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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 June 1st, 2006, 03:49 PM   #16
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I'm testing the HC1 in the studio. I have uploaded a sample image to the gallery. It's a work in progress, and not a finished product, I still have to arrange back lighting, etc.

http://www.dvinfo.net/gallery/showimage.php?i=461&c=32

The HC1, like the XL1s shoots a soft image. Most of the samples I've seen from the Z1U look much sharper, and I doubt I'll hit that with this camera. But I may get something decent if I output to 720p on the final piece.

I've uploaded a shot of the HC1 rigged, and the studio setup as well:

http://www.dvinfo.net/gallery/showimage.php?i=462&c=32
http://www.dvinfo.net/gallery/showimage.php?i=463&c=32
http://www.dvinfo.net/gallery/showimage.php?i=464&c=32

I must be nuts. Enjoy.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 10:04 PM   #17
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Nice set up you've got there Peter.
I especially like the 'Me, Myself and I.' Quite a take on 3-person lighting (pun).

My Firewire cable, tripod, head and LANC arrived today so there goes my weekend :). Still haven't shot a thing with my A1, much less tried out the WB cards you helped me make.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:56 AM   #18
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Hey Darren, Yeah, I (we) do it all. Lifes tough when you don't have a grip...
But I do occasionally have a gripe, and they don't hold up so well : )

Anyway, I'm more familiar with this camera, and now that I understand it's pros and cons (seeing for myself in my own applications), I think warm balancing is a requirement. I'm printing my own stack of warm swatches on matte photo paper and adding them to my kit.

The HC1 is my personal camera, so I'm going to budget for both a Z1U, and an A1U. The Z1U I still have test (rent) to see for myself, but posters on this site say the video from both intercuts well.

Have fun with your new kit this weekend. Let me know how your warm balance test turn out. I'm curious to know how the A1U does compared to the HC1.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 11:37 PM   #19
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Here's a 7.2Mb WMV of my first shoot with the A1U. We went to the local arboretum and did some tests with the peonies and irises. The idea here was to check both the red and depth of field issues. All shots were done with a tripod, shot, captured and edited in HD. I also used both the Zebra stripes and Histogram. The sound was from the built in stereo mic. No color or level correction was done in post.

I printed up the Warm1 blue card and mounted it on some cardboard
( http://www.jmtype.com/WBCards.html ).

As you'll see, I did most shots twice - one with the 'outdoors' white balance preset and one balancing with the blue card. Also, I did a few manual focus adjustments (and exposure) on near and far flowers to try some extended DOF. For those tests the flowers were less than two feet apart. These DOF tests are very noticable on my 23" Apple Cinema Display but not in the compressed file shown here :(.

Then we went to one of our local Best Buy's (like a giant Dixons for you UK readers) and viewed the footage on a 43" Pioneer Magnolia Plasma screen. WOW, it was amazing. Both the differences in WB and DOF were clearly visible.

Back home I imported it into FCP5.1, added some titles and exported to an H264. That file was still 35Mb so I exported that through QT7Pro down to a 7.2Mb WMV. As such, I lost much of the quality available but even so the clips from the A1 are still pretty impressive. I didn't notice any red trouble that I couldn't fix through amended WB or exposure on location (not to mention FCP's 3-way color corrector). The depth of field is more than acceptable to me as well. All in all I'm thrilled with the camera.

http://www.jmtype.com/Arboretum3.wmv

EDIT- BTW, in the first clip (just above the word 'Balance') you might notice a slight flicker. That's a spider's web. And, in the beginning of the same clip, you'll hear my wife taking still pictures (her Canon beeping) in the background.
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Last edited by Darren Rousar; June 4th, 2006 at 06:10 PM.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 12:13 AM   #20
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Hey Darren, I just watched your clip. Nice stuff. I'm sure the raw data video was very revealing. The A1 (and HC1) are obviously daylight camera's. (I'd shoot some flowers too, but more likely when my Jeep is rolling over them :)

I prefer the warm balance to improving skin tone. Our printer is not so keen on how the balance shifts whites, etc. Unless you were there, there's no way of telling if the background colors were off anyway. Using a lot of green plants, or complementary colors in the background will help. Filling a major portion of the screen with the more interesting subject that responds well to the shift will also help.

I've found that when balancing the cameras and watching the change take place in the LCD, that the XL1s quickly achieve's a white setting against the warm card. The HC1, however, makes on a slight shift and image still looks a tint of blue. I have to push it using white-balance shift, and force it be white. Then you get instant suntan:) Still, it's a nice workaround.

Checking screen captures in photoshop before and after warm balancing, I've found that the yellow values do shift about 3% over Magenta to match those found in the canon, and more natural skin tone - so it's close.

There is also a 1/2 warm card, which is 50% of warm 1, and it's very suttle, and when used with WBShift +1 isn't as over-bearing.
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