Thoughts on upgrading to the HC1 from the vx2100 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 February 21st, 2006, 02:20 PM   #1
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Thoughts on upgrading to the HC1 from the vx2100

I was hoping someone could shed some light on whether or not to upgrade to the HC1? I am a very happy user of the vx2100 for the past 2 years now and have created some stunning video with that camera. Now with the HC1 out and the HC3 on the horizon, I am wondering if the video quality of the HC1 in SD mode compares to that of the vx2100? I know you can't compare the two in HD standards but I am wondering if I will see a "vast" difference in video quality between the two.

I.E. when I upgraded from the TRV-70 to the vx2100, there was a "huge" difference in video quality. I am wondering if the change will be that different between the HC1 and the vx2100??

The camera is used primarily for home video. I understand the low light capabilities of the HC1 pales to that of the vx2100. With the output of the HC1 to DVD, am I correct in thinking it's going to be very similar to that of the vx2100 because of the DVD standards? The only way to take advantage of the HD is to plug the camera into my HD LCD TV's - am I correct in thinking that? I use MediaStudio Pro 8.0 and produce some great videos with the vx2100 to DVD that look great on my 50" HDTV. I would hate to "waste" $1500 on the HC1 / HC3 if the difference is not going to be that drastic!

Thanks for your input...
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Old February 21st, 2006, 02:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Vilevac
I was hoping someone could shed some light on whether or not to upgrade to the HC1? I am a very happy user of the vx2100 for the past 2 years now and have created some stunning video with that camera. Now with the HC1 out and the HC3 on the horizon, I am wondering if the video quality of the HC1 in SD mode compares to that of the vx2100? I know you can't compare the two in HD standards but I am wondering if I will see a "vast" difference in video quality between the two.

I.E. when I upgraded from the TRV-70 to the vx2100, there was a "huge" difference in video quality. I am wondering if the change will be that different between the HC1 and the vx2100??

The camera is used primarily for home video. I understand the low light capabilities of the HC1 pales to that of the vx2100. With the output of the HC1 to DVD, am I correct in thinking it's going to be very similar to that of the vx2100 because of the DVD standards? The only way to take advantage of the HD is to plug the camera into my HD LCD TV's - am I correct in thinking that? I use MediaStudio Pro 8.0 and produce some great videos with the vx2100 to DVD that look great on my 50" HDTV. I would hate to "waste" $1500 on the HC1 / HC3 if the difference is not going to be that drastic!

Thanks for your input...
I have Vx2k and FX1. VX is 4:3 with a cropped 16:9 setting. FX1 and HC1 shoot in 16:9. If you shoot for 4:3 SD with FX1 , there isn't IMHO that great of an improvement. In 16:9 there will be.

Also, the greatest benefits in video quality come from shooting and editing in HDV, and using expensive intermediate codecs like Cineform (HD Connect or Aspect from Cineform.com0, and then down coverting the finished film to your desired format. There is a lot gained, but a lot of investment required.

See this thread, for instance: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...205#post435205
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 08:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply Chris! So if I understand correctly, there "will be" a vast difference in video quality with the HC1 when recorded in HD, edited in HD, then down converted to DVD? I currently am using Ulead MediaStudio Pro 8.0 with the HD plug-in - is this suitable for the process you are referring to?

Thanks for your assistance...
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 12:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Vilevac
Thanks for your reply Chris! So if I understand correctly, there "will be" a vast difference in video quality with the HC1 when recorded in HD, edited in HD, then down converted to DVD? I currently am using Ulead MediaStudio Pro 8.0 with the HD plug-in - is this suitable for the process you are referring to?

Thanks for your assistance...
While I recently went from MSP8 to Vegas I can tell you that MSP8 is suitable. However, I prefer editing in Vegas so much more. The person who left another reply talked about the extra expense needed to use an intermediate file but they may or may not be using Vegas because what is basically needed is included with Vegas. At least with version 6 that I have.

I do like the fact that MSP8 captures in .mpg instead of .m2t transport stream and I do my captures with MSP8. I can put the MSP8 captured file directly on the timeline for either MSP8's editor or Vegas. Even so, it is best to either use a proxy file or an intermediate file such as what can be created with Vegas which helps a lot with chroma keying.

As I said, I prefer editing in Vegas because it is so much easier and powerful.

Now as for your questions about the cams so I don't drift too much OT, The low light capabilities of the HC1 are no match for the VX2100 but the normal light video of the VX2100 is no match for the HC1 in quality. I used to have the VX2000 and sold it to get the HC1.

I do not do videos such as weddings that usually require good low light capabilites so this is no problem for me. I do still have some original video from the VX2000 and it looks quite poor compared to the HC1 in normal light. I used to also think it looked great.

I originally set the HC1 to down-convert to DV in cam and then edit and send to DVD in .mpg. I now know that was a serious mistake.

I now capture in HDV and then render to SD .mpg. The quality of the video is so much better this way. Main reason being that even though the final results are SD, the colorspace is improved somewhat. And that helps make the overall video quality a lot better. HDV is 4:2:0 instead of the 4:1:1 that SD DV has.

A lot of people don't realize how much better SD will look when one starts from HDV and uses the correct procedure to capture, edit and render the video.

As for the HC1, because of Sony's latest and greedy blunder (HC3 to replace the HC1) you need to act fast if you want one. Well, maybe not too fast but I wouldn't wait too long either.

If you want better low light capabilities and a lot more pro like features you should get the FX1 instead.

Whatever you decide, you will definitely benefit by going to HDV. In the future, hopefully near future, when we can finally burn HDV to DVD's then you will really benefit from having HDV and you will have the experience that others who haven't yet gone to HDV won't have.

Do yourself a big favor though and get Vegas. While it is not 100% perfect, it simply blows MSP8 far, far away when it comes to editing! Being a person who has used both MSP8 and Vegas I have personal experience with this.

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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:09 PM   #5
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Thanks Danny for your input!! I might try your advice regarding the Vegas suite. I had Vegas 4.0 before moving to Ulead. The learning curve on the Vegas was very steep compared to that of Ulead. I became very proficient with the MediaStudio after a short period of time. (about 30 days) Is the move to Vegas that much more difficult than Ulead or can it be easily mastered once given time to learn the software?

As for the camera - thanks again for the input. I may make the jump to the HC1 after hearing your feedback knowing that you have experience with both the vx and the hc.

Thanks again for your input!
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:20 PM   #6
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Danny, Brian:

First I don't think there is much difference, if any, between .m2t and .mpeg HD files that Danny was referring to. I think they are both highly compressed and rely on adjacent frames to fill in parts of the frame that haven't changed. In fact, I am under the impression that .m2t is in fact .mpeg. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong about that.) Because each frame has to be reconstructed to play or edit, increased processing power is needed to do it in a reasonable time. . So a dual core type processor and a lot of memory is highly beneficial to aid with editing.

The experts in this forum are all indicating that for easiest editing and and for better color handling, you should use one of the intermediate codecs. Those take each frame and converts each one into a stand alone frame. It also takes up to five times as much space on your hard drive. That is what the Cineform codec is all about. Cineform also has Aspect HD which sells for about $500 that is supposed to make editing in Premiere nearly real time for previews. Render times, though, remain very lengthy.

I have not bought Cineform. The codec is part of my upgrade on my Premiere Pro 1.51. I now have Premieire 2.0, which actually edits in native .m2t. You can also use Aspect HD. I also have Vegas, which also can capture and edit .m2t. If you buy Cineform HD Connect, you can use their capture utility for Vegas.

Pinnacle Studio 10 Plus also edits in .m2v on the video side. When they get their normal bugs worked out, it promises to be a good basic editor. It reners in background as you edit, which can save time- but which may also be contributing to some bus in the early versiions designed for HDV edits.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Vilevac
Thanks Danny for your input!! I might try your advice regarding the Vegas suite. I had Vegas 4.0 before moving to Ulead. The learning curve on the Vegas was very steep compared to that of Ulead. I became very proficient with the MediaStudio after a short period of time. (about 30 days) Is the move to Vegas that much more difficult than Ulead or can it be easily mastered once given time to learn the software?

As for the camera - thanks again for the input. I may make the jump to the HC1 after hearing your feedback knowing that you have experience with both the vx and the hc.

Thanks again for your input!
Going from MSP8 to Vegas should be relatively easy for you. I have noticed that there are a number of similarities in the work-flow. Going from an earlier version of MSP would be more difficult because of the A-B style they have.

I have a learning disibility and am on SSI and I learned Vegas much faster and easier than I ever imagined I would. I still have a few problems because I am used to doing things a certain way but once you do a few projects it will become quite easy.

A few links to consider on learning Vegas are:

http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/sup...sp?prod=vegas5
http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/sup...asp?prod=vegas
http://www.vasst.com/
http://www.jetdv.com/vegas/forum/index.php

and of course the forums here have some great information as well.

Hope that helps you.

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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
Danny, Brian:

First I don't think there is much difference, if any, between .m2t and .mpeg HD files that Danny was referring to. I think they are both highly compressed and rely on adjacent frames to fill in parts of the frame that haven't changed. In fact, I am under the impression that .m2t is in fact .mpeg. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong about that.)
The difference is that .m2t has the audio mixed in its stream in a way that .mpg does not. I forgot the term for it. Anyway .mpg will play back and edit much easier than .m2t will. At least on my system.

My problem is that my system is minimum when it comes to HDV editing. Single core 2.8 ghz Pentium HT with AGP 8x instead of PCI express and 1.5 gig of ram. So it makes HDV editing a bit slow however I can natively edit HDV .mpg at a moderate rate in Vegas while .m2t slows things down to a crawl and won't preview because windows media player won't play it very well.

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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:23 PM   #9
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Thanks again Danny and Chris for your feedback. Someone brought to my attention that the FX may be a better choice since I have been using the vx2100... My concern is the size of the FX opposed to the HC1. As I had metioned, I use the vx for family videos and although the video is great (IMHO) the size can be cumbersome at times. I am planning to keep the vx2100 and add an additional HD camera. I like the size of the HC1. I think the FX may be a little too "big" for filming the family! Will the HC produce similiar results as the FX, or is it impossible to compare the two? And, is the price of the FX ($2999 at BH) worth twice the $$ as the HC1?

One concern I have been reading about the HC is the low light capabilities and the blur effect when panning - I do alot of filming in the house of a 2 year old and a 8 month old. Low light (house lighting) and alot of movement! Should I be looking at the FX??

Thanks again guys!!
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:21 PM   #10
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I would think the differance, shooting indoors in low light, would weigh heavily towards the VX2100 (probably the biggest single difference between the two cameras, aside from resolution).
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 02:33 PM   #11
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I know the vx2100 will perform better in low light. Aside from that, will the HC1 be sufficient to capture moving children around the house and at youth sporting events without a lot of blurred video? Or should I shy away from that HC and look towards the FX??
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 05:43 PM   #12
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Sporting events shouldn't be a problem, I would think, unless it is indoors in a really badly lit facility. Around the house might potentially be troublesome, but I can shoot around my house, often quite nicely, with my TRV70, which has the same minimum lux rating from Sony (I do realize though, that can vary quite considerably, even between cameras from the same manufacturer). I love HD, so I definitely prefer shooting HDV footage of my grandkids, but at the moment, my HDV camera is an HD10U, so I do use an SD camera (DV300U now, but before I got that, the TRV70) sometimes (my FX1 should be here sometime next week). Is your home generally well lit? How well did the performance of your TRV70 hold up with the lighting inside your home (compared to shooting with it outside)? Certainly, you could still use your VX2100 whenever lighting just isn't adequate for an HC1.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 07:26 PM   #13
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Thanks Robert for your input! I need to make a decision rather quickly - it appears the HC1 is selling fast. I was going to buy it through American Express but they are sold out. So I looked at BH and the web showed in stock but when I called this evening, the sales rep said they are now sold out with a due date of March 23rd!!

The TRV70 always had a blueish tint to the video when filmed indoors. Outdoors was nice - no comparison however the the vx2100. House is well lit - never have a problem with having to use gain on the vx2100 so is it safe to assume the HC will be adequate? I saw some comparison footage of the HC and the FX in these forums and you can definitely see a difference between the two. The FX was clear and sharp through pan and focus, the HC blurred a little during both. My concerns with the FX are size (I was hoping to go with a smaller cam) and price! Where did you purchase your FX from - was it approx. $2999??

Thanks again Robert!
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 11:57 PM   #14
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I'm getting my FX1, just slightly used, from a private party in Austin, TX. I'll just say that I like the price. Fortunately, for me, my father lives in Austin, so the transaction will be quite safe. He will be picking the camera up tomorrow and taking it to the post office to ship.

What I was trying to say was, that if the TRV70 did ok in your house, that might indicate that HC1 could be ok in the house too. The fail safe for you in low light, is still the VX. Did you manually set the white balance on the TRV70 in the house, or put it on full auto-pilot for WB? (I never use full auto white anywhere, because it can constantly shift while shooting, and that's awfully tough to fix later.)

You might give the A1U a little consideration. The extra 500 in cost does get you quite a few nice extras. With the rebate, from B&H, the A1U is a tad under two grand + shipping. I would think the shotgun that comes with the A1U would be a vast improvement over the onboard in the HC1, for shooting those sporting events.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 12:16 AM   #15
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Brian:

I have Vx 2000, and now the FX1- The FX1 is a bit larger than the VX, but not inordantly so. It is still hand holdable. I have no problems with using it in same situations I use VX. I must admit that with either camera at family functions, they can seem a bit overboard. I in fact bought a little GS 120 3CCD camera for that purpose. However, the VX2100 tells me you are serious about your video, so I just feel you miht be better off with the FX1 if you are going HDV. Alternatve middle ground is the A1U which has more pro features.
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