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Old December 26th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #1
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What's best for fast-moving sports?

What's the best small HD camcorder for fast-moving sports? I record my kids in horsejumping and lacrosse which require fast pans to follow the action. I use an EX1 on a Miller tripod at 720p60 and edit in FCP3. Here's a 45 second snippet of the resulting work:

I want a second and small camera...to record b-roll in the barn or locker room etc. And because the EX1 is painful to handhold, bulky to move, and sometimes I just don't want to carry the big rig). Once enjoyed the Sony HC1 but it stopped working. Tried a friend's Canon Vixia HF11 and loved the small size. But I haven't had the chance to compare cameras today.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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Take a look at the HMC40, especially for shooting 720p60 to match up with the 720p60 footage from your EX1. The HMC40 is small (not tiny like an HF11 though), quite comfortable to shoot with, and yields a stunning image with adequate light. You might even be hard pressed to see a notable difference in the image quality between the 720p60 from your EX1 and 720p60 from an HMC40 (again, with adequate light).
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Old December 26th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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Compared to consumer cameras, it's a champ of course, but the HMC40 is not what you would call a low-light camcorder, however, it does quite well for a 3-1/4" chipper (gain is surprisingly clean, which does make a considerable real-world difference). I don't know how good the lighting is in the barn or locker room you're shooting in, but if an HC1 was adequate, the HMC40 will certainly do just fine.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #4
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Thanks Robert. I'll take a look.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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You know, I'd make a wager that 720p60 video shot with an HMC40 winds up getting broadcast on ABC sports or ESPN, in the not-all-that-distant future, even if the broadcaster doesn't realize it - it's that good.

If you took well shot 720p60 footage (in ideal lighting) from an HMC40, and encoded it with a codec and put it in a wrapper that broadcasters don't bat an eyelash at (claiming it was shot with an HPX300 or whatever), it might just slide right on by, without even get a second look from the producer.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 05:13 PM   #6
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I know it's only a consumer cam (i also have a HMC 152) but my main cam for shooting high motion Ocean sports from the back of a Jetski is the Canon HF10. In good light and shutter set at 1/250, the images i get in this difficult situation is awesome, blur free and almost no jello. Most of my footage is software stabilized in post so any jello is amplified, but still very small at that shutter speed. (i know shutter speed is not supposed to effect jello but at 1\250 it seems to be a sweetspot for this cam)

I now don't have to risk my HMC 152 in high risk shooting, except for low light conditions.

All these last 14 videos were shot with the canon Hf10 from the back of a moving jetski.
Rambos Locker Outrigger Canoe Blog
Here's one of them

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Old January 1st, 2010, 12:06 AM   #7
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Honest to goodness, I'm sure that would look better shot at 1/50 shutter. It would look reasonably smooth, for 25p footage, not so choppy. For that footage to look as natural (as natural as it can at 25p), it needs some motion blur. Looking at it, stepping through the footage frame-by-frame in an NLE, of course the individual frames look better when viewed one-at-a-time, but not played back as a motion picture in real time. I don't see anything in there that would likely present noticeable rolling shutter issues, played back in real time, either.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 12:39 AM   #8
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It's not choppy on my PC when i play it nor from vimeo, anyone else find it choppy for sports footage. Are you sure it's not your fluro lights at 60hz causing the choppiness? I think what you missed in my post is all the footage is run thru a stabilizing program and camera movement at 25p induces lot of blur in each frame. When the stabilizing program realigns all the frames the resulting video is one big blur. It was shot in 50i deinterlaced and rendered to 25p.

Would you want motion blur in your professional football footage on TV? Isn't that why most sports are shot at 60p, to get smooth blur free video?

You can see what i mean here at the start of this video shot at 1/50. That is motion blur not out of focus footage.

This one was shoot in 720p at 50fps so it's smoother, but Hf10 doesn't have 50fps mode.

Sorry if i hijacked the thread Scott.

Last edited by Ian Newland; January 1st, 2010 at 01:24 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:11 AM   #9
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Gotcha. Yeah, with a camera shaking like that, cranking the shutter speed up is pretty much the only way to get usable footage. I doubt my lights are making the viewing any choppier, and I downloaded the original file you uploaded to Vimeo (knowing Flash video often stutters). What I'm noticing is essentially the same as if you could somehow have shot exactly the same thing with the camera stable - most notable with the motion of the oars.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:18 AM   #10
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I must be getting tired. It's a little after 1:00am here (Central USA). It just blew right on by, over my head, that it was shot from back of a Jetski!

Have you tried de-interlacing to 50p footage? That would probably look fantastic.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:31 AM   #11
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Robert said --- Have you tried de-interlacing to 50p footage? That would probably look fantastic

I do when i want smooth slomo from 50i but then still have to render out to 25p for vimeo.
But it does look good rendered out at 50p and played thru a Hardware Media player in HD to HDTV. What you're calling choppy (strobing i call it) will remain thou as it's from the 1/250 shutter speed.

Cheers Rambo

Last edited by Ian Newland; January 1st, 2010 at 03:56 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:33 AM   #12
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This is some footage I shot of my puppy (the little Corgi - playing with my Son's dogs in his back yard) last April - shot with a Canon HV20 at 24p 1/48 shutter. It actually looks deceptively choppier than it really is, because my puppy sort of runs/hops/darts like a bunny. If I had shot that at 1/250 it would look like it was shot in a disco or something.


I'm looking forward to shooting her at 720p60 with the HMC40, when spring rolls around again. My puppy is a great subject to shoot (ok, I'm prejudiced!) and she loves being in front of the camera! It's the dead of winter here right now (and awfully dang cold outside, with a ton of snow on the ground).
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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:42 AM   #13
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The sprint and fun footage is probably what your referring to, the paddles blur rather than ghost and it does look nicer but we are comparing a $500 to a $4000 camera and taking that out on a jetski is a big risk even in a housing.

I get what you mean from the puppy footage but for me it's the choice of jerky cam or smooth cam when shot from a jetski on the ocean, choppy is a byproduct of jerkfree footage from having to use a software stabilizer.

Cheers Rambo

Last edited by Ian Newland; January 1st, 2010 at 03:04 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 04:48 AM   #14
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Hi Ian

One important point you are missing here is that viewers are not looking for any technical imperfections at all!! They are totally absorbed by the content.

In fact if you look at all 4 videos on this thread and look at them from a viewers point of view they are all excellent!! We often get horribily involved in minute technical issues that 99% of people (including experts!!) will never spot unless they are told to look for them!!

I used to shoot my weddings in 4:3 format and when potential clients looked at samples on a widescreen tv they never even commented about pillarboxing or in fact, anything technical..why??? they were only interested in the content!! When I moved from SD to HD I had to still render back to SD (almost no client's have a BD player) and I spent countless hours testing different transcoding and rendering differences...when normal people were presented with 3 samples they couldn't tell the difference..in fact quite a few, when pressed, chose transcoded HD to SD rather than HD!!!

You shoot amazing video and any minor issues from a tech point of view are non existent!!

Chris
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Old January 1st, 2010, 05:49 AM   #15
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Yeah i know what you mean Chris, all the Brides mother is interested in is the "money shot". The one outside the church with the bride and groom, big smiles and looking in love forever, even though little johnny is running past in the background and ruining the shot.

Trying to improve you product is what keeps it interesting over and above the $$$.

Hey i will be in your neck of the woods in two weeks to film "The Doctor" surfski race from Rotty Is to Hillarys, small world.

Cheers Rambo
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