HVR-A1 Questions re: SD mode 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 September 12th, 2006, 05:55 PM   #1
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HVR-A1 Questions re: SD mode

I am in the market to replace my Sony DCR-TRV900, which was, alas, recently stolen.

I loved the combination of size, image quality and ease of use in that camera. I used it partly for family videos, and partly for recording my own outdoor performances to compile and edit as souvenir DVDs for fans.

I am considering making the jump to HDV with a Sony HVR-A1.

I would appreciate help with two questions about the camera:

I have dozens of tapes I want to maintain access to, Will there be any problem using it to view and input SD tapes recorded on my previous camera for editing?

How is the image stabilization in SD mode? I understand that in HDV mode handheld shooting is difficult/unadvizeable. For family vids at least, I want to have that option.
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Old September 12th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #2
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The stabilization is similar or perhaps better to what was on my last SD Sony (a TRV70). Just my impression, mind you, I never did head-to-head tests.

For family videos, with a little practice you can certainly handhold it in HDV mode .... and switching on stabilization does help in that situation.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 05:13 PM   #3
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Thanks Graham, that's reassuring.

Anyone have an answer to the tape compatability question?
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Old September 14th, 2006, 09:40 PM   #4
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Standard DV tapes should play fine in the A1 no matter which camera they were recorded with, as long as it is in the format of "HDV", "DVCAM", or "DV" in SP mode. I've had no trouble playing tapes recorded on a TRV-19 and a VX-2100.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #5
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What about capture?

I just read in another thread that the HC1 will not capture from tape recorded on another (in this case JVC) camera. My original question was about playing, but of course capturing is also an issue I am concerned about. Any experience capturing SD tapes from other sony cameras via the A1 to FinalCut?
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:59 PM   #6
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If your tapes are DV, you will have no problem.

The issue with the JVC posting that you mention is that the JVC records 720p when in HD mode, whereas the Sony records 1080i in HD mode....so the issue arose from their differing HDV specs. DV tapes recorded on the JVC transfer fine by firewire on the Sony.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #7
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JVC is GOP 1 SONY GOP 2 Incompatible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Schult
Standard DV tapes should play fine in the A1 no matter which camera they were recorded with, as long as it is in the format of "HDV", "DVCAM", or "DV" in SP mode. I've had no trouble playing tapes recorded on a TRV-19 and a VX-2100.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 07:59 PM   #8
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A Sony DCR-TRV900 doesn't produce GOP-anything.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 08:11 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Bruno
JVC is GOP 1 SONY GOP 2 Incompatible.
first, there is no "GOP1/GOP2"
Second, JVC uses 6 or 12 GOP, depending on the HDV camcorder or how the format is set up in the camcorder. 60p is 12GOP. 30p is 6GOP.
Sony/Canon are 15GOP.

Sony and Canon will both playback JVC-recorded tapes. They simply cannot pass the signal via firewire for capture. You can use the Sony decks for component output of the JVC-recorded stream, and capture via component input on a BMD or AJA card (or Bluefish).
As far as DV, all Sony cams will play back any DV recorded on any DV cam.
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Old October 11th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #10
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They can pass the DV signal via firewire....that's what the guy is asking about. Not HD.
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Old October 13th, 2006, 02:07 PM   #11
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A1u-SD output & Image stabilization

Having jsut shot 11 hours of tape in a 18 day vacation --

Yes all your legacy SD tapes can be viewed and output via firewire to the PC. I upgraded from JVC GRD-72 (SDV) to the Sony A1u and it plays/outputs legacy JVC tapes fine.

I am keeping the 16:9 on output and editing on the .m2t's using vegas 7. Presently only outputting to DVD using the widescreen template in DVDA. I keep everything HD except physical media. This way I dodn't have to edit the project all over again to get HD when I can afford my HD-DVD and display (mid 2009 at this rate).

You hear all the noise about handheld HD causing people to lose their lunch..

First, if you are outputting to SD, you crop to 4:3 anyway. I believe the reason it disorients people is 16:9 more closely mimics human field of view (incl peripheral vision) and because our eye/brain compensates for our swivelling head it's more noticable same way reverb in a large lecture hall is more noticeable when recorded vs being there. That all being said, Yes... motion is somewhat more noticable, but minimized by staying wide. Does it make my wife upchuck? No. But since you indicated you were cropping on transfer, I don't think it's any worse than you current camcorder.

I did a bunch of shooting on horseback w/ the a1u. Is the motion more noticable? Yeah, but it appears to me to be about the same as the last time I was on horseback w/ the JVC (SD) camcorder. Nothing on a horse is stable.

PS A1U has very good flexibility on what you say u are doing... 2 tips:
1) turn on the 4:3 markers ON in the camera's LCD, so you know what will get clipped off whan you output.
2) Use the std 4:3 output which edge crops.

Personally, I would suggest you consider outputting as I did above. HD is pretty much here and 10 years from now when you want to go back to that vacation video, I think you will like to see the widescreen HD version on the 1080p tv we all supposedly will have.

PS I had the trv740 and I find the a1u to be just as good in low light. You will hear all the horror stories about poor low light. Frankly IMO, it's low light is far better any ANY consumer grade camcorder. Now comparing against a $2k+ Canon or Sony pro, no it is inferior, but for us hobbiests, it's good. Yes it would be great if it matched the vx2000 or other's, but I don't want to carry something that big, I'd have to put my beer down.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 12:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Sony and Canon will both playback JVC-recorded tapes. They simply cannot pass the signal via firewire for capture. You can use the Sony decks for component output of the JVC-recorded stream, and capture via component input on a BMD or AJA card (or Bluefish).
As far as DV, all Sony cams will play back any DV recorded on any DV cam.
Just to make sure I am clear on this...you are referring to SD->SD correct? You could not take an A1U tape recorded in HD and capture it using a cheap Sony SD mini-dv recorder as a playback deck right?
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Old October 31st, 2006, 09:06 PM   #13
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>>You could not take an A1U tape recorded in HD and capture it using a cheap Sony SD mini-dv recorder

Correct - you could not. The only footage you can transfer through your Sony mini-DV's firewire port is (standard-definition) DV material. The reason I keep saying DV is that there are other kinds of SD material (e.g. uncompressed, or progressive 24fps) ... and those won't transfer either.
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