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  • Mixing in ‘action’ cams with AVCHD

  • Brian Thomas

    March 7, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    When there are no lockdowns etc I do a lot of video work for local schools and amateur theatre productions. I have quite a few Panasonic X900M camcorders (recording AVCHD) and after importing I get lots of 1920 x 1080 25i clips.

    To give myself more angles I’m thinking of buying some relatively inexpensive ‘action’ cameras which I’ll place discreetly on the stage (or even in the props) and my question is, how well will the frame rates etc work together.

    The ‘action’ cam I’m particularly looking at for now is the Akaso V50X which has the following video resolution and frame rates: 4K 30fps, 2.7K 30fps, 2K 60fps, 2K 30fps, 1080P 90fps, 1080P 60fps, 1080P 30fps, 720P 120fps, 720P 60fps, 720P 30fps

    – Which one of those resolution/frame rates would work best with my X900M camcorders?

    – For making the multicam clips, will I just be able to include the V50X just like the various X900M clips that go so well together? (I will have the sound recorded on the V50X as well, of course)

    – Any other considerations?

    – Anybody else doing this sort of thing…?

    Many thanks for any advice.

  • Jeremy Garchow

    March 7, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    I’d get a camera that can shoot in PAL frame rates (25 or 50Hz) to better match your existing cameras.

  • Brian Thomas

    March 7, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Wow, that was quick, thanks!

    I’m a bit naive about that part of the process. Are there some steps or is there a conversion process that I would have to go through so that I could easily mix the different formats?

    Or might you, or anybody else, know of a pretty small camcorder producing 25 or 50Hz?

  • Jeremy Garchow

    March 7, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    You’d be able to mix the formats, but the cameras would have different motion characteristics. It would be better to just get a camera that shoots the same or frame rates. GoPro, DJI, Sony also make small action cameras.

  • Brian Thomas

    March 8, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Great advice Jeremy, thanks. I did some more research and I now realise that frames would get dropped at regular intervals and possibly, when used in a theatre, with the European 50Hz mains current, videoing at 60 or 30 could introduce lighting/exposure problems.

    So after that that research I’ve found the reasonably priced Apeman Trawo which apparently does 4K 50fps and supports fast SD cards up to 128GB. It would be far from my main camera in the theatre environment but it looks like fulfilling my objective of having more angles and integrating easily with all my Panasonics. Wish me luck!

  • Jeremy Garchow

    March 8, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    Break a leg.

  • Paul Carlin

    March 9, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    First choice would be a camera that shoots at multiples of 25, which I would think all action cams would be able to handle. You may need to “flip” the camera into a new mode for those rates to be available to you. GoPro calls it anti-flicker and allows you to reboot the camera into 25 or 30 fps mode, making 24-25-50 fps available to you.

    If that is not an option (which I would find difficult to believe) then shoot at a higher frame rate like 60 or 120 fps. You would then have slo-motion available to you, and if you choose to use it at real-time then you would have closer matches temporally after dropping frames to match 25fps. The trade off would be the amount of memory needed to record that much data, and the shutter angle would make the footage appear differently than the A camera, and yes, the flicker would be an issue.

  • Brian Thomas

    March 9, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for that Paul. I took Jeremy’s advice pretty seriously and also found a short video by Larry Jordon in which he talks about the hazards of mixing frame rates. So I then spent quite some time researching with the additional criteria of 50 and/or 25 fps. Interestingly, at the cheaper end of the market for these good, tiny cameras there are very few. 30, 60, 90, 120 and so on are all there but not the crucial, for me in Europe, 25/50. Fortunately the Apeman does (4K, 50fps), has good reviews and is much cheaper than the typical GoPro so I plan on buying several. I got my first today and it’s looking good!

  • Brian Thomas

    March 13, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Apeman Trawo A100 experience so far – NOT good. The box says [email protected], the camera ‘Settings’ say the same but both FCPX and Compressor say I’m getting [email protected] Not only that but when videoing at their [email protected] setting, having imported the footage to FCPX, every second and third frame is actually missing! Flicker, flicker! Their [email protected] works beautifully but I bought it for the [email protected] setting.

    I submitted sample footage at various settings to their support person in China. He seems confused for the moment. I will not let them get away with this and in the meantime, if you’re thinking about getting one, I suggest you hold off for now.

  • Brian Thomas

    April 7, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    Pretty pathetic responses from Apeman support. They reckon my MacBook Pro (late 2015) isn’t powerful enough to recognise the difference between 30 and 50 fps. Yeah, that’s what they wrote. Not much point in continuing with the product with that level of genius and even the shop where I bought it agreed, They gave me my money back and I opted for a DJI Osmo Action. A world of difference in build, quality and shooting options. OK, a bit more expensive but you get what you pay for.

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