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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 25th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #1
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Which HDV Camcorder?

Well I have booked several weddings in 2009 that include video, some video only so no chance of chickening out on the video stuff now. As poor as my video is compared to you guys, its still MUCH better than anyone around here is doing.

Now my question, I have 2 Canon XH-A1's now, and happy with them pretty much, not as easy to use with a SD 302 Mixer as others but still getting great audio now. I do struggle a little with low light, so many churches and reception have low light in this area. I always pull it off, but at times do have to use +12 gain.

Do I stick with these cameras, or make the change now while these are still fairly popular and can get good money for used.

What would your camera choices be if you were to replace yours today.

Thanks.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #2
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There are plenty of videographers using the canon xh-a1's including myself. Although you will certainly run into some situations where lighting is pretty bad, you can definitely get by. The rest of the time, these cameras are amazing and a great choice. Of course you could find a camera with a little better low light but you already own these so use them...especially if you're booking a lot more now. Good luck!


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Old September 25th, 2008, 01:37 PM   #3
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Sony is touting low light performance of the new Sony HDR-FX1000 & HVR-Z5J. These look like the official HD replacements for the classic VX-xxxx & PD-xxxx series camcorders. Scheduled to be released by the end of 2008. n.b. XLR audio connectors are only available on the more expensive Z5J.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 02:59 PM   #4
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Sony is touting low light performance of the new Sony HDR-FX1000 & HVR-Z5J. These look like the official HD replacements for the classic VX-xxxx & PD-xxxx series camcorders. Scheduled to be released by the end of 2008. n.b. XLR audio connectors are only available on the more expensive Z5J.

Which Sony Cams out there now are comparable with the XH-A1, or should I say a step or two above. I love the idea of non tape recording. I am not saying I am going to switch, just looking at the options.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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I think the FX1 is about the same level, above in light capabilities but below in other areas.

Your next step up would be an EX1. Amazing clarity and tapeless. Great if you can afford the SxS cards.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 07:00 PM   #6
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I think the FX1 is about the same level, above in light capabilities but below in other areas.

Your next step up would be an EX1. Amazing clarity and tapeless. Great if you can afford the SxS cards.

Is mixing cameras a NO NO? I would love to try out the EX1 but probably couldnt get 2 of them.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 07:09 PM   #7
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mixing manufacturers is only a problem in post IF you can't color correct them to match.
EXAMPLE: When I used a JVC5000 (Acamera) and a Sony PD150 for B camera even though
I used a profile in the JVC that came close, I was never really able to get a PERFECT mathc in post. Irecently did a job with both my PD150 and 170 and had another guy shooting 3rd camera with a Canon XL2-not a snowballs chance in hell of matching the Canon to the Sonys. Partly it was how he had the Canon set up but frankly if you can avoid mixing manufacturers I think you'd be better off.
The Sony's will all matchup pretty well and be a lot less stressful matching in post. Alot of different options in the sony line to choose from.

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Old September 25th, 2008, 07:10 PM   #8
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Denny, I would stick to my A1s and squeeze as much money out of them as possible.
They do the job. You are already using them successfully.
Unless you spend a lot, anything else, at this time, would be a minor improvment. Is it worth the money? Not for me.
Exciting new developments are happening, new products in a highly competitive market are around the corner. I expect the next 2 years to bring choice, excitement and also confusion, before any stabilization around new hyper efficient workflow (bringing together: cost, quality and dependability).
Personnally I am going to wait, improve my skills, make as many projects as possible and wear out my A1 and my HV30. Just my 2cents.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 07:14 PM   #9
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Denny, I would stick to my A1s and squeeze as much money out of them as possible.
They do the job. You are already using them successfully.
Unless you spend a lot, anything else, at this time, would be a minor improvment. Is it worth the money? Not for me.
Exciting new developments are happening, new products in a highly competitive market are around the corner. I expect the next 2 years to bring choice, excitement and also confusion, before any stabilization around new hyper efficient workflow (bringing together: cost, quality and dependability).
Personnally I am going to wait, improve my skills, make as many projects as possible and wear out my A1 and my HV30. Just my 2cents.
Reading some reviews, I am with you. I know this camera has some advantages, but I can overcome most with some light, and this has not been a complaint by any customers. I will spend the time and effort in getting better, and learning the software better rather than learn a new camera.

Thanks everyone for the info.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 12:22 AM   #10
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Denny....my opinion would be to keep the A1's for now. The next year or 2 is going to present us with some amazing options. Just look at the Canon 5D Mark II and what it can do now.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 07:07 AM   #11
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You can mix whatever you want as long as you accept in post there is some work to be done. We went for 2 FX1's so we know that when it comes to the edit we can just colour fix both cams and thats it. Otherwise well have to play with colour, sharpness and others.

Having 1 EX1 and anyother camera will have obvious differences. From what ive seen the footage it produces is just superior in so many ways.

The A1's are a fine choice and although they capture dark I think you can do a lot with your levels in post. Bit of Gamma, levels, gain and your halfway there.

The FX1's are only so good because you can stick the gain boost on 18db although the gain grain is pretty awful after.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #12
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I recently shot performance with 2xA1 and FX1 in 50i.. Difference between FX1 and A1 is far more then slight. Detail level, grain on darker scenes etc.. It'll be a good problem to match them well.. You can shoot A1 in 25p scenes without fast panning and motion (banquet, wedding ceremony fits this) and you'll get good low light capabilities even without gain.. And some presets allow you shoot with gain up to 6db with no noticable grain.. And even that grain in dark areas looks quite filmic unlike FX1's.. I've been shooting with A1 since this june and had practically no situation were low-light was a problem..

So I'd wait a little with upgrade.. Shift to fullsize sensor in semi-profi videocameras is outlined by anounce of D90 and 5D MarkII
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