Cheap-Ass miniDV camera.. best way to go about 16:9

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Mike Beauchamp, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. Hey all,
    I'm doing a little documentary over the summer about making a documentary
    about riding my bicycle across Canada. The main theme seems to be doing
    everything for cheap (on a student's budget), including the documentary
    itself. I've already used student loan money to purchase a JVC GR-DV500
    <>. I plan
    on doing the movie in 16:9, and the final destination is going to be onto
    some DVD's and on the internet.

    For editing software, I have access to Avid and Vegas 5 through the
    University. The camera has 4 modes, "regular" (regular 4:3) "wide" (matted
    16:9), "stretch" (vertically stretched on the 4:3 monitor, but 16:9 picture
    information) and another mode that is equivalent to a 0.7 wide angle lens
    (even though the manual doesn't explain it, it seems to use the whole CCD to
    capture the image.. leaving no 'extra ccd' for image stabilization, so image
    stabilization doesnt' work during this mode).

    I should really run some tests for each one, but here's my basic

    - the "wide" mode is pretty damn useless.. I can matt it later during
    editing, which will give me even more control of the matting, where I'll be
    able to shift the image vertically behind the matting to frame the image as
    best as possible. There's no need throwing out information before it even
    hits the miniDV tape.

    - "stretch" mode seems to make sense to me, even though I wont' have control
    over the matting anymore.. but am I right in assuming that this will use all
    480 vertical lines of resolution? If this is the case, in editing software,
    can I take this image and correct the aspect ratio to a proper 16:9 before
    editing, which would yeild higher resolution than the matted modes?

    - "wide angle" mode.. the idea that it uses all of the CCD (or at least, a
    lot more than the regular mode) seems like it would be an advantage? Since
    the output of this is 4:3, again, it would have to be matted during editing.

    So yeah, basically I don't know what mode to use... but I want the final
    product on DVD (I have done DVD authoring before using TMPGENC, but not with
    MiniDV source) as well as .avi for free internet distribution.

    Also, here's where things get even more confusing...

    for on-board footage, I'm going to be using a 480line security bullet camera
    strapped onto a poll extending off my bicycle, plugged into the miniDV
    camera's a/v inputs. When in this recording mode, I have no control over
    "wide/stretch/etc". So that footage will be recorded 4:3 and then it will
    either have to be matted (if I'm doing matting) or cropped to 16:9

    Mike Beauchamp, Dec 31, 2004
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  2. Mike Beauchamp

    Travelbike Guest

    Dear Mike:

    Good luck on you trip. When I went to Hawaii a few years back, I made an L
    bracket out of alum channels and inserted the end into the stem wedge tube
    cavity. Just used the tripod mount underneath. Had to rig a bungee cord
    system to keep the camera from moving and make installing and removal quick.

    Depending on the weather, carry a few filters. Maybe a clear to protect the
    lens, someting when really sunny and maybe a yellow filter for overcast days
    (the most problematic).

    Took some practice operating the controls while riding. ALso when sunny, it's
    hard to see the camera's small monitor. MAybe make a cardboard hood.

    Also carry a high capacity battery. I had an 8 hr battery and never really ran

    Anyway, have fun on your trip and ride safe !

    J Gaerlan - Gaerlan Custom Cycles
    "home of travel bikes and bike travels"
    (559)338-0600: (415)677-8943 fax
    Travelbike, Dec 31, 2004
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  3. Hey man, nice custom bikes you got there...

    As for the camera rig, here's what I'm thinking. Two lightweight legs of a
    tripod extending off the frame about 6 feet one ontop of the other forming a
    steady triangle that can be extended farther, or contracted closer to the
    bike depending on the shot. At the end, a bullet camera (1/4" CCD 480 lines)
    with a full pivot mount. In the pannier, the miniDV camera with the bullet
    camera going through the a/v input and a pair of microphones in the ends of
    the handlebar. A 12A 12V lead acid battery powering the bullet camera,
    miniDV camera and microphone amplifier. Then a "control box" on the
    handlebar with switches to turn everything on and activate a solenoid to
    trigger the record button on the camera, with a photocell on the tally light
    triggering an indicator LED back on the control panel.

    Thanks for the advice on the filters, I'm quite new to all of this. Yellow
    filter for overcast days eh? I'll look into it. Currently I know I'll be
    carrying a polarizer lens, hood and wide angle lens. The wide angle will
    only be for when I'm self filming myself while doing something and holding
    the camera myself (my usual method of filming).

    Mike Beauchamp, Jan 1, 2005
  4. Outstanding Mike,

    Did a lot of bike ridding in early days back in the mid 80's. Biked
    from Washington down the california west coast on a 2 week trip.. You
    meet really interesting characters.. and yes, I do mean characters.

    Got a mailing list? Put me down for it..

    Richard Ragon, Jan 3, 2005
  5. I have gotten the best results from using the 16:9 guides on my camera
    and then cropping it later. The 16:9 feature on the camer seems to
    create too much distortion.
    camarochris77, Jan 3, 2005
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