Starting up - need a camera at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 10th, 2005, 01:59 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 56
Starting up - need a camera

Hi,

I'm in the process of starting a production company to do event videography (weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc). I'm currently researching cameras and have been juggling the following models around in my head:

DVX100B
FX1
Z1U
VX2100

I can't seem to decide because it doesnt appear that there is one that has HDV and 24P (without going to the HVX200 and its P2 cards).

Here are my thoughts and what I feel my needs are. Please correct / challenge anything I say that doesnt make sense or sound correct.

- I want a great picture in low light situations (as best as possible in low light!)
- I would like 16:9 to be the native CCD format (future ready, since 4:3 is sloooowwwwly fading away)
- I dont want a 'lets settle for this cam' now and upgrade in a few years... I'd rather spend a few bux more now and be set for the few extra years ahead
- Ability to deliver SD content to my clients as well if the unit is HDV/SD capable.
- Full control over various settings (which I think all of the above offer)

Now Im wondering.. do I really need 24P? The film look is great but it comes at cost. The CCD are 4:3 on the DVX100B and it will crop about 20% off the top & bottom to give a 16:9 look. 480 lines - 20% = 384 lines ... not really much in terms of resolution. The 100B is SD which means that ..well.. its SD.. no HD in my near future. This does have XLR connectors for pro audio attachments. This camera generates film quality video and that can be a plus.

The VX2100 is another fantastic unit with great low light ability. Really the only set back here is its also SD with native 4:3 CCDs and its got no built in XLRs. XLRs can be added via a Beachtek adaptor but still limited to SD. Quality of video is great though.

The FX1 has 1080i... native 16:9... shoots to mini dv... can down convert (realtime through firewire????) to SD... This has the max HD signal avail. Once HD becomes more common, the videos will be stunning. For now I can shoot HD to archive and downconvert to SD... Hows the low light capabilities on this one? If anything, 1080i has a better chance of being converted to 720i/P (24/30) / 480i/P (24/30) than anything else and retaining quality. No XLR inputs.. some tweaks no available on FX1 but are on Z1U.

Z1U... hmm do the additional tweaks, the XLRs, the DVCAM ability, the B/W viewfinder, and others justify paying almost $1800 USD more for this unit??

I'm open to any ideas, opinions, experiences, thoughts, suggestions in helping direct me towards making a smart buy.

Much thanks and glad to be aboard.
Albert Baier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 02:58 PM   #2
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert Baier
The CCD are 4:3 on the DVX100B and it will crop about 20% off the top & bottom to give a 16:9 look. 480 lines - 20% = 384 lines ... not really much in terms of resolution.
The sentiment may be correct, but the math is wrong. Video pixels are not square so it's more like 360 lines and 360/480 = .75 so you lose 25% resolution. I think that's a lot when you're only starting with 480.

However it gets a little more complicated. You can shoot in progressive mode on the DVX which means you can actually use all 480 lines. Interlaced cameras do field blending so that thin horizontal lines don't flicker if they appear in the odd field but not the even field. This means you might only be using 400 (just a guess) lines in 4:3 mode on a PD-170 for example.

I have a Z1 and VX-2000. Personally I wouldn't even look twice at the VX-2100 today, but that's just because I only work in 16:9. I only use the VX as a deck. The Z1 is a really nice camera and a main reason for my choosing it was the PAL/NTSC capability. But the manual controls are great, and it delivers great SD 16:9 as well as HDV. It's the most expensive camera on your list. If you don't need PAL or a few of the other perks on the Z1 (XLR's, etc) then the FX1 is a great value.

But if 24p or 30p are important to you then he DVX is a good choice also.

If you had said budget was important then I'd suggest you also look at the PDX-10 since it does great SD 16:9, has XLR's and is a bargain.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 04:00 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
You can shoot in progressive mode on the DVX which means you can actually use all 480 lines. Interlaced cameras do field blending so that thin horizontal lines don't flicker if they appear in the odd field but not the even field.
You're right about that - it slipped my thoughts there.. however, it comes back to the question of do I want to produce 16:9 by having it cropped or by having everything the CCDs capture, reproduced pixel for pixel. I'm leaning towards the second choice as I see myself exclusively using 16:9 for my work. It seems to be the only way to go nowadays and in the future.

Quote:
I have a Z1 and VX-2000. Personally I wouldn't even look twice at the VX-2100 today, but that's just because I only work in 16:9.
It's the most expensive camera on your list. If you don't need PAL or a few of the other perks on the Z1 (XLR's, etc) then the FX1 is a great value.
I dont need PAL, but the few things the Z1 offers seem quite relevent. I would like XLRs in a professional unit and if I buy a Beachtek then the cost difference between the FX and Z1 is reduced greater. The BW viewfinder is always welcome in a pro unit and of course the safe zones, audio features, color correction features, etc. certainly round out the package.

Quote:
But if 24p or 30p are important to you then he DVX is a good choice also.
Not as important as I though initially and based on the tweaks and quality of the HDV footage I've seen, it comes pretty close to a film-ish look. Add some post production magic and I think I'm ok here. Hey - I'm not doing indie films ...yet... so true 24P isnt critical.

Quote:
If you had said budget was important then I'd suggest you also look at the PDX-10 since it does great SD 16:9, has XLR's and is a bargain.
Budget wise.. I'm trying to acquire a cam, tripod(s), lighting??, a marantz compact flash digital recorder w/ omni dir mic (for ambient audio), some wireless mics, batteries, chargers,... hmm a FS-4 would be nice..but not yet... I figure $10k to start.. and I guess I'll skip the SD PDX-10 in favor of HDV.

Thanks!
Albert Baier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 04:23 PM   #4
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7
I wouldn't consider the VX2100... If you are leaning in that direction I'd go with the PD-170. That way you get WAY better audio built in instead of adding an XLR interface then feeding the signal into a recording device that is going to add a bunch of noise to it? Just go with the PD-170 if you decide to go with SD instead of HD.
Robert Brownell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,778
I can't see using the Z1 in low light. Yes it's got hyper gain but the noise level is just too high. For low light I'd use the PD-170. I've heard the 100B has improved low light capabilities so, given what you want, you might want to give that a look.

Low light involves two key things: sensitivity and noise. The 170 uses the same chips as the 150 and 2000 but has much less grain/noise when the gain is pushed to the same point.

You can "crank" the gain way up there with the Z1 to shoot in even darker conditions than the 170 but the noise is really bad.

Personally I shoot in too many dark situations (not just weddings!) to use anything but a 170. It all depends on what's improtant.

BTW the PDX-10 is a horrible low light camera. I would never recommend it for dark wedding receptions.

All this changes if you think the couples won't mind a camera light. With that the Z1 could be excellent. Over half the weddings I shoot, the couples specifically ask me NOT to use lights.
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 07:57 PM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert Baier
the few things the Z1 offers seem quite relevent. I would like XLRs in a professional unit and if I buy a Beachtek then the cost difference between the FX and Z1 is reduced greater. The BW viewfinder is always welcome in a pro unit and of course the safe zones, audio features, color correction features, etc. certainly round out the package.
The viewfinder is the same on the FX1 and Z1, but the Z1 lets you turn off the color. So it's really not the same thing as the VX-2100 vs the PD-170. You don't get any more resolution with the Z1 viewfiinder.

Funny you mention the safe zones. I thought that was a great feature when I bought my Z1, but just finishing a shoot last week I had a rude surprise. The safe zone marker is pretty useless. I has ASSumed the LCD was underscanning and the safe zone marker was showing me the overscan area. Not so. The LCD/viewfinder overscan like every other camera. I ended up learning the hard way and shooting everything too wide by framing with that safe zone marker. I don't know what it represents, but my Plasma and LCD screens both match the view on the camera's LCD screen. Meanwhile, viewing the full frame on a computer monitor shows a larger area than the camera's VF or LCD display. Now if you shoot in HDV mode (I was shooting SD) you can use something called "All Scan" which is supposed to display the full frame with a black border around it. Haven't tried this yet myself, and it doesn't work in SD mode.

I'm still glad I got the Z1, but these two things you mention shouldn't be reasons to get it instead of the FX1. The current B&H price is $3130 on the FX1 and $4,700 on the Z1. That's quite a gap and the beachtek won't do much to close it. If you don't value the PAL (and cf25) modes then it might be hard to justify that additional $1570 considering the other things on your shopping list....
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #7
suspended -- contact admin
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 214
Actually we had the same arguments when color television was first invented and that was that a lot of videographers refused to shoot in color because they got better low light performence from their black and white cameras. And now videographers refuse to shoot in high definition for that very same reason. Actually the Sony HDR FX-1 may not have the very best low light performence but its low light rating of 3 lux is not too bad by any means so it should work for weddings unless you are shooting candlelight ceromonies. The Sony also has a Cineframe mode called CF30 that emulates the film look. CF24 also emulates the film look but the 2:3 pulldown must be removed in post to get rid of the interlace artifacts.

The JVC HD100 does shoot 24p in high definition but its light sensitivity is not as good as the Sony but many wedding videographers like the shoulder mount form factor for a more professional appearance.
Tommy James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2005, 09:14 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
...
Funny you mention the safe zones. I thought that was a great feature when I bought my Z1, but just finishing a shoot last week I had a rude surprise. The safe zone marker is pretty useless. I has ASSumed the LCD was underscanning and the safe zone marker was showing me the overscan area. Not so. The LCD/viewfinder overscan like every other camera. ...
I've always interpretted the idea of the safe zone markers on any camera or NLE as showing a "worst case" situation so that you could be confident viewers would see essential action or titles no matter how crappy the equipment they would be viewing your production on but most viewers would see well outside the zone marker boundary limits.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,542
I'm sure that's true, but the Z1 markers are very conservative; I don't have any TV's that crop nearly that much off. All of mine show just about the same area as the Z1 viewvinder and LCD. To my thinking these markers are pretty useless unless the camera's viewfinder shows the full frame.

But my real point was that this particular feature doesn't seem useful enough to be considered when comparing the FX1 to the Z1.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #10
Tourist
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Los Angeles California
Posts: 4
Canon Gl 2

I am using a pair of Canon GL 2s
and I find them more than satisfactory in all the situations so far. Small, and easy to handle. I highly recommend there use.
__________________
Mal. Stevens
"Keep it Simple"
Mal Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2005, 12:51 AM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,778
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy James
Actually we had the same arguments when color television was first invented and that was that a lot of videographers refused to shoot in color because they got better low light performence from their black and white cameras. And now videographers refuse to shoot in high definition for that very same reason. Actually the Sony HDR FX-1 may not have the very best low light performence but its low light rating of 3 lux is not too bad by any means so it should work for weddings unless you are shooting candlelight ceromonies.
I've looked at the FX-1. I can spot the difference. I didn't like it. My bet is the HDV cameras will be better at low light in a year or so. Compare a VX-1000 to a VX-2100. I know more than a year in that case but I think the technology will move faster as the market demands and will pay for it.

I've shot MANY receptions SO DARK that the 170 was at F1.6 and +18gain and I still wasn't hitting Zebra 70. Simply couldn't shoot that with the current FX-1 or Z-1.

Tommy you're missing the point. Hey most people had black and white TVs and couldn't see those color shows. Most people today do not have HD tv sets. They also do no have HD DVD or Blu Ray to play HD on. By the time HD disc players and HDTV get more market penetration, the HDV cameras will be better or people will accept the noise that comes with low light OR they'll accept the fact that you have to use a good camera light to get good video. That is NOT the case now. While TV stations may have been forced to use color at that time and may be forced to broadcast HD now (were they really forced in either case), I won't buy a camera that will have been surpassed in capabilities by the time the technology hits deep into the consumer/client market.

My own hunch is not only will the cameras be better in a year or so, DVCProHD will become a more affordable acquisition format then it is now (on P2 or portable hard disk) or Sony will move XDCAM (Blu Ray recording) into the 1/3" chip cameras and you won't have to deal with the HDV issues you do now. In both cases, you'll no longer need to buy record tape or buy a feeder deck. You'll input the data faster than real time, edit and burn an HD disc for the client or downconvert for a standard DVD . . . AND the cameras will probably have better low light sensitiviy and/or less noise when gained up.

Tommy, HD will be MUCH better than DV. The current crop of cameras are not there yet and the development in quality and acquisition will escalate quickly with HD disc and HDTV market penetration. HDV may well be in the same place D2 is now.

Production houses may have HD demand now because their Content has to be in HD for 5 years from now for continued distribution, for viability as TV rerun syndication. Their HD cameras (Varicams, Cine Altas, etc if they own not rent) may still be viable 5 years from now or they'll have gotten their Return On Investment. Unless you need that longevity now, the Z1 and FX1 will be "old" technology in 24 months which may still be before the demand for HD content is high in Weddings, Corporate Video, local cable spots.
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 56
I guess what I WAS leaning towards was something with high def capabilities which doesnt really leave much of a choice other than the FX and Z1 - which of course are not bad choises whatsoever. Should I be concerned with the 3 lux limit on those models?

At this point since the low light capabilities of the HDV units isnt all there yet - does it pay for me to look into the 100B or VX2100 and save a few dollars today and when the HD cams better their lux ratings and come out with 2nd or 3rd gen units, then I should invest in them.

Can someone vouch for the added convenience of having the XLRs on the unit versus having to carry a Beachtek on me. If I add a beachtek, it obviously converts XLRs into an 1/8 mini plug.. is there any noise or loss introduced in the process?

I read something about a 2 second delay out from the i-link on the FX and no delay on the Z1.. Whats that about? What if I want to use a Firestore as backup during taping... will it be recording a 2 sec delayed feed?
Albert Baier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2005, 08:32 PM   #13
suspended -- contact admin
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 214
I have shot one wedding with a 35 lux JVC HD camera and the footage turned out good without any additional light. The reception hall was not very bright but it was not very dark either. When I bought the camera the regional representative of JVC told me that HD cameras could be used for weddings but they would not work for candlelight ceremonies. He cautioned that if I planned on shooting with HD that I should check out the job and see if there is adequate light before accepting the job. The Sony HD camera with its 3 lux rating is a dream come true for low light HD shooters. However standard definition cameras are available with 1 lux ratings.

One time I captured some indoor footage of Mexican Dancers in a well lit shopping mall. The footage was absolutely gorgeous.
Tommy James is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2005, 08:35 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,778
Albert, also check out the Panasonic HVX200. It's DVCProHD instead of HDV. The P2 cards are price prohibitive and the 8GB cards only store 8minutes at HD. But Focus Enhancements - FireStore - will have a small hard drive that you'll be able to attach to the camera probably for around $2000. The camera itself will also have some of the features of a Varicam (variable frame rate and 60P recording) and will be able to do both 720P and 1080i. It'll cost more than the Z1 BUT if there is a demand for HD you'll be able to charge accordingly. Of course the camera records DV to tape too. This camera might give you all the advantages of the Panasonic 100 series with the ability to shoot in a much better form of HD with more high end features than the Z1. It remains to be seen what user feedback and low light performance but we'll hear that soon since the camera should be hitting the market in days (give or take) so Panasonic says.

Z1 is a good camera but I'm wondering if you'll find a customer base willing to pay extra for HDV, are you willing to "give away" the extra render time when working in HDV?

Don't get me wrong, HD is the wave of the future. I know one facility so ahead of the curve they were using analog HD more than 10 years ago. They were so far ahead they went out of business. Demand didn't match the cost of production/post production/delivery. We're not that far away now but my gut tells me the price, features, market penetration will be changing in 12-24 months.

BTW I'd recommend paying extra for any camera with XLR then buying Beachtek. After all the costs, you're not saving much and have another bunch of connectors and a device to worry about. Whether it's the 2100 vs the 170 or FX vs the Z1 there many other features that make the XLR version worth the extra money for many shooters.

In Short,
If you're shooting a Doc or a low budget feature get the Z1 now and shoot in HDV. You'll want to shoot in HD for the lognevity of the project. Otherwise I don't see people in the Wedding, Corporate, local Cable Spot budget market willing to pay more for HDV right now. I can certainly see shooting weddings in DV 16x9 though but you realy have to look at the low light performance and the number of couples who don't want you to use lights. Again the demand for HD will change next year or by two years but so will the cameras.
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #15
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texarkana, Texas
Posts: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
I can't see using the Z1 in low light.
How can a 3 lux rated camera be shabby in low light? That seems remarkable to me. If a 3 lux rating is ok, but somehow the camera is still not up to snuff, is Sony putting out false information?
Dale Connelly is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:52 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network