Major ommission on V1 at DVinfo.net

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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 December 22nd, 2006, 07:41 PM   #1
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Major ommission on V1

Got the V1 today. It was overcast and gloomy but the initial footage I took with the camera is AMAZING! I can post more as I take more in the coming days . The only disapointment I've found so far with the camera is the lack of control when doing an SD downconvert.

IMHO the camera is misleading in the way it words things in the menu. It appears you can do a downconvert via iLink with it LETTERBOXED, SQUEEZED or SIDE CROPPED. As an FX1 owner I was able to do a SQUEEZE OR LTBX downconvert but not an edge crop. On the V1 it will ONLY downconvert to DV squeezed. The other settings (Listed right under DOWNCONVERT in the menu) are for analog output only over S-VIDEO, A/V or Component, NOT OVER iLINK!!!!!!

Many of my clients like to shoot HDV but then want to edit in LTBX DV. We'd make them a LTBX DV dub over firewire and it looked and worked great. With this camera you can't output that way! It's a major disappointment that you can't do it. To me it's a shameless way for SONY to try and sell their HDV decks. It's really a limiting factor in the transitional days of HD/SD.

Other than this, I must say the camera is a joy and the footage looks GREAT! It's just a 95% satisfaction for me, not 100%. I thought some of you might like to know this bit of info.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 08:22 PM   #2
 
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I guess I don't understand why you'd want to letterbox when the cam shoots widescreen, and all editors can deliver widescreen. This was a discussed feature during dev of the camcorder, and it was pretty well unanimous that most folks would want to stay widescreen and not deliver 4:3 as letter boxed.
It's not an issue of "trying to sell decks" but rather one of "do we use more memory on the DSP for this or that feature." It's all a trade off. Some features have to be sacrificed for others, and personally, I feel this is more or less a moot sacrifice.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 09:26 PM   #3
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as the manufactures "push" the next thing in video tech. on the consumer, you will see some of the "old" features start to drop off of models. This keeps the price down in the range profitablility for the companies. Just wait 24 months and all of the current features will be old school.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 09:27 PM   #4
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Spot! When are you going to be at VideoLife?

HDMI output alone overcompensates for any lack of SD features. You can see SD widescreen on a $200 computer monitor and I think it's possible for some to understand HD. It isn't that big a deal to go analog if you want letterbox. HD is here! Don't sweat SD too much. That can be done analog or in the computer any way you want.

Spot, I don't know how to contact you. I can meet anywhere in Honolulu tonight (Friday) or Saturday. I'd love to get some V1 pointers and I think I may have some footage you will like, assuming you like cliche' sunsets/sunrises. :)
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 11:56 PM   #5
 
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Marcus,
dse [at]]vasst [dot] com
is my email addy. (apologies to the rest of the forum)
I'll be at Dillingham most of Sat morn/early afternoon, jumping at the Pacific Coast, looking at the whales from 13K, and hoping to take photos on the way down.
Back in Waikiki Sat afternoon.

Craig, as mentioned before, this was a discussed feature, and the decision was to put more into the cam in new features than offer features that aren't going to be used by many. My opinion as expressed to the designers of the camcorder, was that 16:9 displays are so commonplace and will be yet more commonplace, that offering a 4:3 crop simply didn't make sense as opposed to anamorphic squeeze. My input certainly wasn't the only input; others had the same opinion as well. I'd rather have say...6 color profiles available as opposed to 3...
there is only so much memory and DSP on the cam without them increasing the budget/cost/price of the camcorder. This holds true regardless of the manufacturer.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 08:12 AM   #6
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I don't really understand the value in editing in letterboxed DV. What have I missed?

Surely it is better for the playback device, i.e. the ubiquitous DVD player, to handle letterboxing/Pan&Scan of Widescreen SD material. Maximum resolution is maintained while the content retains some level of future-proofing when the person upgrades to a 16:9 set. Letterboxed DV will look horrid on anything other than the 4:3 tv it was intended for. Can you buy 4:3 TVs any more :) I couldn't see any in my local electrical shop last time I visited.

I am all for keeping functions off cameras that don't directly assist the shooting process.

TT
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 10:44 AM   #7
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Every local broadcast across America is done 4:3. If you're delivering a local TV show or a local commercial, you're delivering 4:3. If you wanted to shoot in HD for some reason and downconvert, and you're doing so for local broadcast, you'd need a 4:3 master, and delivering a letterboxed version in 4:3 would be a convenient way to get that.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 11:22 AM   #8
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I don't know if I really understand the problem.

With the software I use I can set up the timeline to what I want the output to be. If I drop 16x9 into a 4x3 timeline it automatically letterboxes it.

I understand about the camera not giving you the option to do the letterbox insitu but is that really a problem if you can get to the same end with your computer side workflow?

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Old December 23rd, 2006, 12:15 PM   #9
 
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That's the point, IMO. All NLE software *can* letterbox if you so choose. Capture the maximum information, then manipulate it to suit the output, but have an archive of the full signal.

While the majority of small broadcasts are 4:3, it won't be that way for too much longer; two of our largest clients have been demanding local commercials at wide for exactly a year, since their holiday campaigns of 05 started. All of our tradeshow clients are wide. Most indie film is wide AFAIK. Even the new mom/pop cams are mostly wide now, to have longevity.

Additionally, if you capture letterbox vs anamorphic, you can't easily recompose the frame should you need to, regardless of the delivery format.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 02:55 PM   #10
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I think that's a good move - the only time you need a letterbox output is for monitoring on older, non-16:9 capable monitors, imo.

With the Z1, I've had a few annoying times where the camera's been left in letterbox mode from a shoot and you get half the footage captured before you realise it's all bloody letterboxed!

So good riddance, say I...
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 03:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Frederick
Got the V1 today. It was overcast and gloomy but the initial footage I took with the camera is AMAZING! I can post more as I take more in the coming days . The only disapointment I've found so far with the camera is the lack of control when doing an SD downconvert.

IMHO the camera is misleading in the way it words things in the menu. It appears you can do a downconvert via iLink with it LETTERBOXED, SQUEEZED or SIDE CROPPED. As an FX1 owner I was able to do a SQUEEZE OR LTBX downconvert but not an edge crop. On the V1 it will ONLY downconvert to DV squeezed. The other settings (Listed right under DOWNCONVERT in the menu) are for analog output only over S-VIDEO, A/V or Component, NOT OVER iLINK!!!!!!

Many of my clients like to shoot HDV but then want to edit in LTBX DV. We'd make them a LTBX DV dub over firewire and it looked and worked great. With this camera you can't output that way! It's a major disappointment that you can't do it. To me it's a shameless way for SONY to try and sell their HDV decks. It's really a limiting factor in the transitional days of HD/SD.

Other than this, I must say the camera is a joy and the footage looks GREAT! It's just a 95% satisfaction for me, not 100%. I thought some of you might like to know this bit of info.
I have FXs and now a V1 as well, and while i love the images the V1 produces, its low light performance is not close to being FXs. Much noisier image at the same levels as the FXs.

Are you seeing this?
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Old December 24th, 2006, 08:57 AM   #12
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I may not have worded my original post well. I mostly do work for broadcast, which as Barry states, means 4x3 MASTERS (for now in my area). SOME of my clients (Local commercial spots)...want to edit in SD LTBX. It's quicker and IMHO better to let the camera downconvert then to go through the long render times in FCP to make the master in SD 4x3. Shooting in HDV provides better "raw" footage to work from.

The bigger issue for me is I shoot/edit hour long documentaries for PBS. I want an HD master so I edit native hdv then make a Master copy on HDV (which takes close to 6 hours to render!). I'm also asked to supply a 4x3 LTBX master. So I just make a real time 4x3 downconvert for broadcast, using the LTBX feature from my HDV master. I've also had to make a 4x3 version once using the crop feature. It's quick, convenient and most importantly, makes a better downconvert then using Compressor.

To render these out in FCP from the HDV timeline takes FOUR times as long! For me time is money. I use this stuff to make a living, not just for a hobby. I know FCP can make 4x3 copies but it requires LONG render times. For a 30 second spot, that s not a big deal, for any long form project it's a MAJOR problem.

Maybe these features aren't useful to some but to others they are VERY important. Especially those of us working in broadcast. While TVs are mostly 16x9, most every station still wants a 4x3 master! I wish it weren't so but it is! I'm not in the biggest market (it's #93 in the country), but thats the way it is here. I can't believe that it would cost that much more to add (actually LEAVE) this on the camera. Personally I'd rather see them lose the Memory Stick feature which to me is useless and is something I'll never use! Why include this on a "professional" camera? Anyone who wants high quality stills will be taking them with a higher rez still cam. You see, to each his own!

I still have my FX1, so I'll be OK as I'll use that camera to do the downconvert. The point of this thread was to make people aware of this fact in case they missed it in an earlier thread like I did. Some people are just now getting into HDV, this MAY be their first camera, and they may be working for a broadcast station. This is a major piece of info they'll need to know. Also since SONY's decks all provide this feature, you don't think this is part of the reason it's been eliminated? I guess I respectfully disagree with you on that one! Personally, for the same cost of one of those decks, I'd rather buy another camera as a feeder deck. Then you have a spare and/or a second camera to use. I know it's wear and tear on it as a feeder, but to me it makes more sense. If they start "eliminating" some features from the cameras that the deck provides, it'll make them more desireable to own. So far, while it would be nice to have a deck, I can't justify the cost over another camera to buy one.

BTW, if someone knows of a quicker way (then real time) to make a 4x3 LTBX or CROP downconvert from an HDV master, (excluding $$$ external hardware) then I'm all ears!
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Old December 24th, 2006, 08:59 AM   #13
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Daniel,

Not to go off topic, but initially I must say the low light is not as good as the FX's. They are rated 1 lux lower so we shouldn't be too surprised. I've been reading elsewhere that some are having good luck in low light by tweaking some of the settings. I'll need to do more tests before I can comment to much though.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Frederick
I may not have worded my original post well. I mostly do work for broadcast, which as Barry states, means 4x3 MASTERS (for now in my area). SOME of my clients (Local commercial spots)...want to edit in SD LTBX. It's quicker and IMHO better to let the camera downconvert then to go through the long render times in FCP to make the master in SD 4x3. Shooting in HDV provides better "raw" footage to work from.

The bigger issue for me is I shoot/edit hour long documentaries for PBS. I edit native hdv then make a Master copy on HDV (which takes close to 6 hours to render!), then I just make a real time 4x3 downconvert for broadcast, using the LTBX feature. I've also had to make a 4x3 version once using the crop feature. It's quick, convenient and most importantly, makes a better downconvert then using Compressor.

To render these out in FCP from the HDV timeline takes FOUR times as long! For me time is money. I use this stuff to make a living, not just for a hobby.

Maybe these features aren't useful to some but to others they are VERY important. I can't believe that it would cost that much more to add (actually LEAVE) this on the camera. Personally I'd rather see them lose the Memory Stick feature which to me is useless and is something I'll never use! Why include this on a "professional" camera? Anyone who wants high quality stills will be taking them with a higher rez still cam. You see, to each his own!

I still have my FX1, so I'll be OK as I'll use that camera to do the downconvert. The point of this thread was to make people aware of this fact in case they missed it in an earlier thread like I did. Also since SONY's decks all provide this feature, you don't think this is part of the reason it's been eliminated? I guess I respectfully disagree with you on that one! Personally, for the same cost of one of those decks, I'd rather buy another camera as a feeder deck. Then you have a spare and/or a second camera to use. I know it's wear and tear on it as a feeder, but to me it makes more sense. If they start "eliminating" some features from the cameras that the deck provides, it'll make them more desireable to own. So far, while it would be nice to have a deck, I can't justify the cost over another camera to buy one.

BTW, if someone knows of a quicker way (then real time) to make a 4x3 LTBX or CROP downconvert from an HDV master, then I'm all ears!
I understand some of your frustration. For news stuff, I use that 4:3 crop/downcovert feature on the F350. But then again, they understand that the F350 would be more likely used for ENG than the V1. It's nice to shoot spot news in HD knowing I can output it to the NLE via FW in SD cropped to 4:3. However, the camera only does that on playback from disc, not in realtime.

As to the memory stick, don't think of it as just a stills media. I don't know about the V1, but the F350 uses the memory stick to store many different types of camera setup files which can then be loaded into another camera either locally, or via the internet after the file is downloaded and placed on the card. I would hope the V1 provides some type of set up file storage to memory stick.

regards,

-gb-
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Old December 24th, 2006, 09:24 AM   #15
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Greg,

You're right, the memory stick does provide camera set up storage. I may use that one day but since I'm the only one that uses my camera, and there are already 6 Custom Presets, I don't see it being used nearly as much as what I would've used the downconvert feature.

Also glad to hear I'm not the only one who uses the downconvert feature!
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