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Final Camera Decision

Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 8:23pm

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The Duelist

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Okay, I'm sure that I'm already known as the "Can't find a camera guy," but I'm down to the final two. I'm either getting the Canon HV30 or the Panasonic PV-GS500. The HV30 is widely agreed to be a good camera, but it's main attribute is HD. I cannot burn HD DVDs. Other than compositing flexibility, what's the point of HD if you can only see it on a computer? The Panasonic specializes in standard definition and is also considered a good camera, and has a manual focus ring (something I don't think the HV30 has), and many other good manual controls. Seeing as they're roughly the same price, but the Panasonic is designed specifically for my definition specifications, I'm leaning towards the Panasonic. But I'd like to hear your thoughts on these cameras. I don't know how many people have owned or used both, but I'd really appreciate some feedback.
Thanks!
-The Duelist.
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 9:35pm

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D3L3T10N

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The Hv30 has a focus wheel, which is basically a tiny focus right located on the left side of the camera, next to the lens.
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 9:47pm

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pdrg

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*personally* I would probably get the panasonic in your shoes, especially as I dislike HDV as a format so much (I'm known to be the HDV hater here) - I'd rather watch good SD over ok HD any day...
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 10:21pm

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The Duelist

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D3L3T10N wrote:

The Hv30 has a focus wheel, which is basically a tiny focus right located on the left side of the camera, next to the lens.
Noted. Thank you.
pdrg, though you dislike it as a format, which would offer better picture quality: HD converted to SD, or SD pure and simple?
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 11:32pm

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DVStudio

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Go with the Panasonic. I think it will be better for what you need it for. The SD may have better quality that if it is converted from HD-SD.
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 11:43pm

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mikeh

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I disagree. I would choos the HV30 or 20. I recently got one and am amazed with what can be done with it. Check this out: http://vimeo.com/1333375
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 11:54pm

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DVStudio

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mikeh wrote:

I disagree. I would choos the HV30 or 20. I recently got one and am amazed with what can be done with it. Check this out: http://vimeo.com/1333375
It is defiantely high qualtiybut, he can't use the HD footage, as he said with not being able to burn a HD DVD. While it would be great for some people, it would be a waste for what he needs. smile
Posted: Sun, 14th Sep 2008, 11:59pm

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mikeh

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Yes but the raw HD footage would be of higher quality. That way, when it is down converted to SD, it will still be of normal DVD quality. Most dvds we watch are SD but yet still are of amazing quality. For example, real films are shot on film. However, most of us don't own projectors to play this film.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 12:03am

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doppelganger

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mikeh wrote:

as he said with not being able to burn a HD DVD. While it would be great for some people, it would be a waste for what he needs. smile
So what if he cant burn a HD DVD... does anyone even burn HD DVDs
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 12:29am

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FreshMentos

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I would get the HV20 because I think the image quality looks fantastic. HD DVD's are no longer produced, they lost the format war to Blu-Ray. You can always print your project back to your tape which will allow you to watch your videos in HD on devices other than your computer. You can also just lower the resolution and put your movie on a normal DVD. Also, down-res'd HD footage looks fantastic on SD devices.

So yeah, get an HV20.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 12:43am

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mikeh

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Also, don't forget that it's nice to have those extra pixels. When your editing and adding effects or using green screen, they really help. Go to vimeo and search Hv20 or Hv30 and see what it can do. I'm sure it will amaze you!
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 1:03am

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The Duelist

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What I want to do is burn a standard definition DVD from my computer and play it on a standard definition TV. Why bother to shoot it in HD if I'm not going to get high quality in the end? Or are you saying that even when viewed on a SD TV, HD converted to SD footage is higher than footage that was SD in the first place? (I think this is what you're saying, FreshMentos, but I want to be certain).
And yes, I've seen test footage of the HV30. It's impressive, but I wouldn't call it "amazing." I'm worried that HD will just take up a lot of space on my computer, and down-res'ing it will only be another irritating technical chore. Please correct me if I'm wrong, because the HV30 seems like a great camera, and I can finally afford it.
Motion too, seems like a problem in HDV. High-speed action scenes that require lightsaber or similar rotoscoping are going to be difficult if I can't tell what sword is where.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 1:10am

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EvilDonut

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HD has 5 TIMES as much information as SD. 720x486 vs 1920x1080. That means MORE DETAIL in a scene.

Downconverted SD is better than SD native. Algorithms can pick and choose what pixels to throw out - resulting in a much more gorgeous picture. A google search can give you all the proof you need.

The compression on your digital cable HD is higher than HDV.

HDV can be ingested UNCOMPRESSED.

SD / MPEG-2 is COMPRESSED.

BluRay DVDs are COMPRESSED.

Most computer games people play 14 hrs a day - don't offer HD resolution and frame rates.

HDV has 24-bit audio and HD has superior color information.

So many myths about HD isn't scary and no wonder the HD world is so misunderstood.

I find it amazing how so many consumers buy HDTV widescreens and then only order SD from the cable co. I guess they like 4:3 black bars!

hdhead.com

d
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 1:19am

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mikeh

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The Duelist wrote:

High-speed action scenes that require lightsaber or similar rotoscoping are going to be difficult if I can't tell what sword is where.
That isn't a problem at all. Shoot in 60i, or even 24p, just with a high shutter speed. That will give you crisp images. Just make sure you have proper lighting.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 1:48am

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The Duelist

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Excellent. Thanks guys. That's what I wanted to know. And the shutter speed is so obvious! I can't believe I didn't think about that! ...Well, when you've spent seven years on a handicam, then shutter speed isn't exactly obvious. EvilDonut, I think that's been the singular most helpful post I've ever read. I appreciate all your responses and detailed answers to my silly questions, so that now my technology finally measures up to the script. I can't say enough how great the Fxhome community is!
-The Duelist
PS. Now that I've found a decent camera, maybe you'll get to see some of my dueling!
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 2:33am

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FreshMentos

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The Donut hit the nail on the head. Down-sizing your HD video is extremely easy, you just need to render it out at a SD resolution. Even though down-sized HD video would be the same resolution as SD, it will look crisper because like Donut said, the pixels that aren't as important are thrown out.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 3:35am

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Biblmac

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The Duelist wrote:

PS. Now that I've found a decent camera, maybe you'll get to see some of my dueling!
Can't wait to see it!
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 2:02pm

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pdrg

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EvilDonut wrote:

HD has 5 TIMES as much information as SD. 720x486 vs 1920x1080. That means MORE DETAIL in a scene.
Partially true - HDV uses nonsquare pixels so it's 1440x1080. Agreed on the more detail bit.

Downconverted SD is better than SD native. Algorithms can pick and choose what pixels to throw out - resulting in a much more gorgeous picture. A google search can give you all the proof you need.
Excellent - do you have any specific examples of the algorithms picking out the best pixels to produce a much more gorgeous picture? I'd be fascinated to know how they work, wouldn't they need to know what the subject matter is, etc?!

The compression on your digital cable HD is higher than HDV.
Possibly so, although do remember cable is a delivery not acquisition format - it is not expected that the compressed material will be edited and recompressed, it's already finished, graded, etc. The good looking stuff was likely shot on something like HDCAM or better, then edited, graded, and then transcoded right at the last stage, as opposed to captured already compressed to infinity.

HDV can be ingested UNCOMPRESSED.
How? Seeing as it's already highly compressed, how could you ingest it uncompressed?

SD / MPEG-2 is COMPRESSED.

BluRay DVDs are COMPRESSED.
Absolutely, highly compressed, you're right - but again these are delivery not acquisition formats

Most computer games people play 14 hrs a day - don't offer HD resolution and frame rates.
Sounds like an argument for SD to me?! heh heh...

HDV has 24-bit audio and HD has superior color information.
In what way is the colour information superior? It's 4:2:0/4:1:1 just like DV.

So many myths about HD isn't scary and no wonder the HD world is so misunderstood.
Some fresh myths from you yourself up above here!!! - I agree, SD (Pal vs NTSC), HDV vs HD, etc etc - not many people seem to really understand them, but prefer to pass on myths and rumours, which is a shame.

I don't care if the OP buys one camera or the other, I'm sure both will do him a good enough job, but I just had to challenge some of your post (which seems to be +3 and counting, so either lots of people believe the myths at face value, or everyone does understand the technical differences and somehow I'm wrong) for unsubstantiated/unempirical claims and/or just plain being wrong. Some bits are entirely correct and I agree with, some bits are only a part of the story (such as delivery vs acquisition formats).

Editing and grading is very destructive to ANY MPEG-compressed format (DVD, HDV, H.264, whatever), although a lot of the time you get away with it and people have such low standards (as you say, buying an HD set and SD cable service) they don't notice. This is why it's preferred to keep MPEG compression on acquisition to an absolute minimum and only if essential (eg a CineAlta F23 may use some mild MPEG4 going out to HDCAM-SR, but if you know what you're looking for, you can spot it depending on the shot). MPEG compression works really well for still/static shots, really really well. Genius in fact, especially once it's had a few frames to paint the background detail nicely. But people don't go to the cinema/TV to watch still images, and that's where its limitations show, you end up with reduced (to below SD quite often) resolution on scenes with a lot of movement in them. You'll also notice banding on gradients, and mosquitoes on text, both of which look horrible. And especially so as the chroma depth is 4:1:1/4:2:0, meaning the colour space cannot really take much more compression.

Oh, and nobody forget that HDV supports 1080i, so that's effectively 540 'real' progressive lines (at the simulated 1920 which is really 1440), and as you must deinterlace before scaling to avoid interlacing artefacts, you've not really got *that* much more to play with over your regular 480 DV lines.

So would I rather have a decent SD (let's say a nice digi one) image over an OK HDV one - yep, any day. Apparently I'm wrong, but I'll keep flogging the dead horse and trying to give people some more truths amidst, as you so eloquently put it Donut, "Myths about HD"

(PS - all you +3-ers, feel free to -3 me for this if I'm wrong! Just demonstrate a good argument.)

EDIT - Just noticed a +2 and a -1, the plusses are most kind but I'm curious about the -1, there seems to be no suggestion about what bits I got wrong (although I do appreciate the guidance from TimL regarding chroma subsampling in HDV for NTSC land) - I'd be interested to see what the -1 person thought I got so badly wrong as to recommend to the board to skip this entire post? I'm happy to be corrected and learn, so don't be shy!

Last edited Tue, 16th Sep 2008, 8:56am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 3:49pm

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EvilDonut

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So would I rather have a decent SD (let's say a nice digi one) image over an OK HDV one

Remember, your job as a filmmaker is to care about your "customer". There is NO such thing as people at home watching uncompressed HD. None.

xh g1 gives u what u need.

hdhead.com

d
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 4:27pm

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Bryce007

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I was also entirely confused about the +3 on a post that has such a large amount of incorrect information contained in it...
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 4:35pm

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Tim L

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pdrg wrote:

EvilDonut wrote:

HDV has 24-bit audio and HD has superior color information.
In what way is the colour information superior? It's 4:2:0/4:1:1 just like DV.
pdrg: HDV is always 4:2:0, even here in the NTSC land. I've heard it said that if your end format is std def DVD, that 4:2:0 source going on to 4:2:0 output for DVD has definite quality gains, compared to 4:1:1 color space DV source being converted to 4:2:0 for DVD. But I have no personal experience with testing that or observing it.

Duelist: I think the Canon can probably record in DV mode, and also can probably record in HDV and then output (via in-camera conversion to firewire output) as regular DV. The Sony HDV cameras generally have these features. So if the Canon does also, it offers the best of both worlds.

If somebody else can confirm about recording in std DV mode on the HV20/30, then you could always stick to DV if HDV doesn't work out for you. I bought a Sony FX7 earlier this year, and have only used it for a few times so far, and I've just stuck with DV recording -- acts just like an (expensive) DV camera if you want it to.

Tim L
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 4:54pm

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Bryan M Block

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Rating: +2

Can I interject here? wink

To pdrg's point- a good camera that takes good pictures is going to give you a good image...always. Would we be comparing the DVX100 to a Canon HV30? Is that an Apples/Oranges? comparison? The DVX has a great "filmish" image- that's what it was built for, and it shoots in SD- it also has more professional type of features than some of these consumer cameras that are being discussed.

To Evil Donut's point- I work with a guy that uses a Sony HVR-Z1, and he has noticed a jump in image quatliy, cleaner chromoa keys, and more detail using it in HDV mode over standard mode- regardless of what technology is used to arrive at that image.

So the question basically comes down to "Do you like the image that each particular camera produces?" and "what other features do you need out of your camera? The technology behind the way each camera arrives at those images each has it's own set of "gotcha!" limitation that may or may not matter to you.

Personally I like the images most Canon products put out, and Panasonic has made a reputation on their "film like" DVX and HVX cam images. Sony's always look a bit more "blue" and cold to me and Canon's always look like there is a pronounced bit of red in their images- Panasonics seem to vary widely with price point however- Canon seems like it tries to give the consumer a "high quality image" at every price point IMO though.

.02
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 6:37pm

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Mellifluous

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Tim L wrote:

pdrg wrote:

EvilDonut wrote:

HDV has 24-bit audio and HD has superior color information.
In what way is the colour information superior? It's 4:2:0/4:1:1 just like DV.
pdrg: HDV is always 4:2:0, even here in the NTSC land. I've heard it said that if your end format is std def DVD, that 4:2:0 source going on to 4:2:0 output for DVD has definite quality gains, compared to 4:1:1 color space DV source being converted to 4:2:0 for DVD. But I have no personal experience with testing that or observing it.

Duelist: I think the Canon can probably record in DV mode, and also can probably record in HDV and then output (via in-camera conversion to firewire output) as regular DV. The Sony HDV cameras generally have these features. So if the Canon does also, it offers the best of both worlds.

If somebody else can confirm about recording in std DV mode on the HV20/30, then you could always stick to DV if HDV doesn't work out for you. I bought a Sony FX7 earlier this year, and have only used it for a few times so far, and I've just stuck with DV recording -- acts just like an (expensive) DV camera if you want it to.

Tim L
Yup, the HV20 & HV30 can a) record in standard DV (4:3 and anamorphic) and also you can b) do a DV lock so that you capture as standard DV.

The HV20 has amazing hi-def but from what I read, you get more pixels from the GS500. That doesn't mean the HV20/30 isn't as good an option - personally I would go for it as it has all you need manual wise, and you're future proofing yourself for when you can write to hi def.

The Duelist wrote:

Okay, I'm sure that I'm already known as the "Can't find a camera guy," but I'm down to the final two. I'm either getting the Canon HV30 or the Panasonic PV-GS500. The HV30 is widely agreed to be a good camera, but it's main attribute is HD. I cannot burn HD DVDs. Other than compositing flexibility, what's the point of HD if you can only see it on a computer? The Panasonic specializes in standard definition and is also considered a good camera, and has a manual focus ring (something I don't think the HV30 has), and many other good manual controls. Seeing as they're roughly the same price, but the Panasonic is designed specifically for my definition specifications, I'm leaning towards the Panasonic. But I'd like to hear your thoughts on these cameras. I don't know how many people have owned or used both, but I'd really appreciate some feedback.
Thanks!
-The Duelist.
You ask what is the point of HD if you can only see it on your PC? Well what's the point of watching a DVD of a film that's a severely compressed version of an amazing 35mm image?

It looks better from a higher source quality, simple as.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 7:44pm

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Floro Solo

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mikeh wrote:

I disagree. I would choos the HV30 or 20. I recently got one and am amazed with what can be done with it. Check this out: http://vimeo.com/1333375
Could you please tell me what editing software you use? I don't seem to get these results in Premiere, even with a proper plugin.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 8:29pm

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Mellifluous

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FXhomer27312 wrote:

mikeh wrote:

I disagree. I would choos the HV30 or 20. I recently got one and am amazed with what can be done with it. Check this out: http://vimeo.com/1333375
Could you please tell me what editing software you use? I don't seem to get these results in Premiere, even with a proper plugin.
For more info about White Red Panic, I suggest checking out here:
http://rebelsguide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1641

where the creator has already answered questions.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 9:02pm

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mikeh

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FXhomer27312 wrote:

mikeh wrote:

I disagree. I would choos the HV30 or 20. I recently got one and am amazed with what can be done with it. Check this out: http://vimeo.com/1333375
Could you please tell me what editing software you use? I don't seem to get these results in Premiere, even with a proper plugin.
I didn't make it. However It did help sway my choice to getting an HV30. I like to see what can be done.
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 9:07pm

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Bryan M Block

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It says he Color corrected and treated it in post with Sony Vegas' tools and using a FREE plugin. Vegas has great Color Correction tools and lots of filters can be chained togetether and stored as a preset "chain" in vegas as well. Color correction is somewhat of an art as you learn to get a feel for different things and what different filters can do. I think one thing that makes digital look better is getting blacks to be BLACK instead of one of the various shades of dark digital grey that your camera will probably produce. Vegas has a "Black Restore" filter built in, but Magic Bullet is a great grading plugin for Vegas, I got my copy very, very cheap! and it gets the blacks down to BLACK. Honestly, the bult in contrast, HSL, Color Correction filters in Vegas are very good and alot of cool results on their own but Vegas also has a robust user base that programs and writes scripts and things for it. Here is the free Plugin for Vegas:
http://aav6cc.blogspot.com/
Posted: Mon, 15th Sep 2008, 11:40pm

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ben3308

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In regards to the grading on that HV20 flick...

I will say it was all done in vegas, and I used the aav6cc plugin to keep the skin tones. From there on it was very intuitive and experimental. Mostly using multipe brightness/contrast filters and color correctors. There was also some layering of solid color frames over the clips, and then playing with the opacity -- and then adding contrast again.
This is pretty much verbatim the way we grade, using color correctors and brightness/contrast multiple times on top of eachother. This guy is a man after my own heart, heh. And it's all in Vegas! Take that, less-filmic-looking-movie-producing FCP users!
Posted: Tue, 16th Sep 2008, 6:32am

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Atom

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The biggest thing to remember about the White Red Panic movie is that it isn't the immediate 'this camera looks great, let's buy it!' deal.

The movie creators are, quite obviously, using very careful, skilled, and artful lighting, color grading, editing, camera movement and camera settings to achieve the so-called 'movie-look'. And in fact, when you look at some of the closer shots, you can see just how 'video-y' or 'non-movie-ish' it looks. This can't be helped, really, because there's only so far you can go with a powerful but baseline $800 videocamera.

The HV20 is a remarkable camera (the one used in the short film, not the HV30)- a camera I might even start to swear by- but it isn't the immediate 'movie-look-fix' that everyone wants. Now, neither is the GL2, the XHA1, or even the HVX. But the three former are much closer and can give, in my opinion, much more of the 'look' than the HV20. And really, that all comes down to dollars and cents.

The price of those cameras, the 'prosumer' line, dictates a certain and look and quality, in certain specific respects, that the HV20 doesn't and can't fully match- simply because it's too cheap and basic a camera to do so.

Don't get me wrong, it is amazing- but don't expect the 'White Red Panic' results. As far as I've seen, they've taken the cam to the limit with that short; much the way the beautiful and poignant little short A Thousand Words did as well, albeit with the use of a costly 35mm lens adapter. Much in the way I, myself have become the poster boy for what the GL2 can do, people always need to remember that a great deal of talent and work goes behind any image that begins to look professional, and making snap decisions based on the images of an amateur film using a camera- even any of mine- is something I would greatly advise against.

Know what you're getting into, how much work you'll have to do, and if a 'look' or quality is within your reach before being disappointed by dissimilar results you may get during your own filming.
Posted: Tue, 16th Sep 2008, 6:46am

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EvilDonut

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This all can get very overwhelming for a newcomer. Just remember, don't worry about hd/sd/3ccd/35mm/zoom/prime/focal length/etc. Just get a good camera you can afford than worry about the rest of the production process.

CONTENT is what's important. If one day you're working a union shoot - you won't even be allowed to touch a camera! Concentrate on the story you want to tell.

Content is KING.

d
Posted: Tue, 16th Sep 2008, 7:29am

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Atom

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EvilDonut wrote:

This all can get very overwhelming for a newcomer.
And then...
If one day you're working a union shoot - you won't even be allowed to touch a camera!
You never change, my friend. smile
Posted: Tue, 16th Sep 2008, 8:46am

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pdrg

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EvilDonut wrote:

This all can get very overwhelming for a newcomer. Just remember, don't worry about hd/sd/3ccd/35mm/zoom/prime/focal length/etc. Just get a good camera you can afford than worry about the rest of the production process.

CONTENT is what's important...Concentrate on the story you want to tell.
Absolutely totally agreed smile
Posted: Tue, 16th Sep 2008, 2:44pm

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mikeh

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I think we should get back on topic. I would vote HV30/20.
Posted: Wed, 17th Sep 2008, 4:13am

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The Duelist

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I'm thinking the HV30 just has more flexibility overall, and yes, I'm aware of lighting and color grading that gives a "film" look. If I can get a "film look" out of a crappy handycam, then the HV30 should be no problem for me. I just need a better picture, period.
Posted: Wed, 17th Sep 2008, 10:46am

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ben3308

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Lighting only helps a 'film look' when you can control and adapt the camera to that light. Otherwise, you just have a lens grasping at straws of would-be professionalism.

I've heard good things about the HV30, but I could never use a camera that lacks controllable shutter and aperture. Sorry, but lighting = more information for grading and more mood in a frame. If you don't have light (which produces images in the first place!) you don't have anything. And, at least as far as the HV line is concerned, light can be a bit of a finnicky bastard with less-controllable cameras.

Just my two cents. Yes, I have seen incredible footage from HV20's. However, upon using one.........I wasn't impressed.
Posted: Wed, 17th Sep 2008, 3:42pm

Post 36 of 41

Bryan M Block

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The bottom line though is that for this price point, you are going to have to make some compromises on functionality. EVERY camera has certain limitations unique to it, and for the price point you are at- it's at least nice to see what those cameras are CAPABLE of.
Posted: Wed, 17th Sep 2008, 4:50pm

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D3L3T10N

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ben3308 wrote:


I've heard good things about the HV30, but I could never use a camera that lacks controllable shutter and aperture. Sorry, but lighting = more information for grading and more mood in a frame.
The Hv20 has shutter and aperture controls, so I'm assuming the Hv30 does as well. The only problem is that you can't mess with them during a shot.
Posted: Wed, 17th Sep 2008, 7:44pm

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ben3308

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You can't control shutter and aperture simultaneously. So no, it doesn't really have much control. You either risk the camera automatically tuning down to a low shutter when you have your f-stop set correctly, or just risk the camera losing depth when you have your shutter set correctly.

Great camera, I admit, but don't kid yourself about the control you have. I was, to be honest, completely enamored with the device until I got it in my hands and felt disappointed by its lack of features and options.
Posted: Wed, 17th Sep 2008, 8:06pm

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Mellifluous

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You can control different things at once in a workaround noted here:
http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?t=180

Kind of complicated but you get used to it.
Posted: Thu, 18th Sep 2008, 12:17am

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prokidsfilms

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get the vixia 21 or 30 canon
Posted: Thu, 18th Sep 2008, 7:07am

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Serpent

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ben3308 wrote:

You can't control shutter and aperture simultaneously.
Besides the workaround, you could always set it to the shutter you want with auto aperture and a 35mm adapter on the end and control the aperture on the lens. Then the aperture of the video camera wouldn't matter because the DOF will be based on the lens on the end. The camera's aperture will only be a variable when considering how the video camera's lens sees the 35mm adapter's focusing screen.

This only works, obviously, if you are using the HV20/35mm adapter combo, which is what a lot of people do. The look you get with a $500 HV20, $1000 Redrock rig, and a cinematographer that knows what he's doing can be phenomenal.