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Old August 17th, 2010, 09:04 AM   #1
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Interview camera below $2000

Hello fellows.

A colleague of me wants to buy a camera for the city. It mostly gonna be used to do interviews.
The budget is $2000, which one is the best choice at the moment?

Thanks in advance...
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Old August 17th, 2010, 09:41 AM   #2
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Personally, I was thinking about this last week myself. Although the HD cameras out there have plenty to offer, I find my self drawn to the look of the Panasonic DVX100b that I used before going HD. With the built in controls, you are able to get some work that still stands up quite well today. A good used one in great condition with extras, cna be found for about $1350.00.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #3
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Jvc HD110 is a fantasic, slick pro looking 720p gem of a camera purchasable for two shakes of a lamb's tail. Great for interviews esp when paired with a Firestore because of long record times and redundancy. Make sure to pick one with the upgraded IDX or AB battery.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 04:52 AM   #4
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Indeed,

The Jvc HD110 and the Panasonic DVX100b are both great and have a reasonable price when they are used. But it has to be a new one, because it's for the city. Any other good camcorders for that price?

Thanks a lot in advance
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Old August 18th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #5
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Boy, this leaves things rather wide open. I'd almost be inclined to say look at the Panasonic GH1.

Advantages over traditional offerings include:

1. MUCH smaller. Operator can work out of a small bag. Very handy for interviews
2. Tapeless.
3. VERY quiet.
4. Excellent lens options
5. 1080p HD.
6. Lovely colors without having to do a lot of post work
7. Fairly small files
8. Lovely DOF which is near impossible to get in a common video camera
9. Doesn't need a ton of light to look good. This means your light package and camera package can travel in a single case.

Disadvantages over traditional cams

1. Clients may scoff at the size (until they see the footage)
2. NLE needs to be compatible on the back end, or conversion needs to be done
3. Controls will require some hand-on time to learn
4. Audio isn't so great so might need a small audio recorder to go with it.


Honestly, for $2k, this is the direction I'd go. It's inexpensive, small, easy, you can do an hour interview on a small card, you don't even need to plug it in which is terrific for outdoor interviews. Unlike the Canon's it can record until you run out of card space or battery.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:25 AM   #6
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Panny HMC40...
Just finished a 60 min documentary with 28 interviews taken over 7 months and the camera never missed a beat and looks fantastic.
It's at the edge of your price range so hopefully your budget will allow for SDHC cards, mics, lights, tripod.
Very satisfied! And it's not even my camera!

Panasonic AG-HMC40 AVCCAM HD Camcorder AG-HMC40PJU - B&H Photo

It says to add to cart to see actual price but it's under $2k.
(if I add it to my cart, I might be tempted to buy one! HaHA!)
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Old August 19th, 2010, 03:20 AM   #7
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Hey Robert and others...

The HMC40 is indeed the best choice I guess. Can you choose another format than the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 in the settings of the camera. Or is it the only format for the AVCHD camera... Maybe stupid question...

Because I noticed now that there are not many editing solutions for this format. Only the better editing software like for example premiere pro CS4 gives you the possibility to edit. Or is this not true?

The camera needs to have an output that is editable with very basic software like (windows movie maker or Imovie) Or is it to much we ask...?

Thanks in advance fellows!

G
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Old August 19th, 2010, 08:44 AM   #8
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Gerdy,

The HMC41 (in Europe) only records to the AVCHD MPEG format, with .MTS files.

You might want to look at the JVC HM100 which is very similar. There are some offers on at the moment which have taken it under 2000 in the UK, though I'm not sure how much it costs in your part of Europe. It has two SDHC slots and records to .MOV file for Apple guys as well as MPEG4 for Windows people.

The HMC41 with XLR unit is around 2000 to 2100, which again is likely to be outside your 2000 price range.

I have to admit, I would struggle to use Windows Movie Maker for any HD video editing from these sorts of cameras. You need something like Premiere Pro CS5 to edit these videos comfortably. It would probably struggle to edit HD from any of the cameras mentioned in this thread.

Do you need HD? You may be able to pick up (say) a used Panasonic DVX100 or equivalent that produces ordinary widescreen DV video and gives you XLR inputs for audio.

Does your 2000 cover just the camera? If you have to add new editing software, maybe a new PC, a microphone or two and a tripod, it would add considerably to the price. Hence my suggestion of the second-hand DV camera.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 09:32 PM   #9
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How about something like Sony Vegas for editing (Windows)? Or Edius etc?
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 12:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerdy Vandermeersch View Post
Hey Robert and others...

The HMC40 is indeed the best choice I guess. Can you choose another format than the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 in the settings of the camera. Or is it the only format for the AVCHD camera... Maybe stupid question...

Because I noticed now that there are not many editing solutions for this format. Only the better editing software like for example premiere pro CS4 gives you the possibility to edit. Or is this not true?

The camera needs to have an output that is editable with very basic software like (windows movie maker or Imovie) Or is it to much we ask...?

Thanks in advance fellows!

G
Only format is avchd. Even with my badarse mac pro I transcode to prores which is editable by fcp and premier pro. I'm sure imovie would work with it too as well as fcp express.
I own cs5 premier pro though I don't use it I knew that it could edit avchd natively so I muddled through and sure enough, works great. I'm an fcp guy though and don't mind the transcode. (someday apple might upset me enough or drop support for fcp and I'll switch!)

I think you will find most saying transcode is the way to go and it's about 1/3 real time which is way better than tape.

Hope this helps!
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 03:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Beckett View Post
Gerdy,

The HMC41 (in Europe) only records to the AVCHD MPEG format, with .MTS files.

You might want to look at the JVC HM100 which is very similar. There are some offers on at the moment which have taken it under 2000 in the UK, though I'm not sure how much it costs in your part of Europe. It has two SDHC slots and records to .MOV file for Apple guys as well as MPEG4 for Windows people.

The HMC41 with XLR unit is around 2000 to 2100, which again is likely to be outside your 2000 price range.

I have to admit, I would struggle to use Windows Movie Maker for any HD video editing from these sorts of cameras. You need something like Premiere Pro CS5 to edit these videos comfortably. It would probably struggle to edit HD from any of the cameras mentioned in this thread.

Do you need HD? You may be able to pick up (say) a used Panasonic DVX100 or equivalent that produces ordinary widescreen DV video and gives you XLR inputs for audio.

Does your 2000 cover just the camera? If you have to add new editing software, maybe a new PC, a microphone or two and a tripod, it would add considerably to the price. Hence my suggestion of the second-hand DV camera.
Hey Mike,

Thank you very much with your help. Well, the city wants to be prepared for future projects. It would be perfect if they can choose between HD and SD.

The 2000 only covers the camera. There is other money for a tripod and other accessories. I guess the 2000 is just to low for a good camera with their needs. They probably go for a smaller model and a not so professional one.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 07:19 AM   #12
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Gerdy,

If you couldn't go for a higher spec camera, then maybe something like the Panasonic TM700 (or the equivalent from Sony, Canon etc). Most of the advantages of the HMC41 but without XLR, and at half the cost.

You could probably get away with the 3.5mm mic output (I believe it has headphone output too). You can always add a Zoom H4 recorder later and synch the audio in post.

The above would get pretty professional results if used correctly. The problem I see for you is editing, I really don't think that Windows Movie Maker is any use for AVCHD, which is what most of these camcorders produce. The latest Premiere Elements (100 or less) should cope, but I haven't used that so cannot confirm.
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