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


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Old February 21st, 2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Hi everyone, I used to be on here quite regularly but haven't posted in a while (still read though!)

So I mainly film weddings. I use a GL2. EVERYONE and their dog is asking about High Def. I have looked on Henry's website and they are selling second hand GL2's for $1,000. They are also selling entry point HD cameras for $800.

SONY HDR-CX430VB 32GB HIGH DEFINITION CAMCORDER HDRCX430VB
this particular camera films for 11.5 hours etc and seems like it could do what I need. I could trade in both Gl2s for 2 of these.

Trying to decide if I should make the jump?

Aside from the obvious "keeping up with what the client wants" I am considering the switch because mini DV tape is getting harder to find, my gear weighs so much more than what you can get now. And mainly because I find once it's compressed onto DVD I can see the loss in quality.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Kelsey
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:33 PM   #2
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

We went HD and tapeless 4 or 5 years ago. I'm not going back to tape or SD!

I'm not familiar with the specific camcorder you are looking at, though I would caution you in several areas.

Firstly, what are the manual controls like? Unless you are an auto-everything type of shooter (after all these years can that be true?) then pay close attention to the usability of the camera for manual focus, manual iris, manual shutter, manual white balance, manual gain. Hopefully you already thought of this!

Second, how will you capture sound? There are no XLR inputs on these types of cameras, no easy way to attach wireless mics etc. You've shot enough by now to know what you need.

Next, pay close attention to what this camera is like in low light. Not all the consumer cameras are great, but they are not all really bad either. Noise on HD footage can be pretty nasty if your camera isn't up to the job.

Then, what codec is it using (probably AVCHD) and is your editing system up to the task? What else will you need to buy (computers and software) in order to make this work? Editing HD puts much more strain on your hardware than SD ever did and AVCHD yet more strain than an editing codec such as ProRes or DNxHD. There is quite a lot of software out there claiming to edit AVCHD natively, and most of it does a reasonable job provided you have an up-spec PC/Mac. If you're a few years out of date then you're going to need to budget for a computer upgrade sooner rather than later.

In terms of should you go HD? I would think the market for 4x3 SD is fast diminishing now. we'd shot wide screen for as long as we've been shooting HD and most people's TVs are now 16x9, not 4x3. Some of the older SD cameras did widescreen but you lost resolution and it could look pretty nasty :(

Not everyone is looking for final delivery in full HD, but most people like the fact that you're filming in HD even though they are getting a DVD at the end. Don't really know why, other than most people don't realise (and have never thought about) DVDs are not HD.

If you intend to deliver on Blu-ray, do you have drives and software capable of that delivery? We're often delivering SD on DVD and then providing the HD as a download. YMMV.
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Last edited by Dave Partington; February 21st, 2013 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Added 'not' to DVDs are not HD (oops!)
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Just a couple of comments before you change cameras. You say that everyone is talking about HD, but don't forget that if you are ouputting to dvd, your clients will not be viewing HD. You will have to output to BluRay if you want HD viewing for your clients, and most of my clients in the UK still want dvd.

I changed to small HD cams a couple of years back and love the battery life, lack of moving transport, length of footage without worrying about changing tapes and the ability to transfer footage very quickly rather than waiting for the tape to run through.

The camera that you have linked to though is a single CMOS camera rather than the 3 chip that you have on your current cameras. As far as I can see, the linked camera also has no viewfinder, just the LCD screen, so you may find problems viewing it in sunlight. I would seriously consider looking at 3xcmos cameras which should give you better low light and colour performance, and I would certainly reccommend a viewfinder if you are intending regular outdoors filming.

Just my opinion of course, and I am sure others will offer alternative views.

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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:47 PM   #4
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

David got in first, but I totally agree with his points:-)

Roger
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Old February 21st, 2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Kelsey, check completed listings for GL2s on ebay and you'll see the GL2 is selling for closer to $500, on a good day. Packages with a hard case, etc., sell for a bit more, up to $650, but that looks like the very high end. Most seem to have sold for between $249 and $449.

I don't know Henry's website you refer to, but I seriously doubt that anyone selling a GL2 for $1000 is getting it, but you never know. SD camcorders are just not in demand, they are becoming like 8 track tapes, obsolete.

If they were 16x9 it would help, but they shoot in 4:3, and are just not worth much these days.

Best of luck to you in your upgrade. Make sure you buy something with a mic input cause with the cameras you're looking at you will need a shotgun microphone.

Also, if you go HD, you're footage will be much more difficult to edit if you use an older PC, so you "may" or "may not" need a new pc or an upgrade. If you shoot multiple cameras and edit multicam, it is a lot more taxing on your pc, so be aware.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 01:55 PM   #6
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Thanks everyone!

Dave I didn't really look into that camera that well and you are right about some of the short comings! Thanks!

I ended up calling a well trusted salesperson at Henrys and he told me that the trade in on the GL2's are $400 a pop (and that price hadn't been updated for 2 years but he is willing to honor it for me).

He also informed me of a new Sony on the market that seems to be a great deal. It rings in at $1200 and is wifi capable so you can live steam a ceremony with the push of a button and as well it has a lens stability that is usually found on $4,000 cameras. Apparently the entire lens is housed in a stabilizer??

Anyway I am going to check out the camera and go from there.

I also think I am moving away form delivering on DVD's and considering giving clients a hard drive option. Seems like that's what everyone is asking for these days??

Thanks for all the input!
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Old February 21st, 2013, 04:03 PM   #7
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

You probably should at least consider jumping on that "offer" - old SD/tape cams don't have a lot of market value. Even HD cams are getting eaten by the smart phones with "HD", meaning the lower end consumer ones are trying to compete on price, and the higher end ones aren't selling like they used to.

You definitely need to consider the computer upgrade side of the equation, you don't edit HD on an old or low spec machine, unless you have a lot of patience...

The Sony 430 you're looking at is a lower spec, and it sounds like your saleperson was at least directing you towards the higher end Sonys with the BOSS stabilization - 3 models last year had the larger 1/3" Exmor sensor, this year they announced ONE. That 4xx series has a 1/4" sensor, which may or may not perform that well... I have a little GW77 and it does OK, but I wouldn't rely on it as a "main" camera under most conditions!

You're probably realistically looking at $1-2K per camera for "upgrades" that won't break the bank and won't be obsolete image wise - you don't want to jump from "really outdated" to "almost outdated"...

One of the challenges is the aforementioned market shift, manufacturers are not doing a lot of development on the higher end consumer camera - Panasonic, Canon and Sony are all doing minor incremental upgrades year over year.

I don't know why delivering on DVD has to be considered "low quality" (think about those "teasers" for BR that look so sharp ON DVD!!). By acquiring in HD to start with, you should be able to produce a reasonably high quality DVD... of course BR burners and players have dropped in price, and I don't think it's possible to buy an "SD" TV anymore! DVD's still sell/rent, and commercial ones don't look "bad" when played on a modern player...
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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Well lucky for me my computer was something I won't need to upgrade. It's powerful enough to do the job.

I am considering the "offer" but on our Kijiji the cameras are selling at a bit Higher than they are giving me. If I package them both up and throw in all the extra batteries and lens filters etc I am thinking I *might* get a $1,000 for everything??
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Old February 21st, 2013, 06:13 PM   #9
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Here is a link to the camera he mentioned to me and I am considering. Any thoughts on this model??

SONY HDR-PJ650VB 32GB HIGH DEFINITION CAMCORDER HDRPJ650VB
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Old February 21st, 2013, 06:37 PM   #10
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Once again, I'm going to come back to manual controls. Yes, this camera claims to have manual controls, but if you need to dive in to menus to do it then it's less than optimal under the fast moving stressful situations of a wedding.

Sooooo..... find and download the user manual and do a first look at the controls. Then, if it looks reasonable find one and play with it!

Also, again, no XLR audio. Do you have audio solved in other ways?
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Old February 21st, 2013, 06:42 PM   #11
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelsey Emuss View Post
Well lucky for me my computer was something I won't need to upgrade. It's powerful enough to do the job.

I am considering the "offer" but on our Kijiji the cameras are selling at a bit Higher than they are giving me. If I package them both up and throw in all the extra batteries and lens filters etc I am thinking I *might* get a $1,000 for everything??
My experience (both buying and selling) is that bundles generally fetch less than the sum of the parts sold separately. By putting everything together you are limiting the number of people looking to buy 'everything', and if you think about it, everyone is used to getting more for less when they buy bundles of things.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 06:44 PM   #12
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

It's says there is an external audio input. Did I read that wrong?

On Sat I am going to check it out and see if it is user friendly with full manual ability.
On the GL2 I have the option of being in Manual mode or Program mode I guess I sort of assumed that all cameras where the same?
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Old February 21st, 2013, 06:48 PM   #13
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelsey Emuss View Post
It's says there is an external audio input. Did I read that wrong?
Most of these camcorders do have an external mic input via 1/8" (3.5mm) jack. That's going to restrict the types of mics you can use, but if your mic has that kind of connection you are probably good to go. Of course you'll need to check you also have manual audio control AND headphone socket for monitoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelsey Emuss View Post
On the GL2 I have the option of being in Manual mode or Program mode I guess I sort of assumed that all cameras where the same?
That's rather a dangerous assumption, especially when it comes to consumer cameras.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 07:05 PM   #14
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Partington View Post
My experience (both buying and selling) is that bundles generally fetch less than the sum of the parts sold separately. By putting everything together you are limiting the number of people looking to buy 'everything', and if you think about it, everyone is used to getting more for less when they buy bundles of things.
Valid point!
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Old February 21st, 2013, 07:06 PM   #15
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Partington View Post
Most of these camcorders do have an external mic input via 1/8" (3.5mm) jack. That's going to restrict the types of mics you can use, but if your mic has that kind of connection you are probably good to go. Of course you'll need to check you also have manual audio control AND headphone socket for monitoring?



That's rather a dangerous assumption, especially when it comes to consumer cameras.
Only dangerous if I am buying sight unseen?? For the record I'm not an idiot...just looking for some feedback.
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