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  1. #21
    Hi Bill

    I actually did a wedding over the weekend and had to do some short filming in another room. When I asked them to turn on the lights..they said there are none!!! With the cam on full gain I actually got a fair image but had to tweak it a little in the NLE. It's amazing so sensitive the cams are!! With my GS500 I would have just given up!!!


  2. #22
    Hey Chris, I've not forgotten I owe you this... so here's my thoughts based on your two questions.

    1. The Issue of Compression and Reliability
    To be honest with you, I have not even tried editing AVCHD myself and none of the cameras I own shoots AVCHD. I do dislike the lossyness so clearly shown by the lack of data but for the benefit of the doubt I wonder if the lack is visible (at time of severe testing sadly I suspect yes, taking into account not only data size, but also size of physical capture chip, lens diameter etc).

    I would agree on the frightening prospect of losing data, as I do commissioned photography (still) on digital, the need to empty my full CF cards onto a mobile HDD is really a nightmare of uncertainties. Thank God, I have lost nothing due to technology failure, but more often than not, due to human error.

    With the Pannys' (and other brands) dual slot and RAID (mirroring your data), that's the safely catch. Top end DSLRs do the same. Otherwise a tapebased camera with options for ex-HDD recording is a good option. Use the tape as backup and the ex-HDD as a quick transfer and working files for edit (still of standard quality).

    But as you said, the day is coming and is near where most consumer cameras are no longer tape based. For instance, Apple announced their new laptop the Macbook & Macbook Pro two months back. Both have no Firewire400 port (MB Pro still retains the FW800 for speed and support for UDMA technology for UDMA CF and SD HC cards) and users are complaining! And I have to say many are avid videographers who enjoy using it for simple editing. Why so? I was really puzzled then... besides knowing the new NVIDIA graphics card that really gives cool graphics is now de facto card and that they may not be friendly toward FW (any link to the FW's demise? I wonder...). The other fact is: New MiniDV cam models are almost extinct! And what do they (including other multimedia devices) use for transfer now? Yep, USB 2 (and I understand USB3's announced). But certainly you and I will disagree with the USB's inconsistent transfer rates and put our last dime on the reliability of the FW. But we have to remember that as technology gets better, some stuff do turn from scrappy to become great. I find this not impossible.

    New technologies take a lot of resources to run it. If AVCHD is the format to stay, there will be adequate support for it soon enough, question being what market of audience is it targeted at. You are right in saying a good graphics card is needed for viewing, think further about capture cards (eg Blackmagic) too because they can accelerate realtime read/view/HD effects/encode. Most independent editors rely mainly on software-based rendering (cheaper), while the bigger players go by hardware-based processing. Question: Do we need tt amt of time shaved off and power? If yes, perhaps it will prove to be a good investment after all.

    2. The Issue of CMOS
    Lower costs of manufacturing plus lower power usage and the ability to be packaged in a really small and tight 'casings' (to consumers, compactness, to manufacturers, lower costs in materials) makes CMOS a favorable choice with manufacturers. (higher profit margins!)

    The camera I use (3 x 1/4" CMOS) lacks in performance under low light conditions and a combination of low-light + motion, but Sony's work (digital and electronics researches applied on implementations and cross-platform integration, the only thing I am impressed by them) applied on their chips help to an extent. They have even developed high speed CMOS sensors while I am writing. CMOS, being common on top end still cameras now (which are definitely better quality still images) is proving that it is indeed being developed to match up or even surpass CCDs.

    My sentiments: CMOS is old technology made affordable in recent years. At the end of the day, whether its advantages will wipe CCD out completely, but for the moment it seems to be a reality in a practical world.

    There seems to be a third issue you have brought up, cost.

    3. The Issue of Cost
    I decided to put this up separately. For some who does this for a living and are decision-makers, apart from all the hoo-has of technology, wisdom to spend limited moolah and to survive is a real issue.

    We cannot run away from the moving of the times and technology, but we can (at best) pre-empt and make informed purchases, maximising every dollar. I have some thoughts regarding this, but I think I have spent enough time thinking and writing for now.

    My five cents' worth. Other thoughts, corrections and responses from any folks besides Chris are welcomed.
    Last edited by nagar; 16th Dec 2008 at 00:25. Reason: typo & some 'audacious' claims tt I cannot believe I typed!
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  3. #23
    Hi Nagar

    Many thanks for the accurately worded comments. I guess we will have to learn to accept card based systems in the future and hopefully I will have a faster computer by then as well. What really stuns me is all the current domestic camcorders are HD AVCHD!! I very much doubt that any domestic consumer is able to edit the files so they must just play them from the cam direct to the TV via HDMI??? It still isn't a very edit-friendly format at all and I know that Panasonic provide a convertor for free to allow people to be able to process files.

    I still am largely unhappy with most new cams and their single 2" chips!! The rolling shutter effect is awful if someone happens to be doing flash photography to your direction and the chips ability to handle movement is pathetic. I would not dare to use it on my stedicam!!! I have even seen professional TV footage with motion blur caused by CMOS and a friend shot a paintball action clip a while ago and whenever the participants dashed to a new spot there was motion blur and in extreme cases the footage actually split. You are right it's probably cost factors and they will eventually make chips that are faster!!

    You input is greatly appreciated but for now I'll stick with my MD10000's!!
    They are surperb in low light and give a pretty fair image too!!


  4. #24
    Yup, perhaps the current sensing could be: Consumers don't play around much with their footages. And for those who does, they'll find a way a round, even if it takes time.

    Perhaps, maybe perhaps, they may figure out how to get global shutter (or its equivalent) to replace rolling shutter to resolve these issues you have mentioned.

    I believe we have at least 20 years that tape technology support will remain and still be used in certain countries around the world, but sadly it will likely not stay as a standard for cameras in capturing life's moving images in my country.. I gauge this by the use of audio cassette tapes and video tapes that are still widely used in other lands.

    And certainly I would agree with you that you ought to stick with your current cameras as they make the most quality and economical sense for now!
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

  5. #25
    Hi Nagar
    Judging how many tape systems still exist I would say it will outlive me!!!
    VHS came into being in the early 70's so it's heading for it's 40th anniversary soon and Standard 180min VHS tapes are freely available..VHS-C and SVHS are no longer made now but still reasonably obtainable. I think we still are pretty safe!! My local shop actually also has plenty of 8mm tapes on sale and 8mm (not even Hi-8) cameras disappeared from the market ages ago!!!


  6. #26
    I've had the Panasonic AG-DVC20P for just over two years. I'm glad I found this forum thread. I read or skimmed all the comments here in this thread pertaining to lighting, night shots, iris, gain and 3CCD vs CMOS and all that. Good stuff. I hope to read through this all again to learn how to get the best possible low light setting footage out of my camera.

    I hope to learn from all of you here ...

    Side note about low light and the AG-DVC20P:
    I had a video shoot of a party at a meeting facility a few weeks back. The party was not just for one business owner (the one that hired me) but for many businesses that won a magazine readers' poll ... favorite restaurant, favorite bank, etc. The business owner that hired me had a pre-party at her business and then boarded a charter coach bus to transport them all her guest to the magazine-hosted party.

    The venue was absolutely packed; dragging around a set of lights corded up to the nearest electrical outlet where people would not only be annoyed / distracted by the lights but could trip over the cords.

    Most of the almost hour's worth of video tape footage is low light. I also took some footage outside afterwards just for fun. I'll put a little montage together (no person's face, etc.) and post it up somewhere so you can see what the AG-DVC20P did (default settings - auto, not manual).

  7. #27
    Hi Gary

    Keep in touch and exchange ideas as I have the "local" PAL model that's made in Osaka and is called an MD10000 which is identical (apart from format) to the DVC20

    Just shot another wedding on Saturday and it turned out great!!!

    What I do nowdays to get a really bright pic is to use my LED lite panel mounted on the camera. It is awesome and costs under $50 to make!!

    Look at my signature link for a pic


  8. #28
    Great DIY page. The only DIY device I've tried to build is a stabilizer. I researched everything I could about different designs and selected one that looked simple enough to build and was fairly cost effective. (Although I did end up buying a new Manfrotto 486RC2 ball head to mount to the top of it to get the most versatility of how I mount the camera and thus how I can hold the stabilizer for different camera angles.)

    My stabilizer (worst case with camera) is about 4ft tall and 2 ft. wide.

    1st time I used it in real life for a client I shot the whole thing with it, had a gut feeling I should re-shoot with camera + tripod. Glad I did, the footage was jumpy. I also found the device dimensions a bit limiting for movement in small places. Better than camera on a tripod but not great. I think the handheld designs on your DIY page (rectangular and octagonal) would work better in the settings I've used my device in.

    It seems your pictures all have smaller camcorders on the stabilizers you show. Could the AG-DVC20P / MD10000 go on it just as easily? or is it too big/heavy a camera?

  9. #29
    Hi Gary

    With some of the DIY rigs the shoulder mount cameras don't use them (like the camcorder frame) So far I use the track dolly extensively, the lights all the time at weddings, as well as the bigger vehicle rig.

    On all my wedding shoots I use a Stedicam and the weight of the DVC20 is actually an asset!!! It's quite hard to get a stabilizer to balance and have a decent flying weight when the camcorder only weighs 400g!!!!

    At around 5lbs the DVC is great.

    When I made these rigs I started off with a little Samsung Hi8 camera which you might see in the crane photos then I had a Panasonic DS30 and 50 and a GS500 before the MD10000 came on the market!!

    The actual reason for starting the DIY rigs was that I was always used to a shoulder mount camera and these were my first plunge into MiniDV and I just couldn't seem to hold tiny cameras easily so rigs were born.


  10. #30

    rig for ag-dvc20P

    Today I made the PVC Camera Rig shown on your DIY page. (by viewing / using the info in the last video in your playlist called "Figg Rig")

    I actually made sure my upright PVC sections got the height enough to allow my ag-dvc20P to clear by a few inches. Knowing I might want the extra height, I bought 4 feet of 1-1/4 instead of 3 feet as the video title screen "parts list" said. I still ended up needing another 1 foot purchases to "make ends meet" ... literally.

    I modified the design slightly by adding a plate on which most of the ag-dvc20p's bottom sits on it. Otherwise, I found the camera teetered some on the thick bar/plate ... rotated aroud too much ... and seemed to put a lot of tension on camera mounting screw/bolt. So I put a mounting screw hole into the plate ahead of the thicker bar so the camera's forward-to-back center of gravity, which is 1-1/2 inches to the rear of the threaded mounting hole sits right on top of the thicker / sturdier bracket. Also, the thicker bar actually extends quite a bit to the right, had pre-drilled beveled holes which could be used to mount other accesories.

    Grand total ... even with the extra plate / pipe ... $32.96. Enough leftover PVC glue for my next project using PVC. It went together really smooth except for the last connection. The glue set before I could get it really snug ... so, one side's 1/2 taller than the other.

    My next project will be your LED light bank.

    Attached are two pictures ... one from the front, the other a side profile.

    Attached Images Attached Images

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