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Old January 15th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #16
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I own an FX1 and love it. I also love these questions because they come up so often. Here's what I think:

1. SD isn't even close to dead. Internet distribution is almost always *less than* SD resolution. The most likely outlet for anything you produce independently is the internet. All the projects I get paid for are done with the FX1 in 4:3 SD. I haven't had much interest from paying clients in HD or widescreen. So I get paid (so far) in 4:3 SD and the 16:9 HD is like a perk for personal use. I do mostly food training videos.

2. 24p is a mixed bag. If it looks like 24p but smells like video it comes off as fake. That's my opinion. The reality-window look is very appropriate for the right kind of narrative. For documentaries you can shoot 24p or 60i and it won't make much of a difference because you'll never be able to frame the shot just right or get the lighting perfect - so it will never look like a "movie." (Okay, there are a few exceptions, but very few).

3. I LOVE high def and the ability to shoot it on my budget. The FX1 produces a spectacular image, and anyone who bashes the image for the price is just hating on new technology. If I though I'd be shooting HD on an SD budget 4 years ago I wouldn't have believed it. Resolution is not everything, but SD shown on an HD monitor simply doesn't hold up given equal footage conditions.

4. I LOVE native 16:9 CCDs. I'm a big hater of filters and add-on lenses. I just don't like 'em and that's just me. But having native 16:9 CCDs makes me happy.

5. Forget about film-outs. No sense in thinking about it. Ash is right on about this. If you were to start a long-form project today, by the time you finish it there's a really good chance you can play it digitally in a theater. That's IF you get distribution. If you get into Sundance it won't matter what you shot on. At that point somebody somewhere will put up the funds for a 35mm festival print if you want one. And your 60i properly transferred to film will look just fine if the subject matter is there is carry the story.

7. Shoot film to look like film. Short films with lots of color correction displayed on a TV or computer monitor can slide by. Feature films shot on video are a tough sell.

8. 1080i60 converts well to approx 768p24.

9. The FX1 image is considerably cleaner than the DVX image at any resolution.

10. Vegas 6 does a great 60i to 24p conversion.

11. When 1080p24 hits the FX1 price point, both the DVX and the FX1 will be forgotten for indie film production. But for that HD, reality-window look, the FX1 will continue to carry its value.

12. I never bought a DVX but I've always been a fan of the breakthroughs it made.
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Old January 16th, 2006, 05:36 AM   #17
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By the way, does the FX1's 4:3 SD look similar to VX2100 or PD170 16:9? I believe the aspect ratio change of these cameras uses the same technology.
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Old January 16th, 2006, 06:47 AM   #18
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I think the VX2100 might actually have an advantage in 4:3 because its CCDs are 4:3 native. I haven't done a side by side comparison so I welcome anyone to correct me on this. Still, the FX1 4:3 picture is more than acceptabe for my purposes.

In the same frame of thought, the FX1 in 16:9 DV or HDV outperforms the 4:3 CCDs on the PD170 because the FX1 is natively 16:9.

*I realize there are other factors that affect picture quality, but all things being Sony the CCD shape is a good place to start IMO.
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Old January 16th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #19
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Yep, the 16:9 of FX1 is certainly much-much better than what the VX and PD can do and the 4:3 of FX1 should be worse than 4:3 on PD and VX. I'm just wondering whether the percentage of the quality decrease is same between the two if going from the camera's native ratio to the other one.
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Old January 16th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #20
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I'll have to let someone else chime in on that, not sure I understand the question.

Another thing though to consider is the ability to shoot 16:9 HDV and pull a 4:3 SD frame from the center. I've done this and the results to my eyes are great.

But! And this is a big BUT... the FX1 won't downconvert from 16:9 HDV to 4:3 DV on the fly (it will however do 16:9 HDV to 16:9 DV on the fly).

You will have to capture in HDV then downconvert to 4:3 DV on the computer, which is rendering time I'm not willing to spend most days. The Z1 does have this feature, but now we're jumping over the DVX in price.

We were shooting a mock music video on Saturday and had to have to footage ready for viewing in another scene later that day. So instead of waiting out the rendering time to downconvert we just shot the music video on 4:3 DV.

Here are a few frames in PNG format. In the last one he's on a skateboard so it's a motion shot. The other shots were fairly still. Obviously we've played with the color on these but it gives you a rough idea of what an FX1 4:3 DV image looks like.

http://westacreproductions.com/band1.png
http://westacreproductions.com/band2.png
http://westacreproductions.com/band3.png
http://westacreproductions.com/band4.png
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