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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old September 15th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Mike Williams View Post
So, why wait? For the cam to come down $1k? Ok, then wait.

Mike

Well I have waited because:

-the delivery medium is not ironed out yet

-most of the HDV cameras do not perform well in low light

-why buy a new camera only to deliver in SD

-people do not like black bars if they can be avoided

-a lot of people will not notice if you are using an HD camera at the event

-HDV cameras are 1/3" chippers

I will buy the EX because it has better specs, shooting progressive will increase my product quality with slo-motion, and the EX will intercut with the 330/350 when I eventually get the big cam version for a longer lens/pro look.

In the grand scheme of things, $7,000 is not a lot for a camera that can look this good.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #32
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Mr Chapman has a point...or has he

Quote Mr Chapman "So IMHO to mark up your rate by 50% just because your using the latest kit seems excessive to me."

Firstly I found out years ago that my camera equipment was not the reason people got a wedding video...It was how impressive your demo DVD was and the wow factor of the clients entering the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise (Edit Suite) that clinched the job. My attitude was if I am that good they will happily pay for it and it worked 90% of the time...what you have to remember is that someone who has gone through a professional training and worked for video companies and television has a far higher knowledge base than someone who is self taught, sadly 85% of the wedding video industry if full of chancers...or cowboys...so my point is if you stand head and shoulders above the competition and pitch to the right clients you will command your prices. My main exception to Mr Chapman's comments are if you produce a wedding in HD all your costs will increase even to the end user getting a £15 (cost to you) Blue Ray disc, if I were still in the wedding game I would happily charge 50% more and be charging £40 (Or more) a pop for an HD DVD. Having thought about it I would not offer 2 packages SD and HD I would record in HD charge accordingly and project myself towards the cream of the wedding market who are not bothered about the price...rather than showing their friends how good their wedding DVD is in full HD. You could offer the end result in 2 flavors SD £25 or HD £40 but make sure the cover is as good as you would buy in the shops I latterly took a 13MP camera to get some stunning pics of the bride and groom to make sure the DVD cover was as good as the DVD inside.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #33
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Alister, I think you're underestimating the additional costs if you're comparing to DV.
HD Monitor, card to pass the signal through, render time for GOP structure (time IS money. . . savings on import time though), XDCAM burner for archive (although comparable to a DVCAM deck), cost of delivery (blu-ray and/or HD-DVD burner or having to add an AppleTV to package), downconvert (time IS money) if you're delivering on SD.

Take all your additional costs, measure against the number of jobs and a target ROI of one year (before you see profit you need to cover your additional costs). For some folks it may be 20%, for others 50%. Keep in mind that you may be SHRINKING your target market if you're focusing on HD delivery. It may mean fewer but higher priced jobs.

Tim, you say AppleTV is selling short. The fact is there are LIMITED CHOICES for delivering HD. Adding the cost of the HD burner (possibly both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray since you don't know which your customer has) and/or including a player for them is very expensive. Just about the CHEAPEST way to deliver HD is to compress to H.264 with your current compression tools and add an AppleTV to the cost. It's the least expensive add on if your customer already has an HDTV.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #34
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What if?

If you needed to buy new equipment now.... would you buy SD cams?

What price do you put on your own personal vision?

Why do the best mechanics buy the best tools?

I value my work and want to "paint" with the best materials regardless of if the bride is nuts or not. I extract joy from shooting and therefore want to use the best tools I can afford.

Mike
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Old September 15th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #35
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Tim, you say AppleTV is selling short. The fact is there are LIMITED CHOICES for delivering HD. Adding the cost of the HD burner (possibly both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray since you don't know which your customer has) and/or including a player for them is very expensive. Just about the CHEAPEST way to deliver HD is to compress to H.264 with your current compression tools and add an AppleTV to the cost. It's the least expensive add on if your customer already has an HDTV.

Craig, I said the AppleTV will sell your footage short.

960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps in my mind is not HD, it is slightly above SD.

The Apple TV is only 720p when you output at 24 fps, which does not always fit a live event.

The AppleTV is a great idea, I just wish it had higher framerates for HD.

But this just argues the point about using an HD camera and being rather early in the game when the only way to deliver the final product is a wireless router that plugs into the client's television that costs $300.

Not trying to be fussy here because I want to buy a couple EX's the day they come out!
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Old September 15th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #36
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The above does beg the business question. Why does it seem so many folks are shooting weddings in HDV and NOT changing a significant premium. Whether it's more computer power or hard drive space along with, downconvert time for SD delivery, GOP render time, HD monitoring for color correction, your costs go up significantly even if the price of the cameras haven't.
Given that good HDV cameras don't cost much more than good DV ones, and that computers have gotten much more powerful with larger hard drives over the past few years, and that there are several ways to deliver HD content of which the most expensive costs under $1000 now, the total cost of producing in HD isn't significantly more than producing in DV was a few years ago. What's tough is figuring out how to get from DV to HDV if you already have DV gear, and that will be harder the longer you wait because the resale value of DV cameras will surely drop as HD becomes more commonplace. As for why some wedding videographers don't charge much more for offering HD, that's partly a function of how much customers are willing to pay for the upgrade.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #37
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"You can only raise prices to the level that people will pay them. I have seen people charging $3,000-$4,000 using PD or DVX cameras. To me they are overcharging for that level of equipment."

I beg to differ... Videography is already second fiddle to photography, and even the big nams in photography, such as Ron Harris (playboy, Penthose etc) shoots with a "sub" professional camera (Canon 20d)
Its not the gear, its HOW YOU USE IT...
in all honesty i you were buying a table, would you care whether or not whether a circular saw was used or whether a jig saw was used? NO, in the end, its the final product which differentiates you from the rest of the clones
Overcharging? IMO, theres no such thing, considering many MANY wedding photographers charge these rates and more.
Why NOT up the ante of our service by charging premium rates? Why NOT bring teh art of what we do the general public by creating quality work?
Id rather see top notch SD in 4:3 as oposed to crap in HD... Many MANY brides are of teh same mentality

"There should be a price increase for HD, but you can only justify it if people are willing to pay for it."

Agreed, however with the lowballers out there buying cheap HDV cameras and charging peanuts simply to get their feet in the door, it makes it even harder to sell.
Videography is difficult to sell as it is, but this jsut nails the coffin considering video is not a priority for many people.
As for price, well, it all comes down to your market demographic.

As for delivery, there have been options out there now for over 2 and half years.. in fact there have been options since the advent of HDV... even before that actually...
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Old September 16th, 2007, 05:25 AM   #38
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The best tools don't equate to good end results

You can have all the kit in the world and still produce rotten DVDs, this thread is missing a very important point...good productions from weddings to TV drama need skilled operators both filming and more importantly very good editing skills....This means having a flair and being able to stand out from the crowd, 10 EX cameras used at 1 wedding by amateurs would produce a nightmare so don't be under any illusion that having an EX will suddenly make you a better operator in fact listening to my colleagues in broadcast who have more experience with hi end HD filming the main problems seem to be "TOO GOOD".
So what do I mean by this...focus needs to be spot on, a tad off and your shot is in the bin, then something no one has mentioned HD is fine if you have a skin perfect model or TV presenter who need far more time with the make-up artist...but if you don't do Hi-end weddings to start off with and film run of the mill weddings your bride and grooms will not thank you for showing their badly covered plooks and various skin problems which is why they call HD "TOO GOOD"...and old saying comes to mind "WARTS AND ALL".
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Old September 16th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #39
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... and that there are several ways to deliver HD content of which the most expensive costs under $1000 now, the total cost of producing in HD isn't significantly more than producing in DV was a few years ago. ...
It's not about "ways" but "market penetration" of playback. While there are a fair number of HDTVs out there, and even that's not in the majority yet, very very very few consumers have HD-DVD, Blu-Ray playback. This means that one buys an HD workflow and all the additional gear PLUS the downconvert workflow and you end up delivering on SD. All that additional expense on your end as the producer for what may be a slightly nicer downconvert, is NOT a good business model IMHO.

XDCAM EX users will be competing against HDV videographers who, I believe, are underselling their work. Dealing with the additional gear expenses plus the render time with the GOP costs time and money.

There's NO way the costs are under $1000 additional when you consider the HD Monitor for color correction, the card to play from computer to monitor, the time for render and downconvert OR the additional expense of actually delivering HD.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #40
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Well, one other way to look at this is bringing a laptop to a wedding is just one more thing that could get stolen.

Especially if you work by yourself, which I do.
Having the laptop stolen would be painful enough. But as for losing the clips that were transferred to it...
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Old September 16th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #41
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Hi George,

Who are you calling a cowboy and amatuer?

I wouldn't describe anyone here like that, including you.

I mentioned that I want the best tools I can afford to create the best images possible. Regarding the EX that includes the DOF control, lens etc.

In my case, again, I moved to HD and crushed my competition with amazing images, demos, and marketing therefore seized a major portion of market share. The old guard just sat back and yelled "I have 1/2" chips!!!!"

How does that translate to a bride and groom? Better than we shoot HD?

We are talking about high end weddings right? Would you say that these same people who are in this bracket may be the upper crust that would be the first to have all the cool toys? Blu-Ray, HDDVD, plasma etc.

Mike
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Old September 16th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #42
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Hi Mike

Quote Mike "Who are you calling a cowboy and amatuer?" This has no specific reference to anyone here...the cowboy in UK terms is someone who does a disservice to an industry by pretending to be good, get paid and has no after sales service...they are less than the dirt off my shoe and get us all a bad name. An amateur is someone who aspires to be a professional but lacks the flair and edge of the pro and does not get paid for their work. There is nothing to be ashamed of being an amateur and I have seen some very good amateurs. Hope this clears things up.
Sadly in the UK the wedding video market is riddled with cowboys and people who think they know what they are doing as is the photographic side of weddings. Weddings attract the cowboy element as their subjects are easy prey..."How much is yir videos" and "how long do we get for that" these were frequent phone call questions and I would be polite by asking them their date and tell them "sorry but we are booked that day". That is how the cowboy survives.. A better analogy of the cowboy is low budget, no skill and a wedding DVD your 3 year old could have done better.
We have various "pro bodies" in the UK, some better than others who endeavor to "make good" some of the lesser skilled cameramen and women when they would be better served teaching the bride and groom how to weed out the cowboy element. How often do you loose a wedding video to Mr No budget only because the wedding couple have phoned round looking for the "best price" when as happens in the photographic side they all charge similar prices £1000 upwards so the choice is down to preferences NOT PRICE.

Last edited by George Johnston; September 16th, 2007 at 04:16 PM.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 05:13 PM   #43
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You can have all the kit in the world and still produce rotten DVDs, this thread is missing a very important point...good productions from weddings to TV drama need skilled operators both filming and more importantly very good editing skills...in fact listening to my colleagues in broadcast who have more experience with hi end HD filming the main problems seem to be "TOO GOOD"..
George: all the points you raised have been mentioned many times before, and people making high-end wedding videos shouldn't have any problems with those issues. In fact the EX1 is the camera some of them are counting on to distinguish them from HDV shooters, especially in terms of low-light capabilities. And as far as showing too much detail is concerned, there are ways to deal with that - including not zooming in on the bride's nose hairs. In two years of shooting HDV I've only had one older bride where I was significantly concerned about how her wrinkles looked and had to soften a few clips, which wasn't a big deal. When shooting in HD it's easy enough to soften detail as needed, whereas shooting in SD you can't improve detail when you might want to do so.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #44
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There's NO way the costs are under $1000 additional when you consider the HD Monitor for color correction, the card to play from computer to monitor, the time for render and downconvert OR the additional expense of actually delivering HD.
What I was referring to with that figure was the cost of upgrading to Blu-ray disc production, which is the best way of delivering HD wedding videos at this time. If you have any recent version of Adobe Premiere you can buy the upgrade to CS3 for $299, then buy a Blu-ray burner for $500-600 and be ready to go for under $1000. For those who have already invested good money in HD cameras new editing hardware and software and so on, spending this last $1000 to be able to actually deliver HD properly to customers is a reasonable investment. But if all the costs of converting to HD don't fit your business model or your clients' interests, then by all means keep producing in SD.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #45
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I don't do weddings unless specifically asked to but I've always found low-light to be the biggest challenge.

I'll take an SD image over an HD black screen any day. I've also noticed that HDV cameras seem to loose a lot of their resolution with the gain up. I was told that it is to do with the noise reduction processing. I wonder how the EX will compare.

F10 sensitivity should just about scrape by for weddings, although I'd prefer at least another stop on that.

Also, although it may save time on ingesting, my experience with P2 is that it takes LONGER by the time you have backed everything up securely. I also use my capturing time to create the DVD cases etc, so it isn't time wasted.

I think that the biggest asset of the Ex in terms of weddings is that it is small but still has 1/2" chips. I normally prefer to turn up to jobs with a full size shoulder mounted camera which really looks the part. At weddings, there is something to be said for being more discreet.
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