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-   Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-trv950-pdx10-companion/)
-   -   PDX10 shooters, unite! (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-trv950-pdx10-companion/16857-pdx10-shooters-unite.html)

Shawn Mielke November 9th, 2003 08:53 AM

PDX10 shooters, unite!
No new posts here in FIVE DAYS??????
Is everyone hibernating or what?
Well, it's time to break to break the silence, oh yes!
No sitting down on the job!
PDX10 users, out of the wood work with you!
Hup, hup!
On your feet, soldiers!
Single file!

I want to know about all projects, great and small, that have been or are being shot with the beloved PDX10. No secrets, here! State how long you've owned the camera, why you chose it over another, the general nature of related work, interesting discoveries and observations along the way, whatever. Any divers in there? Sky or sea? Stock car racers? Where's what's his name? Here, I'll prime the pump and go first.

Hi. My PDX10 arrived in the year of our lord, 2003, early August. I was recovering from a broken leg (still am), and just getting into dv and camerawork. I had just begun a long term training video series project with the father of a friend. We had only his Sony dcr740 d8 cam to work with, and, as a practice machine, it was fine, but after a few months, I had some money and the desire to get, use, and learn something more substantial, and also, in the process, help improve our images. Initially, I had set my sights on a PD150, but decided instead to get something for less money and in less time. I considered the Canon Optura 100mc, which proved to be too difficult to find, a pair of some other less expensive cam, the likes of which never quite seemed to be worth it, and the PDX10, which felt like a very logical alternative to the 150, despite some of it's apparent limitations.
This is to be a teacher training video/dvd. Most of the shooting has been and will be done in classrooms. Lots of tutor/pupil scenarios and speaker seminars, with some controlled home studio shooting of black and white graphics being manipulated by hands, with voiceover narration providing detailed descriptions of the materials and ideas being represented. Neither of us have done anything in the way of video production, and the budget is miniscule, at least for now, but I'm learning a ton. The PDX10 shoots well in live classroom situations, it's small form makes for less intimidation, although even with all of the overhead florescents on, there is a bit of grain. Not having a broad base of camcorder experience, I don't know exactly how much might be acceptable, although I am designing 2cam shoots for what we're doing more and more, and expect to be able to get a PD170 at the beginning of the coming year, so I think the PDX10 will be used in a more specialized way, making better use of it's latitude. I will rely on it for nearly all of the soundtrack work, and many of the "product" shoots, where the lighting can be controlled.

Graeme Nattress November 9th, 2003 10:03 AM

Just got a Century 0.65 wide angle for the PDX10 and a Century DV Matte box - it looks rather smart.

The Wide angle helps a lot and looks to be of good quality. I need to play around with it some more, but for the moment, it's stuck on the front of the camera and I don't think I'll be removing it soon.

The Matte box works great. Just got Tiffen 4x4 ND 0.9, Linear Polarizer and an Ultra Contrast 3 (will also be getting an Ultra Contrast 5). I really like the look of the ND and Ultra Contrast together - the Ultra contrast takes a very little light off the brights but seems to add quite a bit detail in the darker regions of the image giving a really good look to it. I'll try and post up some pages of images on my website if I have time next week.

Chris Long November 9th, 2003 11:01 AM

Lol It has been a quiet week or so...

I'm still embroiled in transferring my old Super 8 films to DV. It's been fun, because I've been able to make things along the way, and research it all to my hearts content. I am always happiest when in the process, consumed by it, rather than when I have a finished product. Finishing simply means I have to start on something new, and the wonderful thing I was struggling with is a thing of the past.

I was working with the idea of shooting the films right off of the "screen" (white piece of poster board), and the results were fine, but I was in no hurry so I started thinking of reverse projection screens in order to get a geometrically correct image on tape--no keystoning, etc. I looked into different screen materials, starting with the frosted back of a school report cover, made out of clear poly. I finally graduated to a sheet of filter material--Lee #225 (ND Frost), a finely frosted ND diffusion filter. The diffusion makes any hotspot from looking directly into the bulb disapear, and the ND seems to even out a lot of the tones--skies are not too bright, etc. Colors a little deeper and richer, too. Looks good, and only $6. Made a frame for it from scrap wood. It doesn't seem to impart any addtional grain to the image. I decided to make the projected image about the size of an average TV screen, so there won't be any surprises when it gets shown on TV--if that makes sense. What I can see is what will eventually be seen on the TV screen. I mounted a mirror on an old tripod head with epoxy to reverse the image when seen on the reverse screen.

I also wanted to clean and lubricate the films--I'm afraid that they have not been kept in pristine environments these past years. The "good" cleaners are either out of production or too nasty to handle here at home, so I tried some isopropyl alcohol, which works fine for cleaning but does nothing about lubricating the film. I came across a product called Film-Guard that is used by professional projectionists, and managed to get a sample bottle (more than I'll ever need in a lifetime--it goes a LONG way). It seems to be a very fine oil of some sort--smells a little like WD-40, or lubricants like that. I've been applying it to the films (after editing them together into usable lengths--had to get a splicer off of eBay, not sure where mine went...). It seems to do a great job of cleaning and lubricating, and actually covers up some of the scratches!

So now I think I'm at the point where I'm ready to shoot them all with my PDX-10. I happen to have a projector with a variable speed control on it, so I get no flicker (and even without the control, it's not too bad, especially at shutter speed of 30). The whole setup is pretty funny--I wish I could post a picture for you guys. The projector shoots its beam into the mirror (mounted on a tripod) which bounces onto the back of the diffusion filter material, and the camera is on the other side of the screen, taping it all. I monitor the proceedings on my TV screen as I shoot.

A rather mundane use of a $2000 camera, I know--but right now, it's just another tool to get this work done. And I'm having a blast...

Boyd Ostroff November 9th, 2003 01:59 PM

Very cool Chris! Nice homebrew solution to film transfer. This question comes up around here from time to time, so your post should be a good resource for others. It would be great if you could put a photo of the rig and some still frame from the video online someday.

Graeme: the Century mattebox looks really nice, but IIRC it's rather pricey, isn't it? I have been getting by with just screw-in filters and the included wide lens hood (which doesn't vignette with even a .45x wide adaptor), although one day I'd love to add a matte box. Awhile ago Blip Pio posted the results of his matte box quest in this thread. It would be cool if you get a chance to post a photo of your setup also.

So Shawn, looks like people aren't hibernating, were all just busy putting our cameras to use ;-) Personally I'm editing around 15 hours of performance footage from our last two operas, among other things. Am also still figuring out how to use my new Sony RDR-GX7 standalone DVD recorder. One reason I went this route was the ability to take firewire input and transcode to 480p component video out, which looks terrific on my 17" widescreen LCD.

Graeme Nattress November 9th, 2003 02:09 PM

The Century is a tad expensive, but then again, all matte boxes seem to be a lot of money for what they are. However, it does fit well on the PDX10, and it does seem to work without any bother at all, and it does look very cool - which is indeed one of the main reasons for going matte box rather than screw in filters!

I'm going to see about taking some better photos of the setup soon and posting them up to view.

I really think that the PDX10 is a better camera than most people accept, and that with careful use it can produce a most impressive image. I suppose that's why I don't mind so much paying for decent lenses and filters to go on the front.


Paul Frederick November 9th, 2003 02:32 PM

Well I've been lurking here for a while and just got my PDX-10 a few weeks back, in large part due to the comments and discussions on this board!

I feel like I need to thank everyone for their in-depth reviews. I absolutely LOVE the picture quality of this camera! All the quirks aside, and there are a few, this camera is a technological wonder.

I actually got the camera because I've been sub-contracted to shoot/edit a PBS documentary on the Hudson River. The station shoots exclusively in 16x9 on a Sony 709 Digibeta. After shooting some with that camera I was anxious to compare the image to the little PDX-10 as I thought it might compare quite well. I shot some footage with it and brought it to the station where most peoples jaws dropped when they saw the 16x9 footage this little beauty can produce! We put it on the scopes with the engineering department and they actually said to go ahead and start shooting with it! The image was THAT good. Now, I'm not saying it is comparable to DIGIBETA, it isn't quite. For this project all that Digibeta footage is getting transfered to DVCAM and edited on my system here. So to save transfering footage we did the comparison and it holds its own to the transfered DIGIBETA stuff!

I too am a bit frustrated with the vertical smear problem and with the exposure system/ND filter situation but for the most part this camera is the ONLY choice right now for sub-$9000 16x9 footage.

Thanks to all for their passion on here, and for those who are put off by the quirks, you should really look at this camera in person or at some of the footage it can create before disregarding it. I think you'll be amazed.

Boyd Ostroff November 9th, 2003 03:24 PM

Wow, excellent post Paul!

>> this camera is the ONLY choice right now for sub-$9000 16x9 footage

I'm just curious as to whether you have a specific $9,000 camera in mind that shoots native 16:9? In its review DV magazine it made a similar remark about the PDX-10. The Sony and Ikegami 16:9 cameras sell in the $13,000 range without lens, JVC has the DV700W for around $9000 without lens. But even with a cheap lens you're well over $10,000, and of course things like batteries, etc are much more expensive for these "pro" models. The only less expensive model that comes to mind is the JVC HD-10, but that's sort of a different ballgame.

Are there some other options I'm not thinking of (aside from adding an anamorphic adaptor to a DVX-100)?

Shawn Mielke November 9th, 2003 05:24 PM

"Looks like people aren't hibernating; we're all just busy putting our cameras to use ;-)."

Of course! :-) I mostly felt some strong, dramatic language to be in order, for fun and inspiration. I was, after all, a stage actor first ;-). And look at these responses! You're all a bunch of geniuses!

Alert us, Paul, if you will, when the doc airs, I'm very interested to see final results.

I'm hoping to produce little community oriented ditties for the public tv channel somewhere down the line. I haven't contacted them or anything, but their website sounds like they'd be receptive to someone like me; what a great other way for a prosumer to continue to learn his craft of choice.

Tim Frank November 9th, 2003 10:51 PM

I feel like me ane my new TRV950 are left out :(. Only reason I didn't get a PDX10 is that I didn't need to spend the extra $$$ on features I'd probably never use. We just got done filming a cheezy driver's training video on Teen distractions in cars...I have to say it was a lot of fun filming it...but it probably won't turn out very well, I'm not the one editing it but I'll put a link so people can see it and critique ;)

Shawn Mielke November 10th, 2003 01:08 AM

TRV950 shooters, unite!
I actually am also very interested in what's being done with the 950 too, to be sure. It's just that I shoot with the PDX10, so that is where my curiosity naturally tends. There's something about the 950 that I like a whole lot, without having shot with it. I couldn't, however, do with unbalanced XLRs.
In fact, if anyone is still shooting with a PD100a, please speak up as well, I've read almost nothing about it in real world applications.
Why do you think the driver's training video lacks, Tim? Hoaky situation simulation (script and acting)? Was it a studio shoot, and/or other? Handheld/tripod/mount ratio?

Anyone else care to share?

Paul Frederick November 10th, 2003 12:40 PM


I was indeed thinking of the JVC DV700W, but you're right, it still needs a lens! I have not seen any footage in person from the JVC HD-10 but I'm optimistic that this camera is a sign of things to come. I'm hopeful we will all be shooting hi-def soon at a fraction of the price that it is now.

Paul Frederick November 10th, 2003 12:51 PM


I can't speak for the PBS station near you, but here in New York the PBS stations are VERY receptive to outside contributors. PBS is learning that to set themselves off from other similar commercial channels (A&E, Discovery,History Ch., etc.) they need to be making local productions.
They also don't have gobs of money to throw at these local productions so they will at least look at what independents have to offer. It's a great way to break into television programming if that is what you'd like to do.
I'd encourage anyone to call/visit their local PBS station and see whats possible. I worked at a local affiliate for 11 years before striking out on my own three years ago when I saw what DV could offer and at what price. Myself and another guy made a series called "The Hidden Adirondacks" where we travel around in an old camper going to "out of the way" tourist destinations, reality TV for PBS we call it! Anyway we managed to get it on over 35 PBS stations around the country! Including NYC! Check out our web site www.hiddenadirondacks.com. Shot the whole thing with a PD-150 and cut it in my basement edit suite!

So anything is possible, just set your mind to it and strive to do the best job possible, even though I've been doing TV for over13 years now, I learn something everyday...no, its not a cliche! The internet is a great resource for continuing education, places like this site are a fountain of info!

Shawn Mielke November 10th, 2003 04:08 PM

Thanks Paul, for insight and encouragement. I currently live about two hours north of San Francisco (KQED), so it wouldn't be a terrible stretch to connect with PBS. I suppose it would depend on the project, though.
I'm wondering, Paul, if you could elaborate a bit on your experiences with the PDX10, what sorts of settings you prefer thus far, that sort of thing. I'm recognizing finally the messiness that high levels of sharpness bring to the image. In fact any amount of sharpness seems to do more harm than good. I'm also happy to see how well this cam can suppress noise, when the shot is set up properly.

Tim Frank November 10th, 2003 04:18 PM

Well our little driver's video...if you've ever seen one...well its just like the rest. Basically you have to overexaggerate a lot to get your point across, ours was about teen distractions so in the car we had 4 people in the back seat. I was the driver and was on my cell phone steering with my knee while joking around with everybody in the back. Keep in mind this was done in a huge parking lot, the shots were one with the camera on the dashboard, another couple from outside, and one looking in from the sunroof, and hanging onto the side bars of the SUV while filming through the window...nothing fancy at all. There's music in the background the whole time I think anyways. I mean there's nothing horribly wrong, it wasn't scripted at all its just we had to overexaggerate it to such a point that I'm almost positive nobody drives like we portrayed it

Michael Middleton November 10th, 2003 04:25 PM

I purchased my PDX10 in March for the purpose of shooting hunting videos and it is working quite nicely. I got my feet wet shooting hunting videos for the web with a TRV-103 (one of the original D8's) and when it succumbed to the abuse of hunting environments, I decided I wanted to step up from web productions to more serious platforms. That meant upgrading to a 3CCD cam. I originally considered the VX2000, Canon GL2 and TRV950. I also briefly considered the PD150, but decided that the compactness of the 950/PDX10 would be an asset over the other cams in consideration (I'm a one man bow hunter/cameraman, so that's a lot of gear to carry into the woods!) I liked the 16:9 aspect of the PDX10, and the fact that the body was black instead of silver/pewter of the 950 further swayed my decision (hey, it sounds trivial, but black is a much better "camouflage" than silver!). The price gap between the PDX10 and 950 narrowed back in March when I was making my decision, so that was the final selling point.

I've managed to get some good footage and have some decent clips for the web (I'm still learning my way around Premiere, so it's amateur at best), but I'll refrain from posting links since some folks on this site might want to avoid graphic bow hunting footage.

Anyway, I mostly lurk but have gotten some good info from the posters on this site that helped with my decision and have helped me with my videos.


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