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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 March 21st, 2006, 12:34 AM   #16
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Here are some red clips: http://www.apollologic.com/movies/hc1_reds/

The t-shirt is red with a hint of orange but the red cover at the end we all probably know how it look like.

I think that a lot also depends on how we capture the video. I have captured using Cineform AVI with the lowest quality (my computer isn't the fastest). Downconverting also looks a bit better. These clips are also taken without any proper lighting. Having proper light set up probably make a difference.

I noticed while converting that the different output formats changed how the colours look. So perhaps colour-adjusting for every different target-format is needed?

I am not sure that the red in the cameras are that different. I think it's more how critical our eyes are. I'm fairly new and probably accept variation in colour-tone but people who have worked a lot with photos probably expect red to be red and not "reddish".
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Old March 21st, 2006, 07:41 AM   #17
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Thank you for the clip Fredrik. If that was shot on my HC1, the actual color of your shirt would have been a tomato (dark) red color. Even then, shooting dark reds produced an even lighter more washed out red, almost pink color. Underexposing the shot, I could make the red deeper but with much more noise.

Today I'm ging to try to find another HC1 at a local retailer and test it against my red flash card. But from what I've seen and heard so far, I think I'll be trying one more HC1 before I give up and wait for the HC3. I wish Sony offered something between the HC1 and the FX1, I'd give that a try too.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 08:50 PM   #18
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I just wanted to chime in. I have a new (within 10 days) HC1 13269xx serial number and I haven't seen the red problem, yet, either.
These may be dumb questions and I don't mean to offend by asking them but...
Are you noticing this on a certain TV? Only in the computer? Could it possibly be caused by the NLE's capture module or the monitor's color calibration settings?
I have looked at the footage in Vegas 6.0d AND PremPro 1.5, on two tv's and a Sony LCD projector and don't see the problem. I suppose I could be slightly color blind in the reds, but I don't think so...
I just shot footage at a State Swimming meet, indoors under flourescent lighting at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. You can't get much more colorful than an Indiana swimming meet. Lots of red, too as you can imagine. Even the lane lines are red in the pool. I don't see the pink problem in my footage, most of which was shot in full auto mode because of the fast moving subjects and highly varied scenery as you follow swimmers in the water. The only problem I see is an occasional auto-focus hunt with far away subjects in a busy scene and very bright whites being blown out occasionally in auto-mode.
I did always set a manual white balance. I will keep an eye on this in various settings over the next week or so and report the problem if I find it.

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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:28 AM   #19
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From my limited experience so far, the HC3's red accuracy is as good as could be expected from a single chip camera. The red problem you mention maybe limited to the CMOS chip in the HC1/A1. I shot some seriously red objects on my HC3 and was very impressed with the color accuracy. I like CMOS more than I expected. It's different than CCD, but in a good way.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 07:38 AM   #20
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I've decided I'm going to give the HC1 another try, but I'm not confident it will be a keeper.

So far I've found 2 HC1 in local retailers (both Circuit Citys). The first (sn 133xxxx) had good reds, which I felt was acceptable. The second (sn 132xxxx) had washed out reds similar to my HC1.

I've tried to control the tests as best as possible. Both were under florescent lights with white balance set to auto. No WB Shift, or Camera color added. I verified auto was in the ballpark by viewing more neutral objects in the LCD.

The first HC1 target was a dark red box, which looked very accurate on the LCD. The second HC1 target was a red flash card (same as I used on my HC1 before I returned it) which looked very washed out and pinkish on the LCD.

I would say it's just my expectations, except at home I tested my 3 year old Sony MiniDV and I thought it reproduced reds fine.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:52 AM   #21
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Well that sounds to me like there is a unit-to-unit variation on this.
It would have been better to have 2 different HC1's in same room, same lighting, same subject but of course i understand that this wasn't possible.

Maybe there was a problem which Sony rectified (quietly..) mid-way through the HC1 production run and so some stores have 'older' units with the pinky-red problem and some stores have newer units where it's better.

- just a guess.

It's interesting that Tim Stidham doesn't seem to have the problem at all.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:57 AM   #22
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It's also odd since I bought my HC1 in july 2005. Is there anything related to NTSC/PAL-edition? Mine is PAL.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:49 PM   #23
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Come on now, you guys are going crazy for that? This is no $10,000 camera here. its not gonna be a perfect look and if you get that anal about a red shot then you should also be able to color correct that to make it match perfect.


Go to bed!
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:58 PM   #24
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Ha ha ha... I am actually pretty happy with mine. But it seem to differ from HC1 to HC1 which indicate that there is or were a manufacturing problem. It's possible that they are manufactured at different locations.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 01:27 PM   #25
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That is possible but it doesn't matter locations. Nothing can be 100% duplicated exactly... there is always something different about each one really. not like big differences. but yeah. so it could be at the same place, just different days and maybe different weather environments to effect whatever. im not 100% sure but i guess you gotta kinda expect that a tad bit. Hopefully mine (which comes in thursday) will be pimpin good :-D
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 02:43 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien Benoit
Come on now, you guys are going crazy for that? This is no $10,000 camera here. its not gonna be a perfect look and if you get that anal about a red shot then you should also be able to color correct that to make it match perfect.Go to bed!
But what if the color accuracy is (by far) worse that a $300 MiniDV? The HC1 needs to be more than just 1080i, it also should have Sony consumer level color accuracy.

My replacement is on the way, so I'm hopeful this one will be better with reds.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:12 PM   #27
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Is there a consensus of conditions that seem to produce the most dramatically altered reds? Full sunlight, indoors, tungsten/flourescent lighting, low-light, etc...??
I would like to do more tests with my HC1 this weekend and want to attempt reproducing these situations. I have reviewed the footage I have so far and don't see the problem. Yet, I wouldn't want an important shoot to be compromised by this problem, especially if I could find ways to overcome it ahead of time.
In the end, I do think color-correction software could help a lot b/c HDV gives more color information than DV. Still, it would be good to confirm this for each other the best we can.

Tim
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:54 PM   #28
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True true!
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 04:26 PM   #29
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While deciding whether to purchase the HDR-HC1 recently (which I did), I read quite a bit regarding CMOS sensors. From my reading, I thought (perhaps mistakenly) that CMOS sensors were actually more sensitive to infrared (IR) than visible light and thus have IR cut filters (as do CCDs as well) to block wavelengths beyond the normal visible spectrum and allow better color performance in a range of lighting conditions (but the IR filter would also unfortunately reduce the camera sensitivity). The filter controls the sensor’s response to the end of the red spectrum and will react differently depending on the intensity of IR (cloudy day versus bright sunny day or room lit by a light bulb).

I have seen posts on the web where others have tested their CMOS based digital cameras to see if near IR sensitivity is affecting color reproduction. One person’s suggestion was to photograph subjects that reflect the long red to near IR region to see if a problem exists (deep blue flowers reproducing purple, deep purple reproducing red violet, and some green pool tables showing up brownish).

I guess that I never expected the camera to be perfect or to provide fixed colors under all conditions (film cameras don’t and our eyes don't either), but to provide consistent color results under the same conditions (and it does). I figured that a manual white balance would be preferable to adjusting saturation and that I would fix color "problems" in post (By the way, I have not seen any problems with red so far).

Last edited by John McManimie; March 22nd, 2006 at 06:54 PM.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #30
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HVR-A1U - Poor Video

I just took delivery (March 26, 2006 from B&H Photo) on an HVR-A1U with the same red (or lack of it) problem others here have described.

As a matter of fact, for comparison purposes I shot a red/orange road safety cone (you've all seen this cone on the roads of the US) with a Sony TRV-340 $600.00 new in 2003, a TRV-840 $1,000.00 new in 2003 and a Sony VX2000 $2,500 new in 2003. Then I shot the cone on my new HVR-A1U. All cameras recorded the road cone accurately as red/orange. My HVR-A1U recorded the road cone as shades of magenta, pink and grey.

I'm really disappointed with the performance of this camcorder. I don't think it is ready for prime time yet and will, no doubt, be discontinued just as the HDR-HC1 has been.

If you think I'm full of it, try my test for yourself. The camcorder is incapable of reproducing orange or true red faithfully. In the sample videos I have downloaded that others have posted, even car tail lights are recorded as magenta or burgundy rather than red.

I talked to B&H and they acknowledged the problem but had no solution for me.

I don't think Sony can afford the bad rap they are going to get on this camcorder but they will probably ignore their customers as they have so many times in the past. They will not acknowledge the problem and will not fix the problem in the field either. They will simply come out with a new unit and we'll all be stuck with a poorly designed and discontinued camcorder.

I'll bet that is why the HDR-HC3 with a new CMOS chip really came out.

I for one am stuffing mine back in the box and returning it to B&H before my return priviledges expire.

Too bad. The rest of the camera is pretty good except for the generally soft image.

The FX1 and Z1 are clearly superior in their ability to record a scene faithfully and also record a substantially chrisper image with miminal halos around light sources (this is another one of my complaints and is also illustrated in other clips). I'm not going to settle for marginal recording quality at these prices and put my reputation on the line. I'm a pro and know a lemon when I see one.

It's my guess that the majority of the owners on this board are willing to settle for marginal performance just to get on the HD bandwagon. But I'm a pro and a few thousand this way or that is not going to stand in the way of getting the job handled in a professional manner.

And I don't want to get beat up for video that can't faithfully record an orange, a tangerine, or an apple in a fruit bowl. A pink, a megenta, and a grey in the fruit bowl just won't cut it with my customer. What am I to say handing the bill to my employer after I told him or her how good this tiny camcorder is.

They won't pay me... and that I can't afford, even if Sony can.

If you think I'm all wet, give it to me. I can take it.

But I think Sony deserves it not me.

Regards, Dave.

Last edited by Dave F. Nelson; March 29th, 2006 at 12:31 AM.
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