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


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Old January 23rd, 2009, 09:39 AM   #1
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Another help me decide thread

I have been in the process of choosing an HD camcorder combination (one main, one B-cam). I would love to buy an EX1, but the price is a little higher than I think makes sense for weddings. I have settled on the Sony z5u with an FX1000 as a companion. An interesting twist that I am wrestling with is that I can get a used EX1 for around $800 more (+/- figuring what I see happening on ebay) than the z5u. I see the EX1 as possibly the most future-proofed HD cam out there right now, so there is some value in that to me. If I were to go with the EX1, I would likely choose the FX1000 as camera 2.

I am not asking anyone to decide for me. What I am interested in is all your thoughts one these two points:

1- your experience with either the EX1 or z5u for weddings. I have read lots here about the EX1, but with the z5u being so new, I'm hoping some may have comments on that camera.
2- any thoughts, pitfalls, et. on comparing used cameras vs. new. This is a little difficult in this situation becuase the z5 has not been out long enough for there to be any used ones out there for sale.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:49 PM   #2
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The EX1 would be lovely but one thing which throws me off is the SxS cards. There is no tape option as cheap (but timeconsuming) alternative for long shoots. Also with Z5 and FX1k combo most of the accesories and media are common for both making that setup cheaper to maintain.

How much are the cards for EX1 nowadays? Make sure you add that cost to the price of the camera as well.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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EX1 is HD shooting only - no SD. How beefy is your editing system?
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 04:31 PM   #4
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My understanding is that there is a workaround for the EX1 to use SDHC cards.

FAST SDHC Memory for the EX1 - Page 6 - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 04:13 PM   #5
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My current editing system is a macbook pro 2.4 gHz duo with 7200 rpm drive, 4 gig ram, and running FCS 2.0. Regardless of camera choice, a mac pro is in the budget for this year. I am going to roll with the macbook pro until I have the cameras in hand and can do some test rendering and evaluate how soon the addition of the mac pro will be.

As far as SXS media, it is expensive, but the MxR cards are now proven and come in at $35 each, and use SDHC cards. A 16g card is now around $30. So for a wedding, you would need 6 cards to be safe, which adds ~$390. The 32 Gig cards are starting to line up as well and they are at ~$100 each. As those come down, you can add larger cards in the future. For me those economics are OK. I really like the idea of tapeless workflow (yes I am aware of the downsides, as discussed in many other threads).

So, that said I am still on the fence over the z5u and the EX1. I am really drawn by the higher bit-rate recording and lower light capabilities of the EX1 (1/2" vs. 1/3" chips). If I went with the z5u, I would be using the MRC recorder on it with CF cards (and also using tape simultaneously for redudancy, since it can do it).

To be clear, I am just starting out, but want to give myself the best start I can, and make the stretch for better equipment if it is going to give me some advantages in the next couple of years.

Do any of you have any advice? Maybe I am being irrational, or else making excuses for buying the shiniest camera on the shelf. Maybe that camera isn't as shiny as I've convinced myself it to be. I'd love to head down to B&H and try them out, but where I live, the best camera to try out within a couple of hundred miles is an HV30 at Best Buy.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 04:44 PM   #6
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When I worked in television (which was yesterday) I shot our news stories on an EX1. Good camera. I was considering selling both my Z1's to grab a pair of them. But the cards are selling for more than 700 a pop... and that alone makes it too pricey for me.

I like shooting with my Z1's... but the low light abilities really blow. With the Z5, that's one issue that seems to no longer be a problem.

If $ grew on trees, I'd jump on the EX1.
Since it doesn't, I'm looking at Z5's in the future.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:00 PM   #7
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** Disclaimer - I am not a wedding videographer **

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Petrucco View Post
As far as SXS media, it is expensive, but the MxR cards are now proven and come in at $35 each, and use SDHC cards. A 16g card is now around $30. So for a wedding, you would need 6 cards to be safe, which adds ~$390. The 32 Gig cards are starting to line up as well and they are at ~$100 each. As those come down, you can add larger cards in the future. For me those economics are OK. I really like the idea of tapeless workflow (yes I am aware of the downsides, as discussed in many other threads).
I shoot on SDHC and love it. However, when I absolutely MUST have the shots on a one time deal, I roll to both the cards and my firestore FS4ProHD. It's HDV in both places so I live with that, but I have it in two places. Both Tapeless. If you want to roll to tape, attach a deck to the firewire connection, component out, s-video, or composite. All will work fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Petrucco View Post
So, that said I am still on the fence over the z5u and the EX1. I am really drawn by the higher bit-rate recording and lower light capabilities of the EX1 (1/2" vs. 1/3" chips). If I went with the z5u, I would be using the MRC recorder on it with CF cards (and also using tape simultaneously for redudancy, since it can do it).
If you'd be using a deck anyway, the Firestore and similar units become a viable solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Petrucco View Post
To be clear, I am just starting out, but want to give myself the best start I can, and make the stretch for better equipment if it is going to give me some advantages in the next couple of years.
You already know the advantages the EX1 can offer. No need to sell you on that. Including the SDI outs if you really want to move upscale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Petrucco View Post
Do any of you have any advice? Maybe I am being irrational, or else making excuses for buying the shiniest camera on the shelf. Maybe that camera isn't as shiny as I've convinced myself it to be. I'd love to head down to B&H and try them out, but where I live, the best camera to try out within a couple of hundred miles is an HV30 at Best Buy.
No advice. But from the sound of things, if you don't get the EX1, you're going to be looking back in a year saying "what if". Or you'll be in a dark room saying, "I'd be getting this clean if I had the EX1. Etc. Tough spot to be in, which is why I sacrificed on some things I wanted, and got the camera. I waited half a year for the lavs, and I am going to be waiting another year for a new tripod. But I can shoot.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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Personally I love the quality offered by the EX1 however when it comes to weddings in "most" cases the client cannot tell the difference between a Z5 or EX1, looks the same to them!!! From a business standpoint buying a more expensive camera will require you to ask higher prices to justify your purchase, the guy with the Z5 will be asking slightly less and the client won't understand why you are more expensive for the "same" quality. The Z5 offers a great 20x lens, tape and CF recording, 1080P, the Z5 is a sound business decision, delivering best of both worlds. Remember the key to multicam is having more than one camera, buying the most expensive camera is not always the best choice, demand and supply. Your work will look just as good on a Z5, the client will be delighted and you will be more competitive. The Z5 is more practical for wedding, in my opinion. The EX1 is your obsession, lust for the best. Listen to your clients, they have no obsessions clouding their minds besides pennies and cents.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 06:15 PM   #9
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Nicholas has a great outlook on this situation. You always WANT the best, but get what you NEED and put it to work. You will make just as much money with the Z5U as you will with the EX1. If you say you are just starting out, you could even pick up a few used HD camera's for half the price you would be into the the Z5U and FX1000 for, and put that extra money into advertising, (unless you already have bookings). That shiny new camera won't do you any good if you don't have anyone paying you to use it. Like Nicholas said, the clients won't be able to tell the difference, but your pocket sure will.
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