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dougaldiver

Advice on upgrading video gear

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Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum and will post an intro a bit later but I'm hoping to get some advice before I go and spend some money.

 

I am currently considering upgrading my video gear and looking for some advice on the best way to go.

 

As a bit of background I am very much in the amatuer bracket. Most of my video is done in warmer waters (Red Sea, Maldives, etc. I tend to use lights only for night dives or inside caves and wrecks etc (although I would like to use them more for Macro). I shoot video for my own enjoyment and to show family and friends what they are missing by not diving. I like to edit my 2 weeks worth of footage down to 15 minutes or so and burn to DVD.

 

Currently I have a Sony DCR HC40 in an Ikelite housing with a wide angle lens inside the housing and a UR pro filter on the outside of the housing (when not using lights). I also have the Ikelite SPD II video light system with 2 50W heads.

 

Current limitations I am finding with this set up are:

 

Lack of access to some controls (manual focus, manual white balance)

 

Bulk of the light system (which means I often don't take it unless the dive specifically needs it)

 

Inability to fit an external monitor (the mirror set up is OK but the image is reversed and, due to the size of the housing the screen on the camcorder is a long way from the mirror and the image is not clear).

 

 

I am currently considering the following options:

 

Buy a Light and Motion Stingray III with lights and monitor back for the HC40 which resolves most of my issues except MWB

 

Buy a Sony HC3, Ikelite housing and the new smaller battery pack for the Ikelite light system.

 

Buy a Cannon HV 10, Ikelite housing and the new smaller battery pack for the Ikelite light system.

 

I should say that I'm not really bothered about HD at the moment but I'm wondering if I should go that way rather than invest more money in the 'old' technology. I'm also wondering if I will see any improvement in quality using the HC3 or HV 10 and then converting to SD for editing and DVD production. Buying the HC3 and the Light and Motion Bluefin+lights etc. takes the cost way over budget.

 

 

Any advice from the experts would be most welcome.

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I think it's up to you on deciding what housing/budget works for you but I will say go HDV as it's 16.9 and not 4.3 like DV is.

 

One other cool thing you can do with HDV is if you place the 1440/1080 clip on a normal DV timeline, you can then zoom in and move the frame around and not loose res if you are outputting to DV or DVD as HDV is like 3+ times larger that DV. However some NLE programs cannot do this in realtime.

 

A normal DVD made from HDV footage does look better as well if you edit it in a HDV timeline.

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Instead of the HC3, if you like Ikelite I expect they will be one of the first with a housing out for the new Sony HC7.

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