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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old May 28th, 2010, 10:42 AM   #1
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Z5U General Questions

Hi,

I'm about to pull the trigger on this camera and based on my personal research, I think it's a great fit for my wedding business.

I went to my local video store, but the sales guy was very unknowledgable and didn't know anything about the camera...so.. I just have some questions...


1. There is a gain of L-M-H, when this is turned on, is there an indication on the monitor that it's on? I couldn't see it(indicator) when I put it to H.

2. Also, is there a white balance reading somewhere? (ie. 3.2K or 5.6K...)

3. I have some old regular unused miniDV tapes, can these by used or am I sucked into buying the HD miniDV tapes?

4.Has anyone bought the Vortex Media Training DVD on the Sony Z5u? If so, would you be interested in sharing the cost?

5. Can the audio be automatic? Meaning I don't have to play with the manual audio controls and it keeps a consistent audio level .

6. How good is that stereo microphone? In the daytime I'd like a directional one and at the receptiion I'd like a Omni-directional.

Thanks!
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Old May 28th, 2010, 02:58 PM   #2
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1. There is a gain of L-M-H, when this is turned on, is there an indication on the monitor that it's on? I couldn't see it(indicator) when I put it to H.
I think so, but I'm not at my cam right now to verify.

2. Also, is there a white balance reading somewhere? (ie. 3.2K or 5.6K...)
Not sure on this one, I'm at work right now.

3. I have some old regular unused miniDV tapes, can these by used or am I sucked into buying the HD miniDV tapes?
Yes, but I have had spotty luck using some Mini DV tapes. I've switched to Panasonic PQ tapes which are cheaper than HD tapes and they seem to work fine. By contrast, my Canon HV30 works fine with regular Mini DV tapes.

4.Has anyone bought the Vortex Media Training DVD on the Sony Z5u? If so, would you be interested in sharing the cost?
I bought the Vortex DVD for the Z7. Last I checked they did not have one for the Z5. I thought it was very much worth the $. I learned a lot in a few hours that would have taken me a long time of stumbling and asking questions on the internet to figure out. At the time, Full Compass.com had the best price.

5. Can the audio be automatic? Meaning I don't have to play with the manual audio controls and it keeps a consistent audio level.
Yes. The auto levels work very well IMO.

6. How good is that stereo microphone? In the daytime I'd like a directional one and at the receptiion I'd like a Omni-directional.
I don't use the on-cam mic hardly at all. But when I tried it out I was suprised how well it sounded. I thought the shotgun mic was good for general work, but I have a mono Sennheiser mic that sounded better to my and my wife's ears. You may have seen my other posts on it. The shotgun mic is not highly directional but not bad either. If you are further away, you may want a long shotgun with a little longer reach, or a wireless where you can get closer.

Good luck,
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Old May 28th, 2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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Briefly:

1. Yes. The gain number always shows (if you choose to display this data) and if you are on manual the "A" disappears. You decide what L, M, and H mean.
2. Yes. There are a variety of indicators. If you set the WB manually and numerically, the number shows. If you fix on indoor or outdoor, that's what shows.
3. Yes
5. Yes
6. Very good, considering what it is. Internal is stereo omni, external is shotgun mono. Use the included shotgun for more directional sound.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #4
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1. There is a gain of L-M-H, when this is turned on, is there an indication on the monitor that it's on? I couldn't see it(indicator) when I put it to H.

Everything manual is on the display

2. Also, is there a white balance reading somewhere? (ie. 3.2K or 5.6K...)

3. I have some old regular unused miniDV tapes, can these by used or am I sucked into buying the HD miniDV tapes?

I use Panasonic tapes and have had 2 dropouts in approx, 5 years. I've switched to the PQ tapes recently
due to using the MRC-1. While we're on that subject, do yourself a favor and buy one. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Download an hour of footage in 5 minutes and have the tapes for archive. If you're ever thinking of doing Same Day Edits, it will be a must. Actually, I think it's a must anyway.

4.Has anyone bought the Vortex Media Training DVD on the Sony Z5u? If so, would you be interested in
sharing the cost?

It's worth the money. I picked up a great deal from the video.

5. Can the audio be automatic? Meaning I don't have to play with the manual audio controls and it keeps a consistent audio level .

I don't trust the AGC on any camera. I would recommend trying it using both channels with the same mic. Do one manual and one auto and see what happens. I've always found the audio to be hot in auto and haven't even tried it in years. I just don't see the point.

6. How good is that stereo microphone? In the daytime I'd like a directional one and at the reception I'd like a Omni-directional.

The mic is great for getting ambient sound as a second source. I actually use it much more than I ever thought I would. For run and gun it's a great tool.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 07:43 PM   #5
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I'll address the last questions...

5. Can the audio be automatic? Meaning I don't have to play with the manual audio controls and it keeps a consistent audio level .

Yes, there is an automatic audio gain control. I've never used it preferring instead to control input with good microphone placement and controlling levels from the camera. I would consider auto gain use only in an emergency.

6. How good is that stereo microphone? In the daytime I'd like a directional one and at the receptiion I'd like a Omni-directional.

I've experimented with the built-in microphone. It's fairly sensitive but useless for anything I record. What is a better option is using the included or other camera-mounted shotgun mic for run and gun type shoots. It works to get grab quotes. A better option is, again, external wired or wireless mics. Your "reception" term implies a wedding coverage. I hide a wireless lav on the groom's jacket during the ceremony. A small wireless mic can be placed unobtrusively on the altar. If I want comments from reception attendees, a wireless cardioid pattern handheld mic is perfect. I like the dynamic mics designed for ENG because they are rugged and deal better with the sloppy handling typical of untrained users. I would be disinclined to use an omnidirectional mic at an event like a wedding because it picks up sound indiscriminately. Frankly, bad sound in a wedding video is the first and last sign of an amateur production. Better to cut out all sound and insert VO and music than to capture and play bad audio.

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Old June 5th, 2010, 08:06 PM   #6
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Yeah, I agree. I would think you would not want omnidirectional at a reception ...unless it's just for ambient background audio you plan to mix in, and have directional, or lavs on the talent.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 08:43 PM   #7
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Just to clarify the on-board mic comment. I don't use it at services. I use it as a second source at parties and to capture ambient sound. For that purpose, as I mentioned, it's a great tool.
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