Saturday, January 14, 2012

Getting serious about this video thing.

Recently, decided to get a bit more serious about this video thing. Up until now I have been using the normal consumer grade camcorders: a Panasonic GS-150 (my first) is still a convenient small standard definition and a Canon HV20 Hi-Def was my last jump up. Added some accessories like a Rode VideoMic, Azden wireless mic and a small light for the Canon. My editing/production was done on Adobe Creative Suite.

Well, I have been volunteering and now employed part-time with the Seattle Museum of Flight (MOF). I do video production work. His means I am a camera operator and perform video editing with the final result being DVDs for use and archival at MOF. This effort got me to move to new editing software. First, I purchased for home the Sony Vegas Movie Studio Suite. Excellent choice but I soon found some limitations as my efforts became more complex. Recently (through November 2011) Sony had an excellent upgrade path from Movie Studio to Sony Vegas Pro 11. I am still using the sound and DVD production from the Movie Studio Suite.

One of my last projects at MOF was a series of interviews using a High Definition camera and that led me to my next set of purchases.

One brief personal note. Arlene and I are two of a kind when it comes to our projects and hobbies. We commit! I mean we give it our best shot and enjoy the learning of new skills and crafts. That said, you may now understand why the following list of equipment was perfect for the projects I have planned.

 Finding B&H Photo and Video online was probably not a great thing for my wallet. Not because they are expensive, which they aren't. As a matter of fact they have a great selection, very good prices, knowledgeable staff and have been the most reliable online purchase experience to date. Which is saying a lot since I had been purchasing quite a bit from

Okay, here is what I got. First the camera selection. I wanted something that was bigger than the small consumer camcorders I already owned, yet light enough to shoot for long periods. Enough features so I wouldn't be missing some key thing down the road. And of course, it needed to be within my limited, non-professional sized budget.
These requirements led me to the Panasonic AG-HMC80 shoulder mount HD camera. What I like about it is the professional features but it was one of the lower cost cameras I investigated. It records to SDHC cards (can't use the newer SDXC cards), which is moving me away from tape. Not sure how I feel about that, but one advantage is that moving the clips from the camera to computer doesn't involve replaying the shoot in real-time to capture from tape. Major, major advantage.

Next, I moved on to the extras.

Now, I need something to carrying everything. Looking at the following cases:

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the combination. Fortunately, I was able to get rebates on the Manfrotto tripod and head, camera had a special price while the rest were all the normal B&H low prices. The projects are interviews, events, documentaries and whatever might come up. I guess time will tell if these were all the right choices. So far, so good.