any v1u tech issues? at

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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.

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Old November 27th, 2007, 04:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: new york city, new york
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any v1u tech issues?

I'm thinking about a used V1U for a run & gun doc i have coming up in january. the doc will be screened as a trailer on the web and distribued via sd dvd. i thought i would shoot hdv input into fcp5 and spit out as sd. i was intrigued by the v1u because of 16x9 along with a decent lens.

i know run & gun is hard on hd camera ops. how reliable is the v1u autofocus? lots of hunting? can i rely on the v1u monitor for critical focus? any work around?

i know hdv loses 2+ stops of light to a sd camera. i will often be in small offices, dark hallways, elevators, staircases. i was hoping i could use all of this darkness to help paint the visual part of the narrative. just how much gain will the v1u take before noise/blotchiness because unacceptable?

i've read about various issues with the v1u audio. rf drop outs. audio record volume too low. since alot of the run & gun will have me flying solo, i'm hoping to use a shotgun outdoors and a condensor mic indoors. i was going mic->mixpre->camera. care to share your thoughts on any audio issues you have run up against?

finally, why shouldn't i use the v1u for a run & gun doc?

thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts

be well


Last edited by Rob Katz; November 27th, 2007 at 05:11 PM.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
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To answer your questions:

The autofocus actually seems good to me. It sometimes hunts for about a second when I change the scene quickly but it holds a decent focus at least 95% of the time and the other 5% is usually during a pan where it is blurred anyway. I don't think I would attempt manual focus with this camera in a rapidly changing environment. Good light helps the auto focus since gain noise won't get in the way.

The onboard LCD isn't bad, but it isn't sufficient for critical focus unless you use expanded focus. Expanded focus doesn't work while recording so it is really only good for planned scenes.

Unless you want to spend $8000 on a camera, there are no HDV style cameras that have good performance in low light. You must learn how to light scenes if you want to make movies. Light is the paint with which you create your art. If you really understand lighting for movies, you will make any camera look good. It is also possible to use that knowledge to make crappy location lighting look decent with only a few lights in a short period of time.

I think the audio problems are mostly due to a mediocre included mic. I was using the onboard and a wireless lav recently in a loud room and the onboard was too dynamic in loudness and I've always thought it too insensitive in quiet scenes. It is prone to not picking up a strong signal of regular speech and then distorting in louder environments. I had no problems with my wireless lav.

"finally, why shouldn't i use the v1u for a run & gun doc?"

Because you are a coward! Your ancestors were cowards and if any woman will have you your descendants will be cowards!


Sorry, I just saw Beowulf in 3D. The V1 and any HD camera will be more challenging to get perfection but they allow you to get much closer than any SD camera. I find the V1 creates the most natural image I've seen from any camera I have used. It takes one heck of a camera to make a better image than the V1. I really like the rich color and lack of CCD smear.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:59 AM   #3
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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Agreeing with everything Marcus said.

6db gain will not be seen. 9db can be acceptable - you'd have to look for yourself to see if you like it. Of course the HD-SD conversion will also hide some gain noise.

Just got back from a trip involving 10 interviews, all done with a wired Sony ECM77b lav direct to camera, using phantom power. A variety of loud and soft-speaking subjects, all were with volume setting more or less at "5", my practice is to peak to about -10 or -12db. Seems to me that the preamp levels and gain structure are about right.

I also frequently use Senn 100 and 500 series wireless - no issues there (they can put out line level and have adjustable receiver output).

Typical interview, I run the stock short shotgun at "10" and it is not peaking hot enough, but good enough for backup. In my world a cam-mounted short shot is fairly useless (no run-gun docs here, mostly planned shots), but I'd certainly replace the stock mic in a hurry if I was following people around and wanted sound.

This camera does *not* go real wide. I'd suggest that you figure you'll need a WA converter for your use. Century/Schneider, Raynox, Sony...
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #4
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Location: Efland NC, USA
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The V1 is a fine camera and will serve you well in this capacity. Just put a better mic on it.

Another option you might want to consider the EX1.

It is certainly a step up from the V1 even if you shot in HDV mode.

If you only need it for this project, resell it at the end and make most of your $$ back.
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