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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
It also appears that he is comparing the 27H DVCproHD footage against "1080P" from the 27H and HPX170. If that's the case then I wouldn't expect to see much difference as the camera front ends are only 720P in the first place, so there would be very little difference anyway.
That's a very interesting statement!
I think the reasons why this is quite obviously not the case are the same sort of reasons why the image from a 12mp digital compact will not be on the same planet as those from my equally 12mp Nikon D3 SLR.
As has been said over and over, there's much more to it than pixel counts.
I'm not trying to be smart, but I really can't remember, when Planet Earth was released, any comments about the pictures lacking in resolution. All I remember are comments about how amazing the pictures looked on a big HD screen - largely comments from technical and industry people.
I still feel that there is a level where a certain resolution, assuming all else is excellent, is good enough for even large home TV screens. Just my opinion though.
Incidentally I shot some EX3 stuff over Christmas and put up on a 42" screen via HDSDI it looked decent but subjectively nowhere near as clear, beautiful or even sharp as the Varicam. Subjective though as I say.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 05:09 PM   #137
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I'm not trying to be smart, but I really can't remember, when Planet Earth was released, any comments about the pictures lacking in resolution. All I remember are comments about how amazing the pictures looked on a big HD screen - largely comments from technical and industry people.
Google it. There are countless posts, far too numerous to even bother with, about the lack of reference quality to this series, from years ago.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 05:11 PM   #138
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What do you mean Tom? Lots of people saying it didn't look very good?
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Old January 4th, 2010, 05:49 PM   #139
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Alister,



Regarding the ability to see the difference between 720 and 1080 on a 42" full raster display at 8', not in my experience.


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You can look at the numbers and the theory all you want, my wife and my mother, who have NO technical knowledge whatsoever, can see the difference between 720 and 1080 on broadcasts on our 42" LCD screen.

If you've invested in a 720 only camera you will argue it's merits, if you've invested in 1080 you'll do the same, just the nature of boards like this, it very rarely gets the OP the answer they are looking for
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Old January 4th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #140
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I still follow this thread with interest. Jeff Pro Panasonic and Alister Pro Sony. I can assure you I can tell the difference even with my 68 year old eyes between 720 and 1080 on either my 42" Panasonic plasma or my 40" Sony 240hz LCD, both viewed at about 8 feet (and I understand that both are 1080 displays and thus have to rescale the image. But that is a fact of life and both these displays are top of the line, others will be worse). I may be a little obsessive about video quality but the difference is very evident. Since there is so much rescaling involved most of the time if the whole chain isn't the same format there will be a difference evident. By the way both are acceptable to me when used correctly and can produce beautiful images with 720p60 being better for fast movement( probably a scaling/deinterlacing issue too more obvious on the plasma not visible on the 240hz Sony as it interpolates to a higher frame rate anyway). If there was 1080p60 it would be the one for me!!!
The bigger problems are the miss match between screen resolution, refresh rates and deinterlacing capabilities. The poor shooting of slow frame rates on a lot of programs. Panning, shooting in 24p or 30p for instance is used frequently and poorly. Bad recompression for distribution even on Bluray.
Studio news etc in 1080 or 720 is beautiful only to switch to a program with unknown source or recompression!!!
As I have said in a previous post, most home users with new AVCHD cams are likely to produce a better image directly connected to their new displays than they are going to see from cable on almost any channel whatever it was shot on!!! Sad.
Jeff, on the issue of refresh rates at least 72hz( only available on some plasma displays) is needed to show 24p correctly( emulating a 3 blade projector shutter) 120hz is able to emulate a 5 blade projector shutter. 240 is a little overkill but likely used to make the deinterlacing easier over a larger number of fields( I like the smoother motion).

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Old January 4th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
For the life of me, I can't find this review, just the NXCAM. Perhaps you have to be a subscriber?
Here you go Tom:

ProVideo Coalition.com: Camera Log by Adam Wilt | Founder | Pro Cameras, HDV Camera, HD Camera, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, RED, Video Camera Reviews

By the way, much of Planet Earth was shot with Sony F900's in 1080P.

Alister:

720/60P is the only U.S. broadcast standard for 720P. 1080/60i, prior to being deinterlaced for a 1080P fixed pixel display, only shows 540 vertical lines at a given moment in time. Yes, the fields have to be put together for a progressive display, and as you say, filtered to avoid interline twitter, therefore vertical resolution is 800 lines at best after deinterlacing. Many 1080P displays do a poor job of deinterlacing and scaling, thus softening 1080i broadcast material and adding artifacts and softening to 720P sources.

Please look at my post with Adam's review excerpt--both pros and cons are listed.
My point was never that 720P is all we will ever need, just that there are more to images than the number of pixels. As far as objective reviews, I'll put Adam's reviews up against a dealer who makes money selling a camera(no matter the brand) or a forum that is pro XDCAM, anytime. I know Adam, he is brand agnostic. Yes, there is no doubt that Sony makes great cameras, I'm just not all in the bag for CMOS yet, and hamstringing a 2/3" camera with XDCAM EX.

Steve and Ron:

I own six cameras currently, three Sony SD(DSR-450WS, BVP-550, BVP-550WS) and three HD, Panasonic HPX170, HPX2700, Sony EX1. If I thought 1080 native sensors were the most important aspect of image quality(which the EX1 has), I would not have bought a 2700. I like both Panasonic and Sony cameras. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the HDX900(a 720P native CCD camera that records in 720P and 1080P, like the 2700) is king, although the EX1 and EX3 have done well as has the RED One.

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Old January 4th, 2010, 07:19 PM   #142
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Your argument while logical doesn't prove that humans can or cannot see the difference between 720P or 1080P when shown side by side using optimal technology for each. ............ they may persuade themselves that they can see a difference that double blind tests won't show.
But scientific tests have shown exactly what people can and what they cannot see, and whilst there is some variation between individuals, the generally accepted figure for the human eye is about 1 minute of arc. Do the maths, and the implication is that for the generally accepted viewing distance of 2.7m, 720p is "good enough" for screen sizes up to about 40", but for bigger, you need higher resolution.

Obviously, you don't get an effect where 720p looks brilliant on a 39" screen, awful on a 42" screen - but it does put some science behind the reasons why 1080 is seen as the resolution to be aimed for. Hopefully it also gives an answer to the other question - "At what point do you think you would not see an advantage with more pixels? Double? Triple? Quadruple?"

For normal viewing there does seem little point indeed in going beyond 1080 for TV as we know it. But for medical, military, industrial applications there may be very good reasons for higher resolution systems.

Jeff - I can't comment on your individual examples, but I'm realising more and more that what is frequently happening is a comparison between 720p/50 and 1080i/25 as sources and a conclusion "oh, 1080 doesn't give me that big an advantage". The comparison should be between 720p and 1080p to make it like for like. (When the difference should be obvious.) 1080 doesn't necessarily mean 1080i, and 1080p can be transmitted on current networks via psf, as previously discusssed - as long as the frame rate is no higher than 25fps. To say nothing of Blu-Ray delivery.

Transmission systems are one thing, imaging chips another. The higher the native resolution, the less electronic detail processing is needed. More native resolution can mean a more natural sharpness than lower res chips that need higher levels of sharpening to look good. That's not to say 720 imaging chips will therefore be bad - rather that 1080 chips can only look better.

As far as the two cameras are concerned, the 2700 lacks fully approved chip resolutions, the 350 a fully approved codec. I don't want to have to choose between them - neither situation is ideal - but the huge difference to me is that I can add an external recorder to the 350 to make it fully approved. I can't do anything comparable to the 2700.

Incidentally, I have no vested interests or connections with either manufacturer. I'm just looking to eventually replace my ageing DSR500 when necessary, and couldn't care less in principle whether I have to buy from Sony or Panasonic. The way things are at the moment, I see the PMW350 as easily the better choice over the 2700 at the moment, but who knows what Panasonic may have in the wings?
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Old January 4th, 2010, 09:05 PM   #143
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What do you mean Tom? Lots of people saying it didn't look very good?
Steve
Lot's of people saying all kinds of things. I bought the set a few years back when it was on HD DVD. I Haven't watched the whole series. I found it enjoyable.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 01:11 AM   #144
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David, it is god to put some science to this and what you say makes sense. Can't agree that the 350 is the better choice, and nor do the big players in blue chip natural history at the moment, and I'd not be comfortable thinking I know better than they all do, but maybe you are, that's fine.
Steve, you're right about owners and investers in certain equipment biasing views and it annoys me too, and I like to think that I've never done it, I just call it as I've seen it, and not owning any cameras at the moment (sold the Varicam as so many wildlife producers were buying them that none were going to hire mine!) I'm definitely impartial.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 02:10 AM   #145
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Steve: Your only impartial as long as it's on the BBC NHU's list, that's hardly un-biased. You've shouted long and hard through this discussion about how good the cameras chosen by the NHU are, and that cameras not on the NHU's list can't be any good othewise they would be using them. That's hardly impartial or un-biased.

Most people will be biased to one brand, camera or another based on past experience. The same with cars and most things. You buy one, from one brand and it works well for you. The next time you make a purchasing decision you are likely to consider that brand more favorably based on past experience. Maybe not consciously, but if you know that brand "A" works for you while brand "B" is less well known to you, you are likely to favor brand "A" as you have some experience there. That's human nature. That's where I am and it's no different to the vast majority of consumers or camera users and probably most camera owners. Everything I have written in my reviews has later been backed up by other reviewers and I always make a point to try not to compare cameras or products from different brands but simply look at a products strengths and weaknesses.

In any discussion or debate in a forum you will always have people that are biased. That's a perfectly normal situation and it's only through all the different views and opinions that follow that people learn about the equipment being discussed
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Old January 5th, 2010, 04:06 AM   #146
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I don't think that there is a 'better' camera. From a spec point of view I would never invest in a 720p only camera now. But by the same token if I had a client who could pay off a 2700 a few times over very quickly then it would be worth considering.

However Steve has brought up another point that is becoming all too prevalent now. Clients that have their own gear and don't want to use your own, and therefore want a cut in rate. So you have invested in a camera that you can only use on some jobs, but doesn't get paid off as quickly because clients want you to use their gear instead at a reduced day rate.

This creates a real problem because there is sometimes not enough clients wanting the cameramans own gear to warrant owning an expensive camcorder, while there are sometimes not enough clients with their own gear to warrant not bothering to own any camcorder.

So in this regard a more inexpensive camcorder like the 350 that can have external recording devices (perhaps even supplied by the client) attached to record high datarate HD will be the way forward.

While we at the head of the tapeless revolution understand that it is all data and files now, and therefore the camera should be irrelevant, unfortunately clients themselves often have their own brand preferences that can't be swayed.

I've never bought into the idea of people rejecting Sony's due to the colour or sharpness settings because all of these can be adjusted to whatever look is desired.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 04:42 AM   #147
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This is all a little off-topic so skip on if you wish!!

The industry in the UK is in a sorry state. Governed largely by not what you know but who you know. There are some good commissioning opportunities to be had, but only if you pitch it to the right person at the right time. I recently met with many of the BBC's commissioning editors and one thing surprised me. While the BBC do have a good (??) online commissioning portal that allows anyone to send in an idea, you can actually save yourself a ton of time and effort by emailing most of the commissioners directly. All over the BBC web site it says not to do this, but speak to the right people and they will say, "yes do send me a brief one paragraph outline and I'll let you know whether it's worth taking further". But what struck me about this was that they were discussing this with other known production companies, so this is not the level and open playing field that it is supposed to be. An example of this is a pitch that I put in via the e-commission portal where I got the standard, "nice idea but...." and the exact same pitch sent directly to the comissioning editor via another production company that has a current strand running on prime time TV. This time it looks like we will be making the programme. What's worse is that as there is now a second production company involved, the budget is now higher, money that perhaps could have gone to make a better programme or into other programmes. One thing that often leads to the loss of a commissioning opportunity is that you have to think not just one year ahead but two. Budgets for 2010 have already been spent, so your best chance of a commission will be for a programme that will be competed in late 2011.
The bulk of UK TV programming is made by around a dozen, huge, production factories producing set formats to fixed recipes in large quantities. Much of what they produce is good, some is not, but there is a steady downward creep in quality across the board, both technical and creative with silly little annoyances like dirty lenses and bad focus becoming more and more common, there is no excuse for this as it cost no more to shoot in focus than out of focus. Once upon a time programmes used to be rejected for such things.
Perhaps the industries saviour will in the end will be the internet. More and more people spend their evenings in front of computers than ever before. With very little in the way of advertising and sponsorship regulation, broadcasters and advertisers are using the internet to boost production budgets with cross-platform formats. Product placement and sponsorship of programmes (something the US has always had) will also help as for example companies such as a DiY chain would be able to see direct benefits by having a sponsored program, using their products on TV as well as a website where viewers can watch the show and find out more information and buy their products which then in turn pays for the programme. Hopefully these types fully sponsored, cross platform programmes will then free up funds for the high end drama or documentaries that would not survive on the internet alone. As broadband improves and with computers already using high resolution screens, ultimately web based HD will be the norm.
That is spot on Alister and a good summary of the current UK industry, all I would add is that the commercial sector is now making programming to suit ratings and advertisers rather than on its content merit.

We have never had a better time for affordable technology that in the hands of the right people can produce content that can inform educate and entertain, sadly the management and creative sector of the industry is full of media graduates that think out of focus and wobbly cam material is a shooting style and top level management that are chasing their shareholders and bonuses.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 10:42 AM   #148
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Steve: Your only impartial as long as it's on the BBC NHU's list, that's hardly un-biased. You've shouted long and hard through this discussion about how good the cameras chosen by the NHU are, and that cameras not on the NHU's list can't be any good othewise they would be using them. That's hardly impartial or un-biased.
That's absolute nonsense! I've not said that I think the cameras chosen by the NHU are good, only that they have chosen them and so they must feel with their vast experience and high standards that they are the best for the job. Who am I to contradict them? And who are you to either?
I have no bias towards the NHU, but I do respect their output and the experience of many of their staff. I have no bias towards any of the camera manufacturers, and use lots of different gear - I just call it as I see it. Others have very close relationships with certain manufacturers and always seem to come down on their side of the fence, but not me.
Look back at my posts and you'll see I've said many many good things about the EX1 and 3, plus the PDW355 and 700 that I've owned, also very much like the dinosaur-like HDW750 I use a lot.
I have no agenda, just trying to be helpful with comments based on my experience of lots of different gear on many different HD broadcast projects, and I'm a wildlife cameraman so one of my main employers and points of reference is the NHU. Sorry if I'm out of line.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 12:50 PM   #149
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Can't agree that the 350 is the better choice, and nor do the big players in blue chip natural history at the moment, and I'd not be comfortable thinking I know better than they all do, but maybe you are, that's fine.
Steve - it's not a question of "I know better than they do" at all. Any such choice that any person or body takes will only be valid for one period in time. So the people you are referring to no doubt thought (with validity) that 16mm film made most sense in the 70s/80s - that doesn't mean it is now. The decisions you are referring to were taken over the last couple of years before the PMW350 was even announced. They may well have been the right decisions at the time - but I do not see how decisions made before the announcement of one of the cameras are at all relevant to a current 2700 v 350 discussion.

That aside, any decision on a purchase or recommendation may have to take account of existing legacy issues, fitting in with what equipment, workflows and systems already exist. Nobody in their right minds is likely to think 59.94Hz frame rates and drop frame timecode are a good thing in their own right - but they exist for legacy reasons, owing their origins to issues that haven't existed for decades.

That may also apply here. Legacy compatibility may well have been an important reason for the choice of such as the NHU. But for anybody (such as myself) now thinking of switching from SD to HD, from tape to tapeless, etc and with few legacy issues to consider, the reasons for the NHU decision have little relevance. That's completely different to saying they were wrong.

Taken in isolation, I maintain that the 350 is a better choice than the 2700 in most respects bar one - the codec - and that seems to be the only really significant "con" that Adam also identified. (It also needs to be kept in perspective. He also lists under "pros" "High-quality XDCAM EX 35Mbit/sec recording on SxS cards" ! :-) )

And, as has been said so many times before, you can always use the 350 with a nanoFlash.

I've argued hard with Alister in another thread that I'd much prefer to see the 350 with the 50Mbs codec as an option. But given the choice between it and a 2700 (and with no legacy issues) then at the moment it's definitely the one I'd go for.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #150
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David, I'm on your side wanting 50 Mb/s internally on the 350, it would be very nice, 100 Mb/s would be better still. I just don't think we'll ever get it. : (

I'm sorry if I have offended or upset anyone in the course of this interesting and at times passionate debate. I do respect the views of all that have contributed, even if I don't agree with them.
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