HVX200a First Real Shoot

On Monday night I had my first real shoot with the HVX200a. I’m actually capturing the footage as I type this.

The shoot was a basic interview/ testimony shot. The footage is going to be a promotion video for a ministry we have called Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministry is a program to equip members of the church to help hurting people. The footage I shot was of their testimonies of being a part of the ministry.

The setup I had was a 3 light Lowell kit (I really want to add a few more lights), a generic backdrop, the HVX200a with a Sennheiser G2 wireless kit, the new tripod, Sony 7506 headphones for monitoring and my MacBookPro that I used as for the scopes in FCP.

Using a combo of the scopes in FCP and the zebra stripes I was able to get good exposure on all my shots.

I really like the layout and feel of the camera. I did find myself having to search a little for the iris wheel, it’s a little awkward with the LCD flipped open. I like audio meters and controls for monitoring my audio. I would like to be able to monitor the audio in dual mono (ie assign input 1 to L&R monitoring in the headphones, I know I could have done this if I would have plugged the mic into input 2 but I’m used to running my on camera mic as a backup). This option maybe in the menus and I just haven’t dug into it.

I shot 720/24pn and scene file f6 the Cine-D setting. I feel this format and setting gets me the highest quality image that I can stylize in post. The 720/24pn is the best tradeoff of quality and file size. I only have the 16GB P2 card that came with the camera and I filled it up to about 1 minute left.

My only gripe about the camera, and this is more of a workflow issue. Is that in order to output over the firewire port the camera can not be in 720/24 or 30pn mode. Since my final output is going to be H.264 files played out of a computer the “pn” file formats make the best use of file size. So to use the scopes in FCP I switched over to 720/24p then switched back, checked my color and exposure, then switched back over to 720/24pn. I realize I could have just recorded straight to my computer but I didn’t feel comfortable doing that.

So far I’m very impressed with the image the camera puts out. I really need to do some A/B testing and tweak the settings in the scene menu. I also realize I need something new to do with the backgrounds in my video. I’m on the lookout for the Isbrytare light from IKEA. It’s not in the Dallas store and not on the US website but it looks like just what I’ve been wanting to add to the mix. It’s either that or shooting all my interviews on a green screen to put whatever I like in the background.

I love the P2 workflow. Log and Transfer took under 25 minutes to bring in about 40 minutes of video. I do need to learn some techniques to maximize the P2 workflow by stopping the camera at each take/ break and using the mark feature to denote good takes so I can delete more on the fly and maximize the space on the P2 card.

This video is showing next weekend (June 21-22) so I’ll post the final video around then.

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June 11, 2008. Video.

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