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NorthwoodsOutdoors's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 01/25/2008 - 3:16pm

Hello All

I am pretty new to the filming seen and am trying to get involve in Outdoor Filming. In your opinions what is the best MiniDV Cam for outdoor low light filming. Also a user freindly editing software?


DaveArthur's picture
Last seen: 7 years 1 month ago
Joined: 09/05/2007 - 8:33pm

You didn't mention what your budget might be. That piece of the puzzle often tells more about your possible camera choices than any other detail. Assuming that you want the most from the least amount of money, I'd look to the Canon HV20 or the new HV30. They will run you less than $1,000 (you may find the 20 for a lot less). They both will record both standard definition and High Def onto a MiniDV tape. They rely on a single CMOS imaging chip, but give very good image quality. Low-light performance of the CMOS is okay, but quite good for the price. Your limitation might be in the lens, but again, for the price it is a solid camera.

For editing, I recommend a prosumer level package that has a professional upgrade path. Two good options are Sony Vegas Platinum and Apple Final Cut Express 4. Both will give you ease of use, remarkable power, and you have the option of moving to a professional version as your business grows. You will also be quite at home on the pro versions once you develop your skills on the prosumer solutions. You might also look at Premier as a possibility.

Good luck,

Dave Arthur

www.HowToVideoPRO.com


3PinesPro's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 01/25/2008 - 6:02pm

Most of my filming involves outdoor subjects with equestrian events being the focus. I use (and love) the Sony HDR-FX1. I've used it for more than a year is some very demanding conditions. It's gone through rain, wind, lots of dust and dirt, and just keeps on going. I've also used it a great deal in indoor arenas and have been very satisfied with its performance there, as well. Color reproductions and low light handling is superb. All-in-all a great camera.

As far as editing, I've been using Ulead's VideoStudio Plus with great results. It's extremely inexpensive and does most of the things the high dollar NLE's do. It's a good starting point, anyway. Very intuitive. The next step up, at least it was for me, is the Sony Vegas Pro 8. Again, very intuitive and powerful tool. And for the price it's a great post production time saver.

Hope that helps! Good luck!


dmv
dmv's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 01/26/2008 - 1:56am

MHO is that the FX1 is great outdoors and in low light.


webdomaindesign's picture
Last seen: 6 years 8 months ago
Joined: 02/08/2008 - 7:49am

Glad to hear. I'm interested in picking one up most likeley used. Any suggestions on where to look and what to watch out for?


dagunner's picture
Last seen: 9 months 2 days ago
Joined: 07/02/2009 - 2:25am

I am filming Sprint cars racing on dirt tracks. I just got a Sony HVR HD1000N. This is probably the dustiest environment to take a camera to.

Are their any custom made dust covers for cameras or should I just continue to use a good old plastic bag?


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

Better picture quality is what gets better low-light performance. Get a good 3ccd camera, HD camcorder, or one with both of these features.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

XTR, I don't entirely agree. From what I've observed for example, in a poorly lit room where my GL-2 needs about 3db of amplification, at the same amplification an XH-A1 is struggling to cope, despite being an astoundingly better picture quality. In truth, SD video still performs much better than HD in low light, which is one reason of many that I'm still shooting weddings (which are mostly in poorly lit places) with SD gear. The reason for this is because with 6 times as many pixels on an HD CCD as there are on a SD CCD, each pixel on an HD chip is getting 1/6 the light as it would on it's SD counterpart.

I know HD technology is getting better every day, but at this point in the game if low light performance is your greatest need I would still suggest SD quality video. I've been watching B&H's used department a lot lately. With all the high-end producers switching to HD, I've seen some incredible SD cameras passing through there with giant 1/2" and even 3/4" chips that were $15,000 new, and are selling online for a couple grand, tops. My rule of thumb with SD is that the larger your chip, the more light you've got hitting it, and the better performance you'll have in low light. Chip size plays a big role in low light.

I do agree that a 3CCD camera is the way to go though, especially in low light scenarios. A single chip model just can't capture colors well when lighting is poor.


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

I agree, mostly with your words on High-Definition. If a single (pixel) section of a CCD is larger, it is exposed to more light. Suppose there is a SD and an HD camcorder with the same type and size of CCD. With a lower resolution, a single pixel of an SD camcorder is exposed to more light. In general, larger CCDs take in more light.

It used to be that a 3-CCD was used for most video situation, while CMOS sensors are designed for still photos. A 3-CCD camera was always the better option for recording video. CMOS chips sensors, however, have been dramatically improved over the years - they nearly render video the same way. Picking up a little bit of 3ccd knowledge, I learned that there are just some things that 3 ccds can do, particularly in low light, that just isn't the same for a CMOS.


jimcvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 04/15/2009 - 1:39pm

Very true. In brightly lit locations, A CCD and a CMOS chip are fairly comparable. If someone were shooting outdoor events during the daytime, I would say a CMOS camera is a good way to save a few bucks over the pricier CCD counterparts.

However, in low light situations, CMOS chips start running into problems due to the rolling shutter effect. The slower your exposure time, the worse it gets. Skewed images, the wobble effect, they're both major turn-offs for me. The one and only thing I like about CMOS is that there's no streaking if a light crosses your path. But even then, sometimes that streaking can work to your benefit for adding artistic flare. If I had to use a CMOS chipset, I'd live with it, but I'd much rather have my 3 CCD's :-)