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


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Old December 9th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #1
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Anyone using Pocket Camcorders for filler Cams?

I was just out and about, stumbling around one of the deal sites when I came across this pocket camcorder from Panasonic.

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Ultrathin-Pocket-Camcorder-Enabled/dp/B003WOLM62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291886880&sr=8-1
It shoots 1080 30p HD and from a few of the sample videos I have seen, it's not just too bad. During motion it has moire up the ying yang, but for stationary shots it looked pretty decent.

I have GH2s coming but was thinking for $100 and some SD cards, these might not be bad to have in the bag as "filler cams" to just place around. Because of their size they should be inconspicuous, and fit on a cheapie table top tripod.

I did a project for a client that used Flips. Those and their codec were a nightmare. At least this is from Panny, giving me some sense of some quality to them.

So I am wondering if anyone is using something like this, to fill in for those times when you really could use "just one more view" for an option during editing ???
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Old December 9th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #2
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Hi Chip,

I give Flip cameras to the wedding party and collect them at the end of the day. That is often one of their favorite parts. Just like the DSLR footage everything from the flips are transcoded so the workflow isn't a problem. I don't think I could overlook off the quality difference of a pocket-cam next to an HDV or DSLR camera. They work great for candid, behind the scenes situations though - I give it a home-movie 8mm film look in post. A compact camcorder that shoots with a better sensor might work better for what you're thinking of.
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Old December 9th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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Thanks Joel,

I can see where the Flips and how you use them would give you some fun stuff to work with !!! :-)

After dumping the DVXs etc and then switching to the GH1s and Pocketrak CXs, all of a sudden size and weight has become an important factor for me. I peaked at some of the consumer Pannys after seeing this, and I saw the gains in ease of mobility being lost again.

I am not expecting show stopping footage, but maybe some "moments" as cutaways or filler for when I got squat from everything else. Maybe a pair on the floor aimed up at the parents, or who knows where else ???

For $500 I am thinking I could add 4 views of static shots, with a minimum of concern. That could prove to be way overkill come editing, or a lifesaver too.

If I may ask Joel, what are you using to transcode the Flip footage, and what do you transcode it to???
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Old December 9th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #4
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Hey,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Thome View Post
Thanks Joel,
If I may ask Joel, what are you using to transcode the Flip footage, and what do you transcode it to???
I'm on a Mac so everything gets changed to ProRes (LT) before editing - even same-day edits. An associate editor works with Premiere on a PC so they have the ProRes codecs installed. Everything transfers between FCP and Premiere without a hitch via XML.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 01:37 AM   #5
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Chip, I'd love to hear what you think. I'm looking at the Kodak Z18.

On the plus side, you can get many angles discreetly, and being tripod based, you won't have the jumpiness that you would otherwise get. You could also place it/them where the light is best, so they don't have to work hard. On the negative side, our static cam shots are usually wide, which does make the camera work hard with all the people, colors, etc.

I'm wanting to try one with a tight of the parents or something like that. I would also be able to tweak it from my perch.

I'm also considering the new Sony Handycam with interchangeable lenses. All I need in a static is a good lens able to adjust for the sun going down. (I have a T2i and hate it because of the 10 minute crap and overheating here in Phx!)
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Old December 24th, 2010, 03:42 AM   #6
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Hi Dana,

I just briefly peaked at the specs on the Kodak, didn't see anything obviously different, except for the price. Amazon is quoting the Kodak at double the Panasonic's price. I'll bet between now and the middle of March we will see an improved model for each, as well as even lower prices on these current ones.

My thinking on a $100 camera, it's expendable. If it gets knocked over, someone steps on it, or gets ruined in some other way, I am not going to lose any sleep over it. But then my threshold for calling something "expendable" maxs out at the $100 point, after that, it becomes "a deal" to me if something happens. We all have our own number, mine is $100. YMMV. :-)

I came to video via shooting bar bands for promo videos for them. Even though we were shooting 4 cams most of the time, you wouldn't believe the number of times during editing we would be cutting from one cam and have three cams of crap to pick from. My thinking on these, or that Kodak you are looking at, they are inconspicuous enough to scatter two or three around, for those times when you really could use something to save your bacon!

I bought GH1s after selling my DVXs and after the GH2 was announced, I saw enough improvements that would help us, that I sold off the GH1s and ordered a pair of GH2s. Panasonic has a delivery fiasco going with the GH2s, they are slowly trickling out now. Mine haven't arrived, so to make sure I had some cam here for Christmas, I bought another used hacked GH1, but this time for far less than I sold mine for. Because of their new much lower value, I may go with two hacked GH1s instead of buying a third GH2 for about the same price. You might want to look into the used GH1s too. The hacked ones shoot 24P 1080 AVCHD and with an adapter, will take your Canon lenses.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 06:23 AM   #7
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We do exactly what Joel does, i.e. giving a flipcam to the maid of honor and the best man and letting them shoot stuff all day. It works out great, and it is a nice treat for the B&G to watch it all.
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Old December 24th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #8
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I guess I could do both. Just get it back from the b&g before the Ceremony and give it back afterward. It will mean cutting a third DVD later...

What kind of stuff are they doing with it?


I wanted a GH1, but we went with Canon for the price. The fun thing is that my wife has become quite a good photographer (no desire to go pro) and we have excellent shots of our newborn. For video, though, it's a pain. We're actually thinking of a third HMC150 for static and bigger jobs.
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