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Old August 28th, 2006, 12:26 PM   #1186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don bazley
Hello folks!

I've been working in professional video for 20 years and have been teaching it for 13 of those years. I've decided to start up a wedding business (full-time... I'll also take on other projects and continue teaching part-time). I have owned a XL1 for 6 years or so. I only use it as a personal cam for mostly shooting live music. I have never been happy with the XL1 in low light. The black level is way too low on that cam but it sure does get beautiful pictures given the right light. Since I'll be doing many weddings I want to have 2 cams that will work well together (in low light). I'm thinking of either the PD170 (does that shoot in 16:9?) or a VX2100 (pretty sure that doesn't shoot 16:9). Or perhaps I should consider a newer Canon to work with my XL1 (wasn't the black level issue fixed on the XL1-S?). I guess I'm thinking I can use whatever low-light cam I choose as the main (wide) shot and use the XL-1 for close ups. Another thing I could consider would be buying 2 low-light cams for weddings. Any thoughts on this are appreciated. I would have posted this to the 'acquisition' board but I figured I'd put it here since people that do weddings have many experiences in poor lighting situations. :)

-Don Bazley
Ithaca, NY
Don:

First off, I don't think either the PD or the VX can be termed 16:9. The are native 4:3. They have a 16:9 mode, but it will provide a picture with reduced resolution. I have come up with a better picture using a letter box added in camera at the time of the shoot, or in post.

That being said, the VX or PD are still great for your wedding business. They are easier to handle, and seem to me to be easier to set up and shoot. I have to admit I have been Sony oriented, but my original thought had been to buy the XL1s four years ago when I went with the VX2000, and I haven't regretted. My brother was shooting XL1 s at the time, and we shot simultaneously on projects since, and again, I am not dissatisfied.

Mind you, I don't do this for a living, only as an avocation. But this weekend, I had an experience with the VX2000 that shows it is still a workhorse to be counted on. Some friends called me in an emergency about a musical they had going on at a local theater. A videographer had backed out, and they needed someone to shoot in an emergency. I took my FX1 and my VX2000, figuring that I would shoot both with my wife. When we got there, things were such that we could only set up one camera. At rehearsal, it became clear that lighting was going to be a challenge. The spotlight was very dim. I tried the FX1 wide open and with 12 gain at 60fps, and the video just wasn't there. I then tried the VX2000, and got a lot better result. Ultimately, I used the VX2000 exclusively, and it did a great job under trying circumstances. Obviously if I had been called on earlier, I would have suggested changes in lighting to handle the situation better (that may be why the other guy bolted), but this on the fly deal really worked out decently.
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Old September 4th, 2006, 04:38 PM   #1187
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the (on-going) "which cam" question

First, let me say that I realize there has been much said on the topic of this post. I have searched this site quite a bit and have found lots of great info. Since my question involves different cams and DV vs HD issues, I figured this is the appropriate place to post (?). While I have read many comments, I guess I'm hoping to hear some folks' opinions on my specific situation...

I've been in pro video for 20 years and have been teaching it for 13 of those years. I've decided that I am going to start a wedding video business. I'm trying to get as much input as possible before I buy a new camera (or possibly 2 but I'm hoping to get away with buying one). I've owned a XL1 for about 8 years. I only use it as my personal "play" camera. I love the images it gets given good light but it sure isn't so good in low-light situations (although I have done several weddings with it). The contrast issues of the XL1 have always bugged me, but it sure looks nice if you can control the lighting (which you cant at weddings and club music shows:) My question is, how is the FX1 in lowlight? I was thinking either the FX1 or perhaps getting PD170 and going HDV in 2-3 years. I guess at this point I'd mostly shoot in DV mode since I don't sense a real demand for HDV weddings yet (maybe once HD DVD players come out).

I'm also trying (hoping) I can make do with buying just one cam for now. I'm hoping whatever I get I can use that as the main camera and use my XL1 for close-ups at the ceremony. (?)

Any opinions are appreciated.

-Don Bazley
Ithaca, NY


(Moderator: I posted a *similar* post on the "weddings/special interest" but I only got a few replies. I hope this isn't considered a "cross post". If so, I apologize. I'm just trying to get as much info as possible. Perhaps my original thread can be deleted?)
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Old September 4th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #1188
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Hi Don and welcome to DVinfo,

I've merged your other thread with this one and am keeping it in the Open DV forum so you'll get some more exposure. We discourage cross-posting because it leads to parallel threads which cover the same material and fragmented discussions are difficult to follow.

Looks like you already got some good responses in the earlier thread. The FX1 won't be as good as the VX or PD in low light, but it isn't bad. The black stretch feature on the Z1 helps a bit with low light however. For discussion of low light issues with these cameras, see the following:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=54414

I haven't used an XL1 so I'm not sure what the contrast issues are, but all DV cameras have problems with high contrast scenes where there's a big range from light to dark. Shooting live performances is problematic because of this.... you have to decide whether you want to expose for the bright areas and lose the dark parts of the scene, or you can show the dark areas and blow out the bright ones.

If you hang around the wedding/event forum you'll see that the VX and PD series still seem to dominate there, although we're starting to see people shoot HD. I own a VX-2000 and it is a great camera in many ways. A couple days ago I had to dub a tape of a performance that I shot with the VX-2000 four years ago. Watching it I was reminded just how nice an image that camera could deliver. But for me the deal breaker is that I like working in 16:9, and those cameras do a very poor job at that because of their low resolution CCD's. Wide shots will look like they're out of focus.

I like my Z1 a lot, but I don't shoot weddings. Some of our really dark operas are a challenge for the Z1, but a 12 dB gain boost doesn't look so bad. But another issue with the Z1 is that the lens favors the wide end and the telephoto is lacking (about 300mm equivalent in 35mm still camera terms). If you're shooting from very far away you may find this disappointing. I ended up getting a Century 1.6x teleconvertor to help with this, but it's expensive. There really don't seem to be any other decent options for teleconvertors for the FX1 and Z1 unforuntately (unless something new just came along).

Good luck with the new business; let us know what you end up buying.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 07:56 AM   #1189
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Thanks for merging and moving the thread Boyd. It does seem that the PDs and VXs are still dominating the wedding scene. I'm really still on the fence. I will be going to the Society of Broadcast Engineers trade show near Syracuse in a few weeks. All the dealers (Sony, Canon, JVC) will be there showing their latest toys (and I will be drooling:). I think I will wait until I see what they have to offer before I make any choice. I'm assuming I'll also be able to compare the cams in terms of lighting.

Many people seem to be saying that it's be stupid (poor word choice:) to buy a SD cam at this point. The consensus seems to be that even when shooting in SD mode cams like the FX-1 gice a better image. I hope to make a choice within the month. I'll keep y'all posted on what I choose.

BTW: I was bidding on a FX1 on e-bay over the weekend. It came with all the toys I'd need (wireless mic, cam light, tripod) and was selling for about $3300. I lost the bidding war but ended up with an e-mail saying I could buy it if I want to because the orginal winner of the bid didn't come through. It all sounded fishy to me so I never responded to the e-mail.

-Don Bazley
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Old September 8th, 2006, 04:15 AM   #1190
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I too am in the process of deciding what cameras and other equipment will be needed to produce outdoor video. Specifically, a fishing show like no other on the market at this time. I will need a minimum of two cameras with one being able to do underwater video. My intent is to use HD. Not looking for top of the line equipment to start with but also do not want to get junk that won't get me by until better equipment can be purchased.

I am not a professional but aspire to become one. So get me on the right road to success equipment wise.

Thank You in Advance
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Old September 8th, 2006, 06:37 AM   #1191
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I use the Canon XL2 and can fully recommend it, especially as it allows the use of extra lenses, such as telephoto extremes using EOS adapters or Les Bosher adapters for Canon/Nikkor/FD lenses etc, wide angle adapters such as Red Eye .7X, Canon 3X wide angle lens, and the new X6 HD lens etc...and the 16:9 format of the XL2 is a boon, with no loss in quality.

I agree with Dean that the XL1s humidity detector was slightly too sensitive, but the XL2 seems far better in this respect and I've used it now in extreme conditions of rain, fog and mist.

I also use the XL2 with 20X lens + .7X Red Eye lens inside a Scubacam underwater housing for sub-surface filming.

Go to http://www.wilderness-photo.co.uk for pics of some of my setups for filming fishing/wildlife/outdoor subjects

I have filmed with Gareth Watkins in France, and he has also had superb results using his Sony FX1 and Z1.

Another option is the Canon XL-H1, or the new Canon XH A1/G1 cameras that are similar in size to the Z1 but with a few more options. I actually prefer the larger size of the XL2/H1, especially for off-the-shoulder work, and the 20X IS really helps in many situations (except on a tripod or fast pans).

Here is a link to videos made by Gareth on his Z1, with some of the footage also on my XL2:

http://www.anglinglines.co.uk/docs/v...aire2/500.html

http://www.anglinglines.co.uk/docs/v...cast1/500.html
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Last edited by Tony Davies-Patrick; September 8th, 2006 at 08:22 AM.
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Old September 9th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #1192
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Video Camera Advice

Hello,

I need an advice on a video camera. My budget is US$1400-$1500 and I'm looking into the used equipment.

The main use of the video camera woule be some documentaries with some snow or white sand, some indooor shots to do virtual tours of villas.

This is what I have found so far:
Sony DSR-PDX10
Sony DSR-VX2000
Canon XL1, not the S
JVC JY-HD10, although not too many manual settings.

I would really appreciate your feedback on these items, and probably on others for the type of work I will be doing. Plus, will there be any new video camera release before the end of this year to bring some current prices more affordable?

Thank you very much for your help.

Best regards,

Eric Galton.
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Old September 9th, 2006, 09:41 AM   #1193
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I have a VX-2000 and PDX-10, so let me offer a few contrasts between these possible choices. The PDX-10 is a much newer design and has some significant upgrades from the VX-2000. It has a much nicer (larger, brighter, higher res) LCD screen. Also has a black and white viewfinder like the PD-150. I find the viewfinder on the VX-2000 pretty terrible, it's very low resolution. It would also give you DVCAM recording, which doesn't improve the quality but it is less susceptible to tape dropouts.

Of course the PDX-10 has XLR inputs and a mono mike which isn't fantastic but is much more useful than the VX-2000's stereo mike. For me the most important factor is the PDX-10's high res CCD's which let it shoot native 16:9 which looks surprisingly good. The VX-2000 just chops off the top and bottom of a 4:3 frame to create 16:9 and it looks very soft. The PDX-10 is part of Sony's professional line, which means you should get faster service turnaround. Not sure how much of a factor this will be in a used camera which is no longer on the market though.

Now the VX-2000 also has its advantages though. The overall image quality in 4:3 mode is more pleasing to me, which I think has to do the the 1/3" chips vs the PDX-10 which has tiny 1/5" chips. The ergonomics are slightly better on the VX-2000 I think, but not a big deal. But I prefer the separate iris wheel on the VX-2000 vs the PDX-10 which uses the menu wheel to adjust everything. However the most important thing the VX-2000 has to offer is it's low light capability. If you need to shoot in a lot of REALLY dark places then it will really come through for you.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 03:22 AM   #1194
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camera selection help (until red)

We are planning to shoot our first full feature late 2nd quarter next year. Until now, most of our shooting has been on dsr500, z1, dvx100a etc. Admittedly, movie production for big screen is a new territory. But well forge ahead.
I planned to jump to the red camera in the spring and raise the bar for the movie but we need to do some seasonal nature shots for the movie among other things in the coming months. Would our z1 cut it, or should we jump to an xdcam hd for now? Or the 24p of Sonys new camera's? Are we likly to notice a huge gap from the red on a theatre screen? To the point of "oops"
I know renting is an option but I anticipated regular occasional use that may make it more feasible to buy, then sell upon the red purchase. We also have a doc were working on that could benefit from the lift.
Any suggestions?
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Old September 26th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #1195
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" jump to an xdcam hd for now"

if you have the $$ for Xdcam ..

then IMO take a look at the SI camera ...

http://siliconimaging.com/DigitalCinema/

http://indiefilmlive.blogspot.com/
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Old September 26th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #1196
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I think Don's choice is good...

But I wouldn't shoot any footage that I would have to inner cut within the same scene with the Red... looking at the 4k image I'd say it'd be hard to match... but scenes between scenes such as nature shots or int. and ext. could work...
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Old September 28th, 2006, 01:39 PM   #1197
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Semi-blatant shilling

The "right" camera is more than just the specs - does it fit into your post workflow, does it shoot in compatible modes, can you intercut on the same timeline without painful renders, does it fit in the spaces you need to shoot, is the light sensitivity close enough, etc. etc. etc. Carefully evaluate ALL your needs for the project - the images generated, the shooting issues, the post issues, etc. This is a good place to discuss those issues, I might humbly suggest hdforindies.com (hey Chris, am I breaking rules here?) for some other issues raised, and I do consulting on these kinds of issues as well.

-mike
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Old September 28th, 2006, 01:42 PM   #1198
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Silicon Imaging

...and cool as the SI camera is, I don't think it is shipping yet - AFAIK, still in beta, and they are Working On Stuff right now last I heard before IBC.

Geoff Boyle is shooting with just the mini-head right now on a feature project.

-mike
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Old September 28th, 2006, 02:17 PM   #1199
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Silicon Imaging

Mike, the Silicon Image camera is shipping in the "mini" configuration, this unit is teathered a laptop for capture (we used the mini prototype for other short http://www.cineform.com/48hour/index.htm.) Not high volumes yet as the sensors are still "rare", expect news of full production in November. So for filmmakers needing a RAW workflow today, Silicon Imaging is shipping as we are shipping the editing tools to match.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #1200
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oops!

My apologies David, I was not aware. Got a press release or link I can LINK?

-Mike
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