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


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Old June 27th, 2010, 09:43 PM   #1
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HMC40 for weddings.

Hi Everyone,

I am finally ready to step up from my SD cameras. I have been using a Panasonic DVC60 (my favorite camera), a Canon GL2 and we have a JVC GY-DV300 for backup. I also have an HV30 that I really haven't used much at all.

I am seriously looking at the Panasonic HMC40. It is within my budget, I like the idea of going tapeless and it seems to have all the features I am looking for.

Is anyone using this as their main camera for weddings? I understand most HD cameras will not perform as well in low light and I am ready for that, just looking for real world experience.

Thanks
Adam
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Old June 27th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #2
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Hi Adam

The HMC40 will do a good job!! My favorite was the DVC60 as well when I was on SD and before that DVC20's ... they all did a good job.
My issue was that after sets of shoulder mount cams I was reluctant to move to a tiny handheld (the 40 is smaller than you realise!!!) so I moved to HMC72's last year (they are the 70 in PAL) The XLR channels are awesome for audio and they do an excellent job at weddings...shot 25 since I got them without any issues!!!

What I would suggest is that you will be far more comfortable with the new HMC80!! It's essentially the DVC60 case (as the HMC72 is) and is complete with XLR's BUT will have the HMC40 sensors and imaging boards inside. Panasonic has a prelim brochure on them already and they are being released in September ... You will find the transition from DVC60 to HMC80 almost painless!!!! They are almost sister cameras!! I'll change my 72's next year to our HMC82's when they arrive!!

Chris
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Old June 28th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Chris. I've been reading the buzz on the HMC80s and they look very promising. Its been nice having both a shoulder cam and a smaller camera as well. I'm thinking having an HMC40 and an HMC80 would be nice although from what I've read the 70 isn't all that bad.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 04:23 AM   #4
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Hi Adam

What attracted me to the HMC72 was the brilliant XLR audio system. As you know audio is so important in weddings!! The one feature that REALLY is useful is the fact that you can switch a channel 20db down instantly...when I'm doing pre-dinner interviews with the guests, my Rode mic on the cams are perfect with clear crisp audio BUT walk into the reception later and the DJ's music and the ambience level just blows the mic out!! A simple flick of the attenuation switch and I'm back to a sane level again !!

I would have liked the ability to be able to adjust iris on the new HMC80 with a thumbwheel but you can't have everything!!! In fact it does a pretty good job at weddings in full auto most of the time!!!

I think the deciding factor on the HMC80 will be price!!!

Chris
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Old June 28th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #5
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The HMC40 is a fine camera of that there's no doubt. But as a run 'n gunner? I suck in air through clenched teeth as weddings are often run 'n gun affairs in lowish (romantic) light, and the 40 is iffy in that department. The lack of any wide-angle coverage is a pain that can be partially cured by using a wide-angle zoom-through converter all the time, but that's a design flaw that puts it out of the wedding game in my view.

tom.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #6
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The audio is one of the main reasons I am considering the 70. It seems to have a very capable audio section for the price.

Tom, not sure if you've used a GL2 but if you have is the HMC40 much narrower?
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Old June 28th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #7
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Hi Adam

Just remember the 70 series can only record in 1080i mode. There is no progressive shooting at all. I do all my weddings in interlaced anyway!!

Dunno about there, but here virtually no-one has BluRay so what I do is transcode AVCHD footage directly to DV-AVI using Panasonic's free transcoder and actually edit in SD and give the client a DVD. The so-called "extra quality" provided by editing in AVCHD is almost impossible to see even on a big screen TV when both are downconverted to an SD DVD anyway!! I benefit from the nice fast rendering I can get by editing in SD!!!

Does the HMC40 not have as wide an angle as the HMC70??? My wide angle is really great on my cams!!

Lastly, I KNOW this is a little silly but the shoulder mount cams DO give you a lot of "respect" ...it's hard to complete as a professional when the guests have bigger camcorders than you!!! I always win on that front when I arrive with two big cameras!!! There is always no doubt that I'm the "offical" videographer!!

Chris
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Old June 29th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #8
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The GL-2 is 39.5mm at wideangle, the HMC40/41/45 is 41mm. Not a lot of difference.

I don't notice any practical real life difference with my HMC41 compared to my previous Sony V1E, which was 39mm I think. I'll still be adding a WA adapter at some point, probably the Century 0.5x, as it's not worth me paying a fortune for something I won't use very often. Just for tight corners and inside vehicles etc.

Don't write off the HMC4x and related cameras as garbage in lower light until you try it. I don't do weddings (no amount of money would pay enough!), but the gain up to around +12dB on the HMC isn't the tragedy some people would make it out to be. Particularly if it will be delivered in SD on DVD to people who aren't camera nerds like us.

My understanding is that the "guts" of the HMC40/41/45 are the same as those in the forthcoming HMC80 and pretty much the same as the 70/72 apart from the choice of recording formats.

There'll always be better cameras for low light, if you are willing to pay $1000s more. The HMC40 is $2000 if you include the XLR module. The JVC HM100 is comparable, and it is around the same price (although it doesn't support Lanc-type remotes like the Panasonic). If you want a "traditional" video camera instead of a DSLR, then there's not much else at this price point.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 06:14 AM   #9
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The HMC70, just for interest is 38.8mm (35mm equivalent) so it's somewhat wider angle than the HMC40.

Dunno why Panasonic didn't use the same lens???? but a lot of people are crying about the WA being so high!!

The 70 also has a max bitrate of 13, where the 40 is higher but I must admit that hasn't worried me at all. In fact you get darn good video at the "normal" setting which is only 9mbs!!!

However I shoot all my weddings at 13mbs and have never had an issue at 1080i ....I guess you REALLY need to sit down and think "Do I need different recording formats for weddings???" If you do, then you will need to get the 40 or wait for the 80 but what worries me is the 80 might be overpriced for a while!!!

Chris
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Old June 29th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #10
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Well I ended up buying an HMC40 from a member her on DVinfo. I got a good price so I don't think I'll go wrong. I'll probably end up waiting to see what the HMC80 is priced at when it comes out, would be nice to pair it up with the 40. If its too far out of my price range I imagine there will be some HMC70s for sale on ebay. I still like the feel of a shoulder camera and the respect it gets.
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