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Want to get into UW video. Need advise.


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#1 scottw

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:26 PM

i posted this in the beginners section but i figure this are will have more exposure. Mods please feel free to delete my other post.


Hi I have been looking around for an UW video setup and i am in a bit of a conundrum.

I can go ahead and buy a cheap used system HI8 for $500-$700 (without lights & WA lens) using Top Dawg 1 to see if I like it but with this set-up since I will be doing mostly fresh water & deepish (150'); I can already see issues with lighting and WB. Filters wont work due to lack of light. If I decided to go ahead with this it would be for mostly playing around in the shallows with a fresh water filter to see if I like UW Video.

Another option is getting a used L&M Bluefin HC7 housing with the Sony HC7/compact external monitor with twin 50W HIDs as lighting. This has the standard port not the WA lens. I can pick this up for just over $4K. I can see this as a system i could use for a long time.

What have most people done when 1st getting into video?

Scott

#2 Aussiejosho

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:35 PM

Jump in boots and all.

Buy the best system you can afford - you have a better chance of enjoying it if you have a good system that gives good results and if you don't like it, 2nd hand or 3rd hand, you won't lose too much money anyway.

Be warned though, you will like it, and it only gets more expensive when you get fully hooked.

Good luck.

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#3 wagsy

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 03:12 AM

Hi Scott
Hi Josh

Scott what Josh said is correct, get what you can afford and go from that.
I started out with a basic second hand 8mm on / off video camera.
From that I learn't to shoot day videos on boats without any editing.
The guys have it too easy now days with computer editing and such. ;)

I have seen guys with all the $$$ fruit but cannot shoot for *&^%$# while others with cheap setups create beautiful images...like me..... ;)

Anyhow I would go the the HDV format, it shoots 16.9 (wide screen), Hi8 4.3 is a very old format now and the res of HDV is much better.
Once you get into it, if you went the Hi8 you would quickly wished you went the HDV -HC7.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing some of your stuff.
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#4 scottw

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 11:41 AM

Thanks for the replys.

I think I am leaning toward the Bluefin/HC7 setup but I have a concern about whether the Sunray Pro HID's will be adequate.

from my understanding, consumer HD cameras require lots of light. Would these be good enough for green water St.Lawrence/caves? I've been told that ity would be better to ditch the Sunray's and pick up a set of SAlvo twin 50W HID's.

What would be a good price to sell a set of Sunray's Pros for?

#5 reefnet

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for the replys.

I think I am leaning toward the Bluefin/HC7 setup but I have a concern about whether the Sunray Pro HID's will be adequate.

from my understanding, consumer HD cameras require lots of light. Would these be good enough for green water St.Lawrence/caves? I've been told that ity would be better to ditch the Sunray's and pick up a set of SAlvo twin 50W HID's.

What would be a good price to sell a set of Sunray's Pros for?


Hi Scott,

Not sure if you saw my earlier private message, so I figured I'd comment here. Yes, HD cameras like lots of light, primarily because each pixel on the CCD (or CMOS) sensor is much smaller than that of its SD counterpart...hence their light-gathering ability is reduced (all things being equal).

I have no experience with Salvo HID lighting, but I do have years of experience with the Sunray Pro HIDs. They have served me very well and I think they ought to be at or near the top of your shortlist. The new Sunray 2000 LED lights are also very nice (my current setup), but you can't quite compare them "apples to apples". The HIDs have a warmer, more even beam at the expense of having to wait for them to fire up. The LEDs are also the new thing on the block and are therefore the most expensive option.

As for fair pricing? I have a full Sunray Pro HID system for sale. It includes 2 light heads, 4 battery pods, 8 batteries, cables, custom mounting hardware for all four pods, and at least one spare bulb. I'm asking $1875 (including shipping) for all that, which I think is a downright great deal. With the extra 2 battery pods, you end up with a solid 3-4 hrs burn time without battery changes thanks to the wet connect cables.

That said, the Salvo lights appear to be quite cheap for their power. I'm interested to hear any videographers' opinions of them...they sure haven't been talked about much in the forums.

Best of luck finding the right system,

Kris
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#6 scottw

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 02:08 PM

Hi Scott,

Not sure if you saw my earlier private message, so I figured I'd comment here. Yes, HD cameras like lots of light, primarily because each pixel on the CCD (or CMOS) sensor is much smaller than that of its SD counterpart...hence their light-gathering ability is reduced (all things being equal).


Thanks for the PM. As stated in my reply I am leaning to a HD setup as I have HD TV that I can use personally and I've seen some HD cave videos and they look spectacular vs. SD.

I have no experience with Salvo HID lighting, but I do have years of experience with the Sunray Pro HIDs. They have served me very well and I think they ought to be at or near the top of your shortlist. The new Sunray 2000 LED lights are also very nice (my current setup), but you can't quite compare them "apples to apples". The HIDs have a warmer, more even beam at the expense of having to wait for them to fire up. The LEDs are also the new thing on the block and are therefore the most expensive option.
..............

That said, the Salvo lights appear to be quite cheap for their power. I'm interested to hear any videographers' opinions of them...they sure haven't been talked about much in the forums.

Best of luck finding the right system,

Kris


The Salvo lights are receive favourable reviews on some of the technical and cave diving forums. I am not about to buy the biggest light possible such as a 200W HDMI @ $6.5K since my work will be mostly for personal and friends, with the occasional use to evaluate students. Most of the use will be for filming wreck dives of which I know a WA Port is prefererred which leads me to another question later on. Ocassionally it will be caves which has no light. The setup I am looking at buying has the Sunray Pro HID's which throw off 1300 lumens each @ 5500 K, where the twin Salvo's throw off 4500 lumens each at 6000 kelvin. This is considerably alot more light which is preferable for HD camera's.

Now here is the question regarding a WA port. If I went and got a WA port for the Bluefin, do I need to also get a WA adapter for the camera itself? Sorry if this is a stupid beginer question.



Scott

#7 Drew

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 02:27 PM

Scott
The Salvo 50W are pretty powerful lights. You'll need the 1/2 or 1 stop diffusers to tame the 60 reflectors to get a wider beam for illuminating wider scenes in the caves. I assume you mean St Lawrence as in the river? With limited viz, bright lights don't really matter as much, especially in turbid waters. Also note the Salvos use Lithium Ion batteries which have a life of 2-3 years and not how many times you charge it. That means you'll be replacing them every 3 years or so. If you dive often, it's more worthwhile than the twice a year diver.
The HC7 is a discontinued camera and Sony doesn't seem too interested in HDV for consumer grade cameras lately, with no replacement for the HC9 announced at CES. I suspect Sony is going to relegate HDV to pro/prosumer only.
You'll find that the newer 24mpbs AVCHD camcorders give a better quality picture compared HDV.

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#8 Steve Douglas

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 10:19 AM

You'll find that the newer 24mpbs AVCHD camcorders give a better quality picture compared HDV"

Not sure just how true this is. While the AVC cams like the SR-12 are 1920x1080, on the surface you would think they are better than the long GOP 1440x1080, but they are all MPEG4 compression as opposed to the Mpeg 2 of the tape based cams. The more we compress, the more resolution and saturation we lose.
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#9 reefnet

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 10:37 AM

You'll find that the newer 24mpbs AVCHD camcorders give a better quality picture compared HDV"

Not sure just how true this is. While the AVC cams like the SR-12 are 1920x1080, on the surface you would think they are better than the long GOP 1440x1080, but they are all MPEG4 compression as opposed to the Mpeg 2 of the tape based cams. The more we compress, the more resolution and saturation we lose.
Steve


Not quite.

Regular old DV was 25 Mbps. It used compression that by today's standards is crude (but fast). It compressed each frame individually, so there were never any motion artifacts. Lovely.

HDV also runs at 25 Mbps. To accommodate the extra resolution, it uses long-GOP MPEG2 compression which suffers from motion artifacting in active scenes.

AVCHD now runs at up to 24 Mbps. It uses MPEG4 compression that is much more efficient than MPEG2 compression. Although it is also a long-GOP system, at a data rate equivalent to HDV it is far less prone to motion artifacting, and gives a better picture overall.

So although AVCHD at 1920x1080 is slightly MORE compressed than HDV at 1440x1080, it is considerably BETTER compressed. The general consensus seems to be that AVCHD @ 24 Mbps is superior to HDV. The 17 Mbps footage from my SR12 is about par with HDV, both from my personal observations and the reviews I've read.

Kris
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#10 Drew

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 11:14 AM

Steve, I suggest you do some research into the resolution and color test charts. Or go out and test the cameras. I've checked out MXP clips from the Canon HF11 and it very much held its own against even the XDCAM EX clip for compression artifacting in 60i. Obviously, color from 1x sensor isn't going to be as crisp as 3x sensor camera. In good light, the lay person would be hard pressed to differentiate the 2.
24mbps at MPEG4 (Long GOP) has better efficiency (up to 50%) than MPEG2 25mbps HDV, which means fewer compression artifacts. This shows up in better motion, resolution and chroma accuracy in interlaced video. The only issue is in progressive you get interlaced 4:2:0 chroma coding because the 1080p is PSF in 60i. OTH, only the latest HDV camcorders like the Canon HV40 and Z7/Z5 sony have 1080P in 24/30P signal. Don't take my word, go out and test it.

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#11 Steve Douglas

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:07 PM

Drew, When you are editing and doing your color correction are you correcting in your computers RGB space or from an HDMI monitor using YUV?
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#12 wolfeeldiver

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:08 PM

I think I am leaning toward the Bluefin/HC7 setup but I have a concern about whether the Sunray Pro HID's will be adequate.
from my understanding, consumer HD cameras require lots of light. Would these be good enough for green water St.Lawrence/caves? I've been told that ity would be better to ditch the Sunray's and pick up a set of SAlvo twin 50W HID's.

My two cents from my recent adventure into this new world for me....
1) Buy the brightest lights that you can afford. Lighting is king in this dark world we explore.
2) Buy a good lens / port; good optics are very important.
3.) If you can, get a rig that allows manual White Blance adjustment.. it will help.

I recently purchased twin Sunray 1000's LED lights, I like them, but thats all I could afford at the time. Sometimes I wish I had more light intensity and had purchased the 2000s, not always, but on occasion.

Edited by wolfeeldiver, 30 January 2009 - 12:10 PM.


#13 limeyx

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:58 PM

Scott
The Salvo 50W are pretty powerful lights. You'll need the 1/2 or 1 stop diffusers to tame the 60 reflectors to get a wider beam for illuminating wider scenes in the caves. I assume you mean St Lawrence as in the river? With limited viz, bright lights don't really matter as much, especially in turbid waters. Also note the Salvos use Lithium Ion batteries which have a life of 2-3 years and not how many times you charge it. That means you'll be replacing them every 3 years or so. If you dive often, it's more worthwhile than the twice a year diver.
The HC7 is a discontinued camera and Sony doesn't seem too interested in HDV for consumer grade cameras lately, with no replacement for the HC9 announced at CES. I suspect Sony is going to relegate HDV to pro/prosumer only.
You'll find that the newer 24mpbs AVCHD camcorders give a better quality picture compared HDV.


I use the Salvo dual 50's in caves and open water and love them.

I dont use any diffusers even in caves, but sometimes the lights can blow out the white bottom or very white walls.

I got the 15Ah battery but I would recommend getting the biggest batts possible as the larger batteries will not fit in the 15Ah canister if you want to upsize later

#14 scottw

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:33 PM

My two cents from my recent adventure into this new world for me....
1) Buy the brightest lights that you can afford. Lighting is king in this dark world we explore.
2) Buy a good lens / port; good optics are very important.
3.) If you can, get a rig that allows manual White Blance adjustment.. it will help.


I ended up picking up the Bluefin with the Sony HC7 & Sunray Pro 21w lights. Should come in next week. As far as I can tell the Bluefin will allow for manual WB with a bit of difficulty.

I've started looking at getting a WA port, L&M offers 2, a 90 degree @ $600 & a 110 degree.@ $1900. I'm no pro and don't plan on being one so right now it is looking like the 90 WA lens. Does anyone know if there are any 3rd party mfg. other than Fathom doing ports for L&M housings?

I use the Salvo dual 50's in caves and open water and love them.

I dont use any diffusers even in caves, but sometimes the lights can blow out the white bottom or very white walls.

I got the 15Ah battery but I would recommend getting the biggest batts possible as the larger batteries will not fit in the 15Ah canister if you want to upsize later


I recently found out that a buddy of mine has the twin 50W salvo's, Once I get my housing we will be doing compartive tests though right now due to everything being under 18" of ice it will be most likely be a quarry dive under the ice so ambiant lighting will most likely be pretty good. I will have to wait till later in the spring to test under darker/silter conditions

#15 wagsy

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

My 2 cents
That AVCHD codec is a pig to edit, needs to be converted to another codec for ease of editing which takes quite some time.
Yeh you can use SONY VEGAS to edit AVCHD but you will soon get sick of low res preview editing.
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#16 scottw

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:42 PM

My 2 cents
That AVCHD codec is a pig to edit, needs to be converted to another codec for ease of editing which takes quite some time.
Yeh you can use SONY VEGAS to edit AVCHD but you will soon get sick of low res preview editing.


The HC is an HDV format so it doesn't use the AVCHD compression. I haven't even started looking at video editors, I'm not looking for pro level software but consumer in the 80-150 range. From what I can see it's either Sony Vegas 9.0, Premiere Elements 7.0, Corel Videostudio, & Pinacle for the PC. Not interested in learnin MAC after 40 years though I know it's the way to go.

#17 limeyx

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 08:37 PM

My 2 cents
That AVCHD codec is a pig to edit, needs to be converted to another codec for ease of editing which takes quite some time.
Yeh you can use SONY VEGAS to edit AVCHD but you will soon get sick of low res preview editing.


Yes, but is HDV really any "better" ? Maybe a tad but I still end up actually editing in AIC format for speed with HDV.

For me, AVC vs HDV is less the issue than the fact that most AVC cams tend to (so far) record in what is IMO too low a bitrate to get the best quality.

If the newer ones are doing 24Mbps then that should I theory be better than the HDV at 25Mbps I would guess, but I still want to see some decent examples.

IMO both codecs are not really the "right" choice for image capture, but thats another story.

#18 Steve Douglas

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:15 AM

In Final Cut you can capture your AVC footage to Pro Res 422 which makes the editing process much easier. I don't use AVC but if I did, that would be the way I'd go.
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#19 scuubaadoo

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:06 PM

Hi Scott, sorry I missed this thread before. Let me tell you about my limited experience. I started with the Amphibico housing for the HC7 with twin Salvo 50 watt lights. I personaly had problems with this housing, many people do not. I just received a Light and Motion Bluefin housing with Sunray 1000 lights. I am gong to use the Salvo's when I go up your way (diving out of Brockville) and Northeast wreck diving. I have the Sunray's for tropical diving, the fact that I can adjust power will help tremedously going from macro to wide angle. I personally use Sony Vegas and it is quite a bit more than I can handle, I am sure as time goes by I will catch up with all the functions. I am currently reading the manual and learning the housing but I will get a chance to use it next week in Cozumel, so maybe I'll have some more feed back soon.

All the best with your setup maybe if I'm in your neck of the woods I can follow you and peek at the shots your taking ha ha ha ( I did that last time in Coz following the local videographer, got some nice shots that way)

Be safe and have fun
Randy

#20 scottw

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:06 AM

Hi Scott, sorry I missed this thread before. Let me tell you about my limited experience. I started with the Amphibico housing for the HC7 with twin Salvo 50 watt lights. I personaly had problems with this housing, many people do not. I just received a Light and Motion Bluefin housing with Sunray 1000 lights. I am gong to use the Salvo's when I go up your way (diving out of Brockville) and Northeast wreck diving. I have the Sunray's for tropical diving, the fact that I can adjust power will help tremedously going from macro to wide angle. I personally use Sony Vegas and it is quite a bit more than I can handle, I am sure as time goes by I will catch up with all the functions. I am currently reading the manual and learning the housing but I will get a chance to use it next week in Cozumel, so maybe I'll have some more feed back soon.

All the best with your setup maybe if I'm in your neck of the woods I can follow you and peek at the shots your taking ha ha ha ( I did that last time in Coz following the local videographer, got some nice shots that way)

Be safe and have fun
Randy


Thanks for the info, If you are ever up my way, send me a PM and we will try to arrange a dive