View Full Version : The Dvd

Jed Williamson
January 13th, 2003, 11:05 PM
Since I have no access to renting/borrowing high end camcorders I tried to come up with a possible solution for me and lots of others who don't have such access to try out models before plunking down a coupla of grand.

20-30 minutes or so of footage from the different camcorders

Different scenes/lighting all sorts of things but at least a way to visually compare.

Maybe it could be part of a package for a membership club or something. like $25 for 2 dvd-r's of footage and a year membership(newsletter/dvd etc)

Any volunteers for GL2 footage? Any volunteers to put it together?

I can volunteer $25-50 :)

Chris Hurd
January 13th, 2003, 11:55 PM
Believe it or not, I've actually been mulling this idea over for several weeks now. With my contacts in Austin, I can gather an XL1S, GL2, PD150, DV300 and DVX100 and have them in the same time and place for comparison. The only real question is the format of the tests... I'm open to suggestions. The only way I can see this being viable is to have all cameras together under the exact same conditions pointed at the same thing, which is why I'd prefer to do it in Austin at one time.

Don Palomaki
January 14th, 2003, 05:47 AM
Bowl of fruit.
Resolution target
Typicaly Studio 3400K lighting
Default camcorder settings
Light metered scene
Good light & moderately poor light
Sample of shooting modes (e.g., movie and frame mode)
But with MPEG, the authoring and compression software can have an effect, so native DV files might be the better format on the DVD.

Zac Stein
January 14th, 2003, 06:32 AM
Yeah would be kind of cool to also do a full on set of split screens with all the cameras going at once, but again i would prefer moving targets as well, so we can once and for all end the "my xl1s in frame mode looks jerky when panning" discussions.


Jeff Donald
January 14th, 2003, 07:09 AM
I think you would need to shoot outdoor scenes as well. But you would have to roll them all at the same time. I've seen too many outdoor comparisons under different lighting conditions. In those cases, a good comparison could not be made (even though the origininators would attempt to).

I agree with Don, native DV will be best. but even then we'll be looking at NLE codecs, which are subject to debate by some.


Jed Williamson
January 14th, 2003, 10:40 AM
How cool to have some interest in this!!!

Austin sounds like a great place to shoot some comparison footage. I just looked at the event calendar for Austin.

Maybe you could use the Inaugural Parade as an event Jan 21st. (maybe too soon) or Mardi Gras end of Feb.

If this is put on a DVD as DV footage would that be an avi file? Either way i belive you could fit only 20 mins per disc that way. So 1 disc per camera seems a bit much.

I guess I would vote to have it encoded to a DVD as mpeg2 just like a real DVD. The reason i would find this helpfull is to look at it in comparison to say Tape or Anniversary Party or the soon to be released (PD150) Tadpole DVD. And to decide if i can pull off a DVD like those.

Jeff Donald
January 14th, 2003, 10:57 AM
The comparisons wouldn't be applicable. You'd be comparing Chris Hurd's NLE codec, MPEG 2 software or hardware encoder, etc. It would only be useful if you have the exact same set-up. If it's a native DV file you can bring it into your NLE and use your software to create your own DVD.


Chris Hurd
January 14th, 2003, 12:04 PM
See how complicated this becomes so quickly? I wouldn't consider shooting a public event for this test... it would have to be a quiet, private environment with no time constraints other than the sunlight. Instead of offering the results on DVD, perhaps a DV cassette would be better, but a bigger hassle in the long run.

Aaron Koolen
January 14th, 2003, 01:36 PM
Other possible examples

Light skin
Dark Skin
Test for colour rendition accuracy
On board audio test at different levels (So we can hear noise etc)

I think it would be a great Idea Chris.

Jed Williamson
January 14th, 2003, 02:34 PM
Complicated it is indeed :)

I guess this is something that Canon, Sony, etc. should offer in the first place, like a test driving a vehicle or a demo of software, Or those japanese restaurants at the mall that attack you with free samples!

Let me know when & where to send money for the finsished product.



Jeff Donald
January 14th, 2003, 03:59 PM
Well, mini Dv cassette would be the best way, but talk about hassle. If it were easy, everybody would do it.


Don Palomaki
January 14th, 2003, 06:44 PM
Of course, static and dynamic image files can tell something about the quality of the picture a camcorder can produce, but not much about the ergonomics or abitlity to adapt to vardous shooters and shooting situations. Keep in mind that 90+% of the end product quality is the artistic talent of the shooter, sound people, and the editors, not the equipment.

And using camera defaut settings (on an adjustable camcorder) may not be a good representation of what the camera can do in skilled hands - just an indication of the taste of the factory worker who did the initial setup.

As to getting cinsistent moving targets to test motion artifacts and encoders, how about an electric train set?

When all is said and done, probably not a valid way to do a shoot-off - too many other variables. But some folks may buy the DVD any way.

Zac Stein
January 14th, 2003, 07:08 PM
wow this thread went wild.

When i first saw the topic pop up i actually got excited, i thought peoples 'work' was going to be sent out. Now that would be cool, leave the critical tests to people going to a store and actually using a camera, lets get some looks at peoples movies and reels. Good way for people to get exposure and so on, and fun. The people who want their movies done can evenpay a small fee to have it put on there.


Bill Hardy
January 15th, 2003, 08:20 AM
Maybe instead of a DVD you could make one master DV tape with footage of all cams. The user could capture it onto his computer and manipulate the pure DV any way he likes.

Jed Williamson
January 15th, 2003, 03:31 PM
From the comments to this thread it seems that there are 3 audiences for such a project:

1. Newbies. Looking for example footage to best decide which camera to buy for their 1st camera.

2. Technophiles: The prosumers that have a 3 chipper already and just want to compare cameras technical aspects. Maybe for the purpose of upgrading or switching.

3. Indy film enthusiats: Who would like a vehicle for distributing their shorts/films to like minded souls with a possibility for constructive criticism and/or praise.

With such a varied audience it complicates matters as far as a finished product.

group 1 needs a format like dvd because they can't playback dv tapes

group 2 needs a format that keeps the footage "pure" like native dv or a mini dv tape.

group 3 needs a format like dvd so as to allow anybody to watch it and fit enough film on it.

So group 1 & 3 can have DVD's
Group 2 can have DV cassettes.

I fall into catogory 1 as is the reason i opened the thread. I just want to see how the GL2 looks on my TV. (I posted an ad in the private classified forum too)

Mark Kubat
January 16th, 2003, 08:05 PM
Guys, just host the footage somewhere on an ftp in native dv avi format and those who want it can get what they want - only a couple of seconds say 5 to 10 or even 30 seconds is worth the wait. So if someone only wants Panasonic DVX100 vs. say GL2 they can do that, etc.

As another variable, maybe compare gain...??? Would be interesting to see if XL1's -3 to +18 db settings are really something to write home about...?

Mark Austin
January 21st, 2003, 01:09 AM
for the 1/2 marathon the weekend of Feb 1st, if you need me and my GL2.

Sounds like a nice little project gone wild, but a great resource for all.

Jim Pulfer
January 21st, 2003, 07:21 AM
IMHO....all projects get derailed for this very reason - it's called scope start with something do-a-ble and then you add, and add, and add. Everything mentioned would be 'nice to have', but what is the minimum you could do - even if it counted only towards a 'first step'. Use the 80 - 20 rule - what's the minimum you could do that would satisfy 80% of the target audience (I guess first someone [Chris H. ?] picks AN audience since democratic consensus might never be reached) and then when that's complete use a phased approach to add to it later. You should be able to do that fairly quickly - but getting the last 20% might take the rest of your lives....

Don't try to save the world in the first phase - just get it off the ground in the right direction.

Pick someone (Chris H.?) to define the scope of the project.

Chris Hurd
January 21st, 2003, 09:49 AM
Absolutely right, Jim... defining the scope of this project is what's kept me from even attempting it so far. It is do-able; all the cameras are here (that is, an hour away in Austin) and within reach; available to me for a weekend, say. The question is, how should the tests be structured, what is the scope? And then, what is the distribution format. There's some flexibility but I can't get buried in it.

Steve Nunez
January 30th, 2003, 09:18 PM
Wouldn't the simplest way be, just to capture a minute of footage from each camera under identical lighting conditions (it's a bit harder outdoors- but still very much possible and useable) and put the rav dv clips onto DVD- this way you're comparing uncompressed DV footage straight from the cameras.......Mac users could simply view the footage using Quicktime- I believe PC users could view raw Dv with Quicktime for PC as well (or maybe Media Player??)

You'd end up with possibly 20 minutes or so of raw DV footage- well under the 4.7GB limit of most blank DVD-R's....end user's could sample the footage for themselves.

(As a baseline- we could vote on this forum for which mode we'd like sampled- say "Progressive or Frame modes....etc...unless Chris wants to go the extra mile and provide samples in each camera's mode!)

Rhett Allen
January 31st, 2003, 12:08 AM
But what about NTSC and PAL?? Just kidding. I have actually used most of the cameras (except for the DVX100) so it doesn't do much for me, but it is an interesting idea.

The biggest problem with all the techno mumbo jumbo is that it doesn't mean diddley if it doesn't look good when YOU are done with it. You can take 2 cameras and shoot the exact same resolution chart under the exact same settings and see the differences, BUT, what do those exact same 2 cameras look like under real live shooting conditions, in YOUR hands. Maybe one doesn't score as high on the resolution chart but consistently LOOKS better shooting a real movie.

I think we sometimes get sidetracked into thinking that this is a black and white process and it isn't. All the variables involved are too complex. Even to the point of capturing the video, there is codec work there that will affect the image too, even if it is never compressed. The only TRUE way to see the image is to go to the store and put a tape thru each camera and then take it home and look at it on YOUR editing system (first generation). Remember the article on audio that put all the cameras and DAT recorders up against each other? Well the cheapo mini-disk recorder beat 'em all (almost, the DSR-500 was top). Do you think the industry is dumping their tens of thousands of dollars worth of DAT recorders to run out and buy little mini-disks? I doubt it. They know it is all relative.

Let's face it, all of these cameras are perfectly capable of producing award winning images in the right hands. The ONLY difference is the bells and whistles included. Decide what you NEED and narrow it down. If your budget is $4000 and you need 24P, there's only one choice. Interchangable lenses, one choice, DVCAM maybe 2 choices, and so on and so on. It's pretty basic but it requires YOU to decide what you want. I would bet that Chris H. could take ALL of these cameras out and shoot footage and then post process them so you couldn't tell the difference at all. (well even if he couldn't I bet he knows who can).

I still think it is a great idea but I would encourage those who can't make a commitment, not base their decision SOLELY on the results of the DVD (or tape). You have to look at more than the picture first.