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Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?

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Conor Smith
Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 6:53:49 pm

Hey all,

We are looking to upgrade our cameras to an HD format. We currently shoot on 3 Canon GL2's and were wondering peoples thoughts on using a high end consumer type camera (i.e. Canon HFS1000, Panasonic HDC-HS300, Sony HDR-XR520V).

All of our videos are shot in our studio. I personally shoot on an Sony EX1 but my company doesn't want to pony up the bucks for a round of those so.... what are your thoughts on using these High end consumer cams? Will we get the ease of use we get out of our GL2's? What draw backs will we find?

Anyone have experience with them and their reliability? And lastly, if you had the choice, what would you buy in that type of camera.

Thanks for your input.

Conor

Live Free! Play Hard!
CS


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Micah McDowell
Re: Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 9:52:02 pm

I know that the small Canons are highly regarded, such as the HV30 and HF10. I have used both on occasion, and the video quality is really quite amazing for the ridiculously small size and price of the cameras. The small Sonys are nice as well.

These little cameras will all obtain similar quality; your first consideration should probably be what format you want to edit from; HDV tape, AVCHD on SD cards, etc. With the HDV tape cameras, you get decent quality, an instant archive of footage, and a workflow that is more like what you have with the GL2s, but you're familiar with running tapeless with the EX1, so it's your call.

Remember, these little guys are capable of some impressive imagery, but they are still a tiny, cheaply made form factor and greatly lacking in professional controls and features, so keep that in mind. I would say that they're more suited to studio shooting than anything if you're trying to get maximum quality out of them. Heck, you can even record uncompressed HD (or a high-quality superior codec of your choice) live from the HDMI outputs on these cameras to a computer in the studio, if you're so inclined.


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Greg Ball
Re: Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?
on Jul 22, 2009 at 9:07:39 pm

I think that most of these consumer camera have poor sound quality for audio and poor lens optics for shooting. You're very limited with depth of field which can be critical in a studio environment.



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Micah McDowell
Re: Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?
on Jul 22, 2009 at 9:35:38 pm

The above is certainly true. The cameras don't have true professional XLR inputs, so you're stuck with cheesy little 1/8" adapters, which aren't ideal but could still be workable.

As for optics, you could get a Letus35 Mini adapter and put nice 35mm glass on any of the small Canons, and you get true 35mm narrow depth-of-field. However, that would triple your investment and make the price gap to pro cameras much smaller, but it is an option.

Of course, an EX1 or something of its caliber will always be a better option, since you can only go so far with accessorizing a cheap consumer camera before it gets ridiculous.


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Conor Smith
Re: Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?
on Aug 3, 2009 at 4:53:28 pm

Thanks all for your input. I'm not to worried about the audio issue due to the fact that we use external wireless mics and since the GL2 has a 1/8" miniplug input it doesn't really scare me. Since we are doing instructional videos I (unfortunately) don't care about the here-infinity depth of field.

It is good to hear that people are pleased with the image quality and the tapeless work flow will be an amazing time saver for our small company.

My next set of questions are now regarding choice of the camera. After some research I'm leaning toward the sony HDR-XR520V and the Panasonic HDC-HS300. The Panasonic seems to be better suited for our work since it has the focus ring. Critical focus is well... critical with the work we do and having that focus ring seems like a huge benefit. Has anyone else used the Sony Canon with manual focus? Is it as awkward as it looks to use the jog wheel?

The other question I have is using the SDHC cards for archiving a completed project. Would these work and are they stable over long periods of time?

Thanks for your input and please discuss these cameras further.

Cheers

Live Free! Play Hard!
CS


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Terry Neilson
Re: Using high end consumer cams for Instructional videos?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 9:26:06 pm

For a slightly higher price I am waiting for the AG-HMC40 from Panasonic. Lots of features and B&H are taking orders at $1995

http://news.creativecow.net/story/862242

moving parts are so last year

MAC Pro quad 2.66, 8GB, X1900XT, 23" ACD, 10.5.8, Studio3, MXO2 Mini, etc.


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