Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Critique Wanted


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 JohnnyQuest

JohnnyQuest

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted 30 December 2009 - 06:02 PM

Would anyone be willing to PM me their address and let me mail them a copy of my latest DVD (Komodo on the Dancer)? Give me your business address if you don't want to give me your home address (I'm a--I'm a 51 year old engineer living in Hershey, PA.)

My DVD is 38 minutes long, shot in HD but burned in SD. All the footage was shot during one 2-week trip by me with my one camera/housing (just like my other 10 DVDs). I use a color correction filter pretty much all the time >15' and adjust colors via software in my Avid Liquid system. I'm very happy with the final colors that I get and don't want to have to routinely use an external light source (full well knowing that my results would improve.)

I've been shooting with an USVH system for about 8 years. My current camera is a Sony HDR-HC1. I'm thinking of upgrading to a higher level housing (probably the Bluefin Pro after the bugs I've read about here are worked out.) What I'm looking for is someone who is very experienced and very good to objectively view my latest DVD and tell me if you think I could get better quality video with a better housing/lens. I'm pretty satisfied with the quality I get, but I've lost my my mojo with video (after sending and obscene amount of time on this last DVD) and figure I need to do one of the following:

1. Get a new housing to get better quality video (via more control and better glass).
2. Give up video and switch to stills for a totally new stress/frustration experience.
3. Get a combination lobotomy/castration and be very happy for the rest of my life.

I realize that option 3 would be FAR less expensive and FAR more likely to make me happy, but, despite it being the logical choice, I'm not quite ready to go there.

If anyone who considers himself/herself pretty darn good will look at my DVD and tell me if I should be able to take a significant step forward with a new system (i.e. my current system is the weak link) I'd probably consider spending an obscene amount of money for a new system. At this point, I'm really not convinced a new set up would make much difference based on what I've seen on the web.

Thanks.

Edited by JohnnyQuest, 30 December 2009 - 06:05 PM.


#2 wagsy

wagsy

    Blue Whale

  • Senior Moderator
  • 3845 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cairns, Queensland.
  • Interests:Sewing and Knitting......no diving of course :-)

Posted 30 December 2009 - 06:23 PM

Hi there
Instead of sending off your DVD to someone why don't you load some of it up to youtube or vimeo then post it here, that way you can have feedback from lots of folks.
What program did you author your DVD with.

The little HC1 shoots nice video but if you want to improve image you really need to move to a 3CCD or 3CMOS chip camera and not a single chip one like the HC1.
Then you have the problem of a larger housing meaning harder to travel with.

There are also the new DSLR still cameras out now that shoots very good video like the Canon 5D or 7D.
Amphibico Phenom & EVO PRO & Navigator 900
Share Your Underwater Videos www.hdvunderwater.com | www.flykam.com.au | www.reeftorainforest.com.au

#3 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10629 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 30 December 2009 - 09:38 PM

Johnny, soliciting for people's addresses could be considered spamming in forums :)

Equipment improvements does wonders for noise, resolution and color. A nice big wide angle lens gives you a big FOV and possibly more flexibility in shooting on a reef scene.

However, new equipment does nothing for proper composure and lighting, housing handling, shot selection and of course, luck of the conditions and subject.

You first have to figure out what part of your mojo is lost. If you feel your shooting is limited by the optics of your system, then an upgrade is needed. If your shots just don't inspire you, then you need to work on your 'video eye'. If you feel your subjects are just the same old boring thing, then you need to either find new ways to shoot them or find new subjects.

I personally have felt sometimes the bigger and better equipment didn't always give a better shot. There are shots I still haven't emulated the wow factor from my SD days, simply because the subjects were not as cooperative and also trying to surpass those all shots isn't easy. Then again, with the 100mm and an extension tube, I can not shoot different perspective stuff I couldn't before.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#4 JohnnyQuest

JohnnyQuest

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 06:17 AM

Thanks guys.

Thanks to the three who have PMed me your addresses. For some reason I can't send PMs back just yet (Allowed 1 PM a day??). I'll put them in the mail this weekend. I really appreciate it.

Yes, size really matters to me (but so does quality). The bigger the housing, the more likely I will miss a shot when the currents are ripping. On my last trip, only a couple of us got to where the action was on one dive due the the ripping current. I was the only one to get there who had a camera. I got great shots. Same thing in PNG where I hung onto the side of an inflatable and got pulled through a massive school of dolphins (holding onto the dingy with one hand and the camera with the other). It was my all-time favorite shot (TV quality IMHO) but there is no way I could have gotten it with a big housing. It's really tough holding a camera steady (some times with only one hand free) in strong currents (and I'm in good shape). I did >400 dives before I took a camera into the water because I didn't want to miss anything. It's obviously a trade off. Seem like Panasonic is the only one who makes a small 3 chip camera. I'd love to have a 3 chip camera.

I've been really looking into DSLRs that shoot video like the ne 7D. However, without live focus, I really don't think you could use one as a true video camera UW. Maybe the next generation will have live focus.

Good point about the "video eye." That's not it. I still have that. I just want better quality video with a similarly sized housing.

Based on what I've seen, the quality on U-tube is too poor for any type of meaningful critique.

#5 ronscuba

ronscuba

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 365 posts

Posted 01 January 2010 - 11:00 AM

Based on what I've seen, the quality on U-tube is too poor for any type of meaningful critique.


I agree on standard def Youtube, but HD youtube and HD vimeo are not bad especially compared to standard def DVD.

I shoot with a Sony FX7 and Gates housing. IMHO a big step up from the HC1 in low light, coloring and lens options. Link to some of my UW videos on Vimeo is in my signature. I am just a hobbyist, but the vids should give you a good idea of the what UW video looks like from the FX7.

I have a Canon DSLR 7d. Love it for topside video, but I will stick with my FX7 for UW. 7d focus and manual white balance will be a pain UW.

Edited by ronscuba, 01 January 2010 - 11:23 AM.


#6 jonny shaw

jonny shaw

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1313 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney

Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:30 PM

Yeah definitely post it on youtube or vimeo quality is heaps better now.

I used to own a HC1 and now have a Canon A1 in a Gates housing with the SWP44 port.... it's like chalk and cheese, better quality much more stable and the optics make a huge difference.

www.ginclearfilm.com
www.facebook.com/ginclearfilm
GATES DEEP EPIC Based in Sydney


#7 JohnnyQuest

JohnnyQuest

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:35 PM

Yeah definitely post it on youtube or vimeo quality is heaps better now.

I used to own a HC1 and now have a Canon A1 in a Gates housing with the SWP44 port.... it's like chalk and cheese, better quality much more stable and the optics make a huge difference.


Yes, I'd fully expect the A1 and FX7 to be vastly superior to my HC1. However, they are huge in size and cost. Frankly, the size intimidates me more (but the price is certainly scary too since I only do this as a hobby/obsession). From what I've ben reading, no other small consumer or prosumer Sony or Canon will really shoot much better video than my HC1 will. It seems that the Panasonic TM300 (and 350 if it will be sold) is the only way I could really step up without going to a large (relative to my HC1) camera and housing. Unfortunately, the Equinox seems to be the only housing currently available for it. I'm surprised Gates doesn't make one. Maybe the TM300 will be like going from chalk to American Cheese especially if I go with better glass in a better housing.

If the TM300 (or any other small camera) won't really produce much better video than my HC1 does, then maybe I need to keep my HC1 but put it in a L&M housing with much better glass than I have now. And live that way until the next generation DSLR arrives with continuous focus.

Any opinions?

#8 ronscuba

ronscuba

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 365 posts

Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:44 AM

Gates has a new housing for the Canon S10. Topside video of the S10 looks great. Have not seen much UW footage. Will be interesting to see how it performs UW with MWB. Jury is still out. Other than that combo, I agree, UW no other small camcorder will be a big improvement over your HC1.

You should be able to find used systems at a decent price on the FX7, FX1, V1u, Z1. Size can be a pain for travel, but UW it's great.

Edited by ronscuba, 05 January 2010 - 06:46 AM.