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#1 Maneesh Agnihotri

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:41 PM

I am buying a new digital camcorder, but am trying to decide whether
to buy the xL2 or go HD. My question is, do I really need HD? I
shoot primarily weddings, documentaries, and short films to play at
festivals. For the docs and films I would really like the film look
that the new XL2 offers. However, I'm leary to sink a lot of money
into a format that may be extinct in a few years. Will I regret
buying the XL2 or will SD be around for awile? I'm not sure about
television broadcasting, but I may show some docs on tv. In a few
years will SD be obsolete and unshowable to audiences via tv
broadcast? What do other people recommend? Thanks. :(

Edited by Maneesh Agnihotri, 04 August 2009 - 01:43 PM.

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 02:48 PM

I am buying a new digital camcorder, but am trying to decide whether
to buy the xL2 or go HD. My question is, do I really need HD? I
shoot primarily weddings, documentaries, and short films to play at
festivals. For the docs and films I would really like the film look
that the new XL2 offers. However, I'm leary to sink a lot of money
into a format that may be extinct in a few years. Will I regret
buying the XL2 or will SD be around for awile? I'm not sure about
television broadcasting, but I may show some docs on tv. In a few
years will SD be obsolete and unshowable to audiences via tv
broadcast? What do other people recommend? Thanks. :(


Well, I hate to tell you this but any digital format will be obsolete and outdated in a few years.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 03:44 PM

http://www.bhphotovi...Widescreen.html

http://www.bhphotovi...Definition.html

I guess the obvious question to ask is: What can you afford?

H1 would be better. The H1s even better than that. There's always better. What's the best you can afford?
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 05:06 PM

A lot depends on where you are and what your customers are likely to want over the next few years. Blu-Ray is the wild card. With prices dropping, it could ramp up quickly here in the U.S., putting SD out of business. If that happens, look for a tidal wave of used SD gear for dirt cheap. There's an opportunity there for anyone who wants to grab a boatload of that stuff from Craig's list and e-bay and sell it in countries that are keeping SD for a while longer.





-- J.S.
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#5 Thomas James

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 05:54 PM

With Blu-Ray players availble for $98 there is no reason not to shoot a wedding in HD and deliver on Blu-Ray disc. Many wedding shooters insist that because no one asks for high definition so why shoot in that format? The real truth is that all brides want there wedding shot in high definition as long as it is affordable but they forget to ask.
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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:35 PM

A lot depends on where you are and what your customers are likely to want over the next few years. Blu-Ray is the wild card. With prices dropping, it could ramp up quickly here in the U.S., putting SD out of business. If that happens, look for a tidal wave of used SD gear for dirt cheap. There's an opportunity there for anyone who wants to grab a boatload of that stuff from Craig's list and e-bay and sell it in countries that are keeping SD for a while longer.

-- J.S.


Only flaw to this idea is preety much all of the rest of the world is PAL!

love

Freya
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#7 Thomas James

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:51 PM

Both analog interlace 480i NTSC as well as interlace 576i PAL are dying formats.
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 02:10 PM

Only flaw to this idea is preety much all of the rest of the world is PAL!


Actually, South America is mostly NTSC or PAL-M, which is a 525/60 system. TV stations that had fairly recent transmitters have been selling them there.




-- J.S.
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#9 Chris Durham

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:34 AM

My advice is don't throw away SD if you have it, but don't buy it today.

I own an XL2 and I LOVE the camera. I love the glass for it. I love the form factor. I love the true widescreen (non-anamorphic) image. I love its ability to tone an image. There are a couple of gripes I have but mostly I love it.

But the world is moving along. HD is becoming standard. I predict that in 18 months wedding videogaphers won't be able to charge a premium for shooting HD. Blu-ray and HDTV are reaching greater levels of ubiquity and all of the main online hosts support HD in some form or another. Tapeless workflows are emerging and for the most part we love them. Tape will be matter of user preference for the next few years before tapeless completely takes over (I like the ability of some Sony's to do both). Any decent computer - PC or Mac - bought today will handle HD just fine. Even if you're delivering in SD, it looks better downsampled from HD.

Mr. Keth was right. Obsolescence is a real danger in the digital world. I bought the XL2 almost 3 years ago knowing that SD had about 3 years of life left. I shoot on other cameras a lot now. Still love the XL2, but It only fits about a third of what I shoot. I applaud Red and others for their attempts to mitigate obsolescence but we're not there yet. The good news is that we're coming into decent standards. 1080p will be around for quite a while, so will 24p. A brand new 1080/24p camera might get you 5 years now. I think the biggest thing to worry about when buying a new full HD camera now (aside from budget, bells and whistles, etc per personal preference) is the format/codec. We have acceptable standards for delivery and viewing, so the area to make improvements is going to be in the integrity of the image through the pipeline.

Or you can future-proof yourself entirely and just shoot film. Even low budget stuff - modern Super 8 stocks are really amazing, and there's an interesting resurgence of super8 filmmaking.

Edited by Chris Durham, 07 August 2009 - 09:38 AM.

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#10 Thomas James

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 11:33 AM

the Canon XL-2 was obsolete 6 years ago when HDV cameras started to appear on the market.
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 11:47 AM

the Canon XL-2 was obsolete 6 years ago when HDV cameras started to appear on the market.



"Obsolete" is a funny word these days. We often use it as an anticipatory expression. Maybe, "useful" would be a more practical word. Is an XL2 still useful? Sure. Is it worth spending money on instead of spending more on an H1 to anticipate the eventual uselessness of an XL2? If he can afford it, definitely.


ED:

I goofed up that last sentence. I meant to say, It is better to go the HD format if he can afford it. If he can't, he could still get some use from the XL2. An H1(s) would make him more competitive and obsolescence proof.
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#12 John Sprung

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:40 PM

A brand new 1080/24p camera might get you 5 years now. I think the biggest thing to worry about when buying ....


The faster things change, the smarter it is to rent. That way, you don't have to worry about obsolescence, you're paying the rental company to do the worrying and eat the depreciation. If you do buy, first look at what the big rental houses offer. They have to do their homework before they buy dozens of cameras, and if they're staying away from something, maybe you should too.




-- J.S.
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#13 JB_Letchinger

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:21 PM

Go HD with a camera that lets you downconvert on the fly while digitizing if you choose to.
That way you can give your SD clients what they want, and archive HD, while raising your rates (hopefully) or your "value" by providing HD as an option.. even if its HDV.
Please don't buy standard def now (unless you want to give me top dollar for my DVX 100a which sits around). ;)

JB
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