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Old October 15th, 2010, 03:02 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Athens, Ohio
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Full Circle, or "There and back again..."

I would say "It's nice to be here," but I think I've always been here. I've just been inactive for QUITE a while. All that's changed,) I keep telling people who I haven't seen in a while who have said "Hey, man, where you been?" that I've been dead for a few years...for tax reasons...

Anyway, a little about me:

Back in 1998, when I was full of P!$$ and vinegar, I decided to quit my job in broadcast news, and go to work for myself.

Back then, the market was mostly BetaSP, and that was just COMPLETELY out of my price range at the time. I was therefore looking at an SVHS setup, and didn't like most of what I saw.

But there was this upstart idea that companies like Sony and Panasonic were adopting about putting a 3 CCD block in a smaller, hand-held camera that would record a digital signal that could be transferred over a networking protocol devised by Apple Computers and the Sony Corporation.

Then, Canon released their XL1. I remember the first ads I saw for it, and it was love at first sight. So, I went about researching this wonderful little >$5K wonder.

Well, there was a lot of information out there. Most of it hype from Canon and their associates or trash-talk from dyed-in-the-wool broadcasters who had invested in Analog BetaSP. Trying to find a voice in that cacophy of misinformation and misunderstanding was difficult, and I fretted greatly over investing in such a new format.

Then, I found DVInfo's Canon XL1 Watchdog, and Chris Hurd became my unsung hero.

I finally ordered my XL1, and recieved it in just enough time to shoot with it for about 4 days before I was off to a week long Medieval Faire, where I would be camping with the camera for a week. So, there I was, flying by the seat of my pants. But, all the advice, techniques, tips, exchanged on the Watchdog made me familiar with the camera before I'd even touched it, and I managed to muddle my way through.

In the intervening years, that old XL1 shot TONS of interviews, more than a dozen weddings, bunches of special events, captured footage of some of the best Wild West performers around, and was a the most reliable camera in the crew that covered about 7 years, (that's 14 shows,) of the largest machine gun show in North America.

I spent 2002-2009 overseeing a 2 year media program at a state university, and when the University's gear would fail, I'd bring in my XL1 to step up to the plate.

Well, 2009-2010 has seen a bunch of changes in my life.

Unemployment, divorce, engagement to a beautiful woman who I truly believe is THE ONE, and the realization that my rather eclectic career path thusfar has made it highly unlikely that I can work for anyone but myself anymore, so I'm back to work for me, (which is unfortunate in many ways, as my boss is a jerk!)

The XL1, after 12 years of steady, unrelenting service has developed problems that would cost more to fix than what the camera is worth. (I considered giving it a Viking Funeral...for if there is a Valhalla for camcorders, it would be there. It went down in battle! But instead, I think I'm going to take the "Roy Rogers" approach, and just stuff my old friend and and put it on display with a little plaque.)

So, once again, I did some digging...stumbled upon the HM700u JVC. And once again, in an attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff and find some actually USEFUL information on this camera, I arrive here at the DVinfo.net forums. And once again, I'm blown away by the wonderful exchange of information, ideas, tips, tricks, workflows, workarounds, personalized settings, and projects shared here.

So, here I am today...First post in YEARS. I've had the 700 for about a week now, but I only got my battery kit TODAY, (this ISN'T the "Free Offer" kit. I didn't want to wait a month, but the battery kit was on backorder, so it was a week behind.) Good thing I got the batteries today too, as HD, tapeless acquisition, and all these shooting modes, frame rates, color matrix and gamma settings are a WHOLE NEW ballgame to me, and I'm shooting some test footage/b-roll for a contract project, (big one that I hope will lead to MANY more with this organization!) on Monday, followed by a big event that I'm covering for them on Tuesday, (GAH!)

So, this morning, I was felt like I was right back where I was in '98: New camera, and only my own instincts and the insights I'd gleaned from DVinfo to guide me. Apprehensive as hell, but also exhillerated by the challege, the possibilites, and the love of this medium!

I haven't really even had enough time with it to post any sort of review other than I'm amazed with it so far, (but then, the idea that I'm shooting BEAUTIFUL quality HD footage on a card the size of my thumbnail, that I can drop into a $10 USB card reader...what? No $4K DV deck?...and drop files IMMEDIATELY into my Final Cut timeline is in itself amazing! I'm marvelling at that the way I did when I went from A-B Roll Editing to non-linear!)

Thanks for all the information and experiences you've shared, and will share! I hope to give back more than I've had the opportunity to in the last few years.

But as I said, I've been dead...for tax purposes.

As my fictional namesake, Kilgore Trout said in Kurt Vonnegut's novel, "Timequake," "You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do."

I got work to do.

All the best!

-Dan
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Old October 15th, 2010, 03:29 AM   #2
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Ah, Dan...............

A kindred spirit.

Live long and prosper.(No, not one of mine, unfortunately).


CS
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Old October 15th, 2010, 07:46 PM   #3
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
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Welcome back! I too disappeared for a while after first joining and found my way back as I looked at buying MY first HD camcorder, also a JVC (the HD200u of which I now own two)! That was 2800 posts ago...

I love this place when the "Apple is selling FCP" and "If you don't shoot EVERYTHING on a dSLR, you suck" noise subsides...

Stick around this time and when you "hear" things that get your blood pressure up, look around some more - Chris has REALLY grown this place since it was "merely" a repository for all things XL1... there's a TON to read!
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Old October 15th, 2010, 07:57 PM   #4
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Oh,and as a JVC owner you will be INCREDIBLY well served here thanks to our resident JVC guru Tim Dashwood, a gentleman AND a scholar, among others.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 12:07 AM   #5
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Location: Athens, Ohio
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Oh, I've been back occasionally over the last few years. In fact that "Since 2001" membership is actually my SECOND one from when Chris was wrangling the Watchdog. It was nothing to do with THIS place that made me vanish before.

I was just in a position where I couldn't afford to get excited about gear and production techniques, because I didn't have the opportunity to do much actual production.

Reading about OTHER'S adventures and discoveries in production depressed me more than I realized until just...well...today.

Today is really the first day I've had a chance to take the camera out and REALLY do anything with it, and really the first day that I actually got to USE the new tapeless workflow, rather than just experiment with it to make sure the system was running properly and efficiently.

Result:

YouTube - Shimmering Autumn

This is just a sketch. Two hours of shooting, and two hours tinkering in my new Final Cut 7 workflow, (just upgraded from Studio 1. Been using Final Cut since 1.2 on OS9.)

I'd dialed in and saved the picture file settings posted by Tim Dashwood, (for the Fujinon lens,) Todd Norris, and Eugen Orpina's HM700 match for Ciccone's HS200 True Color, looked at those in the viewfinder and LCD, and bumped up the Vivid Cine setting.

I tinkered with a couple of the picture settings, and what I ended up with here looked good in the LCD, but I've already dialed them back to the normal cine setting. For autumn scenery, I like the oversaturation, (and may use a version of this for a documentary I'm doing,) but for skin tones, it was WAY TOO MUCH.

I've dialed back the colors a bit for a project I start work on tomorrow.

I think I need to adjust my zebra bar levels, as the exposure is a little off, and I'm not happy with the color settings on the picture yet, but it's getting there, (the stuff I shot during the brief chance I had yesterday was just MINOR variations on the factory settings was fairly flat and bland.)

But, with all the faults I can see in this little short I cobbled together to show friends and family, it's already LIGHTYEARS beyond where I feel like I was just a couple months ago!

VERY excited to be back in the saddle!

Thanks for the comments, support, and as always, the info!

All the best,

-Dan
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Old October 18th, 2010, 02:51 AM   #6
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The laser sailor needs to sit further forward and put a bit more kicker on. :) Apart from that, I loved it.
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Old October 18th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #7
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He was a little out of ear shot, and wouldn't take stage direction.

Impromptu amateur actors...What are you gonna do? ;)

Thanks!

-D
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