help with outdoor/landscape camera at

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 11th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sedona, AZ
Posts: 18
help with outdoor/landscape camera

A professor once said there are no stupid question, just stupid answers. I am about to prove him wrong.

I've been doing still photography as a hobby for the last fifteen years. I just visited Zion NP with my parents and bought a dvd of the national parks of the area. After watching it, I thought, "I can do that". It would be for my own use per se, but living in the southwest I have access to some really neat scenic areas.

After doing some research I narrowed it down to the GL2 and XL2 (brand loyalty with canon 35mm). I went with the former because of portability and the good reviews here and other sites. I also saw some clips, namely Sundowning and thought it looked awesome. And the salesperson said it was better than DVD quality so I had some high expectations. However when I shot some footage in the area and dowloaded the raw footage (dv.avi, right) and played it through windows media player I was somewhat dissapointed. It lacked much detail/resolution on the wide end, however at medium zoom to full telephoto (optical only) looked rather acceptable. The consensus from another post that this was a limitation of the camera. Perhaps a limitation to all DV cameras? I don't know. I have a 8 mb wmv file I wish I could post on my website to get feedback. But it has to be in avi/mpeg/mov format and when I convert using Premiere 1.5 or Vegas (both trial versions, and yes I don't know what I am doing), the file size reproduces like rabbits :0!

I received a recommendation for the Sony FX-1 and the clip I saw was quite good. But the more research I do, the more confused I get. I read some reviews on B&H Photo. I know opinions are like belly buttons but one guy says the Sony HC1 from a resolution stand point blows away the GL2/XL2? And it is quite a bit less. What is a person to do? I do not have HDTV or an adequate pc to even get into HD so that is a consideration. I am not sure if I am willing to upgrade all that right now. My next purchase is for a digital projector though, don't know if that makes any difference.

I am always mesmerized by movies with fantastic cinematography (Brokeback, yeah I saw it, not that there is anything wrong with that (for you Sienfeld fans)), and thought I might try to mimic that type of work and look. Perhaps my expectations are way to high for a camera in the up to 4K range, give or take.

I have an old Bogen tripod 3221/3030 head that will support everything but the XL2 I imagine. The XL2 does look pretty cool, I must say but don't know if I need all that. I don't even know if I need the Vegas/Premiere for the editing. From the little playing around I did, the shots are pretty good at capture (except for detail) and found all I needed and had at the time was windows movie maker. That probably screams newbie more than anything. But I just trimmed the clips, rearranged sequences and added titles here and there. The camera itself had the transitions, which I thought was pretty cool.

I don't know how much if any of this makes sense? Just trying to find a camera, if it exists to do this. Thanks in advance.

Todd Mathews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2006, 03:41 AM   #2
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London
Posts: 90

Hi Todd

Burning the midnight oil I see.

It all starts by that one thought: 'I too...'

The originators never had that thought; 'there thought process was: I must do...

So you have to ask yourself the question, why am I doing this. The answer you should get back is, because I must.

The medium is insignificant, it's not about which camera; it's the eye that counts. You can always learn the science - it's nuts and bolts, but the art, now that's a different proposition.

If you must... Buy yourself an XL2 and a Canon wide angle lens and something like a Vinten 601 with a pan handle accessory control from Canon. Then go out and shoot ten hours of footage; pick the best and keep it, then go and shoot some more and see if you learnt anything from the first lot.

Buy a 20" Imac and FCP, read the instructions and then learn to edit, there are loads of courses and people who will do one to one if you get in a muddle, but again, the science is nuts and bolts.

Last of all, best of luck

Rod Compton


p.s If I'm around in ten years, I will expect to see your name on the credits of some film perhaps.

p.p.s Film is a changing medium and its not all mainstream - far from it; Broadband is the future.
Rodney Compton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 12th, 2006, 04:33 AM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Worldwide
Posts: 1,589
"...played it through windows media player I was somewhat disappointed..."

Todd, if you simply view your work via Windows player it will never look "good". First, try to connect the camera direct to a quality TV screen and roll the tape. Also, convert the Avi footage to mpeg2, burn directly to a DVD disc, and then run the disc in a DVD player and you should see a marked improvement between what you watched on a simple media player on a PC screen.

Having said all this, there is no doubt in my mind that DV (or latest HD) is not yet the best medium for making footage of superb vistas or wide angle scenery. HD cameras are going some way to improving this problem, but video is still a long, long way from the incredible images we can obtain from film or digital still cameras.

I am at this moment editing some footage taken last year during the wonderful colours of autumn/fall at the edges of a deep river gorge taken on a tripod-mounted XL camera. I think I've managed to transfer the fantastic scenery to tape, and with some colour and contrast added via the computer software, plus some powerful atmospheric music to match the scene, the whole canyon comes back to life.

If I now compare an image of that exact same canyon taken on a Nikon F5 filled Fuji Velvia + 24mm wide angle, with mirror lock-up engaged and on a tripod (then scan the 35mm transparency to a 200MB Tif file via CS2 software), to the DV footage, the single SLR image blows the DV imagery apart with its fantastic quality.

Maybe one day an upgraded D2X or EOS1D will be able to take continuous images at 25fps with full Raw resolution that can be converted via PC editing software into a full length feature film. Until that day arrives, we'll just have to put up with the 'softer' scenic imagery that today’s DV/HD offers.
Tony Davies-Patrick is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

(800) 223-2500
New York, NY

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Texas Media Systems
(512) 440-1400
Austin, TX

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

(800) 323-2325
Mineola, NY

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:37 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2018 The Digital Video Information Network