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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:02 AM   #1
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Is a FX or Z1 overkill for a wedding?

Greetings,

(First time poster, long time lurker...)

I'd first like to extend my deepest appreciation to Glen and the rest of the folks in this forum.. I've learned so much in the last several months as it has made me a much better artist in this realm.. So much to learn, so little time (so it seems..)

On to the question (which sort of relates to the previous thread of whether clients are asking for 16:9 vs. HD) -- I've long since been enamored by the next generation cameras that are coming out ... particularly the Sony FX and Z1 cameras.. I liked the HD capabilities, how they are reportedly handling in low light situations, and the seemingly expansive flexibilities in different recording situations.. But ultimately I'm left with the basic question: are HD Cameras like the FX and Z1 overkill for weddings??

I've heard all of the horror stories about how difficult it is to work with HD (because it takes forever to render) content in NLE's (like Avid and Vegas in particular) .... which does seem to be a pretty significant negative for considering an HD camera at this point.. The positives I can see is that as NLE's get better, computer systems improve, it will be easier to work with HD content.. I'm subscribing to the belief that HD is here to stay for the next 4-6 years..

In addition to doing weddings and other special events, I'm also predicting an expansive role for the camera I'm purchasing - so that's another consideration: i.e. some indie-type work perhaps?

Bottom line - I'm dealing with a budget that can acquire a Z1, but leaving just a little wiggle room for other company-type considerations: i.e. advertising, upgrading audio, upgrading lights, etc.. So in the long run, is the Z1 the better option at this point (assuming they've set the competition low price for the next several years), or would it make sense to go with a DVX100, or some other non-HD camera?

Thanks!
-Michael
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:12 AM   #2
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Michael,

Welcome to DVInfo.net. A lot of great folks, and great information here. And a lot of wisdom. I'm relatively new myself to this forum, so I'm not far behind you. :-)

If you don't need to purchase a HD camera immediately, you might consider waiting for the Panasonic HVX100, scheduled for shipping this fall (around Oct many say) to make a decision. See the Panasonic AG-HVX200 DVCPro HD / P2 Camcorder forum for a lot of info on this camera.

Here's some things to consider about the HVX100:

1. About the same price as the Z1
2. Can record in true HD (as opposed to HDV) using DVCProHD codec (100Mbs)
3. Can also record in SD onto minDV using standard DV codec, but with a much higher quality than any SD camera.
4. Offers true 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios

So you could offer your clients a choice of SD or HD using the same camera.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 07:17 AM   #3
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HD Wedding really isn't an option on the HVX100...the tape doesn't record HD. The P2 disks are totally wrong for a Wedding shooting...8 minutes and have to change out the P2? Can't happen...it's impossible to efficiantly do it without problems. Can you do it? Yeah, but why the heck would you want to make something that's already difficult to do even harder?? It's like beating yourself in the head while already taking a beating!

My opinion is the FX1/Z1 are the best choice right now for Weddings. The JVC is overkill in my opinion, but to each his own. If you look at the "practical" solution you could get away with a PD-170 (or two). But, if you want to invest in your equipment for a longer term...get the Z1. It's got a better re-sale value then the FX1 and should provide incredible quality for Wedding videos. Also, it has been used in that setting already with positive results....so there is real world use already.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 07:51 AM   #4
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I know the low light abilities of the Z1 have been the topic of lots of discussion. People have said that the PDX-10 wasn't good for weddings due to its low light performance. From everything I've read, the Z1 is no more than one f-stop faster than the PDX-10...
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher C. Murphy
HD Wedding really isn't an option on the HVX100...the tape doesn't record HD. The P2 disks are totally wrong for a Wedding shooting...8 minutes and have to change out the P2? Can't happen...it's impossible to efficiantly do it without problems.
Perhaps you're not aware of the Firestore option for the HVX100, which would allow you to record HD to hard disk. Also, many are speculating that other 3rd parties may come up with cheaper HDD solutions. We won't know for sure until the HVX100 ships this fall. But it is certainly an option.

Before I would invest $6K in a Z1 which can only record crippled HDV, I would seriously examine the HVX100.

Best Regards,
Pete
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:38 PM   #6
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Hey Michael, welcome to DVinfo- great to have you!

I'd like to add that going SD, even at this point, still isn't a bad choice. It's the most cost effective and currently the best performer in low light. You'll hear the subject of "low light" constantly brought up because half the wedding day (if not more) is shot in a reception hall atmosphere which are notoriously dark.

To be honest I wouldn't let the low light quality of the HD cams be the reason you don't choose them. In fact I feel other issues are more perplexing like the lack of medium in which to deliver, the price of the newer technology, and the lack of demand from clientel. Also keep in mind the initial expense of the cameras is only scratching the surface of the expenses you'll soon inccur. You'll need to upgrade a great deal of computer hardware to get zippy performance while editing.

If you went by what you saw on TV and magazines, with marketing, etc- you'd think every home in Americal had a 16:9 HDTV but the sad truth is it's not even close to half. Even when HD is deliverable (via Blue-Ray, etc) I'll still hold out before upgrading until there is a demand of greater than 50% of my clients asking for it. That, indeed, may be quite a long time.

Now...if sony decided to release a PD-190, with 0.5 lux, and native 16:9 ccds I'd be happier than a pig in mud.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:53 PM   #7
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If one were going to buy a camera today solely for the purpose of shooting weddings, then probably any HD prosumer camera would be overkill.

However, Michael stated in his original post:
1. He is also interested in shooting indie films
2. He already has the budget for a Sony Z1

So my point is that if one is going to buy a HD camera, then the Panasonic HVX200 should be considered.

The HVX100 will deliver the best SD on miniDV tapes in a choice of either 16:9 or 4:3. So this would be very well suited to shooting weddings today.

Meanwhile, as soon as there is demand for it, the same camera can deliver weddings on HD. And, of course, it is an excellent camera for shooting HD movies and documentaries.

[ADDED]

BTW, a key part of any marketing strategy is creating a demand for your product. If you want to create a demand for HD, buy a good quality HDTV (like Mitsubishi) and show them some HD samples, like from cable or satellite. Once you've seen HD, you're gonna want it. It is sooooo much better than SD. Now that I have HD cable, I can barely stand to watch any of the SD channels.

Good luck. I truly believe HD is here, and that we're going to see a big ramp up this next year.

Last edited by Pete Wilie; May 3rd, 2005 at 10:45 PM.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 10:49 PM   #8
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heres what im doing..

when my clients can go to the video shop and hire a dvd in HD format, THATS when im gonna worry about HD...

now dont get me wrong, im a long term pana user, so when the HVX comes out, ill most likely go for it..., but ill most likely be shooting in DVCPro25 format for weddings, as its compression is much better.
4.2.2 vs 4.1.1 in Pal land.. now, to flip the coin, pd170 4.1.1 vs z1 4.2.2 HDV... but compression in m2t, is still quite horrible IMO.

For a p2 card and weddings, dvcpro25/50 this is perfectly sufficient and for the amount of weddings i do, i dont want Hard drives cluttering up with data as they wait their turn to be edited...
this way if worse comes to worse and my 3TB storage is used up, i can archive to dcvpro tape

u gotta think about how ur gonna archive this stuff, coz your editing wont be as fast as what you shoot, unless u can edit in a week and work on potential clients and have enough time to do everythign else like running a business.. coz u wont..

Yeah im going HVX, but for other reason as opposed to DVCProHD.. FOR NOW that is... at the moment, dvcprohd, isnt a priorty for me, however the best possible SD solution IS (a priority i mean)
this unit is the answer until people (the public) become educated and i can deliver the format with minimal loss ...

Then in a years time, when i want to deliver HD, i just flip a switch.. ;)
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 04:58 AM   #9
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If you are going to do weddings, plan for at least two cameras, so you can edit effectively. Also leave more money than you think for other stuff like microphones, monopods, glidecams, on-cam lights, irivers or minidiscs, UHF wireless, EXTRA BATTERIES, etc. And then advertising & marketing.

Maybe you should consider a pair of used vx2000's. You could buy 2 (and some extra batteries) for about the cost of one fx-1.

OTOH, I don't plan to shoot weddings, so I am buying a DVX100a. I want to be able to work in 24p, and I think that my long term plan is to buy the HDX200, so the DVX is like training for it. Same controls and basic approach. I suspect I may end up making a movie or two. I think that HDV is going to prove to be a flawed format, despite the ability to jam it onto a mini-DV tape. And FX1/Z1 do not shoot progressive mode, which may become more important with HD. So JVC or maybe Canon may become more attractive in HDV world. As far as HDX P2 etc, we shall see when the camera is actually out in 6 months... But being an early adopter of the new wave of mini-HD cameras will have its costs, no matter which format you choose. And truthfully, I like 4:3 better for most things anyway, 16:9 leaves you chopping off people heads for closeups.

Your best bet might be to buy a pair of 2000s and wait until HD shakes itself out a bit.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 09:11 PM   #10
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Hvx-100?

Hey Pete;

Where did you see/get info on Panny's HVX - 100? I can't find it in the HVX200 forum and it is not listed on Panny's website.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 10:45 PM   #11
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Sorry, it was a typo -- should have been HVX200.

I have corrected my previous post.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 10:59 PM   #12
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First of all -- thank you all for your thoughtful responses. It really does help getting so many different points of view in areas such as this. My personal take on what I've gathered so far is that HD is an evolving format - whether or not it takes flight really remains to be seen, even though the trend supports that it will.

The major consideration I have at this point rests in what Glenn mentioned: the anticipation that everyone was going to rush out and by a HDTV set --hasn't quite happened yet. Does that mean it won't in the next 3-4 year period - who knows.

Then after reading Boyd's comment about the lux rating on the Z1 - made me crinkle my nose a little. If I hadn't seen screen captures of a Z1 at night, at a concert - I probably will dismiss the Z1 entirely -- but I liked the output I saw enough to consider the Z1 on the radar screen.

I'm interested in the comments regarding the HVX200 -- and I appreciate the view Christopher had on the P2 cards -- the cost of them does seem impractical -- along with the apparent lack of storage (8 minutes does seem to be a major bummer.) I thought I read that you can hook it up and record it straight to a hard drive, but that really cuts down the mobility factor that one needs at a wedding.

I've tried to read-up on what Pete Wilie said about how the Z1 records "cripped HDV" but I have been unable to find anything in the forums or google -- can anyone direct a proper URL for this?

I like Peter Jefferson's comment about how having an HD capable camera is preferred because when HD finally hits mainstream - "i just flip a switch..." I like that approach -- yet I wonder if we have to wait 3-4 years down the road, what the latest and greatest camera will be then.... (that's unfortunately the conundrum...)

Thanks for spelling out the remainder of the shopping list, John -- all that which you listed are upgrades in the making. I have a basic list I'm working on - that I know I absolutely want to include in the budget along with the camera.

I'm still crunching numbers to verify what my budget is -- I'm sure I'll be eagerly posting the countdown to the new camera -- whichever way I decide to go.

Thanks to everyone for their input!
Take care,
-Michael

===================
edited
===================

Of course it would be that as soon as I post this -- I also find out about Firestore - and it's seemingly incredible HD recording capabilities. If this qualifies here or on a new thread -- has anyone attempted using Firestore in a wedding?? Why/why not??

Thanks again!
-Michael

Last edited by Michael McGruder; May 3rd, 2005 at 11:36 PM.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 04:57 PM   #13
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What I think needs to be considered is the entry level high definition format which is 720p at 30 frames per secound. First of all 720p plays and edits just fine on most windows XP computers while 1080p does not play on my computer. For Sony fans many shoot HDV in the CF30 mode. This format can be very easily converted to 720p30. Some people say that this mode loses 30 percent of the vertical resolution of 1080i60 however it is still much better quality than regular standard definition. Of course JVC products shoot 720p30 natively.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 11:48 PM   #14
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HDV vs HD

Michael,

Perhaps my use of the term "crippled HDV" was a bit strong, but it's important to know that HDV is NOT true HD. It uses a highly compressed format to store the video/audio on a miniDV tape that runs only at 25Mb/s. Compare this with the HVX200 which uses the DVCProHD codec to record HD at 100Mb/s. Note that the HVX200 uses the same codec as the highly acclaimed, and expensive, Panasonic Varicam HD camera. I think it's generally accepted that HDV is better quality than SD, but not as good as HD.

If you do a search on DVInfo.net, and on the internet using google, for "HDV vs HD" you'll find a lot of discussion about this.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #15
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Generally HDV is considered broadcast quality high definition because broadcasters are limited to a 19.7 megabit per second bandwidth. However for Blu-Ray DVD distribution you can take advantage of the higher bit streaming rates of DVC Pro HD. Only when broadcasters switch to the more efficient MPEG4 compression will DVC Pro HD be any advantage.
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