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GL2 versus HV20

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Stephen Sobel
GL2 versus HV20
on Oct 21, 2007 at 7:04:42 pm

I'm interested in the differences between the GL2 and the HV20 camcorders in terms of quality of picture using the standard settings.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: GL2 versus HV20
on Oct 22, 2007 at 1:36:13 pm

Well, that's a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparision... those are two very different cameras in design and capabilities...

But here are just a couple of differences off the top of my head....

Most obviously, the HV20 is a high-def camcorder (HDV), the GL2 is standard def.

The GL2 is more of a "prosumer" camcorder, in its style, size, design, and lens. The little HV20 is designed as a pure consumer camera... it's a very tiny little "palmcorder" type camera, very plasticky, no full manual mode, etc. (although it still can be used to get professional quality images).

The HV20 will record 24f if desired, whereas the GL2 is a 60i-only camera.

The GL2 is about twice the price of the HV20.

Both however, give really great bang for the buck and both produce great images.

It really just depends on what your main usage will be. I would never attempt to use the HV20 as a primary camera on a professional job... it's just too "automatic" (although there are ways to override that), difficult to focus manually, you have to use an adapter box to use "real" microphones... and frankly, if you care about visually impressing a client (which does have some importance), you are going to look like someone taking home movies. However, for a "B" cam, crash cam, or when HD video is needed in very close quarters where a "real" camera simply wouldn't fit, the HV20 can't be beat.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Pyro
Re: GL2 versus HV20
by
on Nov 1, 2007 at 7:07:34 pm

With the HV20 I know you cannot have manual Iris and manual shutter at the same time, but can you lock down one or the other while one is manual? Or is something always automatic?

For instance, can you lock shutter at say, 1/60th, and adjust F-stop manually? Or is pretty much a full manual?

Thanks for your time with this query!



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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: GL2 versus HV20
on Nov 1, 2007 at 7:47:00 pm

There are ways to "trick" the camera into behaving more-or-less like a manual camera.

The problem is, the HV20 is SO automatic that it can be adjusting up to four different parameters all at once: iris, shutter speed, neutral density filter, and gain (and gain will really get you, as it can go up to +36dB without you even realizing it)...and what's worse, there are no viewfinder indications or anything that TELL you how the camera is shooting.

There are a few workarounds though. If you shoot in "cine" mode the camera will try its best to lock the shutter speed in at 1/48th. Then you use the "exposure lock" feature that locks in the other parameters at whatever setting it happens to be at. You THEN can adjust the iris manually. The trick is, you have to be in lighting conditions during the "lock in" moment so that you are shooting with no additional gain or ND... that is going to normally translate into a fairly bright lit interior, or a fairly dimmly lit exterior. You will be able to tell if you hit that combo because the exposure setting will show the full adjustible range (I think it is up to +11 and down to -11, if I recall). If those numbers don't allow the full range of control, then your "lock in" was made during lighting conditions that either had the gain jacked up (because conditions were too dark when you locked-in), or an ND filter in place (because it was too bright), and you'll need to try again.

There are a couple of on-line tutorials from guys explaining this far better than I just did. You can probably Google and find them.



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Pyro
Re: GL2 versus HV20
by
on Nov 1, 2007 at 7:55:05 pm

Thanks for the in depth answer, Todd. I guess for a 900$ camera, one shouldn't complain too loudly!

Although 1/48th is a pretty long shutter. I'll take a look for that info Googling around. These cheap cameras especially bug me when something passes in front of the camera that is darker or brighter than your subject and the exposure wobbles around to compensate.

For instance, you shooting someone across the street, and a car passes by that reflects the sun into the lens. Or you dolly behind something dark, like a curtain while you are shooting a dance on stage. I'd rather the shutter and iris not react like that in those situations.

If there's a way to trick it, that might be enough for me!

Thanks!


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: GL2 versus HV20
on Nov 1, 2007 at 8:12:31 pm

[Pyro] "Although 1/48th is a pretty long shutter."

Acutally, no, 1/48th would be considered a "normal" shutter when shooting 24p... just as 1/60th would be considered "normal" when shooting 30p or 60i. Generally speaking, one-half of the frame rate is what most cameras will default to as "normal."

If you want to compare that to film, if you were shooting film at 24fps (normal), and you have a 180-degree shutter in your camera (although some are a little more or less, or variable), then the exposure would be 1/48th of a second for each frame of film. 1/48th is basically what I shoot with all the time (when shooting 24p) unless I want a different "non-normal" look (such as using a slower shutter for more motion blur, or a faster shutter for a choppier "Gladiator" look).

If you turn on the "exposure lock" you will not have the problems with the auto iris changing because of car reflections, etc... the iris will then only move when you turn the little manual exposure wheel.

And yeah, all this automation is a pain... but then again, for $900 you are not going to get a "pro" camera that has full manual modes. Still, for the price, the picture this tiny guy puts out is incredible.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: GL2 versus HV20
on Nov 1, 2007 at 8:17:48 pm

[Todd at Fantastic Plastic] "the iris will then only move when you turn the little manual exposure wheel"

Opps, I wasn't thinking (actually, I was thinking, but I was thinking about the XL series of cameras that have the exposure wheel).

There is no "exposure wheel" on the HV20. It's more of a miniature joy-stick style toggle switch that varys exposure. We have one of these cameras, but really just use it as a crashcam or when we need to squeeze into a tiny place, so my brain wasn't that familiar with the controls.

My bad.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Pyro
Re: GL2 versus HV20
by
on Nov 2, 2007 at 2:09:18 pm

I found the article on how to manipulate the HV20 into becoming full manual. However, it was interesting he used a cellphone with white on the screen as a light source. While I am sure that would be convenient, I wonder why he didn't just use a decent light-meter to form a truer baseline. I guess it's not too late.

Thanks for all the input on this camera. It's appreciated. I think it will serve us nicely in the studio for tests and such.

All the best!


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