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Old March 2nd, 2011, 07:07 PM   #16
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

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Originally Posted by John Vasey View Post
I am beginning to get requests for event videos (for theatre and conference panel work) and two camera coverage: one locked down on a wideshot and the other a roving camera for closeups.
You could look at the used market for a similar B camera (that way exposure and settings will be identical). Regardless of whatever you get, you'll find the biggest obstacle of a 2nd unmanned camera is getting the exposure right and changing media/tape. That won't be an issue for conferences because the light doesn't change, but for theater work it constantly changes, often resulting in unusable over/under exposed footage of the unmanned camera. In addition theater black backgrounds make non-manual exposure cameras useless and low light make small sensor cameras look awful.

One way to address maximum length limitations of DSLR cameras and exposure adjustments is to put both the wide and close up camera next to each other. You can quickly reach over make adjustments or change media. Some venues don't allow for this or if you need to get different angle of view you'll be put in a difficult situation. Keep in mind that DSLR can stop recording before they reach maximum length if it gets too hot.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; March 2nd, 2011 at 07:41 PM.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 01:45 AM   #17
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Some points in response.

One of the nice things about the CX550 is that you don't have to think about changing tapes or media unless you are shooting all day festivals where you have more than six hours continuous shooting. The CX has 64 gb of flash memory on board and that's at least six hours of recording time. The NP-FV 100 batteries will keep the camera running for that amount of time, too. If you need to go longer than 6 hurs at a time, you hook the camera to the power supply or swap in a new battery and record to SD cards. You can get 3 hours of highest quality AVCHD on a 32 b SDHC card (or memory stick if you prefer.) The new CX700 will go 9 hours on internal memory.

Finding a used "similar" B cam is sometimes a good idea but, in this case, would not be budget friendly. A used NX/5 or AX2000 --- assuming you can find one --- will cost at least 3 times the price of a CX500 ot TM700. Sony's Z5 and FX1000 are very similar to the NX5 and more available used. They still will have a cost 2 to 2½ times the price of a new CX and you would need to buy an MRC unit to get tapeless recording (adding another $750 to the costs).

The CX cams are so close in color to your NX5 --- if you are careful not to screw up your NX5 settings --- that you will not often have a need to color match. Again, the CX cams run a bit bright and down shifting the AE setting is a good idea for stage shows.

As for dealing with changing stage lights, the previous poster is correct that this can be a problem with unmanned cameras, I've found the auto programming in my CX cams is so good, that image blow-outs are much less of a problem than in the past. This is one of things the reasons I've been very pleased using my CX cams as "locked down" b cams. The are a couple of problemmatic lighting situations but there are easy work-arounds for both of them.

Problem # 1 is black-outs between scenes. Black-outs can really confuse auto-focus on any camera and result in several seconds of "focus hunting" when the lights come back up. There are three simple solutions to this with the Cx cams: (a) manually set a fixed focus on your mid-stage area; (b) use the spot focus mode; or (c) use a spot focus/spot exposure mode which also keeps the exposure constant for the area you've selected.

Problem # 2 is the roving spotlight which can blow-out (over-expose) what it highlights. If you know that spots will be used in the show you are videoing, you select spotlight mode in the CX menu. I've found that the CX's spotlight mode does a pretty good job. It can be a make dim areas seem relatively darker, but that is pretty much true of manual exposure controls, as well.

The previous poster suggested running a multi-cam set-up where you have two cameras with you. I have done this but only when I've been running at least three cameras where the other cam(s) have very different angles of view. It seems to me that the benefit of having the B cams is to have such a different angle of view that you don't get jump-cuts or apparent "jump zooms" when you need to cut away from your manned camera view. Where I've been manning two cams is in stage shots where I know I'll need close-ups of actors or dancers who are far apart on the stage. Say, a dialog where there will be actor on stage right bantering with another actor stage left. Like shooting a tennis match with one fixed cam of the whole court and one cam for closeups on each player.

That brings me to a final point. Some videographers, like the previous poster, are partial to DSLRs. I would be wary of trying to run an NX5 (which you got for manual mode controls, right?) while also manning a DSLR. I am not knocking DSLRs; they certainly can be a useful tool. But they are so different from my NX5 that I personally would find it very difficult to try to double up with the NX5 and a DLSR. When I "double-up," I want the other camera to either be very similar my NX5 (I use an FX1000 with an MRC unit for this kind of double-up) or else I want something that works so well in auto mode that I don't have to worry about anything other than pointing it and maybe zooming (a CX550 being my favorite for that.) For more on this, Ron Evans has some DVinfo postings on doing this when shooting stage performances with a manned NX5, a couple of the CX predecessor models, and a manned EX3.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 02:44 AM   #18
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

If I can add to Jay's comment is the fact that panning and zooming with DSLR cameras is also difficult. If you then have to film dance show or Sport event where you need to follow your subject, you might be unhappy with the result. Do not hesitate to correct me if I am wrong with my last statement. This is what I've seen so far since video came with DSLR cameras.

I have been quite surprised with the outcome of CX550, in some situations I've seen better result than my NX5U cameras. With what I've seen so far, I would not be scared to used this camera next time I have to film a dance show.

The only down point I see at this moment with the CX550 as a backup camera is that it does not shoot 720p/60.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 07:35 AM   #19
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

As Jay mentioned we shoot with an EX3, NX5U a SR11 and XR500. Both SR11 and XR500 are fixed unattended cams set with spot focus ( for the reasons Jay mentioned with lights going to black etc) and AE shift set either to -3 for normal stage lighting or -4 for high contrast shows( sections of stage lit and the rest dark so would fool the auto exposure too much). WB set fixed to indoor preset on all too.All cameras run with the large batteries so will shoot continuously for well over 5 hours. EX3 will stop first filling up the Sony hard drive unit and I would be there a long time to fill up the FMU on the NX5U!!! I love the fact that there are no tapes to change or capture anymore.

As Daniel mentioned the little Sony's get a very good picture. In editing I often choose one of them as having the best picture !!!! Clearly on closeup the EX3 is the best but since it is run full manual like the NX5U there are instances where the XR500 has the best picture.

My CX700 should be in my hands next week and will replace the SR11 !!!

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Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:16 AM   #20
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

Ron what advantages does the CX700 have over the XR550?
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:28 AM   #21
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

Main advantages for me are the return of zebra for exposure setting, expanded focus assist like the NX5U, peaking for focus setting, 1920x1080P60 as well as it has 24P which I do not want buts lots might like the fad. I think it also has an updated imager and Bionz processor. HDRCX700V | Full HD 96GB Flash Memory Camcorder | Sony Canada

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Old March 3rd, 2011, 02:30 PM   #22
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Also, the CX700 has 96gb of flash memory (plus whatever you add via SD cards) while the XR550 has a 240GB hard drive. I'm guessing that Sony upped the flash memory in the CX700 because 1080/60p eats storage space more quickly than flavors of 1080i do.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:34 PM   #23
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

A lot of nice features but keep in mind its 1- 1/3" sensor
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:34 PM   #24
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

If you can wait til the summer, Sony's coming out with a new compact NXCAM camera. It will have a dust and rain proof body, a detachable XLR module and 96 Gb of internal memory. That's 8.8 hrs. of continuous recording at 24mbps.
It's about the same size at the JVC HM100. Price, under $3,500.

For you NXCAM fans, there's also an upcoming Super 35mm sensor camera and a 3D compact camera that doesn't require 3D glasses to view the monitor.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:44 PM   #25
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

Thanks, everyone, for all the comments...very helpful...

Ron...

Two followup questions for you...

1. Your CX model...because you have no control of the video gain, do you find the gain getting noticeably noisy in low light stage events? Just wondering how that cam will look when intercut with the NX5U under varying lighting conditions.

2. You mentioned the new CX cam will record 1080 60p. If you will be intercutting footage in that format with the NX5U...which would most likely be 1080 30p, how will that working on the editing timeline? Will your sequence for editing be a 30p sequence and when you add in the 60p footage, the editing software would drop every other progressive frame as it plays back on the fly?

Thanks for any tips!

John
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:33 PM   #26
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

I shoot theatre and the XR500 is used as the full stage view fixed unattended. I set the AE shift to -3 or 4 depending on what I know of the stage lighting. Under almost all condition it has less noise than the NX5U and a lot of the time less noise than the EX3. Intercuts with both easily. I set focus with the spot focus before the show starts and then when going on a well lit scene to check. Clearly if it goes to 18db gain it will be visible but most of the time this is not the case and the auto exposure is very good at containing the noise.

The NLE's should have no problems with a 60P on a 60i timeline as the temporal motion is the same. There are just full frames instead of fields. I do not like the slow frames rates so it will be 60i for all my projects until I have all the cameras at 60P. I will run the CX700 at 60i for the theatre shoots and use the 60p for family stuff. The output will still be 60i as Bluray and SD DVD are 60i anyway. Remember that 60i is only called 29.97 because two fields make a frame. Unfortunately they are not part of the same frame as they are 1/60 sec apart!!! The camera exposure rate is 60 frames a sec just like a 60p camera its just that only a field is recorded not a full frame.

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Old March 5th, 2011, 02:27 AM   #27
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John:

I have to ask why NX5u footage "would most likely be 1080 30p" when you are shooting 60p with a CX700?

I avoid 30p for the same reasons Ron has often cited elsewhere. 1080/30i (what we used to call 60i before the offical nomeclature changed) and 60p will intercut quite well. You can edit it all on a progressive timeline if you choose. As Ron points out, you will still have to convert to another format for DVD or Blu-Ray, but you can store it as 60p for some future time and new media, if you want to .

On the other hand, it seems to me that, if you really like slower frame rates --- and some folks do have that personal preference --- you might as well skip 30p shoot in 24p which both the CX700 and NX5 will do.

As for noise, video noise is endemic in the darkest areas when shooting in dim light. That said, you will be suprised at how little there is with the CX cams in the lower reaches of its light sensitivity. The NX5 will go deeper into the dimness, but until you reach the absolute bottom of the CX sensitivity range, I've found my CX cams actually exhibit less noise in dimness than the NX cams do. This extra noise-cancelling porgraming in the CX is something that many of us wish had been available in the NX's auto modes, as well.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #28
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

Thanks, everyone, for the very detailed thoughts about "second cameras." This is exactly what makes the forums so valuable...to learn from the experiences of others.

As of this moment, I seem to be leaning towards the older CX550 or the new CX560. The comments about how well the auto exposure seems to work for stage, in conjunction with the -AE shift and/or spotlight is a pretty compelling element for me, especially when it would be an unmanned camera to supplement the NX5U...John
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Old March 9th, 2011, 07:32 AM   #29
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

John and Ron,

Could you not just Deinterlace the 60i footage of your NX and your EX3 to 60p. Then work on a 60p timeline? To me the benefits of 60p greatly outweigh the extra time to deinterlace the footage in Adobe After effects.

Also i heard that the Panasonic Tm700 has the best reviews right now especially for the price point. I still want to stick with sony but i hear the tm700's 60p mode is 28mbps which is better than even the NX5. Will the CX700 also have a similar 60p mode that has a higher mbps?

I'm currently thinking that the new CX700 with the advancded controls seems to be an NX5 killer IMO. It almost has me considering selling her. I'm starting to question the need for a 5000$ ProCamcorder when their consumer line seems to get the job done and almost surpass their pro line for under 1500$!!
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Old March 9th, 2011, 07:34 AM   #30
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Re: lower cost AVCHD cam for wideshots to complement the NX5U?

If you really want to shoot in very dark areas the CX with Low Lux will match the NX5U with less noise. Both at 1/30 shutter but CX700 was at 21db gain and still had less grain than the NX5U. Very impressive. It will also switch to Nightshot that the NX5U doesn't have . Its green though !!! CX560 should be the same.

The newer cams like my CX700 have now switched to AE shift in EV and will go from -1.0 EV to + 1.0 EV . Not sure how this relates to the range before but will find out in a week for the next show and will set up XR500 next to CX700 so that I can compare the results.

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