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Old February 8th, 2012, 07:39 PM   #556
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

George,
That might be a possibility, however, the camcorder is only a few weeks old, and has hardly been used.
Denny
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Old February 9th, 2012, 03:04 AM   #557
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Have you got one of the the 'Instant On' features enabled?

Not with the TM900 right now/about to start a shoot with the EX3 but there are two different types of "fast on" settings in the Menu somewhere. Forgot what they are called exactly.

One of them closes the lens cover as soon as you close the LCD (and opens it as soon as you open the LCD). This is the one I use as it's so useful. However, the other leaves the lens cover open all the time with the camera in standy mode (perhaps until you have a camera Auto off timer set point), at which point it will close. Maybe that's what's going on with yours??? Just thinking out aloud - look in the Manual for the details as I may have remembered the names wrong!

Hope this helps!

UPDATE: Back at home now. What I mentioned is on page 43 of the TM900 handbook and is in fact called 'Quick Power On'. The other option (the one I use often when out and about) is called 'Quick Start'. No idea if the 'Quick Power On' is related to your problem Dennis - but let's hope it's as simple as that.
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; February 9th, 2012 at 01:55 PM.
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Old February 9th, 2012, 09:53 AM   #558
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Freeman View Post
2. What auxillary microphone is best used with this camcorder?
Hi Dennis,

in my basic setup, I am using either audio-technica PRO 24 CM for ambient sound, or Sony ECM-CG50 shotgun mic.

You can also use Rode NTG-2 shotgun but that requires an adapter box like JuicedLink CX211.
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Old February 9th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #559
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I'm using the Nikon ME-1 after reading that it's a stereo and powered from camera, as opposed to VideoMicPro which is only mono and has to be powered.

The Nikon is also about half the price of the VideoMicPro. (Just checked Jessops site in UK where I got mine for £79 and found it's gone up to £119 !!!!!!

Have a look back through this thread at the index on page 32 for mics.

Thanks to Andy for all the time he's taken with this thread.

Peter
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Old February 9th, 2012, 11:51 AM   #560
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Dennis. Thanks for taking the time to put down the instructions for the audio level set screen. I have read through them and I'm still not sure that I totally understand how all this works. In particular, I'm not sure that I fully understand what is going on when you dial down the audio level to -12dB and then highlight the AGC button. Is the AGC that is in operation at this point being given a target level that is lower than 0dB? From my simple experiments it does seem to work this way. If you dial down the level to -12dB, then highlight AGC, then the audio level as displayed on the audio meter never seems to go above about 4 bars down from the red zone. If however, you set the level at 0dB, then turn on AGC, then the audio level as displayed on the audio meter hangs out several bars higher.

What these experiments suggest is that the level that you set in the audio level screen does affect the AGC that you get when you highlight the yellow button. However, this audio level setting does not appear to affect the AGC that you get when you shoot in full auto mode. I've never had an "adjustable" AGC on any camera that I've owned, at least not that I was aware of. I'm not sure how you would use it. By turning down the target level for the target volume of the AGC, do you lower the amount of amplification that occurs during the dead periods? It would take more precise experiments than I have made to figure out if this is the case. The raising of the background noise during dead periods is what really makes AGC an issue for many applications, so limiting the maximum amplification during these periods might really be useful.

The bottom line is that I'm not convinced that I fully understand what happens when the level is turned down and AGC is enabled, and more importantly, when I might best use this feature vs full manual or full auto. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old February 9th, 2012, 10:54 PM   #561
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy,
You were spot on with your recommedation. It was one of the instant on settings that was the culprit. I changed it back, and the cover opens when the LCD panel is opened, and closes when I close it.
Thanks again for the input.
Denny
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Old February 10th, 2012, 04:42 AM   #562
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Alan,

As regards the audio level adjustment on the TM900 and the associated AGC button, I am using two different mics with my camera depending on how I use it. When I need as small and unobtrusive a set up as possible I use a mono Video Mic Pro, otherwise for stereo sound and much better wind protection I use a combination of an Edirol stereo CS50 mic with Rode WS6 windgag plus a JuicedLink pre-amp to provide phantom voltage.

To get the best signal to noise ratio I have the output of both of these mics set to maximum and the camera's audio level dialed down to -12dB so that the the preamp in the camera is contributing as little "noise" as possible.I don't use the AGC, I don't want that "pumping" sound, I find my -12dB setting covers me against overload most of the time for what I do. This took some experimenting with near and far sound sources to get right, more important to guard against overload than weak sound which can be sorted during editing.

The only snag to this is if I quickly grab the "bare" camera with no external mic then due to the -12dB setting I get pretty weak sound but amazingly it's still usable in my NLE, don't care for the camera's fan noise though.

Without the vital audio levels adjustment in this camera one it would not be so useful, I am delighted with the audio I am getting from the Edirol CS50 mic, not so much the Rode Video Mic Pro, thinking about selling this one since it's impossible to wind proof it properly.
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Old February 11th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #563
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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Originally Posted by George Taylor View Post
Well, as with Carol, I'm happy to report I'm back from my eight weeks in Africa (Chad). In due course, I'll write about my experiences in the Home Away From Home thread. But i want to report that I had tremendous success with the TM900 (at least I think so; I hope the more professional amongst you might critique after I can post some visual results).

Here's a rundown of the equipment I used and some of my first impressions:
- TM900 w/one each extra 130 and 260 batteries and sundry 120V/240V and 12V chargers
- Raynox .66 wide angle adapter (I am sooooooo glad I invested in this!)
- 72mm B&W polarizer from my D200 that fit the Raynox
- Azden SGM2X mic w/Stormblack windsocks, 2ft and 30ft. Audiotek cables, and CAVision fiberglass collapsible boom pole
- JuicedLink CX211 2 XLR audio adapter
- CamCaddie with accessories (priceless for kids and other low-level shots)
- 12 32GB class 6 and class 10 SDHC cards (Patriot, Lexar, and Transcend)
- 126 LED light
- HP DM1z Netbook loaded w/Panny software and USB DVD writer w/25 blank DVDs
- Manfrotto /Bogen 394 tripod w/Integrated Video/Photo head
- Kata 3N1-22 Sling Backpack w/tripod holder accessory

My friends who have seen the raw footage played from the camcorder directly to my 60” Samsung HDTV are awestruck by the clarity, brightness, and crispness of the images. I shot everything in 1080/60P, almost all of it using IA with AIS on, except when using the tripod. Like Carol, I found it too cumbersome and error-prone to try making manual adjustments on the fly.

Hello

And I’m not sure if they would have improved my images. Most of my shooting was in a village during the daytime, and the IA worked fine. I don’t see over-exposure in those shots, although, I will definitely welcome some more expert opinion in due course. I also found the exposure adjusted very quickly when I moved into different light situations.

Aside from the indelible memories of the beauty and kindness of the people of the village, the things that stick most in my mind are the shots I missed – either because my camcorder was not at hand or because of mistakes made in the heat of the moment. Examples – boy driving two oxen pulling a sled at a gallop across a setting sun (I was peeing when I realized what I was missing), twelve kids of varying heights passing by with a long, woven rattan fence hoisted over their heads looking for all the world like a human caterpillar (camcorder was in my room 100 yards away), and many more. For a while, I agonized over those missed shots; now that I’ve seen what I did get, I’m more philosophical about losing them. You can’t win ‘em all!

I used the tripod only twice, but it was worth the effort. We interviewed the three village teachers about the trials and tribulations of teaching six grades in an open air environment. Also, I took a five-minute shot of the setting sun – at or near the equator, it goes down very fast and actually disappears in the haze before it hits the horizon. I read the discussions on this thread about focusing directly into the sun, but at that low level, the intensity did not harm the image nor, I hope, the sensors.

The professionals among you will cringe when I report that I didn’t back up my cards to my netb0ook, as was my plan. It wasn’t for want of trying. The first upload did not work, and I got “recovering data” and other scary messages during the attempt. So I decided to wait and not tempt fate in the field where I had no good advice to follow. I came back with 10 full 32 GB cards and no backup. However, my netbook was a great source of entertainment for the villagers because I had loaded a bunch of African jazz and pop music as well as videos, and someone produced a couple of DVDs taken at the village a few years previously.

I will report more later on my success (or lack thereof) with the external mic and other gear. Also, I’ll upload some images –even if they are only still shots – as soon as I figure out how to do it.

My profound thanks to everyone on this thread who directly or indirectly provided invaluable advice in the months before my trip.

Finally, to Carol – I certainly understand what you must have felt and probably are still feeling emotionally about Africa and especially the people. This was my return to Africa after a 40 year absence, and it confirmed to me that I hadn’t just suffered some sort of immature emotional reaction when I left the first time those many years ago. I always knew I had to go back, and I’m confident you will return also. I don’t know who wrote it – I read it a long time ago, and I like to think it was Hemingway – but someone said no one can leave Africa without having been profoundly affected by it.

Aside from all that, Africa is a photographer’s dreamscape.
Hi George

I read iin your post that you are using a Manfrotto /Bogen 394 tripod w/Integrated Video/Photo head. I would be very interested to know your opinion on it. Obviously it is not a fluid head but neither does it seem to be too heavy to take it a lot of places on foot. I am looking for something in proportion to the SD 900 that id not overkill.

All the best

Mark
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Old February 11th, 2012, 09:19 AM   #564
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Mark:

No, it is not a fluid head, and I wondered whether that would be a drawback, but it turned out not to be, for the purposes I was using it for. And I guess that's the caveat I would add. It was great for steadiying the cam for interviews and sunset-type shots. I don't know how well it would perform in professional panning situations. I panned with it only during the interviews, where therre were three subjects and I moved from one interviewee to another in close-up. No problem with that. I did like the relative lightness and collapsed length. Also the quick-release leg clamps were helpful. I did have to get used to the fact that I couldn't rotate the camcorder 90 degrees on the quick-release head like I can with a DSLR, so I was limited in where I could work the levers and controls. (Maybe that's a problem with all camcorder/tripod setups?)

All in all, I was very happy with this lower-cost full-sized tripod for my amateur use in limited situations. About panning, I did find that I got pretty darned good at panning without the tripod, thanks to the great AIS and, in some situations, using the CamCaddy.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 11:03 AM   #565
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

>>TM900 equipment bag/case?

What bag works best for your TM900 + accessories? I carry my stuff around (camera, mics, LED light, audio recorder etc.) in an aluminum briefcase which works fine locally (easy access to everything in it) but isn't most practical for an outback trip. Any solutions?

Adrian
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Old February 17th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #566
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Bearing in mind that camera bags are very personal things (100 photographers might use 100 different bags), I was very happy with my Kata while I was in Africa. I did a LOT of research before buying one, and narrowed it down to the Tenba and the Kata lines. I spent a lot of time trying to decide whether a backpack, slingbag, or shoulder bag would work best, and finally decided on a backpack. I was really impressed with the Tenba Shootout (Tenba - Shootout: Medium Backpack) but finally decided on the Kata 3N1-22
(3N1-22 For DSLR W/mid-range Zoom Lens+ 3-4 Lenses+flash - DPS | Kata Bags) because it doubles as a sling bag. It is really quite versatile.

Both lines of bags come in three sizes and will take laptops if you buy the right iterations. I tried all of them out at my local bricks-and-mortar stores but (rather ashamedly) bought the bag through Amazon because it was $30.00 cheaper and no sales tax.

The Kata is advertised as a DSLR bag, but it was fine for the Panny. I bought the medium sized model because it was a bit narrower than the 3N1-33 and fit my rather small back better. But the larger one would be much more useful for things like lighting equipment if you are large enough to accomodate it.

Both the Tenba and the Kata websites do an excellent job of demonstrating their bags' features. The Kata home page has an excellent app for helping you choose the right bag out of their huge lineup. And you can read independent reviews by Googling the product numbers once you narrow your search (e.g. "Kata 3N1 vs. Tenba Shootout").

Hope this helps, but like I said, it's only my opinion. I'm sure there are lots of other ideas out there too.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 01:12 PM   #567
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Taylor View Post
Hi Mark:

No, it is not a fluid head, and I wondered whether that would be a drawback, but it turned out not to be, for the purposes I was using it for. And I guess that's the caveat I would add. It was great for steadiying the cam for interviews and sunset-type shots. I don't know how well it would perform in professional panning situations. I panned with it only during the interviews, where therre were three subjects and I moved from one interviewee to another in close-up. No problem with that. I did like the relative lightness and collapsed length. Also the quick-release leg clamps were helpful. I did have to get used to the fact that I couldn't rotate the camcorder 90 degrees on the quick-release head like I can with a DSLR, so I was limited in where I could work the levers and controls. (Maybe that's a problem with all camcorder/tripod setups?)

All in all, I was very happy with this lower-cost full-sized tripod for my amateur use in limited situations. About panning, I did find that I got pretty darned good at panning without the tripod, thanks to the great AIS and, in some situations, using the CamCaddy.
Thanks George for the comprehensive reply. I will have to get my hands on one myself now to see what it is like in person.

All the best

Mark
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Old February 17th, 2012, 02:50 PM   #568
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Taylor View Post
The Kata is advertised as a DSLR bag, but it was fine for the Panny. I bought the medium sized model because it was a bit narrower than the 3N1-33 and fit my rather small back better. But the larger one would be much more useful for things like lighting equipment if you are large enough to accomodate it.
Thanks for good advice; Kata looks really good. I am also looking into Tamrac Zuma and Evolution lines.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:36 AM   #569
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Man... took me a while to read all 38 pages of this thread :) a big big thank you to everyone for their contributions - especially to Andy Wilkinson for helping me fix the shoe adapter rattle issue. I really recommend his method, it works wonders even if you are very clumsy with the scissors like I am.

What I gathered from all these pages is that it's recommended to record at a locked 1/50 or a max 1/100 shutter speed. Very well, I did that. Here's the problem.

My iris will go up to an F-value of 8.0, and that's it. If I want more, I have to increase it manually, otherwise I will get a lot of blown highlights - which, at F8, you EASILY get when filming outside. I don't quite understand why it doesn't go all the way up to F16, which is what you can achieve by adjusting the iris setting manually. Maybe a bug with my particular model?

Also, I already discussed this with Andy, but would be very interested to also see how you guys convert the 1080/50p footage into regular 576/25p SD video to write on SD DVDs for clients. It's been explained for Vegas, but I use Premiere and have a hard time finding a solid method of doing it. I will be very happy to be pointed to perhaps another thread discussing this extensively, if there is such a thing.

Thank you very much for all your help!
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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:55 AM   #570
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

It's no bug and what you're being told is the shooting aperture is also not true Luc.

When you use the 900 as a movie camera (as a still camera it works differently) the aperture stays wide open until all the internal ND is on axis with the lens. If it gets brighter still the aperture blades will start to close, so an indicated f/8 is in fact f/4. In iA mode the automation will also juggle with the shutter speed so as to maintain this aperture for as long as possible.

The camera uses smaller than ¼" chips, so shooting at apertures smaller than f/4 will lose you resolution. The blown highlight issue is well known, which is why a lot of 900 shooters dial down the EV by half a stop or so. Probably worth shooting through some external ND if you're out and about in bright sunshine - that way you can lock the shutter speed down to 1/50th sec - which as you suggest is the right thing to do.

Don't forget that you're asking a lot if you want to convert 1080/50p footage into 576/25p. It can be done successfully using expensive standards converters, but generally the in-camera or in-NLE converters are pretty so-so, and by inference, no-no.

tom.
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