Accessory Recommendations for HMC150 ?
I am about to purchase a HMC150 camcorder on Monday for my company. I would like some recommendations for the best accessories as follows ...
1. Recommendations for an extra battery - recommended Milliamp hr rating ? Is IDX a good brand ? Do I need a charger or does the charger come with the HMC150 ?
2. Any recommendations for a fairly compact bag that will fit the HMC150 ?
3. Are there any other accessories that you'd recommend (Other than media which I'm planning to purchase) ? Is there any particular accessory you found helpful ?
What sort of projects will you be doing?
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I work in the Educational Programs Office at NASA and we'll be shooting public outreach educational events at many venues onsite and across the country. Most events involve kids and families. We'll be putting together video productions for distribution on the web and via. DVD and Blu-Ray. Some of the productions we put together will be promotional materials for management and participants. Occaisionally, some of our footage could end up on NASA TV. That's probably more than you wanted to know :-). Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to respond to my inquiries.
I would highly recommend buying Race-Dezert aluminum base plate for your HMC-150 camera. Adding this plate greatly strengthens the camera-tripod connection, protects the bottom of the camera, and corrects the tripod screw alignment. ( both the HPX-170 and the HMC-150 cameras have an offset tripod screw ) It's a beautifully made piece of equipment, and takes only a few minutes to install.
CNC Machined aluminum base plate for the Panasonic HMC150 : $125
As for extra batteries, ONLY buy the branded Panasonic VW-VBG6PPK 5800mAh batteries, which will give you about 4 hours of shooting per battery. The Panasonic batteries contain an electronic chip which will accurately calculate the number of minutes of shooting time left on the battery. Other brands of batteries do not have this chip, so you only get a rough indication of how much time is left on the battery.
Panasonic VW-VBG6PPK (7.2V, 5800mAh) : $170
Dolgin Engineering make great battery chargers, that charge either 2 or 4 of the large 5800mAh batteries, and will fully charge them in 4 hours.
Dolgin Engineering TC200-HMC150 Battery Charger : $220
The Century Precision Optics 0.6x wide angle adapter will turn your HMC-150 lens in to an 18mm Full-Frame 35mm equivalent, which is super wide, with not too much distortion. Great when you need to film in tight spaces.
Century Precision Optics 0.6x Wide Angle Adapter Lens : $295
Great Pelican water-resistant case to store up to 24 hours worth SDHC memory cards.
Pelican 0910 Memory Card Case - for Eight SDHC Memory Cards : $21
The industry standard in field monitoring headphones: Sony 7506
Sony MDR-7506 Circumaural Closed-Back Professional Monitor Headphone : $90
Great on camera microphone for quick in the field interview recordings:
Panasonic AG-MC200G Super-Directional Camera Mountable Shotgun Microphone : $330
Great Sennheiser UHF wireless microphone starter kit. You will likely want to add better lav mics and boom-able hyper-cardioid / shotgun mics down the road, but even just this kit is a good place to start.
Sennheiser UHF Camera Mount Wireless Microphone System with ME2 Lavalier Mic : $600
Yes, it's not cheap, but it's one of the cheapest good video tripods around, with a strong and very smooth video panning head.
Libec RS-250M 75mm 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod System : $975
Hopefully this list should keep you busy for a while... :-)
Hi. Here's some of my kit accessories
Batteries: Yes I use Panasonic also. I beleive someone has just recently brought out some alternatives. But I've already bought mine.
Bag: I have found that after a bunch of trial and error I end up using a Tamrac 979 that fits the camera. If you decide you want to go with a backpack, I have one I've never liked. So it's new and I'd sell it for 1/2 price, probably about $125. Let me know if you are interested.
If you need a hard shell case, I can't help there.
Controls/Handholding: I bought a DV Multirig, and I like it alot. It's very portable when folded, and it allows you to handhold very well. I also added a Varizoom, which allows me to mount a zoom control on my Multirig. A must have I would say, to keep your hands away from the zoom ring. I think this is the most important access. I've bought. There is also a more expensive one that allows you to also adjust exposure, but I stay away from more than one button for live shooting. I always seem to choose the wrong button (G).
Tiffen 72mm lens access. including ND, Polarizing, etc.
Mics: I went with the Audiotronics Lav and stereo reciever. While I fought a defective unit that was fixed easily, it allows me to mount two lavs in a shoot. The fix was done with no questions asked and returned within a few days. Very good customer service.
EV RE50/B Omni Dynamic mic: For interviews in the field with no need for phantom or battery power. The standard for news gathering for a decade.
Oktava MK012 - A nice versatile tool for any kind of field mic need. Three heads gets you any kind of field of coverage. Requires Phantom, which can come from the HMC150 or the MixPre.
OPTIONAL but VERY USEFUL: MixPre field mixer. This has made a HUGE difference in my field recording. If you have a sound person traveling with you that's great too. YOu can add a Gitzo boom which can work just fine and telescopes out of the way for transport.
Lights: After using cool lights I'm back to hot lights. Lowells do a much better job of lighting humans in an interview. Don't waste your money on cool lights, other than those on camera.
Digital Multitester! - I use so many batteries for all the accessories, etc. that I've found that a digital multitester is essential to getting maximum battery life from AA and AAAs. Anything less than 1.30 v is pretty much useless. $20 buys you one.
Ikan 6" atriculation arm for getting accessories like a small screen away from the camera. $79 or so.
I use a AT 897 shotgun but I hear the RODEs are very good too. I have no complaints with the AT 897.
Tripod: I use a Bogen 535 w/a 503v head. It's somewhat heavy, but I deal with a lot of strong winds in the Pacific NW. It seems indestructable, and was less than $750.00, which I consider a bargain, since I've seen many recommended over $1500.
OPTIONAL: SmallHD or similar 8" monitor. The exposure in the viewfinder is not accurate (it underexposes). This will help you see what you have and give you an accurate exposure and color balance. I don't use it much, maybe 25% of the time, if that. But when I need it, it's essential.
Headphones: I too use the Sony's MDR7506's. I wouldn't waste my money on anything else. Folds up, gives excellent response.
HARD DRIVE STORAGE: if this is your first foray into HD, you will need more storage. I think NASA has lots of storage, but if you can't access it, you will have to buy more! Believe me!
I've really liked my 150 and shot a lot with it since December. I still think that it is the right choice in that price range. If I had more money I might have gone with the Sony PMW-EX3 at about $9k, but hey, I bought all those access. for the difference!
Thank you very much for your accessory recommendations. I have a couple of questions about your recommendations ...
I looked at the specs. on the Tamrac bag and that actually looks very nice so I think I'll see if I can get that one. I've bought Tamrac bags before and have never been disappointed.
And regarding your backpack, I'm interested for myself because I am also planning on picking up a HD Camcorder soon which could very well be the HMC150 for personal use after I use the one from work for a while. Could you send me the make and model number so I can look at the specs. and a picture ? Also, would you be willing to tell me what you didn't like about it ?
I think Hands down everyone agrees in the Panasonic battery which is probably why they're backordered at BH Photo-Video.
I hear that the sound from the included mic. isn't that good so I think I will plan to get a external mic. I do have a wireless Mic. all ready.
Thanks for your user experiences with the HMC150 - that definitely helps.
I plan to get a tripod.
Can you give me a quick list on what particular lens accessories you feel are essential ?
The case is a Petrol Paboose Back Pack Small. I paid $200 for it. It is apparently used for rentals in LA, and could be carried into the back country if needed. It's great, if that's what you need. I don't.
Also, the built in shotgun mic is *ok* but a true shotgun is better. I did record some "live" sound off the AT shotgun, and you can hear and see the results of handholding the DVMultirig and the 150 at the following link (or below). This was done as promotion for a major bluegrass event out here. This will be used for next year,primarily. It was my first experience shooting with both the 150 and the Multirig. It could be more solid, but it was ok for what it was. You get tired after shooting with it for 10 hours! All sound off the shotgun using room mix from the room sound system. A field mixer would have helped, but it came out acceptable!
Is this what you have - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/340292-REG/Petrol_PCBP_1_PCBP_1_Papoo...
Which appears to be the same as this on the manufacturers web site - http://www.petrolbags.com/Camera-Backpacks?q=node/117
According to the manufacturers specs., this will accommodate a HMC150 so I'm interested if this is what you have.
If you're interested in selling, let me know how to contact you.
Are you saying that the video at the link you provided was taken using the mic. included with the HMC150 ? If so, it sounds pretty good to me.
Yes, that's the one. Looks like it dropped a little in price since January. I agree with some of the reviews that you should have a rain cover on it if you are going out in driving rain. A black heavy garbage bag works just fine and is light weight. I don't agree with the problems the 6' guy was having. I'm 5'10 and I haven't had that problem. Perhaps his bag was defective???
Dividers are fine for my needs, and I hold spare batteries, lavs etc. in there. Could it be bigger still? Yes, but really how much do you want to backpack? This holds everything but the field mixer. It will even hold a laptop on the front zipper pouch. The pack holds the 150 in the center divider, and the accessories on either side.
As to the shooting, no, it was done with the AT shotgun, not the onboard mics.
If you are interested in the pack, contact me offlist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to thank you for your accessory suggestions. I received one other response and I will need to sit down tonite and figure out what my budget will allow me to get so I can print out a quote for the person who dows the purchasing tomorrow morning.
I can see how your tripod mounting plate would be useful to make the camera sturdier on a tripod which we plan on purchasing so I think I'll see about purchasing that.
Of course, I'll need to purchase the battery and charger you recommended. And I think it would be useful to purchase an external shotgun mic. as I hear reports that the included mic's aren't that good.
Beyond that, I plan to get a tripod and case. though I may not have a budget for as high end a tripod as you recommended. We have limited storage space in our office as well since this will need to be locked up at all times.
We all ready have a wireless mic. as well as headphones.
I've gone through about 6 video tripods trying to find one with a good ( smooth ) panning head, and have found all of the cheaper gear to be junk compared to a real fluid-head.
Manfrotto video legs are great ( especially the carbon fiber ones ), but their low-cost ( under $500 ) video heads are terrible. ( not smooth, have backlash, do not adapt well to different weight cameras )
The Libec video heads are a pretty good compromise, well made, much more affordable than the Sachtler heads, yet still very smooth over a wide range of camera weights. The camera weight issue is a big one, because sometimes you might be shooting with more gear on your camera ( UHF mic receivers, LCD monitor, etc... ) and sometimes it's just the bare camera. A good tripod will last 10 years if you take care of it.
As for audio gear, I also recommend the Sound Devices MixPre mixer, which has great sound and will run all day on just 2 AA batteries. For shotgun mics, I would look at the new Rode NTG-3, which has great sound and can be used in all kinds of conditions. For an indoor boomable mic I would check out the Audio-Technica 4053B hypercardioid pencil mic, great sound with very good off axis sound rejection, so you won't be picking up much reflected sound from small rooms.