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Shooting a documentary with 900


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#1 Mike M

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:05 AM

I have a few basic questions for those who have used the 900 in the past or present.

Our next production (documentary) ( shooting at 16.9 24p, film look ) will require us to shoot on the fly and under random shooting conditions and rarely will have the opportunity to spend much time composing a shoot; on the run capturing things as they unfold. ( Sometimes under low light conditions )

Do you find the 900 is flexible, light enough ( weight ) and essentially can it handle documentary shooting like I have write above.

Edited by Mike M, 02 November 2005 - 08:06 AM.

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#2 T-Spect Le

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 04:57 AM

After using the SDX900 on a daily basis for the past 2.5 years, I think this is the cam for cost-effective digital film cam. The only thing I don't like about it is the ATW. It's not so great. However, the preset works fairly well. For example, shooting inside a window and using filter C @4300K looks as close as a manual WB. It's not so easy when there's an overcast situation. For 3200K, it tends to be a bit warm. I prefer to always manual WB to get a cooler look. Others will like the strong 3200K preset tungsten look. This cam is not point and shoot and does require a lot of technical expertise to get it right. The color temp. readout is really the only way to tell if the WB is correct. Lowlight is very good, but you have to use a true broadcast grade SD or HD lens to take full advantage of the clarity. Pro grade just doesn't have that punch.

TC out allows easy FREE RUN TC for multiple SDX900d shoot, SD card is another plus to transfer settings between cams. 4 audio tracks is awesome because it can substitute an expensive sound person if up to 3 or 4 mics. are needed. I like the unislot (or slot-in) mic that plugs right into the center of the cam. You can assign any audio channel function in the USER buttons. Overall, this cam has virtually all of the needed broadcast level features.

Lightweight is up to the battery type. It fits very well on the shoulder. I use AB Dionic 90 for live docu work.

The last favorite is the wide exposure latitude. Very forgiving in terms of bad lighting (harsh & uneven contrast). With a DVX100A, sunny exterior shot is very hard to pull off w/ out additional light or reflector. However, the SDX900 handle it so easy w/ minimal frontal HMI fill light. This in turns save a lot of $$$ in getting HMI lights or additional crew to compensate for the cam's limitation.

I don't think you'll regret using this cam, providing that a decent 2/3" broadcast grade lens is utilized.



I have a few basic questions for those who have used the 900 in the past or present.

Our next production (documentary) ( shooting at 16.9 24p, film look ) will require us to shoot on the fly and under random shooting conditions and rarely will have the opportunity to spend much time composing a shoot; on the run capturing things as they unfold. ( Sometimes under low light conditions )

Do you find the 900 is flexible, light enough ( weight ) and essentially can it handle documentary shooting like I have write above.


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#3 David Ross

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 02:18 PM

I agree with everything above. Also having used this camera for a few years. This is truly the way to go. This camera is wonderful. The only thing this camea when full loaded is not that small. you had said doing fast paced work. You will need to be careful on panning speeds using 24P . Do some test, check out 30p. Currently i would not consider HDV as a lower cost consideratin. I think this camera is a much better choice.
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Ritter Battery

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rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

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Broadcast Solutions Inc