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HD or Mini DV?


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#1 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 07:56 AM

Hi

I'm thinking about investing in my own HD camera later this year, it's a bit confusing out there with so many cameras comming out. Does anyone have any suggestions about what cams I should look into that are good value for money. Also with all the HD stuff coming out recently, the prices of the Cannon XL2 here has plummeted and I can easliy afford to buy one later this year. Some people have told me not to invest in an HD cam as it would be more ecconomical to rent one when I need it. I want to shoot my own low budget projects & take time to experiment as well as use the cam to get some professional work.

would like to hear your opinion on this.
thanks Jac
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 08:41 AM

Hi,

I'm generally very cautious about owning equipment. Look at the cost of buying against the amount you will realistically use it for personal projects - I find it hard to get more than two or three really serious shorts off the ground in a year, and most of them only shoot for a few days.

That said, if you have long-term projects that are one day a week or something then you'll be better off owning. I recently wrote up an image-quality critique on several HDV cameras for Showreel magazine, which you may want to read, but suffice to say that I'm convinced that it's significantly better than DV under most circumstances, as if that was ever in doubt. The various cameras have their own ups and downs, as with anything.

Phil
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#3 N DeWood

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 09:13 AM

Hello Jac,

I would avoid any prosumer HDV cameras (1/3 inch ccd) for now. Wait until the formats settle in that market. If you must go HD (and absolutely don't or can't rent), make sure to invest in a real HD Camera and not HDV. Though that will break the bank. There are many reasons for this, and you may want to do your research about the differences between these two formats. I've heard all kind of complaints about HDV cameras, from the new Canon to the new Panasonic, yet very little gripes about the Varicams and CineAltas (of course those are very expensive).

As for the XL2, I own one, and I am simply not impressed with its 24P capability, its lenses, and accessories. I now use it along side my Arri SR to record sound and for behind the scenes video coverage. At times, I use it because I just want video (like for interviews). It's not a bad camera if you desire to shoot regular video, but I simply don't believe in the miniDV world as capable "filmmaking" cameras, due to the lack of excellent lenses and accessories that are so necessary for shooting the images you want. I can't over emphasize the importance of the lens in any camera package. Of course, there will be many who will disagree, but that's just my opinion.

Hope this helps.

Nick,

p.s.
Never dismiss film as a format to start with (I've made a big mistake in wasted time and money going video first). There are many decent models that cost less than a canon XL2, and depending on where you live, you can just rent all types of amazing lenses and accessories to use with your film camera (for those special projects), where you will achieve results rivaling even the very expensive HD cameras.



Hi

I'm thinking about investing in my own HD camera later this year, it's a bit confusing out there with so many cameras comming out. Does anyone have any suggestions about what cams I should look into that are good value for money. Also with all the HD stuff coming out recently, the prices of the Cannon XL2 here has plummeted and I can easliy afford to buy one later this year. Some people have told me not to invest in an HD cam as it would be more ecconomical to rent one when I need it. I want to shoot my own low budget projects & take time to experiment as well as use the cam to get some professional work.

would like to hear your opinion on this.
thanks Jac


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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 11:56 AM

p.s.
Never dismiss film as a format to start with (I've made a big mistake in wasted time and money going video first). There are many decent models that cost less than a canon XL2, and depending on where you live, you can just rent all types of amazing lenses and accessories to use with your film camera (for those special projects), where you will achieve results rivaling even the very expensive HD cameras.



Here, here, I second this recommendation for a film camera. If you are going to plunnk down for an HD rig, consider that a really good XTR Prod w/ lenses, mags, matte box, stick, the whole shabang, will run you 30 to 35K. Varicam or Cinealta, 30k won't even get you the body. A film camer IS future proof. Some new flavor of electronic camera will displace the current HD cams probably in less than five years.

If all this is too rich for your blood, may I suggest that you buy a $300 mini DV cam to previsualize your stuff, do the experimentation with, then when it comes time to shoot it for real, rent the best equipment you can afford. Do not invest in HDV, it is a consumer format that is not tried and true yet and will probably be old hat in less than five years.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 01:12 PM

Hi,

Once again I'm forced to repeat that everyone here is conveniently overlooking the running costs of film. It's difficult to take a 16mm camera out of the box for less than the cost of an XL2.

Phil
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#6 N DeWood

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 02:06 PM

Hi Phil,

I am not overlooking the costs of film, processing, telecine, etc. You're right if you compare the cost of video and film simply by price tag. I think everyone knows that.All you have to do is to buy film, and check with a local lab to find out the cost of processing.

But I am not making a strictly financial comparison. When you look at the entire experience of using a film camera, whether's it's the ability to shoot incredibly beautiful images, the use of great lenses and zoom motors, various accessories, and the ability to control the depth of field, you'll see that the difference is negligeble. But the quality of film remains at most times superior.

Therefore the proper question is: What will you pay for a video package that can obtain the same results from a 16mm film package? I wouldn't even begin to compare the cost of my XL2 to the Arri SR. There isn't even a comparison to be made, whether it's price, quality or anything else.

From my painful experience, film has come out cheaper!! Why? In video, you'd have to rent an expensive HD Camera package, light up right to avoid the unbelievable sharpness of HD, deal with the limited latitude of the format, purchase all sort of decks to ingest the HD from the tapes, and on and on... And even then, video, as a whole, cannot at this stage match the mature world of film.

So, you're right if you were to compare price tags of the stock and all the processing attending film, to the price of an XL2 but I insist there is a difference when it comes down to the value of the whole production. The XL2 simply doesn't cut it.

Nick


Hi,

Once again I'm forced to repeat that everyone here is conveniently overlooking the running costs of film. It's difficult to take a 16mm camera out of the box for less than the cost of an XL2.

Phil


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#7 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 02:46 AM

I love that you guys reccomended a film camera, as it happens, I have also been looking at second hand 16mm packages. I would love to own my 16mm film camera kit, a bit pricey,I have an old 8mm. Then again it's much harder to just go out on the weekend and shoot something. I'm gonna think about buying a cheaper Mini DV for some fun and experimentation and look at some film cams too.

Anyone got any suggestions on cheaper Mini DV cams?

Jacqueline
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 10:39 AM

Hi,

DVX-100, XL2, XL1, PD-150.

Don't know what a DVX-100 goes for these days.

Phil
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#9 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 11:21 AM

Here, here, I second this recommendation for a film camera. If you are going to plunnk down for an HD rig, consider that a really good XTR Prod w/ lenses, mags, matte box, stick, the whole shabang, will run you 30 to 35K. Varicam or Cinealta, 30k won't even get you the body. A film camer IS future proof. Some new flavor of electronic camera will displace the current HD cams probably in less than five years.

If all this is too rich for your blood, may I suggest that you buy a $300 mini DV cam to previsualize your stuff, do the experimentation with, then when it comes time to shoot it for real, rent the best equipment you can afford. Do not invest in HDV, it is a consumer format that is not tried and true yet and will probably be old hat in less than five years.

I fully agree with the concept of using a miniDV for the DIY School of Film . I've got a Sony TRV-30 miniDV (1/4" single CCD) that I've had a ball with. It's got enough image control to get creative and looks surprisingly good in widescreen mode on my Mitsubishi Platinum 55" CRT projection TV. It even looks better than some of the highly compressed, bandwidth reduced channels I get off DirecTV. I picked up a clearance Panasonic basic miniDV at Wal-Mart for $200 a couple of months ago so now I could even do a shoot that required a B camera (I actually bought it to use as a playback deck to reduce running hours on my TRV-30). My main interest is film but it's sure fun to be able to experiment with setups, etc. for $0.07/minute as long as one keeps it firmly in mind that film has a ton more latitude. I find that experimenting with lighting, filters, and exposure control gives one a pretty good film "look", all the talk about 24P versus 30i, etc. notwithstanding.

Another huge benefit is you can edit footage with Avid's FreeDV ( http://www.avid.com/freedv/index.asp ) and start getting up on the learning curve for one of the industry's standard editing systems. If Avid's good enough for Walter Murch, it's good enough for me. :)

Get an inexpensive miniDV and have fun learning - you can obsess about 16mm/35mm/Fuji/Kodak/MOS/sync, etc later.

Edmond, OK
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#10 Alexandre Lucena

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 05:41 PM

If you please visit http://www.dvinfo.ne...isplay.php?f=80 and see for yourself
what to expect from the new panasonic hvx200. Some files are really big. Have a look at
the videos shot with 35mm adapters. By the way film stock ages. I find footage from the eighties
not as appealing as today´s. My two cents
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#11 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 02:38 AM

Hi,

So I'm definatley not buying a HD camera, for what I want to shoot DV is good enough. So now I'm just trying to decide between a DVX 100A and the XL2 (I've had a great experience in the past with the XL1 so I have a bit of a soft spot for the cannon) but I hear the DVX100A produces gorgeous images.

Anyone got any gripes or greats about either of these from a hands on perspective?

Thanks Jacqueline
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#12 Jay Gladwell

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 04:17 PM

... but I hear the DVX100A produces gorgeous images.

Right out of the box, that's true. But the XL2 is far more flexible in the image adjustment/manipulation department and has the capability of giving more gorgeous images than the DVX100.

Edited by Jay Gladwell, 01 March 2006 - 04:18 PM.

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#13 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 05:07 PM

By the way film stock ages. I find footage from the eighties
not as appealing as today´s.


Are you saying all films shot in the 80's don't look as appealing as today?

More than likely what you are seeing isn't so much the age of the film but the
technology. Film technology has changed drastically over the past 20 years.
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#14 Chien Huey

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 09:19 PM

Anyone got any gripes or greats about either of these from a hands on perspective?


I've used both cameras w/ stock lens and the PS Technik mini35 adapter. The one advantage when using the mini35 with the XL2 is that the mini35 connects directly to the camera. Unlike the DVX, which requires you to mount the adapter to the front of the built-in lens. So an XL2 setup is faster than a comparable DVX setup.

I also like the Canon controls. I like the layout. One DVX gripe is the L-M-H gain switch. The Canon has a knob that clearly states where your gain is. Ditto with frame rate/aspect ratio and a bunch of others I can't remember.

These things in mind, I'm a shooter and the DVX has a considerable following. Most director/producers usually want to shoot on the DVX. So far this year, every project where the camera choice wasn't dictated by cost (i.e. free camera from a friend), the DVX was specified. So if you're looking to be a shooter then you should probably buy a DVX. If you're just making your own films then get whichever camera you like better.
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#15 Jay Gladwell

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 07:15 AM

Generally speaking, I agree with Chien. To put it simply, I would say the DVX is for those who don't know a great deal about operating a camera--more point and shoot. On the other hand, the XL2 is geared more toward those want and know how to manipulate a camera to have control over the image they are recording.

The XL2 is for advanced users may be the most simple way to put it.
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