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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 January 15th, 2013, 10:33 PM   #1
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Considering FX7, question about file format...

Currently shooting with a pair of Sony VX2100 SD camera to tape, then I ingest to AVI files. My question about the FX7 is this:

Will I be ingesting the FX7 tape just as I did the VX2100 in the format of my choice, however now getting HD quality?

With the price of the FX7, this would be quite an easy upgrade to HD, my workflow is basically the same.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Yes and no. The method will be the same but it won't be the format of your choice; it will be the format of Sony's choice, which will be m2t (unless you choose to shoot and/or capture in SD, in which case then yes, it'll still be avi but not HD).

This should probably be in the FX7 forum.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Thanks Adam, so glad I asked the question! I have a small Canon HD camera and shot some footage a few days ago. Transferred the files (AVCHD MTS) and was quite disappointed with how different/slow editing was! My laptop is a newer PC, 2.3 ghz, Windows 7 64 bit and 8 gigs of ram. I use both Cyberlinks Powerdirector and Corel Videostudio Pro, and they both were painfully slow when editing the timeline compared to when I edit AVI or MPEG2.

I am starting to finally notice some clients decline me since I am still in SD, especially 4:3.

Looking for the least expensive, similar to my current workflow, upgrade to HD.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 11:40 PM   #4
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Welcome to the world of HD. AVCHD in particular is a pain to edit (tougher than the HDV you get from the FX7), but you will undoubtedly find great advice over in the Editing and PC forums. If you list your exact PC specs over there, I'm sure the folks over there can give you some great tips on ways to speed up the process.

You might want to consider some more robust software for your NLE as well. I happen to be a Premiere fan but others love Vegas, Avid or Edius. You may also need to upgrade your HW but without knowing the exact details it's hard to know for sure.

I've had a couple of FX7s and they are great little cams. You'll love yours. But be aware they are not as great in low light as you've become used to with your VX. For that you need the FX1000 or its big brother, the Z5. If you are looking to stay as close to your current tape-based workflow as possible without giving up the features you've become used to, at the least cost, while using many of the same Sony accessories (i.e. batteries) I would suggest finding a used FX1000.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 01:29 AM   #5
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
Will I be ingesting the FX7 tape just as I did the VX2100 in the format of my choice, however now getting HD quality?
HDV cameras such as the FX7 have an option to downconvert to widescreen SD. In this mode, you record HD to tape, but when you import the tape to your computer it is converted to exactly same kind of AVI files that the VX2100 produces only widescreen. Thus, your workflow and editing speed will be the same as before but you will end up with widescreen DVDs for widescreen televisions.

Widescreen is good, but for HD quality you need bluray. To produce a bluray disk import the same tape in HD as M2T files without downconverting. In this case editing will be slower and you'll need a bluray burner.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 08:12 AM   #6
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Thread moved to FX7 forum...
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Old January 17th, 2013, 08:08 AM   #7
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

I have an FX7 and really love it. My only wish is to get out of using tape. As for software I use both Premiere and Vegas, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. The good think is that they have free trials to see what you like. Vegas works really well with the FX7 files. I started by picking up a used copy of Vegas 6. They are now on Vegas 12, a good intermediate would be Vegas 9. I've been using it for a while and just upgraded to 12. Another think that I like to do when I shoot something where my camera is in one position and I have room, is to plug firewire directly out of my camera into the my laptop. Then in Vegas I open a project and open the capture window. This allows me to do a live HD capture onto an external drive hooked up to my laptop. I then transfer and import into the main system at home. The tape at that point is a back-up.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 08:47 AM   #8
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Hi Darryn,

I've had 3 of the VX-2000s since they came out, and then got an FX-7 about 4 years ago. It's been a good camera, uses same batteries as older Sony cams, similar control layout and form factor, that's all great. Just be aware that you'll find that you've been spoiled by the low light capabilities of your VX-2100!

A few tips: in the FX-7 camera menu, you can set the AUTO GAIN LIMIT and I usually keep this no higher than 6dB - anything more and the grain and noise become unbearable. With your current camera you are safe at 9 or even 12, not so with FX-7. Might look ok in camera, but when you play it on the TV, you would be sick. I normally use manual exposure on my cameras, but when in auto, the GAIN LIMIT can save you - it's my safety backup. Always used this on the VX-2000, but I think that was set to 9. I just shot a stage play with two FX-7s and the lighting was good throughout, so I set the GAIN LIMIT at 0 and got nice clean video.

For darker churches and venues where you just can't get enough light, you can put the shutter at 30. Old trick I used with the VX-2000s a lot. Just don't do any fast pans and it can look fine.

As mentioned, if low light performance is really important to you, then consider the FX-1000, quite a difference (I have shot with them when working with an associate that has 4 of them). Not trying to scare you off - camera is great for the price - but the low light is poor.

The advice about downconverting was good - if customer doesn't need/want Blu-ray and you will just deliver a DVD, camera can be set to output an HDV tape as DV via Firewire, so the editing performance would be identical to before since you will be editing DV (except now it is widescreen). If you do edit HDV, it is still much easier on the computer than AVCHD is.

Thanks
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Old January 17th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Thanks for all the great answers and advice, one of them actually triggered an additional question:

While the HD quality may be better than SD, and of course its widescreen, unless it bluray its not really "true" HD?

I think with some of my clients, its more about getting off the 4:3 square format!
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Old January 17th, 2013, 02:33 PM   #10
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
While the HD quality may be better than SD, and of course its widescreen, unless it bluray its not really "true" HD?
Correct, a widescreen DVD is not HD. However, since bluray disks will not play on regular DVD players, many people still prefer widescreen DVDs instead of bluray.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 02:06 AM   #11
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Right. But be careful; you are getting into murky waters here, as "true" HD is a meaningless marketing term. There are those who say that HDV as shot by the FX7 isn't true HD either, as it isn't 1080p60, and it isn't 1920 (it's 1440), and it isn't 4:4:4, and it isn't a lot of other things that many folks have decided that "true" HD must be.

But it's important to note that HDV footage shot on the FX7 and downconverted to widescreen DVD will look vastly superior to the awful "wide mode" shot on the VX/PD (which is only 360 lines), even though it is no longer HD. HDV shot on the FX7 and burned to Blu-Ray will look spectacular.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 02:23 AM   #12
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Thanks Adam, its been an incredibly long research/learning curve as I get ready to jump to HD. I am almost decided on the FX7 for my mostly wedding events for a few reasons, what'ya think...

1) I will be (for the most part) simply swapping out my VX2100 for the FX7, using same batteries, lights, wireless audio, etc.

2) Will be ingesting with same workflow since I am staying as tape based. (I really love the fact that even if the worse happens during any stage of editing or production, I can always start again from scratch with the tapes).

3) Will be marketing as "Now Shooting HD in Widescreen". Hoping of course that my couples don't grill me with too many tech questions about HD in my learning period. One fellow HD videographer told me that in her 2 years shooting HD, nobody has yet to ask for a bluray.

4) With the cost of the FX7, buying a pair is not an enormous investment and leaves room for possible PC and/or laptop upgrades.

I do wonder though, what if I were to buy a Z5 and a FX7, how the footage would match up. I use one camera handheld for the brides entrance, then it goes back in the bag for the day, it captures 10-15 minutes of footage at a wedding, maybe 2-4 minutes of edited footage. Thats the main reason for buying two, and of course to always have a backup. Just kinda hard to shell out another $3800 for a second Z5 cameras for that much useage.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:26 AM   #13
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

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Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
I do wonder though, what if I were to buy a Z5 and a FX7, how the footage would match up. I use one camera handheld for the brides entrance, then it goes back in the bag for the day, it captures 10-15 minutes of footage at a wedding, maybe 2-4 minutes of edited footage. Thats the main reason for buying two, and of course to always have a backup. Just kinda hard to shell out another $3800 for a second Z5 cameras for that much useage.
As the FX7 has been out a while it should be possible to get a used one in good condition under $1000.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:33 PM   #14
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

Thanks Eric,not sure why i had not yet considered used FX7's, but your right, looks like I may be able to pickup 2 used for price of one new! Just wonder how much I will notice the lack of low light capability of the VX2100. I typically use an on camera light later in the evening when the lights are lowered.

Also, with my VX2100'S, I would ingest my tapes with a small palm camcorder, will that still work with HDV?
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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:19 PM   #15
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Re: Considering FX7, question about file format...

We're getting into a bit of cross-posting here, but as noted on the other thread, no, that won't work if the other camcorder is DV and not HDV. The Z5 and FX7 will look similar in terms of sharpness -- I've shot extensively with both and they will cut together fine in good light -- but in low light there will be a huge difference in noise and grain. In low light, as I'm sure you've noted and/or been told, the FX7 simply falls apart, as much as I love it in other respects. I especially love its long "reach" for outdoor sports, but for your wedding use I don't know how great it will be.

I'm going to be really repetitive and again suggest the FX1000.

At the moment B&H has new FX7s for about $1800 and used ones for $1250-$1300. They have a used FX1000 for about $2K. I happen to have a lightly used FX7 on eBay right now for a lot less.
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