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Old February 11th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #1
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HD Camcorder for Sports

I am trying to get as much information in my quest for a new camcorder.

I have shot stills for years but now want video of my 2 highschool boys playing lacrosse.

I definately want to go to High Def but now I'm trying to figure out if I will get the best results recording in interlaced or progressive. I think the answer to that is to record in 60i.

So far my top 2 choices for camera are the Sony HDR-FX7 and the Canon XH-A1. I'd really like to keep the cost as low as possible however when spending in the nieghborhood of $3000 I want to make the right choice.

I think the sony would suit my needs just fine as long as I don't need to get below its 7lux rating. The more challenging lighting will be at night in high school stadiums. For the most part I prefer to point and shoot. I don't mind making manual adjustments as necessary but I probably will just set the camera and then just record.

Any help or advice is apreciated,

Thanks
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Old February 25th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #2
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Just be aware that in most cases, high-action and HDV don't match. The codecs are all about efficiency and fast moving, full frame action tends to trip them up. The result is a remarkable loss of detail.

So, I recommend renting them first and reviewing the footage. It may be fine for you but, I would check it out first.

-gl
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Old February 25th, 2007, 08:32 PM   #3
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I disagree with that statement that HDV can't deal with fast action. I've recorded a large amount of fast action sports, and HDV is able to handle it without breaking a sweat. Now, to Sam, I'm sure you'd be satisfied with either of the cameras you mentioned, but if you're primarily going to just point-and-shoot, why don't you go for something a little cheaper and more consumer oriented? The Sony HC5/HC7, or the Canon HV10/HV20 are some cameras I think you should take a look at.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 09:50 PM   #4
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Hmmm...Do you have examples of your success? I am very curious to see these and how you shot them. All of the HDV sports examples I have seen do not support your confidence. The only manufacture I know of that has done anything to improve it is JVC and they are still not there.

I also question the use of consumer cams. If this is an evening shoot the noise will be too much to make anything useful.

-gl
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Old February 25th, 2007, 10:53 PM   #5
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Hi Sam,

Just curious as to what software you plan on editing with, what media you'll be puting out to, what player you'll be playing back with, and what TV you are planing to use to watch the HighDef ??

Harold
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Old March 8th, 2007, 11:06 PM   #6
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Hi Sam,

Just curious as to what software you plan on editing with, what media you'll be puting out to, what player you'll be playing back with, and what TV you are planing to use to watch the HighDef ??

Harold
I've tried versions of Adobe premiere pro, Sony Vegas 7 and Adobe premeire elements 3. So far I like adobe premiere elements 3 the best. That is for standard DVD. I have not yet figured out if there is way and if so how to burn the DVD in 480p vs 480i.

As for viewing in HD, I will use the camcorder to watch through a home theater projector based system.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 11:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by George Loch View Post
Just be aware that in most cases, high-action and HDV don't match. The codecs are all about efficiency and fast moving, full frame action tends to trip them up. The result is a remarkable loss of detail.

l
I'm not sure where that is coming from, I see no reason why 60i hdv will not be fine for your purposes.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #8
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I disagree with that statement that HDV can't deal with fast action. I've recorded a large amount of fast action sports, and HDV is able to handle it without breaking a sweat. Now, to Sam, I'm sure you'd be satisfied with either of the cameras you mentioned, but if you're primarily going to just point-and-shoot, why don't you go for something a little cheaper and more consumer oriented? The Sony HC5/HC7, or the Canon HV10/HV20 are some cameras I think you should take a look at.
Thanks to all for the advice. Main reasons for considering the jump up-- I don't like that nearly all the manual controls are menu driven and sometimes deep into the menus on the very compact consumer type cameras. The Sony HDR fx7 had easy access buttons to control shutter gain and aperature. I also like the 20x optical vs the 10x optical of the consumer models. I was at a store that carried all of these Camcorders I just didnt like the feel of the smaller cameras. Also I didn't like the touch screen menus of the sony hc5/hc7.

Leaning strongly towards the HDR-fx7 as it is less than the Canon xh-a1 and I think it will be advanced enough to do what I need but not so advanced that I would be buying features I might never use.

Thanks again for all the help,

Sam
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Old March 9th, 2007, 12:15 AM   #9
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Sam, you should also consider FX1. Similar in price. Difference in lux ratings may be worth it to you.

I am attaching small bit of footage from FX1 taken at dusk inside a car in traffic. The motion issues raised above should be there if they exist. Remember this is highly compressed footage...
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File Type: wmv traffic.wmv (1.29 MB, 660 views)
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Old March 9th, 2007, 12:27 AM   #10
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Heres another fun clip from FX1.
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File Type: wmv A2attack.wmv (1.30 MB, 590 views)
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Old March 9th, 2007, 01:53 AM   #11
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I'm not sure where that is coming from, I see no reason why 60i hdv will not be fine for your purposes.
Have you actually looked at high action HDV samples? Most footage floating around shows outdoor scenes with slow pans over a lake of birds. The reason HDV is actually NOT ideal for sports is due to the limited bandwidth and the long GOP. It results in blur and loss of detail. JVC has made some improvements to the codec but not enough to fully oversome this.

-gl
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Old March 9th, 2007, 05:18 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by George Loch View Post
Have you actually looked at high action HDV samples? Most footage floating around shows outdoor scenes with slow pans over a lake of birds. The reason HDV is actually NOT ideal for sports is due to the limited bandwidth and the long GOP. It results in blur and loss of detail. JVC has made some improvements to the codec but not enough to fully oversome this.

-gl
I agree. HDV with its MPEG 2 long GOP is not well suited for the quick action of sports; however, the artifacts from HDV might be acceptable for consumer use. My theory is... why spend all those dollars for HDV when it's not going to look that much better than DV SD? I guess to have the capability of HD.

I wonder how the new JVC HD7 would perform? It uses 1/5th inch chips, so the sensitivity would be compromised, forget I mentioned it. I would ask you to take a look at the new AVCHD models, except they either have small sensors (poor sensitivity in low light) or a short lens.

Since you want the larger lens, I would say the best low cost HDV choice for your needs would be the Canon XHA1. The FX7 has the 1/4 inch CMOS sensors, which suffer in low light. You also have a lot more control with the Canon model, definitely worth the few extra bucks. No HDMI, but you do have component out.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #13
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I indicate FX1 if poster is trying to keep it around $3000. I do believe Canon's A-1 comes in a bit higher-- almost $4,000. But I agree it would be superior because of the features available on.

HDV is a tool, that can get you into HD tv easily. Obviously, the more cash you want to lay out, the better you will do. And you can move compeletely out of HDV at some price point. There can be motion issues, but most are worked around without hassle. And I haven't seen the "end of the world" results being spoken of here by some people. Fast pans and jerky hand held footage is bad in any format, and HDV will accentuate it. HDV will also accentuate poor focus. But don't confuse its more demanding perameters with an inability to capture motion, or present a beautiful crisp picture.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 03:08 PM   #14
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I agree with Chris, that an FX1 might be a better choice than an FX7, at about the same cost, for shooting the night games at a high school stadium.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 07:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by George Loch View Post
Have you actually looked at high action HDV samples? Most footage floating around shows outdoor scenes with slow pans over a lake of birds.
Have you looked at Chris Barcellos' HDV samples? They look very nice. Just as nice as everything else I've shot on my own HDV equipment. If this is not enough proof of just how robust of a codec HDV really is, I can post some HDV clips in the native HDV codec later on.
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