HD camera for dancing events and such!

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    • #43616

      Sorry about the title, being that I am just starting to look into this area, I wouldn’t know what on earth to call it!

      Thank you for reading so far, I have really signed up as a newbie at this area of video creation and capturing, as everything before this was done on my old Sony Handycam which of course someone had to drop the other day *rolls eyes!*

      Anyway, I was hoping to get some advice from you in regards to getting the best high definition camera for the work I need to do, I’ll try to explain in detail what my ultimate goal is, but I know that you can never get exactly what you want (and if you do, then usually I see Flight #666 Pig Airways fly past my window)!

      Right onto what I am looking for;

      Basically I am looking to capture video at a high definition quality, with a camera that can keep up with what I am doing, and at the same time work with what I have to do. If people know what I am talking about when I say Dance Dance Revolution or Dancing Stage, you can skip to the next paragraph as I am sure that you wont need to be explained! — Basically its an arcade game which can have up to 2 people dancing on a stage, to music.. in basic terms, with very slow moving people, to people pressing buttons at a good 600+bpm!

      Now as part of the tournaments I am running, I am looking to basically film the people dancing from different angles, and from a static point as well (on a tripod or something). The high def part comes in where my current videos, as much as they look good, they don’t really have a professional feel to them, and when presenting this to the big companies, I really do need something which looks GOOD!

      Now the sound is not going to be too much of an issue, as at the larger events we use a PA system and such and the machine is hooked into the computers we have, so both these can be recorded directly into something else, however some of the smaller regional tournaments will have just a person with a megaphone! However having the option of having the audio input would make like a hell of a lot easier for someone working on the tapes, and when we want to plug a microphone directly into it.

      The lighting for each event is so variable, its unbelievable. At the finals we usually get a lot of good light as the machine usually sits on a stage in full view of everyone, but some of the regional tournaments happen in low light arcades.

      Additionally for this, I was hoping to use the camera at other events too, things like weddings, catwalk style anim convention masquerades, outdoor shooting of random "things happening".

      So yeah all in all I am looking for a good all round camera that can really just do the job for me.

      I was looking at the Sony range with the HDR-FX7E and HDR-FX1 cameras, and notice the two have completely different set of outputs and inputs, however I really don’t know where to start looking at other companies. Being a Sony person myself, I would prefer to stick with Sony, however if there is a better camera out there than these two, then please tell me, I don’t really mind, so long as at the end of the day, I have something worth showing the big companies!

      If you need more information or such, please ask away, as I am not sure if I have included everything, ooh and the price range, being the UK its between 1000-2000 would work for me.

      Thank you very much for your time again, and I hope to hear something soon!


    • #182885

      I’d say go with the Sony FX1 for better low-light response over the FX7, which uses a different type of sensor. I’ve used the FX1 for everything including stage plays, and it works well under a wide range of conditions. But keep in mind that a better camera may not solve all your image quality issues – you’ll still need to work on shot composition, audio quality, editing, etc. For audio on the FX1 you can add an XLR adapter if necessary.

    • #182886

      Have you looked at the XHA1 from Canon? Slightly over your budget (2150ish) but explore the specifications and read the WOWs from users and you may want to add it to your shortlist. I use one myself and can thoroughly recommend it.

    • #182887

      Thank you for your replies!

      Kevin: Thank you for making that a little clearer for me. It does seem like the FX1 is a better model for my needs, (its just a shame a few companies are coming back to me with "Sorry this has been discontinued"). Also I am glad you pointed out the XLR converter, that would make my life easier, however I have read somewhere that it could cause a problem with quality if going though an adaptor (I would tell you where, but I can’t remember where I saw that, so I may have just been imagining it!)

      Jon: No I had not yet, I mean I have put a budget up there of at most 2000, but after looking at a few other models recently, I am willing to up my budget a little. The plan was to get two of these for multiple shots and such, so the budget took into account getting a pair of them. However I maybe thinking about just getting one to see how it runs before working in the second camera towards the end of next year. Thank you for the details on that model, I will take a look into it now.

      I have been looking around at other models as of late, and reading up on websites and such, so I am starting to see where the different stages of "consumer", "prosumer" and "professional" levels lie.

      Also on my rounds I spotted the Sony Sony HVR-V1E… it was a little higher in the price range, but I was adding it to my consider list. Now with Jon’s reply, I notice that this camera is a "rival" to the XHA1 if I read correctly. (Do correct me if I am wrong!).

      So a quick question back at Jon, do you feel that the camera works well with editing afterwards? (As in its compatibility with connecting back into computers and such?) Also, do you know if the camera allows recording at the same time as outputting a live feed (sans any "screen information", if you know what I mean)? For this its mainly because during a few of the tournaments, we may have a cable linking into a switch box, which allows us to show the live feed up on a projector / tv / plasma / other output device.

      Once again thank you for taking the time to reply to this!


    • #182888

      Unfortunately, it would be unfair to recommend the A1 ‘over the HVR-V1E’ as I’ve never used the Sony model, so my recommendation for the A1 is purely because it’s something I use and have no regrets about buying. I haven’t checked but it may be that the Sony will give you everything you need.

      What matters to me is excellent picture quality (the A1 is exceptional), XLR audio in, good zoom, manual iris & focus rings, and the ability to adjust EVERYTHING manually (a huge benefit if you want to put it to a variety of uses), and I get all that from the A1. With a few presets on the memory card, setting up for different situations is very simple. And yes, it has a few ways to output the signal to an external monitor so that you can see what is being, or has been recorded.

      Search around for a while would be my best advice. Ignore the manufacturer’s blurb and read what actual users are saying and you won’t go far wrong.

    • #182889

      Thank you again for that Jon, I have been looking at it, and based off your recommendation though your use, it does seem like it will do the job for me, and its a cheaper than the Sony one anyway! — I understand about not being able to compare the two, but at the end of the day, as you say, its what the users think of it… and that’s what I hope to find out.

      Lets hope a few more replies come up soon.


    • #182890

      I’m sure they will. And let us know what you eventually get and how you like it… πŸ™‚

    • #182891

      Defiantly and will do! Hopefully I will have some footage from the website as well to show you… (maybe people can tell me how bad it is :P)

      Thank you very much again!


    • #182892

      Forgot to mention about editing. I use Sony Vegas for that and I can drop the HDV or SD clips straight onto the timeline to work with, after grabbing them via firewire, so no problems there. Not sure about other NLEs as Vegas is all I use.

    • #182893

      I’ll have to take a look into that, I know that a friend of mine suggested Adobe to me for the video editing side of things, but that’s all I really have looked into.

      And on top of that I forgot to mention! I work on Windows based systems, as I don’t really get on too well with Macs… its a personal thing rather than a dig at the OS… been with Windows since day x for myself and never really had the time to look into Macs πŸ™‚

      Thanks again πŸ™‚


    • #182894

      Haha – no, I don’t use a Mac either. But at the end of the day they’ll both make you want to throw them out of the nearest window at times so Mac vs PC isn’t an issue as a choice for editing. Both are up to the job when they’re working properly.

      A good way for you to get a rough idea of how different NLEs perform is to search YouTube for related tutorials. The clip quality might not be very good but you’ll find lots of them and at least you’ll see how each looks on screen – it may help you decide. All I can really say, never having used anything else, is that Vegas is very easy to get to grips with. A 30 day free trial is available, though, so you could give it a try without spending any money.

      Good luck.

    • #182895

      I have the sony hdr hc1 which I use with a rode mic.
      it is the lil’ bro to the hvr au1.

      I bought the hc1 from a local pro shop that also rents out the hvr au1. that gives me two cameras with similar features/controls for important jobs. I can find NO differences in video quality between the two, and to be honest the rode is a better mic than the stock sony.

      I find it up to the jobs i do, but low light capabilities? well we all know there’s better…..so I use lights when needed.

      I use macs with fce.

      I’m very happy with my set-up. in fact if you look at the box that fce ships in you’ll see a photo of my hdr hc1!!! everything works great, even on my multi monitor set up and with the projectors!

    • #182896

      Jon, that’s good advice about paying more attention to user advice than manufacturer’s sales pitches. I too own the Canon XH A1 and – having shopped for and worked with other cameras – can’t imagine a finer, more flexible camera for the price. Again, the reviews on the Canon are very good. If I had to say anything bad about the XH A1 the LCD screen is a bit small, 2.8






      I’ve shot with a Sony HDRFX1 and a Sony DSR-PD170. Both great cameras, but I still prefer the Canon Xh A1 for its’ flexibility, upgradability (Canon makes good accessories), and useability.

      As for editing, I use just a basic iMac using Final Cut Express and I get great results. Good luck.

      In Solidarity,



    • #182897

      Yep, when I bought the XH-A1 I was a tad worried because of the cost involved, but I needn’t have worried – I wanted a great camera and I wasn’t disappointed. For the money, I too imagine it would be hard to beat. Very adjustable.

      A 4:2:2 would have been better for the green screen stuff I do, but I don’t have 4:2:2 money and it performs well so I can’t complain.

      I do agree about the LCD but I imagine that applies to most. I ended up getting a SWIT monitor, but I’d have done that for whatever I bought, I’m sure…

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