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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 December 20th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #1
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HC1/A1U for Indie Video Journalism???

So I'm questioning whether to make the jump or not.

I work with a TRV950 and love the size and quality of footage I am getting with it. I am working in 16x9 mode exclusively to get use to the aspect ratio. In addition, I have a Light & Motion Bluefin housing for the u/w work I shoot.

Being a less than cash flush indie VJ, I'm wondering if it is really necessary to jump up to HDV. I read the rants and raves for the moving to HDV, but since I'm just really getting serious right now, I'm debating whether I should invest in one of these cameras or not.

A mentor of mine who is a major leader in the new media movement for video journalism has said that if I can afford the jump - including all the additional hardware needed to edit, I should. But since the TRV950 is such a well respected Standard Def camera, I'm not missing anything that would warrant the jump since I'm not shooting for broadcast yet.

I have read about the light sensitivity issues with these single CMOS chip cameras and their issues with recording reds accurately. I'm beginning to shoot short form social and environmental docs for my demo reel right now, but I do want to get an informed decision before seriously beginning to shoot.

I could use some help on this and any input would be greatly appreciated.

TIA,
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Old December 21st, 2006, 09:50 AM   #2
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IMHO...the HD footage downconverted to SD from my HC1 is much better than any regular SD camera anywhere near the same price. As far as the red problem goes, there has been a fix for that issued by Sony and I don't think it's really an issue anymore. My HC1 is one of the later models and I never even had the red problem to begin with. One thing I've noticed about the CMOS chip in the HC1-A1 is that getting the right colors really depends on two main factors... White balance (of course) and getting the right exposure. Exposure really seems to have a profound effect on color with these CMOS chips. Having said all that....if you're happy with the end product that your current setup is giving you, then why switch? Switching to HDV is basically going to give you the option of HD output and, I believe, cleaner SD footage.
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Old December 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM   #3
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Evan - you do raise a good point - I HAVE been happy with the footage shot so far with the TRV950. There seems to be a general concensus that HD footage downconverted to SD looks cleaner than straight SD footage, so the inclination I have is to look at the HC1 - the biggest challenge for me is taking a loss on the housing I have for my camera since it cannot be retrofitted (already spoke to L&M about that). I am working towards specializing in niche topics related to marine related docs/features - specifically marine life, diving, environmental issues, global warming, etc...

The cost for used TRV950's and HC1's is within $200 of each other according to what I have seen so far... If I could find a clean PDX10 (It fit's my $3100 housing as well), I would be content, but they seem to be disappearing all of a sudden.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #4
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Well, I found an HC1 for less than I could get a used TRV950 if you can believe that. So looks like I have finally made the jump to HDV

Any suggestions on shooting with this camera???
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Old December 28th, 2006, 12:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel
So I'm questioning whether to make the jump or not.

I work with a TRV950 and love the size and quality of footage I am getting with it. I am working in 16x9 mode exclusively to get use to the aspect ratio. In addition, I have a Light & Motion Bluefin housing for the u/w work I shoot.

Being a less than cash flush indie VJ, I'm wondering if it is really necessary to jump up to HDV. I read the rants and raves for the moving to HDV, but since I'm just really getting serious right now, I'm debating whether I should invest in one of these cameras or not.

A mentor of mine who is a major leader in the new media movement for video journalism has said that if I can afford the jump - including all the additional hardware needed to edit, I should. But since the TRV950 is such a well respected Standard Def camera, I'm not missing anything that would warrant the jump since I'm not shooting for broadcast yet.

I have read about the light sensitivity issues with these single CMOS chip cameras and their issues with recording reds accurately. I'm beginning to shoot short form social and environmental docs for my demo reel right now, but I do want to get an informed decision before seriously beginning to shoot.

I could use some help on this and any input would be greatly appreciated.

TIA,
You mention broadcast and video journalism, some things to consider that I've recently found.

1/ Editing HDV is a pain, no other way to describe it without expletives! It's going to cost you a ton of money on the back end to produce and output your video. You're looking at upgraded and cutting edge computers and software with intermediate codecs etc. DV on the other hand seems to edit with a cheap system just fine now that most warez are almost realtime.

2/ Delivery: Once you get the footage cut, who or where are you going to deliver it to? Are you shooting something that's newsworthy? If so is the station that you're going to deliver or sell your footage to capable of HDV footage or tape. An experience from my in just the last 2 weeks had me discovering that the local HD News station in my area couldn't accept footage from my HC1 in HD, all they could accept (if I had broght my cables) was downconverted SD 16:9 footage, but since I assumed they had Avid HD Broadcast and could accept HDV direct, I didn't bring cables so why then did I shoot with my toy cam and not my XL2 in SD which they could have used.

Image quality of the HC1 is superb, no doubt, under the right lighting conditions, the cam really kicks and I'd put it up against my XL2, again under the right conditions.

In the end, HDV is cool, I love shooting in it and watching it on my Plasma and seeing how it makes the TV shine, all the footage that I edit however ends up downcoverted in the long run anyway however because I (an early adopter) don't own and don't have immediate plans for an HD DVD player and burner for my pc.

Want a suggestion, move up to a high end 3-chip prosumer cam like an XL2 or if you're stuck on HDV go with something that has 3 chips and not CMOS, invest in a lighting kit and battery system (Anton Bauer has some really cool new stuff for 7.2v cams) and go out and have a blast!

BTW, that thing that everyone seems to propogate about red push on the HC1, I would love to experience it, cause I have not seen it. I was just at the Grand Canyon this weekend and shooting deep into the canyon and the red walls of it, I can honestly say that I would have loved for my cam to have pushed a little more red to really bring out the colors of that natural wonder, it didn't and in fact the image is a bit bland, crispy and HD but no red push.


Miguel
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Old December 28th, 2006, 01:04 AM   #6
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Hi Miguel,

I understand the additional requirements for editing video but I'm not too worried, I have an AMD Dual Core with 4GB RAM running Win XP x64 bit with a RAID 0 setup on my desktop specifically for editing video.

I am on a very tight budget and I will miss the ability to edit SD footage more efficiently, but since some of the work I will be doing will entail potential long term use of footage and to have it in HDV format - even if it is off of an HC1, it still is HD footage. I would have preferred to stick with SD footage (If I could have found a PDX10 or another TRV950 for the price I got the HC1 I would have gone that route). But too many people are stating that the move to HDV needs to happen for the type of work I am working towards. I wished I could have stayed with miniDV, it seemed alot less complicated. But being able to down convert and have better quality SD footage than from a native SD camera was another compelling reason to finally make the jump.

Well, the purchase is done and I'm now waiting for the camera to be delivered...
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Old January 16th, 2007, 03:11 PM   #7
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The HC1 was a bust

Well, it seems that one persons version of Like new is anothers fairly well used - in my case mine was the latter - and then some - so I returned the thing, and finally resolved the RMA and got the refund this morning - so I'm back to my tried and trusty TRV950 and now thinking I may stay in minidv land since CES just put the death nail in the HC3.. Go figure.

Miguel - your advice seems even more sound now than before - I let a colleague talk me into believing I "HAD" to have HDV - in my opinion, that's not the case (for now). Let the early adopters have their say, I'm sticking it out for awhile and am currently looking for a second TRV950 or a PDX10 if the condition is good and price is reasonable.

If anyone is looking to sell theirs, please pm me.
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