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A mod too far

THE DOCKET enclosure for the Canon HV20 is just too much

By Jim Feeley | April 25, 2008

America is a nation of tinkerers. Alas, not everything emerging from our garages achieves the Shelby AC Cobra's sublime balance of beauty and overkill.

For example, THE DOCKET conversion for the Canon HV20 fits an aluminum hosing around Canon's impressive little HDV camcorder. But it's unclear what, if any, advantage this mod imparts. Check out this eBay auction for more information, more pictures, and a link to a YouTube video shot with the HV20 and THE DOCKET.

The description says THE DOCKET housing adds XLR audio to the HV20, includes a metal matte box, grip handles, and a mount for external mics or lights. Buth required starting bid of $1,626 and a Buy It Now price of $1,675 for THE DOCKET and a Canon HV20 HDV camcorder (which costs $750 these days), it's a lot of money to pay for unclear utility.

But odd-looking mods can be beneficial. Case in point: The HV20 rig Stu Maschwitz and crew built for a shoot last summer looks unwieldy on first view.

But Stu, as you might expect from the author of the book, The DV Rebel's Guide, provides in his blog a detailed description of the rig, settings, workflow, and reasons for each decision.

Just we can mod something doesn't mean we should. But maybe I'm missing something. I pinged the seller to see what advantages he or she thinks THE DOCKET provides.

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caseyhayward: | April, 27, 2008

Hee hee,

the question was asked about filters working on the “Docket” on e-bay and here is the the key quote of the seller’s response:

“It’s not about filters, and gadgets, it’s about how your gear looks and that is the second most important element IN PRODUCTION next to image quality.”

Speaks volumes to where a lot of indie filmmaker’s heads are.

Jim Feeley: | April, 30, 2008

Ya, that was my question. The seller’s complete response:

EXCELLENT QUESTION, The Docket was designed for FILMMAKERS and PROFESSIONALS wanting to use the HV20 on a film set for shooting movies, documentaries, interviews where you as a filmmaker need to be taken seriously. You can’t be taken seriously with a consumer camera trying to make your next feature film. THE DOCKET solves this problem because you just converted a consumer camera to production style camera. The HV20 is very capable of giving you PRO QUALITY HD VIDEO. To narrow it down, the biggest advantage for THE DOCKET is LOOKS, LOOKS, LOOKS. But if you’re not a filmmaker and don’t want to make movies, documentaries etc. then THE DOCKET is not for you! If you are a filmmaker and want to use the amazing HV20 CAMERA, I don’t think that you would want to place the HV20 on a crane or jib arm the way it is now because no one on the set will take seriously.

At the moment we’re using this camera to make our next feature film, and I couldn’t imagine going on the set with real actors with the camera the way it is. You either get rails, a matte box, XLR conversion which would probably cost more and not look as good or you get THE DOCKET.

I hope this lengthy response answers your question. It’s not about filters, and gadgets, it’s about how your gear looks and that is the second most important element IN PRODUCTION next to image quality.
- rt-rams888

I’d guess he is/they are well intentioned, but THE DOCKET ain’t for me.


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