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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old October 10th, 2004, 05:54 AM   #1
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new to forum

Hi everyone,
This is my 1st post. I'm a technology teacher at a small rural K-12 school. One of the courses that I teach is video production. The course is part of a communications curriculum and is relatively simple in it's focus with emphasis on using images and editing to tell a story. I've had no formal training in videography and this forum has helped to answer a number of questions for me. I'm also an amateur videographer using a panasonic gs70. The images have always been (IMO) very nice for a small 1/6"-3-chip camera............until about 2 weeks ago. After 10-12 hours of use I ran a cleaning cassette over the heads and the images seemed to lose clarity.
I shot some footage outside my house yesterday and the footage seemed to be (almost) back to normal. Will using a cleaning cassette cause a temporary drop in video quality? I'm also very aware of the presence of "jaggies" when shooting certain scenes. Will using a larger CCD camera cut down on the presence of jaggies? I have so many questions that I'm sure over time will be answered on this forum. Thank you in advance for your help.
Doug
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Old October 10th, 2004, 12:12 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum, Doug.

Cleaning the camera transport should have no effect on image quality unless you don't use the cleaning tape correctly. With DV cameras, you can only use the cleaning tape for 5 seconds at a time to avoid overheating the video heads and baking the junk onto the head you were attempting to clean off in the first place.

Larger CCD's won't help with jaggies, those are a function of the overall resolution of Standard Definition (SD) television.
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Old October 10th, 2004, 06:48 PM   #3
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Hi Mike,
Thanks for the welcome and your help. It's great to be here. The directions on the cleaning cassette said to run the tape for 10 seconds one time (or two) but no more than five. Oh well: rookie mistake.
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Old October 10th, 2004, 07:09 PM   #4
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I'd follow the instructions that came with the camera first and the cleaning tape second. I don't think 10 sec will probably hurt as long as you allow the head to cool for a minute or two.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 05:43 AM   #5
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Thanks Mike. Would cleaning the heads with 99+% pure isopropyl alcohol be safer than using the cassette? I used to work in radio so cleaning audio tape heads is no big deal. The heads of a camcorder may be more difficult to clean. I don't know.

I'll also be in the market for a new camera soon. How much stock do you put in the new "HDV" cams from JVC and SONY?

I realize that $3,100-$3,700 is a lot of money for a guy at my level to spend for a camera. I'm fascinated by the image quality of the JVC (a local news station uses one for ENG) and the fact that the SONY (scheduled for release next month) shoots 1080 is incredible. I occasionally shoot wedding/graduation/recital videos at little or no charge for friends or relatives and being able to capture those events at high-res would be incredible. Any thoughts you have on this subject would be appreciated.
Thanks again Mike.
Sincerely,
Doug
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Old October 11th, 2004, 10:58 AM   #6
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Unless you know exactly what you are doing, cleaning the heads of your camcorder can lead to a disaster. They are nothing like audio heads in form or in the manner in which they must be cleaned.

If I were purchasing a new pro camcorder right now, the short list would not include the HDV cameras. The JVC is tricky to use and the Sony is the consumer model. The 'pro' camera will be here next year at about $7,000.

That said, how do you deliver the HD image to a viewer? Right now you'd have to give them the camera. There are no consumer solutions for a recordable media at this time.

I personally think that it will be years before the majority of consumers can take advantage of HD that has been created by an amateur or commercial videographer. Hollywood, broadcast, cable and satellite will be able to deliver HD well before we will.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 02:38 PM   #7
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Mike,
Once again: thanks for your information. I really appreciate it. I have been researching the JVC GY300U. At $1999 from BHphoto: it seems like the most bang for the buck. Your thoughts?
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Old October 11th, 2004, 03:54 PM   #8
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I don't personally know about that camcorder but the best bang for the buck in terms of rugged, work anywhere and close to that price would be the Sony VX2100 in my opinion.

Nothing does as well in dim light and it has proven its ruggedness in the Iraq and Afganistan time and time again.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #9
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Mike: I have read (on this site and elsewhere) about the vx2100.
It sounds like a great camera.
I've also read many positive statements on this site about the pd170. I have considered that camera as well. I would eventually like to shoot wedding videos at reduced rates for folks who could not afford to have their wedding videotaped by anyone except their "uncle louie".

As always. Thank you Mike.
Sincerely,
Doug
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Old October 11th, 2004, 05:09 PM   #10
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Doug, just understand the the 2100 and 170 are basically the same camera under the skin. It isn't until you get to the audio inputs and the 'behavior' of the camera (which is a firmware thing) that they are different.

I shoot with a 150 and consider that for pro work, the extra cost was well worth the convenience.
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Old October 11th, 2004, 05:25 PM   #11
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Thanks again Mike. Eventually I'm going to have to make a decision. The information you've given me will be valuable when I do.
Sincerely,
Doug
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Old October 12th, 2004, 01:28 PM   #12
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Doug, the VX2100 is fine for wedding work except for one thing, and that is it's anability to accept (proper) XLR microphones. You can always strap a Beechtek underneath it (I do), but it makes the camera bulkier which is a pity. One good point though is that as soon as I unplug the Beechtek I'm back to using the inbuilt stereo mics (not available on the PD range), and this can be superb for audience applause as I swoop with the bride and groom on their day.

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Old October 12th, 2004, 02:51 PM   #13
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Hi Tom,
Thanks for your input. I know that some companies make UHF shotgun and lavalier mics with a 3.5mm input for cameras with RCA jacks. I wonder if that could eliminate the need for the XLR adaptor and still record decent audio?
Sincerely,
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Old October 12th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #14
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I should've written shotgun and UHV lavalier mics.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 04:07 PM   #15
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The 3.5mm connector shotguns have mixed results but my experience with the Sennheiser suggests that it is not a good microphone.

UHF wireless microphones normally have 3.5mm output jacks and they will work just fine.
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