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Old April 18th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #1
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New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

I've been commissioned with selecting the equipment that our company will be purchasing to do video shoots of coaches teaching certain aspects of the game of basketball. I was hired for the editing and post-production, but apparently I'll be producing from start to finish. Unfortunately, my expertise is not in on-set production, so to speak.

So after quite of bit of posting on the Arstechnica forums, they sent me here, to learn from the experts.

Here is the Ars thread: Company buying two HD Video Cameras - Need Prosumer Advice - Ars Technica OpenForum

Cliff Notes: The company has been renting two Sony HXR-NX5Us for their shoots, and the final destination is always to Standard Def DVDs. They'd like to stop renting and make purchases of their own equipment to save money in the long run, but two of the Sony's is $8000, and that's without the XRL wireless mic's, etc.

For basketball training DVD's that aren't even high definition, I figured there would be potential cost savings in the cameras we purchase. While I don't think that we need to drop to standard def cameras, in case we want to re-release on Blu-Ray in two years when that's the standard, I'm not sure that we need the super-high-level performance that the Sony's are giving us, even if it's nice to have.

So I'm looking for a recommendation. We need two camera's, one for in the stands, overseeing the entire play, and one on the floor level, focused on the ball. Lighting will be whatever the gym we're in provides. We'll need to have a wireless mic on a coach, maybe two.

Editing will be done on Final Cut Pro 7 (then X when it's released in June) on a Macbook Pro 17", 2.2Ghz Quad i7, 8GB Ram, 128GB SSD internal, with 2TB@7200 in RAID 0 connected via eSATA. Secondary display will be a 27" iMac in target display mode.

Any and all advice is very welcomed!

Thanks for your time,

-Evan
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Old April 18th, 2011, 08:38 PM   #2
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

If you're going to have lots of quickish pans, you might want to steer clear of CMOS (which is what almost all new cameras are now) because of the infamous rolling shutter issues - also if there are flashes in use, you might get some strange results. Might be a problem, might not - you're the one who would have to decide. Just something to think about.

I think the JVC HM100/HM7xx are about the only new CCD cams out there.

Just something to think about.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Pannys HMC150 is a CCD camera new at $2995, preowned probably $1500 (guessing on that but can't be too far off)

Records solid state 1 card only unlike the Sonys BUT for faster action stuff like B-Ball I agree the CCD camera might be the better way to go. Even if you got 2 new 150s you'd be 2 grand less than the NX5s better if you could find a decent one preowned then you'd really save some cash.

Just a thought to add to the mix
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #4
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Good catch, Don

I was scratching my head thinking that there was another decent CCD cam out there, just couldn't come up with it.

Thanks
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Old April 18th, 2011, 09:18 PM   #5
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Why are the CCD cameras such a rarity?
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Old April 18th, 2011, 11:02 PM   #6
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Cost & low light performance advantages of CMOS most likely

CCD sensors have basically two elements per photo receptor site. One accumulates the charge and than all sites transfer their charge to their paired holding site simultaneously. The holding sites are then scanned out sequentially.This is known as a global shutter.

CMOS only has one element and the elements are scanned out sequentially so the last element is scanned later than the first element. This can lead to the dreaded "jello-cam" effect where upright lines become diagonal when you pan quickly. Makes life more "challenging" if you want to do matchmoving/camera tracking with the footage. There are now plug ins that sort of fix the problem - sort of being the operative word.

Anyhow, given an equivalent number of pixels (or photo receptor sites), you can have fewer and larger sites on a CMOS chip, so you get more resolution on the same sized chip and also somewhat larger sites that are more sensitive to light. Or even a smaller chip (ie more chips per wafer = lower cost.)

At least that's how I think it works:-)
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Old April 19th, 2011, 12:50 AM   #7
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

On the other hand..............

You could go for a trio, (or even quartet, given the number appearing on the S/H market, but backup is a must here) of used Canon XH A1's with external HD/ Card recorders, which gives you HD and timely ingest, from a fully CCD camera, great lens and all the bells and whistles you might wish, at a signifcantly lower price point.

Bang for buck, I can't see how it can be beat.

Can't comment on the light situation as I've never shot in a BB court.


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Old April 19th, 2011, 01:08 AM   #8
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
On the other hand..............

You could go for a trio, (or even quartet, given the number appearing on the S/H market, but backup is a must here) of used Canon XH A1's with external HD/ Card recorders, which gives you HD and timely ingest, from a fully CCD camera, great lens and all the bells and whistles you might wish, at a signifcantly lower price point.

Bang for buck, I can't see how it can be beat.

Can't comment on the light situation as I've never shot in a BB court.


CS
Sounds too good to be true, what's the catch? :)

Other opinions on this proposed setup? Pro's Cons?
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:55 AM   #9
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

I would endorse that setup. The only 'catch' is that you're buying 'obsolete' technology - tape.
But if you get the suggested add-ons you're not using tape.

I'll add that you could even get away with a cheaper setup by using a second hand Canon HV30 as your b-cam. That cam would likely be a static shot. The image is outstanding and you can get it for as cheap as $300. Go for a newer model to record to card. A little color correction to match the XH and you're good.

This would help you afford the extras, tripods, lav, etc.

Just checked out the for sale section of the forum and saw an XH for 1700 and HV for 400 with wide angle - FYI
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Old April 19th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #10
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Quote:
If you can get well-maintained, not beat-up models, why not, that's certainly a worthwile alternative. However, as far as I know, the XH A1 doesn't have a HD-SDI or HDMI output, so if you want to avoid tape, you will need an external recorder with component inputs, and I don't think there are any really cheap ones out there, plus of course you'll have an additional D/A A/D conversion in your recording chain. I am also not sure if the camera can output true progressive scan video on the component out.
Can someone fill me in on the proposed solution to the external recorder and associated costs? Plus I'm not really sure what "additional D/A A/D conversion in my recording chain" means or how it affects quality. Also, can anyone comment on the last sentence there about outputting true progressive scan?
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Old April 19th, 2011, 11:37 AM   #11
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

I'll take another tack and say that all this is totally overkill. I too have made the mistake of buying really nice gear to do sports videos like this... it's completely unnecessary. Two Sony CX700s will do the job just fine. If you really want to stick with tape, a couple of used HV20, 30 or 40s will do the job, but they aren't great in low light, and there's nothing worse than the lighting for basketball (except maybe gymnastics).

I can't actually find the post or poster from which the above quote was taken -- perhaps the source post has been edited to remove the original text, which is a good thing because most of what the quote says isn't accurate. The whole external recorder thing is a waste of money because the CMOS issues are irrelevant for this application, and the caveats in the quote regarding external recorders, their inputs and DA conversion don't apply -- many if not most external recorders at the Prosumer level -- I'm thinking of the Sonys and Firestores -- use Firewire, which all digital tape cams have, if you really want to go that way. But it adds a completely unnecessary level of complexity and cost to a very simple project.

Just my opinion.

Edit: Ahhh, okay, found the quote in the other forum. The discussion there is interesting but it sort of feels like most of the advice over there (except for one poster) is trying to push you into a government-sized level of expense and complexity for the sake of Art. Really, these are just basketball training videos. Two good consumer cams will be more than enough. The picture quality of the cx550/560/700 is stunning and blows away that from much more expensive cams like the EX1r, based on the side by side tests I've seen.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 11:48 AM   #12
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
I'll take another tack and say that all this is totally overkill. I too have made the mistake of buying really nice gear to do sports videos like this... it's completely unnecessary. Two Sony CX700s will do the job just fine. If you really want to stick with tape, a couple of used HV20, 30 or 40s will do the job, but they aren't great in low light, and there's nothing worse than the lighting for basketball (except maybe gymnastics).

I can't actually find the post or poster from which the above quote was taken -- perhaps the source post has been edited to remove the original text, which is a good thing because most of what the quote says isn't accurate. The whole external recorder thing is a waste of money because the CMOS issues are irrelevant for this application, and the caveats in the quote regarding external recorders, their inputs and DA conversion don't apply -- many if not most external recorders at the Prosumer level -- I'm thinking of the Sonys and Firestores -- use Firewire, which all digital tape cams have, if you really want to go that way. But it adds a completely unnecessary level of complexity and cost to a very simple project.

Just my opinion.
What about XLR input for the mic's? I've heard your perspective that the ~$1k prosumer cameras will do just fine, then I've heard plenty of people say that we'll be missing out on the features that the $4k Sony's provided.

I'm getting more and more confused.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 11:56 AM   #13
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Re CMOS issues - might indeed be irrelevant.

If the pans aren't fast and there aren't a lot of verticals in the picture, or you don't care if the verticals wiggle a bit, (and after all the focus is on the players, not the background) no real problem. CMOS is fine. And considering that whatever verticals there are will likely be in the background (ie not moving) I think some of the recent rolling shutter removal plug-ins might work well enough in the few cases where rolling shutter artifacts might be annoying.

Best way to know would be to borrow/buy/rent one of the little Canons and try it and see.

I just think it's something to keep in the back of your mind

@Evan - Confusion is normal - everybody here comes from different backgrounds and has different preferences/experiences/standards/workflows. I often use footage for tracking so am inherently suspicious of CMOS. Get hold one of the little Canons as Adam suggested and give it a try at a basketball game - if you're happy with the result you're good to go - you may not need all the features.

Even being somewhat biased against CMOS, I can't see why it wouldn't be just fine for the fixed cam.

Re Blu-Ray - I doubt it will EVER be the standard (another bias maybe?) - It took too long coming to market and the fight with the competing HD-DVD technology took too long and now the world seems to be moving to download for HD content and bypassing Blu-Ray.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #14
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

Little Canon's? What are you referring to now?
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Old April 19th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #15
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Re: New Job, New Equipment - Basketball Coaching DVDs

You don't need XLR inputs -- there are plenty of lav mic receivers that use mini plugs.

But even if you do need XLR, you can get a pair of JuicedLink adapters for a couple hundred each.

The CMOS rolling shutter issues are never noticed by anyone except professionals. It simply isn't an issue, and I say that having done a lot of sports videos with crashing zooms and crazy whip pans and all that other nonsense. Even if someone does notice something, they'll only ask how you got that cool effect.

I think Jim means the HV20, 30 or 40.

I know it seems daunting but keep your spirits up -- this is the fun part!
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