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choosing the right equipment...any recommendations?


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#1 Robbie Hardy

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 07:32 AM

Hello there...first time here and really glad I stumbled across this forum...

Could anyone help advise me as to which equipment to buy?

I'm based in England and am wanting to buy a powerful laptop to be able to edit my films on. I know a PC would be better, but I will be having to travel about the country to friends and be able to edit the film there at times too. What spec Laptop would fill my requirements?

Also, can anyone recommend a Camcorder. I could probably go up to £1500 for the camera but I want a camera that would be quality enough to produce good enough quality shots and be of suitable standard to allow our films to look good enough for broadcast??

Finally...
I'm a novice at Editing and will be really learning as I go,..though luckily a friend does this for his job so will be there for advise..but I'd need a camera that has a 'line In' socket. I've shot lots of HI8 film a decade a go and now thought it would be fun to be able to record it across to my Camcorder and then download it to the Laptop and practise my editing on these...?

Sorry for the longwinded request..
Thanks a lot
Rob.
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#2 Chris Durham

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 06:35 PM

As far as a laptop goes, it depends on what you intend to edit with. To me, the most obvious disadvantage of a laptop is screen size, however as I travel a lot I will soon be looking into getting one. The next thing is rendering. Any processor-intensive filters or effects will be difficult to view in realtime, and rendering them will take longer on a laptop. You'll also be hamstrung by hard drive speeds which top out at 5400rpm for most laptops. If you carry an external drive that's high-speed you may offset that a bit, but you'll have to account for USB2 or Firewire throughput and I'm not sure what the performance breakpoint is there. You'll want a lot of drive space though. Pick your platform and get the best you can afford, paying particular attention to how much memory you can load it with.

As far as cameras go, I think 1500 pounds equates to about $2500 USD, so that puts you into something like a Canon GL2. Of course you can also look around for a used DVX100 which will get you 24P. If you're looking for HD then you're out of the prosumer market for that amount, but you can go HD on a consumer-level cam. Just remember to account for the extras you'll need - tripod, filters, adapters, etc.

Not sure about being able to transfer your Hi8 stuff though. You might have to dig some to find that out.

Good luck!
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#3 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 12:23 PM

Best thing to do for Hi8 editing would be to get a Dazzle or something of that source. As far as a laptop... I am not a laptop-knowlageble guy so I cant help ya there. How much is 1500 pounds (that is what that symbole means right?) in USD?
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#4 Troy Warr

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 12:49 PM

Hi Robbie,

It's always easier to recommend equipment when we know more about what kinds of projects that you shoot, and what the output is intended to be. Will you be aiming for standard-definition (e.g. PAL/NTSC) broadcast, or HDTV? If HDTV, 720p or 1080i?

As far as your projects, what kinds of goals do you have? Do you want a "filmic" look, or are these more ENG-style, or documentaries? Do you have any special needs (e.g. slow-motion shooting ability, unusual focal lengths, unique subjects) that need to be considered?

The more detailed you can be, the better. There are a lot of people on this forum that are very knowledgeable about equipment, but it's difficult to make a good recommendation unless we know more about your needs and goals.

Regarding your old Hi-8 material, many digital camcorders these days have analog inputs and can digitize your footage for capture to a PC. If not, a decent-quality "breakout box" with composite or S-Video inputs is not expensive - probably $100-200.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 03:56 PM

Regarding your old Hi-8 material, many digital camcorders these days have analog inputs and can digitize your footage for capture to a PC. If not, a decent-quality "breakout box" with composite or S-Video inputs is not expensive - probably $100-200.


I got a Digital8 camera on eBay for $150 a couple years ago, for the sole purpose of digitizing my Hi8 films. Just another option for ya.
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#6 Robbie Hardy

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 06:49 PM

Thanks so much for all your help!

But for starters I'm not technically minded at all. I'm an actor/scriptwriter who was tired waiting for work and being in something cack,..so hoping to instead use my own friends and contacts and try and do something ourselves....

I've heard alot about the Panasonic DVX100 (is that the camera used on LONESOME JIM?)
I'd love to get this camera by the reviews its got alone!

I just want something thats basically Broadcast quality. Where the audience won't be distracted by the quality of the picture produced by the camera...

Not really special effects films. More naturalistic....possibly even following the line of the 'DOGMA' rule of filmmaking sometimes..?

US Dollars are roughly two to every Pound (£) £100 = $200

Basically want some equipment that can produce work that is quality enough to enter the competitions with..?

Thanks again...
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#7 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 06:59 PM

Well, with that amount of money, I'd say look around for a deal on the Panasonic AG-DVX100B... try zoommania.com. Dunno if they do international shipping but they seem to have pretty good prices and good reviews... Good luck!
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#8 Troy Warr

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 07:14 PM

Yeah, don't listen to Dory, he obviously doesn't pay attention. B)

http://www.dvxuser.c...hp/t-55870.html

The AG-DVX100B is a great camera, but buy it from a reputable dealer - someone like B&H Photo here in the States, don't know what the equivalent would be in the UK. B&H should do international shipping and I (as well as many here, I'm sure) can attest to their reliability and good prices. If you get the camera before March 31, there's still a $500 rebate going on.
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#9 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:58 PM

Yeah, don't listen to Dory, he obviously doesn't pay attention. B)

http://www.dvxuser.c...hp/t-55870.html

The AG-DVX100B is a great camera, but buy it from a reputable dealer - someone like B&H Photo here in the States, don't know what the equivalent would be in the UK. B&H should do international shipping and I (as well as many here, I'm sure) can attest to their reliability and good prices. If you get the camera before March 31, there's still a $500 rebate going on.


<_< <_< <_< amn I was in such a good mood before you did that <_< <_< <_<
just kiddin ya :D

Oh and read these guys reviews on Yahoo and Retailer ratings or Reseller ratings or whatever that place is called ;)
I'd trust them...
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#10 Troy Warr

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:14 PM

<_< <_< <_< amn I was in such a good mood before you did that <_< <_< <_<
just kiddin ya :D

Oh and read these guys reviews on Yahoo and Retailer ratings or Reseller ratings or whatever that place is called ;)
I'd trust them...

Haha, didn't mean any offense by that, Dory, was just giving you a bit of a hard time. :)

Seriously though, if your intent is literally to get a camera in your hands at the lowest possible price, you may be able to squeeze that out of a place like that if you're persistent and not easily frustrated. But you're not going to beat the system by any means, and keep in mind that you're sacrificing a lot for the price savings:

- useful warranty of any kind (at best you'll get a "USA warranty" through a questionable third-party repair shop)
- resale value (not many people in the used market want hardware with questionable origins; if it breaks, they're out of luck, since the manufacturer won't service it)
- factory accessories and documentation (you'll almost certainly get sub-standard replacements, and/or will be missing components)

Not to mention, you're doing everyone in the industry a disservice by contributing to the flow of gray market equipment into consumers' hands. You very well may get a functional camera from such a place, but if I'm spending that kind of money, at least, I would want some more security than that, especially if I ever plan to use the equipment for professional work.

In my mind, it only takes one report of that kind of experience to turn me off from a company. A legitimate factory authorized dealer would *never* do such a thing. That's why you pay a price close to MSRP - because you get a factory-fresh, sealed box with everything included, and an actual factory warranty.
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#11 Dory Breaux DP

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 02:54 PM

Haha, didn't mean any offense by that, Dory, was just giving you a bit of a hard time. :)

Seriously though, if your intent is literally to get a camera in your hands at the lowest possible price, you may be able to squeeze that out of a place like that if you're persistent and not easily frustrated. But you're not going to beat the system by any means, and keep in mind that you're sacrificing a lot for the price savings:

- useful warranty of any kind (at best you'll get a "USA warranty" through a questionable third-party repair shop)
- resale value (not many people in the used market want hardware with questionable origins; if it breaks, they're out of luck, since the manufacturer won't service it)
- factory accessories and documentation (you'll almost certainly get sub-standard replacements, and/or will be missing components)

Not to mention, you're doing everyone in the industry a disservice by contributing to the flow of gray market equipment into consumers' hands. You very well may get a functional camera from such a place, but if I'm spending that kind of money, at least, I would want some more security than that, especially if I ever plan to use the equipment for professional work.

In my mind, it only takes one report of that kind of experience to turn me off from a company. A legitimate factory authorized dealer would *never* do such a thing. That's why you pay a price close to MSRP - because you get a factory-fresh, sealed box with everything included, and an actual factory warranty.


You stingy bastard <_< <_< <_<

Just kidding lol. Here is something from the website:
This product is brand new, factory fresh, and includes a full one year USAwarranty plus all manufacturer supplied accessories.

I'm just a cheapo who doesnt like to spend more then I need to. Maybe when I start making 20 an hour or more I'll change but untill then.... Lol. Keep in mind I'm only 15 so there ya go :).

Wow I am a thread jacker.
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#12 Robbie Hardy

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 12:46 PM

Ok...I'm now thinking that I could/should get the PAL version of the Panasonic DVX100b as I live in the UK.

I think this camera would do the job though I have no idea how to use it so I'm just going to film some improvised drama and mess about with it...

Could anyone advise me if they think this camera is the right one? And also a friend has offered me his nearly new laptop, still with a years warranty from 'Dell'. Its got Dual 2 Processor, 4MB L2 Cache, 160GB (5,400 rpm) Sata Hard Drive for £660 (about $1,300)...Is this a good deal..?

Would this spec Laptop be able to handle the editing of the Panasonic? And which would be the best Editing Software to buy?

THANKS again...
All the best,

Robbie

Edited by Robbie Hardy, 23 February 2007 - 12:47 PM.

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#13 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 05:24 PM

Best thing to do for Hi8 editing would be to get a Dazzle or something of that source.


I used to use Dazzle as a beginner when I consumer NLE's were just starting up...but I wouldn't recommend it now that I've work with more sophisticated equipment. I was never happy with its quality or compression of my SD footage.
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#14 Troy Warr

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 02:32 PM

Just kidding lol. Here is something from the website:
This product is brand new, factory fresh, and includes a full one year USAwarranty plus all manufacturer supplied accessories.

That's what is known in the industry as a "lie." B)

Read the posting by "Nuke_LaLoosh" in this thread - if you don't believe him, that's one thing, but I would tend to think that someone who's going to go to the effort to post in detail about his bad experience with a particular company is not inclined to make stuff up. He also specifically mentions the same line from the ZoomMania warranty page that you do.

I'm just a cheapo who doesnt like to spend more then I need to. Maybe when I start making 20 an hour or more I'll change but untill then.... Lol. Keep in mind I'm only 15 so there ya go :).

Hey, I'm a penny pincher too, and I don't think that *anybody* wants to spend more than they have to. Some people are willing to pay a premium to have a local camera store to rely on (I'm not one of them - I used to work in one and I realized it's usually a false sense of security). Other people look for the absolute lowest bargain-basement price, which often ends up costing you more in the long run because it's simply not profitable for anyone to sell merchandise without a fair markup. For that reason, there are going to be at least a few shady things about the deal.

I make most of my purchases from large online retailers like B&H Photo, and I've never been dissatisfied. If something goes wrong, I have the manufacturer's *authentic* warranty to rely on, or a repair shop.

If you want to take a chance and buy from a company like this, that's your business, but I think you'd be wise to rely on the experience of others and go for a legitimate source of hardware. Otherwise, you're bound to make the same mistakes that thousands of other people have, and are destined to have the same bad experiences, as well.
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