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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old April 28th, 2003, 07:12 AM   #16
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XV2000 circa 2003 vs. 2000?

Am wondering if the XV2000 models made in 2002 0r 2003 are improved over the same model made in 2000, or the same?

Thanks, Tom
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Old April 28th, 2003, 09:26 AM   #17
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Paul,

Steadyshot will often cause more problems that it solves with with the motion of walking. It is not designed to handle gross camera motion caused by walking and can even make the apparent motion worse.

The solution, as you probably know, is a modified glide where your feet sort of slide across the ground. This avoids the 'snap' that gets generated in a normal stride.

Some sort of Glidecam apparatus is the best way although I've seen some good ENG cameramen that can smooth a walk out very well. Even the best cannot keep it up for a long distance though.

Tom,

Japanese manufacturing is done in batches. They tool up to build a large number of cameras and then retool to build another model or product. Usually you can tell batch numbers by the digits on the left side of the serial number. One has to look at a sufficient number of serial numbers to intuit the code. Often, with low-unit number products like our camcorders, only the last 4 digits change for a particular unit. The other numbers denote the batch number.

They do incorporate running changes as they encounter problems and can implement solutions. The most public of those changes were the (dare I say it? The Hiss problem)

Sony replaced my 10 month old PD150 with a unit that was several build-batches newer than the old unit. The first unit came from B&H stock, the second directly from Sony. I estimate that the serial numbers are many build batches apart. The new 150 is subtly different from the older camera.

One are is that I feel the manual focus is not nearly as directly coupled as the first camera. Makes it much harder to handle in quickly changing situations.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 10:30 AM   #18
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"Some sort of Glidecam apparatus is the best way although I've seen some good ENG cameramen that can smooth a walk out very well. Even the best cannot keep it up for a long distance though."

I am going to have to disagree with Mike's otherwise fine advice on this point, if this is going to influence someone to rush out and purchase a Glidecam. IMHO, the Glidecam is of minimal value, until you move up to the much more expensive version with the spring arm and vest. And I won't comment on those models, as I have no experience with them.

The cheap Glidecam is very difficult to balance, and extremely tiring to hold for anything other than a short burst, unless you are the Hulk. Figure you are basically doubling the weight of the VX2K, which would be at least ten pounds with a wide angle lens. Try filling a briefcase till it weighs about ten pounds, then try holding it with your forearm perpendicular to the ground, and then try walking and pointing it. This will give you an idea of what you are in for with the Glidecam. You can frequently find these items on E-bay after their owners give up in frustration. www.homebuiltstabilizers.com will show you how to build a similar stabilizer for very little money.

The most popular device for handholding a motion picture camera is a shoulder brace with two handles attached that allow you to control and balance the camera as you move. You can see similar versions of these braces for light weight video cameras at many sites around the web. While the second handle may be overkill for small format cameras, using one of these devices will go a long way to improving your handheld skills, when used in tandem with Mike's shuffle step.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 10:54 AM   #19
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A glidecam without the spring arm is no glidecam at all.

I use an old wheelchair a lot. Riding in a wheelchair, steadyshot really does work well. I know, it takes another person, but they only have to know how to push at a steady pace.

If you need to move long distances with the 150/2000, try turning it sideways and looking at the LCD reversed and placed back against the camera body. It brings the center of gravity back closer to your chest and everything gets smoother. Hard to follow someone though.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 12:00 PM   #20
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Unfortunately, a glide cam isn't an option for me. I do travel video, and my kit is already big and heavy enough. I bought the VX2000 somewhat reluctantly, because of size and weight. The TRV950, while a far better form factor, simply wasn't an option, though, because of its atrocious low light performance. Right now, I carry the VX2000, with the Optex .65 wa, a few extra batteries, a Sharp MT-15 MD recorder, an ATR55 shotgun, a Sony ECM-907 stereo microphone, a Vivanco EM-116 stereo lapel mike, polarizing filters, an Adorama monopod, and a Canon EOS film camera (eventually to be replaced by an EOS 10d digital camera), all of which fits nicely in a Lowepro Minitrekker backpack. That's more than enough to lug around.

I don't mind if there is some "bounce" when I do my follow shots -- part of what I'm trying to do is capture the feel of actually being in the places I shoot. A little bounce makes the viewer "feel" like they're walking along. If the shake gets too bad (which, ironically, is more an issue for my stationary shots, then when I"m moving), I use Dynapel's Steadyhand to smooth things out in post (the latest iteration of Steadyhand is truly amazing -- sometimes it glitches, but most of the time it gives a nice steady image with minimal resolution loss. I think it must do some kind of pixel interpolation in addition to the steadying algorithm).

I think the key for me is Mike's shuffle step, i.e. developing a movement style that minimizes camera bounce. To a certain extent, the weight of the VX2000 helps -- I "one hand" the camera and use my elbow and shoulder joints as shock absorbers. It's taken some practice, but I've gotten good enough at it where I can usually wind up with usable footage. Of course, shooting full wide helps, too, which is why it is so frustrating that the VX2000's optical steady shot degrades when used with the Optex lens. I still can't figure out why this should be so, unless the VX2000 uses physical movement sensors, as opposed to computer algorithms that analyze the image, to detect shake and the mass of the accessory lens damps the movement enough to interfere with the sensors. Using an accessory wide angle lens certainly wasn't a problem with my TRV20, which electronic image stabilization.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 12:28 PM   #21
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What you might do is try another wide lens. I have had good luck with the Sony, but I confess I have not done a lot of walking with it. B&H is good about these things; if you get one from them, test it out, and if it is still a problem, return it within a short time and say it did not perform as expected, and they will issue a refund (assuming no physical signs of wear).

Additionally, these items are available for rent in most major cities.
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