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


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Old April 27th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #1
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Newbie - Need Help Deciding Camera Equipment

I know this has been asked a bunch of times and I've searched through a lot of the posts here in this forum and have gotten a lot of great information. I just wanna say this forum is amazing.

I'm in Michigan and am new to the event Videography business. My main focus will be shooting Indian weddings because I'm most familiar with them. Ofcourse I will not be limiting myself to just that type of event.

I'm very good with computers and have used that skill to learn Video Editing software at a very quick pace. I recently got married and am using the Raw footage from my on wedding to put my own presentation together. When I look at the work the guy from my wedding did, I know we went cheap, but I think to myself, I could do that. So I am. I'm using Corel Video Studio X3. I've previewed Adobe Premier and Pinnacle Studio. Although similar, I think Corel is easy to use and has tons of features to allow me to do what I want to do. So I'm going to stick with that.

Now for the Camera, I'm stuck in what to purchase. And I know when I tell you that my budget is 2K, a lot of people will say I'm crazy and won't find anything worthwhile for that price. Well, I have seen used Camcorders that come with an entire package or accessories that I can get for under 2K. For someone who's just starting out, having an HD camera with atleast good sound and lighting, I think I can put together some great videos. And once I start making money, I will surely upgrade. But for starters, I'm looking at either the SONY HVR-A1U, SONY HDR-FX1000, SONY FX7 or the PANASONIC AG-HMC40.

These are all HD cams and have had great reviews overall, ofcourse each has their own drawback. I would reeeeeallly appreciate any feedback. I don't take offense to anyone's comments. I realize I'm a newbie entering into something that isn't easy. But its doable. Everyone here had a beginning and everyone has their stories. I love to hear about them because its inspiring.

Thank you in advance.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #2
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welcome Raji...

did u just say you can replicate cheap work? not really sure what u meant by that...seems weird to me

Nevertheless, personally i like the FX1000..a most notable user is the very popular and award winning wedding videographer Jason Magbanua.

Remember;

"A real pro can shine with some pretty basic equipment. That's not to say that they can't do even more with good equipment. The other way around is a different story. Good equipment doesn't fix anything for someone who doesn't know how to use it." - Jim Snow
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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"did u just say you can replicate cheap work? not really sure what u meant by that...seems weird to me"

My husband and I were on a tight budget when we got married last year and went with a guy who was cheap rather than someone who had HD and high-tech equipment. We needed someone to shoot the wedding/reception and just hand us the RAW footage. So the guy did a nice job, but we only paid for RAW footage and thats what we got. Thats what I meant that we went cheap.

I've been a hobby photographer and videographer for several years and I realize I would love to make it into a profession, part time for now. I'm having so much fun editing my own wedding video, but now I'm stuck with choosing some good equipment to shoot these kind of events.

Thanks for your input. I have narrowed it down to the FX1000 or the HVR-A1U. One doesn't have XLR inputs and the other has a bottom tape loader, for which I can purchase the Cavision Spacer. Decisions, decisions.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #4
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The FX1000 is a much newer, better cam, with sharper imagers, better LCD, better low light and better zoom range. No contest. You can buy an XLR adapter box for a couple hundred, or a Rode VideoMic for even less.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #5
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I'd go with the three chip FX1000 and add a Beachtek XLR adapter for your mics. The A1 is pretty old (it's based on the HC1, and that has morphed into the HC3, the HC5, the HC7 and the HC9 - that's how old the A1 is). It's done well, but is just about to be replaced by Sony this summer.

The FX will be better in low light, and the manual NDs offer you more in the way of photographic options for a start. Weddings are in essence run 'n' gun situations that are often held in fairly low (romantic) light, and clients won't take kindly to you turning up with a camcorder smaller than Uncle Bill's.

tom.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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I just bought my 2nd FX1000 and I have to say the same - the best cam for weddings if you don't have time to think too much about settings, lighting, etc. Just turn it on and run :-)
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Old April 27th, 2010, 08:29 PM   #7
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This is why I love this site.

I didn't realize how old the A1 is. You made me laugh Tom.

Thanks everyone for your input
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Old April 27th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
I'd go with the three chip FX1000 and add a Beachtek XLR adapter for your mics. The A1 is pretty old (it's based on the HC1, and that has morphed into the HC3, the HC5, the HC7 and the HC9 - that's how old the A1 is). It's done well, but is just about to be replaced by Sony this summer.

The FX will be better in low light, and the manual NDs offer you more in the way of photographic options for a start. Weddings are in essence run 'n' gun situations that are often held in fairly low (romantic) light, and clients won't take kindly to you turning up with a camcorder smaller than Uncle Bill's.

tom.
Tom, to clarify, the HVR-A1U has morphed into the HC3 and 5 and 7 and 9? Those are the HC models, I was referring to the HVR. And the A1U is a light cam, but doesn't look like any ol' handycam. Maybe I'm mistaken.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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The A1U was the "pro" version of the HC1, with an XLR audio block/mic, fancier hood on the lens and eyepiece, and a few firmware tweaks to add pro features, but it's still pretty long in the tooth as cameras go.

There is a CANON A1 that is more along the lines of the bigger Sonys, perhaps that's what you had run into - sometimes we get mixed up with all the different camera models out there!

No question that the FX1000, IF you can pick it up anywhere close to the $2K mark is a good deal... but you won't find that price from a legit dealer, and going to be tough to find used at that price point - it's around $3K street IIRC. The FX7 is in the $2K street, and a bit less used range... but older and less camera.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #10
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Also?

Other Equipment that is just as important.

1. Manfrotto Tripod or the Manfrotto Monopod with feet on the bottom.

2. A wireless mic like a Senheisser G2 100

3. On board light. Get the Comer light.


These three things will improve the production that even having the best camera won't be able to achieve.

I would recommend you rent a camera and tripod and buy a few acc. like the wireless mic and light.

You could rent the camera a dozen times and by then you might be able to buy something newer. Unless you know you will have more than 8-12 weddings this year you may never pay that camera off.

I rented before I bought and it was great to try out different cameras to see what I really liked and wanted in the next camera I bought. I ended up getting a Canon 7D and I LOVE IT!
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Old April 27th, 2010, 10:31 PM   #11
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I haven't purchased new cameras in two years, and have not kept up with new camera releases, either.
What I can tell you is you must record in a resolution that matches what you intend to produce on your finished disc.
Beyond that, you must meet photographic criteria. Can you control the camera when capturing video or not? Has to be your choice. Can you adjust exposure to meet changing lighting situations quickly? Can the recorded data be easily exported to your editing system? What quantity and kind of accessories will you need to allow you to record quality footage?

I ask these questions because I started with very expensive cameras (which worked very well) but discovered I could achieve the same results with less expensive cameras, so long as I could easily manage manual controls.

The end result is, I think, one's knowledge of camera operation. The more you know how to manage the camera the easier it is to manage a camera with limited features. My first camera lasted almost 9 years. It taught me so much I was able to invest in less expensive cameras and still achieve the same results.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #12
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Add another vote for the fx1000

put of all the cams you listed, its easily the best.

I used to use an FX7, great in daylight, VERY BAD IN LOW LIGHT.

Upgraded to a Z5 (pro version of FX1000) with the MCRK1 CF attatchment, and its a great camera.

I honestly think in terms of HDV, the Z5 (and FX1000 to a certain extent) is the best in the format (HDV)

Then of course there are the canon DLSR cameras to consider.

I use a Canon 7D with my Sony Z5, if I was just starting out, I would seriously consider going all DSLR.


But if you want to keep things as simple as pos, for 2k, i'd go with the fx1000
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Old April 28th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #13
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I see FX1000 is by far the preferred option.

I've also started to look into the Panasonic AG-HMC40

So between the HMC40 or the FX1000 - any thoughts?


Thanks in advance
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Old April 28th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #14
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If you're looking at the FX1000 and HMC40, have you thought about spending an extra couple of hundred dollars and getting an HMC150? Wonderful in low light, great colors, good manual controls, and it's tapless.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #15
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I would get the hmc150, but its not just a couple hundred bucks more, the best I've seen it is for about a $1000 more. Just can't get myself to pay that much just yet. But hey, I will upgrade once I make some return on my investment.

The HMC40 is tapeless and from all the reviews I've read it's pretty good in low-light. I saw some videos someone here posted that were shot with the HMC40.
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