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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old November 11th, 2004, 02:16 PM   #1
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HDV Quality

I know the camera is new and very few are out there, but is there any indication based on what is known and seen what kind of level of quality we are talking about compared to film?

I believe most people don't think DV approaches Super 16mm. What does HDV do in terms of resolution and sharpness?

In other words, are we close to Super 16 yet, or 16 or regular 8mm?
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Old November 11th, 2004, 04:05 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, i have no experience with film cameras. However my experiments with FX and 1920x1200 resolution monitor show that FX1's image *could be sharper*, subjectively speaking.

IMHO the cam's glass is limiting its resolution currently.

When will we have HDV cams with Nikon adapters? This way we could use Nikon 35mm photo lenses that may be better than what comes with the camera - plus much cheaper - plus one can actually choose exact focal distance for the particular shot by using a specific prime. Of course, all that would be good if the cam's sensor is the same size as 35mm frame - so the image projected by the lens would retain film-like shallow depth of field etc. Just a rant, you know :)
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Old November 12th, 2004, 09:08 AM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Alex Raskin : Unfortunately, i have no experience with film cameras. However my experiments with FX and 1920x1200 resolution monitor show that FX1's image *could be sharper*, subjectively speaking.

IMHO the cam's glass is limiting its resolution currently.

When will we have HDV cams with Nikon adapters? This way we could use Nikon 35mm photo lenses that may be better than what comes with the camera - plus much cheaper - plus one can actually choose exact focal distance for the particular shot by using a specific prime. Of course, all that would be good if the cam's sensor is the same size as 35mm frame - so the image projected by the lens would retain film-like shallow depth of field etc. Just a rant, you know :) -->>>

There is more limiting the FX1 than just the glass, and I'd be willing to bet that the lens could actually handle more than the CCD block in this camera can. Don't forget that while it encodes HDV at 1920x1080, the pixel resolution of the CCDs is a bit less than half of that. It uses the 1/2 pixel shift on the green CCD layer to effectively increase the horizontal pixel resolution... It increases the luminosity data, and is a cheat that can effectively boost the perceived pixel resolution, but it does soften the image some. The pixel shift gives a perceivable resolution of 1440 horizontal pixels, and that is further softened as it is encoded to 1920 pixels. And the MPEG2 compression also takes its toll on the image. IMO, I think the image on the FX1 is very good, considering the limitations of the CCD block and high compression levels.
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Old November 12th, 2004, 10:07 AM   #4
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Regardless of the lens or the way the image is recorded, the camera is still a 1/3" chip camera. It's not going to give an image that is any better than what the chips are capable of producing.
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Old December 5th, 2004, 01:54 PM   #5
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Hi Folks,
Perceived quality is always going to be linked to how the images are viewed. I tend to assume that the majority of viewing of a project created in 2004 will be on a digital projector, HDTV or flat panel display. Let's not forget that 16 mm encompasses a very wide quality range.
Interchangeable lenses are great as long as you use a good one!
As a 1080i picture on a 1080i display the FX1 looks very clean, colorful and sharp. A nice step forward in electronic picture quality.
I think the FX1 has an advantage in light sensitivity. You may need to go to 800 ASA 16 mm film stock before you would have to to turn up the gain of the FX1. This is not always a huge thing, especially for exteriors. And I like how film grain looks.
On the other hand 16 mm can be scanned to very high bit depth (HDR) file formats and color corrected very aggressively. Try to time HDV files up a stop. Color correction latitude has a lot to do with our perception of quality.
16 mm is going to have every frame equally sharp. HDV tends to fall apart (softness and macroblocking) in rapid motion because of the GOP compression. This is something you can check for during production and correct the framing as needed to minimize this effect. I also notice that my FX1 looks smeared even with slow camera movement. (flicker is off...)
HDV is WYSIWYG. It's very reassuring to be able to look at a high def monitor while shooting and know what you have. I don't know of a film production that didn't have reshoots for technical reasons. On the other hand standing around the monitor wastes an incredible amount of time.
Sharpness (peaking) artifacts on the FX1 drive me crazy. I've played with the control and it's very hard to find a balance between dark outlines and an overall soft look. Project it big to really see how bad this is.
If your main distribution is going to be on film you will be throwing away some of the pixels that the FX1 records. Cineframe 30 and 24 are just interpolations. I believe you can do something better in post without sacrificing the quality for all of your electronic viewers. The one caveat I will mention is that the GOP (group of Pictures) compression might be less brutal if there are less changes between the frames. I've been trying to test this but haven't found anything definitive.
24FPS production is always going to be superior for visual effects. Who wants to render 60 fields!
It's great that there is this new tool that gives so much quality on a $1.99 piece of tape. You would probably spend more on telecine for a 16 mm production than the cost of the camera and tape of the FX1.
As an FX1 owner there are still many projects that I would be much happier shooting in super-16. But if it's a choice between making the film or not, I'm glad there's an FX1 that makes it possible.
Hope this helps,
Sam
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Old December 7th, 2004, 12:56 AM   #6
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It seems everybody tends to forget that camera doesn't have 1440x1080 CCDs......
Also don't expect Sony to sell you something good indeed.(at least at a low price...at the 100K price target they have some decent things..) That was just on the old days...
These days it is just making profit out of its Brand perceived value...
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