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


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Old October 10th, 2011, 01:35 PM   #1
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Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Hi,

I currently use a Panny HMC150 and AF101 to cover weddings,
at the latest wedding shoot the priest was not easy to work with and the chapel was very small, my only option was to have the 150 locked off, filming the couple over the priests shoulder, as I wasn't allowed to position myself there, and the AF shooting down the aisle, with only very restricted movement,
it was a challenging shoot and I'm thinking of getting a 3rd cam in case I run into a similar situation again (which is guaranteed!), ideally something portable that can be clamped into place for locked off shots,
I understand the GoPro's aren't great in low light and from what I see they only shoot at 30fps,
are there any other suggestions?
I'm toying with the idea of a GH2 if the firmware update comes through with 25fps, as it will match my panny cams in post well, if I take this route can anyone suggest a clamp system to hold it in place?
Many Thanks
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Old October 10th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #2
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Luke, there are companies whose names I can't remember that sell such devices, clamps and such. Google camera clamps, and similar terms and you'll find what you are looking for. Wish I could remember the company I'm thinking of.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Thanks, I've been looking at a company called Hague here in the UK who do a range of clamps
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Old October 10th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

The Magic Arm + super clamp, I got mine at B&H. I love it, and use it often with my GH1.
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Old October 11th, 2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

For smaller cams, the magic arm is probably overkill... I've got some eBay Chinese made clamp pods that were cheap, have a "mini-tripod" built in, and a clamp - not great, but will hold a small cam.

There are some older ones you can find used (if you're patient, have to wait for them to come out of someone's old "photgraphy drawer") that are more robust and better built.

One currently available option worth a look is the Pedco (?) line - they have a VERY solid small clamp, and the UltraPod I & II... very stout polycarbonate (plastic), with enough metal to give you confidence your cam won't end up on the floor! The UltraPods actually have a velcro strap to lash them to whatever is handy... pillar or post, up to about 4" diameter if my memory serves. I keep a few of these in my "might just need it" kit - worked great on a riverboat, where railings/posts were about the only thing available, and tripod space was at a premium!
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Old October 11th, 2011, 04:37 PM   #6
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

You need a few Manfrotto Superclamps plus an assortment of joining and threaded studs etc:

Manfrotto 035 Superclamp

These Extension Arms are very strong and fit into the clamps:
Manfrotto 042 Extension Arm

These Flex Arms are OK but not as adaptable as Magic Arms:
Manfrotto 237HD Heavy Duty Flex Arm

Sometimes just one of these Studs into the Clamp and a cheap ball and socket head on the screw end is all you need - although you won't be able to recompose all that quickly.

These arms from Greenlife can be used with the Clamps and offer a lot of scope for composing just right:
Lightweight Variable Friction Power Arm Fr DSLR DV bh50 | eBay

One of the Panny TM900 family of cams would work well. They are lightweight and give great results in low light. They alos have remarkably effective automatic backlit compensation.

One enduring problem will be that any clamp will only open to a certain max. I think the Manfrottos are 35mm and thats the widest I know of. You then have to find something thats narrow enough to take the clamps jaw. Consider using a lightstand for low visibility and great maximum height.

Pete
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Old October 12th, 2011, 07:48 AM   #7
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Back to the original question and away from the clamps if I coud...because I, too am looking for suggestions for a 3rd cam. We work on two HMC150s, and are looking for a third to add to the mix, but something a little less costly. It would basically be a back up cam. Any ideas?
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Old October 12th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #8
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie Fasel View Post
Back to the original question and away from the clamps if I coud...because I, too am looking for suggestions for a 3rd cam. We work on two HMC150s, and are looking for a third to add to the mix, but something a little less costly. It would basically be a back up cam. Any ideas?
HMC40's would be great cost-effective cameras that would closely match the 150's. I love my 40's.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #9
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

The GH1 with a 20mm F/1.7 lens (bought separately) would cost about $800 and trust me, you'd likely start using the camera for a lot more than a third camera after you saw the results. It is set it and forget it, will run about 90 minute on the battery that comes with, and additional batteries are under $50. Truly great camera, easy to use.

The Canon G10 and XA10 my favorite cams for wedding work now for the money, they have the same sensor. Phillip Bloom raves about it below. You must be patient and let the video get to beyond the clarinet playing.

If you don't know who he is...for his own work, he uses some very expensive cameras, broadcast grade, so he is not easily blown away.

Philip Bloom's Review of XF100/5 and XA10
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Old October 12th, 2011, 08:47 AM   #10
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

FWIW, I'm considering buying a 2nd XA10. I shoot with GH2 and I use some very nice lenses, so I get good quality, superb, but I love the XA10 very much. It's phenomenal. The G10 gets basically the same images as the XA10, but lacks XLR. You already have XLR, so it would be redundant.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #11
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Thanks Jeff and Corey for the input, much appreciated.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #12
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

You're welcome Katie.

In all fairness, the TMC 900 by Panasonic is a favorite of a lot of people, but it uses 1/4" chips, and as a professional I can't make myself buy a camera with 1/4" chips. 1/3" is as small as I'll go.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #13
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Thanks for all the clamp recommendations!
Jeff - as someone whose shot with the GH1 & 2, what are the biggest differences in terms of video?
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Old October 13th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #14
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

In low light the GH2 is much more vivid and color reproduction is much better.

I bought the GH2 first, then I bought three GH1s. In sufficient light the GH1 is very good, and even in low light with a fast lens, it's still great. But next to the GH2 it cannot compare. The footage can actually be difficult to match. I now have 2 gh2s and only 1 gh1.

As a second camera, the GH1 is perfectly fine with a 20mm f/1.7 lens, which is how I use it. The GH1 does not utilize f/2.8 lenses well in marginal light.

If I ran regular video cameras, I wouldn't hesitate to use the GH1 with a 20mm as a back up or wide shot. As a primary camera, for wedding work, I would strongly prefer the GH2. Hope that helps.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #15
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Re: Suggestions on 3rd Cam

Thanks, you sold me on the GH2, just hope they provide 25p in the next update
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