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


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Old May 18th, 2011, 06:57 PM   #1
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in-camera edits

As my old SONY miniDV DSR-2100 is getting worn out, I am looking to replace it with a newer similar model. As an event videographer shooting mostly Bar Mitzvahs, I use the in-camera transitions quite regularly. I rely on fade-to black with audio follow, and the digital dissolve transition. The digital dissolve transition takes the final frame of the previous scene and cross fades it to the new scene you are currently shooting.

SONY featured these same in-camera editing features in their professional cams, the PD-150 miniDV, and the DSR-250 full size DVCam.

Since these cams are no longer in production, what current model cams offer in-camera edits? Are these cams designed for event work?

Thanks,

Sam Lamke
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Old May 18th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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Re: in-camera edits

These are always a really bad idea because you can't undo them, and a dissolve locks your second shot to your first in a way you can't change later. No professional should ever rely on these when they are so easy to do in post, even in something like iMovie or WMM. But whatever. Some of the little consumer cams out there still have these features, and then some, if you want them. But no, cams that have these features are not designed for pros or event work. They are designed for people who can't use a computer. They are the Easy-Bake ovens of the Video world.

I will admit they were handy when you needed fourteen tape decks and $80,000 worth of gear and four rooms to edit tape, but now when any $300 laptop and free software can do it, these features make no sense.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #3
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Re: in-camera edits

Sam, while I agree with Adam in principle, and he is technically correct, if that is how you are used to working I will not critque your methods, they work for you and that is fine until you're ready to try something different. But despite that, you may not have a choice but to abandon those features when you get a new camera.

I don't know if any of the newer cameras offer the features you seek, I can say the new Panasonic TM900 is getting rave reviews.

I strongly suspect the in camera transitions you seek have fallen by the wayside since the old days.

I honestly don't know, maybe they do, but something tells me no.

Call B and H Photo in NY and ask one of the sales guys, they may know.

The issue you may experience with newer cameras will revolve around the fact it is all HD pretty much now. The footage requires a pretty decent PC to edit, at least something relatively new.

Aside from in camera transitions, you could try updating to a Canon HV30, which can be had used for under $500. It shoots tape, is great in low light, and shoots widescreen DV or HD, your choice. It's a great camera, you'd like it probably, aside from the lack of transitions.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #4
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Re: in-camera edits

I know my old Panasonic VHS cameras had transitions..fade, dissolve, wipe, strobe and the rest. Gosh one of them even had it's own titler!!!! In those days I never edited weddings either...drop in a VHS tape..record an optical title (usually the invitation) and then shoot the wedding adding effects and doing careful in-camera shoots. At the end of the night you would pop out the tape (already pre-labelled) and give it to the Mother and hold out your hand for your money!!

It was certainly an efficient way of doing business!!!

Seriously I haven't seen in-camera transitions for ages!!! My HMC's do have a fade in/fade out (I think!!!) so maybe the 900 also has that but the fancy FX all see to be lost even on consumer cameras!!

Chris
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Old May 18th, 2011, 11:48 PM   #5
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Re: in-camera edits

The current top Sony consumer cam, the CX700, as well as what I'd consider the current PD170/VX2100 equivalents, the NX5/AX2000, both have faders but no other effects. However, a graphic in the manual implies that you could force a dissolve somehow but doesn't say so explicitly.

Nonetheless, it remains a bad idea, when it is so easy to do -- and undo -- in post.

It occurs to me that because of the GOP structure of HDV and formats beyond, all this might be impractical to do in-cam. These features might have hit a dead end with DV, in which case another VX/PD might be what Sam needs if he still really wants to do this.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 09:46 AM   #6
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Re: in-camera edits

Chris, you are exactly right. In the old days, at the end of the affair, you could pop out the tape, hand it to the client as the client paid you the balance due in full (in cash hopefully !!).

So if you had a wedding, sweet 16, or bar mitzah booked on a saturday or sunday, you had no residual editing work once the party was over. This is a win-win situation on many levels. For the videograher, it limits the hours of work required to produce the finished video, while freeing up precious time for other pursuits, such as a 9 to 5 job, or higher education. For the client, it could (should) mean a lower price point to book your services, recognizing that no time is being spent on post editing. It also means that you have instant gratification to watch the video, instead of waiting months on end for the finished video to be delivered.

With the PD150/VX2100, you can't hand over the finished video at the end of the affair because the capture media is miniDV. However, with the captured video can have simple fade to black and digital dissolve edits performed in-camera, limiting the post editing to simple assemble editing. As Adam said, with a $300 laptop and inexpensive editing software, you can embellish the video with a photo montage as the introduction, and a highlight recap at the end of the video.

So my style of video for say a sweet 16, takes about 10 hours to produce; 5 hours for cocktail hour /reception, and another 5 hours for post editing and burning to DVD. The finished video is delivered one week after the affair. The niche for my business model is the ultra price sensitive clientele who still demand professional quality, not an "uncle charlie" special. An added benefit to serving this niche market is the word of mouth advertising. So continuing with this business model requires that I find the right camcorder wityh the proper in-camera editing features.

Adam, do you have a link to the NX5 users manual so I can check out the dissolve feature you spoke about?
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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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Re: in-camera edits

Sure, here you go:

http://www.humanvalues.net/hdv/pdf/S...g_Guide_EN.pdf

It's not a dissolve feature but the fader feature, but there's a little graphic arrow that looks like a dissolve. You can see the graphic at the top of page 75.

I'm almost certain it actually isn't a dissolve, even though the graphic sort of makes it look that way. I'm pretty sure Jeff and Chris are right and the days of in-camera effects are long gone. But from your description of your post-production process above, it seems like throwing in transitions like dissolves would be about a five minute process in post, no? If you move to tapeless the time you spend adding transitions in editing will be compensated tenfold by the time you save in not capturing from tape.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; May 21st, 2011 at 03:55 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 07:56 PM   #8
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Re: in-camera edits

Hi Sam

I think those days are gone.

Adam has a very good point!! Moving to a card based camera means on a 5 hour shoot (where you have probably captured a good hour or more of raw (or in-camera edited) footage) you immediately save an hour or more because the capture process is minutes rather than hours. BIG saving in time.

I'm also sure that most NLE's have auto-functions too which would make your job easier...In Sony Vegas you can tell the NLE to assemble all the clips with an automatic dissolve between them of "X" seconds..a big time saver. Actually shooting to edit with card based cameras is even easier than tape ...every time you hit record, a new clip is created so you simply assemble all you clips together and you are done!!

Worth looking at I think??? and doing your FX in the NLE...you will find you might even get your job out faster than before!!!

Chris
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:42 PM   #9
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Re: in-camera edits

Hi Adam, I checked out the link for the SONY and the in-camera edits are limited to simple fade to black or fade to white. I now realize that the curre are getnt crop of professional camcorders have no digital dissolves. I guess the marketing folks at SONY, Panasonic, Canon, etc. no longer feel in-camera transitions are needed.

Hi Chris, it sounds like the NLE vendors are designing their products to make the editing process more efficient. I'll definately need to choose the right NLE when I upgrade my camcorder.

Thanks again
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 04:29 PM   #10
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Re: in-camera edits

Sam, if you were getting by with in camera edits, you could, in theory, get by with Windows Movie Maker in Windows 7, I imagine, which is free.
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