The equipment list
Thank you for the replies I have had to my previous posts. I want to make sure I get the right tool for the job and then learn it fully before taking any money from clients.
Considering this equipment list comes out between £6,000 - £8,500 pounds, I wondered if you can give some coments on this equipment list.
I have wittled it down to a few camera's. From what i've read, HD is very much becoming the new format, so the PD170, VX2100 and AG-DVX100B may not suit my purpose - plus if they shoot 4:3 rather then naitive 16:9 that's going to be no good anyway - although happy to be proved wrong.
The cannon XH A1 , looks like it's more a consumer camera and not upto the job. I have read some bad reviews on the HVX-200 compared to other solid state camera's.
The Z1 is very tempting, especially as I can get it for about $2000 + shipping with 97x10 hours - is this a good deal? Although I have few concerns with this camera - one is the low light cabability, two is the picture quality - how good is it? and finally, it doesn't shoot in true 24p - I want to give some shoots in the wedding a true film look and don't have after effects (as only using FCP) to do this post production. I don't want the video to come up looking like a documentary as mentioned on some forums.
The EX1 looks extremily interesting, however; it costs a lot; I need to find a cheap back up solution (I was thinking DVD's, or archiving the cheaper SDHC disks) and it can be prone to unwanted artifacts due to the CMOS chips - some sites say it's fine for weddings, others say steer well clear - what is your interpritation?
Finally there is the Z7. I costs more then the EX1 - although does have the advantage of back up tape. For the cost - I get the impression the EX1 is the better camera.
It's such a difficult decision!
Sachtier FSB 6 with Carbon legs - - seems the best option (is there an equally good cheaper option?)
(I did look for the Miller Solo, with carbon legs for the £600 you showed on your website - but could only find it for over £1,000)
Sennheiser Generation 2 wireless systems - again as this is really important, seems the best option. Two included I believe, so one for the grrom and one at the alter.
Sennheiser MKH 416 P48 - seems best bit of kit, again very important.
Rycote Softie with Mount and Pistol Grip (PG) Handle - to go with above
Sennheiser HD25-SP - as suggested on your website
Sony HVL20 + battery - may not need it, but in case
PortaBrace Camera Body Armor - only thing I could find for EX1, need to find out if it doubles up as a rain cover
camRade desertSuit PMW EX1/HVRZ7 - both this item and above seem very pricey for what they are...
CVP SM1 - my only worry with this is that when you breath, it may effect the shot as the support is on your chest. I think a shoulder mount is needed though if I do end up with the EX1
[Olly Lawer] "I want to make sure I get the right tool for the job"
What is this job?
Why would you consider Z series compared to EX series? 1/3" vs 1/2", HDV vs XDCAM EX.
It will mostly be weddings. That is why I am a little concerned about the low light functionality of the Z1 and documentary look (not having true 24p).
Before to decide which camera to buy you should decide the format you want to work with.
HDV have some obvious advantages over the EX-1 (tapes). So if for you is good enough the HDV quality don't spend more money and complicate your life with the EX-1.
Just go to the EX-1 if you think that you want something definitively better than HDV.
Thanks for your reply. I am trying not to make a rash decision and just go with the EX1 before doing my homework fully. I have read many posts about just about every proconsumer camera you can think of and have pretty much narrowed it down to the xh-a1 or the EX1 (from what i've read the xh-al on picture quality and low light performance - although the Z1 has more vivid color and the EX1 beats the Z7 on picture quality).
Pro's: excellent quality image, instant recording, easier editing, no drop outs, cheap SxS workaround, good in low light conditions, Vortex DVD 'user manual' available
Con's: CMOS chips may cause skew, wobble etc, expensive, some annoying design flaws
Pro's: good picture quality, tapes for backup, cheaper by a long shot
Con's:drop outs, 7 sec delay in recording, HDV can be a pain to edit (i'm told)
Basically I've fallen in love with the EX1 and am trying to make a rational business case for buying one.
You're making some broad generalizations. NOTHING touches the EX1 by a country mile as far as picture quality in its price class.
Personally I would NOT consider tape a "Pro" but that's just me and over 25 years experience with tape.
There's not much difference between HDV and XDCAM as far as editing. They're both long GOP. The big difference is XDCAM EX also is miles better than HDV as a codec.
Personally I can't think of a single advantage the XH has over the EX other than cost and one can even debate that over the long term.
You are absolutely right. The EX1 does beat the other camera's on image quality that is for sure, but what I need to consider is what will be best for the wedding element of my business.
This where I may need to consider a cheaper alternative, like the HMC150 or XH-A1. What I am keen to know is without going out and spending lots of money renting each camera - how much better is the EX1 picture quality over these other cameras and also how much better is the low light performance. It's a big step up to spend another £2,500 for the EX1.
Out of interest. If you had to use another camera for weddings (for around £2,800), which would you chose? (good pic + low light performance)
Also, what is your opinion of the Z7 compared to the EX1? Being able to archive cheap tape is a bigger winner!
If you're concerned about price and CMOS, you should look at the JVC HM100. It's only 1/4" chips but it's CCD and it uses the same robust EX codec. It list for $3999 so it'll be cheaper than that. It should be out in a few weeks. It's more of a "baby" EX than the Sony Z series.
There's also a JVC HM700 on the horizon which is 1/3" chips and shoulder mount but I haven't heard a price or release date.
Sony and JVC announced an alliance last year at IBC.
See this video
My main concern for wedding would be the low light performance but given the nice small size you could put a light on it and it would still be easy to hand hold. It's almost an EX at half the size and price. It's got the same great EX codec and does all the same 720 and 1080 frame sizes (apparently no overcrank though).
Any thoughts on how the EX1 compares to the HMC150 the OP mentioned?
Besides 1/3" vs 1/2" chips for EX the big issue is it uses AVCHD.
That's a nice looking file and very efficient size
Currently most NLEs require converting it to another codec.
I haven't used that camera but I've used AVCHD and on my 8 Core Mac Pro conversion is
Since I'm using FCP I'm converting it to ProRes and those files are
Compared to XDCAM EX codec.
It's just not a good workflow.
I hear Premiere Pro CS4 can handle it natively but I think people are still grumbling.
Maybe someday but I don't like the very slow workflow at all. It's just not practical for me when time is money and large files means more storage which is already a consideration in file based workflows.
A year from now that may all be different but not today.
I like the many fold faster than real time import of XDCAM EX.
I strongly dislike the slower than real time AVCHD workflow for me.
Right now if you're looking for an alternative to the EX series I'd consider the new JVC HM series.
HM 100 if you want something small and inexpensive. HM 700 if you want shoulder mount.
I appreciate your thoughts, Craig. Two questions:
1. Are you saying that you don't need to use an intermediate codec when editing EX1 files on an NLE? I've just been assuming that you do since it is a GOP codec.
2. I've been assuming I could address the speed issues of editing AVCHD by using an intermediate codec. Am I understanding that the issue with this approach is the large file size one gets as a result?
[Tim Linn] "1. Are you saying that you don't need to use an intermediate codec when editing EX1 files on an NLE? I've just been assuming that you do since it is a GOP codec.
Not at all. Works natively. Set timeline renders to Apple ProRes and there's not GOP conform at all. It works as easy as DV.
[Tim Linn] "2. I've been assuming I could address the speed issues of editing AVCHD by using an intermediate codec. Am I understanding that the issue with this approach is the large file size one gets as a result? "
Large file and SLOOOW transcode to ProRes. Maybe this will change at some future point but I can't do professional work at that speed and the buildup of large files.
Let's put this another way. I can wrap EX files to MOV and open and use as is in FCP at something like 6x real time. Think 10 minutes for 60 minutes of video. AVCHD conversion would take something like real time 60 minutes If you have 4 hours of video you're in FCP in like 40 minutes. AVCHD like 4 hours.
Which makes more sense as a business 40 minute import or 4 hours? Which one will allow you to get your client's work done faster?
Back to the Olli question, I would wait for the JVC's next release.
Thanks, Craig. Your arguments make a lot of sense.