Is XHA1 a natural upgrade from GL-2?
I realize there has been quite a few posts regarding the upgrade to HDV and XHA1. I'm thinking about upgrading my GL-2's, and HDV just seems the way to go. But I am not set up for HDV at all (i.e. HD monitor, deck, etc.), and maybe its silly.
On ebay, you can get the XHA1 for about $3,300 (I think its $3500 on B&H). Thats maybe $1000 more than a VX2100 or DVX100A. But with the other cameras, the HD upgrade would be inevitable eventually.
Would the VX2100 or DVX be an upgrade from the GL-2? I think a PD-170 or DVCam camera would be around the same price (about $2700) as the XHA1, so it seems silly. But is getting HDV setting myself up for more complications, expensive equipment, and longer editing times? I might just use it as a mini-DV camera in the beginning, but is that a waste? The image quality would still be much better than a GL-2, right?
If you are currently working with the GL2 and you are NEEDING to upgrade, the A1 would be a definate improvement. You will have a 20x optical zoom and XLR connectors (not to mention the fact it can shoot HDV). If you use it primarily as a DV cam initially, that should be fine. I've worked with the JVC GY-HD100 as a DV cam on several occassions and it worked great. But I am not personally a big fan of the HDV format itself. It can be a bear to work with (both editing and shooting). There has been much documentation of how HDV doesn't deal very well with motion and has some issues in post. My suggestion would be (as always) to rent the camera and shoot with it (DV and HDV). See how you like it. Try editing some HDV footage and see how it works for you.
As far as additional expense in equipment? Hardly. HDV is just like editing DV (as far as the steps are involved). Going to DVD you will experience longer rendering and/or encoding times (depending on what you use), which will tie up your editing station longer. And you know what they say, "Time is money". So it could be more expensive that way. Now, a couple of factors that could change that is 1) What type of system are you editing off of currently? If it is a much older system and you're already encountering problems with DV, then you should definitely consider upgrading your editing system (which would obviously be an addtional expense). 2) I'm not sure how (or if) you currently monitor your video externally, but if you are looking to do so with HDV, then you're probably looking at an investment of at least 2g's on equipment (again, depending on your current set-up).
All in all, even if you can get the A1 as a DV cam only, it's considerably a good buy considering it's cost. And if/when you decide to make the jump to HD, you'll aready have the equipment. There is little doubt that HD is the way of the future. But there is concern how HDV fits into this equation. Some believe HDV could be a passing format and many are waiting until the smoke clears before they make their purchases. This goes back to my initial statement, "If you are...NEEDING to upgrade". If your gear is working fine and you're making money with it, that's all that counts. If you get clients knocking down your door for HD, go out and rent what you need. Again, I highly suggest renting and playing with it, but if you HAVE to buy, make sure it's an informed decision.
Sorry for the long post.
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Thanks for the advice Steven,
I appreciate the long post. I think renting to experiment with the workflow is a good idea. Not sure how the transcoding time, effects rendering, etc. will affect everything.
I have a dual 1 GHZ G4, with maxed out memory (1.5 GB), which edits DV fine. But not sure if it will have issues with HDV. Since most of my delivery format is SD DVD, it wouldn't be an issue at first (just downconvert at capture). Then again, if I want a HD master of the final edit, I would have to deal with the HDV editing times.
I use a standard flat screen 20'' TV, and probably couldn't afford a HD monitor for awhile. I'm assuming that means my monitoring wouldn't be that accurate for HD footage, but I'd be willing to sacrifice that at first, as long as its decent.
Maybe I should just maintain the equipment I have, and be patient. With the wedding season a little over a month away, I figured now would be the time. Otherwise, I mind as well wait till next season. Offering HD as an upsell to my wedding packages is a possibility, and it would pay for the cameras over time, but I'm not sure if brides really care yet.