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Thread: Camera

  1. #1
    BLMProductions

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    I didnt know where else to put this so move it if i am wrong but i have a question for video producers and camera operators out there. I am not looking for anything HD just a standard def miniDV. I am, however, looking for something a little bigger than a standard camcorder and i know my way around a camera. Can someone give me some input on the Panasonic DV PROLINE AG-DVX100A

    ---------- Post added at 19:19 ---------- Previous post was at 19:18 ----------

    My computer is being dumb so if its too dark to read it says Panasonic DV PROLINE AG-DVX100A

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxracer529 View Post
    Can someone give me some input on the Panasonic DV PROLINE AG-DVX100A
    As I told you via PM, I think the biggest limitation of this camera (apart from it being standard definition, although HD is still not necessary for a lot of stuff) is the fact that it's native 4:3 while now most of the TV/video stuff is in 16:9. Even if you, for instance, had to upload your videos to youtube, you'd get those nasty black bars at the sides (or you could shoot switching the camera to 16:9 but losing some resolution because basically a 16:9 area of the 4:3 sensor would get stretched out to fill the full 16:9 res).

    How much are you going to pay it? I personally wouldn't buy a nearly 10 years old camera like this, but if the price is interesting and the camera is in good conditions you could still consider it for experimenting a bit.

  3. #3

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    Hi Foxracer529! Curiously, what do you want to do with your camera?

    I certainly get the desire for a large-body camcorder with all the nifty manual controls right out there in the open, but this video format is over the hill, so to speak. Another thing I would caution you on is the use of MiniDV tape. After you have worked with any non-linear recording media, working with tape will seem a major pain and may limit casual use of your camcorder. MiniDV has a very limited capacity, the tapes wear out quickly (in my experience), are no longer obtainable in brick-and-mortar stores, and take a long time to ingest into your computer. Many low-cost video editing software packages no longer even support capture from tape, forcing you to buy a standalone application (if you do go this route, I'll cast my vote for Scenalyzer.)

    This camera offers 24p, however 24p is not a casual shooting mode. Unless you're really after that "film" aesthetic in everything you do, and are willing to master exposure and other controls of the camcorder, shooting in 24fps is a great way to end up with unwatchable footage. In situations where you are simply trying to "capture the moment," you might then be inclined to use the camera's interlaced modes. And then you'll find yourself with interlaced footage. As somebody who's spent ten years converting old family home videos (from VHS and 8mm) to DVD, let me tell you just how tremendously sad interlaced standard-def video looks on progress-scan displays. It just looks awful--so soft. I would do anything to avoid creating new interlaced standard-def footage these days.

    My $0.02.
    Last edited by Cottontail; 27-May-2012 at 04:16.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    working with tape will seem a major pain and may limit casual use of your camcorder. MiniDV has a very limited capacity, the tapes wear out quickly (in my experience), are no longer obtainable in brick-and-mortar stores, and take a long time to ingest into your computer.
    It really depends on what you have to do: I normally use HDV equipment - which works on the same kind of tapes that DVCAM/DV/MiniDV formats use - and Panasonic P2 camcorders, which work on memory cards. If recording directly on files translates into importing the footage faster into your editing software, tape has its own advantages too, like letting you film a long event without needing to continuously clean memory cards from files, and archiving and backupping them, with the potential risk to even loose them in the process. A tape is already "archived" when it comes out of the camera, you insert a new one and you can go on until you have more tapes. I don't know about consumer softwares, but all the professional ones support capturing from tapes of various formats (DV/DVCAM and HDV being the most common ones), and all pro suppliers carry many kinds of DV/HDV tapes. The wear-out normally happens to consumer tapes, while professional ones can be re-used many times.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    And then you'll find yourself with interlaced footage. As somebody who's spent ten years converting old family home videos (from VHS and 8mm) to DVD, let me tell you just how tremendously sad interlaced standard-def video looks on progress-scan displays. It just looks awful--so soft. I would do anything to avoid creating new interlaced standard-def footage these days.
    Everything you see on standard definition TV is interlaced, and I don't see what's bad about interlaced footage. Which btw is used for HD too, not necessarily all HD stuff you see is progressive, myself I normally shoot in 1080i format (the HDV standard). Most of the times I see interlaced footage looking bad on progressive scan displays it's because the codecs that have been used were not professional or good quality ones (or just hadn't been set up properly) and therefore didn't correctly handle the interlaced fields. For obtaining a movement as smooth as with interlaced video you'd have to use a 50p (or, for the American standard, 60p) format but, for instance, Panasonic P2 cameras are capable of doing that only in 720p, while their 1080 is 25p (or 29,97p, for the USA, or 24p for cinema purposes), or 50i/60i (yeah, it's a mess with all these formats, I know...).

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by quattrus View Post
    Everything you see on standard definition TV is interlaced, and I don't see what's bad about interlaced footage.
    My point is simply this: Nothing you can buy for a TV these days is optimized for an interlaced standard-def image. With interlaced footage (of any kind), you are completely at the mercy of your TV or your computer's media player app to do "something smart." Unfortunately, in my experience, most of them do not do "something smart," and instead simply line-double the fields, turning 480i60 into 240p60, for instance. It's looks pretty soft. I have an old CRT TV attached to my PC so that I can scrub standard-def interlaced video from Premiere, find stills, etc., and it's the best the video will ever look. You can certainly mess up field order and stuff like that when encoding, but even the worst MPEG2 encoder won't damage your video as much as a TV or media player that doesn't know what to do with interlaced video!

    There are no interlaced standard-def broadcasts in the US anymore, as far as I know. Standard-def on digital TV means 480p here.

    I can sort of get the "archive" argument for tape, but I don't see continuous shooting as being an advantage at all. Most memory cards are cheap these days, and if you're spending any kind of money on a camcorder, you can afford to have a few around. Regarding "good" tapes, I did quite a bit of standard-def and HDV shooting (Canon HV20, Sony Z5) on the "pro" Sony tapes, and still had them eat themselves on occasion after only a few uses. HDV is more sensitive than DVCAM, though.

    Even 1080i60 has its issues. Give a 1080i program to somebody and have them play it on their computer, and if their media player doesn't have deinterlacing turned on--it's off by default in many, including the venerable VLC--they'll see combing. If they do have it turned on then they'll get something like 540p. When rendering out my old HDV footage or 1080i60 from one of my AVCHD camcorders, I usually convert to 720p. Yes, I lose some resolution, but at least then I have peace of mind knowing that it will play back consistently on any device/software.

    All that said, I'm not trying to say that interlaced video is unworkable. I work with it. Rather, I'm just loath to recommend it if it can be avoided. If the goal here is to inexpensively shoot films, then my recommendation would be to explore the world of digital SLRs or SLR-like cameras, such as a Panasonic GH2--something that can shoot at filmic frame rates but also has 60fps non-interlaced modes for those times when you want a "video" look without the hassle that is interlaced video.
    Last edited by Cottontail; 27-May-2012 at 05:51.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    I did quite a bit of standard-def and HDV shooting (Canon HV20, Sony Z5) on the "pro" Sony tapes, and still had them eat themselves on occasion after only a few uses. HDV is more sensitive than DVCAM, though.
    If you mean drop-outs, yeah, it sometimes happens although I rarely see it with pro tapes - I prefer the Panasonic ones like the PQ and MQ series though. HDV is indeed more prone to dropping than DV/DVCAM, and the bad thing is that you lose a full series of frames when it happens, instead of just having a "pixelated" effect like with DV/DVCAM. If by "eat themselves" you mean mechanical issues, it's something I've never experienced myself. Tapes comes quite handy also when you shoot something for someone else and you need to give them the footage, in which case you don't have to wait for the clips to get copied from the card to the customer's HDD and even if the tapes don't come back it's just some 4 euros tapes, not a memory card....



    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    Most memory cards are cheap these days
    It depends what we're talking about, the most common ones for pro/broadcast use here are Panasonic's P2s, a 64 Gb P2 video card costs around 650 euros, and in AVCintra50 (1440x1080 50i or 25p, same def and frame rate as HDV) I can record about 2 hours on it. For being able to shoot continuously for many hours I'd need at least 3 of them for exchanging them into the camera while the footage gets copied from the used cards. Also, in particular situations like the sailboat trip reportage I filmed a couple of years ago in the USA, I find tape to be much more practical than memory cards as you don't need to depend daily on electricity and a computer for copying files from the card to an HDD.

    Of course there are many other cheaper cameras that use cheaper cards (like the Panasonic AG-HMC40 which I recommended to the OP in a PM I sent him), which would be more appropriate for the prosumer use I assume Foxracer529 has to use it for.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    my recommendation would be to explore the world of digital SLRs or SLR-like cameras, such as a Panasonic GH2--something that can shoot at filmic frame rates but also has 60fps non-interlaced modes for those times when you want a "video" look without the hassle that is interlaced video.
    As someone who has started filming with "proper" broadcast cameras like BetacamSPs and DVCPROs, I'm still astonished at the amazing videos that SLR cameras can shoot. The fact is, at least in my opinion, they're just suitable (and very very good) for a film-like use, while for ENG-like shooting the absence of zoom servocommands and in many case autofocus while shooting, the generally poor audio section, and the handling (which is optimized for it being a photo camera, and not a camcorder), make a SLR camera not the best choice ever. I also kinda notice that fast camera movements are not that smooth on videos shot by SLR cameras, I guess because their sensors are optimized for taking photos and not for filming videos.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    When rendering out my old HDV footage or 1080i60 from one of my AVCHD camcorders, I usually convert to 720p. Yes, I lose some resolution, but at least then I have peace of mind knowing that it will play back consistently on any device/software.
    I've learned a trick for converting stuff from interlaced to progressive, due to youtube converting my 50i footage to 29,97p after uploading it and therefore screwing up the frame rate, while if I upload at 25p it keeps it that way. if you film in interlaced and edit in interlaced and only at last, on the rendering settings, you set the software to deinterlace the footage, you loose half of your lines, as expected. But, weirdly enough, I noticed that if I film in interlaced and then edit on a progressive timeline - or just switch the timeline to progressive before exporting (with a software like Edius, which I normally use) - once I render to a progressive file I don't get the definition loss, and it looks like proper progressive footage (or nearly so). I guess it's because the software handles deinterlacing better than the rendering codec alone does...

    In the meantime... any news from Foxracer529?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxracer529 View Post
    I am not looking for anything HD just a standard def miniDV. I am, however, looking for something a little bigger than a standard camcorder and i know my way around a camera. Can someone give me some input on the Panasonic DV PROLINE AG-DVX100A.


    Quote Originally Posted by quattrus View Post
    In the meantime... any news from Foxracer529?
    Hear, hear! Foxracer529, more information on what you expect to do with your new camera would definitely help!



    Quote Originally Posted by quattrus View Post
    If you mean drop-outs, yeah, it sometimes happens although I rarely see it with pro tapes - I prefer the Panasonic ones like the PQ and MQ series though. HDV is indeed more prone to dropping than DV/DVCAM, and the bad thing is that you lose a full series of frames when it happens, instead of just having a "pixelated" effect like with DV/DVCAM. If by "eat themselves" you mean mechanical issues, it's something I've never experienced myself. Tapes comes quite handy also when you shoot something for someone else and you need to give them the footage, in which case you don't have to wait for the clips to get copied from the card to the customer's HDD and even if the tapes don't come back it's just some 4 euros tapes, not a memory card...
    Some drop-outs, and also the Z5 has a nasty little habit of declaring that the head is dirty when in fact the tape has simply become unusable. Frustrating!



    Quote Originally Posted by quattrus View Post
    Of course there are many other cheaper cameras that use cheaper cards (like the Panasonic AG-HMC40 which I recommended to the OP in a PM I sent him), which would be more appropriate for the prosumer use I assume Foxracer529 has to use it for.
    The Pannies look good for the money. Any yeah, definitely talking SD cards, not the proprietary stuff.



    Quote Originally Posted by quattrus View Post
    As someone who has started filming with "proper" broadcast cameras like BetacamSPs and DVCPROs, I'm still astonished at the amazing videos that SLR cameras can shoot. The fact is, at least in my opinion, they're just suitable (and very very good) for a film-like use, while for ENG-like shooting the absence of zoom servocommands and in many case autofocus while shooting, the generally poor audio section, and the handling (which is optimized for it being a photo camera, and not a camcorder), make a SLR camera not the best choice ever. I also kinda notice that fast camera movements are not that smooth on videos shot by SLR cameras, I guess because their sensors are optimized for taking photos and not for filming videos.
    Yeah, the proper SLRs are definitely not for running and gunning, although some of the new mirrorless options (like the GH2) have powered zooms, autofocus during video, and other features that make them good all-arounders. I don't own one myself, but was contemplating getting one to mod for astrophotography and IR. As always, we'll see what the wife says!

    ...alright, alright. 'Nuff ramblin'. Would love to know what the OP is plotting!

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