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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 1st, 2011, 06:57 AM   #1
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Pre-purchase questions about Sony's hd on Minidv

Hello all, just a couple quickie questions, I have been shooting SD weddings for 4 years and am contemplating the jump to HD. I have learned by playing with a friends camera that my PC is just not fast enough to edit avchd. If I understand correctly, Sony cameras capture HD to mindv, here are the questions:

1) I will be ingesting (digitizing) in the mpeg format, but will still enjoy HD quality?

2) My PC that currently edits avi and mpeg files just fine, will edit these files well?

3) Can I ingest with a SD camera and still enjoy the HD quality?
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Old November 1st, 2011, 09:39 AM   #2
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Re: Pre-purchase questions about Sony's hd on Minidv

1) Your phrasing here is a bit odd -- if you 'transfer' your HD material to your PC, it will still be HD. There are various wrappers that can be used, and mpeg is one of them ... but usually when you say 'digitizing' that describes the process of making digital ... in which case you could be doing just about anything. If you really just mean transferring, which ingesting hints at, it will still be HD;
2) Well maybe not. HD is more demanding of a PC, and if your PC has problems with AVCHD it may have trouble with MPEG-HD -- test it out with files you borrow, or upgrade to a newer computer;
3) No. You must use a device that understands an HD recording on mini-DV tape to make a transfer -- so you can use an HDV camcorder to make the transfer, including the transfer of legacy DV material, but you cannot use a legacy DV camcorder to make an HDV transfer.

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Old November 1st, 2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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Re: Pre-purchase questions about Sony's hd on Minidv

As usual, Geoff has nailed all the answers, but I thought I'd build on a couple. From your other posts I gather you have been shooting with VX2100s, so you're already shooting digital to MiniDv tape. So when you move to HD, you are still shooting in a digital format, and when you move this video to the PC you are not digitizing anything, as it is already digital. I know it's pedantic but it's important to identify what you are wanting to do. If you're putting the pictures into the PC from tape, it's capturing; if it's from cards or disk, it's importing or transferring.

From the way you describe your PC on your other posts, you will not be happy with its ability to handle any form of HD. The PC editing forums here describe what you need to handle HDV (tape) or AVCHD (disk) based HD acquisition. The VideoGuys have system recommendations. Take them seriously. All HD formats are highly compressed and require a lot of chip horsepower, lots of disk space, a healthy amount of memory and a good video card (and some specific ones if you want to enjoy the advantages of the latest versions of Premiere) if you want to be really productive in your edit bay.

Funny story about HDV and DV playback: a while back I took a group of 20 film students over to Greece to shoot a documentary. We also took six of my HDV cams with us. We reviewed our footage daily using the cams and after two months brought everything home to start editing. A few days later I start getting panicked phone calls; the footage has been destroyed going through security! They're trying to play the footage back and all they're getting is a blue screen! Turns out they're all trying to use regular DV decks on HDV footage. After two months of shooting it didn't occur to anyone that even though the tapes are the same, the signal isn't and DV hardware won't read HDV footage. I guess I neglected to explain that well enough. Hilarity ensued.

Finally, this is general HD acquisition related and should go into that forum; the specific cam forums are really for those cam-related subjects only. Although if you have and like the VX2100 you will be very comfortable with the FX7 (but the low-light ability cannot compare to what you are used to).
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Old November 1st, 2011, 12:49 PM   #4
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Re: Pre-purchase questions about Sony's hd on Minidv

Darryn, I replied to your AVCHD post, you've got to work on getting your terminology down...

ALL relatively recent recording is DIGITAL, i.e. 1's and 0's, just recorded on various media (tape, hard disk, memory cards of various flavors), and in various formats.

MiniDV=SD, and a relatively low bitrate, commensurate with the lower resolution.

HDV=HD (1440x1080) recorded to miniDV tapes, more "bits', since your resolution higher, and pixels are about 4X SD

AVCHD="full" HD (1920x1080) recorded to HDD or memory cards.

You will "ingest" the files in whatever format they were recorded, and many people "transcode" into less compressed (and thus LARGER) file formats for easier editing with lower power computers.

Your current computer as stated in the other thread is WAY outdated and underpowered to process HD files, although HDV might be possible, though painful at best.

If you record in HDV, an SD camera WILL NOT "read" HDV, but an HDV camera can play back most if not all SD recordings, as Adams humorous story illustrates!
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Old November 1st, 2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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Re: Pre-purchase questions about Sony's hd on Minidv

Just follow up on Dave's comparison of MiniDV to HDV. In actuality, HDV is recorded at similar bit rate to MiniDV, and on the same tapes, essentially. Difference is the codec used and its ablity to compress. Mini DV is relatively uncompressed but lower resolution, while HDV is more highly compressed, with a higher resolution. Both get about an hour of video, on the MindDV cassette tape.
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Old November 1st, 2011, 06:13 PM   #6
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Re: Pre-purchase questions about Sony's hd on Minidv

And adding to the confusion is that early AVCHD cams (like the SR7 and its brethren) did in fact record only 1440 and not 1920.

And there are two HDV flavors and they're not really compatible, 720p and 1080i. While more recent HDV cams can do both, older HDV cams can't. Many newer AVCHD cams can do both, so not an issue. Some older Sony HDV cams shoot 1080 but can play back 720, but not digitally.

And ironically both HDV and regular SD DV are exactly the same file size per hour of tape. As Chris points out, it's the compression that differs.
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