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Old May 27th, 2007, 04:56 PM   #16
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Bill, Steve -you both put so much time and thought into your replies. Thank you, it is well appreciated. I couldn't ask for better answers.

I have alot of questions so please forgive my minimal knowledge of some concepts.

Steve - Thank you for describing the external recorders. To verify, with the proper timecode output capable camera (G1 or H1), an external recorder syncs with the camera and the audio is integrated into the film? I suppose that this external recorder allows little space for failure in obtaining quality sound correct?

What I am looking for is the equipment capable of doing all these things. I am happy that you picked up on that. Thank you for bringing the G1's Jackpack to my attention. I was very skeptical at first as to what the importance of that specific feature was and why it is 2k more than the A1 simply because of it. I am beginning to see its importance. The G1 is a mini camera with the capabilities of some of the higher end models. This is what I have gathered...

So you think the Tascam is good for a semi small budget? or does the Sound Devices 702T etc... fall into the same price range?

Bill - I see your point and am overwhelmed by its reality. You are right, in order to create the quality film I admire, I must have a facet of professionals specializing in all areas of my film. However, I persist. I believe that it is better to shoot higher than lower so that my results are atleast moderate. I realize that I will not be able to create a film with NG quality by myself, but I can atleast try with hopes that I will land some were in the middle. Better than giving up.

Bill you've been a great help. Thank you sir
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Old May 27th, 2007, 05:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Bill, Steve -you both put so much time and thought into your replies. Thank you, it is well appreciated. I couldn't ask for better answers.

I have alot of questions so please forgive my minimal knowledge of some concepts.

Steve - Thank you for describing the external recorders. To verify, with the proper timecode output capable camera (G1 or H1), an external recorder syncs with the camera and the audio is integrated into the film? I suppose that this external recorder allows little space for failure in obtaining quality sound correct?

What I am looking for is the equipment capable of doing all these things. I am happy that you picked up on that. Thank you for bringing the G1's Jackpack to my attention. I was very skeptical at first as to what the importance of that specific feature was and why it is 2k more than the A1 simply because of it. I am beginning to see its importance. The G1 is a mini camera with the capabilities of some of the higher end models. This is what I have gathered...

So you think the Tascam is good for a semi small budget? or does the Sound Devices 702T etc... fall into the same price range?

...
The Tascam is ~ $1000, the SD 702T a little over $2000, and the SD 744T a little over $4000.

There are two problems associated with using separate recorders for the picture (camcorder) and the audio. The first is establishing a matchup point to align the separate audio and video recordings (to be aligned in post) and the second is to make sure that the playback times of 1 minute of recorded video and 1 minute of recorded audio match exactly down to the 1/60th of a second time interval over the longest shot you're going to record. Easy to do over a 1 minute shot; hard to do preserve over a 1 hour shot. There are a variety of methods used to accomplish this at varying levels of precision but a having a camera that can output timecode makes the whole process much more straightforward. Having one that can receive timecode and also external sync makes it even easier to establish a workflow that serves your needs.

If I can be so bold, and please don't take offense, but you need to decide if your role is to be that of cinematographer or of producer/director. As a cinematographer you're less concerned with content and more concerned with how it is captured and expressed. As a producer, you are concerned with content and you hire a director of photography and a sound recordist and they coordinate between themselves the optimal mix of equipment necessary to deliver the final product. Now there's no reason you can't wear several hats but if you do, try to keep in mind the heirarchy of priorities. The post production workflow and the final release formats will determine all these equipment choices and trying to choose equipment before making those decisions is putting the cart before the horse.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #18
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Steve - None taken. I was actually hoping to get enough knowledge to make executive decisions in all positions. But in order to get the knowledge, I must either attend classes or simply work with the equipment myself. It sounds like a lost cause, but I never surrender. Thus, I am hoping to teach myself (with the aid of some friends who are also interested in film) the tricks of the trade. I believe that it will not be to long before we are able to atleast make short docs. My ultimate goal is of corse the film for Angel Mounds. The short docs will be training but I want to eliminate excess expenses like buying a cheaper camera now to learn with. I would like to make sure that I already have the equipment that it takes, or atleast the camera. The other stuff that we are discussing can wait until I am better equip (mentally) to handel film of this calaber.

With more money will come the things like a boom mic, external recorders etc..
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Old May 28th, 2007, 04:24 AM   #19
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Steve - None taken. I was actually hoping to get enough knowledge to make executive decisions in all positions. But in order to get the knowledge, I must either attend classes or simply work with the equipment myself. It sounds like a lost cause, but I never surrender. Thus, I am hoping to teach myself (with the aid of some friends who are also interested in film) the tricks of the trade. I believe that it will not be to long before we are able to atleast make short docs. My ultimate goal is of corse the film for Angel Mounds. The short docs will be training but I want to eliminate excess expenses like buying a cheaper camera now to learn with. I would like to make sure that I already have the equipment that it takes, or atleast the camera. The other stuff that we are discussing can wait until I am better equip (mentally) to handel film of this calaber.

With more money will come the things like a boom mic, external recorders etc..
Not a thing wrong with that approach - in fact, it's the one I use. Just bear in mind that cheapest options at the start are often the most expensive in the long run and a few more dollars spent up front gives you a much longer service life in the end. It is far more expensive to replace equipment one has grown out of too quickly than it is to buy the better gear from the outset.

Boom mics, etc, are not optional accessories though an external recorder for double system sound can be deferred until later - many a video has been shot single-system recording in camera. But no matter how you cut it, for decent sound your mic MUST get off of the camera and up within a few feet of the talent - there's simply no work around for that, the physics of acoustics make it so. A sound kit consisting of a good quality light-weight boom pole, shock mount, wind screen, a decent field mixer such as a Sound Devices 302, proper headphones, and at least a) a hypercardioid mic such as an Audio Technica 4053a or AKG SE300/ck93, and b)a good quality short shotgun mic such as a Sennheiser MKH416 (as a mid-priced example), should be considered as vital a part of your startup kit as the camera itself. A quality tripod with fluid head likewise is something else that goes hand-in-glove with the camera and simply can't be deferred to later.
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Last edited by Steve House; May 28th, 2007 at 04:58 AM.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 05:47 AM   #20
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Terry here is the link so you can check it out, http://www.caithnessarchaeology.org.uk/fieldwork.html

As for why i chose the HD100, yes the HD stands for High definition but it is HDV which is the very basic entry level HD, some orginisations do not consider it to be HD like the BBC, as steve says they only allow 15% in their programming. The reason i chose it is simply because i liked the ergonomics over the other cams, it is more like a traditional broadcast layout. Even although some orginisations consider HDV to be standard def, in HDV mode it still produces superior images to SD mode which can then be downconverted to SD. Another major reason i chose it is it is because (this might sound vein ) it looks very impressive when you have a matte box, rails, the IDX kit and the DR100 hard drive attached. People feel they are getting their moneys worth if they see a lot of impressive gear.

The Tascam is just a seperate audio recorder, the boom and or lapel mics goes into a mixer (which i forgot to list) and then the mixer goes into the DAT via XLR cables, the me66 boom mic is my second choice due to the cost of the senheisser 416 which is £400 dearer (if i had it i would shell out in a minute). Now I am a camera operator and editor, although i did do some sound at college i am by no means an expert in sound, steve is the man to listn to in that department, he knows his stuff. I do however know the problems that sound causes and how hard it is to get it right and for that reason i have my own sound engineers so i don't have to worry about it. The tascam i have is becoming obsolete, now they have solid state recorders which saves your recorded audio as a computer file internaly. In post you then capture or download your audio and then bring it in to your editing timeline, i know a lot of people swear by timecode and if you have a lot of cameras fiming i'd agree but i have never found the need for it, i line up my DAT audio with the audio from the cameras on board mic and i sink it by ear.

As for the crew you saw filming, i can't imagine why they would have the boom going to the DAT and another cable going to the camera, there is no reason that i can think of for attaching the DAT to the camera.

The best advice i can give is to get a pro to do your audio, it will make things a hundred times easier on you.

Again i hope it helps you out

Andy.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 07:55 AM   #21
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...

As for the crew you saw filming, i can't imagine why they would have the boom going to the DAT and another cable going to the camera, there is no reason that i can think of for attaching the DAT to the camera.
...
I can think of two scenarios ...

1) They were recording sound in camera and what was thought to be an audio recorder was actually a mixer/preamp to control levels etc.

2) It was a recorder and the cable to the camera was actually going the other way, sending timecode from the camera to the recorder.

Just FYI - the Tascam we've been talking about, the HD-P2, is not a DAT but rather a file-based recorder going to internal CF cards, recording in Broadcast Wave (BWF) file format.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #22
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Terry,

Reading your posts, it seems as though you have several needs you wish to be fulfilled.

You have a need to become a filmmaker.
You have a need to tell the story of THIS particular archeological dig.
You have a need to produce a documentary for educating the public on this site.

If I am reading between the lines correctly, you are searching for a strategy that will fulfill all of those needs. But you haven't given us some of the parameters that might define the limits of the correct strategy.

What is your budget?
What is your TIMELINE?

For instance, does the documentary have to be completed by a specific date? If so, then the strategy for teaching yourself documentary filmmaking on a budget, might not fullfill the need for delivering a quality product on time. Not conflicting needs mind you, but conflicting STRATEGIES. Can you become skilled enough in the limited TIME and MONEY your schedule allows? Are you going to miss certain key elements of the dig, while you are learning to run the equipment? Are parts of the story going to pass you by, while you fumble with the natural mistake of the learning process?

Please state some of these parameters, and perhaps we can assist you in meeting all of your goals. It might be, that you HIRE a crew, and ASSIST them, thereby getting your need for a quality documentary met, even as you LEARN from professionals how best to do what you want to do on the next project?

Just some thoughts.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 11:42 AM   #23
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Steve - To make sure I understand this concept, when you refer to double system sound you do mean the camera's stock mic and the external recorder (tascam, sound mixer) correct? I am trying to understand this process once you get the captured film in post. Is the audio seperately recorded into one of these external recorders which must then be synced in post? Or does the sound automatically get recorded onto the film from the recorder?

A boom pole isn't to much right..like about $400? I've seen them on Ebay for $100 and it includes everything you listed (boom pole, shock mount, wind screen).
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Old May 28th, 2007, 11:58 AM   #24
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Andy - Thank you for the link.

So the HD100 is HDV but not to the extent of say the XH A1/G1? I didn't know there were different grades of HD.

you've got me interested in the HD100 now. I looked it up and it looks like a very nice camera. I like the LCD screen on the side. A camera of that body style dosn't look like it should have an LCD screen but it works. I also like it better (than the XH A1) because it has the ability to change lenses. I do not know very much about JVC though and their lens options. I've been doing alot of research on Canon cameras and know the extent of their lense arsenal for the XL2. Since I am going to be shooting alot of landscapes, I am going to need a wide angle lense. What options do I have if I went with the HD100?

Thanks Andy.

-Terry.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #25
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Steve - To make sure I understand this concept, when you refer to double system sound you do mean the camera's stock mic and the external recorder (tascam, sound mixer) correct? I am trying to understand this process once you get the captured film in post. Is the audio seperately recorded into one of these external recorders which must then be synced in post? Or does the sound automatically get recorded onto the film from the recorder?

A boom pole isn't to much right..like about $400? I've seen them on Ebay for $100 and it includes everything you listed (boom pole, shock mount, wind screen).
One refers to sound recording workflows as single-system or double-system. In single-system the sound is recorded internally in the camera on the tape right along side the picture. That's the default, basic, consumer camcorder setup. In double-system, the pictures are recorded on tape in the camera while the sound is recorded on a separate sound recorder. Some common reference mark, like banging clapsticks together in front of the camera so you can see the sticks hit on the picture as you hear the 'bang' in the soundtrack allows you to line them up in post. With double system you might just not bother turning on the sound recording ability of the camera at all, or you might choose to let it still record using the on-camera mic. In the latter case you probably wouldn't actually use the resulting sound track on the tape, instead replacing it with the higher quality soundtrack from the separate recorder but having it can make aligning the sound you're going to use with the picture a bit easier (and there's nothing wrong with having an insurance policy just in case). It's single when there's one recorder for both picture and sound and 'double' when there's two recorders, one dedicated to picture and the other to sound. Virtually all film-based motion picture shooting is double system, while there were sound film cameras made for newsreel shooting back in the WWII-1950's era and also some sound Super-8 cameras in the 60's, they're all long gone by now except in the hands of a few enthusiasts.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #26
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Richard - My budget varies. Its pretty much whenever I have the money or can get a grant.

I'm simply doing this film for myself and for the public. There is no due date.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #27
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Terry, there is not much diffirence in picture quality between the various prosumer HDV brands, some people preffer canon some JVC or Sony or panasonic. the only thing is that all of these brands have developed their own flavours of HDV which means you can't shoot HDV on a panasonic and play it on a JVC deck etc.I personnally think format wars are pointless, you can sleep safe in the knowlage that whatever cam you choose in this range will give you equally good images.

It is worth doing some research into the post production workflows of each camera because HDV has its bugs, its a reasonably new format and it takes some getting used to (at least in my experience with the HD100).

There are a few cameras in JVC's HDV range now, the origional HD100 , the HD110, the HD200 and the HD250 for the diffirences between them you can look them up (if i had to buy one it would be the 200 because the main diffirence between it and the 250 is that the 250 has the facility to be used in a live studio situation which i cant see myself needing). As for the lens options there are many of them however they are very expensive......the wide angle costs $6,600 ,check it out at B&H http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...arch&Q=*&bhs=t

Anyway i'm starting to sound like a JVC rep! all the brands are good, if you like the canon layout try the XL-H1 which has interchangable lens options as well.

Andy.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #28
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the only thing is that all of these brands have developed their own flavours of HDV which means you can't shoot HDV on a panasonic and play it on a JVC deck etc.
I know this is probably a common term among the film community, however I do not know its definition. What is a "deck"? and if you could, elaborate a bit more on the concept.

For post production, I was considering Avid, but what Avid program to get is another story and question to ask the experts. The editing of the film is where I want to make most of the executive decisions. What shots to edit, include/not include etc.. I would like to stick with Canon but the XL H1 is a bit to expensive for my budget right now. I had the XL2 for about a week that I bought used. Needless to say I had to send it back. I would love to stick with the XL2 but it is SD only, so I decided to go with the XH A1. That would be a good choice for my budget but it seams that the A1 does not have the output jacks that is included with the G1/H1. If I had the money I wouldn't think twice about buying the H1. So for now, I either have to gain enough money for the G1 or find another camera, which is why I was asking about the HD100, but I found out that it is alittle over my price range as well.

Thank you Andy for talking with me about my situation.

-Terry.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 06:17 PM   #29
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I know this is probably a common term among the film community, however I do not know its definition. What is a "deck"? and if you could, elaborate a bit more on the concept.
A deck is just a VCR, you get SD decks And HD or HDV decks ( http://www.libraprobroadcast.co.uk/prodimages/hd50e.jpg ). when it comes to standard def you can shoot mini dv and it will play on any mini dv deck regardless of the make however when it comes to HDV because there are different ways of recording it (jvc's 720p 19mps or sony's 1080i 25mbs) you can't for instance use a sony deck to play JVC HDV, in the article below it tells you a bit about HDV1 and HDV2 at the bottom

http://www.hdvinfo.net/

I have never used Avid so i can't comment on them however the impression i am getting is that they are falling behind in the technology race and folks are getting very angry with them whereas apples Final cut pro 6 looks to be very interesting with a whole new color correction programe , new 3d workspace in the programme "motion" and new uprezing technology for upconverting SD to HD so you may want to look into that.

As for the camera prices maybe a second hand XL-H1 might fit the bill.

Andy.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #30
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I'm sorry, I hope you don't mind but could you explain what a deck is used for? I've done alittle reading on it and what I have concluded was that the deck is for recording (copying) footage from your miniDV tapes to..something? Most of the information was advertisments about a product..

Btw what is NTSC and PAL video?

-Terry.
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