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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
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Old November 27th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #1
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lighting for 1080i on a Z1E or: 1080p on a V1E

Hi all,

I am currently in pre-production for my first feature which is going to start shooting at the end of Feb next year and am going to buy a camera for the shoot. After much thought it comes down to three cameras:

The JVC HD-100, the SOny Z1E or the V1E.

I've pretty much ruled out the JVC HD-100 as from all accounts as its lens is really quite narrow, even with the 0.8x Fujinon adaptor, which doesn't make a huge difference and much of the film is going to be shot in tight spaces: cars, entrances to houses etc. I can't afford the Fujinon proper 13x wide... However, I really like the form factor of the JVC, shoulder mounted with a proper manual lens. Plus, for film purposes, shooting in 25p (I'm in UK) is great for my film. The only problem would be in the future if I do any TV work it doesn't shoot interlaced. It's also pricier than the Sony models and would need expensive extra batteries. Frustrating...

So my choice for the film is really between the Z1E plus Magic Bullet for the film look, or buying the new V1E and shoot in progressive. I've rang a couple dealers in the UK who say their delivery dates for the V1E are some time this week so not long to wait!

I have seen some impressive Z1 footage put through Magic Bullet but I wonder how this stands up to the V1's 1080p. I've seen a couple negative reviews about the 1080p capture on the V1 but that apparently may be due to them being pre-production models.

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=141
http://www.showreel.org/memberarea/article.php?218

I haven't shot in progressive before but I have heard it is harder to light for progressive filming so my question is: will it be easier to light and shoot at 1080i on a Z1 and then do the film look in post or light for 1080p using the V1E? I'm not sure I can stand the pain of rendering a whole film through Magic Bullet with my PC to inevitably crash three-quarters of the way through...

Plus points of the Z1E are a wider lens, NTSC/PAL switching and its reputation as an 'industry standard' piece of kit - I'm a freelance cameraman but have only worked in studios but want to branch out into field work so I think having a Z1 would make me a bit more marketable. Even if the V1 does take off it'll be a year or longer I suspect before production companies catch up with it. I'll also be able to buy a Z1E 2nd hand which will end up a few hundred pounds cheaper than a brand new V1.

Plus points of the V1E are obviously its progressive capabilities (we will have to wait to see if the problems in the reviews above are corrected in the shipped models), better battery-life and a smaller/lighter form factor. There's also HDMI output. From Nigel Cooper's review its 1080i footage was practically identical to the Z1's 1080i.

Before I started writing this post I was leaning towards the Z1 but now I'm thinking more V1 - if the 25p isn't quite up to scratch and the 1080i is practically the same as the Z1 then I can always shoot 1080i.

Decision, decisions...

Cheers,

Baldwin
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Old November 27th, 2006, 10:06 AM   #2
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Hi Baldwin,
Well as a Z1 user I'm perhaps biased, but there are loads of considerations outside interlaced or progressive.
Lighting, use of filters, use of dollies, tripods and cranes. Limiting as much a possible your DoF, and then using correction in post... All this is to my mind more important for the film look than the camera.

Camera size, both the Z1 and especially the JVC are bigger than the V1. I like the size of the Z1 as I'm not a fan of fiddly little cameras with loads of hidden menus... I like the buttons and wheels to fall nicely to hand. I feel the ergonomics of the Z1 very nice from this point of view. I personally love the LCD on top of the handle and it would totally change my shooting style to go back to a camera with the screen on the side. I can see why Sony has done this, but to me it's a huge step backwards in ergonomics, back to the PD170.

The Z1 is however too heavy for my liking to handhold for any length of time and get steady footage. (Can't always use a tripod). So I've added a Cavision shoulder mount which has been a great help. It lets me use the LCD as a view finder and despite the very front heaviness of the camera (especially with a matte box and filters) it has let me get some remarkably steady shots.

In fact for my use a HDV version of the old DSR 250 would be ideal.. as I can't afford a XDCam...unfortunatley the JVC, though isn't it for me.

If you are familiar with the larger ENG cameras then the JVC will be a more natural transition, if not it may prove a handful to start with.

I haven't felt the same buzz over the V1 as I did with the arrival of the Z1... I'm sure it is a very good camera, and will do all it's supposed to.. but I've not yet seen a camera come onto the market, in my price bracket, that will make me sell my Z1.

Also, I've been messing around with the CF25 setting on the Z1 and have been really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pictures. Downrez'd to SD they are equal to the interlaced stuff but have a different feel. They were dismissed out of hand by many when the camera came out, but I see several places where the setting is gaining some acceptance. Perhaps worth looking into for you.

Finally and without intending to confuse your choice further, the Panasonic to my mind would be a better progressive choice than the Sony V1 (as much as I love Sony cameras) as it has higher end HD. So if this aspect is important to you perhaps you should look at this model also.

Best Regards

Gareth
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Old November 27th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldwin Li
Plus points of the V1E are obviously its progressive capabilities (we will have to wait to see if the problems in the reviews above are corrected in the shipped models), better battery-life
I guess the specs claim better battery life on the V1, don't know if anyone has put this to the test yet though. I have a VX-2000 and an NPF-960 will run it for around 8 hours. On my Z1 an NPF-970 will last as much as 5 hours (continuous use - if you turn it on and off it should last even longer).

So IMO battery life doesn't seem like it would be all that much of an issue. I have 3 batteries for my Z1 and they can easily make it through a couple days shooting.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 06:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the messages folks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins

Finally and without intending to confuse your choice further, the Panasonic to my mind would be a better progressive choice than the Sony V1 (as much as I love Sony cameras) as it has higher end HD. So if this aspect is important to you perhaps you should look at this model also.
Yes I had looked at the Panasonic but the cost of the P2 cards is simply ludicrous at about 800 (UK) for an 8gig card and you'd need at least two to make recording HD remotely feasible. Think of all the other gear I could buy for 1600! I could get a set of lights for that money and more. I'm planning on getting a whole kit of stuff with the camera:

Formatt Matte box plus a couple filters: polariser, N.D.
Tripod - the Manfrotto 503/525p
Wide angle adaptor, bag, rain-cover, extra battteries... it all adds up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Watkins

The Z1 is however too heavy for my liking to handhold for any length of time and get steady footage. (Can't always use a tripod). So I've added a Cavision shoulder mount which has been a great help. It lets me use the LCD as a view finder and despite the very front heaviness of the camera (especially with a matte box and filters) it has let me get some remarkably steady shots.
Again, adding things like a shoulder mount ends up costing quite a packet and then you end up in the JVC HD100 price-range. I hope the slightly lighter V1 won't require the extra support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff

So IMO battery life doesn't seem like it would be all that much of an issue. I have 3 batteries for my Z1 and they can easily make it through a couple days shooting.
Yes I agree the battery life won't be a major factor - I'm still erring on the side of the V1E however, I'll be going to a dealer to have a demo of both models probably next week when the V1s arrive.

I'd still be interested to hear anyone's opinions about the difficulties of lighting for progressive versus lighting for interlaced.

Best,

Baldwin
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