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


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Old August 26th, 2006, 03:02 AM   #1
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What would you do?

I'm sitting on the sidelines at the moment watching the HDV story evolve. I started out doing wedding videos as a hobby with a little Sony TRV330. Anything I made I put back into my gear. I'm at the stage now where my gear is at a reasonable level. My main camera is an XL1 and I use a little Panasonic GS400 as a second static camera/backup (this also doubles as my family camera). I have a good amount of gear and am happy that I can cover most any situation that presents itself. My question is......should I sell my trusty XL1 and Panasonic while there is still some value in them and switch to a Sony HDR-FX1E and Sony HVR-A1 as backup (and family cam)....or.......do I sit tight and wait for prices to drop/new cameras to come out or what.

Switching to HDV at the mo looks to me a bit like the same scenario as what occired with 64bit processors. Everybody got caught up in the hype but, very little software existed that could use it so....it ended up really just a numbers game. I know that people will say that you can down res. I'm just wondering whether I am shelling out a lot of cash to effectively add not much and then be faced with spening more cash upgrading my PC to a better spec.

One thing that did occur to me was, if I bought a Blu Ray burner, would I not be able to encode at a much less compressed level which would lessen the quality difference between SD and HD (obvious image size difference excepted).

Just interested to see if anyone else has troddent he path before me and gotten any tips/advice that would help me decide what to do.

Cheers!
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Old August 26th, 2006, 02:25 PM   #2
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I am sure you will get a lot of opinions to your query. In my case I feel I would be looking at an investment of around $12,000 - $15,000 US (6400 -8000) to acquire two HD cameras and a new computer capable of handling the increased 5x or so data flow.

That is well beyond my means at this point. I will be following the lead chosen by a collegue of mine who works exclusively in commercial video. That is to simply wait for another year or so.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 08:46 PM   #3
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Just to play devil's advocate, I suggest upgrading now. If you continue to deliver SD DVDs for the moment, you have no need to upgrade your computers. You simply continue to edit in DV using the downconvert function of the camera. And the quality of the downconverted video is excellent.

At the moment, you could get a good price for your XL1, but I suspect the second hand market for them is going to bottom out soon. I bought a Z1 this year, and have not needed to deliver HDV video yet, but have enjoyed the use of a much better camera. I bumped my shooting rate up, and have paid back a good chunk of my investment already in just a few months. And I don't have to worry about being stuck with a DV camera that will be a dinosaur soon.

If you plan on continuing to shoot 4:3, you could even sell just the panasonic, and continue to use the XL1 as your backup cam....then you need only buy one HDV cam and no computer. Perhaps a way to ease into it instead of the major investment that Waldemar notes could be necessary.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #4
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The hardware cost for a decent computer, quite capable of editing HD, isn't high (less than a grand).
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Old August 29th, 2006, 09:28 PM   #5
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True, but an NLE to edit HDV might set you back the same or more. Depends on what he's using at the moment, I guess. And I don't know where you are shopping, but I would probably spend double that on a computer for HDV editing :)
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Old August 30th, 2006, 07:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
The hardware cost for a decent computer, quite capable of editing HD, isn't high (less than a grand).
For the computer itself you're quite right. But HD broadcast monitors for colour correction, and the HD capable video cards to drive them etc drive the price up steeply.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 08:01 AM   #7
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Hello All

I think some have some good points on cost of a pc but if look at the right places you can get a really good deal on a pc that will handle hd. I just got a IBM Intellistation which is a monster graphics computer. It has 2 Xeon 2.2g processors (not dual core but 2 seperate processors) and 2gb of memory (upgradeable to 4gb) and 5 120g hard drives with raid and a 36g 15k scsi for the operating system and nle. The stock graphics card is a nvidia Quatro Pro with 128mb and dual digital dvi. I paid 400.00 for it and it looks brand new. I got it from a company that sells off lease servers and workstations. All I need is a good hd monitor and a better graphics card. Which I think I can get both of these for around or less than a grand. I currently use Vegas 6 which has hd capabilities.

Just my two cents
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Old August 30th, 2006, 08:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nicholas Heuer
Hello All

I got it from a company that sells off lease servers and workstations.
Do they have another one they can send to Montreal? Heh, heh...
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Old August 30th, 2006, 08:38 AM   #9
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I think the driving force should be 16:9 Alastair, not HD or SD. Young couples rich enough to be buying a DVD of their wedding day, then jetting off to Mexico for their honeymoon won't be coming home to watch the film on an old 4:3 set, now will they?

So the argument to switch ASAP from 4:3 to 16:9 is a powerful one, not least because 4:3 kit still has some residual value. Next year it'll be getting harder to sell though, as Sony bring out more and more HC3 clones that make people double take when they see the picture quality vs the size of the camcorder.

I's say your choice of an FX1 and A1 is pretty good, though for weddings I'd rather do the switch to Z1 and HC1 for the audio and extra facilities on the Z1. The HC1/A1 is not good in the gloom - about the same as your GS400. When you get this new kit, simply film in the 16:9 SD mode. That way you can use your DSR-11 (whatever) to feed the pc and not put hours on the camcorder's meter.

So, sell your SD kit next week. Film in 16:9 the week after, and switch to HDV when you've upgraded the PC and found a market for your BluRay discs.

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Old August 30th, 2006, 08:43 AM   #10
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Tom's right on the button. And the Z1 records SD 16:9 natively. Much better than the cropped 16:9 of the PD150, for example.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #11
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Hi Guys,

I already shoot in 16:9 using my XL1 (isn't true 16:9 if I understand right) and GS400. To be honest, I think the GS400 blows away my XL1 but.....doesn't give the professional impression the XL1 does.

How does this sound. I sell my XL1, buy and FX1 (I can't afford anyhting bigger at this stage). I keep my GS400 for familiy stuff and as second "static" camera for ceremonies. Seeing as I will be downresing my FX1 footage to SD for output, I can mix it with the GS400 footage.

Gets my foot on the HDV ladder without spending too much.

I build my own PC's so.........upgrading isn't too much of an issue. I currently have a 3200 Athlon which I may just keep for Photoshop stuff and then build a new PC based on the New Core 2 Duo processor which I hear is the dogs ganglies for HDV.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 05:49 AM   #12
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You're right - the GS400 has a bigger chip. Switch from 4:3 to 16:9 and you can see that in the widescreen mode more of the imaging chip surfaces are being used, and you get more wide-angle coverage into the bargain.

The XL1 doesn't work like that, and I'm not surprised the Panasonic looks better in the 16:9 mode.

I think your plans to go for the FX1 is sensible, but you'll probably need a Beachtek box to allow you to plug in proper XLR mics.

tom.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 02:41 AM   #13
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Cheers Tom,

But....now I'm hearing about the new HDR-FX7 which sounds like its aimed at us guys specifically. May be worth holding off until Nov to see how the prices shake out for both it and the FX1.

As far as XLR's go, I'm wondering if my MA100 XLR adapter for my XL1 will work with the Sony??????

I take it until I can actually supply HD discs, mixing HG and SD footage shouldn't be an issue as I will be down resing the HD anyway?
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Old September 13th, 2006, 03:11 AM   #14
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Good thought, and the Canon XLR box should work well. And you're right, downconverted HD will intercut on the timeline with SD footage and then be carried on normal DVDs.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 03:28 AM   #15
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At the end of the day, What are your customers comments re technical quality of your video? What do your competitors offer? All the latest dinky toys may be great fun, but unless it puts a extra buck in your hip pocket it may not be worth it.

Research the market. Do your sums. Do a business plan. Then decide if a upgrade is warranted now or later.
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