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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
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Old July 29th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #1
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Broadcast quality with Z1 ?

Can I get broadcast quality for channels like PBS, Discovery, Nat Geo etc. If I shoot a documentary on a HVR Z1 ?

Is the image quality good enough to make a Blu Ray DVD ?

P.J
Thanks a lot.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:11 PM   #2
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Watch "Deadliest Catch" on Discovery HD and you'll have your answer.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Paolo Jones View Post
Can I get broadcast quality for channels like PBS, Discovery, Nat Geo etc. If I shoot a documentary on a HVR Z1 ?

Is the image quality good enough to make a Blu Ray DVD ?

P.J
Thanks a lot.
You should check with the requirements for each broadcaster. For example, Discovery HD and BBC HD all HDV cameras are regarded as SD and only allow a percentage of the programme to be shot with them (15% seems to be current with Discovery). However, Discovery also seems to require you discuss the HDV post workflow with them.

The Z1 has been used on SD production since it first came out, so no problems there.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:37 PM   #4
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Watch "Deadliest Catch" on Discovery HD and you'll have your answer.
I think that's a special case, you'd have to justify using the Z1 cameras on your production. If you've got that sort of action that can be only be got using Z1 or other HDV cameras they'll go with it. However, the EX1 or EX3 might be the camera of choice for these types of productions in the future. The EX1 has really taken off.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:43 PM   #5
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That's a much less snarky and more helpful answer than mine.

Watching the Deadliest Catch Behind the Scenes episode certainly made it look like the show is 100% HDV, though not necessarily all Z1. If you look quickly, you can see they use a small mini Sony HDV (I'm guessing something like the HC7 or similar) for the fixed deck-cams in permanent housings. It may indeed be a special case but I'd be hard-pressed to think of a show on Discovery that isn't.

My understanding is also that No Reservations on Travel is shot entirely with V1s at 30p.

An oft-quoted piece of advice is that as long as you deliver in the format they want, they'll never know how you shot it. That's certainly true on the local level.

But only you know what you can afford and what works best for you. In an age when everyone's fighting to run videos shot on cellphones, the content is the thing. Make your content compelling enough and they won't care if it was shot with an Instamatic.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 07:06 PM   #6
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I sold the Z1 when I bought the XH-A1, and recently added the EX1.

As I move up the chain it's easy to forget about the Z1 until I see all the great HD video I shot with it. I'm reminded it still holds up respectably, and the difference between the best and the worst is not as much as you would think, not that the Z1 was ever the worst at anything. To the contrary it was solid.

So is it broadcast quality? It's definitely clean Hi-Def, and has been used so often on so many professional collaborations in so many different roles, that no one could argue it's not broadcast quality anymore. No worries about the Z1.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 03:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post

An oft-quoted piece of advice is that as long as you deliver in the format they want, they'll never know how you shot it. That's certainly true on the local level.
You can easily spot 1/3" material, however, local channels are going to be a lot less fussy than the large channels.

On commissioned productions, channels are going to want to know what you've planning to shoot on. A programme purchased by a channel is somewhat different beast, they're interested in a completed production, but chances are a single sale isn't going to cover the production costs.

Discovery have a range of channels, I suspect their HD Theatre is going to be more demanding than their other channels, so it's a matter of checking what each channel guidelines require.

The Z1 has been used on a large number of broadcast programmes around the world - often just shooting Mini DV.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 04:57 PM   #8
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Just remember to shoot HDV, Edit HDV, then down convert to SD. Stay away from ingesting HDV at DV25 then editing, it looks really bad.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 08:17 PM   #9
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Short answer "Yes". Like others have pointed out. "World's Deadliest Catch" and "No Reservations" are shot in Sony HDV. And I did a shoot for Discovery Channel this spring and the cameras used were 2 - Panasonic 900's, 3 - Sony V1's and 1 Sony Z1.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 10:55 PM   #10
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I have seen a lot of shows that have been shot using the z1, hvx 200, and V1. They key is to have a big camera like a F900 during the interviews and all will be fine.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 10:52 PM   #11
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I have seen a lot of shows that have been shot using the z1, hvx 200, and V1. They key is to have a big camera like a F900 during the interviews and all will be fine.
OK, I'll bite. Why do you need a F900 for the interviews? I know it isn't the same level as national network broadcast work but I have shot talking heads for local spots with my V1 and I got great results.
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 04:46 AM   #12
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I have seen a lot of shows that have been shot using the z1, hvx 200, and V1. They key is to have a big camera like a F900 during the interviews and all will be fine.
I think a lot depends on the expectations of the channel you're selling to. There's something to be said about going the other way, because the visually least demanding parts of a programme are the interviews. However, I know programmes do tend to go for the cheaper option - you can knock off interviews very quickly, without the longer shooting schedule of the main body of the programme.

I gather Discovery now have 3 technical requirements for their channels: "Bronze" which covers the 1/3" cameras, "Silver" which covers cameras like the EX1 and "Gold" for, I assume, Discovery HD Theatre, which has the highest requirements.

BBC HD and CH4 HD in the UK have similar guidelines to Discovery HD Theatre. For their SD productions, Z1s are commonly used.
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 07:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Watching the Deadliest Catch Behind the Scenes episode certainly made it look like the show is 100% HDV, though not necessarily all Z1. If you look quickly, you can see they use a small mini Sony HDV (I'm guessing something like the HC7 or similar) for the fixed deck-cams in permanent housings. It may indeed be a special case but I'd be hard-pressed to think of a show on Discovery that isn't.
The case with Deadlies Catch is the fact that they destroy almost all the cameras, I think I heard about 50 cameras destroyed in the making of one season. That rules out using larger cams which is just to expensive and dangerous to use. They used both larger cams for the heli shots and smaler cams mounted for POV on the deck.

I think the specs for HD broadcast should be strict, everybody can shoot HD today, but to get HD to look as good as the stuff you watch on Discovery HD or BBC HD is hard and not everybody has what it takes. Just take a look at Topgear in HD from BBC HD on their trip to the north pole.
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