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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 February 21st, 2006, 11:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Burkhimer
I still think the vid looks great Matthew, and thanks for the additional info as well.
As for minimum DOF -- I wonder if he could have gotten the nearly the same result shooting in Tele at F1.8 at that close range.

Here is a link to another "first day" shoot. You'll see that underneath the FX there is still hi-resolution HD.

http://holyzoo.com/media/video/Holy_Zoo-Nak_4Mbs.mov

Another one that keeps both color and resolution.

http://www.pixelloft.com/akala_large.htm

See this clip for how color can be "altered" -- but not too much.

http://homepage.mac.com/nweaver/staticx.html

Sorry to be so harsh but with everyone saying "looks great" -- and he'll get nothing.

I'm looking forward to seeing his newer version with different color. He might also be able to increase black level to fill in the shadows a bit.

I do like his use of a single shot. It solves a sync problem but takes guts to do because you can't have a false move. You have to let your self feel the music and dance with it.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 01:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
As for minimum DOF -- I wonder if he could have gotten the nearly the same result shooting in Tele at F1.8 at that close range.

Here is a link to another "first day" shoot. You'll see that underneath the FX there is still hi-resolution HD.

http://holyzoo.com/media/video/Holy_Zoo-Nak_4Mbs.mov

Another one that keeps both color and resolution.

http://www.pixelloft.com/akala_large.htm

See this clip for how color can be "altered" -- but not too much.

http://homepage.mac.com/nweaver/staticx.html

Sorry to be so harsh but with everyone saying "looks great" -- and he'll get nothing.

I'm looking forward to seeing his newer version with different color. He might also be able to increase black level to fill in the shadows a bit.

I do like his use of a single shot. It solves a sync problem but takes guts to do because you can't have a false move. You have to let your self feel the music and dance with it.
I like this "edited" version better than your original response to my post.;)

I agree that proper criticism is the key to learning, it just seemed like you were attacking people for finding something they liked in his vid. The thing I like the most, is that even though there were some flaws in the technique(color, exposure, etc...) the clip shows where the cam has potential. The problems you point out are easily corrected, and that reassures me that I made the correct choice in this camera.

I am a surf videographer of about 6 years. Surf videography is, in many ways, one of the least challenging fields in this industry. Ninety-five percent of the time you are shooting under optimal lighting(a sunny day at the beach) and 85-90 percent of the audio of any given project is usually music soundtrack. I have recently(past two years) begun event videography such as weddings and anniversaries. My VX2000 has served me well in these applications, but after seeing what people are achieving with HDV cams, I am very excited and ready to learn all I can. You can learn from videos like Matthew's. He obviously put a lot of work into his rig, and I think thats what I appreciate the most. Steve, you seem like a very knowledgable person in this field, having published a few books and all. Just remember, Matt is a student as we all are to some extent, and I look forward to gaining as much know-how as I can from this forum.

Thanks!

-burk

p.s.
I am still waiting for the vids you posted to load, Steve, but Im sure they look amazing.

Last edited by Jason Burkhimer; February 21st, 2006 at 01:36 PM. Reason: left out a couple of words
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:06 AM   #18
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Here's another one -- I think the best -- shot with my favorite HDV camcorder the JVC HD10. Is it film or is it video?

http://medialab.ifc.com/film_detail....m_id=63&list=1

After shooting the summer and fall with an HD100 I took my HD1 to Asia and fell back in love with it. Even rewrote my HD1/HD10 Shooting Guide because I realized I could use it just like the HD100 -- even though, like the Sony, it doesn't have the controls you are "supposed" to have.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:51 AM   #19
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It seemed to me that there was no focus in the first part of the clip (everything out of focus) and that toward the middle of the clip, focusing to the depth of the guitar player's right (strumming) hand might have been an improvement (that's where the motion was - the motion in the clip pulls your eyes to watch his right hand strum, while the focus pulls your eyes toward his left hand, which is relatively stationary). Stretching the black in post could help fix the exposure.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 03:16 AM   #20
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Still holds up for me, despite the change in the tack of the crowd

"Not clear why folks are saying your "grunge" video looks good. What is the point buying an HD camcorder and then shooting so poorly? Just use your parents VHS camcorder if you want terrible looking video. It takes zero skill to shoot bad video."


Wow, Steve. I get a chuckle when I see people on forums feign confusion when all they really had to say was 'I don't like it" - it quickly turned into you saying that anyway. And my respect goes to Matthew for even replying in a cool manner, that was nearly a flame-war!

I'll quote Missy Elliot: "You don't see Bill Gates and Donald Trump arguing about money!" Meaning, I see both you and Matthew shooting really good-looking stuff off of these cameras, and I'm not mad at either of the things I see, it's just a different _style_.

You can slam it all you want, but that clip is very honest-feeling and is more convincing to me as 'filmic' than many things trying to achieve that. If I caught it walking past a TV or casually looking over at it, I don't think it would have occurred to me that it was video: the motion is nice and the lack of focus worked. I can only wince wondering about your thoughts on a Cassavetes film :)

Still looks great to me.

But attacking the 'style' is a little weird, especially when you point to extreme 'style' in the holy zoo work, Steve... The quick edits and skinny puppy-beats are on the same level as what you call his 'poorly-shot VHS grunge': personal style.

Your clips look great too, Steve, although for my tastes, I find the colors a little 'video-ish,' but admittedly, that's one of the things I really liked about this disputed 'guitar' clip; the saturation levels and blacks convinced me.

So I can't knock either one, based on style.

'Everyone saying it looks great and he'll get nothing' is also presupposing he's a lost fawn in the woods, with no eye of his own. And I can speak for many here when I say: if you even know what a 35mm lens adaptor for an HDV camcorder is, you can probably see areas for improvement in your own work. You don't just bumble into building your own adapter - you do it because you're striving for more already.

That's why I'm here, just trying to learn more from people like Matthew and yourself.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 02:23 PM   #21
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Wow... thank you Bill for your response. I had no idea I'd get such a reaction to this clip... In weeks to come, with the collaboration of some of my other film friends at school, I hope to produce more short, simple samples, both as a learning experience before I shoot my first film at the end of the semester, and as a fun thing to do.

Below is a link to the final version of some continuity testing I did last Saturday. I posted one version already that I wasn't real happy with (just too dark). So I went without magic bullet, and varied the contrast, gamma, and saturation in each of the cuts.

I'm noticing though that FCP's contrast filter creates some weird color jumps every once in awhile. In this clip it's not to apparent, but on some old footage of mine, it's really bad.

Anyways, enjoy... and as always let me know what you guys think

Continuity Test, with a pinch of Jazz :P
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 03:45 AM   #22
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Hey Steve... just watched the Holy Zoo thing... definitely avant garde feeling in it's overall style, I kind of liked it. I was curious though, do you know if that used a high shutter speed? I realized with more testing, part of my resolution drop is the blurring I'm getting using 1/60th, which I use since I've read film typically uses 1/48th... but it dawned on me that with a higher shutter speed, I could potentially get less blurring, and maybe slightly sharper images with objects in motion. I'll probably just have to test it, but if you have any suggestions, let me know.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 06:01 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill McMullen
I can only wince wondering about your thoughts on a Cassavetes film :)

Steve... The quick edits and skinny puppy-beats are on the same level as what you call his 'poorly-shot VHS grunge': personal style.
I thought my link to this film said it was "60-ish stuff done in HD." Nevertheless, for what it was, it was at least done very well. (Amazing that every generation repeats these film experiments as though they have discovered something new. Film history ought to be mandatory.)

I picked these videos-- none were mine -- because because underneath their "personal style" you'll find well shot HD video.

Cassavetes was an artist with the camera--especially with "Faces." His only problem was his inability to cut stuff that runs on and on. A problem that got worse and worse. Finally his stuff was nothing more than home movies of his friends getting drunk. Very sad.

It's safe to say that if you study a hundred years of film, it's very clear that "personal style" is best exercised within the context of both story and a very deep skill set. The mimimum shooting skills are composition, focus, DOF, exposure, and color rendition.

This is not a criticism of Mathew's work -- only of some responses that focus on "personal style."
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 06:21 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Kent
I realized with more testing, part of my resolution drop is the blurring I'm getting using 1/60th, which I use since I've read film typically uses 1/48th... but it dawned on me that with a higher shutter speed, I could potentially get less blurring, and maybe slightly sharper images with objects in motion. I'll probably just have to test it, but if you have any suggestions, let me know.
You were correct to use 1/60th because it is correct for 60i video. I thought you had turned down DETAIL. if you didn't -- then perhaps its because his video was shot with about a $8000 HD camcorder -- an HVX200! :) Also, how did you compress your web version.

One other thought -- sharpness is also a function of contrast. Anything that reduces contrast makes any image less sharp. Perhaps in color correction you reduced contrast.

Also -- you said it was late afternoon. Shooting more OPEN than f4 can cause a loss of sharpness.

I'm sure we all will be happy to view future efforts. A good option is to shoot a rehearsal where folks are doing the same thing over and over. You can keep changing things. Rent Godard's "Symphony for the Devil" to see how that can work. Also rent "Faces" to see how someone can use long, handheld shots as you did.

There's also a great video of a Dylan concert shot handleld -- mostly with a wide-angle lens. You'll see how a WA lens helps avoid focus issues and lets you move in VERY close! You'll love it.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 08:41 PM   #25
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I'll have to look those films up to see what your reference is to. I wish we had a film class that studied film history from a technical standpoint. I'm a film studies major, so we watch a lot of films, but primarily from a theoretical perspective... which typically deals with mise en scene and the physiological development of characters and audiences. My technical knowledge on this stuff is pretty vast and encompassing, but only on a surface level (kind of a jack of all trades... thing).

Anyways, for those that wanted to see pix of my rig... I actually just got the cavision rail system from B&H. I heard it's been outta stock for months, and came back in stock on Sunday... so I made my order. Just checked today, and it's already back out of stock! Crazy!!

Anyways, to see the pix, goto my site here
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Old February 26th, 2006, 03:42 PM   #26
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I like it.

Matthew,

I like your video clip a lot. I wouldn't pay attention to some of the negative comments on this thread. It is a portrait of a street performer and it achieves this very well. It kind of reminded me of a youssou n'dour video I saw many years ago I also liked. The muted colors and underexposure really helped set the mood for the video and it took me there for a brief moment. Some may say it has all been done before, but this rings true for most things. I once read something that I felt brought great perspective to things. It went along the lines of "Why would you want to photograph anything if you know there are thousands upon thousands of probably better pictures of the same subjects out there already? Because they are not YOUR pictures."

Keep up the good work and nevermind the critics.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #27
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Hey Matthew,

Thanks for the continual sharing of your setup. I recently aquired an A1U and a Letus35A so am interested in also seeing what you are doing. So far, I'm pretty impressed with the images from these cameras.

A couple more questions about your setup if you don't mind:

- What LCD screen is that you are using, and how do you like it?
- The sunshades for both LCD's - did you buy those or make them?
- What is the lens hood you have for the 35mm lenses? I haven't found a good solution for my setup yet.
- In your sig you mention using a F3.8 zoom lens with your setup. How do yuo find that? I was thinking I'd need a faster lens of similar size due to the light performance of the A1U/HC1

As for the Cavision rod setup, I think I'm going to go this route as well although I was told you can order it directly from Cavision in Vancouver to avoid delay.

I remember reading another post in here where a client saw the size of the A1U/HC1 and freaked out. Your setup should quash any of those concerns!

- Stevan
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Old February 26th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #28
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Hey Luis, thanks for the kind words.

->to Stevan,

Glad my postings are helping ppl out. The LCD screen is a cheapy from Hong Kong that I bought on eBay. It does it's job, is the most I can say. The resolution sucks a little bit, so I still need to use the cameras screen to achieve critical focus... and the colors seem to be really washed out. But the main reason why I bought it was because if I use a DP for my up coming film, I doubt they'll be able to work with stuff upside down and backwards like I can.

I did make the sunshade for my rig... just using velcro and a school binder I bought for $2. The lens hood I got off eBay years ago for one of my 35mm cameras, but never really used it. I put it in the pix cuz it looked cool... I might build a matte box around it, but if I don't, I'm not going to use it. I may just end up buying an expensive matte box system. As for the f/3.8 lens, it's a zoom lens I bought off of eBay for $40... it is a bit slow, but does fairly well in good light. For other shots (low light) I'm going to have to get a faster one, maybe a long prime. So far I haven't tested it with my A1, but I can't see it having a problem with it in decent lighting.

Go here to see a clip using it, and the old ground glass from my original DIY setup. For those of you interested in building a Micro35 DIY rig, that clip is an excellent example of what you can achieve. I used it, my old Panasonic GS400, and the AT822 mic. Did a bunch of recordings using it, and got some fantastic results! Hope this helps.

Also, click on the following pics to see what my rig looked like when I was shooting the clip above with my GS400. Gawd I love these rails! They just need to be longer.
http://tcck.hopto.org/tcck/images/dof1.jpg
http://tcck.hopto.org/tcck/images/dof2.jpg
http://tcck.hopto.org/tcck/images/dof3.jpg
http://tcck.hopto.org/tcck/images/dof4.jpg

P.S. I'm hoping my rig looks professional enough now to get me some gigs. I need to start making back the money I spent on all this stuff!
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Last edited by Matthew Kent; February 26th, 2006 at 10:12 PM.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:40 PM   #29
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One thing I noticed in your shots of the cute girl is that the DOF seems to be so small that as she makes normal movements she goes in and out of focus.

I look at DOf very differently. It is what saves your butt when you can't get perfect focus and the subject moves more than you expect. It's avery good thing.

I also suspect the rig is what's making your image so soft. Film isn't soft. Making video soft really isn't the ideal way of making it look like film.

While shooting a rez. chart (download one) and adjust camera sharpness until there is NO outline on any edge. Then turn up a little.

The shoot at 1.8 and use as much Tele as you can.

Now you may find you don't ALWAYS need your rig.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 10:05 PM   #30
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I've actually been thinking the same thing. My rig does soften the image a bit... but I've been advised to move my aperture on my 50mm prime down a click or two to find the "sweet spot". The last shot with my friend on the porch I did this, and it was noticeably sharper... however I still had my sharpness setting turned down.

To see the clip I used as my inspiration, go here. Luca Immesi (the cinematographer of this footage) has been helping me figure out my settings, although his camera (FX1) I think is much higher in quality and sharpness, and the lighting I had when we shot was far from adequate.

Before I got my DoF system going, I used to shoot more in tele with ND filters, but the thing I always had problems with was both the spatial compression (which I did like sometimes), the magnification of any movement of the camera including trying to do racks, and framing in tight spaces.

I'm hoping that eventually I can find the happy medium where I will be able to shoot with and without the box, without any noticeable difference in the image.

P.S. I'll let my friend know you called her cute... she'll really like that
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