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Mixing DSLR with Vixia HD footage?

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Gerry Bayne
Mixing DSLR with Vixia HD footage?
on Aug 12, 2011 at 9:52:02 pm

I do simple interviews currently with a Sony Vixia SF100. Good quality for what I need.

I currently have the opportunity to add another camera to my arsenal. I have the option of getting another Vixia or moving to a Canon T3i.

In about a month I'll be shooting some two camera simply interviews on location. This is for web video.

I really want to dip into the DSLR world, but I'm worried about a two camera shoot that uses the T3i AND the Vixia. How jarring will those cuts be from camera to camera?

Do I bit the bullet and simply stay in the camcorder world?

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Chip Thome
Re: Mixing DSLR with Vixia HD footage?
on Aug 14, 2011 at 3:57:58 am

As far as how jarring the differences, it could be very stark depending on the lenses you use and depth of field you select on the DSLR.

I good buddy did a music video and used both his SD DVX100B and his HD HMC 150 camcorders. He used the SC camcorder for his wide shot and did all the close up work in HD. You really had to look to see any difference. His SD camcorder was located probably 30 feet away from the stage, compared to right in front for the HD cam.

If you have never shot a pair of cams, two identical cams cut beautifully and easily together, in most cases. When you mix them up, it takes a bit more work in post to get them to gel nicely.

The decision I would say comes down to your audience and what they expect for quality from what you are going to be shooting. In many cases a camcorder is plenty, as the audience that views those types of video isn't real demanding, right now.

Where the whole video recording market is going is toward interchangeable lenses and large sensors in the cameras. With both of those components you have the capability for the "wow" factor out of the footage they produce.

If you do not already know photography, a DSLR has a huge learning curve ahead of really using and utilizing it to its full potential. IMO, the time and effort spent on that earning curve is justified as soon, IMO, all shooting is going to be utilizing more of ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed etc.

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Richard Dolesh
Re: Mixing DSLR with Vixia HD footage?
on Aug 16, 2011 at 6:36:53 pm

Hello Gerry,
I've struggled with similar challenges, so here is what I would suggest.

You didn't say if you're using a Juiced Link, H4n, etc. But,in a interview environment, with a producer present,etc, it can be a bit stressful messing with something like an H4n feeding a VIXIA where you are stumbling through menus, more connections etc--compared to dedicated XLR inputs such as those found on a DVX-100 or AG-HMC40 where you can just dial in the levels--immediately. I feed my VIXIA w/an H4N and am now looking at the AG-HMC40 for this exact reason (because I hate the extra connections/hassle/stress/more setup time.)

I purchased a VIXIA solely because my 7D was not appropriate to shot 20minute+ interviews without filling tons of disc space--so I loved the fact that the VIXIA shoots at 24Mbps which is fine for interviews--if not ideal, but again hate dealing with menus to do everything

If you just need a 2nd camera to get the 'wide angle' shot for example, why don't you just go with a cheap $300 VIXIA (non 's' models are cheap on ebay ~$200-$300) And get the T3i model when you can afford it? And avoid Larger files/sync issues/audio input issues Heck, the idea of a interview is to focus on the emotion/content of the speaker...getting to preoccupied in the technical is exactly why I am, again, looking into a HMC40 (also b/c nothing goes as planned and in a true 'live' environment such as events, that goes even more so)

The T3i would be a very wise decision IF you are using it to mostly shoot b-roll. Because the creative possibilities are so much more than another VIXIA... The DOF with even the 50mm cheap lens is just amazing, and will inter-cut just fine with your VIXIA footage (especially if you are shooting at the high bit rate) Also, I have put my Vixia on my Konova slider and found, yes the footage looked good, but without that beautiful DOF the shot was not nearly as beautiful as the same shot taken by my 7D. Hope this helps.

Richard Dolesh

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