Accessorizing Your Video Camcorder

I've pretty much decided on what video camera I am going to buy(PV-GS400) but I'm wondering about accessories.

Do I avoid the "accessory kits" on eBay?
What are some MUST-HAVES for shooting video?
How many extra batteries?
What about buying other lenses such as telephoto, fisheye, etc?
Filters - good or bad?
Other accessories you'd reccomend getting?

Please try and give some specific brands or models - don't just say "a tripod".
 
A wide angle adapter would be nice. Panasonic may have one available, if not, then Century Optics.

A Circular Polarizer. Tiffen is always a good bet for quality.

Tripod - Bogen. Any one of the mid level series are generally sturdy enough.

A Fluid Video head for the tripod - Again, bogen is a good bet. look at the 501 series

External light for night shooting?
Off Camera Microphone?

The list can go on depending on what you want to do with it.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
I've pretty much decided on what video camera I am going to buy(PV-GS400) but I'm wondering about accessories.

Do I avoid the "accessory kits" on eBay?
What are some MUST-HAVES for shooting video?
How many extra batteries?
What about buying other lenses such as telephoto, fisheye, etc?
Filters - good or bad?
Other accessories you'd recommend getting?

Please try and give some specific brands or models - don't just say "a tripod".

Edward I to am in the market for a new DV cam. I am stuck between three camcorders though. The Canon XL1s, Panasonic DVX100A, and the Sony XV1000.

If the Ebay listing offered a good deal on the accessories such as cleaners, hard case storage, exc... I would bid/buy it if it was a good deal. From what I have seen on Ebay there are some really good deals compared to other sites and video locations here in the OKC area. Some listings being $500-$1000 less on Ebay WITH accessories.

Batteries - I would have at least two.

I am getting the telephoto lenses for whichever model I choose and possible a wide angle lens also (for structure shots).

Filters - Don't know but working on that.

Have fun!

Mick
 
.....Not wanting to turn this into a hate thread for Canon video, but...

Mickey,

I offer this advice:

Stay AWAY from the XL1! It's simply a horrible camera for chasing.

No infinity focus

Lens focuses PAST infinity! Who needs THAT when you're in a hurry?

If it happens to be sunny outside, and you have your viewfinder towards the sun...you'll fry the viewfinder LCD. I think now, they have IR filters installed that prevents this, but don't know for sure.

You can't go wrong with VX-1000/2000.

Don't know anything about the DVX-100A

Certainly (at least from what I've observed) the Sony camcorder is the chaser's choice.

As far as extra stuff for your camcorder goes..

*Monster battery---today's batteries are amazing..I can go 10+ hours straight on my old TRV-900 without charging.

*Rain cover----No explanation needed.

*No telephoto lens needed (at least for me).

:D


Tim
 
Thanks Tim for the advise on the XL1.

My brother works for Curious Pictures based in NY and he shoots a lot with the DVX-100A. From what I gather he said that was the best pro-consumer DV camera he has ever shot with. It is right at my price limit though.

I have heard the VX-1000 and 2000 where very popular amongst chasers.

Chasing is only part of what I will be using the camcorder for though so I have to take that into consideration also which makes it that much harder. lol

Thanks again.

Mick
 
Great choice on the PV-GS400. I have one and love it.
I bought the eBay kit that included a cheesy tripod, cheesy carrying bag, a wide-angle lense and a telephoto. Also included was a cheap memory card, cheesy cleaning kit and some decent filters.

Of all this, I use the filters only.

The lenses are of poor quality - period. The wide-angle bows very bad at the corners. The telephoto is a little better, glass-wise, but the extender is too long for it and unless you are zoomed 8X into your 12X optical limit, you will have the tele-circle around your shot.

I would just get the camera on your initial order. Filters are a must too. This camera shoots very vivid video and with the polarizing & UV filters, it looks even better.

Bogen makes the best (affordable) tripod for chasing. I use a pistol grip head and can quickly compensate for unleveled surfaces.

Last, there are some extended-life batteries available on eBay. These are being sold by a guy in Hong Kong. I would pick up a couple if I were you. I bought two and have never run out of juice while chasing (1.5hr batt life per(constant recording)). I think I paid a total for $32 for them. NOTE: if you have an extended life battery on your camera, make sure you are careful to not bang it, drop it, or subject it to any upward or downward forces at all because the tabs that hold the battery on are apparently designed specifically for the battery Panasonic ships with the unit. They WILL break.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
 
I would definately stock up on batteries. As Tim pointed out, some monster batteries last forever and a year! I will strongly suggest hunting down eBay for batteries for whatever camera you end up getting. I packed away a pair of 10 hour Sony-brand (not generic) batteries for less than $100 for both! Various retailers were pawning those for $150 each; I paid just shy of $50 after shipping for each one! Accessory kits, iffy, but good deals to be bad. All my lens for both my Sony's came from eBay and no trouble; definately cheaper!
 
Originally posted by Mickey Ptak
Thanks Tim for the advise on the XL1.

My brother works for Curious Pictures based in NY and he shoots a lot with the DVX-100A. From what I gather he said that was the best pro-consumer DV camera he has ever shot with. It is right at my price limit though.

I have heard the VX-1000 and 2000 where very popular amongst chasers.

Chasing is only part of what I will be using the camcorder for though so I have to take that into consideration also which makes it that much harder. lol

Thanks again.

Mick

I have the DVX100A and can attest it is the finest camera money can buy still.. Are there better cameras ?? Yes! For the money is the key statement No better camera for the money. IMO

The 24p format is awesome as far as the cinematic look..
 
Most people underestimate the cost of vital accessories when buying a camera. Expect to spend $500-$1000 more on the essentials. Don't cut corners here - it isn't worth the savings!

- Rain Cover: The most important chase accessory. PortaBrace is a non-flimsy cover that will last and protect the camera from rain, dust and even minor falls/drops. Most are $180

- Good solid tripod/head - Bogen 475 with fluid video head (about $400 total).

- Long-life batteries: $75-$100 each. Get at least one per camera.

- Tapes: Tapes are expensive and an item to be budgeted for. You will use a lot of them on a chase trip! Get them online in bulk to save money. Tapes are normally $6 each but you can usually find bulk deals as good as $3 per tape.

Non-essentials but nice to have:

- Polarizer: Local camera stores carry good ones for around $70

- Wide-angle lens: $70 to $275 for a low-end and up to $600 for a nice Century Optics zoom-through. I hardly use my $275 Sony beacuse it 1.) is hard to take on and off, 2.) its lens hood is usually inadequate for rain and glare protection, 3.) it degrades the image quality for normal use stuff, and 4.) it makes the camera very front-heavy and harder to use. You can get by without a wide angle - I didn't use one nearly the entire season last year.

Don't forget your software (Pinnacle $99) and firewire card/cable ($50) for capturing and editing. DVD authoring materials and hardware are another expense.
 
Ouch! That's an bit steep. I bought a Tiffen Warm C/PL a couple of years ago (62mm) for about $50 at a camera shop in a touristy spot in Colorado Springs.

Other options are B+W ( not B&W or Black and White). There's a couple of other decent companies as well, but they escape me at the moment.

Another option would be to go with the Cokin line of slide in filters. There's a whole host of them and for the most part will do you well. I'd stay away from the chessy effects filters though and stick with the ones that will enhance your videography.
 
Originally posted by fplowman


The 24p format is awesome as far as the cinematic look..

That's what my brother said. I have really no idea what that means from a technical standpoint, but it sounds really cool. :lol: Really though he gave a rave reviews much like yourself.

BTW: Edward I’m terribly sorry I highjacked your topic. :oops:

Mick
 
Originally posted by Mickey Ptak+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mickey Ptak)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-fplowman


The 24p format is awesome as far as the cinematic look..

That's what my brother said. I have really no idea what that means from a technical standpoint, but it sounds really cool. :lol: Really though he gave a rave reviews much like yourself.

BTW: Edward I’m terribly sorry I highjacked your topic. :oops:

Mick[/b]


The difference between video and cinema is the frame rate. A good example is when you watch the news or soap opera. Do you know how it looks when you watch the news? Or the cheesy look of the soap opera? Its video footage.. But when you watch a movie it is different?

The reasoning is the frame rate.. Video is at a 60i or 60 interlaced frames per second. Our eyes percieve images at 60 frames per second.. Thats why video looks moreso real.

On the other hand 24p or 24 frames progressive is sureal and hypnotic. 24p is 24 single images shown in 1 second. Thats what makes cinema. this is why it is hypnotic and surreal because it is percieved smoother and really does have somewhat of a hypnotic effect. Hope that analogy helps.

I am 110% pleased with my DVX100a and assume I will be for some time to come. I dotn plan on jumping on the HD bandwagon for another 3 years or possibly more.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
I've pretty much decided on what video camera I am going to buy(PV-GS400) but I'm wondering about accessories.

Do I avoid the "accessory kits" on eBay?
What are some MUST-HAVES for shooting video?
How many extra batteries?
What about buying other lenses such as telephoto, fisheye, etc?
Filters - good or bad?
Other accessories you'd reccomend getting?

Please try and give some specific brands or models - don't just say "a tripod".

You need at least 3 hi cap batteries. (no joke)
You need a nice bogen tripod
you need most of all a UV protective lense.. ($25)
 
Thanks all for the input. Much appreciated.

One lingering question is how do all these filters, polarizers, and lenses fit on the front of the camera? It seems like there's so much stuff for the front of the camera, I just wonder how it all fits.
 
Filters are all screw mounted. They screw right onto the lens assembly (you will see a thread on the inside ring). So, you will need to know what size thread to get, this can be found in the camera documentation or on the web. The filters aren't really all that big (just a light metal ring with a thin piece of glass) so the weight they add is minimal. You won't be using more than one or two filters at any one time.

Batteries? Well, you should know that one.

If you get the wide angle and/or telephoto adapters, they do the same thing the filters do, screw right onto the lens assembly. Do not screw the adapter onto the filter! This will throw your focus off. Not by very much, but it will throw it off. If you think you'll need filters for the adapters, then find out what the filter size is for the adapter, you will thenm have two sets of filters.

Yeah, it's cumbersome and a pain, but if you're planning your shots for a specific look or feel, it's worth it. Filters and adapters are not conducive to "off the cuff" shooting. They need to be used in a planned method.

The C/PL filter is used to remove glare from the sun. You rotate the ringe which changes the polarization and thus the amount of glare removal. It als enhances a nice blue sky. Remember though, if you're panning, the amount of polarization changes as you move the camera as well. So you will either be rotating the ring as you pan or accept the lessening effect as you pan. Most people don't pan more than a few degrees of axis anyway, so it's not a big issues, but if your trying to pan a 180 horizon, you WILL see the difference.

Hope that helps a little bit, but I'll bet more on it becoming more confusing as it goes along. It takes time and effort to learn the real art of videography, just like it does for still photography. You can point and shoot like 95% of the world, or you can produce really good stuff with a little knowledge and forethought. The results are worth it in the end.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
Thanks all for the input. Much appreciated.

One lingering question is how do all these filters, polarizers, and lenses fit on the front of the camera? It seems like there's so much stuff for the front of the camera, I just wonder how it all fits.

Just buy one UV filter like for that came I think is 37mm??? please verify before purchase.. They are about $25. Thats more or less a lense protector

There is already a built in auto nuetral density filter in that camera.. Dont worry about other lenses.. any particualr"look" can be done in post editing.. Hope that helps..

Fred
 
Originally posted by John Diel

A Circular Polarizer. Tiffen is always a good bet for quality.

I was at the store looking at filters and got a nose bleed from all the options.

What's the difference between Polarizer and Circular Polarizer? Other than price of course :)

Also do you run the UV filter and the polarizer at the same time?
 
Hi Tyler,

A regular polarizer won't allow you to adjust the amount of polarization you want.... therefore it is better to get a circular polarizer... basically you just turn it to adjust the amount of polarization you want.

You only need the uv filter when you aren't using a polarizer... a polarizer will make things darker, it's more noticeable in lower light situations... you basically just want something that will protect your lens from getting scratched. You usually don't need to use both at the same time.

Hope this helps.
 
Linear polarizers still allow you to adjust polarization by rotating the filter. If you use an auto-focus/auto-exposure camera, however, you'll want a circular polarizer.

See http://www.mat.uc.pt/~rps/photos/filters_uv_pol/#polq2 for more.

From http://www.geocities.com/cokinfiltersystem...m/polarizer.htm
What is the difference between the Polarizer and the circular polarizer ?

A circular has an additional quarter-wave plate or scrambler behind the (still linear) polarizing foil. Although not scientifically correct, it more or less restores the natural 50/50 vertical/horizontal balance of polarization, without affecting the initial pictorial result.

Only by restoring this natural balance it will allow the light metering and AF sensors to work properly, as they use polarizing beam splitters. With a linear filter, you would risk a cross-polarizing effect, ie a black-out. Bad for both light metering and AF.

In spite of what most people will tell you: the main reason to buy a circular polarizer is *not* the AF sensor, but the light metering system. You can *see* when AF goes haywire (it won't shift focus, it just has more difficulty to lock on), but you can only guess what happens with your light meter!

Actually, the first circulars were required long before AF existed, and are still required for non-AF cameras today (Rollei 600x series is a nice example).
 
I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Sony High-Fidelity or Surround sound mics for the DCR line of camcorders? I'm really looking at getting one and I didn't know if surround sound would be the way to go or if I should just stick with the high fidelity stereo mic. Any information would be appreciated.
 
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