Well, the poking around is done and I have a new camera on the way which should land tomorrow. The Panasonic HMC70 was fine for its original intended purpose, green screen tutorial / interview type footage. However once I branched out into narrative work it just wasn't workable.
We've been using the DP's Canon but it irked me to have a $1600 piece of equipment that I couldn't use, so I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade. B&H buys old gear & offered $800 for the HMC70. Might have got a few pennies more on eBay but I'd rather not hassle with it, so it's on a UPS truck headed for NY as we speak (I told it to look Rod up once it got there).
Beyond the issue of not being able to use my gear, the Canon is also tape based. I've been full digital in the recording studio for so long I'd forgotten what a nuisance tape can be. Apparently you can only get a couple of uses out of each tape before the reliability becomes suspect, so it's essentially disposable media. However, what really got me moving on the upgrade was sitting around every night for an hour transfering the dailies from the camera to the computer. Real time. In the 21st century. You gotta be kidding me.
From a purist's perspective (and I'm glad I have a guy who's shooting for the best quality he can get) the DP wasn't wild about AVCHD but I was adamant about moving to a tapeless format. The Panasonics on P2 cards were his first choice, but the media is wicked expensive and my budget is finite. I want the best quality I can get, but this is a web series and best bang for the buck is a factor.
I was initially looking at the Panasonic HMC150, which seems to be viewed favorably in its class. After some conversation, we went instead with the
comparable Sony AX2000, which he felt was slightly better in specs. I'm sure either would do the job, so I trusted more experienced eyes. And so, this is the critter that's on the way:
Be nice to get away from tape. Even a week with it is one week too many. Sounds silly perhaps, but with my packed schedule, an hour a night is actually significant.