13 Replies Latest reply on Aug 19, 2013 7:07 AM by Paul R Stark

    2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots

    Paul R Stark Level 1

      I use the Panasonic HVX-200p for my studio work which is almost all green screen and usually shot at 720p30 or 720p60. I capture direct to my workstation using OnLocation CS4 via firewire.

       

      Now I need a 2nd camera to capture on-site, outdoors mostly, but possibly some indoors. End use is educational DVD's and perhaps online courses, probably in H.264, so I don't need broadcast quality.

       

      I need to go cheap on this because of my budget. I have little knowledge, but how about an inexpensive DSLR? My concern with these is that the codec is AVCHD [I think] and I've read about how this strains the PC requirements, is not easily digested (unless that's improved with CS6), etc. (see my Profile for workstation specs). Also, I'm not sure how it would look with the Panasonic keyed footage.

       

      There is another option: carry a laptop with OnLocation CS4 installed and capture with it using the Panasonic. Granted, it is cumbersome and hinders in other ways, but it is possible. This choice, if acceptable, would require me to buy a laptop with a decent battery life (my existing laptop is an older, core 2 duo & the battery died long ago). I'd like to hear opinions on this because I don't know if this option would be cheaper than a new camera and/or give me better quality.

       

      Anyway, I think you get the idea. I am most grateful for all recommendations. I am willing to consider used cameras, if that works.

       

      Paul

       

      P.S. I need at least one wireless microphone.

       

      Message was edited by: Paul Stark

        • 1. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
          SAFEHARBOR11 Most Valuable Participant

          Hi Paul,


          I would look at the Panasonic AG-AC90, at around $1700 street. I've researched this camera quite a bit and the image is said to be exceptionally sharp, and has a very clean gain in low light. Has individual rings for zoom, focus, iris, and features XLR audio inputs. Offers many formats including the 720p60, so would be able to match current camera in that respect. This is the most bang-for-the-buck in this price range, without going "consumer".

           

          DSLR is not a good option IMHO, unless you already own a variety of compatible lenses and want to go "cinematic, shallow DOF". They are a different animal than a camcorder.


          The AC90 records as AVCHD, as do the majority of camcorders today, but your box will edit that just fine. I have similar computer specs, and no issues.

           

          If you need a smaller budget, I believe Panasonic has a small hand-held consumerish model that uses the same chips, so might yield a similar image. Don't recall model number. None of the new cameras have Firewire, so OnLocation is not an option for you.

           

          One more thing, the AC90 does not have a built-in ND filter, you would want to get one or two for outdoor shooting in bright sun.

           

          Thanks

           

          Jeff Pulera

          Safe Harbor Computers

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
            Paul R Stark Level 1

            Hey, thanks, Jeff. I really appreciate the response, particularly given it's the only one I got.

             

            I'll look for the handheld Panasonic with the AC90's chips. It's probably one of the camcorders here: http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/cameras-and-camcorders-camcorders?selectedTopNavId=nav4.

             

            As for firewire, that's just what I'd use with OnLocation CS4 if I go the laptop route using the HVX-200. The beauty of just about every manufacturer except Panasonic is that the memory cards are relatively inexpensive. Hence, great quality and ease of use on the go.

             

            Thanks again,

             

            Paul

            • 3. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
              SAFEHARBOR11 Most Valuable Participant

              Hi Paul,

               

              You're using the P2 media - the AC90 uses the inexpensive SDHC media. Accepts 2 cards at once, so you can span really long recordings from one to the other, or record same to both cards at once for backup.

               

              For a cheaper "HandyCam" size rig, check out the HC-X920 from Panasonic.

               

              Thanks

               

              Jeff Pulera

              Safe Harbor Computers

              • 4. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                Paul R Stark Level 1

                Right. I was thinking of my Panasonic and all the other poor souls out there with a similar camera.

                 

                Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.

                • 5. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                  There is also this:

                  http://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero3-black-edition

                   

                  I know several training clients including in the aviation industry who use those and find the acquisition fine for them. They are so cheap, might be worth taking 1 for a spin before you spend to much.

                   

                  Eric

                  ADK

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                    Paul R Stark Level 1

                    Eric,

                     

                    That's about the coolest thing I've seen, but no wireless mic.

                     

                    Even still, it just looks like something you gotta have. I mean, even shooting underwater? C'mon!

                     

                    Thx.

                     

                    Paul

                    • 7. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                      You should be able to run a Sennheiser Wireless mic set with an XLR to 3.5mm adapter

                       

                      Eric

                      ADK

                      • 8. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                        Paul R Stark Level 1

                        Oh, that's interesting.

                         

                        Can you think of any reason why my Sony wireless 3-pin XLR with a converter wouldn’t work?

                         

                        Thx.

                         

                        Message was edited by: Paul Stark

                        • 9. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                          Long as the wireless system has it's own power and doesnt require any phantom power then it should work fine with the 3.5mm adapter.

                           

                          Eric

                          ADK

                          1 person found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                            Paul R Stark Level 1

                            Yep. Good 'ol AA batteries. Looks like I'm in business.

                             

                            I should mention I have a friend whom I just discovered has one. His comment on performance in low light was, "It's OK in low light. I wouldn't call it good". I trust him on this since he majored in video in college and he's done a lot of professional work. He certainly is knowledgeable and has all the "toys" I can only dream about.

                            • 11. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                              ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                              I have seen allot of amazing shots on those for the price and they are all outdoors. I wouldnt try shooting a hunting project with em but should be fine for most.

                               

                              Eric

                              ADK

                              • 12. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                                Troy_w1 Level 1

                                Hi Paul,

                                Both my cam's are panosonic, and though a little above the one in question in terms of price range, i can give a little feedback on what is similar between them.

                                 

                                Apart from the dreaded AVCHD problems CS5 and early versions of CS6 had, you shouldn't have to much trouble with it.

                                Both of my cams;

                                AG-AC130

                                Panasonic AG-AC130 AVCCAM HD Handheld ... - B&H Photo Video

                                & AG-AC160

                                Panasonic AG-AC160 AVCCAM HD Handheld ... - B&H Photo Video

                                use the dual SDHC cards, apart from making sure you copy the entire card, you will be fine. The file structure has to be completely intact otherwise timecode, audio and spanning clips will get messed up and cause you headaches.

                                 

                                My cam's are extremely good in low light, stomp all over the famed Sony Z7's of yesteryear. As long as your not shooting anything fast moving, if you need the light lower the shutter speed to 1/25 and open the iris right up you will get decent footage in lower light situations.

                                 

                                One thing you won't get in that model is the DRS function which is revolutionary to say the least, in a nutshell it supresses overexposure and boosts shadows.

                                 

                                In addition you'll have to xlr inputs so add wireless, or even a boom mic (much better price to quality ratio) with ease.

                                 

                                The GoPro's are amazing, but in my opinion totally sh*t in low light situations. People will argue that the newer models are much better, but I hate any grain. Another option with your low light requirements would be to add one of these Z96 LED, They are amazing for the size, easy to attach to a hotshoe, dimmable and unbelievably bright. Color temp isn't bad either, can be a bit cold\blue at full kick but has two magnetic diffusers ( i usually just manually change the temp in cam but lower budget cameras don't often have this function). Even doing an Auto WB would help to correct the temp.

                                 

                                Hope this helps you a bit

                                 

                                Troy

                                 






                                • 13. Re: 2nd low-cost camera for on-site shoots
                                  Paul R Stark Level 1

                                  Hey Troy.

                                   

                                  Thanks a lot for your input. Unfortunately, those cameras exceed my budget considerably, but I'll keep them in mind for the future.

                                   

                                  Paul