DVX100B versus DVC30: Should I upgrade? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 25th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #1
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DVX100B versus DVC30: Should I upgrade?

Hi membership. I'm a new member and have a question which I need to resolve. I am starting work on my first documentary film, about a serious subject (which shall remain nameless), and I need to decide whether to buy the Panasonic DVX100B or keep my DVC30. Could you explain to me the primary differences between the two camcorders and whether I SHOULD make the jump now, before I do too much shooting. The documentary will be almost exclusively interviews and the material itself lends towards the desire for something cinematically real, even gritty; but I'm not sure about this last part yet.

To upgrade or not to upgrade? Please help.

Thank you all. Sincerely, Rob The Newbie Documetarian
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Old December 26th, 2005, 04:58 PM   #2
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how about it DV(no)INFO NET????

So 42 of you have seen my question so far, but no one cares to proffer some opinion. Before I start projecting, I will simply ask agin for your help getting some DV Info, which is clearly the name of this site. So how about some of you put me out of my misery and help a brother out???

Signed, Impatience
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Old December 26th, 2005, 05:06 PM   #3
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Hi Robert,

I already looked at this thread before, and I didn't answer because simply I have neither of these cams.
I can give you my advice, but know it's from somebody who HASN't worked with both cams.

I think the primal difference is the DVX has 1/3 chips and the DVC30 1/4.
This means less DOF, better low light performance, and capturing a bit more detail.
But my opinion is: if I read correctly the DVC30 doesn't has 24p, but some other cinematic features. The most cinematic feel, you'll get with good lighting, and postproduction color correcting and stuff.
So I think the extra money should better be in lights or mic's or better skilled people, which will make your video look a LOT better then just that camera difference.
Especially if you say your movie/documentary will be primarily interviews. For casual interviews, you really don't need the DVX100.

I hope this helped a little bit.
Good luck!
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Old December 26th, 2005, 05:10 PM   #4
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Thanks, Mathieu. I appreciate the input and it was certainly helpful. I hope to hear from the rest of the regulars before I start shooting in a week.

Happy Holidays. Rob
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Old December 27th, 2005, 02:54 AM   #5
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The 100B is a great camera, perfect for a doc maker and a step up in picture quality from the 100A. GO FOR IT!



ash =o)
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Old December 27th, 2005, 09:32 AM   #6
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robert, your post doesn't give a brutha much to work from....maybe that has a lot to do with why you didn't get much response. you should maybe work on clarifying your questions. both these cameras are very good and should do a good job, therefore you need to ask yourself, not us, a few things....

what's your budget? (if you can afford it, buy a new camera, if not, don't....)

what's your goal for this documentary? why are you shooting it? love? (don't upgrade) money? (upgrade) experience? (don't upgrade, get the experience on the perfectly viable, already-purchased camera).

what are your post-production capabilities? might be cheaper to add that gritty feel later....would you prefer to spend more time (in post) or more money (buying a better camera) on your product? is film look important? (upgrade) do you know how to achieve it in post? (don't upgrade)

how important is widescreen capability? (upgrade, i think...dunno about how the DVC30 can or cannot achieve this....)

personally, for a first documentary, i would recommend saving your money and getting some experience. unless you are richard rodriguez, and few of us are, the process of completing your first documentary will itself teach you whether you need a new camera or not. once you start shooting, you can answer the question for yourself, if you feel limited by the camera you already own. for head and shoulders interviews, shoot it with the DVC30. that's a perfectly good camera for what you're describing. experiment with different looks in post-production, where it won't cost much.

once you start doing it, instead of talking about doing it, trust me, you will be able to set your own parameters for the work you want to achieve and to answer this question for yourself. in fact, you will discover a whole glorious world of gear that you wish you owned that has nothing to do with the purchase of the camera itself. you may blow your wad on a camera and then having nothing left for an audio upgrade, for instance. what is your *overall* budget??

or, if the more expensive camera won't break your bank, trade up. hey, everyone loves a new toy!
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Old December 27th, 2005, 10:33 AM   #7
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Oh wise Meryem. Seriously, thank you for your honesty; you're right on the money. You hit the nail on the head, SHOOT FIRST, ask questions later, so to speak.

To answer some of your excellent questions, I am able to afford both the upgrade, as well as any new audio or other necessary and unnecessary TOYS. As for post-produciton, I purchased Avid Xpress Pro and related software and am going to take an Avid workshop as well as probably a 15 week workshop with Digital Film Academy in NYC, which looks like a more personalized version of the New York Film ACademy in order to get into the basics of digital filmmaking, which I am learning from scratch.

The answer is I don't mind spending the money for the upgrade AS LONG AS it provides me with a better, GRITTIER, MORE POWERFUL look for the documentary. But, frankly, I still have NO IDEA what type of shooting settings CAUSE that GRITTIER, MORE POWERFUL "look", and if you care to tell me about that, then I would be appreciative.

So I am a real novice, which explains my general original posit in my first and post to DVINFO.

Any further thoughts and comments for this novice, therefore, will continue to be both appreciated and helpful.

Thanks and I look forward to contrinuting more to this site.

Sincerely, Rob
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Old December 27th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #8
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if you can provide an example of the look you're after, like a jpeg or something, or even name a film/video which implements a look that you intend to imitate, then that is the best way to get a clear answer. someone who uses panasonic products or avid express will be able to help you.

if money is no object and you have the resources, i'd buy the camera. why wouldn't you? something must be stopping you, or you would not have asked the question in the first place, you would have just gone ahead and bought the camera. seems worth examining the reasons *not* to buy before you take the plunge.....i imagine these inter-cut well, so why not both?

personally, i never regret camera purchases, i own more than my share of them. but i have a drawer full of other miscellany which i can't explain away. garage sale, anyone?

i apologize if you felt pestered by my response. it was not my intent. but name-calling the community ("dv-no-info net") does not seem a good way to introduce yourself.....
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Old December 27th, 2005, 11:34 AM   #9
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Meryem, I didn't feel pestered by your reply. Rather, I felt challenged to become more clear on what I was asking as well as WHY I even posed the question. And for the record, I apologize for my (slightly) sarcastic comment about the site; unnecessary.

Your suggestions are again great. I am going to locate the type of "look" I want to FEEL in my film and get back to you and the site about it. Second, I was thinking perhaps to keep the DVC30 AND buy the DVX100B. Let me ask you this, what are the benefits of having a two camera shoot for a standard interview??
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Old December 27th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #10
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I don't think you'd have more benefits if it deals about a casual standard interview, only more tape wast...

BTW: somebody here told you, if you need widescreen you should go for the DVX100. I don't know about the DVC30 but the DVX100 DOESN'T has native widescreen, it's letterboxed.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #11
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it's certainly not essential, but if you have a 2nd operator, you can get different angles on the interviewee or long v. close-up. keeps the conventional head and shoulders interview from becoming boring. also, it can be a 2nd audio source, since the most problems stemming from head and shoulders interviews are audio-related more than image-related...and boy, you can expect plenty of those! it is hard to re-interview a subject, you never get as good an interview the second time, so if your audio fails somehow, it usually really SUCKS!

when you start out, schedule your least important interviews first, so you can grasp the difficulties of running the camera, the sound, and conducting the interview simultaneously, if you are going it alone. it's not easy the first few times. then it gets easier. maybe practice on friends, where it doesn't matter if you are screwing it up. a dedicated sound person is better than a 2nd cam operator, if you have to choose.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 01:29 PM   #12
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"least important interviews first". THAT is a great suggestion. Are you familiar with any books or web articles which can offer suggestions and other similar information for my purposes.

I am very glad I found this site. DVINFO (laden) dot net. :-)
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Old December 27th, 2005, 01:30 PM   #13
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what is the yellow and red YIELD sign on the bottom left of all posts other than mine on this thread?
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Old December 27th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #14
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I think it has to do with if somebody is online at the moment or not.
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