THL Toolbox > Equipment > Videography
Date updated: August 31 2013.
Video work requires first and foremost a video camera. However, ideally you would also have a tripod and a variety of microphones.
One issue at present is to choose between a traditional video camcorder and a DSL camera with exceptional video capacity (such as the Panasonic Lumix GH3). Issues are as follows.
1. Sound problems - Most DSLRs have limited sound capabilities, so you have to record with an external recorder and resynch in your editing program, which can be confounding.
The GH3 camera has onscreen meters and gain control. You can record sound to camera from an external mic using the Xoom (with the male-to-male mic cable) or a Beachtek. Ideally you'd get a mount for the Xoom, or use the Beachtek (which mounts under the camera) to convert XLR to mini. Another mount in req'd for the mic if you want it on the camera. The downside is the extra gizmo on the camera and wires needed, which also could introduce accidental noise when holding the camera or adjusting settings while recording. I would recommend the lower priced Beachtek and keep the Xoom recording separate. But if price is a concern then forego the Beachtek and get a mount for the Xoom.
These might seem no more difficult than sound setups for video cameras that don't have XLR inputs. In previous workshops, I've bypassed the Beachtek and Xoom and plugged the mic directly into the camera with a simple XLR-to-mini cable, and adjust the camera input setting to deal with the different signal strength. I will see if that's a possibility with this camera.
2. Form factor being less comfortable to hold if you are not using a tripod. However one report on the G# suggests that it is extremely comfortable - the screen cones out and rotates.
3. How long you can record for - since we will have to do long pieces and stopping every 10 minutes or something isn't viable. With the GH3, someone shot for 55 minutes without a break no problem (and could have gone on). You can shoot without limit as long as there is space on the card.
Having said that, it is primarily a still camera and therefore is never going to have all the features and design considerations of a well designed camcorder, but considering that, you win significantly on price, especially if you need both types of cameras. Btw, Lumix uses the same manufacturer as Leica.
XLR cable length should enough to get from mounted shotgun mic to the XLR inputs onboard the camera. 12 inches I suspect should be plenty unless you want to put the mic elsewhere like a table mount in which case at least 6 ft. Perhaps someone at B&H can confirm the length of the shorter cable. For the second off-camera table-mounted recording scenario perhaps using the xoom is a cheaper option since the cables are cheaper and I would recommend getting them anyway.
The 3.5mm mic male-to-male should be cheap and I'd recommend buying two per pack: one about 6 feet and another 10 or 12 feet for wide shots where the recorder should be closer to the subject than the camera is. It's also good to have 2 cables as the second serves as backup -- these cables often break over time if not cared for properly.