Why the HV20 is great for stop-motion animation at DVinfo.net

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Old April 19th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #1
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Why the HV20 is great for stop-motion animation

Someone recently asked me why I think the HV20 is good for doing stop-motion so I figure I should just post my thoughts here.

Most stop-motion animators are going for Digital SLRs these days which offer spectacular results for the money. What about the hobbyist who doesn't want to buy a Digital SLR just to do stop-motion. Well we use our DV cameras with software to capture single frames and then compile those into movies. This works great as we have all the camera controls we need like focus and exposure. Though the resolution isn't that great.

I got my HV20 to do HD video but found it to be a dream for doing stop-motion. I've been using the still-capture capability to capture still frames which I then copy to my computer and compile into movies which look amazing. The benefit of using the still photo mode is you can capture the full sensor at 1920x1440. The downside is the JPEG compression can cause artifacts but this is nothing new.

The HV20's stills can range from around 900K - 2200K depending on the complexity so a 2 GB card (cost me $20 shipped, brand name) is going to give you at least 37 seconds of 24 fps animation, but usually more.

Of course you can do this still frame capture with most modern camcorders but what makes the HV20 special is the quality of the image, the resolution, the cine mode is nice, focus assist and aperture control. With the aperture control you can light your set accordingly and get a very shallow DOF. Plus you can use the remote to trigger the photo so you don't have to worry about moving the camera during a shot.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #2
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And is it possible to shoot continuously for as long as you hold the photo button? I know it says something in the manual about only being able to take so many photos at a time, but doesn't go into detail. But does around 2fps I believe.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #3
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You wouldn't use continuous shooting for stop-motion. I did do a test though, there are two modes, continuous shooting and high speed continuous shooting. Both will record the same number of shots until stopping and I'm not sure what the difference is without looking at the manual. There must be an internal cache that will only hold so many MB since different numbers of pictures can be captured at the different compression levels.

Continuous Shooting

2048x1526
Normal quality - 29
Fine quality - 13
Super fine quality - 8

1920x1080
Normal quality - 43
Fine quality - 21
Super fine quality - 13
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Old April 19th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #4
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A note on stills

The manual doesn't recommend putting more than 1,800 images (Windows) or 1,000 (Macintosh) on the card as you may not be able to them remove via the camera's USB connection. It suggests using a card reader.

The manual then goes on to say that they advise storing no more than 100 images (!) at a time on a card, which would probably all fit on a 128MB card anyway, although it gives quantity/size/quality charts for up to 512MB cards.

It's worth trying it, at least.


-j
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Old April 19th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #5
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Wes, thanks for testing that. My little Ricoh GRD still camera just continues shooting for as long the button's held. Thought there was a possibility the HV20 may work the same way. It's great for time lapse style shots.
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Old April 20th, 2007, 04:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Vasher View Post
Someone recently asked me why I think the HV20 is good for doing stop-motion so I figure I should just post my thoughts here.
...
Wes,

I've been very interested in the HB20's capabilites for stop motion analysis of movements like baseball and golf swings.

It seems like there are a few options:

1) Shoot in 24P at 1/2000th.

2) Shoot in 60i at 1/2000th and deinterlace to 30P.

3) Shoot in 60i at 1/2000th and delinterlace to 60P. (Which software can do this? I believe Vegas can.)

Could you comment on these & any other approaches that might come to mind?

Thanks VERY MUCH. I really appreciate it!
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Old April 20th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #7
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3) Shoot in 60i at 1/2000th and delinterlace to 60P. (Which software can do this? I believe Vegas can.)
Peter, go this route. It looks beautiful. I have a sample of myself running at 60i > 60p with 1/500 I think. I use a plug-in for After Effects that re-builds the vertical resolution and does a pretty good job of it.

http://www.snapdrive.net/files/40125...sher_slow2.zip
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Old April 20th, 2007, 02:49 PM   #8
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Wes,

Since you're much more experienced on this subject than I am, can I ask you camera adivce for motion analysis?

Panasonic's GS320 has a 1/8,000th maximum shutter speed and can be had for around $400. But its resolution is only 720 by 480 in either 4:3 or 16:9, so it obviously doesn't shoot HD.

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...1&displayTab=S

I'm wondering if the higher maximum shutter speed (1/8,000th versus the HV-20's 1/2,000th) is more important than the loss of resolution (and I'll be losing even more resolution going from 60i to 60P--which I have to figure out how to do in Xpress Pro or Vegas). So I'd love to get your opinion.

BTW, I'll be filming continuously for 15 to 30 minutes. The subject will be baseball batting sessions with the bat moving approximately 70 mph.

I've done MANY websearches on the subject, but you've been far more helpful.

Thanks much!
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 09:46 AM   #9
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I'd suggest checking the quality of the video images get at HV20's highest shutter speed. If they are not blurred, then you don't need the GS300, I think.
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