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Old February 11th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #1
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General comments and problems with the JVC 100HD

I have just returned from a two month road trip using the JVC 100 HD for the first time. Overall this is a great camera that has some problems—not the least of which is the editing workflow problem.

The camera balances very well with the 16X zoom and the AB battery attached.

We rejected the 13X lens because of its size, cost and front-heaviness. We were about to use another camera because a 5.5mm wide-angle just doesn't cut it for documentary work. Then we discovered the wide angle adapter was in fact available--converting the lens wide-angle to 4.5mm (barely acceptable). We left without being able to test various setting and only had a small Marshall monitor (7") and the JVC 50 deck.

The camera is very long when the following are attached: Sennheiser 416 mic/lens with lenshood/wide angle adapter/AB battery and wireless receiver. The length makes shooting in a car and even getting out of a car extremely difficult.

During the trip we were plagued by glitches (hits) on the original (averaging 1-2 single-frame hits per tape), and it was worse on the tape-to-tape backups--often encountering as many as ten hits on a tape (but sometimes none). We were never able to troubleshoot the problem, although the JVC deck is extremely sensitive to environment. It took the deck many hours to adjust after the AC was turned on.

Focus assist works well on long focal length but shows everything in focus on wide angle—even when the subject is not in focus (so it is not just increased depth of field). But you could never depend on adequate contrast in the subject to activate the color-edging (we used red). To be sure of focus, we would do a focussing zoom and lose some footage--a poor compromise. It would be nice if there were some distance info in the VF.

I do not see how to properly adjust back focus (collimation) in the field without a large HD monitor. Neither the LCD nor the VF is HD and the focus assist shows too wide a range of settings to be in focus to be a help. A test target just didn't show what was needed to make a precise adjustment.

When we had any detail on (even 'min'), we saw what looked like the effect of peaking in the VF and LCD. We also saw it on our Marshall Field monitor. For example a subject’s eye would seem to vibrate. We panicked and tried it out on a HD monitor and we did not see it there. But we worried that it would appear in SD or some other format so we left it off. Detail 'off' looked a bit too soft, but detail 'min', looked too hard edged.

When you preset color balance 3200 and 5600, the color balance does not visually match a manual color balance of the same Kelvin.

When the REC button is pressed fast, the camera does not always go into record (I believe the manual has a warning about this). Too many times I thought I was rolling and was not. The problem is exacerbated by the many times it is difficult to see the lower left hand corner of the image in the VF (where the red REC lights up). I think this happens when the camera is not sitting in the exact right position on your shoulder or the rubber eyecup is a bit out of position.

There is not enough ND. Sometimes you have to shoot at f/11 even with maximum ND (1/16). Also, the first ND position (1/4) needs a better détente. Over time, it allowed an intermediate position and was hard to get it to positively lock in place.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #2
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Thank you for the report. I have a few questions, comments...

1. What tape stock were you using? Did you notice that these tape hits would show up on tapes that were shot in the same type of conditions (vibration, heat, cold, etc.)?

2. I would definately buy a Matte Box and have some ND filters available in case you need to stop down more.

3. HD focus has always been tricky on a small monitor/lcd. Even on the CineAlta. I've been impressed with the JVC focus feature but you are correct about it showing too much in focus when at wide angle.

I asked about the tape stock because Andrew shot that Madagascar footage under extreme conditions and only had 1 tape hit.

Anyway, I hope more post reports like this as we can all learn from them and hopefully it will get back to JVC.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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A lot (but not all) of your issues just seem part and parcel to either 1-The size and style of the camera, or 2-The realities of shooting HD in the field.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
We rejected the 13X lens because of its size, cost and front-heaviness.
I dunno, the 16x with WA is much heavier and front heavy also. The realities of optical design are well known, and if you want X and Y and Z, then you pay a certain price in either money, weight, or size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
The camera is very long when the following are attached: Sennheiser 416 mic/lens with lenshood/wide angle adapter/AB battery and wireless receiver. The length makes shooting in a car and even getting out of a car extremely difficult.
Agreed. It's a bummer to see the camera grow in the wrong dimensions when adding the things you need, but again it's par for the course. I wouldn't call it a flaw of the camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
During the trip we were plagued by glitches (hits) on the original (averaging 1-2 single-frame hits per tape), and it was worse on the tape-to-tape backups--often encountering as many as ten hits on a tape (but sometimes none).
That's not right. I'd be hollering too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
Focus assist works well on long focal length but shows everything in focus on wide angle—even when the subject is not in focus (so it is not just increased depth of field).
Focus assist is just another style of peaking. It has the same caveats. I wouldn't fault it because of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
I do not see how to properly adjust back focus (collimation) in the field without a large HD monitor. Neither the LCD nor the VF is HD and the focus assist shows too wide a range of settings to be in focus to be a help. A test target just didn't show what was needed to make a precise adjustment.
I used to think that, but then realized if I adjusted all exposure (shutter, gain, ND) to get me a stop of about 2 or 2.8, the DOF was shallow enough to use Focus Assist correctly.

Regardless, that's a reason why people get HD field monitors. I don't think most HDCAM shooters would consider the viewfinder a the best way to set backfocus on their cameras either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
When we had any detail on (even 'min'), we saw what looked like the effect of peaking in the VF and LCD. We also saw it on our Marshall Field monitor. For example a subject’s eye would seem to vibrate. We panicked and tried it out on a HD monitor and we did not see it there. But we worried that it would appear in SD or some other format so we left it off. Detail 'off' looked a bit too soft, but detail 'min', looked too hard edged.
Edge enhancement circuits and peaking do basically the same thing, but are tuned differently.

I think the vibrating you saw was over 100IRE whites (combined with high frequency detail) over a composite signal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
When you preset color balance 3200 and 5600, the color balance does not visually match a manual color balance of the same Kelvin.
That depends on the lighting sources used. Sometimes a manual color balance will manipulate the RGB channels in a way that doesn't directly translate to Kelvin numbers, so the cam will give you fudge numbers. This is true with any camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
When the REC button is pressed fast, the camera does not always go into record (I believe the manual has a warning about this). Too many times I thought I was rolling and was not. The problem is exacerbated by the many times it is difficult to see the lower left hand corner of the image in the VF (where the red REC lights up). I think this happens when the camera is not sitting in the exact right position on your shoulder or the rubber eyecup is a bit out of position.
Whenever I do something like that, I blame myself for not checking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
There is not enough ND. Sometimes you have to shoot at f/11 even with maximum ND (1/16). Also, the first ND position (1/4) needs a better détente. Over time, it allowed an intermediate position and was hard to get it to positively lock in place.
Agreed. They made the NDs assuming one could use stops over F8...which really isn't true. Definitely an oversight.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 01:38 PM   #4
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How did you find the Marshall?

Hi Ed - What Marshall monitor were you using and how did you find it - been thinking about buying the new one out, but just not sure as some of the guys on here appear to lean more to the larger screens... bit of a pain for doc work on the move... be keen to hear your thoughts in regards to using this make of monitor and the point that its only 7"... many thanks

Stu
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Old February 11th, 2006, 01:43 PM   #5
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The shots you shot in the vehicle-I'm wondering if you encountered mondo drop outs. I know I have. The heads just didn't seem to be able to maintain contact with the tape. Anyhow. I have found that any footage I have shot in a moving vehicle, is absolute garbage. However, locked off on a tri pod the footage is spectacular.

You take the good you take thd you take em both and there you have the facts of life.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 02:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewart Menelaws
Hi Ed - What Marshall monitor were you using and how did you find it - been thinking about buying the new one out, but just not sure as some of the guys on here appear to lean more to the larger screens... bit of a pain for doc work on the move... be keen to hear your thoughts in regards to using this make of monitor and the point that its only 7"... many thanks

Stu
www.studioscotland.co.uk
I have the SD version and it's not great for monitoring in the field. It really only is little bigger and little better than the built-in LCD and for the weight, power draw and hassle of setting ip up it's not worth it. The HD version, on the other hand would be great! But it ain't cheap...
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Old February 11th, 2006, 03:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert Henson
The shots you shot in the vehicle-I'm wondering if you encountered mondo drop outs. I know I have. The heads just didn't seem to be able to maintain contact with the tape. Anyhow. I have found that any footage I have shot in a moving vehicle, is absolute garbage. However, locked off on a tri pod the footage is spectacular.

You take the good you take thd you take em both and there you have the facts of life.
Albert,

Just how harsh exactly is you suspension?

I shot a fair amount of footage from the backseat of my car 3 weeks ago (during extensive testing of the camera), and found this NOT to be the case. In fact all of the footage was rock solid (even when the car was not). I remove the back seat, strapped down the tripod and drove around town. The road conditions and driving speeds varied. In fact I intended to post some of that footage; it was some low light and some total night shots with an interesting view from the backseat. The camera did great in my opinion.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #8
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1. What tape stock were you using? Did you notice that these tape hits would show up on tapes that were shot in the same type of conditions (vibration, heat, cold, etc.)?

We were using Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ for backup and Panasonic AY-DVM63AMQ for the camera original

2. I would definately buy a Matte Box and have some ND filters available in case you need to stop down more.

A matte box is way too imposing and bulky for the kind of verite shooting we are doing
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Old February 11th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Albert Henson]The shots you shot in the vehicle-I'm wondering if you encountered mondo drop outs. I know I have. The heads just didn't seem to be able to maintain contact with the tape. Anyhow. I have found that any footage I have shot in a moving vehicle, is absolute garbage. However, locked off on a tri pod the footage is spectacular.

We shot a lot in a moving vehicle, including tracking shots and never noticed any problems
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Old February 11th, 2006, 04:18 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Stewart Menelaws]Hi Ed - What Marshall monitor were you using and how did you find it - been thinking about buying the new one out, but just not sure as some of the guys on here appear to lean more to the larger screens... bit of a pain for doc work on the move... be keen to hear your thoughts in regards to using this make of monitor and the point that its only 7"... many thanks

We had the Marshall HD 7" Wide Screen LCD Monitor. It was a great compromise between size and usefulness. Not big enough for fine focusing but much better than the camera LCD for viewing and getting a feel of the footage.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 03:41 AM   #11
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shooting from moving vehicles

We have shot with the HD101 from speed boats, cars and helicopters.
We have had many problems with the footage from the helicopter as I was standing outside and when the humidity was high (Through clouds...) the footage was unusable. In the other cases, even when shooting from the speed boat in the Asahan river (Almost on the equator), passing under waterfalls etc. we had no problems at all. We used the camera on a car, mounded outside on a special grip and we had no problems at all. I think that sudden changes of temperatures and humidity create the problems to the cam. As for the ND, yes, they are not enough. We use extra NDs to get shallow depth of field and best focus. As soon as I get the 13X, end of February, I will report the differences in balance and quality of image.
Great small camera!
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Old February 12th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #12
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Ed, as Nate has said, it seems just reality you're describing. If you need al those things, you need to step up on budget and camcorder size. If you can't afford that or you need the compact size, what other choice you've got? We all dream about a camcorder with better quality and features then CineAlta (and more) in the body of the HD100... Doesn't mean you can say it is a shortcoming of the design of the HD100.


Also, some things aren't to be blamed on the camcorder, but the operator. The position of viewfinder, eyecup and shoulderpad can be adjusted either way, so some work there and you should get it to fit fine. Bring some screw-on ND filters? But most of all: get used to a camcorder. pressed record too short? hardly a technical issue, just checking and learing how hard and long to press. I've had this problem with my HD101 as well (just on turning the record off, but I won't blame the cam for it)
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Old February 12th, 2006, 11:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Pincus
A matte box is way too imposing and bulky for the kind of verite shooting we are doing
But a matte box will solve a variety of your issues, so you might want to re-evaluate how you feel about that. Besides, the camera itself is already relatively imposing and bulky, and the right matte box isn't going to change that very much (for example, look into the CineTactics Matteblox). Plus, you can always add whatever circular ND filters you need to the threaded front of that Fujinon lens, which is the least obtrusive way to get the ND you need. There are a variety of easy, viable, affordable solutions for adding the right amount of Neutral Density filters to your camera.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 02:21 PM   #14
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We had the Marshall HD 7" Wide Screen LCD Monitor. It was a great compromise between size and usefulness. Not big enough for fine focusing but much better than the camera LCD for viewing and getting a feel of the footage.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for that Ed - so if the Marshall HD 7" was not good enough for fine focusing, did you also use something along with it, or did you just do the best you could with what you had? What did you use to power the monitor and what was the power consuption rate... would you recommend any other small monitor type that would be better for fine focus control... sorry to nip your head with so many questions... many thanks

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Old February 12th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #15
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I think shooting from sppedboats or helicopters, at least to an extent we should be able to rely on a few auto features given teh conditions, and/or keeping the zoom pulled and still gather at least reasonably usable footage. I too have shot footage in odd conditions with the camera from the back of a truck to the back of a snowmobile, I too found that the footage gathered was unusable. Not due to my profesional accumen or ability as a shooter. Like any camera the hd100 performs best locked off on a tri-pod. However, the versatility of the camera is most questionable. Adujusting the eye cup or pressing harder on the rec button would not have made the issues at hand avoidable. the camera has served me well for gathering interview footage, but it seems when the camera is used in moving situations it comes up short. I'm certain that there will be some tweaking to the cameras optical stabalization in future revisions.
for now the camera as is will have to suffice. for the money I've come to accept you can't ask for much.
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