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New Videographer- Good Camera for Weddings?

by dressner / April 2, 2007 9:14 AM PDT

Does anyone have suggestions for a starter camera that would be good for weddings and such? I'm looking for a 3CCD camera with good audio and headphone jack for less than $1,000.

Thanks so much!

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have you done any research?
by boya84 / April 2, 2007 9:56 AM PDT

camcorderinfo.com is a place to start...

If you have done some research, what is on your shortlist?

You will also want a mic-in jack.

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lots of reasearch
by dressner / April 2, 2007 11:15 PM PDT

I've done some research, I just can't decide. And yes, mic or XLR ports is a must.

On the low end, I'm thinking of a GZMG505, Pan PV-GS500 (no headphone jack though), or something like that. Does anybody know of a good review on the Canon HV20? That's about what I'm looking for.

A Canon XL2/GL2 would be nice, but I can't really afford either.

So, anybody know of a good camera in the $1,000 range with good video (good low light too) and mic/XLR ports?

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I really wouldn't recommend the GZ505...
by whizkid454 / April 3, 2007 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: lots of reasearch

JVC has not had good luck with their HDD camcorders. Poor video quality and hard-to-edit file formats. The Pana seems to get pretty good reviews, but what I'm wondering is are you doing the official videography for the wedding or are you just a guest who wants a video of the bride and groom's wedding where it doesn't necessarily have to be excellent in quality?

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whizkid asks good questions - as well,
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 1:07 AM PDT
In reply to: lots of reasearch

Is the external mic (or mics) part of your budget? How about a XLR adapter like a BeachTek DXA-6 or DXA-6vu?

For the ceremony, a wireless clip-on would be appropriate. Sennheiser makes a nice portable system (the base station can be battery-powered and is the same size as the body pack) but it is pricey. A good XLR adapter will cost, too. Even a decent wired mono shotgun mic will cost... (Rode or NRG Research). Then there's the tripod and a couple of extra high-capacity rechargeable batteries, a sturdy case (like a Pelican or SKB)... Will you have a boom person assisting? A good graphite boom and a shock mount and a "zeppellin" wind screen will add up...

As for a review of the Canon HV-20, <http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-HV20-Camcorder-Review.htm>

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so... I guess I am confused.
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 1:14 AM PDT
In reply to: lots of reasearch

You stated that you want a 3CCD camera, but the HV20 is a single CMOS...

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sorry
by dressner / April 3, 2007 3:01 AM PDT

Yeah, I take the 3CCD thing back... nice but not necessary.

Yes, I plan to eventually buy a shotgun mike. Thanks for the camcorderinfo review, it was pretty helpful. I'm thinking that the HV20 isn't the thing for me.

High Def is not really necessary. Really I just want good video, good manual controls, and decent audio. I'm starting to lean towards a PV-GS 320 or 500. Any ideas for choosing between the two? I found a really good deal on the 500, but does it have a headphone jack?

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according to
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: sorry
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Panasonic-PV-GS500-Camcorder-Review/Audio--Playback--Connectivity.htm

There is no headphone jack - but it *might* be possible to use the AV-out to monitor that audio level you are capturing. You might be able to connect the included AV cable (which you would normally use to connect the camera directly to a TV for playback) using adapters to a headset. That cable plugs into the computer and has RCA jacks that are yellow/video - red/right audio - white/left audio.

A shotgun mic is ONE mic to have in your toolkit. You *should* have several different mics for different situations. If you are at the back of the room during the ceremony, a shotgun mic will not be the right tool - unless you run a long cable from the camera to the mic (which means you need to use balanced - XLR cables/connectors - which means you need an XLR adapter... and at minimum, a mic stand). Closer is better for mic placement so that is why a wireless clip-on is strongly suggested. It can be clipped to the person presiding over the ceremony as they are typically right in the middle of the vows.

"Really good deal"... be careful. If you are internet shopping, there are LOTS of scams out there. They do things like sell you the camera and charge you extra for the battery, power supply and other stuff that normally comes in the box. Hint: reputable dealers might charge more, but you get what you pay for... whether internet based or brick/mortar store.
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thanks
by dressner / April 3, 2007 5:58 AM PDT
In reply to: according to

Good tips, but it's starting to sound expensive. I'd really like to keep it all under 1 grand. I know a guy who has a PV-GS300 and doesn't even use an external mic for his weddings. (he says the internal is good) I will probably end up having a wireless mic on a stand (or a clip-on) so I can move around while things are going on.

I'm thinking I can't really afford XLR, can you still get good results with a 1/8" jack?

And does anybody have any good suggestions for cameras? Best I've found for the price and what I need is the PV-GS line. I think I'll be left wishing I had a headphone jack though...

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XLR is needed
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 6:30 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

if you have long cable runs. Over 25 feet or so. This is because the balanced cables/jacks cable are designed to shield against Radio Frequency (RF) and Electro-Magnetic (EM) Interference. If you don't have long runs (or if there are no florescent lights or strong RF sources) then you can get away with not using this stuff.

So... let's say you're using a shotgun mic mounted to your camera. The distance from the mic to the mic-in jack is less than a foot and the cable itself will probably be a little longer than that - but not 25 feet... In the case of the clip-on, the base-station connects to the camera - and so quite short as well... the mic *could* be 30 feet away or more, but it is a wireless connection, so the whole balanced/unbalanced discussion does not even come into the equation... BUT, the better, pro-grade mics are typically XLR. There are useable mics that use 1/8" jacks. A "wireless mic on a stand" may also work... You just need to understand the limitations and your requirements. You also need to get to know the MANUAL audio settings on whatever camera you end up with - and when that feature is used, you can see the audio levels on the LCD or viewfinder... the headphone jack is nearly unnecessary.

If your friend is saying his camcorder internal mics are acceptable for weddings, he is either close to the audio source or is using something else to record the "dialog" and adding that to the video in post production... or the venue's PA system is used so the main loudspeakers carry the "discussion" for everyone (including cameras) to hear (this would not work if the ceremony is outside and un-mic'd)... or my standards are WAY too high... I refuse (up until now, anyway) to shoot weddings, but have been doing behind-the-scenes and "making of" type video and I shoot live music-band performances pretty regularly...

I think the Panny PV-GS line is pretty good - but the camera is merely the first tool in the toolbox. The tripod and extra batteries and case and maybe one of the external mics you want immediately. The other stuff you can get later.

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thanks
by dressner / April 3, 2007 6:52 AM PDT
In reply to: XLR is needed

Well, that pretty much answers my question. Thanks for the help!

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I've been thinking about your headphone issue...
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 7:59 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

In an earlier post, I indicated that you should be in manual audio mode - and when you do that, you can see the levels - and adjust as needed. Not real easy to do with the cameras we are talking about because the audio level adjustments are usually in menus - and not separate controls found in pro-grade cameras. But the controls and "feedback" is there.

Why do you think you need the headphone jack?

I *used* to use headphones for everything - but have since learned my camera - and now, the only times I typically use the headphone jack are when:

1) I have a boom ops person and they need to know what the mic is getting (because they cannot see my sound-level meters)

and

2) I am taping a band and rather than using an external stereo mic I am taking a board feed of a discreet channel (two if stereo). I want to make sure I can hear all the properly mixed instruments and vocals - not just a few (which can happen - typically in a small venue - if you don't get discreet channels and get fed the same thing going to the mains all you will hear on the recording will be keyboards and vocals).

Otherwise, when I working by myself (no boom ops), I can see the levels, so I know what I am getting...

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If there is an amplifier between you and the mic, you really
by Kiddpeat / April 3, 2007 8:47 AM PDT

need to listen to the sound. That amp could be clipping without you seeing any clipping on your meters. I've had it happen to me, and it was really tough to diagnose since there was absolutely no visible clipping in the recorded wave form. In my case, it was the mic preamp.

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Yup... Agree...
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 9:47 AM PDT

depends on the mics and configuration being used. Since this was away from the topic (wedding videos), I didn't think it an appropriate discussion item.

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(NT) I'm just dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s
by Kiddpeat / April 3, 2007 10:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Yup... Agree...
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If you plan to charge people for your services, you need
by Kiddpeat / April 3, 2007 8:39 AM PDT
In reply to: thanks

more money and a better plan. If you want to do it right, it takes good equipment, training, and experience. The "I know a guy" approach will lead you to some very angry customers and potential lawsuits. It's hard to think of too many other situations that are more volatile than people unhappy about the recording of a wedding.

If this is a hobby thing that you do for friends at no charge, then you can get along with more modest equipment.

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Just starting out
by dressner / April 3, 2007 9:03 AM PDT

Headphones sound like they could go either way. If the camera I'm looking at doesn't have a headphone jack, it's not the end of the world. But if it has a headphone jack, it would be nice.

As for myself, I have experience editing and I have done alot of videos for free. I'm really just trying to get started in videography and I'm definitely not going to charge much (if at all, at first).

Can anyone recommend a good 1/8" wireless mic?

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back to mics?
by boya84 / April 3, 2007 10:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Just starting out

I have heard/read good things about RODE:
http://www.amazon.com/RODE-VideoMic-Directional-Camcorder-Microphone/dp/B0007U9SOC/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-1179525-6923111?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1175644117&sr=8-1

I use a NRG SA-568 and Sabra SMM-1 and like them a lot
http://www.amazon.com/SA-568-Dual-Mode-Shotgun-Microphone-Accessory/dp/B0000E215C/ref=sr_1_12/104-1179525-6923111?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1175644352&sr=8-12
+
http://www.amazon.com/Sabra-SSM-1-Universal-Shock-Mount/dp/B0009G1L6M/ref=sr_1_17/104-1179525-6923111?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1175644422&sr=8-17
I used the SA-568's cold shoe mount and replaced the mic holder with the Sabra's + a little modification (sliced about 1/3 inch off the bottom off the Sabra piece so the whole thing looks nice and works great when mounted to the camera's cold shoe...


The inexpensive wireless mics (handheld or clip-on) are not worth wasting money on... Save for a Sennheiser or Shure system.

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Camcorder for weddings
by triplec123 / December 25, 2008 9:42 AM PST

My cousin just recently had her wedding back in november of 08. i filmed it with a canon hv20 like the one u are looking for. the canon hv20 is a great camcorder for doing nature sutes and anything outdoors or in a situation with plenty of lights. when i played back the video it was realy realy grainy. the hv20 is not suited for weddings they are not lit enough. i then found myself looking at the canon hx a1 which is rated well by cnet. i was so excited when the brown truck arived a few days ago. i havent used it much but it seems to perform better in low light. here is a link to a sight that compares the canon hx a1 to a panasonnic. they even do a low light test. i would however recomend getting a good video light to brighten up your subject. hope this helps and u can e-mail me at triplec@wowway.com

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