New front end to replace old Panny camcorders and mixer?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by kwalitv, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. kwalitv

    kwalitv Guest

    I'm working with a system that uses two Panasonic AG-456 camcorders,
    mixed through a Panasonic WJ-AVE5 mixer, to a mini-DV camcorder used as
    a recording deck, to do video of MBA classes at my university. We
    capture classroom sessions so that, with minimal editing, they can be
    burned to DVD and distributed to remote learners.

    This means our video task is rather different from what lots of systems
    are optimized for: instead of short running times and frequent edits,
    we do long running times and not many edits at all. In fact, it's as
    though we were doing a live broadcast from the classroom going from
    Camera 1 to Camera 2 and back -- except that we're recording to mini-DV
    tape. It's the energy of the instructors that creates the excitement
    rather than the technical aspects of the production.

    The "back end" -- going from the raw mini-DV tapes to finished DVDs, is
    currently handled by graduate student assistants who are very good at
    what they do, using equipment that works quite well (Apple, and fairly
    new; don't know the details). My question is this: With the advance of
    technology, is there a significantly better "front end" to replace the
    camcorders and mixer for, say, $2000 (or $3000?).

    Right now, the biggest advantage to our old front end is that the
    camcorders and mixer are incredibly intuitive to use. With minimal
    training, student assistants capture the classroom video quite nicely.
    Should we just stay with what we have until it breaks?
    kwalitv, Nov 12, 2006
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  2. Why do you want to replace something that appears to
    be working adequately for your requirements? Is there
    some problem (which you didn't mention) that you wish
    to solve?
    If it ain't broke, don't attempt to "fix" it.

    You are doing what is called "live-to-tape". Lots of TV
    is produced this way, with live-switching rather than post-
    production editing, etc.

    The only issue I can see from your description is the post-
    production of dubbing the tapes to DVDs. You didn't
    mention how many DVDs you require, or what kind of
    turnaround time, but there are many newer options that
    would relieve the task of all that dubbing, etc.

    I have three video switchers, a big Echolab 4-bus thing
    which has so many inputs, I've never used them all. A
    Sony SEG-2000 which is my workhorse for live-switch
    multi-camera productions, and my Panny WJ-AVE5
    which I still use for 2-camera (and camera + computer)
    productions). OTOH, those cameras weren't all that
    great even when they were new. There are certainly
    better and cheaper replacements these days.
    Richard Crowley, Nov 13, 2006
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