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Old March 11th, 2003, 04:01 PM   #1
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Which Camera Would You Grab?

This is a silly hypothetical question that's been on my mind for quite some time. (I actually have faced the situation so I suppose it might not be so hypothetical in my case.)

If you have two or more makes or models of video camera please consider this situation.

It's a lazy Saturday afternoon and you're dozing on your sofa. You're suddenly awakened by a loud "boom" followed by the sound of sirens nearby. Looking out the window you see smoke and flames erupting down the street.

Assuming that each of your cameras was equally convenient to access and they were each loaded with a blank tape which one would you grab as you headed out the door?
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Old March 11th, 2003, 04:28 PM   #2
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I have a GL1 and a Panasonic DVC-200. I'd definately grab the 200 for several reasons.

1. Better image quality.
2. Easier to shoot a steady shot when handheld.
3. Better audio quality.
4. It just looks cool!
5. No bloody hot pixel (your mileage may vary).
6. I might be able to get better access to the scene like the news crews.

I just never seem to have access to either camera when something news-worthy happens.

Rick
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Old March 11th, 2003, 05:43 PM   #3
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Pd 150 as that's what I have except for the VX1000 which is almost always in the case. I have actually been in that type of predicament as I do training stuff for a fire dept.
The 150 works fine and I have an ID from that FD that preety much gets me in with any FD. It kinda looks like a press pass.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:24 PM   #4
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hmmmmm

Hypothetically I would grab my new XL2 <;~)

In reality I would grab our XL1s, and leave my GL1 in it's case.
We almost always use the GL1 for b-roll or cut away footage......
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:39 PM   #5
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I'd grab one of my JVC GR-DVL9500U cams, of course, and set the cam on auto. Forget the tripod---no time!
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Old March 11th, 2003, 11:04 PM   #6
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Hmm, I'd grab the XL1 with the stock 16x lens (as opposed to the XL1 with the 14x manual or 3x). I figure if there was something good I would have to use the zoom to get close to it, so the IS would come in handy.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 02:45 PM   #7
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Wouldn't anybody see if there was something he could do to help?
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Old March 13th, 2003, 03:19 PM   #8
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Ha. I wondered how long it would take for someone to ask that, Hans! Good point.

In my case I've had two related incidents in the past year which prompted my asking the question here. (In neither case could I have offered help.)

Approximately two years ago during a late season snow and wind storm a work platform came loose on the south side of the John Hancock Center here in Chicago. Part of the platform crashed down to the street from approximately the 50th floor and killed two people in cars and gravely injured several other pedestrians. The other part of the platform dangled from the side of the building. In extremely strong winds it repeatedly crashed into the building hammering through the building's windows and a mechanical deck. I live one mile south of the the Hancock and had an unobstructed view of the platform and damage. In this case, I happened to have my XL1S already mounted to a tripod in my living room. So I merely turned it on, zoomed and shot. The chilling aspect to the story was that my wife and I had planned to lunch at a restaurant 2 blocks from the Hancock that afternoon but decided the weather was too nasty for the walk. Our path would have taken us down the affected street directly under the platform at about the time of the accident.

The second incident was much more frightening. Early one morning there were several very loud blasts emanating from the Jardine Water Treatment plant, the main plant serving Chicago's water supply. Since I can also clearly see this enormous plant from my windows I grabbed my GL2. Of course "terrorism" is what ran through my mind; it would be a horrific place for such an incident and is heavily guarded by land and water (it's along the lakefront) 24 hrs. As it turned out the blasts were caused by a contractor's accident; two propane tanks exploded. But it sure startled many people in the area for several hours.

But, yes, "How can I help?" should be one's first thought.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 03:50 PM   #9
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There are times when How can I help? is an appropriate response and there are times when it is not. I shot local news for a brief period (a little over a year) and witnessed on many occasion well meaning bystanders getting involved in situations that demand a professional's attention. In several cases they not only risked their lives, but the lives of firemen who had to assist or rescue the rescuers. Let professionals do their job unless called upon to help.

There are exceptions to this of course. Large man made disasters (such as 9/11) or large natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes etc). But the traffic accident at the corner or the house fire a few blocks away are not cause for unwise heroics.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 04:13 PM   #10
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>Wouldn't anybody see if there was something he could do to help?<

With simply shooting you'd be helping.
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Old March 13th, 2003, 09:09 PM   #11
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"Wouldn't anybody see if there was something he could do to help?"

And just where are you going to put your camera without it being stolen (while you are helping)?
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Old March 14th, 2003, 02:14 AM   #12
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I'd personally use the cheapest miniDV camera I owned because it's still good enough for the news and I wouldn't chance damaging my XL1S from the smoke, mist from fire hoses, or for that matter, getting sprayed by the firefighters (which has happened to me before).

I've shot plenty of news footage with my trusty ZR20 and it still looks as good or better than most news stuff. In fact, I carry it with me in my car most of the time along with a cheap Bogen 3001 fluid head tripod and Radio Shack boom mic. I've already paid for the equipment several times over by selling news footage. However, you're less likely to be run-off by the police if you have a professional looking camera like an XL1S.

As a former police officer myself, I agree with Jeff about letting the professionals do their jobs. Everyone wants to be a hero but the opportunities are VERY rare.

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Old March 14th, 2003, 07:06 AM   #13
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I can't help but get into this. Thank you all for saying "Let the pros do their work". My older son is a professional firefighter/paramedic (along with being a public saftey diver, you know, have alot to drink, fall off the boat in the middle of the lake and drown; he's the one that has to find you and bring you up), and a few other specialties as most all firefighters have. He has told me of times when the professional rescue workers have been put into jepordy because of well meaning civilians who just want to help. The stories can actually be horrifing.
Yes, in the case of 9/11 ABSOLUTLEY, do what ever you can, but otherwise the BEST thing you can do is call 911 (ironic isn't it?) and then get out of my son's way and let him do the job he has been trained to do, loves to do, is willing to do, doesn't get paid anywhere near enough to do and yet does it day after day after day.
Yes, we all want to help, but more often than not, all we manage to do is get in the way and hinder. If you see an accident, fire, problem of some sort that requires the aid of professionals, call them and then MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!
Thank you for letting me vent as the father of a professional!
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Old March 14th, 2003, 12:02 PM   #14
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As a volunteer firefighter, I certainly agree with what everyone has said about staying out of the way. We probably wouldn't mind if you helped us pack all the hose, however :)

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Old March 14th, 2003, 06:44 PM   #15
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"I've shot plenty of news footage with my trusty ZR20 and it still looks as good or better than most news stuff. In fact, I carry it with me in my car most of the time along with a cheap Bogen 3001 fluid head tripod and Radio Shack boom mic. I've already paid for the equipment several times over by selling news footage. However, you're less likely to be run-off by the police if you have a professional looking camera like an XL1S".


Hey Greg

How much have you sold your news footage for and how many times have you sold your footage?

Scott
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