Anybody can test video line resolution Standard DV of HC1? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old August 24th, 2005, 12:29 PM   #1
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Anybody can test video line resolution Standard DV of HC1?

Maybe this is a weird question but the lines resolution with imatest in reviews always talk about the camcorders HDV output, not in SD.

Why i ask? I am interested in a camcorder that for now merely will be used for SD as the endresult will be on DVD in normal Pal format. In this case there are 3 ways to get SD DVD:

- Change resolution software based on the computer from HDV footage to SD
- Set the HC1 to output by firewire in SD (so it will downsize recorded HDV internally)
- Record video in SD format to start with on the HC1 and put it on the computer.

What i noticed is that with HDV format resolution 1080i doubling the format of Pal, the lines resolution test with imatest (like on camcorderinfo.com) doesn't come up with a double result in lines. So i am really wondering if bringing it down to SD will maybe result in a quality less than most consumer camcorders (in resolution (lines)).

I played around with some footage of the HDV (in HDV format) and i downgraded it to Pal resolution but with a 50 fps progressive count as this is very good possible with the 1080 interlaced:
- Changing every fieldframe to it's own so 50i to 50p (deinterlacing with double framerate). In this way you ofcourse have to interpolate information that isn't there.
- Second step is to resize it to Pal of ntsc format which countereffects the interpolation almost completely.

Endresult: SD format but with a 50 fps progressive endresult which was lookinf very good (very easy to slow down to 25 fps and have a very good slowmotion video).

Ok the 50 fps progressive was just playing around as an extra gimmick. After all i really want to know if the SD format of this camcorder (in any of the three ways to get SD) will be similar or better than say a Panasonic gs400 output.

Somehow nobody did this test yet, but for me (prosumer) the HC1 is just 400 euro more expensive than the Panasonic GS400 and as such a serious contender at SD format.

Can anyone help me finding this out? I don't have the camcorder itself yet as based on the results i will make a descision and even if i had i don't have any clue how to set it up for a imatest resolution test.

Sincerely Lars

PS. Ofcourse i mean everything in 16:9 ratio.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #2
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Anybody? Still didn't find any reviews on hc1 SD quality
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Old August 29th, 2005, 06:19 PM   #3
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resSD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars Bieshaar
Anybody? Still didn't find any reviews on hc1 SD quality
It's inline with Panasonic's resolution. But Like you said you could just downcovert from HDV and make it progressive at the same time, to get incredible results.
Just my 2c,
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Old August 29th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #4
 
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I'll apologize for not having shot the HC1e in DV mode when I reviewed it, I just can't see much reason for shooting in DV mode, myself. For most applications, HDV is far superior, and you can always downsample. But that's no excuse for me not having used DV mode with this cam while I had one.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 02:47 AM   #5
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DV is great, though you will no longer use it...

I have made the test, then importing in Premiere the DV footage.

From what i saw, it gives excellent result. Not owing a Pana, i cant personally comment on the relative quality. But the store i am usually working with commented that the results were definitely in favor of HC1.

This being said, once you have the camcorder, you will no longer want to shoot SD.

With the aim of producing DVDs VOBs , if you use the max throughput of 9Mbps, working in HD and then recompressing with a GOOD Mpg codec will give a slightly but VISIBLY better output.

If you target Divx at 720p or even better WMV at 9MBs (supported by some DVD readers, now...) having shot in HD will flash to your eyes ( specially on large screens ) and blow away your mind with this so called "choice" ... and you will walk away from SD !
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Old August 30th, 2005, 02:47 AM   #6
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ummmmmmm.... After shelling out 1800+ bucks, I find it hard to switch my HC1 back to DV. After switching between HDV and DV, DV belongs in the stone age. I couldn't believe how awful the picture was that I had become accustomed to. AND, I've edited DV for 3 years on my Canopus Storm and I've never seen better footage (downconverted from HC1). Can't talk too much about footage shot in native DV because after using this camera, you won't ever want to go back.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 03:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the very good and personal replies. I know that when i probably own a hdv camcorder i won't shoot in dv anymore and i knew that before already but was wondering if downconverting would make the result worse than a standard DV.

I have one more question about the hc1. Is it possible with this camcorder to shoot somebody on the foreground and have the background blurry?

I read that you don't have control over the iris and the gain, so i beleive shutterspeed is left to play with and some automatic programs/profiles.

If the DOF (that's how its called or not?) is too big everything will be focussed sharp and i want to be able to emphasize parts by having them sharp and the rest blurry. Is this possible with the hc1 or do i have to look at even the more expensive fx1? I prefer a small and handable camcorder that's why the hc1 is on my list.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 04:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
I'll apologize for not having shot the HC1e in DV mode when I reviewed it, I just can't see much reason for shooting in DV mode, myself. For most applications, HDV is far superior, and you can always downsample. But that's no excuse for me not having used DV mode with this cam while I had one.
Douglas i really must thank you anyway because you made it possible to download some longer footage to play around with to look at and so on. The thing i was talking about with downconverting it to pal resolution but with double progressive framerate i did with your footage!

Again thanks.

Somehow the amount of lines resolution (with the imatest) gives me an idea how sharp a picture (detailed information in the stream) can be. And this is a result of the used lense, the ccd and so on of the camcorder. As the format resolution of the hc1 more than doubles, the review at camcorderinfo.com didn't show a doubling of the video resolution (in lines) compared to say a panasonic gs250. So my fear was that while have more detail at hdv the endresult on SD (while HD-DVD and blue ray isn't mainstream yet) would be less as halving the format's resolution would maybe half the lines resolution (as showed with imatest).

Maybe i am putting to much value to the imatest scores..

Playing around with your footage and all the replies here gave me much more input about the hc1 already. Right now it is no. 1 on my list.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 04:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre Barberis
But the store i am usually working with commented that the results were definitely in favor of HC1.

With the aim of producing DVDs VOBs , if you use the max throughput of 9Mbps, working in HD and then recompressing with a GOOD Mpg codec will give a slightly but VISIBLY better output.
What is a good mpg codec? I have good experiences with Tsunamy Mpeg (Tmpeg) but i didn't try out many different ones. Is the Tsunamy one good? As it is affordable to me.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 05:06 AM   #10
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TMPGENc is a good one, for me...

I think it is indeed somewhat better than the standard PPro export
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Old August 30th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars Bieshaar
Thanks for all the very good and personal replies. I know that when i probably own a hdv camcorder i won't shoot in dv anymore and i knew that before already but was wondering if downconverting would make the result worse than a standard DV.
I too have read that everyone who's shot in HDV on the HC1 and downconverted to DV has said that the DV quality is VERY good and probably the best DV images they've seen. Better than GS400 etc. so if you need to downconvert maybe as you need to put footage on a DVD then it's gonna be good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars Bieshaar
I have one more question about the hc1. Is it possible with this camcorder to shoot somebody on the foreground and have the background blurry?

I read that you don't have control over the iris and the gain, so i beleive shutterspeed is left to play with and some automatic programs/profiles.

If the DOF (that's how its called or not?) is too big everything will be focussed sharp and i want to be able to emphasize parts by having them sharp and the rest blurry. Is this possible with the hc1 or do i have to look at even the more expensive fx1? I prefer a small and handable camcorder that's why the hc1 is on my list.
For sure you can do this. There are several program modes available on the HC1. 'Portrait' program mode is the one to use here - it biases the settings towards large apertures which will reduce the DOF. MAximum aperture is i think f1.6 or f1.8 on HC1. You can check what aperture the HC1 has shot footage in by playing the footage back and switching the 'DAta code' onto 'Camera info'. That will show aperture, shutter speed, white-balance mode, and whether it was on Auto or manual exposure.

If it's fairly bright outside when you're shooting, you may need to use a circular polariser filter to cut light further to get the HC1 to shoot at maximum aperture. Otherwise it may be shooting at f2.4 or something like that. Be aware that to get the maximum effect of out-of-focus background, it's best to shoot your subject (person) fairly close and have the background as far away as possible. Out of focus green foliage/trees generally looks nice on a potrait shot. Make sure you zoom in quite a bit as focal length affects DOF too. A slightly dimmer day may help as it'll be more likely the camera will use maximum aperture.

Alternatively, you could just set a much faster shutter speed which will force the camera to open up the aperture too.

Be aware that the Program AE modes also are programmed to have an effect on the focusing which is also useful. 'Portrait' mode is programmed to have the camera to focus at near or mid-distance (Which is what you want).

But for maximum out-of-focus background effect, you'll really need a film SLR or a digital SLR with as BIG a sensor as possible. The smaller the sensor, generally the bigger the DOF (ignoring various other factors) which is why digital cameras and camcorders with small sensors tend to have big DOF inherently.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre Barberis
I think it is indeed somewhat better than the standard PPro export
Thanks, i thought so too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
I too have read that everyone who's shot in HDV on the HC1 and downconverted to DV has said that the DV quality is VERY good and probably the best DV images they've seen. Better than GS400 etc.
Thanks, nice to know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
...'Portrait' program mode is the one to use here - it biases the settings towards large apertures which will reduce the DOF. ...'DAta code' onto 'Camera info'.... you may need to use a circular polariser filter to cut light further .... much faster shutter speed which will force the .... 'Portrait' mode is programmed to have the camera to focus at near or mid-distance ... for maximum out-of-focus background effect, you'll really need a film SLR or a digital SLR with as BIG a sensor as possible. The smaller the sensor, generally the bigger the DOF.
Thanks for the info, good to know. I see that it will be a play between the camcorder and my ability to get it like this but that will only make me more skilled at shooting film.......

The circular polariser filter i will have to look at as right now it doesn't ring a bell. I will do some research on that. You have to know that i am a little bit more than a beginner. I am a beginner + in the sense that i used to point and shoot before and want to become more serious about it. And i know that anything i will put my hands on and put effort in i WILL learn.

As a point and shoot consumer you want everything nicely focussed that's why the big DOF, but that is also directly what sets a good video appart from the average or bad. Thinking of what the storyline will be and what needs focus at what moment (not only focus in the sense of camcorder focus, but just picture filling and movement).

I was browsing around just now and i got some bad user feedback on the zoom and movement with the hc1. They say the picture becomes very blurry before proper focus again.

I know mpeg encoding hates movement of the whole frame (background movement) and also zooming in and out as it needs more I frames to know about proper pictureinformation. So too fast movement or zooming combined with a constant mpeg encoding rate and actually exact amounts of I frames and those other two subframes (don't feel like looking it up right now) could make the hc1 to fail and show blocks and blurriness.

Is this something you also encounter or is it exaggerated? (or whatever the english word is, hey i'm dutch..)
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Old November 26th, 2005, 10:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars Bieshaar
Maybe this is a weird question but the lines resolution with imatest in reviews always talk about the camcorders HDV output, not in SD.
...
What i noticed is that with HDV format resolution 1080i doubling the format of Pal, the lines resolution test with imatest (like on camcorderinfo.com) doesn't come up with a double result in lines.
...
PS. Ofcourse i mean everything in 16:9 ratio.
The easy math: DV does 720 total horizontal lines, HDV 1080i does 1440 total horizontal lines, so you're just double, before anything else is considered. Vertically, it's 576 vs. 1080, so there, not even double. Now, for image resolution, you naturally have to consider both dimensions, at which point you're not quite 4x.

If you're talking about classic lines of resolution -- the usual optical measure, then of course, you're not just measuring image resolution, but largest circle resolution -- you get a max of 520 horizontal lines in DV, 405 lines in DV widescreen, and 810 lines in HDV (always widescreen).

Cameras can't do better -- they can do worse.
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