New Video Camera Time…Again

I’ve been at Lakeshore for just over a week now. It’s interesting to step into a job where I get to create my own job description. As I’m starting to see the direction we want the video production to go I’m realizing our current equipment is not going to get us there. I’m basically starting from scratch.

At my last job it was about a year ago I started looking at a new camera. I wrote about the cameras I was looking at, my process for choosing a camera and the camera I ended up with, the HVX-200a. I wrote about it here and here.

First off I don’t have a budget yet or a timeframe. The immediate video production projects are going to be:
1) Weekly video announcements. Primarily shot on green screen
2) Sermon videos. My pastor has the personality and style and wants to pull of object lessons similar to what Craig Grochell does at LifeChurch.tv.

I like tapeless workflows and don’t want to work with HDV. So here’s the cameras I’m looking at and what I’m thinking so far:

HMC-150 around $3,500
Pros:
-Cheapest camera I’m looking at with a price tag around $3,500
-Records to SDHC cards. Most cost effective. Most minutes per gigabyte.
-Records full frame image
Cons:
-AVCHD. Most compressed and lowest bitrate. GOP based format

Panasonic HPX170 around $5,000
Pros:
-Highest bit rate
-4:2:2 color depth
-DVCProHD codec is easy for computers to handle
-Intraframe Codec
-Variable frame rates
-HD-SDI output

Cons:
-P2 highest cost per GB
-Lowest minutes per GB
-Not full frame. Loose 25% of horizontal image

Sony EX-1 about $6,000
Pros:
-1/2″ chips
-Best optics
-Variable frame rates
-Sharpest picture
-Full frame images
-Can record to sdhc with adapter bit can’t do extreme over cranking.
-HD-SDI output

Cons:
-Most expensive
-CMOS sensor can run into rolling shutter problems.

I think all cameras can produce good results 90% of the time. The final destination is going to be projected during services and/or on the web. As much as I’d like the EX-1 I wonder if it’s overkill. But it’s optics are great and it produces the sharpest image of the group. The 170 shoots DVCProHD which is easy to work with and keys great. The 150 looks great on paper and the budget but is it too good to be true? It’s almost $2k cheaper than the 170 and almost $3k cheaper than the EX-1.

The budget comes up because I need so other items as well:
-Tripod. I’m looking at the Caroni HiDV System. I was very impressed with this tripod at a trade show but decided on a cheaper tripod at my last job that I was never really happy with.
-ENG Wireless Kit. Leaning towards Sennheiser G2 100 kit
-Raid. I like G-Tech’s G-Speed eS set up as RAID 5
-Light Kit. I’m up in the air but I’ve been a fan of Lowell lights as a good bang for the buck. I’m looking at the DV Pro 55 Kit

If you guys have any input on anything I’m looking at or other suggestions I’d appreciate it!

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April 27, 2009. Tech Stuff, Video.

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