Looking for advice on my first pro video camera for small productions

liberty610

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Oct 31, 2012
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Hey everyone.

I am currently looking to get more into video work for my small project studio. I edit in Sony Vegas Pro 13, and I have expirience in small production editing. I do a lot of general shooting at family events and what not, and I always get requests for DVDs or Blu Rays of the events. I also do projects that require a sit down interview type situations and shooting on the go.

I started out in 2008 with a Canon HV30 and eventually went to a Sony HDR-Cx580 with it's tapeless recording and full HD. The CX580 is a good camera for every day shooting, but I am really looking to get a 2nd camera with more pro features that can be used on small sets for shooting interviews and maybe doing live video pod casts.

I was currently looking into Sony FDR-AX100 because it has 4k abilities, but I am not sure I want to go with a camera that is more designed for a consumer. It has great reviews and all, but I have a lot of audio gear I would like to start incorporating into my videos with out needing a lot of extra add ons. XLR inputs for shotgun and hand held mics are peaking my interests so I can use better mics for better audio.

My other interests is in the Sony HXR-NX100 Full HD NXCAM. But I am not sure if I should invest into a camera without 4K abilities, as 4k is starting to become more common. I know 4k eats up a lot of data and what not, and I read that sometimes it is not worth the headaches it takes to work in 4k when a good full HD camera is used.

I have never owed a professional video camera, but I really want to start getting into more serious projects with one. With that, I am also looking into small budget lighting systems, and recommendations for a pro tri pod (on a budget of course).

I am looking to stay within the $1600.00 price range for the camera. Any suggestions or help would be fantastic. Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

Jlipsphoto

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Jan 7, 2016
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The question to ask yourself, when it comes to the camera is, do you really need the 4K? if the people you are creating content for won't be viewing it in 4K, then you may be better off going with a higher quality camera without 4K. Especially given your budget limitations. If you don't really need the 4K, go with the Sony HXR-NX100.

What is you budget for everything else (lighting and Tripod)? For a decent tripod you would be looking at $1600.00 or more. I will give you the same suggestions I game someone else. You can get one such as a Manfrotto 502HD for a little over $200 for the head or around $450 for the head and legs. There are cheaper ones out there too, but they will not produce as smooth a movement as the more expensive ones. Keep in mind with tripods you most certainly get what you pay for. Professional video tripods cost around $8,000-$12,000.

As far a lighting goes, LED panels will offer the most consistent light and not put off a lot of heat. We use Litepanel, but they are really expensive. Around 2000.00 for one light. you can get them a lot cheaper, just make sure they are daylight balanced.I am not sure of the light consistency of the cheaper ones since I have not tested them.
 

liberty610

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Oct 31, 2012
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Thanks for the reply. I am actually in talks with a partner who already has a lot of the lighting gear, and a small studio for the interview type things. He's requesting me to look more into an on location run and gun camera.

I was looking into different options for that. I found a smaller camera from JVC. It does have a smaller sensor, but it would give me a bit more money to put towards a solid tripod, and it does shoot 4k. I know 4k isn't in huge demand right now, but I would make use of the higher resolutions for cropping in for an HD output in Vegas. B&H photo has the XLR handle and a JVC shotgun mic in the package for a little over $1200.00. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1194106-REG/jvc_gy_hm170ua_4kcam_compact_professional.html


$1600.00 for a tripod just is out of my reach right now. I was looking at the Manfrotto 502HD though, and with the JVC. I am pretty much new to the pro video game, so I am looking for a camera that I can work with to learn somethings and then eventually move up to an even more serious camera in a couple years or so.

Is this JVC a decent start camera? I saw this guy review it on Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/125139462
 

Jlipsphoto

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Jan 7, 2016
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for interviews you never want to use a shotgun mic unless you have to, especially if you are shooting in a noisy environment. It take 5 minutes to get someone mic-ed with a lavalier microphone and you will get much cleaner sounding audio.

From what I have read about the JVC you are looking at, people seem to really like it. I only saw one person who had issues with it and he returned 2 of camera because of the same issue. He said there was unacceptable chromatic distortion where light areas met dark areas when the lens was zoomed all the way out. Without seeing a video or being able to play with the camera myself, I can't really form an opinion about his findings.

Not sure if it matters to you, but this camera does not have HD-SDI outputs on it. There is a different model of the same camera that does, but it's 1999.00. It also does not PAL only NTSC. That may not matter since PAL is a European standard, but I'm just throwing it out there.
 

liberty610

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Oct 31, 2012
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I know about the interview/lav mic situation. I already have a couple of those I use. But I never like going with internal mics on cameras of course. I saw a youtube review on that camera that said the internal camera noise was an annoying issue for the internal mic, so the shotgun was a good idea.

I need it in NTSC, so the no PAL situation is nothing to me. The reviewer complaining about the chromatic issue, yea, I saw him complaining on almost every single website I was looking at the camera on. He seems to be the only one with the issue. So I wasn't too bothered by that.

As far as the HD-SDI output goes, I have no real xp with using one. I mostly shoot to tape (well, card now these days), and load the footage into Sony Vegas for online and blu ray discs, or even still DVDs.
 

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