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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #1306
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Suggest a camera for training videos

I'm working in Atlanta as an SEO Manager for an advertising firm, but because of previous video experience I'm also creating a video training capability here.

I'd love to have the company acquire one of the cameras I've used before like an JVC HD-100, Sony PD 150, PD 170 or Canon GL1 GL2.
However, the budget for this project is too small for that. We're putting together the edit PC, lighting, support and camera. The current budget puts us at only $ 700 to $ 1500 for the camera.

Unfortunately we can't buy used or we could get a used PD 150, GL2 or Panasonic GS400 with 3 chips. So that won't work.

We prefer to go DV rather than HD since the videos will all be down-rezzed for network and internet distribution. But HDV is possible since we'll edit with VEGAS 7.

Under these constraints, what's the best best new video camera, either 1 chip or 3 chips? Manual f-stop control is not crucial but nice to have.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #1307
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OK, on reflection I say we shouldn't go HD because of the size of video files on the hard drive. We're starting with only 350 Gig of SATA drive space. On my home video PC, the HD 100 footage ate up most of my 400 G of space.

It just makes more sense to go with DV for eventual release on the network and internet.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #1308
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The current budget puts us at only $ 700 to $ 1500 for the camera.

Unfortunately we can't buy used or we could get a used PD 150, GL2 or Panasonic GS400 with 3 chips. So that won't work.
Have a look at the just released Canon HV20. I believe it's selling for around $1100 at various vendors. BTW, it's anecdotal but many folks feel that starting with an HD master and down rezzing to SD results in a better image than shooting SD to begin with. It also allows you some leeway for framing because you can keyframe pans and tilts in the NLE. If you're shooting HDV, the data rate is 25mbs CBR, which is identical to mini-DV so hard disk storage requirements are identical.

Just my opinion,

-gb-
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #1309
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I second what Greg sys...look at the HV20. I have an HV10, and have been able to cut with my Canon XLH1 and Sony FX1.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #1310
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Hmm, Need a shoulder mounted camera!

I've decided that I want a shoulder-mounted camera.
Not only for cosmetics, but also stability. I can't really hold a GS180 very well without shaking it a bit, so I want the next best thing! But....

I want to spend only about $600.

Why do camcorder manufacturers spend all their time cramming all these components into smaller casings, if you want to actually look professional!

I hope I'm not dreaming.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #1311
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Monopod - $50
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Old April 7th, 2007, 06:16 PM   #1312
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Sounds like the AG-DV7 might be your camera:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ist&sku=274107

You MIGHT find a used one close to your budget.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #1313
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I think I'm going to get an XH A1 because they are only $250 more and they are obviously HD. Does the XH A1 shoot in SD also?
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Old April 7th, 2007, 07:59 PM   #1314
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This is something I am also missing... guess I'm showing my age here, but I still long for those good old full size VHS Panasonics. Fortunately they still make a few shoulder mount miniDV camcorders.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 09:45 PM   #1315
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I think I'm going to get an XH A1 because they are only $250 more and they are obviously HD. Does the XH A1 shoot in SD also?
I personally would hold off on the HD.

The HD world right now is a total mess, not to mention very expensive. By the time the smoke clears, the A1 will be history, old news, and the "A4" will be all the latest rage.

I would get an XL2, especially if you're just going to be shooting SD on the A1 anyways.


What kind of computer do you own, and what editing software are you using? Keep in mind the switch to HD is going to require a new fast computer and new editing software also.

I drool over the A1 every day. But I just don't think the right time to jump is now.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 10:16 PM   #1316
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I have a MacBook Pro 15" with 2.33 core 2 duo and 2 gb of ram. I use Final Cut Studio for editing. I'l;l probably have to buy a new external HD with firewire 800 regardless of which one I get. But in the end, it comes down to price. If the XH A1 is only a tiny bit more, Ill take it. If not, Ill get the XL2.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 10:34 PM   #1317
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"The HD world right now is a total mess, not to mention very expensive."

I would say that is more than a bit of an exaggeration. Computers that can edit HDV smoothly have been available for two years (>2GHz dual core). No, it wasn't smooth two years ago, but software improvements make those machines work nicely. Unless you have an outdated computer, HDV is not out of the question. It only cost me $350 to get Vegas 7, so that really isn't a stumbling block. I did have an outdated machine, so I had to upgrade. Not everyone will require this expense. Even so, I upgraded for less than $2000, so a total of $6000 to go from nowhere to HD isn't so bad.

There is also no reason to shoot on SD if you don't already have a quality SD rig. Shooting on HDV and down-converting often gives a better SD product and may keep your projects relevant for years to come.

There is no smoke and ruins in the HD world. The second generation of cameras has arrived and the first generation is still good. The distribution formats exist for about $600 and anyone that really wants/needs it can pay the same now as many videographers paid to go from VHS to DVD.

You don't need to wait for every single household in the world to go to HD before you upgrade. The benefits to HDV were present from day one.

On the other hand, if you already have a nice SD rig, you don't need to feel pressure to spend money. If your customers/audience is only using SD, you can put off the expenditure.

I'm going to back up what Chris Hurd said with a caveat. Any camera, with manual controls, will provide an excellent learning experience. Starting from zero, the expense of HD vs. SD isn't very great considering the increase in quality so it may be advantageous to start there (budget permitting). If you don't have the budget, a decent used DV camera and any old computer with a clean OS install will be a great learning tool.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 12:01 AM   #1318
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The HD world right now is a total mess, not to mention very expensive. By the time the smoke clears, the A1 will be history, old news, and the "A4" will be all the latest rage.
That advice may make sense for someone who already has a good DV camera and isn't ready to spring $3-4K for an upgrade, but there's little reason to buy a DV-only camera any more. Get the XL-A1.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 02:50 AM   #1319
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I think that sums it up better. Instead of all the blabbity-blah in my previous post; the advice repeated many times around here has been to buy what is best for you now. Technology keeps changing and you should change when it is beneficial for you.

On the other hand, don't get stuck in a hardware trap. You are the most important factor in determining the quality of your video. Although I generally think it is time for HD, there are some great DV cameras out there that are getting quite affordable that you can cut your teeth on. A cautious buy of a used model is also an option.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 04:56 AM   #1320
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The best instrument you can afford

Being a musician, I don't see an issue in getting the best musical instrument you can afford. High school students regularly purchase expensive instruments because quality translates into better overall musicianship. Likewise, if you are frustarated by the available option on your current cam, then upgrade to the XH A1.

However, truly gifted musicians can play anything and be great. Charlie Parker (jazz legand) played a different sax all the time because he pawned them off for his addiction. But he always maintained that signature Charlie Parker sound. Likewise, if you give a great film maker any camcorder, you will get a great story. The tool isn't as important as the process of creating the art.

If you are a techno-junkie and want the latest gear, get the XH A1. It has lot's of features that will make a person a more knowledgable camera operator.

It comes down to wants and needs.
Want: This cam works but a better cam would work great.
Need: This cam fails as a tool.

Only you know where you're at on making this judgment call. I'm not. I just bought an XH A1 and an HV20 along with a decent tripod to shoot a ballet performance (Actually, I've been waiting for the HD dust to settle for a couple years. The XH A1 was the right cam for me.) When the performers see the finished DVD will they notice the improved quality over the PD150 I would have used? Only if they had seen video from both cams side by side, otherwise probably not.
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