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


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Old January 11th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #1
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Which HD camera?

I'm getting ready to make the jump to HD. I need to this next month. I currently use a Panasonic DVX. Great camera. Great in low light. My company has two shooters that always go to the weddings. We both have a DVX and will both be upgrading. (We alternate editing duties). We currently use no lights.

That's the set up.

I have been researching the Canon XH-A1 or the Panasonic HMC150. Please help guide me with your experience.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 08:23 AM   #2
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Brian, have you browsed the forums for these cameras? There's a lot of great advice there already.
Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders - The Digital Video Information Network
Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders - The Digital Video Information Network

But maybe someone who has both will chip in.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #3
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This is just me, but when I consider making a big purchase I put everything on the table for consideration. That's why I'm now driving a Dodge after a lifetime of European cars. I did the same thing before I bought my XH A1. If you're interested in considering all options, you might want to start with http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/open-dv-d...uy-thread.html.

It's also been said by many smarter than me but if you can rent your short list of cams you'll get an appreciation for what it's like to live with your alternatives... at least for a few hours.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 08:50 AM   #4
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I too am in the process of upgrading to HD for shooting weddings. I was researching many different HD cams, and the ones that really stuck out to me were the Sony z5u and Sony fx1000. However I ended up going with the Canon A1 because of the price point on these cams in the used market. I'll probably end up using the canon for this upcoming wedding season then get rid of them and switch to the sony's when there a little more used accessories for them, by that time I should be able to pick up a used Z5u at a good price. I came from shooting with Vx2100's and PD-170's, and never used lights either. Hopefully I won't be disappointed with the XHA1, although I know they won't be AS good in low light as the PD and VX's I've heard a lot on these camera's with good feedback. Some of my coworkers use the A1's and love them!

I know you'll be able to pick up some A1's for less money than you would be able to pick up the HC150 for, and most Canon's are selling with quite a lot of accessories with them as well.

I got a heap of accessories with my A1 for a good price.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #5
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Don't forget if upgrading to HDV then you may have to consider if your editing PC is also up to handling HDV.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 01:36 PM   #6
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The HMC150 is a better camera than the XHA1 from a pure image quality perspective. The only downside is that the AVCHD workflow is currently not as easy as HDV..

I plan on getting the HMC150 in the next few months. I currently shoot with a DVX as well and can't wait to get away from tape-based acquisition.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yang Wen View Post
The HMC150 is a better camera than the XHA1 from a pure image quality perspective. The only downside is that the AVCHD workflow is currently not as easy as HDV..

I plan on getting the HMC150 in the next few months. I currently shoot with a DVX as well and can't wait to get away from tape-based acquisition.
Isn't AVCHD a format below HDV which is more compressed then HDV true or not true in return would make your pc or mac alot more processor intensive.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #8
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I am currently in the market for a prosumer camera and after my research have chosen the HMC-150. The main reasons I am choosing it are the low light capability (which I've been reading is the best sensitivity of the cameras with 1/3" sensors) and the tapeless workflow. I was considering the XH-A1 (which I think very highly of), as I currently have an HV30 and the footage mixes seamlessly, but I want the tapeless workflow and so far I'm told that the HV30 footage mixes well with that of the HMC-150.

I am also purchasing a new Quad Core desktop, which also factors in. My 3 year old dual core with 2 gigs of RAM handles HDV just fine, but won't likely handle AVCHD too well. If I had to continue using it, I'd go with an HDV camcorder.

Robert: AVCHD uses a more efficient compression than HDV and theoretically gives much higher quality at the same bitrate. But AVCHD is more processor intensive and requires a heftier computer to edit natively.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #9
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I understand a lot of you are using the XH-A1. And your footage looks awesome. How long will tape be around? I'm trying stay cost effective, but yet get the best camera I can. I don't really want to purchase new cameras yearly. I hoping to get one that will last three years (based on what we currently know).

I upgraded computers 6 months ago to a Mac Pro (Intel chip). I'm pretty sure it will handle AVCHD. So I'm covered there.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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I used a Sony EX1 all last wedding season ( shot about 22 weddings with it) Absolutely fantastic. Dark churches are no more. Let there be light. And there was light. And the EX1 saw the light and it was good!

I actually sold my Ex1 last week ( great resell value at the moment because there are so few about) and I am picking up an EX3 on Wednesday. Reason for the change is ergonomics of the Ex3 are better with all the handheld shots.

The main gripe is of course camera flash which causes a problem with the rolling shutter, which makes a frame look like the upper half is lit and the lower isn't. very easy to solve by using a flash plugin to light the whle frame evenly. But in truth I have only had to do that a few times in the whole season.

A friend of mine uses the XH-A1 and it gives a good image, but is not in the same clas as the Sony. We have compared footage side by side and the EX1 footage knocks his into a cocked hat. I can't comment on the Panny as i have never used/seen footage.

Before the Ex1 I owned a Panasonic HVX200 and shot many weddings with it in SD ( P2 far too expensive) And it was like going to heaven when I got rid and got the Sony. Dark churches were a constant pain in the ass.

And of course with the new firmware update, you can shoot 4 hours 35Mbs HD with the EX1/Ex3 and it will only cost you about 200 in media ( 2x MxR and a 32Gb Sandisk Ultra 11 SDHC card)

Easy capture, easy editing, easy life.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mercer View Post
I understand a lot of you are using the XH-A1. And your footage looks awesome. How long will tape be around? I'm trying stay cost effective, but yet get the best camera I can. I don't really want to purchase new cameras yearly. I hoping to get one that will last three years (based on what we currently know).

I upgraded computers 6 months ago to a Mac Pro (Intel chip). I'm pretty sure it will handle AVCHD. So I'm covered there.
These cameras will both do fine after 3 years. But they are not too far apart in price (unless you are buying used) and If are only buying one every three years, choose the one that you best feel will suit your needs. Also consider the cost of accessories, and how many tapes you would be purchasing over the next 3 years vs the tapeless HMC, etc. You will want spare batteries (somewhat expensive on the HMC). Many other things to consider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
I used a Sony EX1 all last wedding season ( shot about 22 weddings with it) Absolutely fantastic. Dark churches are no more. The EX1 makes light!
I'd love to get the EX1, but as you said its a different class of camcorder, and at nearly double the price of the HMC, its priced way out of my range.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mercer View Post
I'm getting ready to make the jump to HD. I need to this next month. I currently use a Panasonic DVX. Great camera. Great in low light...

I have been researching the Canon XH-A1 or the Panasonic HMC150. Please help guide me with your experience.
Hi Brian,

I have been testing the Panasonic HMC150 for the last few weeks. I have never shot with the DVX. I have been shooting with Z1s for the last couple of years. Additionally I owned a Canon XH A1 for a few months.

In my opinion the HMC150 is a better choice for weddings than the XH A1. The HMC150 is better in the following areas. Low light, LCD, manual focus aides, ergonomics, wider lens, lighter weight. I can't go into a lot of specific details in a public forum just yet, but if you have any questions, feel free to email me.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 09:41 AM   #13
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The FX1000 is a pretty good choice I tink. I tested its brother the Z5P recently and the low light was amazingly close to the EX1. I'm sure it will do well for weddings. The link below shows a test i did. IF u have the cash later on you could get the optional CF card recorder. That will help you go tapeless or hybrid. Backup is done and no capture time. Direct to timeline from the CF (unless u r on FCP)

I hope to get my hands on a HMC150 for testing but it isnt here yet. Do have a go at editing AVCHD with some online footage before making a decision. The backend may cost you a fair bit too so watch out there! Mark, do you have the permission to release some raw footage for our to mess ard? Thks!


HVR-Z5P Test Singapore on Vimeo
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Old January 12th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #14
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It depends what you're charging for a wedding as to what kit you shoot with. My pricing structure happily encompasses the Z1 level of kit but moving to the EX1 or 3 would mean me charging more to cover the far higher set-up costs.

I've shot a wedding with the EX1 and loved its ability to see in the dark and the picture quality off SD DVD (hated the half-lit flash frames though). Thing is in three years of ownership the Z1 has never let me down and never come home without the goods - regardless of the lighting conditions we've met together.

OK, my footage is grainier and less sharp than the EX1's, but the real quality of my weddings is all down to my experience in the game, and has little to do with what's held between my palms on the day.

tom.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Seah View Post

...I hope to get my hands on a HMC150 for testing but it isnt here yet. Do have a go at editing AVCHD with some online footage before making a decision. The backend may cost you a fair bit too so watch out there! Mark, do you have the permission to release some raw footage for our to mess ard? Thks!


HVR-Z5P Test Singapore on Vimeo
Hi Sean,

That too funny. Here I am in Tulsa with an HMC150 wanting to compare it with the Z5, but it's not available in Tulsa and you are in Singapore with a Z5 wanting to compare it with the HMC150.

There will be a complete review article, along with several web samples, but I do not have permission to release anything on the web just yet. I'll see if I can release just a little teaser footage.
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