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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 July 25th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #1
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Is it really shooting 1080i?

Okay, this is a question from someone who knows next to nothing about shooting video, so please bear with me.

I have two Sony HVR-V1U cameras. Originally, I got them for shooting video for our web site (we have close to 500 short videos there), but I've been the guy in front of the video camera for a long time (and a serious still shooter for 40 years).

So . . . (cutting to the chase), I'm shooting the V1Us while they are connected to Focus Drives. Recording 1080i on both tape and the drives. I turn all this over to the production house which is editing a new TV show for us, and there is a problem.

The files from the Focus Drives are great. Nice 1080i files.

When they capture from the tapes, though, they tell me it's only 720. What they are saying is that there is not enough bandwidth in the camera to record 1080i on the tape, but the firewire to the Focus drive will handle it.

This just doesn't sound right, but they tried the tapes in one deck and a couple of cameras.

I'll keep shooting to the drives (but they overheat and crap out on outdoor shoots in the summer), but I'd like to know I'm getting the same quality on the tapes.

Is it true the HVR-V1U does not record in actual 1080i (yes, I checked the menu and progressive is not selected and it says it's recording in 1080i)?

Thanks.

BTW, I don't even own a copy of FCP, so I can not view the file from the Focus drives on my Mac.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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Hi Tom..................

Flick, flick, flick.................bluff!

(Sorry, a punchline from a silly TV show called "Call My Bluff" on the Beeb a few years back).

Basically, they're talking horses%^t.

The Sony HVR V1U doesn't have 720 as an option.

It does record @ 1080i.

It is HDV.

The only way the tape wouldn't be 1080 is if "down convert" was on and it was taping DV (which still isn't 720).

What more can I say - that a "production house" talks this sort of garbage is a bit of a worry.


CS
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Old July 25th, 2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tom Gresham View Post
The files from the Focus Drives are great. Nice 1080i files.

When they capture from the tapes, though, they tell me it's only 720. What they are saying is that there is not enough bandwidth in the camera to record 1080i on the tape, but the firewire to the Focus drive will handle it.
I'm in agreement with Chris. (I'm assuming by Focus Drives, you mean Firestores?) They effectively record the exact same signal that goes onto the tape, just passed out through Firewire.

As for bandwidth, they're talking nonsense. In uncompressed form, 720p/60 and 1080i/30 have close to the same data rate - the 1080 frames are each twice the size in pixels/per frame of the 720 ones, but we're talking half as many 1080 frames per second as 720 frames, so one more or less cancels out the other.

And the Sony variant of HDV is 1080, end of story. After compression the 1080 HDV data rate is about 25Mbs, same on any Sony HDV camcorder.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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Yes, Firestores, from Focus Enhancements.

Well, this is pretty interesting, then. They captured the video from the tapes using several decks/cameras, and had problems. The files from the drives were just fine.

I'm shooting again on Monday, and wanted to make sure (belt and suspenders) I'm recording on tape AND the drives.

I'll keep doing what I've been doing, and have another conversation with the editors.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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Your tapes are most definitely 108Oi.

This is almost certainly the "production house" not having a deck/system that can capture 1080i from tape. They either don't have the deck, don't have a fast enough computer, or don't know how to use their software. The reason they can use the Focus footage is because their just importing/copying it. They just don't know what they're doing when it comes to capturing from tape.

Questions:

1) What are they trying to capture into (Avid, FCP, etc.) and on what kind of machine (PC, MAC, new, old), and what kind of decks, cameras?

2) Have they tried capturing from your camera directly.

3) Has this "production house" ever captured sony hdv from tape before?
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Old July 25th, 2009, 08:05 PM   #6
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Your tapes are most definitely 108Oi.

This is almost certainly the "production house" not having a deck/system that can capture 1080i from tape. They either don't have the deck, don't have a fast enough computer, or don't know how to use their software. The reason they can use the Focus footage is because their just importing/copying it. They just don't know what they're doing when it comes to capturing from tape.

Questions:

1) What are they trying to capture into (Avid, FCP, etc.) and on what kind of machine (PC, MAC, new, old), and what kind of decks, cameras?

2) Have they tried capturing from your camera directly.

3) Has this "production house" ever captured sony hdv from tape before?

1. They are capturing to FCP on new Macs. This house has a fairly large studio, does live feeds to CNN/FOX/etc. regularly, has lots of cameras and many editing suites.

2. They are 400 miles from me. When I send the tapes and files this week, I'll also send my little Sony "palmcorder" that records 1080i, and they can capture from that.

3. I'm sure they have, but I don't know.

The reason we were having to use the tapes is that the Firestores go belly-up when they get really hot -- Arizona desert. I'm working on coming up with a way to keep them cool when shooting outdoors next week in Louisiana.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 04:50 AM   #7
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Well, this is pretty interesting, then. They captured the video from the tapes using several decks/cameras, and had problems. The files from the drives were just fine.
I can think of only two things which could cause the confusion:

The tape drive in your camera is faulty, in such a way that it makes recordings which are incompatible. It will play them back OK itself, but no other machine will. But have you tried replay on another deck? If they're OK, the likelihood is that your V1 is good as well.

Secondly, there are two variants of HDV, the Sony one and the JVC one, which are not compatible. I wonder if your production house have the JVC decks and cameras? If so, the message that has got back to you is hopelessly garbled (and incorrect) but the fact that "720" appears in it at all may be a clue. (The JVC HDV variant is 720.) In which case sending your palmcorder should solve the problem.

One other thought - can you replay from the camera to record to the Firestore, then send the files to them that way? I've got a Firestore, but never tried doing that, it may be worth thinking about.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 07:57 AM   #8
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My thoughts are they are using a HDV deck that only outputs 720p no matter what tape is put in.

But in the bigger picture .... regardless of the name dropping they might be able to do, you are encountering incompetence there. They ought to know their stuff a little better. Perhaps there is somewhere else you can go?

Andrew

Last edited by Andrew Smith; July 26th, 2009 at 07:58 AM. Reason: fixed goofy bit
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Old July 26th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tom Gresham View Post
2. They are 400 miles from me. When I send the tapes and files this week, I'll also send my little Sony "palmcorder" that records 1080i, and they can capture from that.
Why do they need your "palmcorder" if they're such a large post house? Something doesn't add up here.

I'll agree with everyone else here that these guys are blowing smoke. BUT maybe doing it as 720 isn't a problem if your final output is on the web. What is your final output size for online?
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Old July 26th, 2009, 09:12 AM   #10
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Why do they need your "palmcorder" if they're such a large post house? Something doesn't add up here.

I'll agree with everyone else here that these guys are blowing smoke. BUT maybe doing it as 720 isn't a problem if your final output is on the web. What is your final output size for online?
Ethan, the final output is for a large national cable network. Most of the new series is shot in the studio (at this large house). The stuff shot on the V1Us is for "in the field" short pieces of about a minute.

I was on a shoot for another TV series last week and didn't get word of this "problem" until Friday, so I haven't been able to track it down, yet. Just part of the startup problems with a new series.

I want to send the little HDV camera with the tapes for pretty much the reason you state --- in case the decks they are using (and they did borrow a Sony HDV deck for the transfer) are somehow screwing up the transfer.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 09:29 AM   #11
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--- in case the decks they are using (and they did borrow a Sony HDV deck for the transfer) are somehow screwing up the transfer.
It's conceivable they borrowed a HVR1500 with the HVBK 1520 board, and it's set to the wrong mode. They may have wanted the 1500 to get HD-SDI ability if that's what they're used to ingesting, and are not aware of the conversion possibility, from Sony : HVR-1500A (HVR1500A) : Features : United Kingdom
Quote:
Cross-conversion Capability
With the optional HVBK-1520 Format Converter Board installed, the HVR-1500A has a cross-conversion capability that allows 1080i recordings to be converted to 720P signals, as well as 720/30P (29.97 frames/s) recordings to be converted to 1080/60i (59.94 fields/s) signals.

These signals are output* from the HD-SDI interface. This allows source footage and assets in different HDV formats to be integrated into the same HD editing system.
In this case, your palmcorder won't be of much use - it won't output HD-SDI. Maybe this is the time to suggest that they get the manual out......? :-)
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Old July 26th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tom Gresham View Post
Ethan, the final output is for a large national cable network. Most of the new series is shot in the studio (at this large house). The stuff shot on the V1Us is for "in the field" short pieces of about a minute.

I was on a shoot for another TV series last week and didn't get word of this "problem" until Friday, so I haven't been able to track it down, yet. Just part of the startup problems with a new series.

I want to send the little HDV camera with the tapes for pretty much the reason you state --- in case the decks they are using (and they did borrow a Sony HDV deck for the transfer) are somehow screwing up the transfer.
I missed the cable part somewhere. 720 isn't going to cut it for that. Thanks for the clarification.
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