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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old May 29th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #1
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Camera reccomendations

Hello all! I have been filming with a Canon GL-1, and I'm getting extremely annoyed with this thing. It was great when i first got it, however it is now extremely unreliable. It doesnt record to the mini-dv tapes too well, and its just becoming glithy-er by the miniute. Instead of sending it in and getting it fixed Im just going to start fresh.

I'm 17 years old, and I'm not planning on doing any major filmwork, just some small short films. I have a budget of roughly 1000-1200$

Im looking for a camera with better resolution. I dont mind SD, but HD has really caught my attention.

Does anyone have some HD cameras they could reccomend with that budget? I've been looking at the Sony HC3 or HC5, can anyone give me some info on these two cameras?

Also, one last question, how much disc space, on average per sec or per min, does one of these cameras take up?

Thanks for any information on this topic!
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Old May 29th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #2
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Canon Hv20 is an interesting camera. Though it looks really consumerish, you actually have a lot of control capability. Check it out on the Canon HV10/HV20 forum. You can turn it into a pretty decent film project camera with a few additional accessories, and shoot in HDV, 24p or 60i, or DV 4:3 or 16:9....
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Old May 29th, 2007, 01:54 PM   #3
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Hi Simon -
HDV takes the same amount of disk space as DV video, however it takes more horsepower to decompress/process the video stream on the fly - if you transcode the footage it's about 4x the size, but is easier for lower spec'd computers to work with.

As for HDV cameras in your price range - used HC1 (still a good camera), HC3, 5, or 7 (I'd spend the extra on the 7 any day over the other two). And the Canon HV20 is an interesting camera - so so in build quality, but very good for the money.

You'll probably want to budget out what you'll need in accessories as well. Any of the above cams will also output SD, but once you see HD, you'll be hooked.

If you learn what the above cameras can do, any will give you pretty amazing results! I'll vote for the HC7 for most use, but if low light is an issue, or you want to experiment with 24p, the Canon is attractive.

DB>)
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Old May 29th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #4
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Personnally Im going to try to stay away from canon. I have used and seen several canons, all of which had problems.

Is transcoding the video easy on the HC5, or HC7? My computer isnt the best right now, and Im planning on spending my money on the camera, not the computer.

Can you use regular mini dv tapes for this camera?

One last question for now, can anyone suggest some "must have" accessories for this camera?

Thanks all,

Simon
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Old May 29th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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Simon, When Dave mentions transcoding, he is referring to the process of converting the mpeg2-based HDV footage into an avi or mov format that is a larger file, but less processor-intensive to edit. The conversion is done by your computer, and so is unrelated to which model of HDV camera you are using.

Transcoding is definitely easy. But depending on the codec you transcode to it can be expensive (several $100 in the case of Cineform) or demanding on disk space (in the case of uncompressed, or the huffyuv codec).

I have an HC1 and the first accessories I bought for it were a camera bag, a tripod, extra batteries and standalone battery charger, and an external microphone. Later I bought a 0.7X wideangle adaptor, a wireless microphone kit, and a spiderbrace (with Lanc controller). And you'll need lights and maybe one of those foldaway foil reflectors.

Note that the HC1 and HC7 allow for an external microphone connection, which is not the case for the HC3 and HC5 without a special Sony hotshoe adaptor.

Oh and I have always used regular DV tapes. I never reuse them though....
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Old May 29th, 2007, 08:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Jones View Post
Personnally Im going to try to stay away from canon. I have used and seen several canons, all of which had problems.

Is transcoding the video easy on the HC5, or HC7? My computer isnt the best right now, and Im planning on spending my money on the camera, not the computer.

Can you use regular mini dv tapes for this camera?

One last question for now, can anyone suggest some "must have" accessories for this camera?

Thanks all,

Simon
HC3/5/7 are all miniDV using the HDV format. HDV does require more horsepower, so it will be slower. But, you can also have the camera output as SD and edit that (as SD of course). You can then do HDV later as you keep the tapes.

Must haves really depend on you, what you do, and what you expect.

With good video, you must have good audio. That is why the HC7, with its mic input and headphone jack is such a good package. You can add audio. I will use my Beachtek DXA-8 when I am doing event video. At minimum, you can add a Rode's Videomic to give better capture later.

I have the $30 3 watt Sony light for casual stuff, but not sure it is effective (I have a full 1800 watt 3 light kit too). Film is good lighting and good audio.

I am doing point of view, so I got the FH100 battery as I need reliable power in the field. If you don't have it, a good tripod is a must. A good fluid head for lighter cameras, but even a Bogen 501 is a good starting point.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:09 PM   #7
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Hi Simon -
Transcoding well covered - depending on your editing progam, it may have it built in (Vegas 7 does).

Must have... hmm. Depends on your application! There's another thread showing some rigs (mine included, but those other guys have cool stuff I left out of my pic!!)

I'd go with a WA lens... definitely.

The 3w or the 10/20w light if you need to shoot in really low light - a diffuser if you use the bigger light.

Tripod or handheld stabilizer of some sort or both.

Extra batteries - I'd go with 2 FH70's but the 100 is good too.

Nice bag/case to hold it all.

The little wall charger or a generic wall/car unit to charge batteries.

Those are things I'd be sure to have.

DB>)
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Old May 30th, 2007, 04:49 PM   #8
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Would anyone reccomend the Sony HDR-SR1?

I'm worried about using tapes as I'm afraid they will become the next betamax. I would hate to buy this camera and then be let down in a few months.

Can anybody shed some light on this?
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Old May 30th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #9
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Hi Simon -
I don't think tapes are going anywhere anytime soon. My big question with a Hard drive based cam is what do you do to archive?? Especially since HD DVD and Blu Ray recorders are not affordable yet.

I can sort of see a flash based storage system, with easily removable and replaceable memory sticks/cards, but the HDD concept baffles me.

IIRC, the video quality of AVCHD (the recording format used on the SR1) was judged a bit short of HDV quality - if you trust the reviews.

I know I sure would have liked to see the SR1 with the larger LCD and the control ring, but with a tape mechanism... STILL would like to see that camera!

DB>)
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Old May 30th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #10
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Alright, thats what I thought... I'm pretty sure I'm set on the HC7.

One last question for tonight lol...

You can just directly attatch a firewire to the HC7 and capture from there right? No special equipment or program needed?

Thank you all so much for your help!

Simon
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Old May 30th, 2007, 09:42 PM   #11
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Yes, Firewire all the way. Worked on plug in (I had loaded the Sony software, but my NLE sees it anyway).
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Old May 30th, 2007, 10:13 PM   #12
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Hc7

Hi Simon,
I looked at the Canon20 and the HC7 side by side. The HC7's build quality seemed better, and it had a LANC, which allows you to do smooth zooms on a tripod. Canon didn't, but did have 24p.

I have gotten very good results with the HC7, and used the footage with a Z1 on a couple of projects already.

Other point is the HC&7 has audio and mic inputs and can be controlled manually. All important features not found on the HC3/5.

I still think the HC1 A1U are great cameras as well, and the manual features(focus)are easier to use. Might look for a used HC1.

On tapes. Use 'em once and then archive them. Tape is a stable and mature media, and even though you are seen the advent of solid state storage like Panasonic and the new Sony SD chips, tape is going to be around for awhile.
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Old June 1st, 2007, 12:25 PM   #13
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Are those package deals on Ebay rubbish? (The packages that include the camera, and some probobally crappy accessories) They sell for about 1,100 which kind of worries me as that sounds a little too cheap.

Here is an example to one of these deals.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Sony-HDR-HC7-108...QQcmdZViewItem

Im not expecting the accessories to be great, but even 1,100$ for an hc7 is not bad, however this worries me.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #14
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Does the HC7 directly connect to a PC using a firewire? Or is there a different type of cable to transfer data?
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Old June 7th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Jones View Post
Does the HC7 directly connect to a PC using a firewire? Or is there a different type of cable to transfer data?
Yes, it directly connects and the cable is in the box (a first for me with a Sony purchase.)
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