so now may not the best time to buy one.
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 04:08 PM   #416
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I would probably stay in the 1/3" chip category of cams. They will give you more latitude in varying light conditions.

Do you suppose you'll be relying on intense closeups (hands working, etc)? You're trying to stay out of people's way, so maybe a long zoom is desirable, for serious detail shots, from a distance? If this is so, a good tripod and head is definitely in your immediate future.

The DVX100a has excellent audio, tons of manual control, and a fairly wide lense, but a short zoom, and, if you've never handled a video camera before, a rather high learning curve. If I were to shoot, say, a car commercial, and had only $5k to spend on a camera package, this is the first camera to come to mind. As it is, I happily already own and shoot with a PD170, and could certainly turn out a worthy product with it. Both of these cams come ready with XLR audio inputs, so no need for an adaptor and messing around with minijacks. The XL1S gives you lense options, but will cost a great deal more after all is said and bought, at least $5k, never mind essential accessories. That 16x zoom lense would be nice, but do you really need it, for what you want to do? Likewise with the WA lense. Things to think about. The DVX seems like it has more spice, in the way of beautifying a product-like shoot, between the variable frame rates and the cinegamma functions, a truly manual, if fixed, lense, the menu presets, and so on. And, hey, I'm practically Mr Sony himself, so it's not like I'm talking up my own camera to make myself feel good! :-) Anyway, these are my thoughts.

The DVC30 is another thought. It's new, with not very much user feedback on the boards as of yet, but has a long zoom, good manual controls, 30p and cinegamma jazz, and a native XLR option. It's chips are 1/4", which isn't bad.

And, finally, I'll put in a good word on a favorite little cam of mine, the PDX10.
Superb 16:9, if you decide to go that route, and very good audio, but it will ask you to set up lots of lights more often than probably any of these other cameras, with it's highly pixelated, practically 1/5" chips. It also has the least image control of all of these cams, but, given enough light, everything else is a mere workaround, and excellent stuff can be produced with this sexy little beast.

Ok, I think I'm finished.
Good luck!

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Old July 2nd, 2004, 07:29 PM   #417
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I think you might wanna go for a Sony camera such as the PD170 because Sony DV cams are usually much sharper than say Canons. It sounds like you are filming technical things that require extra sharpness and clarity. The PD170 is a wonderful, solid camera with lots of flexibility. And yes, I have used all the cameras you mentioned wanting to purchase. So I am not giving you a biased opinion at all(I own the XL-1s myself).
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 08:11 PM   #418
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For the money you have to spend, I would say in the 1/3" chip size. But it's important to think of all the things you may need for your shooting.

You should carefully consider all the accessories which help make up a pretty picture (and sound). They can easily add up to more than the camera itself. Give careful thought to your sound needs as well as camera support such as tripod.

Will you need a matte box? Maybe not but a polorizer is a good tool for car shoots. So figure that as well.

I would start to look at all these accessories first and see how much you have left for a good camera body and lens.
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 10:40 PM   #419
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I want to try and keep the distraction level low so minimal cables, lights (everything shines), buzzing equipment and head bonking.
Adding lighting will really improve the video quality you get. If you compare good product photography to bad product photography, lighting makes the biggest difference of all. If making the final product look good is important then I recommend you look into renting lighting gear and hiring a DOP [director of photography] (or getting film/photography students to do it for free).

Whoever is doing the lighting needs some experience in making sure the highlights are just right. You could try looking at car commercials to see how good lighting makes a difference. This will make a lot more difference than what camera you shoot with (unless it's a consumer 1CCD camera, which tend to images that kind of look flat).

Color correction/grading can also help your shots look good.

Shooting on film can also make your footage look better, although it's quite expensive. Reasons for going with film:
A- There are a lot of good DOPs who know how to deal with film. If your DOP does not know how to shoot good video then it can easily look bad.
B- Film has much greater exposure latitude than the ~3k cameras you are looking at. This means shadows don't disappear into black mush and highlights don't blow out. If you shoot on video, you need to light carefully.
C- With DV, there are color shifts as highlights approach clipping. Usually you will see cyan or magenta fringes on highlights.
D- Film has a nice "s" gamma curve and colors get more saturated for darker colors. You may be able to duplicate this in post.

-Film shoots usually have more money than video shoots. More money is spent on production, the DOP, lighting gear, color correction, etc. etc.

For examples of video that looks just as good as film, check out
However, there are some things to watch out for.
A- The DOP is David Mullen, who is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
B- Your computer monitor probably does not give accurate reproduction of colors, especially if it is not calibrated.
C- "In order to reap the benefits of the DVX100, you need an excellent cinematographer who understands how to light and compose. You also need the time and talented crew to achieve high production value down the line."

slow pans over car bodies and interiors
If you want good slow pans then you will need a decent tripod. I think a decent one runs about $800USD. I've only used crappy tripods so I can only tell you that cheap tripods suck for camera moves.

If you want to get fancy then you can do dolly or steadicam shots, but they require more money.

a few computer screens
If they are CRTs then they will flicker. Try to shoot LCDs if you can. If not, look for a camera that have shutter speeds that match CRTs. I forgot which cameras have these. With CRTs you can set the refresh rate to 60hz to get less flicker, but you'd still have to deal with CRTs' imperfect geometry (curved at the corners).

An alternative is to use screen capture utilities on the computer.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 01:19 AM   #420
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The main difference that I notice in those DVX/PD comparison clips is the DVX footage staying warm and nice on the girl's face while the PD seems to clip. Is that an S curve thing or what?
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