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JVC GR-HD1U / JY-HD10U
All about the original single-CCD HDV camcorders from JVC.


 
 
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Old March 8th, 2003, 12:38 PM   #1
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JVC HD DV and Other New HD Formats

2003 is the year that HD will start seriously replacing SD and film. We have 3 low cost HD formats now, and a new high end HD format. The low end HD formats first: DVHS has been around for years. HD DV is being introduced with the new JVC HD camcorder, and now we have also blue laser HD DVD. The first 2 formats were developed by JVC, which is owned by Matsushita (Panasonic). Blue laser HD DVD was developed by Sony and another Japanese company, which is generally unknown to the US consumer. All three formats have transfer rate equal or higher than HDTV. Both HDTV and HD DV use MPEG2 and have the same transfer rate. 720p and 1080i look about the same when viewed. So go see HDTV program on the best HDTV set you can find and that is what this camcorder will do. It is an amazingly sharp and detailed picture. 1 CCD or 3 CCD's? It does not matter. Vacuum tube based pickup systems needed 3 sensors. The way CCD's are made, one is all you need. No still camera uses 3 CCD's. 3 CCD's give you more color control, but you can do that in post. Both JVC HD1 and HD10 camcorders have automatic and manual focus, white balance control, etc. Their viewfinder and the LCD have a poor resolution so you'll need external monitor for accurate manual focusing, accurate viewing, etc. The transfer rate is 19 Mbps. Vericam has 100 Mbps and Cine Alta 140 Mbps. But by the time it gets down to HDTV, it's MPEG2 at 19 Mbps. So you can get as sharp picture on HDTV as with the most expensive cameras. How much can you project it? Large screen theatrical digital projection is fine. 1080p that Star Wars and Spy Kids 2 were made with will project only to 50% larger (longer) size for the same visual sharpness when viewed from the same distance. Concern: The JVC is not 24p. Answer: It does not matter. The end material will be HDTV or a film festival projection -- all these festivals have 30p digital projection systems. Do you need 25p for Europe? I don't think so. Europe is behind Japan and the US in HDTV and if 25p or 50i becomes European standard, then I'm sure that we'll soon have vector interpolation software that will translate to that speed. All you need to do is recreate interim frames, changing the 30p to 60p, and that transfers to 50i, 24p and 25p nicely. The motion artifacts are a less objectionable at 30 fps than 24 fps, which is a welcome plus. They are even less at 60i, by the way. 30p gives you a better film look than 24p. 24 fps was an improvement over silent era 16 fps, but dates to 1929. Any director would choose 30 fps over 24 fps if projectors worked at that speed. What is missing to give this camera a true film look is the shallow depth of the field of a 35 mm lens. So you'll be using a lot more telephoto and will have to compose differently. The large depth of field is already a problem on Varicam and CineAlta, where the CCD is basically twice as large as on the JVC. Expect similar depth of field as on Super 8 mmm. It is something we can live with.

Sony and Panasonic came out a few months ago with PDX10 and DVX100. The PDX uses basically a native 16:9 CCD. The picture is excellent although the low light performance is not as good as on PD150 because of a smaller chip. Sony never really promoted this camera much although the 16:9 aspect ratio gives it 50% resolution advantage over PD150 - on wide aspect material. DVX does not even have 16:9 chip and was heavily promoted. It's progressive scan also gives it 50% subjective sharpness improvement over 60i. The Panasonic has larger CCD's, the Sony has a lot sharper viewfinder and LCD screen. The Panasonic does not have gain up and auto focus and in the progressive mode. The Sony has a lot more accurate sound and picture synch. Why Panasonic did not develop the camera further? Why Sony did not promote their PDX10? Why is JVC coming out with HD10 in the US this year and not the next as was originally planned? Why are they introducing HD1 2 months after introduction in Japan and not 6 months, as is their normal practice? The answer is blue laser HD DVD. Sony brought this format to the market faster than anyone expected. Sony HD DVD recorder goes on sale in Japan next month and Sony will be showing next month at NAB a blue laser based camcorder and VCRs with 50 Mbps transfer rate. HD DVD will soon replace DVHS; it is a lot more convenient, reliable, smaller, and longer lasting. Until then the HD distribution will be DVHS. Sony at the CES show basically pulled the plug on Digital 8 and introduced 3 DVD-based camcorders. Hitachi and Panasonic have DVD-based camcorders. Panasonic and Hitachi belong to the consortium that backs the new blue laser DVD format. So now all 3 companies have basic mechanisms for DVD camcorders. Sony and the company that developed HD DVD are beginning to mass-produce the blue laser mechanisms and will be supplying them to others. So I guess we'll see HD DVD camcorders soon. Until copyright protection is worked out with Hollywood we'll need to distribute on DVHS, unless you get HD DVD recorders from Japan. Sony was under pressure by Toshiba, which wanted to bring to market less sophisticated HD DVD, and wanted to do it before Sony. It was red laser based. Toshiba makes very high quality products, although it is not as known in the US. Sony beat them with their product introductions. So 2003 is the year when we'll see HD basically beginning to replace SD at the high-end consumer market and throughout the professional product market range. Digital filmmaking? The highest resolution is Thomson Viper system and CineAlta. Viper was developed by Philips Broadcast. Philips is Europe's equivalent to Sony of Japan and they sold the broadcast division to Thompson of France (owns GE and RCA brands). Thomson bought also Grass Valley so they are now one of the major players in the pro market. The viper is a camera only and outputs Gbps to hard drive arrays in its uncompressed output. You'll get the same exposure latitude as with negative film, however the product is still in its early stage and work with it is not as easy as with e.g. Cine Alta. It also has available 4:4:4 output, the same as the new CineAlta camera to be introduced at CES. Last Star Wars was made with CineAlta. The coming up will be made with the new CineAlta. The new CineAlta has a lot higher transfer ratio and a lot improved color. Although Spy Kids 2 had excellent picture, the last Star Wars did not. The CineAlta has too much color compression and when Lucas combined it with letterboxing, the picture had a lot to be desired. Rodriguez did not use letterboxing on Spy Kids 2 and the picture was excellent. The projected picture, after transfer to positive, while less sharp than film, gives subjectively higher sharpness because of lack of grain that film productions have. So the new CineAlta is good enough to replace film. Some will say that it does not have the exposure latitude of film. No problem! This is something DP's will have to work around. It is not hard. You need to know how many F-stops are your whites and blacks off the middle, that's all. It is different than on film, the whites also end suddenly, not as smoothly as with film, so highlights will have to be lit up more carefully. Good DP can take care of that. There were some talks that higher resolution would be better. Both the resolution, and the color quality are fully sufficient. Can't have slow motion? Sure you can. Rodriguez has done it by shooting at 60i; then used software to recreate frames from the fields. The vector interpolation software exists and it's a simple and fast process. So now you have it. HD in its present form is here to replace everything -- from SD to film. 2003 is the year for things to start seriously happening. This is when Japan's HDTV becomes digital and Europe finishes their HDTV network to start broadcasting in January 2004. Until then the limited HD in Europe was sent via cable and satellite. 2003 is the year when HD ready sets will be superseded by HD sets in US. 2003 is the year when a student filmmaker will be able to make, show, and distribute a better movie than some of the junk Hollywood is producing. verybestest@hotmail.com
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Old March 8th, 2003, 01:02 PM   #2
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Wow, excellent post.

I'm in complete agreement that in the HD10's case, "one CCD is all you need." In fact, I'm willing to bet that the 3CCD camcorder will become a thing of the past. With newer forthcoming imaging sensors, color filtration will be built right into the chip, eliminating the need for a prism and dedicated individual RGB sensors. One CCD will do it all, much like the pro Digital SLR's in still photography such as the Canon EOS-1DS and the Foveon CCD-equipped Sigma S9. Thanks for your insightful input,
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Old March 8th, 2003, 01:32 PM   #3
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Jibes perfectly with what I was saying the XL2 needs to become... Viva HD.
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Old March 8th, 2003, 02:20 PM   #4
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Question for you gurus---Lets say you do corporate videography---will this new camera allow you to produce and edit high quality video which will replace your current DV25 setup--In other words, is this camera just a rung on the evolutionary ladder or is it a product that semi-pros and pros can actually use and edit immediately---?
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Old March 8th, 2003, 05:21 PM   #5
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Re: JVC HD DV and Other New HD Formats

<<< So the new CineAlta is good enough to replace film. Some will say that it does not have the exposure latitude of film. No problem! This is something DP's will have to work around. It is not hard. You need to know how many F-stops are your whites and blacks off the middle, that's all. It is different than on film, the whites also end suddenly, not as smoothly as with film, so highlights will have to be lit up more carefully. Good DP can take care of that.>>>

Joseph, this is a bit unfair to DP's. There are a great number of circumstances that can constrain the ease in which the limited latitude of HD can be controlled. In a studio setting, it's no problem; in a large scale exterior, say under dappled light through trees with full exposed sun in the background, it can be a handful. Nothing that can't be dealt with using 20x20 bounce or solids, maybe a few 18Ks...the point being that the same scene could potentially be shot on 35mm as is, which means a shorter shooting day, and time is money. And what if the shot requires seeing in multiple directions or 360 degrees? Then you have to go available light, perhaps a travelling bounce, and there is no way to control the difference between sun and shade, so you are forced to live with burned out highlights.

Now, the Viper and other raw data systems do allow for a greater latitude, which will help greatly. The CineAlta still requires a lot of attention, unless the "raw" look is desirable (a friend of mine shoots the cable series "The Wire" using the CineAlta and does a great job with this sort of look).
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Old March 9th, 2003, 05:10 PM   #6
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Have any of you guys actually seen this camera in action--??? Screen captures are bogus
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Old March 10th, 2003, 06:24 PM   #7
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First detailed review HD-1

Here's one of the first hands-on reviews I've come across. The issue of the 35 lux requirement is not addressed, but as far as overall picture quality, the reviewer was impressed with the daytime shots he took. He also commented that digital artifacts were almost neglible and appeared only during high motion scenes. It really sounds like a promising first step for prosumer HD.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 04:07 PM   #8
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Re: David Mintzer's post. The camera will have its shortcomings. You ask if it is suitable for corporate video. The JVC software has cuts and transitions, so I think that the answer is yes. It will allow you to produce HD material that will not look out of date when the company will switch to HD monitors/distribution. It may however be more difficult to work with and will need more light than appropriate DV cameras.

Re: Charles Papert's post. You are right, shooting with CineAlta, even the 4:4:4 version is difficult when you have the contrast situation of direct sunlight. I guess 35 mm camera could be used more effectively for those shots, also when slow motion is needed. I think that for all other shots the new CineAlta with it's ability to monitor your shots right there on the set could bring substantial savings, once the production is well organized around that concept.

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Old March 14th, 2003, 11:48 PM   #9
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I played with the new JVC "HD" camcorder for a good 45 minutes today at the Camera Company Pro Video Show 2003 here in Boston. It just doesn't have the detail I expected, and was rather noisy. It needs a certain amount of light to generate a decent image. This camera does not produce as clean an image in low light or "run and gun" scenarios. The sample footage they had on hand looked nice, but again it lacked the detail I was expecting to see -and- all of the shots in their sample footage reel were static shots with little or no movement - which raises a 'red flag' for me... Also, the IEEE1394 FireWire output only works with footage shot at 480 interlaced. Anything beyond that, including 480P generated from this cam, requires the other 'non-standard' connection.

So, the question of the day is "How are you going to capture the footage from this camcorder to your hard drive -and- how are you going to resolve it if you don't have an HD monitor???" OK, that was two questions...

You could say that in the present moment, your only other choice for lowest cost HD right now is to spend $60K on a Panny 720P camera. At $2800, I see this camera being pretty limited, considering the very highly compressed (and somewhat noisy) image, especially in low-light situations. Yet another boring 10X lens too. It just didn't look like true HD to me, the detail just didn't seem to be there. One other observation is that it didn't seem to handle highlights too well. JVC says that they will shortly have a "professional" version of this camera, perhaps they will work out the detail and noise issue? Only time will tell.

Not trying to beat up on JVC at all, you have to give them credit at introducing the world's first sub-$4K HD camcorder! I'd like to see future "HD" camcorders improve upon some of the limitations of this design.

One interesting note, I overheard several people from different companies state that "24P is dead". hmmmmmmm...

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Old March 15th, 2003, 12:11 PM   #10
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Don:

What possible rationale are these people using to imagine that "24p is dead"???

It is rapidly becoming a contender for episodic television production. If the studios had their way, virtually all of their programming would be shot on 24p.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 04:53 PM   #11
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I agree with you Charles on the rationale part of what possibly could they be thinking by saying that "24P is dead". Just like you, when I heard these comments it made me go "hmmmmmm" ... "I wonder what these people are thinking?" That's why I thought I would mention it. The comments were made by a few people not connected with Canon in any way, and was totally unsolicited by me. I just overheard it, and thought I would mention it as it surprised me and I was curious if anyone else had heard anything like that.

I certainly wouldn't mind shooting 24P in the very near future. I'm sure that opportunity will come soon enough ;-)

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Old March 22nd, 2003, 06:49 AM   #12
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So is the color clarity of this JVC HD one-chip camera noticeably lower quality than, for instance, the 3 chip PD150? Or does the fact that it's HD make it better color-wise?
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