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Old August 23rd, 2004, 01:45 PM   #481
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Cameron,

I notice that you are going to do "corporate interviews".

I see no mention of lighting or audio, in your desires.

Might I suggest that you consider, that, as a bear minimum, you budget @ $1K, for each.

I know: OUCH!!! THAT HURTS!! you say.

But: Sloppy video = no more jobs.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 02:25 PM   #482
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dan Euritt : the advantage with an "lob" configuration is that you have optical image stabilization, flip-out lcd monitor, and a top handle... even a trained monkey can get a steady swoop shot with that kind of a rig! j/k
-->>>

Not certain what j/k means but OIS may very well cause problems when you are moving the camera like that and the LCD screen is just a distraction and something to break off. The top handle on a LOB just means that the camera is going to swing from side-to-side. Been there, done that.

To do it properly you have to watch where the camera is moving in relationship to the outside world. Otherwise you will probably run the lens into something.

I've tried both and the pro camera works better in this application.

Furthermore, you can adjust the aperature quite easy as you pan with a pro camera.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 04:05 PM   #483
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Need a consumer camera to do for now

Hi guys

I'm a documentary filmmaker, had a career until '94 when I reclused it in rural France for 8 years. I'm just getting myself back on the road and broke. My budget for a camera is $500. I know that's a joke budget but that's all I can afford give or take 50 bucks. I'm in a position where I am being asked to do work if I can get a servicable camera which would allow me to buy a realistic pro camera later.

I've looked at the Panasonic GS-120 but the indoor color rendition and low light performance turned me off.

I compared it with the Sony HC-40 which had better color and better low light and a hot shoe. And I'm leaning toward it but the touch screen manual focus seems really awkward.

I've been on the internet for entire days getting dizzy comparing specs, but I'm discovering that specs don't tell the whole story, since the panny's specs were more impressive than the sony, yet the HC-40 seems to have better overall image quality.

Can you help me out with advice and perhaps other choices?

Gosh this a novel I'm posting. I'm desperate and at the crossroads.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 04:19 PM   #484
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Well the Sony HC-40 has a LANC control too. So just buy the Sony HC-40 and then use a LANC Controller such as the Zoom Commander for manual focus. Here is a link to the Zoom Commander :

http://www.signvideo.com/zoom-commander-digital-zoom-controller_II_pro.htm
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 07:00 PM   #485
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Someplace in the NJ/NY area, there has to be organizations like we have in San Francisco . . . Film Arts Foundation & Bay Are Video Coalition.

Both have full studio facilities and rent production equipment for very low prices to members. Membership is about $50 per year.

I'd suggest finding something like that, just renting or finding some people who have gear and want to learn the ropes from a pro. Indi features do that all the time. The Director sometimes only pays for food and drink, the crew bring ALL the gear.

I cannot imagine being able to do pro work with an low-end consumer camera. Not so much because one cannot get good pictures. But more than 50% of the sensory input from a finished production is sound and the consumer camera is very limited in that regard.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 09:49 PM   #486
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J/K or JK means just kidding...

Bill, both forms have their advantages, and now that you've heard them you should go to a close photo/video shop, try them out, and see what you think will be best for your applications. Some places will even let you pop in a tape and record on several cameras so you can compare the footage at home later (or in the store when you're done...and if you do this review the footage on a decent monitor, if they have one).

BTW, 1/3" chips are considered to be superior to smaller chips because they have a larger area for light capture and can therefore shoot usuable video with less additional lighting. High pixel count is more for consumer cams to get high MP stills. While high res chips can help video, they all have to get downsampled to 8bit 720X480 pix at some point, so their must be a limit to how much better resolution and sampling can even with 1MP+ chips.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 10:36 PM   #487
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I second what Mike says, but if all you're looking for is a stepping stone camera, you should check out some used models on Ebay... VX1000, TRV900, AG-EZ50, GL1,etc...You can find some good deals with better features than a new cam, and may have $$ enough left over for a usuable unidirectional mic (you can make a boom pole out of a $10 painters pole).
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Old August 24th, 2004, 12:57 AM   #488
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Mike, Dan, Robert, Jesse,

Many thanks for the advice! This is all very useful.

I've decided against the shoulder-mount because I want to get the best image quality in my price range. I was interested primarily in the Panasonic AG-DVC60 (coming out in Sept.) which works OK for me price wise, but won't give me the image quality of the DVC80 or the DVX100A (as far as I can tell.) The other shoulder-mount cams are way out of my league. I was only looking at shoulder-mount cams to look a little more "pro" anyway -- which I decided was a stupid reason.

As for steady shots -- I think that I should consider some kind of steady cam rig that I could use as needed. Seems like that would give me a steadier shot and a lot of flexibility.

Regarding lighting, I've been doing photography for a few years and have read 2 or 3 books on lighting video. While I understand that you can light your scene with darn near anything (my brother is a Hollywood gaffer) I need to find something that is small, light, transportable/rugged, and flexible -- I should probably start another topic on that question.

Question regarding video shops -- other than B&H in New York, are there any other places where you can see/touch/try the higher end video cams?

Jesse, your explanation of chip sizes vs. pixel counts made perfect sense -- that clears up my confusion completely.

Thanks All! This is a really fine community.
--Cameron
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Old August 24th, 2004, 09:25 AM   #489
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The DVC80 and the DVX100A should give you a superior picture, and manual control compared to the DVC30/60.

Understand, though, that any kind of steadicam rig is going to be expensive. Some members here have built there own for much less, though. Check out the "Photon Management", and "Support Your Local Camera" boards on DVInfo for threads on lighting and stabilization, respectively.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #490
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jesse Bekas : I second what Mike says, but if all you're looking for is a stepping stone camera, you should check out some used models on Ebay... VX1000, TRV900, AG-EZ50, GL1,etc...You can find some good deals with better features than a new cam, and may have $$ enough left over for a usuable unidirectional mic (you can make a boom pole out of a $10 painters pole). -->>>

Jesse, none of those are even close to $500. More like $1000 and above because, as you recognize, they are still viable cameras.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 11:06 AM   #491
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Help! Which Camera to buy?

I work at an outdoors production company but I'm not a gear guy. We're starting a new hunting show and I'm wondering what camera would be best for my needs. The following things are important to me. Small and extremely portable, at least 2 channels of audio that can be manually controlled, wireless microphone system for the 2 channels of audio, good in low-light, good in light contrast situations (sitting in the woods shooting into an open, well lit field), durable, switchable lens capability, and a broadcast quality picture. I've been briefly been told about the JVC GR-HD1 and I have some interest in that. HD is not a requirement. Would be used mostly in 4:3.
We already use DVCPro50 Camera's and I'm looking for something much smaller without giving up quality.

I'm open to any and all suggestions. I'm not going to pretend I know much about camera's so I won't even pretend. Also, would the JVC mini-DV tape be compatible to play back in a Sony DSR45 DCCam deck or a DVCPro50 deck?
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Old August 24th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #492
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How much money do you have to spend? Wild Boyz, an mtv wilderness show is shot on the dvx and i think it looks great. Cine gamma handles high contrast much more pleasingly.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 12:34 PM   #493
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Budget is around $6,000 +/- for camera, mics, tripod, batteries, charger.

Ease of manual operation is also important since the people operating it have logged many hours on professional cameras.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:21 PM   #494
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That JVC camera is only a single chipper and does not have interchangeable lenses.

There is nothing smaller than your DVCPRO50 camera that will give you the same quality. The smaller ones are going to be 1/2" chip or smaller camcorders, and they're not going to shoot in a DV50 format, and they're not going to cost under $6K with or without those accessories.

For that budget, you're limited to a DV25 camcorder, and further limited to a 1/3" chip one. You could look at the Panasonic DVC200 or the JVC GY5000. They are both in the $5-6K range, but with good wireless mics, tripod and power, you'd be over the budget. Also, they are bigger, heavier and require more batteries.

And, since interchangeable lenses is in your requirement, that leaves the only option the Canon XL1, at the moment. In fact, it's a pretty good time to buy one, since the XL2 is going to replace it in a week or so. The XL2 looks to be better and is native 16:9 with higher resolution chips and, more importantly for you, a 20:1 lens as standard. But, it's going to list at $5K, so with all the other stuff you need, you'd be over budget.

Anything you do other than another DV50 camera is going to give up quality. There ain't no free lunch in the video world. Mo' money = mo' quality. And, mo' quality = mo' weight. You want high quality, heavy and pricey, or you want small, light and cheap?

All the 1/3" chip camcorders (meaning the Sony VX2100/PD170, the Panasonic DVX100a, the Canon XL2--soon--, and the JVC GY300) are very close to each other in image quality. They all have manual controls and they all have 2 channel audio capability. The Canon XL1 (and soon XL2) are the only ones that have interchangeable lenses. If I were going to do a wildlife or hunting show or anything like that, I most likely would go for the Canon if I couldn't afford a fully professional 2/3" or 1/2" chip camera (or didn't want one because of weight and power consumption)...because of the capability of putting on very long lenses. The fixed lens cameras all would require the use of lens adapters, both for wide angles and for longer focal lengths.

If even smaller and lighter and cheaper is an issue, then the Sony PD170 might be your best bet, though you would have to use lens adapters. Same for the DVX100a. Both of those cameras are good, though the Sony has a solid reputation for ruggedness, while the Panasonic has the capability of shooting at 24 and 30 frames per second in a progressive scan mode (most likely irrelevant for you).
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:33 PM   #495
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You're wise to spend the money to go to B&H to check out the cameras. We recently bought a Hollywood Lite Running Rig (steadycam type device) and I flew to L.A. to check it out. Any expenditure of a few thousand bucks is worth an airplane ticket to be sure, in my opinion.

My recommendation is to definitely go with a 1/3" chip camera, and the VX2100 is, I think, the most value for the dollar in that range
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