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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 28th, 2005, 10:23 AM   #1
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Am I ready for a VX2000?

Hello.

I am a home/hobby user. I shoot the kids bdays, holidays and make little lightsaber duel clips with my 4 year old. I have a Panny GS400 and I edit with iMovie, consumer-level stuff. I'm just learning the manual controls, moving away from point and shoot. I'm a total beginner and I know it.

For about a year I've had the filmmaking bug and I want to make some DV shorts. Maybe a documentary, I'd even like to do weddings if I could get the business. I have a few problems though. I live in an area where I don't have any friends nearby to work on projects with. I'm 33 and we have 2 toddlers so my time is limited. I'm near NYC and there are plenty of people around but it is hard to hook up with new people. The second problem is that when I hook up online people don't take me serioulsy when I list the GS400.

I know the GS400 is a great consumer cam and that people are doing great things with its 16:9 mode and its Frame/ProCinema mode. It is a good cam for lower-end indie filmmakers but it is not a good fit for weddings due to low light performance.

So, I've found a VX2000 used for $1500. I'm wondering if I should jsut go for it and get it. I've tried networking with a few people to make some films and when people hear of my equipment they don't take me seriously. I know that the GS400 can probably beat a GL1 but many indie guys who think they know it all aren't aware of this fact. I'm thinking that if I have a prosumer cam that people will take me more seriously. I'm also thinking the VX2000 is a good choice because if I find some wedding business I'd be set with a good low light camera.

I'd have to keep my GS400 for family movies because I woudln't lug a VX to soccer games or kids parties. I really don't have the money but if this can grow into a real hobby and if maybe I can make a bit of spending money I'd like to go for it. I'm just worried that I'll spend the money and never use the VX2000.

So, should I grab this VX2000 or should I just stick with my GS400 and learn all I can? I keep thinking that having a prosumer cam will help me make connections and make me look more serious. Are these just crazy thoughts? I know all about the point of view that talent is what matters but when you can't even get people to give you a chance it's hard to show your talent.

Thanks for any input.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #2
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One thing to consider.... your GS-400 will shoot better quality 16:9 than the VX-2000. I have one, and it's a great camera for 4:3 but it does widescreen by cropping and stretching which gives pretty poor results.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #3
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Unless you have a real passion for video, I'd stay out of the commercial end of things and don't spoil a nice hobby.

The camera is just the tip of the iceberg to do weddings and most other commercial jobs well. You need good tripods, microphones, wireless microphones, editing equipment and on and on. The money spent on the VX will be a trifle compared to the price tag for the ancilliary equipment.

My advice is to go do your own indie films with what you have and ignore the snobs. Other than the much better low and dim light capability, your present camera will do just as well as the VX. I say this becaue the VX has no better audio capability than your present camera. You will end up with an XLR adapter with either camera in order to use serious microphones. And you will want those very quickly.

The real truth is that most people lose money attempting to run a video production business. The only winners are the equipment manufacturers.

My recommendation is to go do a 5 minute short with people you can find and see if you like the results. Use only your present equipment to do this. If you find the results to be pleasing and the most fun you've had with your clothes on, then do another one.

Every time I think I have to have more equipment to do something, I try to remember that a friend of mine shot a movie that was released to theatres with nothing more than a GL1 and a XLR adapter. It is always content that is important, not the equipment.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Rehmus

My recommendation is to go do a 5 minute short with people you can find and see if you like the results. Use only your present equipment to do this. If you find the results to be pleasing and the most fun you've had with your clothes on, then do another one.
Along these lines you could enter the 3rd dvc challange, which will be taking place in early septemeber, I believe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Rehmus
Every time I think I have to have more equipment to do something, I try to remember that a friend of mine shot a movie that was released to theatres with nothing more than a GL1 and a XLR adapter. It is always content that is important, not the equipment.
That is really cool!



And now for some on topic:

I would concur that you should shoot with what you have. You may well be better off without dealing with the snobs, because you will retain control and be able to learn at your own pace. Also making a few shorts with the cam you have will give you a much better idea about what cam you'd like next. I also don't know that you'll ever be "ready" for a cam upgrade. Imo, You can't really learn about higher end gear until you've worked on it.
Final advice, I would take that $1500.00 and buy a servicable tripod- bogan 3001 legs paired with a manfratto 701rc2 head might be a good choice for you cam and would cost you less than $250.00 total- and will improve the quality of your video in ways you never imagined) I would also buy an xlr adaptor, a good mic, some cheap work lights, a book on sound, and a book on lighting. Then you have everything you need to get started and from there you can do what I'm doing right now, which is upgrading my kit one peice at a time.

Sorry for all the extra advice, but I think our situations are pretty similar.
Good luck.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #5
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The GS400 will do fine. Like the guy above said, use the money to accessorize and get Final Cut Express, too. iMovie will only limit you. Seriously.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 02:46 PM   #6
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The GS400 will not do fine if you're serious about having a go at weddings Brian. The VX is at least three stops more sensitive, and it's this see-in-the-dark that makes it a favourite amongst many.

tom.
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