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Old November 29th, 2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Sunday, I shot the VG20 for first time in a productions setting. I havenb't yet started any extensive editing, but I can say a few things about the camera:

1. Monitoring: With most of my mini hdmi cords trashed from shooting the 5D and 2ti, I contected the component cord to my 7 inch Marshall monitor. The color was way off, and I think it has to do with a setting on the camera or the monitor which should change or fix that color problem. Since the HDMI cord problem just popped up, as I started to shoot, I didn't take the time to track down what had to be done, I just switched to composite.

2. Image: Though the missing capabilities of adjusting saturation, contrast and sharpness make it feel like you are trying to drive a car while the steering wheel is locked, I was able to get some pretty nice images. A lot of what I was shooting was for green screen, and I generally try to shoot a bit lower contrast with green screen, so it will be interesting to see how the keying comes out. So far it has been a bit of a fight in Vegas.

3. Sound, Glorious in Camera sound. Though I needed more work on setting the camera up better, it sure is nice to have in camera sound. I probably had in put at camera set to high, as I was getting a little hiss, so I will have to play with settings more. But not having to sych everything sure is good.

4. Focusing: Nice to have the focus aid to work with the camera. I did use a Nikon adapter and therefore manual focus for most of the shoot, and manage to screw that up a couple of tiems. But it should all work good together.

I will post some grabs as I get rolling in the edit.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 07:14 PM   #2
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

"Though the missing capabilities of adjusting saturation, contrast and sharpness make it feel like you are trying to drive a car while the steering wheel is locked, I was able to get some pretty nice images."

Boy, that about sums it up perfectly, no? Too bad Sony is unlikely to "unlock the wheel," 'cause I think this camera would appeal to many buyers. As it is, I'm guessing most will simply wait for Canon to come out with a sub $5K camera/next gen DSLR.

Look forward to the finished product Chris.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 03:36 AM   #3
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Enlighten me please....

All the "fuss" about not being able to adjust the VG20, is this really a big deal?

Cant you do "all" you want in post? Would you really want to adjust "each" clip of the production differently "while" filming?....or wait until all were on the time-lime to adjust the overall look of the production.

So would not focus,exposure, white balance be all you would need for filming?

Jeff
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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:07 AM   #4
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

I agree with this, Jeff. I set the contrast, saturation and sharpness on my GH2 once, when I set it up a year ago, and haven't touched it since. If I don't like the contrast or color in a shot, I change it in post. Manual control of audio gain (with a headphone jack), WB, ISO, shutter speed and aperture are my bottom line list of must-haves.

I'm renting the VG20 from borrowlenses.com this weekend to make 100% sure it suits my shooting style before making a buying decision, but I won't dismiss the camera out of hand for its lack of profiles and color control.

Bill
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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:45 AM   #5
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

I think that's a smart thing to do Bill. I can't do that without paying shipping,tax,deposit etc....

Please let us know if the VG20 fits your needs.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:54 AM   #6
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

exposure, focus and white balance is all I'm concerned about during the shoot as long as in camera s harpening is not offensive. I prefer wysiwyg to flat that has to be graded for every shot, but that's just me, And I'd never trust a camera screen to tweak kelvin by a couple of degrees.

I think the main issue is that the camera is advertised with features it doesn't have in video mode, while being marketed as a video camera, which leaves everyone uneasy. I'm still interested but wouldn't buy without having the opportunity to test first. Either by taking a memory card into the store, or Ideally renting for a weekend. I think my local dealer will apply the rental price of the demo towards a purchase, so that is cool.

Also we still need to find out if it can be made to match the 5n, which would be Ideal. There is no reason why they shouldn't as they are the same chip and processor, but if they use different firmware they might not be even close.

My last few films have rolled 2 cameras most of the time, usually using the method of medium and close on the same actor as is often done on big shoots. This makes things go faster, which is a big benefit with amateur actors, and also helps with matching performance. On the same angle I only need one sound recording so the 5n would be a perfect cheap b roll cam.

I can't afford one 'Pro' camera, let alone 2, which is why the VG-20/5n combo had me so excited in the lead up, and why I'm feeling confused and let down now. They may well prove to work well together, but need to get into the hands of a qualified reviewer at the same time.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 10:45 AM   #7
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Bruner View Post
I agree with this, Jeff. I set the contrast, saturation and sharpness on my GH2 once, when I set it up a year ago, and haven't touched it since.
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Yeah, but you got to change it once. I agree, I rarely change a camera's setting once I have it where I want it, but on the other hand, I wouldn't be caught dead using the settings out of the box either (at least
for the Canon DSLRs).

And face - those features are available on every single new camera w/ video capacity costing over $500 (including cheaper Sony cams). Beyond the horrible customer relations false advertising creates, those are features that should be on the camera regardless.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

If I am shooting event stuff, I would shoot this camera without hesitation. With autofocus on the kit lens, and the low light capability which I consider on a par with the 5D, if not better, it is great for that purpose. I don't shoot event that much, and the big issue is getting the maximum latitude fpr narrative shooting, so you can get detail as much as possible at both ends of the spectrum. Then in post, you adjust setting for the look you want. Thats how I shot the 5D for last three years.

To be fair, this camera appears to have a lot of latitude, but I am not sure if it reaches the 5D capabilities when you shoot the 5D in Cinestyle set up. I would like something near that capability in this camera, and I would probably buy 5 for a rental business I am contemplating.

This camera has one automatic setting that may be instrumental in helping with adding a bit of stretch to the range, . Its the on/off backlighting button. It is in auto, if you turn it on. Hardly professional. But that same button that appears on the other NEX camera, but with adjustability, is probably the missing Dynmic Range Optimizer.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Actually, when you really think about it, using this camera is mmore like shooting with film, where you have limited film stocks and film responses, and you just have to shoot accordingly. Sometimes I wonder if we just have to much adjustment on video cameras that makes it difficult to get a consistent product out of the camera.

I have started editing now. One of my green screen shots was from inside a car. Lot of green spill into the interior. Very hard to key as a result. I've ended up learning to use Rotobrush in After Effects (just bought it) as a result. That is a good thing.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 09:22 AM   #10
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Hey Chris.

I've been following your posts with great interest. I work as a video journalist in Guatemala, but have started to put together more long-form pieces as well. On paper the VG20 looked nearly perfect (aside from XLR input) but now I'm not so sure.

I have the Panasonic GH2, hacked for higher video bitrates and PAL/NTSC framerates (handy as I shoot for clients in both NTSC and PAL land).

Any idea how the image on the VG20 compares?

Thanks Chris.

Dave
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 06:45 PM   #11
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Dave - I don't mean to answer for Chris, but I will be doing a side-by-side of the VG20 and my unhacked GH2 this weekend. I will post the results as soon as I'm done with the edit.

Bill
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 08:53 PM   #12
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Great Bill! Look forward to reading about it!
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Old December 3rd, 2011, 03:01 AM   #13
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Me too...

GH2 (esp with new hacks) a very interesting alternative to the VG20/Canon DSLRs.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #14
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

Excuse my ignorance...

What exactly do you mean by the GH2 hack?...is this a firmware update, or something a "hacker" can do for you?

I too am interested in the GH2, but would like to have 60p capability and the extended recording time. Who/how is the hack performed?

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old December 5th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #15
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Re: First Narrative Shoot with the VG20

How to hack the Panasonic GH2 *Updated* | | OSGFilmsOSGFilms

Allows for much higher bit-rates for video and a higher setting for audio quality. Newest hack allows for extremely high ISOs (which look surprisingly good).
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