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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old May 20th, 2009, 09:38 PM   #91
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Interesting - a lot of the frame is cut off using the iMovie stabilizer... but does seem to help a bit.

I'd think that a small bracket rig/homebuilt fig rig type device would smooth that out even more as well, but the new super OIS does an amazing job. I've run a few test runs with some of my stabilizing rigs, and am very happy with the results.

Yeah, it's a smooth, zoom and crop process. On that clip it was about 130% (iMovie's scale) where 100% is just the normal video. You can control the trade off between smoothing and cropping/zooming. 130% is pretty heavy, imho, and you can see the cropping that happens at that level playing the clips back to back. On some other shots I've done, 10% or so is just enough to make the handheld HD video very usable without being totally distracting with shake or cropping too much.

I would still prefer a proper stabilizer/glide-cam kind of rig, but I can't exactly fit that in my wife's purse when we're out to the park for fun.

-Michael
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Old May 20th, 2009, 11:20 PM   #92
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Regardless of the image quality and bells and whistles, I would go with the S10. Of the two, it's the only camcorder that offers full manual control over gain, WB, shutter, iris, focus and zoom.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 07:45 AM   #93
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I think the issue of gain is much less valid when comparing these two. When you see the Sony's picture in low light, you surely don't get concerned with gain. Because the Canon isn't nearly as good in low light, you do need control over the gain.

But I found that even limiting gain on the Canon, gave me a picture that was very dim and lacking in detail.

As for control of WB, the Sony gives you that too, including MWB. Focus? They both have manual control over focus, though without a ring adjustment neither is particularly good.

So the main differentiator is that of iris and shutter. If you need that and don't do 'run & gun' type video, than the Canon is a good choice. I found, even with my two Canons, I almost never use manual iris or shutter since it's almost always spur of the moment shots for a cam like this where I don't have the time.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:33 AM   #94
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Regardless of the image quality and bells and whistles, I would go with the S10. Of the two, it's the only camcorder that offers full manual control over gain, WB, shutter, iris, focus and zoom.
I do not think the Canon has full control of gain. Canon has a gain limit control that sets the upper limit for gain but the camera will auto adjust the gain until this limit is reached, it is not fixed or independently controllable . There are just four choices for this gain limit. It does have different auto control like the shutter priority or iris priority mode. WB, focus and zoom are the same for both Sony and Canon with Sony having the advantage of a LANC control for tripod or waterproof housing control. The manual control on the Sony does allow you to control the application of gain if you know where on the scale gain starts!!! IT of course only starts after the iris is full open whereas in full auto the camera is clever enough to set for the best conditions and will apply gain even when the iris is not fully open keeping the lens as close to its sweet spot as possible. On the Sony this can be biased with the AE shift control.

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Old May 21st, 2009, 10:25 PM   #95
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Once one learns how to manipulate the Sony, it's surprisingly controllable. Yes, independent control of each setting (WB, iris, gain, shutter speed) on individual buttons would be great, but not terribly practical in he small form factor. Upsize the cam to something around the size of the old TRV900, now you've lost portability, but I think it would be a decent trade.

With AE shift and exposure controls easily accessible from the button/knob, you've got fairly effective control. Frankly the spot focus function is probably a better option than "manual" focus on a small cam with a small monitor. Anything other than a full size ring is mighty fiddly of you're honest about it... and if you're realy trying to "focus" on the 2.7" LCD... well, good luck with it...

The strong points of a good clean low light image and excellent OIS (and a viewfinder, bigger LCD) are pretty good and compelling package for many users. I'd prefer those things even at the expense of a slightly less sharp "good light" picture.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #96
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HDR-XR520 as second/backup cam to Z5

Well, I used the XR520 on a real project for the first time on Wednesday, in conjunction with the Z5 and I must say I'm immensely impressed with the low-light results from such a small cam.

The gig was a rock concert for kids to show off their talents to family and friends, so it was a (very) low budget affair. It was a single-handed effort with the main cam (hand-held, mobile) being my Z5 and 2 small cams mounted on clamps fixed to structures on either side of the stage. The 3rd cam was a borrowed (from a friend) Panasonic HDC-HS100 which I had seen results from in good lighting which were pretty good. However, the low-light capability was much less impressive - to the extent that I don't think I'll even be able to cut it into the finished edit due to the massive difference to it's footage compared to the 2 Sony cams. I'll let you know how I get on once I start editing. At the moment, I'm just converting everything to Cineform intermediates.

You can see the difference between the Z5 footage and the XR520 footage (as you would expect for cameras with several thousand pounds difference between them) but it's not so different that it disturbs the viewer when cutting from one to the other with all the coloured disco lighting - unlike the footage from the Panasonic.

The audio was recorded on an Edirol R-44 using 4 mics on seperate channels (guitar, bass, drums, vocals). I did a quick test using PluralEyes for syncing the 3 video tracks (using the on-camera audio for syncing) with the 4-channel Edirol tracks and was suitably impressed - it certainly speeds up the syncing process from doing it visually! I'll probably buy the release version (just released).

Well, back to work. I'll let you know how things progress. The star of the show is my 12 year old nephew, who is a killer guitarist! Watch this space!
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Old December 18th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #97
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My main setup is Sony FX1 , SR11 and XR500. Lots of projects are by myself with cameras on tripods or Magic clamps. SR11 and XR500 focused with spot focus and AE shift at -4. In good light they are better than the FX1 a lot of the time. FX1 has the edge when things get difficult to expose or focus for but considering I could buy two more XR500's before I get to the cost of the FX1 the XR500 is really good. I am looking forward to see how the NXCam family turns out as I am sure for me one of them will replace the FX1. The XR500 is used as the full stage camera mostly as it responds great to the lights going up and down with low grain again less than the FX1 a lot of the time. I too am very impressed with the XR500 for the cost.

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Old December 19th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #98
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Lack of progressive recording has to be a big downer on all sony consumer cams.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #99
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I'm still struggling with understanding why people think the progressive recording is visibly superior for normal HD usage playing back through an HDTV. The 1080i recordings from the Sony cams look spectacular on a Sony 46" 60Hz TV, and I understand the newer TVs at 120Hz do all sorts of clever interpolation and the video might look even better there. I can't even really tell the difference between playback quality on a PC (nominally progressive) vs the HDTV (nominally interlaced) except that the former is on a much smaller screen and isn't my target output device in practice. So that rules out the only source of regret I might have about using a 1080i cam.

I've also heard that some of the advertised 1080p cams aren't actually capturing in that mode, they just interpolate themselves and play it back that way.

I understand the technological difference but wonder how much it really matters at this point. For example, I definitely don't buy that a 720p recording looks superior to a 1080i one on my TV. So is the difference something that is visible to the average consumer on an average HDTV today, or is it a futures consideration except for people who are trying to emulate film cameras used for movies?
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Old December 19th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #100
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I'm with you Tom. Since most modern HDTVs have excellent conversion to progressive, in many cases there is no difference at all between feeding the HDTV an interlaced vs. a progressive signal.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #101
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I'm still struggling with understanding why people think the progressive recording is visibly superior for normal HD usage playing back through an HDTV. The 1080i recordings from the Sony cams look spectacular on a Sony 46" 60Hz TV, and I understand the newer TVs at 120Hz do all sorts of clever interpolation and the video might look even better there. I can't even really tell the difference between playback quality on a PC (nominally progressive) vs the HDTV (nominally interlaced) except that the former is on a much smaller screen and isn't my target output device in practice. So that rules out the only source of regret I might have about using a 1080i cam.

I've also heard that some of the advertised 1080p cams aren't actually capturing in that mode, they just interpolate themselves and play it back that way.

I understand the technological difference but wonder how much it really matters at this point. For example, I definitely don't buy that a 720p recording looks superior to a 1080i one on my TV. So is the difference something that is visible to the average consumer on an average HDTV today, or is it a futures consideration except for people who are trying to emulate film cameras used for movies?
The problem there is that all LCD and Plasma HDTVs that are currently out there are natively progressive--and they deinterlace interlaced signals to varying degrees of quality depending on the set. Only CRT HDTVs (now extremely rare) and some of the HD projectors are natively interlaced.

On the other hand, Canon's so-called "1080p" modes are really 1080p streams embedded inside a 1080i container. Thus, they are read as 1080i video in a program which cannot properly remove the pulldown encoded in the videos.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 08:15 PM   #102
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When we bought our HDTV (a Sony XBR) at least two years ago, it was clear from the manual that the TV itself is now a very powerful graphics processing computer and would do all sorts of things with the incoming signal as opposed to just throwing it onscreen. The 120Hz models sound even more so.

So are there any consumer cams doing true 1080p not wrapped in a 1080i container? I had read a bit about that recently and that's part of why I don't feel any need to go to 1080p - I've gotten the impression that there's some advertising hype going on there.

If there are some top to bottom 1080p cams out there (less than $1500), will there be a noticeable visual difference between that and the Sony 1080is on a good LCD 120Hz HDTV? Or does the TV's own processing cover any gap? Again, I don't really care that much about PC playback, if I want to watch the video for entertainment, I'm going to use the TV for that.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #103
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Here in the uk the HV30 does true 25P recording and the look of the filming is better than my previous SR12 as is the overall colour rendition.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #104
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Lack of progressive recording has to be a big downer on all sony consumer cams.
Until we get true progressive recording at 60fps or more I am not interested. The lower frame rates of 24,25 or 30 I find really bothersome to watch. Inherent issues with motion and bad filming technique, judder makes me a little sick at times and I change channels!!! In NTSC land the TV's refresh at 60hz or more and until one gets to 120hz the sets CANNOT display 24p correctly, if they detect 24p and deal with as an emulation of 5 blade projector. They don't all do this!!!! The worse case is they don't detect 24p and try to interpolate extra frames and mess up the pulldown even more !!! 30p is displayed at 60p doubling each frame, 24 has pulldown cadence. So one is actually watching an effect!!!! Same would be true in PAL for 25 in a 50hz world.
Shooting 24p has a purpose if one is going to transfer to film and show at a festival from a film projector. Easier and lower cost way of creating the film. In my mind when festival all go digital projectors there will be little point. Might as well remove the hassle of motion and keep all the other techniques of composition, lighting colour saturation etc. We don't need to stay with the legacy from a century old business decision of the movie industry( it had nothing to do with art or technology it was MONEY).
Finally you must have gathered I like smooth motion and as such have no problems with my 60i Sony's. Also my XR500 gives a much nicer clean picture than my FX1. So I will be buying the new Sony NXCAM when it comes out in the new year. Since it will also do 1280x720P60 I will be happy.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 11:20 AM   #105
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25P in pal looks far better if used properly, running around hand held would of course not, am i right the 7D only records progressive.


Pretty good i reckon wish it was mine, not the music though.

Last edited by Martyn Hull; December 21st, 2009 at 04:47 AM.
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