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  1. #1

    "Small cameras" and "big cameras"

    Hey there,

    Was asked a question the other day from one of my clients i have been filming for. My current equipment consists of Sony HVR Z1 and Sony PD170. I have been filming some rushes with this client on the Z1 for a new show so she has something for optioning. Now I don't know about you, but I consider the Z1 as being a pro camera. Considering this and taking into account her ignorance of camera knowledge and thinking bigger is better! I was posed the question, "Can you use the big cameras they use in TV"? By this I assumed she was either referring to the dolly mounted studio cameras and or shoulder mounts, ie HDWs, PDWs etc. I started to ask myself the same question, can I? Besides having a number of extra options, being mounted on the shoulder and bigger and heavier, (Not to belittle these in any way shape or form, I would love to have one!) surely a camera is a camera? It will have the same usual camera controls, ie iris, focus, shutter etc. The user may have to acquaint themselves with the whereabouts as all cameramen do with a new camera, even these are often placed in a similar location on most cameras for ergonomics. I know for example there is a Sony HVR HD1000 which I believe is not as sophisticated as my Z1 but is a shoulder mount.
    Can anyone please settle my sudden curiosity, maybe you own a HDW etc. I maybe completely wrong and they are different, but if my assumption is correct then essentially, yes, with a quick familiarisation I could use a "big" camera.

    Thank you and happy new year!!

  2. #2
    Hi Tom

    It's called "respect" and it's been with us since the year dot!!

    Yes, put a big ENG camera on your shoulder and you are a professional..use a tiny handheld and you are an amateur!!! Unfortunately it's something we have to live with as the client has a built-in perception that bigger is better!!
    Walk into a room with a 35mm camera with a honking great lens on it and everyone will think you are a professional..regardless of your skills and the end result. All you can really do is tell them that it might be small but the quality is outstanding.

    I have shot with shoulder-mount cameras all my life, not for "respect" but purely because I like them. I run two Panasonic HMC72's and yes, they look professional to my clients but I could do just as good a job with the baby brother HMC41 which is a handheld but has better features!!!

    At one of my weddings in November two guys doing pro weddings with Canon XH-A1's (which are about the same size as yours) looked enviously at my cam /Stedicam rig in amazement..little did they know that the cameras they were holding cost more!!!

    It's purely client perception so learn to love your camera if the size suits your shooting style!!

    Chris

  3. #3
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Ah now this is a question that I have experience of for sure!

    Like Dave and Chris have said, most people thing big is better, same with laptops and other things, cars for example.

    At school I use a PD150, which people pretty much take as being a real amateur camera, but to 'beef it up' a little I have a nice windsock on the mike, so it looks a bit more 'acceptable'.

    For my first 'own' camera I'm looking to buy an HD1000 (or something second hand of a similar price, but there isn't anything at the mo). I'm going for this camera for two main reasons - one being the price, and secondly because it's a shoulder mount camera, which as we know gets undue respect.

    If you feel you can convince the client that small is better in many cases, that's fine, otherwise use the car and laptop analogies. I have a 12.1" laptop that is better spec-wise than many people's in my school, yet people class it as a netbook, even though it can easily handle gaming and video editing (low-level, of course, compared to you guys!)

    James

  4. #4
    Thank you for your replies, the Z1 certainly looks pro and isn't really small either, I am very happy with the results but at the end of the day I believe, once you have an understanding of the basic functions on a camera the size makes no difference.
    Sony HVR Z1, PD170, Mac pro twin quad core 2.66ghz 16gb, FCP 7, CS3... and a partridge in a pear tree!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Imho, basically and in principle, they are the same on their various levels: handy-cam, camcorders, prosumer (semi-professional) and broadcast. The different manufacturers offer (slightly to noticeable) different bells and whistles from one another. Then the question becomes which was paired with the better lens and which is user friendly (in your budget)?
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  6. #6
    To Tom.

    This is an interesting question. I've been using a Sony HVR Z1E and PD 150, PDW 330, but now (because of my clients), I've moved on to HVR Z7, EX1 & EX3. And I must tell you that, Z1E and PD 150 couldn't give me the quality required by my clients especially in HD resolution.
    So, if your client wants a higher quality of image, then you have a good reason to move on to another kind of camera, big or small doesn't matter. What matters is the quality. It's up to you to convince your clients about the use of your choice of camera.

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