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Old March 20th, 2003, 01:21 PM   #1
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Newbie Has Questions about What to Buy/Obtain

Hi...I have always been a big fan of video, and am now getting back into it (hopefully)...I'm looking to do a friends wedding for practice in just over one week. (Don't worry, she has already hired someone to do it, so she's not counting on me) I'm basically looking to get some footage to work with, get some practice on an NLE, and see how I really feel about it before I invest alot of money into it. My short term goals are to do some weddings, other live events, and hopefully make a little money on the side. I'm about 10 years out of practice, so I don't want my past love and interest in this kind of work to bias my decision, thus the "getting my feet wet" approach to all this.

On to the questions. I will be renting a camera (as I'm not ready yet to invest $2k-$3k) for this event. My current computer setup is a PIII-450mhz, w/ about 40gb(7200rpm u-ata) available, 384mb ram,64mb dual vga geforce4 440 video. While I realize this is borderline too slow, I have been told that it will do the job, but will just be very slow at alot of tasks. I do not own an NLE but was hoping to download a trial version for this project instead of buying one. My computer has nothing firewire about it, but has a couple USB ports, and a couple open PCI slots on the motherboard. What I'm hoping to get is some advice about the bare minimum hardware I need to Shoot the wedding, and capture that video to my computer before I have to return the rental camera. Basically, I want to be fully prepared to hook up that camera to my computer (via firewire cable/card/or whatever I need) and just capture that video with whatever software program I can use to do that, just so its on my computer, and I can use it in an NLE. Also some tips on maybe some free trial NLEs that I should give a spin during this process. (So far I only have noticed Edition DV and Vegas Video have free trial downloads)

I have already read several forums on what equipment i will need to actually shoot the wedding, so hopefully I will be prepared in that aspect (batteries, lights, camera, tripod, etc...) If anyone can offer some advice on what more my computer needs to capture that video (and hopefully a fairly cheap way to do so)...I would very much appreciate it. I will not necessarily be delivering this video to the B&G, but may eventually put it on dvd once I'm ready for that. I'm essentially just trying to get my feet wet, without worrying about ruining somebody's wedding video.

Thanks! and sorry for the long post...
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Old March 20th, 2003, 01:33 PM   #2
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- Clear *at least 20gb* of hard drive space. (defrag after you clear the space)
- Firewire card ($40-60).
- Firewire cable ($20-40).

It's good that you're renting. I would rent a GL1 or GL2. Anything more will be a bit too much to get into for that one day. In fact, I would recommend you rent it a day ahead to familiarize yourself with it. I don't think you would do yourself a service to get any other gear for this as this would be your first time. A tripod could be extra bulk that you have to keep an eye on. Just doing a handheld job on this would be a good learning experience.

You can download a trial version of Premiere or Vegas Video.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 04:37 PM   #3
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I see some firewire cards in the area of $20 (sometimes a bit less)...anything wrong with these cards?

Also, when it comes to capturing my video, will I basically be using whatever NLE I end up going w/ to handle that?

Thanks again for your help...
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Old March 20th, 2003, 04:50 PM   #4
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You can buy an ADS Pyro firewire card, and they normally have a free copy of Premiere- all for under $100. As far as your system, it's fine. I have done many projects with far less.

Maybe you can contact the "Hired" videographer, and arrange to swap some footage. One person is usually never everywhere they want to be, and an extra cam comes in handy.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 05:03 PM   #5
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//Also, when it comes to capturing my video, will I basically be using whatever NLE I end up going w/ to handle that?//

Premiere, Vegas will capture DV.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 05:51 PM   #6
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I've got a $20 firewire card in my system and it works great, it also came with the Firewire cable free.

Rent a tripod with a quick release so you can go handheld if you need to. No matter how small and light the camera is, you won't be able to hold it up and steady for half an hour of wedding ceremony.

I'd go with Keiths advice and rent a GL1 or GL2 the day before the shoot.
If you are going to shoot the reception, rent a small 10 or 20w on camera light (cheap and worth it).

An hour of DV is 13gb worth of HD space. Keep that in mind for editing.
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Old March 24th, 2003, 04:37 PM   #7
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...now what???

ok...so i've purchased the firewire card,...and found a great deal on a 120GB hd (8mb cache) at frye's...my computer should be ready for the footage...thanks again to everyone for their advice...

while at frye's however, i found that they actually carried the vx2000 and GL2...excited to see this, i picked up both cameras and quickly realized that I don't know how to use these things!!! (at least not the more advanced features that is, i do know what the red button does!!!) I'm supposed to be renting one on friday evening,...for use for the first time at a wedding on saturday,...and now i'm wondering if either of these cameras has an easier learning curve...or if either of these cameras is generally easier to work with? I'm technically literate, and have been reading up on white balance, iris control, focus, depth of fields, shutter speeds, etc...but when it comes to applying this info to either camera, does anyone have a preference? they both cost the same to rent (actually a vx2000 and GL1)...should i just pick one and download the user manual just to get familiar ahead of time? again, thanks to everyone for all the help!
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Old March 24th, 2003, 04:47 PM   #8
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Can't help you out on the manuals but as this is your first time you should really only shoot in whatever automatic modes that these cameras provide. You will have your hands full no matter what so you should use the default.
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Old March 24th, 2003, 05:53 PM   #9
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If you decide to get serious and have any extra cash I'd recommend upgrading your computer too. I don't know anything about MAC's, but from what I've heard they are much more geared toward the video market. Unfortunately they're also fairly expensive. If you are good with PCs though, you can get yourself a nice 2.53GHz cpu, mobo, and 512MB RAM for about $600, assuming you already have most of the peripherals (monitor, keyboard, etc.)

I did NLE with premiere 5.5 on a 550MHz computer and it was no-fun. Sure you can do it, it depends a lot on what kind of effects you use and what not. But a faster computer can cut those killer 8-15 hour renders down to 1-3 hours. And it's great for computer games too ;-)
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