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Old January 13th, 2006, 08:59 AM   #1
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H1 impressions from experienced filmmaker--WOW!

First of all, thanks to everyone for posting footage and impressions the last few weeks. I decided to get the H1 and went out shooting global warming in my own backyard yesterday--green grass, blue water, and people out in shirtsleeves here in Northern Michigan where usually skiing is king this time of year.
I am blown away by this camera. My first impression is that the detail and colors are simply amazing. And I have shot very successful feature films on full HD and film (mostly as a producer, not a DP.) So far in my HDV experience, all the complaints have turned out to not be true or to be overcome with good shooting/learning the workflow. When one factors in that your DV film was probably NOT going to air in theaters just BECAUSE it was DV, HDV is a miracle. HDV is not perfect, it just gets one into the realm of the resolution that just MAY take the audience into the story and away from fighting the image.
I also own a Z1 and it is a great camera. But the lense and tweaks to the H1 put it in a different league to my eye.
As a side note I personally have always been a little leary of the Panasonic hype because when testing the DVX for transfer to film it never came close to beating other affordable DV cameras available yet the forum had newbies thinking this camera was the second coming. (Of course as a doc guy the P2 option is not one I would consider anyway.) Both the dvx and hvx are great camers but the hype has been misleading and a real problem to newcomers in my view.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #2
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Lacking uncompressed audio is a near deal killer for me on this camera. However, a local shop I deal with is also getting them in for rental. Meaning I can rent an identical unit for two-cam shoots, and will have their conversion support as well.

I can have HD-SDI for studio and dedicated setup. For run and gun, I'll have to figure out a third party audio capture. I'm not sold on mpeg layer II for post.

How is the camera for shoulder/run and gun shots? I hear it's more forward heavy than the XL's. What's your impression? 75% of my stuff is on a tripod, but there are times...
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Old January 13th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #3
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I too had been worried about the sound, but so far recording mono and stereo voice and nat sound into my Z1 and what little I have done into the H1 I have been happy with. (I have only had the H1 for two days keep in mind.) Better than the sound from DV cameras recorded similarly to my ears. Again I am producer, not a technical person. Will post more later, balance and other issues seem minor compared to the stunning image and control.
I can only echo Shannon and others that the so far all the drawbacks to HDV seem to overdone and the H1 is am amazing tool--for me the best run and gun doc tool save HDCAM unless you want a smaller camera like the z1.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #4
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Congratulations! It seems we have just freed another person from the misconceptions and myths of HDV. HDV audio is perfectly fine. I know I did three broadcast projects with it. It seems the only company strangely enough that says you need to rent an audio recorder with HDV because the audio in the camera is unusable is Panasonic. Strange? I wonder why they would say that?

Here is one truth you can take to the bank. It's time we kept on educating folks to the marketing ploys of these companies and expose them every step of the way.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #5
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Going to use the XLH at all in the new MM doc? How is that going?




ash =o)
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Old January 13th, 2006, 05:09 PM   #6
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I also get a little tired of people proclaiming that you can't shoot decent audio with certain cameras, such as the PD150/170. I've worked on a documentary shot with a DSR500, a DSR250, a PD150, and XL2, and some other cameras I can't think of offhand. Projected theatrically (on a fairly small screen, only 28 feet), it looked great and the sound was excellent. The mics used were mostly Lectrosonics wireless systems with a variety of lavs, and a Sennheiser MKH60 and a couple of other shotguns, and different mixers too. Better quality recorders can get better sound, of course, but the differences in DV recording with most any camera are minimal. I'll get my first HDV interviews in a couple of weeks, but from the headphone monitoring, I'm confident the Z1 sound is good too.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 05:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
So far in my HDV experience, all the complaints have turned out to not be true or to be overcome with good shooting/learning the workflow.
i guess that i must have missed something in your post? i understood you to say that you just got the camera yesterday, is that correct?

what have you actually shot, edited, and delivered with hdv?
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
Lacking uncompressed audio is a near deal killer for me on this camera.
Iīve been working with pro-audio since the days of analog tape. First in the music business, then post for film & video. In my view the MPEG compression is only one factor to consider. Uncompressed 16bit 48K or whatever are just numbers, and doesnīt automatically mean better audio. The pre-amps are just as important. Good ones cost more and can make better sound in a compressed codec then bad pre-amps to uncompressed. So you have to use your ears to make a judgement. Also you need to make comparisons using good micīs. The oneīs that come with the cameras are usually no good.

By the way, digital audio in general v.s. analog, is like film v.s. digital video. Less practical headroom. The resolution in digital sound rises with higher levels so for really critical sound with high dynamics 16bit uncompressed wonīt do anyway. You need 24bits or higher and outboard gear.

In most cases I believe the H1 will make great audio put in the right hands.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:14 PM   #9
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Dan, you must have missed where Jeff said he has also used a Z1.

Jeff, since you have experience with actual film, we'll look forward to more of your thoughts as you move past first impressions with the XL H1. Also, it'll help us to know you better if you fill out the info in your profile (location is required, the rest is optional but much appreciated).
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Kristian Indrehus
... Uncompressed 16bit 48K or whatever are just numbers, and doesnīt automatically mean better audio...
I'm with you on that. I'd have to hear it first. Just that reading about compressed audio is not a good first impression of a $10K camera, which should be better than the XL it replaces.

All of this yak is irrellavent while waiting anyway. I'm hoping to rent the H1 and see (and hear it) for myself.

Thanks Jeff for sharing your experience.

Pete
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Old January 14th, 2006, 10:43 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Kristian Indrehus
In my view the MPEG compression is only one factor to consider. Uncompressed 16bit 48K or whatever are just numbers, and doesnīt automatically mean better audio. The pre-amps are just as important. Good ones cost more and can make better sound in a compressed codec then bad pre-amps to uncompressed. So you have to use your ears to make a judgement. Also you need to make comparisons using good micīs. The oneīs that come with the cameras are usually no good.

By the way, digital audio in general v.s. analog, is like film v.s. digital video. Less practical headroom. The resolution in digital sound rises with higher levels so for really critical sound with high dynamics 16bit uncompressed wonīt do anyway. You need 24bits or higher and outboard gear.
One of the most astute and rarely heard comments about audio in the video world. Too often, it all becomes just a numbers game, especially amongst audio or video engineers or shooters.
One comment tho, there isn't any audio standard above 24bit, just 32 bit floating, which is really about 27-28 bits or so, and no hardware actually supports this. (I mention this because it's a video board, so don't want folks to start running around looking for 32bit audio recorders)
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Old January 15th, 2006, 06:52 AM   #12
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I just wish HDV could record audio at a higher bitrate..

i find the 256kbps substandard for Dolby Digital delivery, Especially when working witha large range of fluctuating frequencies... If i wanted a 256kbps mp3, id use a dodgy iriver...

Dolby Labs wouldnt license material aqcuired at such a low bitrate, and they dont look kindly on upsampled bitrates either as its a compromise to quality,
Not to the naked ear, but to the fact that the standard 5.1 encode is 448kbps (384 is also acceptable too)

I also find that the mpg2 audio encode to be rather mushy (i do alot of stage shows and live concerts with multiple mics into a mixer yadda yadda, so im using a variety of mics.. Ive ben doing audio for 11yrs, and as an acquisition format, for most its OK... for the heavy ****, get a dedicated recorder...

Now, im recording audio straight into a DVX100, while i shoot with Z1's. It helps having a visual cue by doing it this way too, and having the raw audio DOES make a difference.. believe me..

HDV audio is good for normal stuff, but when ur pushing frequencies to exploit the full bandwidth of a said piece, then it doesnt cut it..
Sorry... but thas just my opinion
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Old January 15th, 2006, 09:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
One comment tho, there isn't any audio standard above 24bit, just 32 bit floating, which is really about 27-28 bits or so, and no hardware actually supports this.
Thanks for the correction Douglas. I donīt know why I said that. I was actually thinking of higher sampling frequencies when writing it.

To clarify. The number of bits refers to the dynamic in levels, and 24bits is the highest.
---------------------

The challenge in making good audio in low cost equipment is to know itīs limits. Digital audio (in general) has the limit that low levels doesnīt use all the available bits. On the other side levels over zero will introduce distortion at once. You need to avoid that at all cost, hence you end up with less practical headroom, though the specīs tells you you have all the headroom in the world.

Analog audio introduces distortion slowly and much nicer and can be compared to film, where you can tweak out information in overexposed whites.

So.. what does this mean in real-life, recording audio on the H1 (or any other digital cam for that sake)? Well, you could turn on the onboard compressor, but the quality of these are mostly bad and will introduce all kinds of unwanted artifacts like "pumping". So in the end you will have to learn to control your levels. Best way is right placement of micīs and keeping a steady eye on the level meters. And of course good micīs makes everything so much easier.

If the starting point is good even compressed formats will deliver good quality, just like compressed video. I could go on for hours but I guess Iīm a little off topic here, and I really donīt wanna upset Chris H. so Iīll leave it with that.

My point anyway was that after reading so many threads here about numbers, I would love to see more discussions on how we can tweak the best out of our equipment. Remember, never before has so many people been able to participate in making movies. Itīs harder to make good quality on low bud. equipment, but it definitely can be done... with a little help from our friends here at the forum.

pk
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Old January 15th, 2006, 10:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
I also find that the mpg2 audio encode to be rather mushy (i do alot of stage shows and live concerts with multiple mics into a mixer yadda yadda, so im using a variety of mics.. Ive ben doing audio for 11yrs, and as an acquisition format, for most its OK... for the heavy ****, get a dedicated recorder...
Peter I´m also doing stage, and I usually hook up my DAT to the P.A. mixer.
Then blend with my own mic´s. when mixing in studio.

Are you saying that you achieve good audio with mic´s through your own separate mixer and then go straight to the DVX? Are we talking no PA here?

If it´s like live orchestra recordings, that´s the most demanding of all when it comes to quality and dynamics. That indeed requires dedicated everything. I wouldn´t recommend anyone doing that with any camcorder.
-------
Chris, if your out there. Do we have a place to discuss gear for different scenarios.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Kristian Indrehus
Chris, if your out there. Do we have a place to discuss gear for different scenarios.
the Now Hear This forum is for discussion of audio gear and recording scenarios.
Peter, you might find the referenced article useful for understanding HDV audio vs PCM audio.
http://www.vasst.com/resource.aspx?i...d-a1ebcaaf1463
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