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Old September 20th, 2011, 10:17 PM   #1
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Getting a video camera

Guys, after shooting about 20 events using all GH2s and GH1s, I'm giving up the ghost, and I'm buying a videocamera. I need a real zoom with autofocus. I'll still be using several GH cams, and especially the 12-60mm for outdoor stuff, it is absolutely stunning lens. I shot with it in the park for a bridal shoot Saturday, and my images were so good I couldn't believe I shot them myself.

On the other hand, I was out of focus for some critical shots during a ceremony, and I didn't know it, and I was highly perturbed, of course when I saw the footage later. I cannot let that happen again.

Bottom line, I'm selling some gear to help fund my new videocamera, so check out the classifieds and see if there is anything you need!
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Old September 21st, 2011, 01:43 AM   #2
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Re: Getting a video camera

Hi Jeff

I really don't know how you managed to wrestle 4 x GH1's at a wedding...there are plenty of times at weddings when I just HAVE to snap back to auto because so much is happening and thankfully my Panasonics have an awesome autofocus....actually I often check even exposure (I can slip in and out of manual iris just by pushing the iris wheel) and most times my manual setting and the camera's setting are exactly the same.

I think you still need a camera where you can, if necessary, go into full auto if things get really chaotic and know you will still get a good result!!! As our banished Philip would say "Jeff is getting a real camera"

I really like the idea of shooting video and using the DSLR's when you have the time to get creative!!!

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Old September 21st, 2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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Re: Getting a video camera

Greetings Jeff,

Good luck with your new video camera adventure. We'll be looking forward to a full report.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 11:34 AM   #4
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Re: Getting a video camera

I'm just so relieved at the prospect of having the ability to film toasts from further away, getting closeups in perfect focus during the vows, etc. and not being restricted with the constrains I have been.

It's been a very difficult summer, filled with anxiety and running around and tending to 4-5 cameras at a time.

I will now use two GH2s with Oympus/Panasonic primes and my primary cam will give the the zoom I need. I briefly flirted with the idea of the expensive olympus zooms, and it was easy to see my problems would be the same, no matter how much money I threw at the GH2s.

The real issue is that running multiple DSLR style cams for live event work is not feasible in many cases for one person; at least for me. If I had a crew, it would be different, and I could've pulled it off more effectively, but at my price point it's not feasible to hire decent shooters most the time.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 02:49 PM   #5
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Re: Getting a video camera

I think adding a video camera is going to make your wedding day shoot so much easier and maybe even enjoyable again. But Iím afraid the editing might not be. I have not shot a wedding yet with the GH2, but I have done quite a bit of comparison test with the FX1000 and I kinda dread trying to use footage from both. Most clients will not be able to tell the difference, but I sure can. When using clips from both cameras with the same type of shot, the FX footage looks poor compared to the GH2. To please myself I will probably have to dumb down the GH2 footage, then whatís the point.

I am curious as to how you plan on deciding which camera to use throughout the day because I too will be crossing this bridge soon. I have a feeling knowing how much better the GH will look when Iím editing, I will be trying to use it as much as possible, as long as it is in focus of course. Iím sure this will be my biggest challenge.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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Re: Getting a video camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
It's been a very difficult summer, filled with anxiety and running around and tending to 4-5 cameras at a time.
The real issue is as a one man band it is too much doing things as I've been doing them.
that's a very brave idea to shoot a wedding alone, and with DSLRs!? I shoot with two guys and still, my A cam is EX1;
way to go Jeff, you won't regret it,
all the best!
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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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Re: Getting a video camera

Excellent points all, Tim, and I have given it much thought also. The specifics of what must be done in post will vary with the camera one uses, I would guess.

In my case, I am getting a XF-100, and it will present it's own set of challenges as it's files are 4:2:2 color space. I should add I cannot even pretend to know what that means, other than some vague understanding that it's superior, with more depth, etc. But the GH2 clips are 4:2:0, and the Canon XA-10 might have been a better choice for this reason as it's the same, but I wanted a "real" videocamera, something with some real controls on it, and I also wanted 720 60p, and I REALLY want 1080 60p badly. I won't be able to use 1080 60p much since my gh2s don't have it, but it will be nice to have the option.

But I digress. I think how we use the cameras will affect how they match as much as anything. I'm planning on using the Canon for primary, and using my GH2s as second and third cams. For getting ready, etc., it will depend on how much room I have to work with as to the choice I make for that segment.

The videocamera will certainly introduce a whole new set of challenges, with mixing footage, but I'm so physically worn out after weddings now, I almost don't care at this point. Now I can set a couple of primes up for wide shots, go crazy with the Canon, and as you say, possibly enjoy shooting again. I just hope it's not to brutal in post, as you say.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:30 PM   #8
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Re: Getting a video camera

Buba, thanks for the good wishes. I started shooting alone when my girlfriend quit helping me, and I became decent at it with video cameras. I would get the processional from down front, situate the camera, discreetly run around the side to the rear, adjust the rear cam, then run up to the balcony, adust that camera, and then "sneak" back to the front, and on two knees get the vows, some killer closeups, then zoom out when that was done, and run to the back again, etc. It was hectic, but easy to do, and the results were excellent.

How I'll work things now I don't know, but I suspect I'll switch cameras down front after the vows from a Canon to GH2 with the 12mm F/2.0, and then shoot with the Canon from the rear. Or instead I'll follow the processional with a prime lens, and just leave it down front, and shoot with the Canon from the rear of the sanctuary the whole time afterward. Heck, I don't know. I have about ten days to figure it out, unless you guys want to offer suggestions!
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Old September 21st, 2011, 04:17 PM   #9
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Re: Getting a video camera

I'm sure you will get it figured out and it will turn out great.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 06:44 PM   #10
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Re: Getting a video camera

Jeff, if you're hazy about 4:2:2, you should watch this short excellent tutorial: Ask Alex - The 411 on 4:4:4 - YouTube

Cutting my XHA1 with my GH2 is a mess...the GH2's picture flat out destroys the XHA1. I've thought about maybe getting an HMC-150 to replace the XHA1. Haven't decided yet.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 09:04 PM   #11
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Re: Getting a video camera

Patrick, thanks a ton for the link!

I don't know, it's scary to be spending $4K on a cam, cards, batteries to be facing these issues, I only hope the newer codec and sensor will help lessen the impact.

Some of the modes of the XF100, I have learned are actually 4:2:0, and I don't know how this will affect things, using one mode over the other. 4:2:2 will, from my limited understanding maybe allow for better CC, hence maybe easier to match up? I don't have clue.

Edit, the color space depends on the frame rate, etc you choose I have learned.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 10:28 PM   #12
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Re: Getting a video camera

I currently use a Panasonic HMC40 video camera along with my GH1. The HMC40 in good lighting will equal the Sony EX series of cameras and blows away even the DSRL's.

That is in good lighting.

Once the light goes down you better run away fast.

Kidding of course. Seriously it suffers badly in low light. I have considered selling it and buying more gear for my GH1 but I just cannot seem to put all my faith into a DSLR yet for the same reasons as you Jeff. They are great for creative shooting but they really are not the best when it comes to weddings or similar type of live events. Sometimes you need a zoom, powered and do not have the option of swapping the lens during a live shoot.

The XF100 is a nice camera. Much better in low light then my HMC40 but still nowhere near what you might hope compared to a DSLR with a fast lens. Just be prepared for that.

I still stand by my formula of use the video camera at the ceremony and switch to the DSLR at the reception. Hopefully the church will be bright enough to handle the video camera.

You may also want to check out some of the new cameras coming out from Panasonic. I believe one is the ag130 or something like that. They use 1/3" instead of 1/4" like my HMC40. The have a killer 20x lens from what I have read which might be a nice thing for you to have again. One heck of a camera for the back of the church. I'm hoping the low light will be as good as the Canon XF100.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 10:34 PM   #13
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Re: Getting a video camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Patrick, thanks a ton for the link!

I don't know, it's scary to be spending $4K on a cam, cards, batteries to be facing these issues, I only hope the newer codec and sensor will help lessen the impact.

Some of the modes of the XF100, I have learned are actually 4:2:0, and I don't know how this will affect things, using one mode over the other. 4:2:2 will, from my limited understanding maybe allow for better CC, hence maybe easier to match up? I don't have clue.

Edit, the color space depends on the frame rate, etc you choose I have learned.
Jeff,

I think you would be hard pressed to really notice a difference with 4:2:2 color. Especially since you typically shoot 720p 60p. Progressive 4:2:0 looks much much better then interlaced 4:2:0. Unless you plan on doing a lot of greenscreen work or shooting footage with the color way off then I doubt you will really notice the advantage. There is no night and day difference between progressive 4:2:0 and 4:2:2. Don't get me wrong there is an advantage but one of the smallest advantages compared to other quality factors. Shoot for as bright of a camera as you can get or you will find yourself reaching for that DSLR instead.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 11:09 PM   #14
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Re: Getting a video camera

Thomas, great input, appreciate your sharing, that's comforting to hear about the minimal diff between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2.

The biggest shortcomings for the GH2 or any DSLR for me is in focusing on moving subjects (processional) and a powerful zoom and autofocus for vows, toasts and first dances. And your're right, a videocamera will be challenged in a dark church. However, I also tend to shoot vows from down front, and a videocamera will lose less light using less zoom, so I "should" get a decent image most times, at least of the vows, which I find most difficult using the limited 12-60mm zoom I have.

I use lights religiously for all reception work, and have recently actually found I've been using too much. But with that in mind, I'm hopeful (maybe wrongly!) that my reception footage will be decent with the videocamera.

I'm also hoping a higher bit rate might help reduce noise in low light, helping dark footage to at least to be cleaner than with the older cameras.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 12:21 AM   #15
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Re: Getting a video camera

Just watched a well-shot video in 1080 24p shot with the Canon. It is sad how much less detail the video has in comparison to the GH2. Really is a dramatic difference, at least from what I'm used to seeing, but of course with re-compression by youtube it may not be all that bad, but still it was sobering. On the other hand his shots were perfectly exposed, in focus, and he made great use of the zoom, reminding me of why I am going this route!
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