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Old February 3rd, 2003, 04:36 PM   #1
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distinctions between ENG, industrial... rant

Could someone explain to me why people that review video cameras like to categorize them into various areas of use, and how they decide which cameras are good for what?

For example, when a review says "JVC DV500 - uses, wedding, industrial, corporate." Does this mean that the reviewer thinks it's not suitable for ENG and EFP?

I've been reading video camera reviews for the last 2 hours, and seeing cameras constantly pigeonholed like this has been irritating me. This is mostly a rant, so don't take it too seriously, but is there a point to segregating the uses of a camera this way?
When I first started looking at DV cameras, I discounted the PD150 because some video magazine listed it's uses as wedding/industrial/corporate, and I wanted something for ENG/EFP. Obviously this is not the case. I think the magazine was Camcorder and Computer Video.

Does adding this level of confusion to the already horrible buying process, cheese anyone else off?
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 04:55 PM   #2
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"I think the magazine was Camcorder and Computer Video."

That's one of the mags I read. I've found it to be out of date with certain cams, very subjective, and questionable at times. Nice and glossy, though! Only thing missing are the cheeks!

I'd rather read some of these cam mags at the news stand than taking a copy home.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 06:01 PM   #3
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By way of potential explanation rather than excuse...

Most of these niche periodicals operate on embarrasingly low budgets and must rely heavily on manufacturer-supplied information for their product "reviews" rather than on insightful or knowledgeable in-depth evaluations.

So I strongly suspect that such categorizations come from the manufacturers' marketing groups. Noting such categorizations, however, can give us insights into what the manufacturers consider the target markets to be for these cameras.

BTW, as a rule of thumb if the camera weighs 10 lbs or more it will be "ENG" or "EFP". If it weighs less, regardless of what the promotional ads say, it will be prosumer or consumer.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 06:52 PM   #4
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Technology changes too fast, the economy forces change to keep shareholders happy, young video makers enter the market with few preconceived notions.

You used to be able to classify cameras by the size of their chips. Ever improving technology has blurred the lines (or sharpened the quality) between 1/3 inch, 1/2 inch and 2/3 inch chips.

All the mergers in media have forced news departments to reevaluate their budgets. In an era of quantity over quality and volume over substance, the use of smaller, lighter cameras have prevailed. But this trend has plus sides to it, also. Take me with my career ending shoulder injury, or is it. I may never carry a 15 to 20 pound Betacam, but XL1's and their successors will do nicely upon my shoulder. Many a news photographers career is being extended by these type cameras.

People like yourself (yah, your a young video maker compared to guys like, Ken, Frank and myself) question the norm and push the limits for the new generation of cameras and equipment. In the old days we would have said that a camera like the XL1, PD150 and DVX100 could never produce video suitable for broadcast. We were proven wrong.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 08:14 PM   #5
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Amen Jeff.

And it's also to our advantage that the XL1s, PD150, et.al. remain in the "prosumer" corporate/industrial marketing bracket; it will keep the prices in the same $3,000-$4,500 bracket.

I have every expectation that the "ENG/EFP" cameras of 2010-2015 will weigh-in at the 5-7 lb range and will have the GL2/PD150/DXV100 form factor.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 08:44 PM   #6
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Dylan,
There is no difference between "entertainment" and "news gathering" (ENG) if you have watched any network TV lately.

As far as the networks are concerned there is only "market" share and the "news" has to produce a certain amount of revenue and, most probably, to hell with journalism.

Jeff is probably closer to the mark. If the "news" can be gathered on a minimal piece of equipment, then that is an "ENG" cam as far as they are concerned. If the networks could get away with "sketch artist" then they would..... EXCEPT they wouldn't be able to catch the "tear rolling down the cheek" of some poor hapless victim.

You ask about people getting "cheezed", well I'm cheezed at the scholck that all the major networks are peddling as "news" regardless what cam they are using.

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Old February 3rd, 2003, 09:40 PM   #7
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Usually the reviews that so pigeonhole the cameras are written by people who have never used them. Also, some people like to play sort of a passive-aggressive game by referring to a certain camera (always one they don't have) as being good for industrial but not "serious" work.
Of course, most "industrial," corporate, educational and documentary work has for many years been shot on high end Betacam SP and Digital Betacam gear.

Anyway, in recent years the lines have become very blurred. I know of weddings shot in Digibeta, and news footage from TRV900's, and corporate stuff from HD and documentaries from anything.

So, this artificial categorizing is really pretty meaningless.
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Old February 4th, 2003, 07:48 AM   #8
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I believe part of the mystique for ENG cameras comes from being shoulder mounted. Even though we know a camera doesn't have to be shoulder mounted to produce ENG quality video the public does relate this style of camera with broadcast use. Picture a news team running from their van up to a press conference with a GL2, perfectly capable but? The cameras have to have the ability to attatch wireless mics, lights etc. It is interesting to note that the XL1S does not output the normal X Y type broadcast outputs (I am not an expert on high end stuff) , most of the time XL1S owners have to dub in a special editing bay with RCA connections or hope the facility has a mini DV deck. I have not come upon any newsroom, van, or sat truck capable of interfacing with a computer. The studios do pull stories off of (example) the CNN servers, but this function is kept far away from independents, and none of the newsrooms provide NLE.
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Old February 4th, 2003, 08:45 AM   #9
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Newsrooms here are mostly Avid Newscutters, and most have BetacamSP and DVCPRO decks. One also has BetacamSX. Most of the DVCPro decks will play DV tapes. But the concept of hooking up a camera to function as a tape deck is alien to most people in news or production around here. Any kind of RCA inputs would be very rare.
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Old February 4th, 2003, 09:12 AM   #10
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Most have standard patch bays. Several years ago I purchased from Markertek, cables that had RCA connections for the camera and standard patch bay connections on the other (1/4 inch TRS for the audio and patch bay connector on the other). There are also adapters that fit right into patch bays that have RCA connectors on them, so standard RCA cables can be used.
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Old February 4th, 2003, 10:26 AM   #11
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Yes, one of the more upgraded facilities has DVCpro decks which are a briefcase size editing station, those units have an adapter tape which the mini DV fits inside of and is then placed in the machine. I do have cables from RCA to Live truck, I belive these are the cables you are talking about Jeff. I make them myself. They adapt from RCA to BNC for video and RCA to XLR for audio. I believe we loose a little ( I don't know how much) quality outputting thru RCA rather than dubbing straight from the tape or using firewire. That interface is where the line appears to be drawn from proffessional ENG to Prosumer. I believe it's because technology grows so much faster than what the pro news organizations can afford to revamp.
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Old February 4th, 2003, 10:39 AM   #12
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The audio cables are RCA to 1/4" phono TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve). The video cables are RCA to a patch bay connector. They are long cylindrical connectors that are hollow. It is used for patching devices when they can't be hard wired. I don't know the name of them (any help here), but I'll try to look them up and post a link.
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Old February 4th, 2003, 01:52 PM   #13
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This is short and sweet....

If my PD-150 was good enough for some of the shows on the Discovery Channel and TLC, then it was good enough for me! *grin*

(Trading Spaces, Extreme Machines, Junkyard Wars, Monster Garage, etc...)

I'm willing to say it may not have been the primary camera in those shows, but it has been spotted in all of them as a secondary camera.

-Phil
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