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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old December 8th, 2003, 01:58 PM   #1
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What "peripheral" apparatus with DVX?

--De-Lurk--

Dear People,
This is my first post, after many months of faithfull lurking, so please forgive any etiquette mistakes. I don't even know if I am posting to the correct forum, but I think so.

Well, I decided on the camera and that's a very good first step:
A DVX-100A PAL (I know, I'll wait a little more for this little "A" on the name).
Now the questions are, more or less, inevitable:

-What microphone, in order to shoot interviews by myself and from a small distance, like standing in front of the subject? Will a ME-66 work? What wireless system for lavaliers? Generally speaking, what about the sound, considering I will _not_ have a sound engineer when shooting (I'm kind of an "orchestra-man").

-What tripod system? Anyone using the Sachtlers, which have a very good reputation into the broadcast TV world, where I am living?

-What 16:9 lens, what wideangle lens/adapter? Are the Century Optics worth the (high) price?

-Finally, any other paraphernalia that you'd recommend for a good starter pack, ready to go out and shoot the world?

The whole thing will be mainly used for documentary making and/or newsgathering. Chris Hurd may remember my (many and probably annoying) emails asking him, more or less, the same questions -but there wasn't any DVX100 back then.

Thank you all in advance for patience and replies...

-Sotiris.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 01:21 AM   #2
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The Century .6 is GREAT!
The head of the tripod is more important than the legs. Go for the more expensive fluid head... I went for the moderately priced 503 over the less expensive 501 that wasn't fluid. I'm happy with it. I got a nice set of bogen double pole legs... stable and most important, fast and easy to work.
Filters are good... a polarizer is nice to have and a DV deck if you plan to edit in house. Don't use the camera other than to transfer your cam original field footage once.
That being said... LIGHTS next...
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Old December 10th, 2003, 12:09 PM   #3
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The ME-66 is a great mic for the money. I would almost say ideal for the interview shoot. If you won't have anyone available as a sound-operator, you'll either have to set up the mic on a stand and hope your talent doesn't move too much during the interview, or use a lav. Don't use the mic mounted on the camera; this will sound about as good as the built-in camera mic (in other words: bad). If you can wrangle someone to be your sound slave, a boom operator is really the way to get the best sound recording.

As for tripods, what Dale said is right. I also have the 503 head, and it works beautifully. I haven't tried out the Sachtlers, so I can't commment on those.

Panasonic makes a great 16:9 widescreen adapter, from what I've heard. If you do a search on it here somebody posted some great samples of comparisons between 4:3 and 16:9 using that adapter. However, if what you're doing is intended for television viewing only, not for transfer to film or something like that, the DVX100's built in letterbox actually produces very good results. In my opinion, the 16:9 adapter is only marginally better when viewed on a TV, and doesn't justiy the focusing hassles, or the $800 price tag.

The DVX100 comes with a fairly wide-capable lens, so you may not need an additional wide-angle lens from Century Optics, unless you're going for extreme wide shots or fish-eye effects. The best way to determine if you need a wide-angle lens is to visit a store that has the DVX100 on display, and test it out yourself. You might find that the built-in lens is plenty wide for your needs.

Other equipment I find necesssary is a remote zoom controller. Varizoom has the StealthDVX, and there are other brands also. I can't imagine shooting without my Varizoom on my DVX. Also, get a good polarizing filter, for those outdoor shots, and one or two spare batteries are absolutely necesssary.

Best of luck!
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Old December 10th, 2003, 12:48 PM   #4
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Dear Dale, Jaime,

Thank you for your prompt reply and for the very useful suggestions.
Two things only:
A) When we're talking about "503 head" -is that a Bogen, or what?
B) There MUST be somewhere in this world a microphone, which can give really good results while being mounted on the camera body, from a distance of about 1 meter or more. I've seen it happen, on a broadcast (Betacam SP) Sony camera and the mic was a Senheiser, a "gun" type -but apart from these I cannot remember anything else about it. Of course, if it's going to cost an arm and a leg, I will make do without it, but if it comes with a reasonable price it would be nice to have it.
C) (well, that was 3 things, after all) Varizoom controller: why? Is the built-in zoom so bad, or is the Varizoom so good? Does it make such a difference?

Thanks again for all the info,

-s.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 12:55 PM   #5
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There was a thread in this forum a couple days ago about an issue with the ME-66 microphone and the DVX100. Check that one out to know more about it.

For a tripod I've bought the PRO-5 from Vinten. Nice price and it works fine for me. The fluid head works well.

I have no experience with the Varizoom. I have experience with the build in zoom functions and with my (little) experience I think that the zoom is not so smooth in slow zoomings as you would like. It's like it's speed isn't the same during zooming. And I don't think it's my hand causing that. A Varizoom via the remote control could be a nice option.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 02:54 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Sotiris Damatopoulos :
A) When we're talking about "503 head" -is that a Bogen, or what?-->>>

Yes, it's the Bogen 503.

<<<-- C) (well, that was 3 things, after all) Varizoom controller: why? Is the built-in zoom so bad, or is the Varizoom so good? Does it make such a difference -->>>

The zoom button on the DVX is fine, except for the fact that it's ON the DVX. When you have your camera on a tripod, one hand is controling the focus ring on the lens, and the other hand is on the tripod's handle, controling the camera's movements (pans, tilts, etc.). To try and teach the zoom button is difficult at best, plus it could make the camera shake or vibrate during the shoot. Having a Varizoom or other zoom control on the tripod's handle means you can zoom, pan, and focus without moving the position of your hands. You can also pause and record from the same Varizoom on the handle... Believe me, it makes a world of a difference, plus it's much easier to do a smooth, slow zoom with a Varizoom than with the on-board zoom buttonss, or God-forbid, the zoom ring on the lens itself!
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Old December 10th, 2003, 03:06 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Sotiris Damatopoulos : B) There MUST be somewhere in this world a microphone, which can give really good results while being mounted on the camera body, from a distance of about 1 meter or more. I've seen it happen, on a broadcast (Betacam SP) Sony camera and the mic was a Senheiser, a "gun" type -but apart from these I cannot remember anything else about it. Of course, if it's going to cost an arm and a leg, I will make do without it, but if it comes with a reasonable price it would be nice to have it.-->>>

Well, I just know that mounting a good mic on a camera really won't improve the sound quality too much, since all you're getting is the ambient noise (and possibly some of the camera's motor noise as well). When you put the mike one to two feet from the person's mouth is when you get crystal clear sound that doesn't sound like a home movie. Either use the ME66 on a boom or a stand, or use a lav mic setup. This doesn't mean you won't hear anything if you mount it on the camera; you'll probably hear the dialogue perfectly well. Only it will sound about as good as the mic that came with the DVX.

There's no easy way around it. This is why there are people that make a career out of boom operating and sound engineering. Recording good audio is just as complicated as recording good video. Your best bet is to find a friend that will help you with sound recording.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 05:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the information, people.
I think will follow your advice, especially regarding the Varizoom. And the tripod. And the microphone. And the lights. And the batteries. Maybe add to all these and a PortaBrace bag. And some filters. And I need more money than I thought. Oh, well. That's life. One gets what one pays for...

-s.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 10:57 PM   #9
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Sotiris--I'm also producing (or finishing producing) a feature-length documentary using the DVX100. In response to your questions:

1. I use the ME66 and have found it to be excellent. You will want to buy a shock mount for it that can attach to the hot shoe on the camera. Remember, closer is better as far as mic placement, but you can still get fairly good results with this mic even at a distance (I also do not have a sound man). HOWEVER, for interviews I highly recommend purchasing a C-Stand (Century Stand) which you can use as a "boom operator." I got an Avenger model from BH Photo for $150 and it has proven invaluable.

2. For wireless mics I use the Sennheiser Evo100 series. These have given me very good sound, though their range isn't as good as more expensive mics. The audio quality is very good and the build quality cannot be beat--extremely durable for doc/ENG work. Around $500 for body pack transmitter, receiver, and XLR plug in transmitter from BH Photo.

3. I use an old Miller tripod and think it is fantastic--better than many modern tripods. Everyone is right about the head--invest in a good fluid one.

4. The one item I can't live without is my Portabrace bag for the DVX100. DEFINITELY get one of these, you will not regret it (about $190). I can put everything in this bag (including DVX100 with ME66 mounted in shock mount).

6. For lighting I purchased the Lowel DV Creator Kit, though sometimes I think it's more than I need and depending on what you're shooting you may not need it.

7. Headphones: I use industry standard Sony MDR-7506.

5. Only use Panasonic MQ tapes. Worth the extra money.

I think that's it. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck!

Peter
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Old December 12th, 2003, 10:59 PM   #10
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For micing interviews--I use the ME66 with C stand placed as close as possible to subject (just out of frame) and assign to one channel and also mic with lav and assign to other channel. This mix has given me excellent sound, impressing even sound professionals with much more expensive equipment.

Peter
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