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

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Old June 23rd, 2005, 07:03 PM   #16
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Those that have actually tested the PD170/VX2100 against the FX-1 have concluded that the FX-1 low light capability does NOT match that of the PD170/VX2100. Those that question why wedding videographers are trying "to get away with no light" have obviously not shot many weddings. Sometimes you just don't have a choice.

Standard PD170 features that the FX-1 does NOT have:
1. XLR audio inputs with phantom power
2. Wide-angle lens adapter

When you add the price of a BeachTek DXA-6 (XLR with phantom power) and the Sony Wide-angle lens to the cost of a FX-1, the FX-1 cost almost $1,000 more than the PD170 after rebate. What's more, if you shop around, you can find a PD170 or PD150 used, but in great condition, for a very good price.

Here are a couple of threads comparing the PD170/VX2100 with the FX-1:

The SONY FX-1 vs. SONY VX2100 etc.

Yikes! Bought PD170 - but the FX1?

I'm not against HD. In fact I love it, and want to start shooting it as soon as possible. But I can't make a good business case for purchasing a HDV camera primarily for wedding and event videography at this time. Sure buying a HDV will "future proof" your investment to some extent. But one needs to balance this with the standard advise of not buying any hardware until you actually need it. It will always cost less and perform better later.

One of the things that I really like about the PD150/PD170 series is that they are very tough, very rugged, well-built cameras. I understand that they are the camera of choice for many news videographers (ENG) in Iraq -- which means that they hold up well under very adverse circumstances. Unlike the Canon XL and GL series, I've not seen anyone reporting mechanical/electrical problems due to wear and tear.

IMO you'd be better off with a PD170 and putting the extra $1,000 you would have spent on the FX-1 into better audio and camera support. For example,
(1) The Sennheiser EW100 G2 series of wireless lav and handheld mic systems
(2) Good tripod and fluid head like the Bogen 501 or 503
(3) Some type of camera support/stablizer for hand-held shots. I just bought the SpiderBrace 2 and I really like it. Especially when you add a LANC lens controller like the VaraZoom Stealth.

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Old June 24th, 2005, 04:20 AM   #17
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This could start a whole topic on its own.

Do you work for them, or have you actually used this for yourself?

If you look at the chart they post on their website, the image does hit the ccd, obviously, and since there isnt enough pixels on that CCD, its scaled. The fact that they bypass the DV compression area for 4:4:4 is interesting, but then they push it out a USB 2.0. Also, how do you edit this stuff ?

Something sounds fishy here, in that you are so behind a product, that at this point is vaporware. I have never seen or heard of this thing covered ANYWHERE, and what does it cost? If ripping into your DVX with some hack job for bogus HD is a good idea to you, go for it.

Post a real clip that we can play with in FCP, and maybe someone will believe it, but posting a JPG of some guys head would not be enough for most people to buy a product like this.

Lets see some real material, and maybe someone will buy it.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 04:39 AM   #18
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So I guess everyone here is shooting receptions with no on-camera light. PD-150 or not, they must not look very good.

The point here was not for everyone here to dump all their equipment they have had for years, to move to HDV. It was for a newbie looking to spend his money NOW, not 5 years ago. Still seems to me alot of people with PD-150's looking to justify them not needing to spend any money on cameras they are afraid to try. I'm shooting 25-30 weddings a year, and NEVER shoot a reception without a light, but if you do, so be it.

I looked at your links, and the arguments went both ways, almost 50-50, and the ones against the HDV cams gave the same old arguments. Delivery, editing Yada, Yada Yada.

Even saw some arguments saying "Why deal with the extra hard drive space needed for HDV?", which goes to show its just un-informed people talking, because HDV uses the SAME HD storage space as DV.

If I were buying an HDV cam as my only one, I would go with the ZU-1 for the audio capabilities. I use the FX-1 for the images, because I use a separate mixer with my DVX-100a for my audio at the ceremony.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #19
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I certainly don't mean to sound unappreciative of the recommendations to stay with SD for now, but I still don't feel overwhelmed in either direction as of yet. I don't think anyone on here will lose any sleep if I go in either direction, because ANYTHING is better than what I am using now (Sony DCR-TRV730 Digital8). If I were to go with an SD camera, I don't think it would be a PD-170. I can buy an FX1 for the same price as a new PD-170 and be better positioned for the future. I think the more appropriate choice in SD is the VX2100, simply because of the price. I just don't want to spend over $2K on a camera now while I wait for the technology to advance and become main stream. It could be a year, it could be five years. At that point, wouldn't I lose my butt if I sold the VX2100 to buy HD? I could bite the bullet and buy an FX1 for approximately the same price as a PD-170, but there seems to be conflicting opinion as to how the down converted Z1/FX1 video compares to native SD video. I know that it's a viable option to distribute video in HD at this point, but the Z1/FX1 is capable of shooting in SD mode although I haven't heard much about the quality of SD mode video. I would like shoot in HD and down convert in post. That way, I would have an HDV copy of the footage in case a client wanted an HD copy in the future. Maybe I should post a thread under the appropriate topic. If someone on this forum has one of these HD cameras and can offer a first hand comparison, that would be great.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 12:54 PM   #20
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I have the FX-1, and use Final Cut 5 to edit it. Whatever specific info you need, I can let you know.

I also have a DVX-100a and XL-2, so I come from both ends of this, SD and HD.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 02:52 PM   #21
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Well for one thing there are HDV cameras available for $2000. The JVC GR-HD1 lists for $3500 but is available on the street for less than $2000. The new Sony compact HDV camera lists for $2000 and should be available on the street for a 10 percent discount. I don't think HDV cameras are mainstream yet but retail outlets are starting to stock these products. However HD televisions while maybe not mainstream as far as garage sales are concerned are definitely mainstream in the new television market. An HD built in television is the first choice of any consumer willing to pay $500 or more for a television set.

Analog television is dying. The FCC is cracking down and forcing the transition to Digital television. By the end of 2006 all analog television broadcasting will cease and the analog spectrum will be sold for 70 billion dollars. Some have predicted rioting in the streets but this wont happen because 85 percent of the homes will have to have digital tuners. So the government if they want their money will provide free digital tuners or rebates on digital televisions.

Analog television is dying. By 2007 the FCC mandates that all televisions 13 inches and above will have to have digital tuners built in or bundled in a package deal. Most people if forced to buy a digital television will be tempted to go all the way with a high definition television.

So how can anyone say that digital television is just a fad or a gimmick? Digital television while it is not necessarily high definition is in fact the delivery mechanism for high definition television.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 07:14 PM   #22
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(QUOTE) Something sounds fishy here, in that you are so behind a product, that at this point is vaporware. I have never seen or heard of this thing covered ANYWHERE, and what does it cost? If ripping into your DVX with some hack job for bogus HD is a good idea to you, go for it. (QUOTE)

Your are right, Art, this could start a whole new topic, and I by no means am trying to claim that this companies product is for everyone. I am surprised, however, that so many in this community are unfamiliar with this Co. and their product. They were a hit at this years NAB. They were Videosystems Magazine pick hit at NAB for 2005. They have had other press as well. I have peers who at NAB saw firsthand what these guys can do, that's how I first became familiar with thier product. You are more than entitled to your opinion that it is bogus HD installed by a hack job. I know many, including myself, who consider HDV to be bogus HD, it's all a matter of perspective. I don't expect those who are investing heavily in HDV to embrace something like the Andromeda hardware and SculptorHD software this Co. is developing. But nevertheless, it shows the potential of other affordable means of high quality SD and HD acquisition in the future, and UNCOMPRESSED. But it all boils down to one's needs, budget and final destination for their project.
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Old July 18th, 2005, 06:18 AM   #23
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First Equipment Order

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. Without you guys, I would certainly have been thrown to the wolves. I just thought I'd give an update as to what items I finally ordered. I have alot of work to do this week to get familiar with my equipment before the wedding this weekend. I purchased the camera used from a guy in the region. Everything else was ordered from one of our sponsors, B&H. Here's what I have purchased.

1. Sony FX1 (used) $2600, less than 4 hours use

2. Sony DVM-63HD 63 Minutes Mini DV HD Video Cassette

3. Bogen / Manfrotto 525MVB Lightweight 2-Stage Professional Video Tripod Legs (Black) with 3460 (503) Pro Video Head, 75mm Half Ball & Softcase - Supports 13.2 lbs

4. Bogen / Manfrotto 531SPRB Mid-Level Spreader (Black) - for 515MV and 525MV Tripods

5. Bogen / Manfrotto 565 Rubber Shoes (Set of 3) - for Spiked Feet

6. Bogen / Manfrotto 682B (3231) Professional Monopod (Detachable Legs) (Black) - Supports 26.40 lb (12 kg)

7. Bogen / Manfrotto 3229 Swivel Tilt Monopod Head with Quick Release - Supports 6.00 lb (2.72 kg)

8.Bogen / Manfrotto 522 Camera Remote Control Handle for Sony - fits the 501, 503, 505, 510 and 516 Fluid Heads REG

9. Sony NP-F970, L-series, Info-Lithium, Battery Pack (7.2v, 6600mAh)

10.Sony BC-V615 Portable AC Charger - for L Series Lithium-Ion Batteries

11. General Brand 72mm UV Protector Filter - Glass

12.Beachtek DXA-4 Audio Adapter - for Sony DCR-VX1000, VX2000 and VX2100 Camcorders

13.Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series - Camera Mountable UHF Wireless Lavalier and Plug-On Bundle with EK100G2 Receiver, SKP100G2 Plug-On Transmitter, SK100G2 BodyPack Transmitter and ME2 Microphone (B 626-662 MHz)

I am going to try to do without a light for now. I just got Vegas 6.0, but am still in need of DVD Architect 3.0. I am currently using DVD Architect 1.0. I am also going to attempt to borrow a handheld microphone for ambient audio and plug into the audio board when possible for close up audio. Until I can afford another camera and tripod, I'm going to have to use my Sony DCR-TRV730 (Digital8) for wide angle cuts. I hate to do it, but I think I can pull it off. If anyone can think of anything else I need to get to make the above work, feel free to comment. I don't want to get to the wedding and realize that something is missing. Thanks a bunch!
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