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Need help on camera purchase


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#1 Joel Smith

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 01:24 AM

We are departing March 15th, 2007 for a 45 documentary/educational shoot in Europe. We will also be shooting for stock libraries while over there, so 1080p (preferably 4:4:4) is a must.

We're looking at purchasing the Silicon Imaging SI-2K. However, it looks like it won't be available in time for our trip. The same goes for RED ONE. We would love either one. We don't want the 2K Mini because we will be doing a lot of Steadicam shooting and don't want a mess of cables (RJ-45, audio, USB, etc.) hanging from the camera. Plus, it gets too front heavy.

Anybody have some suggestions of cameras that will do TRUE 1080p (1920x1080 at 24p) in the < $20,000 price range? We currently have some Super 16 PL mount lenses, so the PL mount and single sensor would be best.

I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you!
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:18 AM

Given your budget and format requirements, the XDCAM HD range seem to be the only cameras currently available on the market. These are 3 CCD camera, so you couldn't use your lenses.

I suppose you could make your own camcorder rig using the SI Mini and a laptop, so that it operates as a single unit. A DIY cage system.

It's often a case that you have to go with what available at the time.
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#3 Thanasis Diamantopoulos

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:43 AM

We are departing March 15th, 2007 for a 45 documentary/educational shoot in Europe. We will also be shooting for stock libraries while over there, so 1080p (preferably 4:4:4) is a must.

We're looking at purchasing the Silicon Imaging SI-2K. However, it looks like it won't be available in time for our trip. The same goes for RED ONE. We would love either one. We don't want the 2K Mini because we will be doing a lot of Steadicam shooting and don't want a mess of cables (RJ-45, audio, USB, etc.) hanging from the camera. Plus, it gets too front heavy.

Anybody have some suggestions of cameras that will do TRUE 1080p (1920x1080 at 24p) in the < $20,000 price range? We currently have some Super 16 PL mount lenses, so the PL mount and single sensor would be best.

I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you!



Hi

you can try the kinors dc 2k and dc 4k pl mound, costs around your money.
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#4 John Ealer

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:23 AM

Given your budget and format requirements, the XDCAM HD range seem to be the only cameras currently available on the market. These are 3 CCD camera, so you couldn't use your lenses.

I suppose you could make your own camcorder rig using the SI Mini and a laptop, so that it operates as a single unit. A DIY cage system.

It's often a case that you have to go with what available at the time.


The XDCAM HD format, like HDCAM, is only 1440x1080 with non-square pixels. It's also MPEG-2 compressed, it's a far cry from your ideal of true 1920x1080 (4:4:4).

The only Sony Camera that will do true 1920 x 1080 4:4:4 is the HDCAM-SR F-950 or it's replacement, the F23. You're looking at six figures for just the camera body, both use 3 CCD sensor arrays and B4 lenses.

I don't think there's a camera available in your time frame that will do what you want at the price you want.

J
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:46 AM

The XDCAM HD format, like HDCAM, is only 1440x1080 with non-square pixels. It's also MPEG-2 compressed, it's a far cry from your ideal of true 1920x1080 (4:4:4).

The only Sony Camera that will do true 1920 x 1080 4:4:4 is the HDCAM-SR F-950 or it's replacement, the F23. You're looking at six figures for just the camera body, both use 3 CCD sensor arrays and B4 lenses.

I don't think there's a camera available in your time frame that will do what you want at the price you want.

J


Oh, I agree about XDCAM HD, I was only thinking about the 1080P aspect, not the 4:4:4. Given the budget, I didn't even go near the F950 or 4:2:2, never mind 4:4:4.

Although, you might consider attempting 4:2:2 by recording uncompressed HD SDI onto a hard drive. However, this will pose the same problems as the SI Mini.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 03:27 PM

You should contact Silicon Imaging directly to see when they will hae the SI-2K ready. They may be able to have one for you.
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#7 Joel Smith

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:13 PM

Thanks for all the input.

These were the answers I expected. I have been talking to Silicon Imaging, and they just said yesterday they won't have the SI-2K ready in time. We could get the Mini and upgrade when the 2K arrives. I just don't like the fact that my monitor is a laptop screen. And there's no easy way to mount the touchscreen unless you have the full SI-2K.

I'm well aware of the XDCam options. But, as stated, it's not true 1080p and the 4:4:4 is a big plus since we will be doing more stuff requiring film-outs in the future.

We may have to live with the Mini for the time-being. I'm still open to options.
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#8 John Ealer

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:47 PM

Thanks for all the input.

These were the answers I expected. I have been talking to Silicon Imaging, and they just said yesterday they won't have the SI-2K ready in time. We could get the Mini and upgrade when the 2K arrives. I just don't like the fact that my monitor is a laptop screen. And there's no easy way to mount the touchscreen unless you have the full SI-2K.

I'm well aware of the XDCam options. But, as stated, it's not true 1080p and the 4:4:4 is a big plus since we will be doing more stuff requiring film-outs in the future.

We may have to live with the Mini for the time-being. I'm still open to options.


To elaborate on something that was mentioned earlier, another option is the Canon XL H1, which has HD-SDI output, and could be recorded on an out-board deck / drive system. But that's a lot of tethering, cables, etc. Also, that camera does not do true 1080p, either, it's 1080i with the interpolated 24F mode.

The Panasonic HPX-2000 might be available in time, but you're still looking at DVCPRO HD (the AVC-Intra card won't be out 'til the summer), plus you have to use P2 cards, which may or may not work for you. Plus it's $27K without a lens. There's the HDX-900, as well, nice camera, but you're still in 720p native world there.

J
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#9 Mitch Gross

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 06:17 PM

I just don't like the fact that my monitor is a laptop screen. And there's no easy way to mount the touchscreen unless you have the full SI-2K.



Actually, you can just use a small Noga Arm or a Ram. The Mini has a 1/4"x20 threaded hole on the top and the LCD has the same on the bottom. We sell both if you can't find them elsewhere. We've also worked with SI to configure some battery mounts and frontrods for practical mounting of lenses batteries, matteboxes, followfocus, zoom motors, etc. The Mini can be tricked out fairly easily, with just a single cable running to the laptop.
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#10 Joel Smith

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 06:22 PM

The mount for the LCD isn't the problem, it's the signal. The Mini doesn't have an LCD output, nor a USB. So, from what I understand, you have to get a USB to RJ-45 adapter, then some way to get the signal back down the same RJ-45 capture cable, then re-adapt it back out the USB for the touchscreen. That's what I meant about a maze of cables.

If there was an LCD output on the Mini head, I probably wouldn't have any uneasiness.
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#11 Mitch Gross

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 06:29 PM

Well, I guess it's a relative maze. The battery mount has two outputs, one to the camera and one to the LCD. The camera sends an ethernet cable to the laptop and then another cable comes back from the laptop to the LCD. So you strap those last two together and it's fairly clean.

You should see what it looks like when we send out a Varicam with a Pro35, Optimo 12:1 zoom, Microforce cable, downconverter and onboard monitor!
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#12 Walter Graff

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:30 PM

"Anybody have some suggestions of cameras that will do TRUE 1080p (1920x1080 at 24p) in the < $20,000 price range? We currently have some Super 16 PL mount lenses, so the PL mount and single sensor would be best."

why TRUE 1080P? Why 1920x1080? Do you need them for any advantage such as projection, etc. Many folks are confsed and think that only 1080 line cameras with 1920 chips (none of the cameras you menation are 1920) are better. This is a fallacy.
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#13 Joel Smith

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:50 PM

It's not a question whether 1920x1080 cameras are better. I just wanted some options in the price range. I know the SI-2K and RED are both a few months out and was wondering what would be the next best thing for our budget before then.

We're traveling all over Europe for 45 days. Part of the shoot is for a 16 hour mini-series, the other is for stock footage acquisition.

I want a true 1920x1080 because that is a TRUE HD picture for STOCK footage. Plus, it will hopefully outlast this standards battle and can be converted to SD, 720p, or 1080i in post.

We also don't have the budget to do Super16 or 35mm. We will have over 100 hours of footage and the processing would be outrageous.

I appreciate all the input. Thank you.
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#14 Keith Mottram

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:25 AM

"Anybody have some suggestions of cameras that will do TRUE 1080p (1920x1080 at 24p) in the < $20,000 price range? We currently have some Super 16 PL mount lenses, so the PL mount and single sensor would be best."

why TRUE 1080P? Why 1920x1080? Do you need them for any advantage such as projection, etc. Many folks are confsed and think that only 1080 line cameras with 1920 chips (none of the cameras you menation are 1920) are better. This is a fallacy.


er no its not if a potential client makes it a contractual obligation to recieve 1080p material. and TRUE (why the capitals?) is not just 24p- that is a fallacy.
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#15 Walter Graff

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:32 AM

er no its not if a potential client makes it a contractual obligation to recieve 1080p material. and TRUE (why the capitals?) is not just 24p- that is a fallacy.



I think the key is to know what requirements your client and or stock house requires. Today many stock houses take any number of materials all labelled under the umbrella as HD, even Sd that they line double in some cases. As for the capital TRUE, I say that because many cameras which are labelled as being this or that, are not. Great marketing material but not really what they sell.
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#16 Joel Smith

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:10 AM

As for the capital TRUE, I say that because many cameras which are labeled as being this or that, are not. Great marketing material but not really what they sell.



Exactly, Walter. 1440x1080 is not a "TRUE" HD signal. I know the pictures from XDCam and the like look great, and they're 1440x1080. I am a purist, what can I say. :)
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#17 Walter Graff

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:21 AM

Exactly, Walter. 1440x1080 is not a "TRUE" HD signal. I know the pictures from XDCam and the like look great, and they're 1440x1080. I am a purist, what can I say. :)


I don't think you are wrong so please don't think I am questioning your validity for "true HD".

What I do see too often is folks using numbers as rulers. Reality is HD is a physiological illusion more than reality. If I placed a 46 inch HD set 10 feet from you playing HD material and a 32 inch SD set playing the same material in SD you could not tell the difference. That is because the eye has a physical limitation as to how well it can see (also the reason HD was invented in the 80's). At the same time I could show you three different types of HD cameras on a monitor some 960 and some 1440 and you'd not know which is which. Numbers are great and we always strive for the best we can but the reality with HD is there is no hard reality as simple as 1920 is biger and beter than 960. Rather there are simply too many factors that determine what HD looks good to who from how it was shot, what kind of format was used, what kind of camera, what kind of DSP is in that camera and what method you are viewing it.
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#18 Jason Rodriguez

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 09:00 AM

Joel,

If you're not doing run-and-gun documentary type work . . . i.e., you plan on having a "video-village" setup somewhere, then the MINI is actually a pretty good deal . . . I know I'm a bit biased in that regard, but just pointing out that if you're going to be tethered to video village, you tethered period, doesn't matter what camera you're using.

BTW, we now have a trigger button for recording (and it plugs directly into the camera head, so no extra cables going back to the controlling computer for that), so you don't need to use the touchscreen to activate recording, recording can now be done with the trigger button at the camera head . . . so your cam operator can handle the camera and start/stop recording without requiring touchscreen support. You would still require another person back at the laptop/video-village to run the rest of the software functions though. But two small CAT6 cables would be all that are required for video and the camera.

I do agree with you though, if you do indeed require run-and-gun type stuff on the streets, the Mini (or any camera that's tethered) is not ideal for that.
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#19 Joel Smith

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 11:14 AM

Jason, thanks for the input.

Actually, we weighed our options and decided to go with the SI-2K Mini and upgrade to the full SI-2K when it's ready. Luckily, the documentary we're shooting is heavily scripted and doesn't involve a "reality" type setting. It will be interesting, but I think the quality will be a great payoff.
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