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green thumb
01-20-2009, 11:36 PM
I've got roughly $5000 to spend, I'm looking for as much of a package as possible. Ie, camera, lights, mic, yadda yadda yadda. If it goes over 5k, that's probably fine. A little more saving won't hurt too much.

Currently I'm using a sony vx2000 and mostly film skateboarding/bmx. But I simply need something better. I will be venturing into the world of shorts, and who knows what else. I'd love to shoot a feature, but let's just focus on "the now".

Now, I was thinking the HVX at first, but since I will probably be filiming a lot of skateboarding (they never seem to land any tricks!) the P2 system seems restricting. My next choice was the Canon XH-A1. I've actually got a friend that owns one, so I'd be able to play around with it before committing to a rather large purchase. I was just wondering if there's anything else you guys think I should check out.

Also, any recommendations on a light kit? And microphones? How about absolutely essential books/videos to watch?

I'm sure you guys get this kind of thread all the time, and are extremely sick of answering. But any input would be so greatly appreciated. Like I said, it's a rather large investment and really, who wants to take the plunge without talking to people with experience?

yommytacoe
01-21-2009, 12:16 AM
I have the XHA1 and I love it, but the HMC150 is probably a better option. It has better low light, and it can do 720/60p which is advantageous for skateboarding and other action sports because of the slwomo ability. As for a mic, check out the Rode NTG-2. This is a great shotgun mic that will work with any camera with XLR, including HVX, XHA1, and HMC150. If you're new to lighting, you should just get some worklights from home depot or wherever. They're super cheap and they work pretty well.

Essential reading material... "Rebel without a crew" would be the obvious choice, but there are others out there as well.

Hope this helps. Definitely browse around this forum and learn as much as you can about these cameras before you buy.

Otis Grapsas
01-21-2009, 02:52 AM
The XH-A1 is very good.

I believe you have seen Dogtown and Z-Boys. I never cared for skateboarding or valued it as a sport or a lifestyle or whatever, until I saw this film a few weeks ago. I actually felt bad about what I used to think about skateboarding.

Some excellent books:

-Michael Rabinger, Directing, Film Techniques and Aesthetics (very deep, very wide, as boring as filmschool lectures, requires devotion, if you will oly read one book, this will do)
-Joseph Mascelli, The 5 C's of Cinematography (old fashioned, gets the basics down)
-Bastian Cleve, Film Production Management (useful approach to paperwork and organisation)
-Aristotle, Poetics (very short, the golden rules of drama, some problem-solving for dramatic situations)
-John Purce, Dialogue editing for motion pictures (all you need to know about a very important subject )
-Bela Balazs, Theory Of The Film (this could open new paths to a filmmaker because he'she might discover some cinematic elements that are rarely used, seeing how cinema evolved is very refreshing )
-Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1 and 2 (captivating thoughts, very interesting if you like that sort of thing)
-Robert Bresson, Notes on cinematography (you might still fall asleep with the sweet lullaby of clanging armour in Lancelot Du Lac, but it is refreshing to see his approach)

You can try Syd Field's video on screenwriting. No info on drama there, but it shows a very popular, well perceived way to disect your film. That's if you don't fall asleep after he repeats the same thing 10 times with very slow monotonous voice and long pauses.

For mics, I recommend a Rode NTG-3 with the rode blimp etc. It's a very good investment, it has very low noise for its price, it will pick just a little back reflection and the pickup pattern is wide which makes it very practical.

green thumb
01-21-2009, 01:17 PM
I have the XHA1 and I love it, but the HMC150 is probably a better option. It has better low light, and it can do 720/60p which is advantageous for skateboarding and other action sports because of the slwomo ability. As for a mic, check out the Rode NTG-2. This is a great shotgun mic that will work with any camera with XLR, including HVX, XHA1, and HMC150. If you're new to lighting, you should just get some worklights from home depot or wherever. They're super cheap and they work pretty well.

Essential reading material... "Rebel without a crew" would be the obvious choice, but there are others out there as well.

Hope this helps. Definitely browse around this forum and learn as much as you can about these cameras before you buy.

hey thanks. you too, otis.

I'm a little weary of the hmc150 because of the whole SD card thing. On one hand it seems awesome, on the other hand, I've never used anything but tape! Does the hmc150 still do 1080? And the xh-a1 won't slowmo very well? What about image customization? I've been reading that the xh-a1 is amazing in that field.

What wattage of work light are you talking about? Do they have different color temperatures? I actually have one I picked up a while back for skateboarding. Sucker gets extremely hot, though.

Another random question... While lurking this board for my answer, I've come across the words "noise" and "sensitivity" a lot. And honestly I have no clue what they're talking about:) any help with that?

What about if I wanted to use different lenses and adapters? That's definitely not a biggie at first, but I'd probably like to invest eventually.

Sheesh the more I type, the more questions I keep coming up with. What about playback and capturing? Currently I refuse to playback on my vx2000, and I capture on a little canon optura. I was wondering how to go about this all. Say for instance I'm shooting a scene somewhere, and we are trying to make sure it's perfect. Am I playing it back on the xh-a1 (or whichever I end up with) or am I going to need something else? Also, would an external monitor be a good investment?

I'm going to stop now, I'm sure I'll be back with more:thumbup:

green thumb
01-23-2009, 12:23 AM
bump.

Should I try to go new or go used?

morgan_moore
01-23-2009, 02:50 AM
500 watt worklights

Arris get hot too

Flouros dont but then they are expensive

--



Noise and sensitivity - like film speed on stills cameras - HIgh ISO often = lots of noise

So a camera with good sensitivity and noise charateristics works well at dusk or indoors without lighting

Cameras with very small recording chips tend to have lots of noise

S

green thumb
01-23-2009, 09:00 PM
Bump.

The HMC150 is sort of tempting due to the 720p. What about variable frame rates? Not too important now, but who knows, maybe one day it will be necessary. I use final cut express, would I need to upgrade to work with the footage? (edit; no. apparently it's compatible. leaving this here for future search purposes!)
What about storing the media, opposed to having it on tapes? Assuming I'll have to invest in some hard drives. Both this AND tape seem like awesome options, so I'm torn!

Also, probably an extremely 'noob' question, but what's so great and different about the "top of the line" cameras such as the Sony HDW-F900? It seems like these sub 10k cameras can hold their own (it's mostly the operator, no?), for 1/10 the price. Just curious.

Otis Grapsas
01-23-2009, 11:21 PM
The sensors in most high end cameras are 1920x1080. The affordable progressive cameras are usually 1/4 the pixels. The high resolution affordable cameras are interlaced CCD or CMOS with rolling shutter artifacts. The high end cameras have better dynamic range. The formats are usually a lot better, I-frame vs GOP and higher rates. Then, there is flexibility, support for good lenses, direct professional battery support, shoulder mount usability and stability, shallow DOF capability, build quality, support, professional looks etc.

Generally, if it's 1920x1080 2/3" CCD and uses a I-frame format, the camera will be very expensive since this combination of features produces a very professional result.

green thumb
01-24-2009, 02:42 PM
Thanks. I still say if someone such as Robert Rodriquez switched from the hpw-f900 to a prosumer camera, we'd all still be in awe of the finished product. BUT, that's neither here nor there!

I'm still debating between the xh-a1 and the hmc150. the hmc150 really seems like the better choice, I'm still just a little skeptical of the image quality since I haven't seen anything from it. I saw some skateboarding footage shot from someone that appears to never have used a camera before, and that's it!

And again, what's up with the HMC150 and customizable images like the xh-a1?

I'm really, REALLY anxious to get this camera haha

Michael Kraus
01-25-2009, 11:32 AM
Do you have a computer powerful enough to edit AVCHD? That may be something to consider when making this decision.

green thumb
01-25-2009, 12:39 PM
I have a fairly new macbook and pretty powerful desktop used for gaming only. I also wouldn't mind getting a new setup, but for now I think I'll be fine.

green thumb
01-26-2009, 04:18 PM
I'm just going to turn this into the ultimate new guy thread.

in a different thread, trez wrote


True. These are important features for some users. HPX170 offers better audio as well.
4:2:2 - great for keying - on the other hand HMC150 offers increased raster size. I wonder if this can actually improve the image sharpness - the CCDs resolution is limited and even with most optimistic pixel shifting scenario the actual resolution is closer to 720 than 1080... I would love to see side by side comparison.
The lack of SDI and long-GOP codec can be an issue or not - depending on what you plan to use your camera for. But remember that you have HDMI out which, for budget users, is great thing - get the cheap Blackmagic card and you can record uncompressed 4:2:2 10-bit (I hope - can someone confirm?). You need fast drives, though.

SDI and long-GOP codec could be an issue depending on what you plan to use your camera for. Like what exactly? Does the canon have that? And he then goes on about the HDMI out... does the canon have the output/recording capabilities as well?

A lot of users on here have said that for critical focus, for either of these cameras, you pretty much need a monitor. In which case I will probably swing for one of those Manhattan LCDs.

And the 1080 isn't much better than the 720? Which leaves me back at square one. The canon doesn't have 720, the panny might as well not have 1080... so which do I go for?!

So far I seem to want the HMC150 more, but I am still skeptical. Apparently the batteries aren't cheap, and I'd definitely need a few of those.

Ahhhh all the variables are going to drive me crazy! Basically, I keep seeing posts saying "x camera is absolutely great for what I use it for" but I don't know these people or know what they're using it for! So I'm trying to figure out what uses these cameras are good for in their own ways, then I'll decide which route I want to go.

Sorry for all the questions, again. And again, all the help is incredibly appreciated.

yommytacoe
01-26-2009, 05:20 PM
Thanks. I still say if someone such as Robert Rodriquez switched from the hpw-f900 to a prosumer camera, we'd all still be in awe of the finished product. BUT, that's neither here nor there!



Why are people constantly blowing robert rodriguez? His movies usually have some cool action and such but they aren't really great films by any means...

green thumb
01-26-2009, 06:24 PM
Hey, thanks for the wonderful, insightful post! Without that help, I'd never be able to decide which camera to buy.

Nobody is blowing Robert Rodriquez, I was simply watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico (shot on hpw-f900) while posting that. My point still stands. Pick a director who's movies you enjoy, and replace his name with that.

Anyway, any real help?

yommytacoe
01-26-2009, 07:45 PM
Hey, thanks for the wonderful, insightful post! Without that help, I'd never be able to decide which camera to buy.

Nobody is blowing Robert Rodriquez, I was simply watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico (shot on hpw-f900) while posting that. My point still stands. Pick a director who's movies you enjoy, and replace his name with that.

Anyway, any real help?

First of all, I like robert rodriguez's films alot, he's very resourceful and creative, however I wouldn't put him in my top 5 or anything...

annyywaaayys... I threw my insight in on the previous page, but assuming you're deciding between the XHA1 and the HMC150, there are a few reasons to choose either one.

XHA1 -
Pro's - Tape = instant cheap storage, the footage is higher resolution as it uses 3 1.6MP sensors and downsamples to 1080i (uses interpolation to create 1080p), Iris ring, ect. One of my favorite features is the 'position preset' button. Basically you can set the camera to remember a certain focal or zoom length, and by pushing a button you can tell the camera to go to that focal/zoom setting at whatever speed you set it to. This is extremely useful for controlled zooms (especially whip zooms), or rack focusing.

Cons - Tapes are slower to upload than solid state formats such as SD or P2, no 720p, no 60p frame rate, and the LCD is small/low-res.

Takeaway: XHA1 is and awesome cam. HDV is ideal for shooting large amounts of footage in a short period of time as tapes are cheap/easy to swap out quickly whereas cards or harddrives have a finite amount of space and must be "dumped" onto a computer at some point...

HMC150-
Pros- Many different frame rates and resolution choices, Great low light, 60p frame rate (great for slowmo), Uses SD cards for quick uploads free of dropouts.

Cons: AVCHD format can be a pain to edit with, however this problem is being fixed very quickly, 1080p is made using pixel shifting (3 chips at 720x960) and therefore doesn't look much sharper than 720p.

Both cams are great and you can't really go wrong. I personally would choose the HMC because it is tapeless, has 60p frame rate, and better low light. Of course, being an XHA1 owner, I only want these features because i don't have them haha...

Unless you have a reason to buy tape such as, You're going to africa for 6 months and you won't be able to access a computer for uploads or something... I'd go HMC150. Just buy something and start shooting. Shoot lots and lots because that's the best way to hone your skills.

green thumb
01-27-2009, 12:45 AM
I didn't mean to come across as a dick, I apologize if I did. Thanks for that reply, so far the HMC is taking it... But I'd really like the 1080 to be as sharp as the canons.

yommytacoe
01-27-2009, 11:16 AM
I didn't mean to come across as a dick, I apologize if I did. Thanks for that reply, so far the HMC is taking it... But I'd really like the 1080 to be as sharp as the canons.

on paper there is no "perfect camera." Just buy something and start shooting. I'd take 720p with excellent low light ability over 1080i with average performance. Just my 2cents.

green thumb
01-27-2009, 10:38 PM
I think I'm pretty set on the HMC. Especially when it comes to skateboarding/bmx. They bail very often, some of which you want to keep, most of which just wastes tape. The ability to delete clips as I go is real appealing to me. I'm sure my eyes will be plenty happy with the 720p, hopefully any potential clients will be too.

green thumb
01-29-2009, 01:19 PM
What kinds of tripods should I be looking for?
I'll be getting a monitor to use, how would I go about mounting that?

Someone on here made a post about a shop in Austin called Texas Media Systems and they had a good deal on the HMC, but when I checked their site, it said out of stock:crybaby:

I was super excited to go try one out and maybe make a purchase.

green thumb
02-04-2009, 03:57 PM
to the top. still looking for a tripod that won't break the bank. i mean, 1000 dollars? come on, that's ridiculous!

goramsey123
04-02-2009, 01:14 PM
Seems no one is talking about the Sony HDR-FX1000. Why is that? I have heard good things about it. Not much on this web site though.

Cheers,

cheezweezl
04-02-2009, 08:04 PM
to the top. still looking for a tripod that won't break the bank. i mean, 1000 dollars? come on, that's ridiculous!

you think $1000 is ridiculous? that's low end...

for the hmc150 about the cheapest thing i would get is a manfrotto 501hdv head. get the best legs you can afford but if you have to skimp on something it should be the sticks, not the head.

green thumb
04-12-2009, 01:28 PM
You can argue all you want but I still think the price is ridiculous, same with a lot of products in this field. Take p2 cards for example.

Anyway, I completely forgot about this thread. I went with the hmc 150 and absolutely love it, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking.

Roypercy
05-12-2009, 08:02 PM
You can argue all you want but I still think the price is ridiculous, same with a lot of products in this field. Take p2 cards for example.

Anyway, I completely forgot about this thread. I went with the hmc 150 and absolutely love it, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking.


How are you finding the editing process? I'm a mac user as well, I edit with FCE on my desktop which is a pre-Intel G5, I know I'm due for an upgrade but that'll have to come after I get a camera. I love the footage of the HMC 150 I've seen, but wonder if I have a chance at editing from this camera with my current setup.