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August 27, 2008 at 9:55 PM #45315
I’m a budding video production graduate who’s done a few freelance projects from sporting events, to wrestling, to documentaries and interviews. Currently I am working with a Sony TRV17 amateur consumer level 1 CCD camera. In order to expand my business (or rather get it off the ground) I feel it is certainly time to upgrade to something more professional. I’ve looked at the Canon XL2 with mixed emotions and a handful of Sony cameras and seem to have settled on either the VX2100 or the FX7.
I’m in the market for something that is versatile, but I am unsure if HD is the way to go. The FX7 interests me a bit more due to its ability to record in either HD or Standard Def. I am looking for some real feedback from users instead of reviews and lists of specs which don’t tell me what I really want to know and can’t answer my questions.
Things I will be using it for; sporting events, plays, recitals, weddings, and the usual rundown of video for hire jobs. Of course eventually I would like to expand myself further than the money making jobs and venture into real film, movies and indie projects.
August 27, 2008 at 10:08 PM #188391
I think it’s too soon to go HD. Not many people can view it, I’ve heard that even pros don’t output in HD. They just record in HD and then downconvert on the import.
If you do choose to go HD, I would avoid the HDV codec. It’s buggy because it has a data rate of 25mbps, which is the same as DV. Also, if you go HD, you need to have a computer that can handle it. I’m sure it not hard for a computer to cut HD, but when you get into effects and graphics, you’ll need a decent computer.
I recommend the Sony PD170. It’s basically the VX2100, but it has XLR connections. Works very well in low light. I’ve used the XL1s before, but I didn’t really like it.
Invest in lights too. Don’t be one of those dudes who has a solid camera but no lights.
August 27, 2008 at 10:45 PM #188392
I think it’s too soon to go HD. Not many people can view it, I’ve heard that even pros don’t output in HD. They just record in HD and then downconvert on the import. I recommend the Sony PD170. It’s basically the VX2100, but it has XLR connections. Works very well in low light. I’ve used the XL1s before, but I didn’t really like it. Invest in lights too. Don’t be one of those dudes who has a solid camera but no lights.
Thanks for all the good information. I’ve always heard mixed/bad things about shooting in HD, but now a days it just seems like the way to go, but apparently it’s not. The PD170 appears to be a good camera and the bonus of XLR connections makes life a little easier and cheaper not needing an adapter. Truthfully until recently I have never studied all the ins and outs of different cameras and accessories. I’m picking up alot quickly, but I suppose I must when looking to invest a few thousand dollars into my future.
August 28, 2008 at 12:32 AM #188393
From what I’ve been told, HD isn’t BAD; it’s just buggy like all new technology.
Also I think a common misconception is the workflow. I haven’t used any HD cameras yet, but my teachers at school have said with the Panasonic cameras and P2 cards, depending on what your computer set up is like, you don’t know what your footage truly looks like until you drop it onto your timeline and then render it. If you’ve got a slow computer, this process will probably take longer than current DV workflow. Who wants to render possibly hours of footage just to see if it came out OK? So the point my one teacher was trying to make is that the process isn’t really “fun” yet, but the end result can be outstanding if you record in the right format and handle post production properly. So I guess you have to ask yourself if going through a crappy post production process is worth it. For me, no. For The Discovery Channel, yes. I’m sure they have badass post production suites that render in real time.
Not needing an XLR adapter is very convenient, more than you may think. I had a GL2 and used an adapter on a shoot and it was socumbersome. It’s the reason why I got a PD170. Depending on what kind of work you do and where you think you will be in the future, Irecommendlooking for a used PD170. New ones are about 3 grand, but I got mine used for 1800. Just be sure to meet in person and thoroughly inspect the camera before handing over any money.
It’s a weird time period right now, and I don’t think it’s worth buying a new SD camera right now if you can make good use of a good condition used camera. Technology progresses fast, and transitioning to HD might not be a bad idea in a year or two from now. So save some money now. Spend more money on good audio and lighting equipment instead of getting the “latest and greatest” HD camera. What good is the latest and greatest if your lighting and audio sucks anyway, right?
August 28, 2008 at 12:34 AM #188394
Actually, if you’re going to be doing you’re own editing too, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to get your computer ready for HD. That’s what I did. This way, if I do freelance work and someone has HD footage for me to edit, I can handle it.
August 28, 2008 at 2:20 AM #188395
1800 sounds like a good deal, but anything under 3K is pretty much my budget (sorta). I guess a question I have is what sort of mics and such you (or others) are using with the PD170. I was hunting around for compatible devices and couldn’t come up with much which means that either very few things are capable of hooking up with it, or just about everything is capable of hooking up with it…within reason of course.
Some obvious must haves for me are lighting, mics (shotgun, lav, etc), Hard Disk Recorder, filters, telephoto lense, and battery belt. Anything I’m missing? I’m such a noob.
September 12, 2008 at 8:15 AM #188396AnonymousInactive
I read through your post and I have to say that more of what I shoot today is HD. I started with the FX1 which by the way is/was and still isa great camera. Once my clients have seen HD theres no going back. Sony makes quality gearpriced atprosumer as well as Progear and has lead the pack in technologies. I’m sure everyone has an opinion here since your on the Sony forum Im assuming you want to go with Sony. Right now XDCAM is on my wish list. Now have I looked at other cameras u bet. The new Panasonic AG-HMC150reviewed right here on Videomaker looks real enticing.
About editing you can end up spending the same amount or more for a NLE work station. I have 3 Dells 4gig memory 1 terabyte in each,
I swear some days it just dosen’t seem fast enough. Then youve got editing software. I use a combination of them depending on what I want to kick out and the quality. The first editing pkg I had was Ulead Studio and Pinnacle’s Studio 9 or was it 10 and of course in no time they both pushed out upgrades for editing HD. Did I jump for joy NO.
Try puttinga 30 minute length of video that you want with additional overlays and titling and the next sequence of video and start adding transitions and effects and…… Well it’s great for doing short 3- 5 minute pieces if your just doing some web stuff or you like youtube video.
So next comes the systems above and the Adobe Premire Production Suite CS3 and plugins
Your friend abovehad some solid advice,start with something versatile used is hard to dobut you can try renting a couple to see what you think about them. Today I want 24p 1080i/60p 30p film like etc. it’s not cheap but boy has it all come down price. Theres a new sony FX1000 also on review here which is to replace the FX7 It’s amazing to me that I still see the FX1 for as much as 3,000. My bet is that your going to see some great prices real soon……….that is if you can stand the wait I never can.
December 2, 2008 at 8:55 PM #188397shootaminsParticipant
I say invest in a Blu-Ray writer drive to play those HDs for the FX-7. People should change to HD, it’s just quite simply, the future!
December 5, 2008 at 8:49 PM #188398NewBirthProductionsParticipant
I would go with Rode mic’s they are the industary standard for broadcast.
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