An amateur's comments after a few days with a new V1U 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 June 2nd, 2008, 06:16 PM   #1
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An amateur's comments after a few days with a new V1U

Added below paragraph before posting:

Sorry to ramble on, but perhaps some other folks like me, that are not professionals (yet?), take great interest in this forum in choosing a camera, and I want to offer my opinion. And, thanks to DVinfo and it's participants, for this soapbox to stand on, and the plethora of information available within these forums.<

Man, I love my HCI, but this V1U.... it frickin' ROCKS!!!!!!! A tinkerer's dream!

I am so impressed with the detail this camera presents, whether on my PC, via HDMI output or Blu-Ray disk to my plasma. The HDMI output is so sweet for reviewing, as well as trying different settings of the camera. It is an invaluable tool.

Video quality: It presents (to me) an aweome ability to "see what I see", and with 20/20 vision. The HDV at 60i is incredibly clear and detailed, and the camera does a pretty darn good job of setting itself for good shots in auto. The manual camera settings allow complete control of so many variables, I hardly know where to begin. I have much to learn about videography, and I believe I have the tool now to do so.

Low-light performance: Coming the consumer camera route from super-8mm>digital-8>SD mini dv>HDV (HC1), I have no qualms with the "low-light" performance of the V1U. The default "Sunset" profile does a really job good outside, and the "Portrait" profile does pretty good inside. And you can create your own profiles. As well, shutter speed at 30 makes an improvement. I've set the maximum gain at 12db, and have no problem with that. If the shot REALLY needs it and I need to see better... I turn lights on, or put the HVL-20M light I have on hand on it.

Audio: I really miss an on-board stereo mic, and feel a little cheated. I understand the need for shotgun mics, and use a Rode Videomic generously on my HC1. But I do miss the stereo recording and ambient sound of the on-board mic systems I'm used to, for informal shooting inside the house with gatherings of family and friends.

The provided ECM-NV1 shotgun mic is a little "cold" in "auto level", but provides "acceptable" audio for my purposes. I've set the input in "manual" and about level 8 to 9 for normal recording. Just have to watch audio levels, and would definitely go "auto" if the environment calls for it. I will eventually upgrade the mic, and can use the Rode which sounds great.

Wide angle: Knowing I'd need it/want it, I got the VCL-HG0862K wide angle lens. What a piece of camera furniture! You just can't beat Sony quality. It adds just enough wide for me with minimal vertical distortion at the wide end, and allows full zoom with perfect clarity. The bayonet style connection sure beats the crap out of threads, and what a lens hood! A+ on this one.

Form factor and usability: Very, very nice.

Progressive scan: Man, I spent many, many hours scouring DV Info subforms and threads trying to establish what format I "needed" to shoot my new V1U in. Getting confused, insecure, unsure and undecided, I shot identical scenes in 24p, 30p and 60i. I captured and rendered these clips in Vegas to every stinking template I could come up with, along with customizing some. 24p shot and rendered to 24p was too jerky, I reckon it's okay with still shots and slow moving people.

30p looked pretty good in SD DVD, and really good in 720p, but not sure it looked good in 1080i. Granted, I am a novice and have a ton to learn. But you know... when rendered for SD DVD, PC playback, PS3 playback, or to Blu-Ray disk, I'll be dad-gummed if the 60i HDV shot stuff didn't look best to me. Just my take on "progressive" for now.

Meantime... I'm gonna burn up some tape and have fun with this awesome camera. I already have a pretty good church project to work on, some ideas for a couple of short films/documentaries, and boy is the family gonna get tired of me and my V1U/1 (by the way, what does the "/1" on the box mean?)

Folks, if you are looking to buy or upgrade to a "pro-type" and great camera that can shoot wonderfully in auto, or want to tinker with settings till the cows come home... the V1U could be your perfect choice.


Last edited by Jamie Hellmich; June 3rd, 2008 at 03:59 AM.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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I really enjoy the 30P look in 1080i. It's a great filmic / video convergence. Just drop your 30P into a 1080i timeline and tell me what you think!
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 09:13 PM   #3
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Justin, it may just be that my pans are too fast, it appears a little sketchy yet. And yes, the preview window was at 29.97. I'll shoot some more stuff in 30p and try it.

I did shoot about 30 minutes of tape at Memorial Gardens here in Ormond today. Made a really nice 13 minute film of the gardens and water features with Cinescore music background. Kinda my first "artistic" venture without any people in it. It came out nice. Perhaps this would be something good to shoot in progressive, though it looks awesome now.

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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:55 AM   #4
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I do agree - the V1 is an awesome camera for non-professional dabblers like us!

The picture quality of mine just blew me away, and I've not seen the output on anything bigger than a 20 inch widescreen monitor. It actually proved that I needed glasses - my SD eyes that were fine for my old VX2100 turned out to be not HD ready!

For stereo ambient audio, I got a Beyer MCE72, which sits nicely in the V1's shockmount. It was about £180, or $350-ish, and doesn't break the bank in the same way as the Sennheisers would.

I'm also not sure about progressive shooting, I haven't done enough of it and am too afraid of messing up that crucial shot to experiment with it. Next time I'm out on a shoot I plan to shoot twice if possible, once in 1080i and again in 25p.

I love the Sony wide angle for appearance alone, never mind the performance. It's a serious piece of kit, and I'm in love with it. Just have to watch out and keep vertical edges (doors, lamposts, telegraph poles etc.) out of the edge of the shot, they look a bit curved.

But it is a great piece of kit - I love it!
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Old June 8th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #5
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24p, 30p, or 1080i... decision made.

Well, after much, and I mean MUCH shooting in the various formats, countless renders and burns, I've decided on 30p.

I seems to fit what I do. I really tried 24p, but for the shooting I do, it just doesn't work aesthetically. 30p delivers beautiful HD to Blu-ray, and other HD formats. It seems to fit very well into the internet video world also.

As well, I can not believe how good the V1's 1080-30p footage rendered to SD 480-30p on DVD looks!

My plasma is only 1080i, so I can't review the 30p footage in "full res". But I do believe the 30p converted to 60i by my PS3, looks just as good as that shot and rendered in 1080i.

Is there any "loss or gain" in 30p vs. 60i picture quality? Technically I don't know, and I may find 1080i useful for fast action stuff, but for now, I'm going to go with 30p for shooting.

I'm not sure how the HC1 footage will fit in with the V1's progressive. But if I know I want to mix the cameras, I can shoot in 1080i with the V1... I have the technology.

Actually, mixing the cameras is my next project. Shoot the Silver River run (Silver Springs, FL and where they shot the old TV show 'Sea Hunt') using the V1 for above water and the HC1 below. Crytal clear water and a lot of plants/wildlife, even some monkeys running wild.

Again, this is an awesome camera for the price. I believe I made the perfect choice for my first 3-chip camera. Much to learn, but learning is fun too.

V8 Pro; Sony V1U & HC1 w/Ikelite housing + HG conversion lenses + gear; DIY Q6600/Vista 32bit pc with Sony BWU-200S BD burner & Asus DVD burner; Sony DSC-H9 still cam

Last edited by Jamie Hellmich; June 8th, 2008 at 07:47 PM.
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