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


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Old May 31st, 2007, 12:36 AM   #1
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What are you doing?

Fellow PD170 users:

I'm becoming somewhat insecure about my camera choice. Don't get me wrong, I love my 170.

Since I got the camera, about a year ago, I've shot three narrative shorts and a lot of doc stuff with it and I couldn't be happier with the results. With the right lighting and the right settings, this cam kicks butt. I will continually be happy shooting my own stuff (doc and fiction, short and feature) with this camera.

That said, noone else seems to agree. It seems like almost every potential client wants 24p these days.

What are all of you currently doing (professionally) with this camera?

Thanks.

~~Dave
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Old May 31st, 2007, 01:58 AM   #2
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I'm shooting weddings non-stop along with other events.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 07:07 AM   #3
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Lots!!!

I am doing all my outdoor tv show with the PD 170 it is a work horse and the low light ability is awsome! Other outdoor show friends got me to this camera and they produce 52 shows a year with it and they have no intention on changing to HD either!

I am not near HD for my production! until more people have HD tvs its not worth it to me! I dont even know 10 people with HD tv so i think its along way off! JMHO!!
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Old May 31st, 2007, 08:08 AM   #4
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For many folks it's a choice between the PD-170 and the DX-100B.

Much of my corporate work is shot in poorly lit hotel conference rooms in front of an audience. There's no way a light kit would be tolerated. It'd probably be the same situation for a wedding videographer at a reception.

I've also done local (low budget) cable spots with the PD-170. Most of those don't seem to care about or demand 24p and some are shot in poor lighting situations.

If I were making a "movie" the DX-100B would be worth considering for 24p and the likelihood one would use a light kit. It might be the same if you do "music videos" (not shot in dimmly lit clubs).

Even in the case of doing a doc, low light ability is key.
24p can be achieved in post if it's really desired but I don't think that's critical for a doc.

I don't make "movies," I make money as a video business and the PD-170 gives me much more flexibility for my kind of work.

I feel the same way about HD. HD means increased costs and added workflow time with no easy means to deliver in HD for my clients. The current crop of HDV cameras have low light issues and the risk of motion artifacts in addition. That'll change (possibly with the XDCAM XE or whatever it's called) but then I wont be able to hand a client a tape immediately after a shoot (when I'm hired just as a shooter).
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Old May 31st, 2007, 08:35 AM   #5
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I use a DSR250 and a PD150 for about 99% of my work and thru all the weddings an other social events as well as corporate seminars or training videos or talking heads interviews or whatever I shoot i have never had a single complaint from any client about the fact that I'm shooting SD or that im not shooting 24p. When I was using my JVC5000 I never had any complaints either.
I too am not ready to change over to HD nor do I believe that 24p is really appropriate for a lot of different types of work that I do. If the client wants it done in HD or 24p I rent the gear and go from there.
I love my cameras as they produce a wonderful image and at some point I *MIGHT* look into HD but not for a while yet.
The 150/250 combo works out great for me and I intend to keep doing what I'm doing with them.
Don
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Old May 31st, 2007, 12:08 PM   #6
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I'm still using a pd100 and it has the documentary-esque look which is very promising for the stuff i want to do. Shooting my first film next week.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 01:41 PM   #7
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I use my PD-150 for...well...EVERYTHING! Lets see...in the last couple months I've shot:

The start of the Iditarod for 10 TV stations in the lower 48 as well as The Weather Channel.

Footage for The Weather Channel from Juneau when we broke the all time snowfall record.

Rotary District 5010 Conference three day conference.

Three weddings.

Video of a cruise ship accident (from a helicopter), interviews with passengers who were evacuated, and video of the official Coast Guard press conference that followed for CNN.

Two local TV spots.

I run a one man video production company (I do all graphics, shooting, editing, lighting, sound, etc...) I use my camera to make money, not "movies". One other local company that uses the DVX 100 has decided to get out of commercial production because he doesn't like compromising his artistic vision and wants to make "movies". As I am not single, and I have a family, I don't have that luxury, I need to actually take on paying work.
And there is plenty of paying work you can do with the PD-150/170. It's an absolutely great event camera, works just fine for local commercials, is really good for freelance news coverage....really just an all around great performer. And, DVD's made from it look really good as well. I too am not running for the 24P (I can do that in post if I ever needed to as I have Nattress G-Film effects) or for the HD stuff yet. HD is just too hard to deliver for me....and I don't know anyone at all who actually has an HD set yet....they are still so expensive where I live...I mean who spends 2-5 grand on a TV set???? Someone who makes a lot of money I guess.

Anyways, rest assured, your camera is just fine. It may not be the "sexy" name anymore, but it will get the job done!!
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Old June 1st, 2007, 07:46 AM   #8
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BTW I don't want to totally discount movies either.
A very obscure filmmaker named David Lynch shot his most recent film, Inland Empire, with a PD-150

http://www.inlandempirecinema.com/

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...2/ai_n18646403

POST: You shot the whole film on a lowcost Sony PD 150 consumer digital camera. Why?

LYNCH: "Because at the start I didn't know what I was doing. I'd get ideas for scenes, write them out and shoot them, and think, that was it. Then I'd get another idea, and so on. I used the PD 150 because I'd already been experimenting with it shooting small things for the Website [www.davidlynch.com], and gradually this whole story emerged. And as I'd already committed to the PD 150, we did some tests and up-res'd to film, and I was amazed at the quality. I loved the look, so I just carried on like that."

and this article focusing on the tech aspects of the film
http://www.ascmag.com/magazine_dynam...ocus/page1.php
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 09:13 AM   #9
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I am quite aware of (and excited about) Inland Empire. I didn't get a chance to see it in theaters, but I'll be getting the DVD as soon as it's released.

To be clear, I'm not questioning PD170's ability to deliver with cinematic use (I use it in that way quite a bit and am quite happy with the results). That said, however, Lynch has gotten to the point in his career where he can do whatever he wants. It's (he's) an oddity. Most people I've met that want to do narrative projects (and quite a few doc producers as well) want 24p. I guess what I wanted to know, more specifically, is what you all are using the PD150/170 for in the professional sense.

By the way, thanks for all of the responses so far. It's reassuring (if nobody had responded with anything productive, I may have had to take out a loan for a new camera). Keep them coming.

~~Dave
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 09:42 AM   #10
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If you want to play around with HD at 24P on the cheap...

get a Canon HV20... you can get them for around $900 if you look hard...

I'm going to be using the HV20 for land based footage and the PD170 for underwater based footage this October for a shoot in Grenada.

The PD170 does fantastic underwater work due to the low light capability...

I plan on mixing the HD footage with the SD footage by using instant HD
software for the conversion of the PD170... in tests that I've done it seems
to work well for this type of work.

This workflow will allow me to get the PD170 footage to widescreen format to match the widescreen format of the HV20... then output the combined footage to SD -> DVD

One option that I also have available with the HV20 in the 24P mode is that the 24P is in a 60i wrapper... so you can either decide to pull down the 24P footage or just leave it as 60i in the edit...

The HV20 footage is very very nice and compliments the PD170 quite well...
even giving the PD170 a run for the money... but its not a low light king and
without LANC does not make it a good choice for underwater work...

Also a nice option for 60i footage is to overcrank it to 60P for slowmotion work..... very fluid.... you can see some examples over here....

http://www.revisionfx.com/products/twixtor/gallery/
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Old June 6th, 2007, 02:25 PM   #11
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The people here who still have pd170's, how many hours do your cams have? Have dropouts been happening more often as the cam gets older?

My cam has 500 hours on the drum. I experience video dropouts when the cam starts up even though I recently sent it out for a cleaning. In the beginning the cam operated flawlessly.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #12
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I've had my PD-150 since Dec. 2001. It has about 560 hours on it as I recall. I have not really had any problems with it. A couple times I've got dirty heads and ran a head cleaning tape on it for 5 seconds or so and that cleared everything up. It pretty much works like it did when it was brand new. I always use Sony tapes in it and don't mix brands. As far as I can tell, this cam is a workhorse that just keeps going.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #13
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Well just a bit of encouragement

I now shoot with the Canon XLH1 hd camera , but around a year ago i had the PD170 and i come across footage shot on this camera from time to time while editing, and i can what a lovely picture this cam produces,

The main reason for the Canon is the wildlife i do, but i also do weddings and corporate work and for these two i wish i had the Sony, easy to use, light, and produces a stunning picture,

So hang on to them, they really are little gems!
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Old June 8th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #14
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in the winter i was using my pd170 to shoot riders(snowboarders) in and around montreal, the camera never ceases to amaze.. the colors, the quality, the endlessly ever adjustable settings...and once i discovered the "flash" setting i no longer worry about the need for 24p. i've also used it for some short films, skits, filming bands and other live events. i'll be shooting a music video within the next two months and i'm confident its going to look great.
...and i was going to mention lynch but someone beat me to it. if its good enough for him then it ought to be good enough for clients and whatever else youre shooting. HD just sounds like a huge hassle.
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Old June 9th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Wilkat View Post
in the winter i was using my pd170 to shoot riders(snowboarders) in and around montreal, the camera never ceases to amaze.. the colors, the quality, the endlessly ever adjustable settings...and once i discovered the "flash" setting i no longer worry about the need for 24p. i've also used it for some short films, skits, filming bands and other live events. i'll be shooting a music video within the next two months and i'm confident its going to look great.
...and i was going to mention lynch but someone beat me to it. if its good enough for him then it ought to be good enough for clients and whatever else youre shooting. HD just sounds like a huge hassle.

Bryan glad you learned the flash trick its pretty cool, do you recommend the pd170 over the dvx100? For some reason The sony cameras just don't seem to be professional levels. I own a pd100(very old found it in my dads closet), I did several raw tests and plugged it into my tv, the picture doesn't seem very crisp, and very grainy despite effective lighting. Most independent filmakers tend to go with the Canon's, and Panasonics, Mtv usually uses the Panasonics and Canon's, and the show "On the lot" uses dvx 100's Some reason Sony is getting overlooked on there professional level, and i wish they would get more consideration.
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