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


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Old June 28th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #61
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

A USER MALFUNCTION is not "a problem with the cameras"...

This has been discussed and resolved ad nauseam - AVCHD has a file "break" at roughly 2G, you MUST stitch the files back together PROPERLY, usually via the software the manufacturer INCLUDED, although other options are available.

YOU CANNOT JUST DRAG AND DROP THE FILES!!! If you do, there will be a gap, or even more messy problems with "missing" video or audio.

I guess since there's another wave of people going tapeless, this is popping up AGAIN - it was a "hot topic" when early adopters ran into it, myself included.

PLEASE don't go blaming the cameras for failure to RTFM, though I do understand the frustration - when I first encountered it, I couldn't find anyone who knew much about how these tapeless cams handled long clips... but now there's PLENTY of ACCURATE information on how to "fix" the "problem" that isn't the fault of the cameras!!
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:40 PM   #62
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

If you read the thread I have marked this as resolved both here and on the tread where I first raised it.

Before posting I did a search and only found reports of it happening, I could not find a solution or cause, it was only after I posted on this forum that the answer was given and I acknowledged this.

As I mentioned the reason I posted here was because of the glowing enthusiasm I had shown for this camera on this thread and I did not want to influence anyone to buy it if there was indeed a problem with it. I posted here as an advisory.

It is easy to be smug and criticise someone when you know the answer. Try to understand that not everyone starts at the same place you are at.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #63
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

I have to admit to having given my share of curmudgeonly RTFM responses, but I've noticed lately that the search engine does not seem to be turning up threads as well as it used to. There have been a couple of recent instances when I snapped out a response of "RTFM and do a search" and then did my own search to find threads I knew I had read --- and could not find them for the life of me. So, there I was having already kicked the puppy,

And, just to add to the complexity, it occurs to me that Sony's PMB/CMU programs do not run on Macs. With regard to the script that Eric cited, did anyone figure out how to get that or something similar to run on a Mac? What are Mac users supposed to do? (I don't use Macs so I do not know.)

Edited to add: apparently you can run the script using the Mac's "terminal" function, whatever that may be.
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nxc...questions.html
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Old June 28th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #64
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

The decision to make AVCHD compatible with Windows 95 by maintaining a complete BDMV structure using the FAT32 filesystem in the camcorder so the video can be burned directly to disk without any further processing is not an engineering decision I would have made. Still, once you figure out how to paste the 2GB chunks back together the workflow isn't that bad.

At retail prices blu-ray players are $80, burners are $100 and media is $1.25 per disk. The day will soon come when high-definition is expected. For me, providing blu-ray now indicates my hope that the marriage will last long into the future.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #65
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

George,

Didn't mean to be overly rough (it's been one of those weeks, so if I offended, please accept my apology!), but the other thread title was "Sony CX550 audio glitch at end of file" and here you posted to someone considering the camera... "I think I should let it be know that I have come across a problem that may be vital to anyone thinking of buying one. I may be alone in this but it is a problem I've not got a cause or solution for", pretty much blamed the CAMERA, or at the minimum impled there was something "wrong" with it...

While I understand the frustration upon first encountering the "engineering decision" (well put, Eric!), you don't want to go around "warning" people that "the sky is falling"... when as you've now discovered, the solution is quite simple, even if the "cause" is something that definitely makes you scratch your head! You got "the answer" pretty fast here (if you can't get it on DVi, it doesn't exist!), but didn't even give time for anyone to solve the problem before posting a "warning"... I think that's what struck me?

I will say that when I first encountered this with a CX7 I picked up without software just to check it out (about 4 model years back now!), even Sony support was totally CLUELESS (DVi members often seem to have more detailed and correct info than Sony US I've found! Not to say Sony support isn't excellent generally, just they can't be experts on everything), so I'm not unsympathetic, but the "problem" has been known, reported, and a solution widely recognized for several years now. I know I've responded to at least two threads recently by "new" AVCHD users who hit the snag... I realize if you don't hit the right search terms though, they may not have come up.

I'm sure this is nothing more than a "new user surprise", as the need for external software seems rather DUMB (not a wise engineering or marketing move...), As someone who goes by the creedo "Manuals? We don't need no steeenking manuals", I hate to say it, but some of these new cameras sorta require it... The A33/55 and even the new Sony Point and Shoot have such a huge amount of "features", it's worth the read... and nearly mandatory, much as I hate to say it!
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Old June 30th, 2011, 06:12 PM   #66
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

I had just decided to go with the NX70U. However, just as I was about to pull the trigger, I ran across some reviews of how poorly it handles low light situations. Since my mainstay is choral concerts, plays and recitals, this could be a deal breaker.

Has anyone experienced negative low light performance with this model or read about such?
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Old June 30th, 2011, 06:42 PM   #67
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Well, there are samples here on DVi of the NX70 vs. the XA10... the NX70 looked pretty good performance wise to me. I have seen a few indications that the CX700 (consumer cam, but similar to the NX) performs a bit worse than the CX550 - but those samples sure looked good to me...

So I'm inclined to suspect that as often happens with "review" sites there may be issues with the "test" methodology used - I saw one or more review sites a couple years ago zoom the Sonys in to match the framing of the competition - which would knock off a stop or two and make the camera "look bad"

There are simply limits to how far into the dark you can go - as I put it you can't expect to take video of a black cat in a dark room at midnight (that's what NIGHTSHOT is for, silly!). The CX550 is pretty well regarded for low noise and good low light, better in low lux mode. The reports posted here have been positive for the CX700, so I don't think you'd be disappointed with the NX70 (check the forum section dedicated to it, you might look and ask there, as those lucky people have their hands on them!!).

Remember too that "stage lighting" and "low light" are different animals, and there are plenty of us here shooting with small Sonys for such events, either as additional angles or as multi-cam setups.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 01:15 PM   #68
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rey Lowe View Post
I had just decided to go with the NX70U. However, just as I was about to pull the trigger, I ran across some reviews of how poorly it handles low light situations. Since my mainstay is choral concerts, plays and recitals, this could be a deal breaker.

Has anyone experienced negative low light performance with this model or read about such?
When a reviewer says that low light performance is "poor," it really helps to know "poor compared to what?" Maybe the reviewer is comparing the NX70 to an EX1 (which has much larger glass and uses three " sensors) with or to a DSLR (again with larger glass with a very large sensor and a camera that is probably not suitable for what you want to do).

For me, who uses CX and NX cams for stage events, my initial thought is that there is unnecessary panic over some unspecified reviews. But, then, I have been using the cameras and you have not, so please do not take that thought as mocking or harsh. It is really hard to tell what concerns you without the context.

My events may be different than yours. so let's talk about frames of reference.

First, how low do you think you need to go for stage shoots? Do you want to see the stagehands moving scenery during blackouts and do it without resorting to a nightshot/ir function? That is not quite the "black cat" situation Dave mentioned, but if you need that kind of capability it requires a lot more money for a much bigger camera with much larger sensors.

Second, most of us do not need that capability for dance recitals and choral concerts. We are shooting the performers who have to be lit enough for the audience to see them I've used my CX cams with no problem in shooting, say, a Christmas concert in an old church with the performers lit only by candles and some lights bounced off the ceiling (basically to give enough light for the singers to read their music.) It was too dark for the audience to read their programs. It was too dark to use my older Sony HDRHC1 as an additional B cam. Sony rated the HC1 down to 7 lux and the CX cams are rated to 3 lux. My NX5 is, I believe, rated down to 1.5 lux. The CX and NX will give very usable footage in much dimmer light. That said, I've rarely shot any events where the light was too dim for the HC1.

Also, consider this. When you go down into dim lighting with HD footage, you often see grain (or video twitter) in the darkest shadows. With that Christmas concert footage my CX cams were zoomed in about 1/3 of the way to properly frame the singers, so that were not at widest iris. Still, the CX footage had less noise than my NX footage. The folks who got the DVDs said that the picture was better than what they could see while seated in the room.

Third, have I ever run into a dim lighting situation where I did not get usable footage from my CX cams? Yes. I can think of three extreme situations:

--- A dance recital where one dance was done on a stage lit with a single and very weak black light at the front edge of the stage while the two dancers in white tee-shirts were standing about 20 feet back on a very large stage. I had to set max gain on my NX5 to get usable footage. I might have gotten usable footage from my CX cams but they were fixed cams placed where I could not get to them to zoom them in . (and zooming would diminish the low light capability.)

--- another dance recital where the finale was for the kids to walk up the aisles holding tiny candle-like lights and go up onto stage. Until there we got up to 30 kids on stage, you could not see anything but the tiny pin-pricks of the LED lights. (At the point where we had 30 kids on stage, we were getting enough lights that were sufficiently close together that we could start to see faces.)

---- a wedding reception where the planner decided to make the first dance "romantic" by turning the lights down to the point where the guests could see nothing of the couple but a dim white glow from bride's dress.

I suppose you could say that I "experienced negative low light performance" in these extreme situations. Are these the kind of low light situations which would make you want to avoid an NX70?

I rather doubt it. The NX70 should be excellent for what you want to do. It (like the CX cams it is based on) can go much lower than you will usually need Because the NX also has more controls and more accessible manual controls than the CX cams, you will likely be able to do even better.

As for "poor" reviews, it helps to know what reviews you have seen so we can see the context. I recall reading one review where the writer thought the CX550 was "terrible" in low light because the iris would only go down to f/3.5. The reviewer apparently did not understand that zooming in affects how wide your camera's iris can go, which does affect low light ability as well. Your CX/NX may have f1.8 at full wide but only about (I think) f/3.5 at full zoom. There is a similar reduction with every camera I know of. Do note that the NX and CX cams go very wide on the wide angle end of things. For example, the Canon HV20 was (I think) something like 43 at maximum width, but my NX and CX cams have 30 lenses. I recall reading some reviews where the CX or NX cams were zoomed in to correspond to the lesser width of the other camera's lenses, to give comparable framing. The folks apparently were not aware that zooming in could reduce maximum aperture size, so they claimed that the low light performance was not what Sony claimed and no better (or worse) than the camera they were compairing.

There is also "spec shopping." I've read a few reviews or posts (not here) where folks claimed that the XHA1 was better in low light than the NX5 because the XHA1 specifications rated it at 0.4 lux while the NX5 only does 1.5 lux. But the XH cam gets that with a virtually unusable 1/4 sec. shutter speed while the NX cam is rated with a 1/30 sec. shutter speed.

So, I hope this answers your questions.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 10:52 AM   #69
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Gotta resurrect this thread briefly as we are finally at a point where we can make this changeover.

Found a supposedly "new and untouched" Sony CX500V for $700 obo locally. How much difference is there between a 500v and a 550v? Is that a decent price?
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 02:47 PM   #70
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Rey -
Maybe for a new and untouched one, it's "OK", I've got two near mint ones I'm selling for around $200 less with accessories... no boxes or papers, but who needs that anyway!?

Good "B" cameras, slightly smaller LCD (2.7 vs. 3.5), no Viewfinder, and the older lens range, which starts at a narrower field and has a bit more tele. If you add a wide angle Sony HG .7x lens, you get basically the same lens range as a 550. No headphone or mic in, although you can go in through the Ai Shoe for Sony branded accessories. Personally I prefer the front mounted button/control wheel, the CX500 has a smallish one located at the rear, it's fine for adjustments, but I like the front mount better.

Hope that gives you some idea of the differences - I used the pair I've got to match with the XR500 and then the CX550, they are excellent for acquiring a high quality video image as they use the same basic sensor block. I didn't need the added audio capabilities, or I'd use a Sony bluetooth mic in 5.1 mode (camera surround with bluetooth mic being the center channel). For that, they did the job, and did it well, but I try to retire equipment after a couple years and upgrade.

If you decide the CX500V would meet your needs, (or have any more Q's), I've got a couple here looking for a good home!

I went back and looked at what you're planning, and again, these would probably make good B/C angle cameras - that's exactly why I bought and used them - inexpensive way to get additional angles, and a good image quality match for the higher end Sony cams (like a pair of CX550's or 700's). Plus, because they are small and light and have good OIS, they make a "handy" camera ror personal use!
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 02:55 PM   #71
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Just the man I was hoping to hear from!

I may be able to get this one for $500 cash. He seems very eager to get rid of it.

My hope is that I can use it as a third camera to place off to the side of the stage on the floor and locked down for a different angle/perspective to go to. I was also hoping that it would make a decent emergency backup for what will be my "B" cam - the CX550V or CX700V.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 03:08 PM   #72
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

yep, $500 is a pretty good "going rate", wish it were more, since I'm selling mine, but... and yes, will be perfect as a cutaway extra cam - I usually shoot 4 cams for stage type productions - two 550's and the 500's. Going to be going a slightly different direction, and hoping to help finance an "A" cam - the NX70 beckons, or perhaps the coming VG20...

If your seller doesn't go for it, let me know, I've got a couple 500's here! I ship, and PayPal works fine!

FWIW, I used a single tripod with a custom made "multi head" so I could run 4 cams - one wide, the two 500's set to cover the two side stage zones, and one cam on a fluid pan head to cover center and zoom in for tight shots, etc., pretty much guarantees a usable shot to cut to, and that everyone on stage gets some decent "screen time".
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Old August 25th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #73
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Thanks again, Dave. Unfortunately, it sold before I made a decision. On the other hand, I do have the Canon up for sale (no bites yet), so we're beginning to take the "leap".

Unless a great deal comes up, it looks like we're going with the Sony HXR-NX70U and one or two of the higher end CX models (550V/560V/700V or equivalent). The NX70 has a slightly higher price than some of it's Canon and Panasonic counterparts, but Sony seems to have not only a better price on the other two, but better features for the money.

Of course, if someone wants to point out a setup I've overlooked, I've got nothing but time until the Canon is gone. Which needs to be soon, btw! :)
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Old August 25th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #74
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

I've got my eye on the NX70 as well, or perhaps the new VG20, with my 550V pair and a few smaller Sony P&S cameras for backup angles, plus the new SLR/SLT cameras will shoot video (short clips, they heat up fast!).

If you decide the "B" cameras don't need to be as fancy, I've still got those CX500V's! Plus I've got a lot of extras so they are "ready to shoot", let me know if you'd be interested in picking up a pair that way - they've served me well, and I almost want to keep one, but if you get that Canon sold and the #'s add up, I'd sell the pair... They should be a pretty good match to the NX70, they were spot on with the CX550's.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 02:01 PM   #75
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

For the type of work you do I would suggest you get a PD150, PD170, or another VX2100 and be done with it. Your footage will match, and you will not get better low-light in hardly anything out there even new.

If you must go Hd to make the wife happy so be it, but for your work I would think you could squeeze more life out of your old camera. Use the Canon as a backup or third cam., sweet!
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