A personal review of the JY-HD10U and GV-HD1 at DVinfo.net

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Old September 9th, 2003, 06:13 PM   #1
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A personal review of the JY-HD10U and GV-HD1

Guys,

I've been evaluating this camera for about 4 weeks now and I am very impressed with the performance. I think you may have it all wrong.

First, if you're looking for the professional controls of a $120K camera for $3K, you're asking for too much. The camera is to HD, what the VX1000 DV camera was to video production about 7 years ago. this camera, first introduced by Sony revolutionized the video industry to say the least and is one of the most successful cameras for Sony ever.

Mitch you and I argued about this 7 years or so ago on the Fast board and you stated emphatically, you would NEVER use DV for video production. Well, needless to say, you embraced the format like the rest of us, even had a write up on Apple's web site if I remember correctly.

Yesterday, I arranged a comparison between a Sony HDW900 - Cinealta camera and the 2 flavours of JVC HDV format cameras. We were at Plus 8 Digital in Vancouver. Yes these are the same guys who supply Hollywood in LA and New York and Toronto. We had a standard industry test chart set up and a model for skin tone comparisons.

We were plugged into a SONY 24inch professional 16X9 HD monitor. Sells for about $20K and we had a waveform and vectorscope plugged in too. The test was overseen by one of the top technical directors in Vancouver. When we walked in he was skeptical too telling me I was wasting his time and mine.

Now, there is no way a $3K camera can outperform a $120K camera, but what I wanted to achieve was determining just how close we could come to duplicating the images.

Well, the signal to noise in the monitor was extremely close. The Sony has about 55db, our engineer estimated the JY-HD10U was about 56db. The resolution was amazingly close, but the Sony won again. Color was great on the JVC, close to the Sony, but the Sony won again. We also tested our shot with plus and minus 2 stops of light. The JVC's highlights were crushed with too much light, and there was more noise in the lower light. Skin tones were very pleasing in the JVC as it was in the Sony. In short, we proved what we believed, the $120K Sony was a superior camera to the $3K JVC's.

BUT - the JVC did produce images that were 100% HD, and I believe would be able to to be used in HD production. Our Technical director and the local SONY HD dealer agreed the bang for the buck is huge and the quality was impressive. This camera will make it in the real world, it will shoot everything from commercials (see http://www.floatingcar.com) to music videos and in Toronto, there are currently a few features being shot. No Mr. Speilberg, Mr. Lucas and the guys won't be buying one anytime soon, but then again, Mr. Kelly, Mr Ives and their counterparts won't be putting up the cash for the Sony HDW900/950 any time soon either. There is a market for the HDV format, and I believe it will be for the professional video producer who today makes his living selling local commercials, corporate videos and perhaps open doors for documentary and low end film/feature production.

If you reviewed the consumer version of this camera, the GV-HD1, you would have found significant differences with the JY-HD10U. Frst, there are about 70,000 pixels more resolution in the viewfinder on the JY-HD10U than it's consumer sibling. Second, you can generate color bars on the JY-HD10U. Lastly and most importantly the edge sharpening on the JY-HD10U is not as extreme as the GV-HD1 which provides a more appealing image than the consumer model.

You can't shoot this camera like any pro (or for that matter, consumer) DV or Analog camera. It must be considered more like a film camera and controls come in the form of filters, matte boxes and flags, not menus, switches and built in filters. This is similar to how you also shoot the Sony HDCam too. While it has extensive menus, filters and controls, it still requires a solid knowledge of camera operations, and most packages that are rented go out with full filters, flags, matte boxes, focus controls, etc.

I wouldn't use the HDV format for "gonzo" video production, it requires more finesse and skill. I am disapointed you didn't like the camera Mitch, I think you may have beenb looking for it's faults rather than figuring out how to make a buck with it.

I wouldn't make the assumption as so many did with the VX1000 that this is the end of development for this format. Sony, Sharp, JVC and Canon have all adopted the HDV MPEG 2 format as a new video standard. It will not surprise me in the least when at NAB 2004 we see a new 3 chip, switchable glass lens camera from either SONY or JVC (I'd bet on JVC) and a HD version of the PD150 and XL1s.

Currently, I have been made aware of 5-6 companies developing plugins for the various NLE's (Final Cut, Premiere, etc) and in fact today, you can edit the media in Premiere and FCP using 3rd party plugins.

Read Steve Mullins review of this camera and technology in Video Systems, and take a look at the latest version of DV for an editorial.

This camera and format are going to change your business, or end it!

DBK
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Old September 9th, 2003, 08:33 PM   #2
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Re: A personal review of the JY-HD10U and GV-HD1

<<<-- Originally posted by Darren Kelly :

Great review! Your embrace of DV matches mine. So it was great to read about an A-B test. But one question.

"We also tested our shot with plus and minus 2 stops of light. The JVC's highlights were crushed with too much light, and there was more noise in the lower light."

Curious how the Sony handled the 2-stops up and down. I would predict at these stops the Sony highlights and shadows were still fine.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 08:53 PM   #3
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Darren,
I enjoyed quite a bit your review as I own a HD10. I wish most of the arguments in the forum were as objective as yours. Can you comment on your preferred filters for the HD10 and for completeness, you did not review the audio ability/shortcomings?
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Old September 9th, 2003, 10:03 PM   #4
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Darren,

Great review, great analogy. I own an HD10 and have also felt that most of the criticism Iíve seen has been from over expectation. Iím only a comsumer/hobbiest, but feel that the bottom line performance of the cameras is well within the expectations of the price range. These cameraís are not point and shoot, nor full fledged pro cameraís, but even as a hobbyist Iíve managed to shoot footage that is awesome on my HD projection system. Iíve already posted elsewhere that Iíve felt somewhat inspired by the capabilities of the camera to the extent of trying to use more professional techniques in shooting video footage. ND filters, tripods, light control, etc. I do believe that the bottom line, at least for me, is that I am getting at least what I expected and even more than Iíd hoped for in terms of final video performance. My next steps will be editing and hopefully burning DVDís with better definition than Iíve achieved with standard DV.

My regards to all that have supported these cameras with constructive feedback. I know that much of what I read within this forum, even before I decided to purchase the camera, has eased potential early frustrations and disappointments.

Cheers,
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Old September 9th, 2003, 11:06 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jose Cavazos : Darren,
I enjoyed quite a bit your review as I own a HD10. I wish most of the arguments in the forum were as objective as yours. Can you comment on your preferred filters for the HD10 and for completeness, you did not review the audio ability/shortcomings? -->>>

Thank you.

I only used an .6ND but would have liked an .9ND for really bright days.

There are 3-4 paragraphs on audio.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 08:31 AM   #6
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To answer a few questions:

Steve, the SONY handled the 2 stop change just fine. The highlights held and the lower light was also fine. It once again confirms how careful (or skillful) the operator needs to be when using the camera.

Jose: I have placed an order for 5 filters, which might be considered mandatory. A .3ND, .6ND, .9ND, Polarizer and promist. I am hopeful those will handle all shooting situations.

I didn't review the audio, primarily because I don't think I'll use it much, or I'll directly mike my subjects. In Fact, I didn't even order a mike for the camera, I have more mikes than I thought possible here, so when I receive the camera I ordered, I'll check out the audio then. I'll post an update at that time. I'm not sure what you mean by short coming in the audio? Can you explain in more detail?

It is a great camera and I look forward to using it.

Cheers

DBK
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Old September 10th, 2003, 09:31 AM   #7
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Darren as made a very thorough review as I would have expected. I have chatted a bit with him and what amazed me was that this guy has been in the buisness for over 25 years and he still approaches new technologies with an open mind. Fear is the mind killer, fear simply is a natural defense against threats, threats like a 3K camera that can do similar images to 120K cameras that we have been embracing and paying for years, as DV was a threat to the Betacam realm when it came out, but hey, Betacam still are used. I have a saying that image is everything and few of the people actually seeing what we shoot have enough knowledge to see the differences between cameras and formats, I mean, people in this very forum saw for exemple "28 days later" and thought it was shot on film but looking at it myself it certainly did not look like film definition to me but I asked a lot of people after the projection if they thought it was shot on film and none of the 50 some people that I asked had any idea it was shot in video.

My point is the following: if you need a vectorscope to see the difference it is not a good argument, seeing is believing, after all, we make those productions of ours for people to see them, not for us to indulge ourselves among those of our level of knowledge of the medium. The people in the industry tend to be very conservative. I know of a production company that use an old AVID software on a 233mhz pentium with a Targa capture card. The targa can capture at 8MB/s but their system cannot do more that 1.9MB/S. Their system is expensive and they use BetaSP to produce clear images that are totally destroyed by the compression artefacts, but, as they say, it's Avid and most TV's work with Avid and so on. What a shame to see all the quality that is lost out of fear of the new technologies. They would gain so much with lower cost stations like FCP and a G4 using either a DV converter or a more expensive capture card.

The end resut is what matters in most cases. Certainly in the case of the JVC as it was the case with the miniDVs. HDV is now a reality and as Darren pointed out, there is more to come in the next years, systems will support the format sooner than we might expect.

One important thing about Darren's review to keep in mind: The JVC does 1280X720 HD while the HDW900 does 1920X1080 HD so there is indeed a huge difference (as there is between 480P and 720P of course). I am set to test the JVC head to head with Panasonnic's Varicam (witch is also a 720P) next week, I will post a thread on that.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 09:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for your kind words Eric.

"I am set to test the JVC head to head with Panasonnic's Varicam (witch is also a 720P) next week, I will post a thread on that."

I'm going to look forward to that review. I hope to do the same in a few weeks when production takes a brake and the cameras are available.

Until then, I am looking forward to receiving my HD10U today or tomorrow!

Cheers

DBK
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Old September 12th, 2003, 10:36 AM   #9
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Darren,

Your review of the HD10U is quite an eye opener.

What type of ND filters do you suggest.? Graduated ND s?
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Old September 12th, 2003, 10:40 AM   #10
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I'm not a fan of the graduated filters, so I would recommend full filters.

Grads assume the highlights are in one place in the scene, while full filters give you better protection.

take for example a street scene. You assume the sky is a fault, but take a look at the sidewalk, which is white concrete, or the light colored car that passes by. These will also present brighter than desired areas.

Just my 2 cents

DBK
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Old September 12th, 2003, 01:14 PM   #11
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What type of video was 28 days shot on?
I had heard that some scenes used XL-1s's, but it was just a few scenes at the beginning when you were looking through the cams viewer and the news clips.
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Old September 12th, 2003, 02:17 PM   #12
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28 Days Later was shot using Canon XL1 cameras, up to 8 of them at a time. It was shot on PAL format, using Frame Mode.

The very end bit, where he wakes up in the house, and the grassy field and all that, that was shot on 35mm. The rest of it was all XL1 (not XL1s).

Here's a link to the article in American Cinematographer magazine:
http://www.theasc.com/magazine/july03/sub/index.html
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Old September 13th, 2003, 01:55 AM   #13
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Darren,

It's good to see a sensible and unbiased review. Most of the people slamming this camera haven't touched one, let alone done side by side comparisons. My findings are very similar to yours.

It's not as easy to see with flesh tones, but when very chroma-saturated highlights blowout (such as neon or a red stoplight) the color just disappears with no gradual roll-off. You can actually find exposures where stoplights appear to be flashing like police beacons as they switch from red to white. The f900 and most other cameras will either roll off smoothly or hold some chroma through the knee circuitry.

I have a shoot Oct. 2nd with the f900 and I'm going to bolt my JVC to the top and double shoot. I'll try to post the results somewhere but I'm not sure how to get the HDcam HD-SDI into my computer.

I did a music video with the Varicam a few months back, it's nice that Panasonic puts all the controls in the same place as the Sony. The picture was nice, but seemed to miss the "snap" that the Sony has. But to be fair, I didn't go through all the menus and adjust gammas, detail, etc.

The JVC is a handful, but you can coerce some great images out of it, if you treat it like film. I thought your review was right on the mark.

Jay
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Old September 16th, 2003, 02:02 PM   #14
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Thanks for the link Barry. Very cool. I can't comment on how it looked on the big screen, but on a home SD system I was very impressed and would not have guessed. And XL1 non S's as well, wow!

The article in Barry's link is very well done. It has many tricks and techniques that I think most in this forum would be interested in.
If anyone would like to comment on some of theses techniques in relation to getting the most out of the HD10 I would love to here them. Or if anyone would like to point out any situations in which the film makers would still be better off with the XL1 over the HD10 in regards to the specific challenges of that movie. Lets here them!
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Old September 16th, 2003, 05:25 PM   #15
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I did see it on the big screen, and I was fairly disappointed. Except for extreme closeups, the rest of the picture looked quite soft, with some shots looking downright out of focus. I'm sure they didn't look that way on the television, but blown up to theatrical size, it didn't hold up well at all. Some shots looked okay, but any wide-angle shot was noticeably soft.

They shot in frame mode on the XL1, which is known to lower resolution, and they didn't use any sort of anamorphic system so the 16:9 extraction would lower resolution again.
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