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JVC Everio GZ-HD and GZ-HM Series
JVC's Everio Series 3CCD High Definition MPEG2 camcorders.


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Old November 23rd, 2007, 11:00 AM   #1
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New old kid on the block

Hi guys, this is my first post on this forum. Let me introduce myself. I am totally new to video, but not new at image making, having been a photographer and an Artist for almost 50 years, and doing a lot of work with PHOTOSHOP and FLASH. Plus many other things along the way... If you have time to spare, you can check out my giant "eclectic" web site at: http://www.jjgaudel.com
Let me also say that my remarks are from a point and click artist user of software. I do not write code, do know how it works, and don't really want to know. Bottom line for me is: does it look good or not.
I just bought an HD7, and first want to thank Steve Mullen for his unbiased reviews and his Handbook. I actually downloaded and read the book before I received my HD7. Most of the technical stuff is way over my head, but there is a lot of invaluable information in there and I heartily recommend it. I liked the HD7 from the first look, but read all the bad press(blown highlights, low light performance, and ineffective stabilization) and almost bought the CANON HG10 (but hated the cheap flimsy plastic and the tiny wobbly little wheel) or the SONY HDRSR7 instead, until I stumbled upon this forum and read what Steve had to say. I could not find actual 1920 x 1080 footage on the Net to look at, so I did go to the store with my old Titanium and shot some actual footage with all 3 camcorders to compare. I actually liked the images of the HD7 better, crisper and with more contrast. Yes, it does blow highlights if you shoot in automatic, but why would anybody do that when you have easy manual controls on everything literally at your finger tips? No need to go into menus. I love that, it is reason enough to get the HD7 instead of the others! Every digital device I ever had did overexpose in full auto mode, and I always adjust by -2/3 stop and bracket. Yes, the image stabilization is almost non existent, but I always shoot on a tripod anyway, and just got a new Provista V12 with fluid head to use with the HD7. It is extremely sturdy, and not nearly as heavy as it looks. And at $199 including a sturdy dolly, you can't do much better...
Anyhow, thanks Steve!
I have been playing with the HD7 a few days now, and I have to agree with the critics about low light performance. You have to light your shots. I am nevertheless very impressed overall with the sharpness of the images in close up to medium shots, the color quality, the contrast. But I went to the country for Thanksgivings and shot some footage of fall foliage , ponds and cabins, and am not satisfied with those at all. Understand that I am coming from still photography, and like my stuff in sharp focus, sort of Ansel Adams quality. The rendering of trees in a wide shot is really pitiful, looks like what I see without my glasses on! I will obviously have to work within the capabilities of the machine, as well as within my own... The images will need to include some kind of sharp edged objects in the foreground against the more "impressionistic" landscape to keep an illusion of sharpness.
One of the flaws of the HD7 was the lack of a headphone jack, but I resolved that thanks to Steve's advice on rigging a connector for the AV jack. I just used a cheap $5 AV cable cut off about 4" from the 1/8" plug rather than the $19.99 I-POD cable. At first, it only allowed me to monitor the audio on playback. My Sennheiser shotgun mono MKE300 was only recording to one track, but when I used a stereo to mono connector to plug it in, bingo! Not only was I getting sound on both tracks, but for a reason I don't quite understand, I was also getting live audio on my headphones. That was great. Still, the level of the sound was low, so I researched in line amplifiers, and found the BOOSTAROO, which I ordered from their site www.boostaroo.com. I will let you guys know how it works when I get it.
I just received the 0.7x JVC wide angle adaptor, and boy, what a piece of glass! You get your $200 's worth. Heavy, but great image quality with surprisingly little barrel distorsion, and that gave me the 28mm I missed so much. May be somebody will come up with a 0.4x, I still miss my 18mm! I agree with Steve that I would much rather have a shorter zoom, but manufacturers seem to have decided once and for all that people don't need less than 35mm. Try to find a point and shoot with a 28!
I like to do close up work, but quickly found out that even though you can get very close at full wide angle, you cannot zoom in much, even in the macro zoom mode. Fortunately, I have a lot of filters and close up lenses left from my early days as a photographer, back when the lenses had a 49" thread, and a 46 to 49 mm ring allowed me to use a +2 close up lens and get as close as I wanted. It allows a range from full to extreme close up on doll size figures.
I experimented with several pieces of software to convert the .TOD files to .mov: ffmpegX, Visual Hub and MPEG STREAMCLIP, and came to agree with Steve that the best seems to be using MPEG STREAMCLIP, converting to QUICKTIME with AIC codec at maximum quality. For some reason I don't understand, a 50MB .TOD file grows into a 200MB .mov file regardless of the quality setting.
Sorry guys, I didn't mean to say that much when I started, but I am so excited about my new toy!
Jean-Jacques Gaudel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23rd, 2007, 11:34 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Welcome J-J. Good post.
I've only been on here a short time and am getting to grips with HD7, HD and video in general, Audio.
-Im just sorting out my audio monitoring now so let me know how you get o with the boostaroo.
-If you get cahnce can you show a couple of shots or stills with an without the wideangle as its on my list and id like to see how it looks.
Cheers
S
Simon Gee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 23rd, 2007, 12:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Birmingham, Al, USA
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Jvc Wide Angle Adapter

Hi Simon,
Here are links to full size JPGS with and without adapter. It basically gives you a 28mm angle of view, and I love it. I would go even wider if I could...

http://homepage.mac.com/gaudel/HD7/ADAPTER.JPG
http://homepage.mac.com/gaudel/HD7/NORMAL.JPG

Cheers!
JJ
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 01:44 PM   #4
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like it
is that the jvc model or an oem you have
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 04:45 PM   #5
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Yes, it is the JVC brand GL-VO746. It sells for $199.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 07:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Jacques Gaudel View Post
The rendering of trees in a wide shot is really pitiful, looks like what I see without my glasses on!

Still, the level of the sound was low,
Thank you so much for the very kind words on the eBook. Two suggestions:

1) if you didn't -- try using the Focus Assist = Red. Now focus until the forest goes red. However, all the cameras that UNDER-sample -- have less pixels on EACH CCD/CMOS chip than they record -- look soft on full-wide. Even very expensive camcorders like the V1 and HVX200. That's why I increased Sharpness by 1-tick on the HD7.

NOTE: to my eyes, the Wide Adaptor shot really looks softer.

2) Try adjusting volume higher using the ZOOM control BEFORE pressing Start.

The AIC codec is I-frame only so the data-rate pops from 3.5Mbps to 14Mbps thus the size quadruples. Remember, you can capture 1440CBR via FW which keeps source files from being bigger than DV files.
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