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Time for a new camera

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Neil WeaverTime for a new camera
by on Dec 8, 2009 at 1:02:02 am

So I'm thinking it's time to upgrade my camera in the new year. Currently shooting mostly on a Canon A1, which has been great but obviously has its limitations.

Last shoot I rented in an EX3 with a set of Cooke's and a Pro35 adaptor and the footage was just lush. It's gonna be some time before I can afford the Cookes, but owning the camera and renting in the lenses seemed to be the way forward.

Then I read a little thread here about how FCP on Quad/8-cores suffers a LOT of conflicts with XDCAM in longer timelines and I'm also not a huge fan of the enormous file sizes you end up with when you transcode to ProRes, so now I'm a little unsure about spending all that money on something that could potentially give me a load of grief.

So - over to you guys. What are you shooting on? What would you like to shoot on? I'm not looking to start a camera flame war, but I'd love to hear what you love and what you hate. Oh, and whereas I'd love something like a Sony HDC1500 - or even 'just' the PDW700, just like the lenses, I'm a way off yet. So price-wise, I'm looking at somewhere in the ballpark of the EX3.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Nick GriffinRe: Time for a new camera
by on Dec 10, 2009 at 9:36:34 pm

A little over a year ago we bought a "B-stock" Sony PDW-350 and have been extremely happy with it. The details can be found here.

While we started with re-purposing existing 2/3" lenses with acceptable results, my need for a wide angle took over after a few months and our primary lens is now an HD Fujinon 13x3.3. Sure I'd like to have a 900 with the 2/3" depth of field but the cost of the lenses plus the cost of the camera make 1/2" the 350 / 355 a cost-effective compromise.

As to issues of XDCam in FCP, I've not experienced any problems, but then again the majority of our work is on Media100 because of its faster to use interface.

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Neil WeaverRe: Time for a new camera
by on Dec 11, 2009 at 10:41:47 am

Hi Nick,

I work on mostly shorter timelines so the conflict issue with XDCAM might not actually be an issue at all. Still gonna need a shed load of space if we're going pro res every project.

Bu thanks for your suggestion about the PDW 350 - will check it out!

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Matthew ChiumentoRe: Time for a new camera
by on Dec 11, 2009 at 3:25:17 pm

Im in the same boat, but leaning to something a little less expensive

Heard some complaints about shooting in low light though....

I really want to grab one of the new Cannon 7d with a Zacto kit, unreal quality with adjustable lens. Not sure about the audio on this set up but the footage is amazing. Maybe a bit to good,

I wonder sometime on how high of level to go? I dont exactly have a makeup artist every time I need to shoot a message or training. HD, can make some people look really bad...LOL

This might be the link? Firewall sorry

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Nick GriffinRe: Time for a new camera
by on Dec 11, 2009 at 3:53:35 pm

[Matthew Chiumento] "HD, can make some people look really bad...LOL"

Anybody see last week's 30 Rock? They had a very funny segment with people going between an SD and an HD camera. I also thought when it was still on the air that Boston Legal's directors really didn't need to give us close-ups of William Shatner and Candace Bergen's pores. But for training and industrial video?? Those people aren't SUPPOSED to look beautiful.

[Matthew Chiumento] "I wonder sometime on how high of level to go?"

Even though the 350 can shoot SD DV I've never seen the point of it. We're shooting everything in the camera's highest quality HD, even when the finished program will be 4x3 SD. For me future-proofing is just common sense. So it makes sense to go as high end as will be required by the higher end of your spectrum of jobs.

We've also discussed before in other places on the COW that HD downsampled to SD actually looks better than stuff shot in SD. Seen it for myself.

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Rich RubaschRe: Time for a new camera
by on Dec 12, 2009 at 4:02:48 am

Actually we use the EX1 all the time and as far as I can tell the Sony EX Import app creates EX35 media, not ProRez. Our sequences all say Sony EX 35. Now you can certainly have the sequence render to ProRez as an intermediary format.

We have found that the EX1/ EX3 are very good in low light.

And to play devil's advocate with Nick, we have seen HDV footage that doesn't downconvert well at all, but DVCAM footage shot on a full size DVCAM camera and brought in SDI to DVCPro50 or Uncompressed that looked lots better.

Well shot HD on 1/2 or 2/3 cameras with good lenses and good composition will downconvert very well to SD.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post

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Neil WeaverRe: Time for a new camera
by on Dec 14, 2009 at 12:54:34 pm

we used a 7D on a recent shoot as a second cam very successfully, but trying to make the EX3 material look anywhere near as good as it was really hard.

Would it work as a primary camera? Not sure - as you say, the audio probably isn't up to much and I'm not sure what clients would make of you turning up with effectively a stills camera!

Rich, I'd need to experiment with editing/exporting in native XDCAM as I don't know enough about how it handles effects etc. Not sure I'd want to chance anything on the client's time/dollar though!

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