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Old February 14th, 2005, 11:30 AM   #676
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Small DV camcorder with ajustable sound input??

Hello guys,

I'm looking for a small DV camcorder with adjustable sound input. I wanna make candid concert recordings. Therefore I need a small but manual operatable camera. Especially in the sound departement.

What would you advice me at the moment?

Cheers,
Dirk
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Old February 14th, 2005, 01:19 PM   #677
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The current Canon Optura models, namely the Optura Xi, Optura 500 and Optura 40 all have manual audio (see my comparison chart at http://www.dvinfo.net/canonoptura/articles/compare.php). You might look into the current consumer-range Panasonic three-chip camcorders, they are just as small and I thought they had manual audio as well.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 01:30 PM   #678
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That's a cool chart!

I heard that some lower end camera models will no longer support S-Video! Might you add a column for that?

I find my camcorders work great even dubbing to betacam sp, but I always use the s-video connector. I wonder if those cameras with the manual audio also have s-video.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #679
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Thanks -- none of the Canon ZR series have S-video anymore. I'm not interested in doing charts on entry-level budget cams. The Optura line is the only Canon single-chip camcorder that I want to spend time on. All Optura models have an S-video jack, by the way.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 03:59 PM   #680
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The ZR that I have has an S-video connection, so it must be the newest ZR's that don't have S-video.

Glad to hear there is a beginning camcorder with manual audio input AND S-video.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 01:56 AM   #681
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Thanks for the replies!
What's the best audio solution for a loud environment like a concert:
AGC audio or manual audio?

Cheers!
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Old February 15th, 2005, 02:44 AM   #682
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That's a great question, Chris!

I shot an indoor "rock concert" and I felt that the camera microphone (AGC style) on my Digital-8 camcorder resulted in slightly distorted audio but was actually acceptable if I absolutely had to use it. However since I shot with three cameras I decided not to use the sound from the Digital-8 camera other than to find sync with the other cameras.

(I primarily used the sound from the BetaCam SP and S-VHS ENG cameras instead because the Digital-8 camera was not left on at all times...argh, syncing was a bit annoying and as a result if I had tryed to mix in the audio from the Digital-8 camera it would suddenly disappear because the camera was mistakenly turned off at times.)

I'd say the single most important thing you can do is rig a wireless audio transmitter to send a feed from the board to one of your cameras. (I'm assuming you'll have more than one camera available?)

You'll probably need to "Pad" any on camera microphone that you use. My belief is that a -40 menu selection for microphone sensitivity should work really well in a loud environment (-60 being the normal setting) but many cameras don't allow one to set the sensitivity of their microphones in this manner.

I'm real curious if the Canon cameras with the manual audio inputs have internal padding, that would be awesome for your application.

My opinion is your best option would be an externally mounted camera microphone that allows you to pad the audio down signficantly before the audio recording signal actually reaches the camera audio record heads.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #683
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Low-Light Camera Recomendations?

I've been searching the internet for hours to learn as much as I can on this subject. Hopefully I can get some good suggestions from y'all.

My church wants to start video recording the services. The problem is finding a good video camera. I will be using it with my Mac to produce DVDs on a weekly basis. The biggest issue is light: The majority of use from this camera will be on a tripod in the church which is not very well lighted.

Which dv cam gives the most bang for the buck in low light? We were looking to spend $500-1000. I MIGHT be able to talk them into spending $2,000. Is something like the GL-2 really worth the price? If people tell me that the extra $1,000 is a must to get good video indoors, I'll swing for it. But honestly, will something around $1,000 or less be THAT much worse?

I don't want the DVDs I make from the camera to look like the Blair Witch Project. I want something that looks professional.

Other requirements (which most camera have anyway): Audio in from our sound board and analog video in to convert some old VHS tapes.

Your help is greatly appreciated!
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Old February 18th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #684
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The Sony VX2100 is your very best bet, if you aren't going to light your stuff.

$2400 US

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=303956&is=REG

The difference in light sensitivity between this camera and and anything less expensive that's not a 3CCD cam is, well, night and day! Several fstops worth, anyway. This camera is the entry level of light sensitive, professional image making instruments.

WARNING: do not attempt to go and find a cheaper price for this camera. You will undoubtedly be buying gray market or from an otherwise irresponisble dealer.
I promise.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 05:30 PM   #685
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If money is really tight and if you're comfortable with used equipment then you might look for a VX-2000. One recently sold in our Private Classifieds forum for $2,000, including accessories.

Speaking of which, don't forget to budget for the other things you're going to need: larger batteries, a decent tripod, carrying case, audio adaptors, etc. These things will be needed and will cost several hundred dollars over and above the cost of the camera. You might also consider a service policy/extended warranty.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:37 PM   #686
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What about these 3CCD cameras that are around $1,000? Like the Panasonic PV-GS200? It would be a lot easier for us to swing for one in that price range.

We'll need the cables and a good tripod and whatnot. Probably not a fancy case since the camera will rarely go anywhere.

My American Express gives me an extended warranty for free, so I can avoid the expensive service plans.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #687
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See what you can do about bumping up the light level without creating a hazard. Just switching to higher wattage bulbs will help. Have an electrician look around and see what can be safely done with the present system, but see what installing a few more fixtures can do. Perhaps installing a couple of 1K lights high on the walls or ceilings to light up the altar area would help. Theatrical fixtures should be fine and they'll be cheaper. Altman or Source Four are two good examples, Strand.

It would be worth the extra bucks to have the lighting upgraded so that the video will be well lit and therefore look good.

And then there's sound...
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Old February 19th, 2005, 02:39 PM   #688
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The NUMBER you want to look at is LUX rating. (I think 2100 is rated at 1 Lux) This will roughly provide light sensitivity comparisons among different cameras. But there is no absolute number. If you do not have enough light for the camera, it will degrade into grainier image long before it disappears or goes to the blair witch/infrared look. Your best bet is to see if you can try out any of them, maybe find someone who has one to come shoot for 10 minutes in actual lighting you will be using. Maybe you have some wedding videographers who have shot in your church before (or coming soon) under identical conditions?

You should probably try to buy all one camera model to make combining them into a dvd easier.

Another consideration is copyrights. While your church may have licensed certain music for performance purposes, it does not give you the right to make a recording or synchronization rights needed for an edited video. Especially if you are issuing/selling DVDs, this should be a concern. There have been cases lately of churches getting sued just for photocopying hymnal pages, so churches are in the attorney target zone these days. (easy to find, collectible judgements). You could also be personally liable for copyright infringement if it comes to that.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #689
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John is correct on all counts, but I'll add this: there is no standard for LUX measurement, so a lot of manufacturers try to compete on paper by claiming unrealistically low LUX numbers (actually Sony tends to err high). You're concerned not only with actual sensitivity, but also video noise, chroma noise and saturation, all of which tend to suffer at low light. I'll second (third?) the recommendation for a VX2000 or VX2100. I have a VX2000 and am constantly amazed at how well it does in extremely lowlight situations. If you want to get an idea, I have a couple of short clips here:

www.ruyitang.com/venice at night - 9.wmv

www.ruyitang.com/florence.wmv
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Old February 19th, 2005, 04:19 PM   #690
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I guess that's what I was trying to get across, Spencer. You want professional looking but aren't willing, apparently, to turn the lights up. Lighting is what makes for a professional look. Also, these $1000 3CCD cams have tiny sensor chips, making for dismal and grainy images in less than optimum lighting conditions, something we wedding videographers face often (which is why the VX2100/PD170 models are so popular with event videographers: 1/3 inch CCDs, light sensitive, clean gain...)
You get what you pay for.
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