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Old March 26th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #1
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Live capture of Sony Z1 with Intensity Pro

Good day all,

Can anybody tell me if there is a possible work flow for capturing footage from a Sony Z1 using its RBG port into a Intensity Pro using Cineform. This would bypass the HDV compression in the camera. I got the camera, CineForm Aspect HD and a BlackMagic Intensity Pro - is there a way to link these 3 up and get some great footage....skipping the HDV compression when you just capture from tape?

Thank you
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Old March 26th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #2
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nope, you can't skip compression when recording from tape. the signal on the tape is already compressed, it is too late.

if you capture direct from the camera sensor to the Pc, then you skip (partially) compression. Depending the kind of shoot you do, it is not easy.
but if for any reason you need to capture from component, yes the Intensity pro is what you need. You just need to decide the codec you will use.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 07:15 PM   #3
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Yes, use HDLink included with Aspect HD, and set you capture source to be the Blackmagic card. Hook up you camera and you good to go.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #4
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Works great, I've done it many times.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 05:28 AM   #5
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Thank you David and John, this is great news. Have any of you use this method during production? Would you mind sharing your experiences and advise? Speed issues using normal SATA 2 HDD's? How did you setup your on location system? How long RGB cable can I use before running into problems?

Using Aspect HD will mean I only get out 1440 by 1080 BUT by bypassing the mpeg2 compression I will definitely gain? No compression artifacts due to the 25mbit/s of HDV (I'm recording directly into a CineForm DI with much Higher mbit/s and which is a I-frame 4-2-2 chroma codec) Or am I under the wrong impression here? Thanks again
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
nope, you can't skip compression when recording from tape. the signal on the tape is already compressed, it is too late.

if you capture direct from the camera sensor to the Pc, then you skip (partially) compression. Depending the kind of shoot you do, it is not easy.
but if for any reason you need to capture from component, yes the Intensity pro is what you need. You just need to decide the codec you will use.
I came across this article on www.studiodaily.com way back when I just got my Sony Z1:

"Get Rid of MPEG-2 Noise With an HD-SDI Converter and HDCAM Deck

Andreas Timmes
Producer, Creative Development
MSS New York
Recent HDV Projects: Currently shooting a promotion for an upcoming Japanese movie

Shooting with the Sony HDR-FX1, we noticed that the image quality, although generally very good, becomes a bit noisy (or blurred) when we panned with the camera. Actually, this is quite typical for MPEG-2 compression, even in HD broadcasts, as we noticed in the Summer Olympics broadcasts. With the HDR-FX1, the blur/noise is more visible because it features a less expensive codec. Using an HD-SDI converter, we then hooked up the camera with a portable HDCAM deck (SONY HDW-250). This let us bypass the MPEG-2 codec (with a transfer rate of 25 Mbps) and, instead, record uncompressed HD (with a rate of 140 Mbps). This resulted in a higher image quality with relatively clean pans.

Based on our experience, we also recommend minimizing horizontal movement (panning) as much as possible in order to maintain a clean image. If you need to pan (and want to maintain the image quality), always pan as slowly as possible!"


Since then a lot has changed in terms of HD quality and the Sony Z1 in a way is not really the best camera (or let me say camera of choice) to shoot a feature film with. I don't have the budget to buy or rent a HD-SDI converter or HDCAM deck. So would hooking the Z1 up via RGB to a Intensity Pro and recording directly into CineForm 1440x1080 4:2:2 give me the best image I'll ever get out of the Z1 (considering that I have a Intensity Pro and CineForm Aspect HD)?

Sorry guys if I'm beating around the bush here, I would just like to have the best quality possible from what I have and use it to its full potential.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 04:57 PM   #7
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Small correction, the Z1 outputs YPrPb (YUV) not RGB. The YPrPb is 4:2:2, which is twice the vertical chroma resolution of HDV's 4:2:0 -- that can be worth it alone. The analog cabling will subtle soften the image, but most greatly prefer that over the harsh look of MPEG2 artifacts. We have many customers going out form cameras in analog to the Intensity Pro or DeckLink/Xena cards and capture into CineForm. It will improve your picture quality.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
Small correction, the Z1 outputs YPrPb (YUV) not RGB. The YPrPb is 4:2:2, which is twice the vertical chroma resolution of HDV's 4:2:0 -- that can be worth it alone. The analog cabling will subtle soften the image, but most greatly prefer that over the harsh look of MPEG2 artifacts. We have many customers going out form cameras in analog to the Intensity Pro or DeckLink/Xena cards and capture into CineForm. It will improve your picture quality.
Thank you David and thank you for the correction. It sound like a relative good option for green screen work also. This is great news indeed and blows back some life into the Sony Z1 for the Indie Filmmaker.

Out of principal one would use the best connection cable available and try to keep the cable length as short as possible. David could you make some suggestion of HDLink preference setting when using the method. Should I for example capture plain vanilla from the camera and then afterward use HDLink Convert function to de-interlace/M2 flip/50i to 24p? Would this approach be less resource intensive for our location recording PC? I was just wondering how reliable the recording method is in terms PC hang ups.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 05:58 PM   #9
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The recording is pretty reliable, although occasionally we see the Intensity card disable itself; never during a capture, just sometimes on boot up. The M2 flip is not a big compute factor, and the 4% slow down (25->24) is free, but yes the deinterlace is more compute intensive. If you can deinterlace before compression, do it, because I hate interlaced. :) If you are using our deinterlace, make sure you look the camera to a 1/50th shutter (as you should anyway) as it will look MUCH better.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 08:34 PM   #10
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I've had the same issue with the Intensity card, it has always been fixed by a reboot and works just fine after that until power down.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Newman View Post
Yes, use HDLink included with Aspect HD, and set you capture source to be the Blackmagic card. Hook up you camera and you good to go.


I've been evaluating ProspectHD trial with Blackmagic Intensity (not the pro model) and I can't select the BM card as a capture device in HDlink. Any ideas? Do I need to install BM software again after the Cineform stuff?
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Old March 30th, 2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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Yes, likely the Decklink driver isn't correctly initized so HDLink is not seeing it. Re-install the Decklink software.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 01:15 AM   #13
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Or try rebooting, as was said, the card does have an issue with initilizing the first time.
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