Recording HDV or DV on FX-1? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old October 11th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #1
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Recording HDV or DV on FX-1?

This might sound like a dumb question but I have owned an FX-1 since 2005 and am still recording in DV mode as the end result in editing in Roxio EasyCreator is to produce a playback image which appears distorted when played back in a dvd on a 4:3 screen. I don't have an NLE which works in high def yet and yet have been told to shoot in HDV and then downconvert to dv in editing. How do you avoid the distorted images then by changing the settings of the FX-1? As you know, it shoots native widescreen in HDV mode.
Thanks people! BTW, I have enjoyed reading this Forum for a long time now!

Anthony Cipriano
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Old October 11th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #2
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Are you using a 16:9 project in your NLE? If you are editing widescreen and your video gets distorted in 4:3, the widescreen broadcast flag isn't being set properly by your software.

BTW, I'm curious why you are using an advanced $3000 camera and rudimentary $60 software. There are many advantages to using a professional NLE.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #3
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Recording HDV on FX-1

Thanks for your reply Marcus. No, the NLE isn't sophisticated enough to edit in widescreen. Perhaps it's the settings I've made on the FX-1 that may be the problem. Every blog I read just indicates that the cam downconverts to
SD why it shows as distorted in size via my NLE is anybody's guess.

To answer your question about my choice of NLE,it's simple in use and, for the moment, at least it gets me great results in SD. HDV is another issue though. When I purchased the FX-1 back in 2005, I wanted (1) a three chipper and (2) a future proof (at least at that time) device with HD up and coming. I love the pq though I have to admit that the PD170 or VX2100 are far and above better low light cams and it's heavier than (**!!!) to lug around when I'm shooting an event. My current computer can't handle the sophisticated features of, say Premiere or Vegas without freezing up so, until I purchase a new computer, new software is out of the question. But thanks for your inquiry.

Anthony
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Old October 12th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #4
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"My current computer can't handle the sophisticated features of, say Premiere or Vegas without freezing up"

The hardware on your computer should have no bearing on the stability of more sophisticated software. Your hardware is either stable or flawed. Maybe you have a software or operating system problem that causes instability but you should be able to run Vegas with no problems. Vegas is considered to be rather stable so that shouldn't be an issue. You don't need to upgrade your hardware to run Vegas. Unless your computer is ten years old, you should be able to edit DV with advanced software. HDV may require a fast machine, but DV is not so demanding.

What sort of stability problems are you having? What are the general specs of your machine?
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Old October 12th, 2007, 08:30 AM   #5
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Hi Anthony. I moved your thread to the FX1 forum where it belongs (you posted it to the FX7 forum).

There isn't a problem with downconverting the material to standard definition, but in the downconversion optioni you've chosen. Press the MENU button and choose IN/OUT REC > DOWN CONVERT. I have a Z1, and I know that it's a little different from the FX1 in this regard. On my Z1 I can choose the following options from that menu:

SQUEEZE
LETTER BOX
EDGE CROP

Which choices do you have? The SQUEEZE option sounds like the one you're using. That creates an anamorphic 16:9 image which will look too tall and skinny on a 4:3 TV. LETTER BOX will give you a properly proportioned 16:9 image inside a 4:3 frame with black bars above and below. EDGE CROP chops off the left and right sides of the image to give you 4:3. Which of these choices do you have? Either EDGE CROP or LETTER BOX should give you something you can properly edit in your software.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 12:57 PM   #6
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The FX1 does not have a choice and will output 16x9 SD as letter box if the TV type set in the menu is 4x3 and anamorphic if TV type is 16x9. This would give the squeezed look. This is also true for DV as well as HDV.
I would suggest you get a cheap entry level NLE like Vegas Studio, Premiere Elements or Ulead Video Studio all have trials and will deal with 16x9 properly as well as HDV so that you will then have the choice of what to shoot. I have FX1 too and mix between shooting DV with multi cam with other friends and HDV when I shoot by myself.

Ron Evans
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Old October 12th, 2007, 01:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
The FX1 does not have a choice and will output 16x9 SD as letter box if the TV type set in the menu is 4x3 and anamorphic if TV type is 16x9.
Thanks for clearing that up, it's quite different from the Z1. So I think the real answer to Anthony's question is to be sure the TV Type is set to 4:3. That should give him output which will be properly proportioned using his existing software. What menu do you set the TV type in? That isn't an option on the Z1.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 03:05 PM   #8
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TV type is the last item on the menu selection that includes, record format, iLink conversion, component selection etc. Its the one with the opposite pointing arrows on the main listing.

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Old October 12th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #9
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On the FX1, I believe the TV TYPE setting is only for playback to a TV, not for capture via Firewire. Page 61 of the manual notes that even if TV TYPE is set to 4:3, if you recorded in DV WIDE MODE (that is, SD recorded as 16:9) the pictures may appear squeezed.

The easiest solution is to shoot DV 4:3 (DV WIDE MODE OFF) when you want 4:3 product. Or, as has been suggested, get a better NLE that will edge crop 16:9 to 4:3, or letterbox it.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 09:39 PM   #10
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Like Adam I thought that the selection was purely for analogue playback and would have no effect on the downconversion. Having re-read my post I certainly did not make this clear and was more focused on suggesting a better NLE to really solve the problem.
I had played with this before but some time ago when I first had the camera back in 2005 and just did another test of downconverting the same HDV clips with the output menus set at 4x3 and 16x9 for TV type, captured the clips and analyzed clip info in Edius. Much to my surprise as selected the clips were recognized as 4x3 and 16x9 as selected in the output menu on the FX1. The 4x3 selection is letterboxed and recognized as 4x3 DV. Placed in a 4x3 project it is letterboxed, placed in a 16x9 project it looks much smaller, much like a lot of network HD!!! The layout tool in Edius confirms that they are a 4x3 letterbox image and a true 16x9 as selected. I have never needed to do this but will now do a little more testing to confirm to myself that this is the case with a few more clips. Will have to be tomorrow now.

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Old October 13th, 2007, 09:22 AM   #11
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Recording HDV or DV on FX-1

Thanks Boyd, Adam and Ron for your kind replies and advice. Here's the deal, many viewers of my videos recorded in HD complain about the letterbox format when viewing on their 4:3 screens and my understanding about how the FX-1 records is that it records native 16:9. My NLE is a modest one (Roxio EasyCreator ver. 7.0) which I'm been using for a few years. I am looking for an NLE that can do more complicated effects such as what Digital Juice offers but they cant' be run on this program. Perhaps an entry upgrade like Premiere Elements willl be the answer. I'm currently operating a Gateway 200X laptop with the a 1.4 gig Intel Pentium M processor with 1.0 (max) memory), UMA (?)shared video memory. Anyway, in the meantime, because of the "squeeze" effect playing back an HDV recording after being edited in my current NLE (which predates HDV technology) I've been forced to tape in DV mode which is not taking advantage of the fine resolution HDV offers! Can I sum up your suggestions as follows: tape in DV mode with no wide screen setting; tape in HDV and then change the aspect post production via another NLE? BTW, I have tried out the FX-7 at a recent indoor swim competition, side by side with the FX-1 and 3 CCD's wins out in my opinion over the CMOS technology. Much less noise in the FX-1 than the FX-7 though the VX2100 or PD170 which I have used is still king of low light which was the issue here (sodium lights over the pool area). Anybody have any recommendations for the FX-1 settings when you have sodium lights?

Thanks all!

Anthony
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Old October 13th, 2007, 10:09 AM   #12
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Glad we could help Anthony. Just to be sure I understand though... are you saying that the image ifs correctly proportioned, but people with 4:3 TV's don't like the letterbox effect where you have a black bar above and below the image?

If that's the case, then I think Adam is right - you'll have to tape in 4:3 DV mode which, as you say, doesn't take full advantage of your camera. The Z1 has the EDGE CROP downconvert option which chops off the left and right side of the 16:9 when sending the video over firewire, and that's what you really need, but it isn't available on the FX1 evidently.

With a bigger/better/faster computer and software you could capture in HDV and crop in software, but honestly that may not be worth the effort since it will involve lengthy rendering in most cases. Maybe the best solution is to try and "educate" your friends to the advantage of the widescreen format? :-)

Regarding the sodium vapor lights, I haven't worked with them but I'd assume all you can do is set the color balance under them using a white or neutral gray card.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 11:26 AM   #13
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Recording HDV or DV on FX-1

Thanks Boyd....you're right of course about folks accepting the images on their non 16:9 screen tvs as letterboxed. It is a bit distracting though.
I guess until I'll continue to shoot in DV at 4:3, as Adam said, until I purchase new software that can take care of the problem. The Z1 really has so many great features like that fine adjustment you mentioned to the aspect. Oh well. What NLE software are you currently using for your Z-1 Boyd? I do use white balance cards on manual setting, all the time. I was just wondering if sodium lights were an issue even with white balancing but I guess not.

Anthony
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Old October 13th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #14
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I did a few more tests with my FX1 and downconverting from HDV with TV settings at 4x3 and 16x9. Interesting results. The downconverted DV with 4x3 selected is indeed letterboxed but sometimes the pixel ratio is incorrect!!! Pixel ratio set to SD 4x3 gives a correct 4x3 letterbox image. IF left at 1.2 widescreen of course it has a very squeezed letterbox, sort of double letterbox!! Neither Vegas or Edius sees this correctly but it can be corrected. IF the recording is originally DV the TV setting has no effect. I will now be a little more careful with this setting though the results are obvious !!!!
Anthony, until your viewers have 16x9 then it would be best to shoot 4x3( I am in the same position with my amateur groups, though I am telling them that in the future when they view the video it will seem old on their then new widescreen TV's. They still want 4x3!!!) IF you get a more capable NLE you will be able to colour correct to make the scenes look a little better even if the white balance was a little off.
My main NLE is Edius Pro 4.5 though I do have Vegas 8 and Premiere Pro 1.5.1.

Ron Evans
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Old October 13th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Cipriano View Post
What NLE software are you currently using for your Z-1 Boyd?
I'm using Final Cut Pro on the Mac. All new Macs include iMovie software which will allow you to edit HDV. It's been a long time since I've used iMovie myself, but I sort of doubt that it would let you create 4:3 DV output from HDV... maybe someone else knows?
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