A&P Need Video Camera Advice (and lots more)

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by PumiceT, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    (If this is in the wrong forum, please move it and let me know - I couldn't figure out whether this was Art & Photograpy, or Computers & Programming.)

    My friends are in a fairly well-known band (in the genre of Hardcore Rock) and they're having their final 5 shows in January 2005. I've been asked to record all the video footage and do the editing. I own Vegas+DVD (version 4), a desktop PC with a 1.2 GHz processor and a Sony Vaio V505 (1.4 GHz Pentium M) with FireWire, and that's about all.

    So, between now and January 2005, I need to get some equipment and upgrades. I will start off by saying that I prefer Sony. I own ALL sony home audio and video.

    Keep in mind this is going on DVD and being sold commercially, but I don't have an official budget yet. (They will be getting an advance from the record label, which will either help pay me, or completely be my payment.) Feel free to post low-budget items and mid-level items as well as some dream items, you never know, right? I'd like suggestions for the following items (with the important features below):

    Video Camera (which format? MiniDV?)
    - Reliability
    - Battery Life
    - Video Quality
    - WideScreen Capability (even important - or is that best done in post-production?)
    - Ease of Use
    - Image Stability
    - Low-Light Sensitivity

    Upgrade Vegas to 5.0 for $250?
    - maybe a no-brainer, but you never know
    - I will NOT switch to some other software, so please don't post about how "product x" is better than Vegas

    Plugins for Vegas
    - Anything that you think is indispensible for commercial-quality production.

    Upgrade PC (for SURE)
    I usually build my own PCs or upgrade from what I have. My tower will support a standard ATX motherboard. I assume I'd upgrade the motherboard, processor, RAM, Video Card and get a DVD-Burner (Plextor?). The motherboard will likely have USB 2.0 and FireWire built in. Here's what I have that I'd like to use, if it makes logical sense. If you see anything here not worth using, or worth replacing, let me know your reason(s):
    - Adaptec 3000S Ultra-160 SCSI RAID card and 3 16-gig Ultra-160 SCSI drives available, but not currently being used
    - (2) 120-gig IDE drives (one of which is set up as external USB 2.0 & FireWire)
    - I have an M-Audio 2496 Audio Card
    - Plextor UltraPlex Wide SCSI (CD-ROM Reader)
    - Plextor PlexWriter 24/10/40A (CD Burner)
    - Standard 1.44 floppy
    - Network Card

    For 5 full days of recording (never more than 2 days in a row) - 2 weekends of Fri-Sat, and another single day:
    - How much tape should I expect to need?
    - How many battery packs (and which ones) would be best to have (assume both that I will and won't have access to power - might be best to be prepared for the worst).
    - Assuming this is a typical DVD with some extras, maybe secondary audio (if it's not too difficult), and titles and menus... how many hours should I expect to put into it?

    Should I do this as 5.1 surround? If so, what audio card (by M-Audio?) (NOT SOUND CARD) would be best-suited?

    I'm assuming at LEAST 80 hours of post-production, along with the 80 or so hours spent doing the actual recording.

    Aside from what I've listed, what am I missing?
     
  2. mojito

    mojito New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Messages:
    62,877
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd look at the Canon Optura line for MiniDV. They have by far the best 16x9 mode, where its true widescreen, not cropping. Instead of having 3ccd's as many others do, they have a RGB filter on the output, essentially doing the same thing but on the output instead of input. The result is a larger overall sensor instead of 3 really small ones. The XI gives you optical stabilization, the rest do digital, but the Canon Optura's digital stabilization is by far better than any other I've seen.

    Sony had been king of the night vision, but they went away from night vision to just making the sensor more sensative to light to do away with the green screen, and in doing so, Canon passed them up in terms of light caputing performance. Remeber Canon is the only camera company that makes video equiptment. The result is better lenses and performance.

    A Xl2 or GL2 would be in the drem category, the Optura Xi next, then the Optura 40, 30, 400 or 500. The Xi is the best bang for the buck.

    Sony's PC350 just never impressed me, and unless you go all out on a X2100, I'd stick with Canon. Panasonic has some intresting ones, especially on the high end prosumer and low end consumer, don't think they really have what you're looking for in the moddle so to speak.
     
  3. mojito

    mojito New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Messages:
    62,877
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sony and Panasonic have more margain on them, and have more commission, so if you go into a store keep that in mind. So for someone who sells cameras to reccomend the Canon's over the others, really speaks about their quality and build. The latest generation of Canon's just blew away the competition.
     
  4. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Thanks Viper.

    I posted this on the Vegas Video forums, and the guys there (being super-pros) are telling me I'll need dollies and cranes, and 7-9 cameras, not MiniDV but DVCAM. :eek:

    This is a hardcore rock band that has sold closer to 100,000 records, not millions. The shows will have like 500 people there, not 1000s.

    So yeah... any idea how much time I should expect to need for editing, etc.?
     
  5. nitro

    nitro Guest

    Super 8mm?
     
  6. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    43,114
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    east coast
    How are you going to sync the video to the music? You will need to have a master audio track and some way of syncing the various shots of the performance to the master track. Professionals use a format that allows time-code editing and recording. Without some method of syncing you're going to have to rely on trying to match the picture to audio by eye, not the easiest thing to do. This is why others have suggested using multiple cameras, all synce to a master time-code, for shooting live performances.

    I assume that you are concentrating on shooting one song and that you're going to shoot the band performing the song from different angles on different nights. If so, will the lighting be the same during each performance? Do you have the angles and shots that you want figured out? Do you have a tripod and if not, do you expect to hand hold the camera or do you have some other way to keep it steady? Do you want a moving camera at times? If so, have you figured out how to move the camera without jiggling it?

    During editing, estimate that you'll spend five times longer than you think you'll need....then double or triple that.

    What is your master copy format? You will need to have a DVD glass master made if you expect to make DVD copies that will play on all DVD players. A glass master can cost about $3000 to make. This does not include the authoring.

    If this is going to be broadcast, you will need to meet broadcast specifications. MiniDV is generally not acceptable for broadcast. You will eventually have to bump up your master to Betacam or digital Betacam for broadcast.

    These are just a few things to think about. If you've never produced a video before, be prepared for a rude awaking from those who you will eventually deal with.
     
  7. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    I hear you on all points, so don't think I'm ignoring your warnings.

    I won't be dealing with it, I'll provide a home-made DVD, and let the record company deal with the rest (I hope).

    I will synch the audio from the board to the video as best I can visually and using the audio from the camera's mic. Some shots won't need synching, and some may not really be from the same point in time that they're being used for.

    I'm sure I'm getting in over my head, but this is how I learn.

    Any recommendations for a lower-budget camera?
     
  8. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    43,114
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    east coast
    Let me ask you this. Does the record company know your background as a video producer? Are they aware of the limitations of your gear? If so, then they probably don't want to ever broadcast the video, rather they simply have a video of the band that they can use for bookings or whatnot. If not, then you owe it to yourself and to the record company to explain exactly what they will be getting.

    As for a low-budget camera, personally for me that would be in the $5000-$8000 range. If you need to go lower, then maybe some of the other guys here can help you.

    Good luck with your shoot and I hope it turns out well.
     
  9. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Thanks!
    I don't know if the record label really cares all that much. What they'll want is to sell a DVD. I don't think they'd care much beyond that. I'll be meeting with the band on Thursday night. I will bring up these issues. Thanks again for pointing out the hurdles we may have to climb over!
     
  10. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Ok. I got more information...

    The DVD will be more of an overview of the band's history. Video from the final 5 shows will be less important than I originally thought. Mostly interviews with people and some backstage shots, as well as some live clips, but not shown in a "concert" way. It's unlikely that they'd even use one whole song from each performance. So, that said...

    I'm thinking of getting one of the following cameras... Any advice would be GREAT.

    Canon Optura Xi
    Sony DCR-TRV70
    Sony DCR-TRV80
    Sony DCR-HC85
     
  11. mojito

    mojito New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Messages:
    62,877
    Likes Received:
    0
    Try them all out. Personally I would go with the Xi, but definetly try them out. If the layout and features isn't to you're liking, then one of the others may be. The worst thing is to get new equiptment and go into a situation not knowing how to use it. I unfortunetly see it everyday.
     
  12. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    The ONE thing I don't like about the Xi is the fact that its 16:9 mode actually records the 16:9 image squeezed into a 4:3 full-frame. Kinda weird, to me.

    Which makes me assume that it would be a pain to deal with on the editing end.
     
  13. mojito

    mojito New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Messages:
    62,877
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its actually better in some respects. its actually cropping instead of pulling the image, but yeah, its kinda weird
     
  14. Redsand187

    Redsand187 OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Messages:
    13,781
    Likes Received:
    117
    Location:
    WA
    Well, what is the budget? If you are dealing with a real band, with a real record label, I'd be using at least prosumer cameras. The minium I'd use would be two Sony PD170's, some fluid tripods, and a small array of wireless microphones and Digital Audio Recorders... IE: 10,000 dollars minimum in gear. OR, you could rent this stuff for pennies on the dollar. Probably something like 1000 bucks for the time you'd need it.

    Concerts and consumer cameras DO NOT MIX. Remember, you are dealing with low light situations. Most consumer cameras suck it it's not daylight. If this is a DVD for retail, you want to be as close to broadcast quality as possible. That means a PD170 or the like is the bare minimum.
     
  15. PumiceT

    PumiceT New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Well, due to budget, and other logic*, I'm going with the Canon Optura 40. I found it for $654 shipped, from ElectricSam.com - they claim to be an authorized Canon dealer. I would have gone with the Xi, but I can't justify spending $200 more for what seems to be just a larger camera with only a couple other (unimportant?) features. I think once this project is done, I'd be more likely to use the little Optura 40 vs. the larger Optura Xi.

    ElectricSam.com is out of stock, but they should have it within 14 days, at which time they'll contact me for re-approval, so it's not too late to cancel, if anyone thinks I've done something terribly wrong.

    The 40 has (from what I can tell) the same 16:9 mode, same manual focus, same CCD, less motor noise (according to the CNET review), and with a smaller LCD display, it may likely get better battery time. It has a top-loading cassette, as opposed to the bottom-loading of the Xi.

    Anyone have comments? Concerns? Did I do the wrong thing? :noes:

    *The camera will only be used for interviews. The rest of the footage already exists and will be imported from wherever I can get it (photos, videos, etc.). Once this project is over, I don't see myself "needing" a $1,000 video camera, and the size will become a major factor in my use. The smaller camera will be more likely to find itself by my side for vacations and other little events. I'd rather spend the other $200 or so on the computer (or the Canopus ADVC-100).
     
  16. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    43,114
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    east coast
    If this camera is going to be used for interviews, what are you planning to use for mics, lights & tripod. If you say you're just going to use the mic on the camera...good luck getting usuable audio. If you're going to shoot in available light...good luck getting good pictures and if you're going to hand hold the camera....good luck getting stable video.
     

Share This Page