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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:45 PM   #1
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Tried a SR12 at a local store...

and frankly, I'm not impressed by the AVCHD compression.

I'm recording to memory stick at Full HD resolution and after downloading to my computer at full resolution, looking closely in Vegas 7.0e, I see a TON of blocking artifacts in the reds and blues in the scene which is extremely complex with tons of contours/features to encode... Consumers wouldn't mind, however it can't be accepted by pro standards, considering everything that is broadcast is recompressed VERY often.

The only way I'll buy a SR12 is if I need it for high resolution chroma keys via my Intensity Pro.

Then there's the problem of the "rolling shutter"...

Looks like the superior compression of HDV might stick around for me. I might even go for XDCAM HD if I had the money or if I was hired by the right people...

I've provided a screenshot and you can clearly see the blocking in dark areas and the reds. (Compressed at max JPEG quality)
Attached Thumbnails
Tried a SR12 at a local store...-avchdfhd.jpg  
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:55 PM   #2
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Can't see any evidence of it with moving video on a 60" Pioneer Elite 1080p plasma. I was never a fan of using stills or frame grabs for determining the quality of moving video. Compared to my HV20, I see absolutely zero difference in artifacts.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:59 PM   #3
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All I'm saying is it's unsuitable for broadcast HD. Recompress it enough and it won't look as good.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #4
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Jack, in all honesty, these cams whether they be the SR Sony series or the HF Canon series or any other of the same breed, are not designed nor targeted for broadcast. So I think to judge them by those standards is not fair. These cams are about $1,000, not $50,000. The quality they offer for that price is nothing short of extraordinary.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 09:30 PM   #5
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The quality they offer for that price is nothing short of extraordinary.
I agree, they're excellent family/vacation (or consumer use) cameras and also could be good for the next generation of HD Youtubers, but not broadcast cameras. After all, when was the last time you saw AVCHD on the big screen or broadcast?
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Old March 17th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #6
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I agree, they're excellent family/vacation (or consumer use) cameras and also could be good for the next generation of HD Youtubers, but not broadcast cameras. After all, when was the last time you saw AVCHD on the big screen or broadcast?
Again Jack, nobody is claiming they are to be used for broadcast. However I will tell you on my 60" Pioneer the SR12 comes extraordinarily close to a high quality HD broadcast.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #7
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Hi Jack -

Did you shoot the same exact scene with an HC9? The reason I ask is that unless you did so, you're not really making a fair evaluation of AVCHD vs. HDV.

I see a VERY complex scene, with a substantial amount of detail in both light and shadow areas, and only upon very close examination could one quibble over the quality.

Remember this - it's an old "art" concept... when looking at a painting, if you stand close enough, it looks like poop, but if you stand back a distance, you see the "picture", not the brushstrokes, pigments, etc.

It's really quite the same with video - if you get close enough, it's ultimately a bunch of colored dots/squares/rectangles REPRESENTING a picture of a moment in time.

In my mind the question is one of how accurately that picture captures the color, detail, and "feel" of a moment, over a wide variation of conditions in which those moments occur.

I was very happy with the HC7, but my CX7 to my eye (yes, with last generation AVCHD vs. Last generation HDV) gives a better result under many conditions.

I'll suggest you go back, shoot identical scenes with an HC9 (which is a slight but noticeable improvement over the HC7), and the SR11/12 - post those and look at them side by side (keep in mind 1440 vs. 1920 horizontal resolution) - let's see what the REAL story is.

Simply tossing a frame grab up and declaring it's not fit for prime time is rather shortsighted.

And a final point... do you think that all that recompression for broadcast is going to do anything to improve either format? You ultimately have to create... a whole bunch of dots... and there are only so many ways you can achieve that!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 01:34 AM   #8
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I happend to be at best buy to get some info for an ipod for my wife and was attracted to the video camera section because there were alot of people over there making a big deal about something. When I went over, I saw several men in lab coats inspecting the camcorders. On the lab coats was NASA. I could not help overhearing them talking as they held a Sony SR11 pressing the photo button. They were saying---no way nope---It cant work-----No Im sorry-----this will never work as the hubble replacment......

Not even good enough for astroimaging.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 04:33 AM   #9
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I have a HC7 and am very happy with it, I do notice that HC7 images at full size are softer than the SR12 but has much less ringing than I saw in my SR12 trial. Take a look at the word "Accessories" in my screenshot. Lots of ringing artifacts are present in that portion of the video. Looking at a red section of one of my HC7 videos, I see less ringing. Both are handheld.

The above is when you consider the details. However, to make it fair and balanced, I will say that they are pretty much equal in quality when you see the whole picture.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 07:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Hi Jack -

Did you shoot the same exact scene with an HC9? The reason I ask is that unless you did so, you're not really making a fair evaluation of AVCHD vs. HDV.

I see a VERY complex scene, with a substantial amount of detail in both light and shadow areas, and only upon very close examination could one quibble over the quality.

Remember this - it's an old "art" concept... when looking at a painting, if you stand close enough, it looks like poop, but if you stand back a distance, you see the "picture", not the brushstrokes, pigments, etc.

It's really quite the same with video - if you get close enough, it's ultimately a bunch of colored dots/squares/rectangles REPRESENTING a picture of a moment in time.

In my mind the question is one of how accurately that picture captures the color, detail, and "feel" of a moment, over a wide variation of conditions in which those moments occur.

I was very happy with the HC7, but my CX7 to my eye (yes, with last generation AVCHD vs. Last generation HDV) gives a better result under many conditions.

I'll suggest you go back, shoot identical scenes with an HC9 (which is a slight but noticeable improvement over the HC7), and the SR11/12 - post those and look at them side by side (keep in mind 1440 vs. 1920 horizontal resolution) - let's see what the REAL story is.

Simply tossing a frame grab up and declaring it's not fit for prime time is rather shortsighted.

And a final point... do you think that all that recompression for broadcast is going to do anything to improve either format? You ultimately have to create... a whole bunch of dots... and there are only so many ways you can achieve that!
Dave, some great analogies and an excellent assessment of many posts I see where people put a frame grab under a magnifying glass and expect us to make or break a camera based on that!!! First off, frame grabs are not representative of moving video. I just wish people would understand this. I've seen some cams that produce really great video but you just can't get a good frame grab. There are so many issues that go in to this (deinterlacing, throwing away 1/2 the resolution etc. etc.), I'll never understand why some people think by throwing a frame grab up on a screen that this somehow is indicative of the video quality. On another forum a guy was doing this and whatever was doing the deinterlacing was utterly horrific. The grab showed unreal artifacting that you would never ever see in a moving video. He was trying to make the case that this grab was somehow indicative of the video quality. Of course his poor methodologies were pointed out by many. As you said Dave, we sit back and watch the video, we don't put our noses against the screen looking for issues...well maybe we do when we get a new cam! :)

I've shot many clips with the SR12 and it's quality compares very favorably with the END PRODUCT I see from professional HD cams. The reason I screamed out 'end product' is I don't want to start an endless discussion where people say 'oh so you're saying the SR12 is as good as a $50,000 broadcast cam?". No I'm not. But what I am saying is that picture that we see in our home (not the point of origin at the camera's head end) after it's gone through the broadcast chain of compression and recompression and arrives at our HDTV, looks very comparable to the videos I get from the SR12 hooked up directly via HDMI to the TV. To my eyes this is a direct result of a very very 'quiet', low noise picture together with excellent resolution and sharpness. Some may say 'well that's not fair, look at what the broadcast cam has had to go through to get to your house'. Yes, that's a fair statement, but who cares? What you see at your home is what you see and that's the ONLY comparison that means anything to the end-user.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 07:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Fort View Post
I happend to be at best buy to get some info for an ipod for my wife and was attracted to the video camera section because there were alot of people over there making a big deal about something. When I went over, I saw several men in lab coats inspecting the camcorders. On the lab coats was NASA. I could not help overhearing them talking as they held a Sony SR11 pressing the photo button. They were saying---no way nope---It cant work-----No Im sorry-----this will never work as the hubble replacment......

Not even good enough for astroimaging.
Man Paul, that's a downer...here I thought this cam would replace the Hubble!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Dave, some great analogies and an excellent assessment of many posts I see where people put a frame grab under a magnifying glass and expect us to make or break a camera based on that!!! First off, frame grabs are not representative of moving video. I just wish people would understand this
I'm in agreement with you.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #13
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Glad I could inject some sensibility <wink>.

There's an interesting new article that compares the EX1, Red, and F23 - three quite different cameras at rather different price points...

The F23 looked pretty good, anyone have a quarter mil I can borrow to get one? Bummer, didn't think so... can't even afford an EX1, and not sure what I'd do with it anyway, although I'd like to have one! I suppose I could sell all my other gear, and end up with one big camera that's not practical for me and a slightly improved final result, if and when I actually took the camera out - which would be far less often than my little CX7. And I doubt my wife would keep an EX1 in her purse... Less footage=more missed moments=worse choice for me... :-)


Jack I know you've got the HC7, it's a great little camera, and the HC9 builds on it just a bit. Same with the HV20/30 if you prefer the Canon... The quality of these pocket rockets is astounding for their size and price.

Can anyone actually realistically show that the average end viewer would really truly be able to pick out the difference between my CX7 and the EX1 (or maybe even the F23?) when put up on their purdy new flat screen Tee-Vee... ANYONE? With proper shooting and posting, these little cams rock.

Think how many "reality TV" shows are now shot with these little cameras, shows that would never have been around if you had to put "big cameras" in harms way... is anyone complaining about macroblocking and rolling shutter on Survivorman? Apparently the quality is "good enuf"... Are reruns of "I Love Lucy" unwatchable because they are in B&W and shot on cameras and media quite totally obsolete when compared to anything available today??

Tests, "expert opinions", quick reviews, all are rather iffy against "real world" - yes they give you an indication, careful analysis will give you an opinion, but until you shoot and put the end product on screen it's virtually meaningless.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - You can shoot garbage with a million $ camera (or a multi-million dorllar budget) and end up with technically refined GARBAGE, or you can shoot compelling footage with a $100 secondhand used camera and have greatness...

Yes, the camera makes a difference, and I personally would rather shoot with the best equipment (augmented with the best outboard gear I can get) I can reasonably afford, but geez, since the HC1 I've been pretty happy with the results I get, everything since has been incremental improvement (or in the case of user interface, incremental decrease in usability).

So in the end, get the camera that you're comfortable with, and...



GO OUT AND SHOOT SOMETHING TO MAKE YOUR WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #14
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Geesh Dave, be careful or we'll have to call you our resident "Voice of Reason"!
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Old March 19th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #15
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Amen

May I second that. All those in agreement say Aye!
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