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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 September 16th, 2004, 12:53 PM   #46
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Anhar,

I have read the BBC R&D White Paper WHP053. As a professional D.I.T. such papers are require reading.

Alan Roberts comments on capturing a wider lattitude range than traditional video does not in any way state that a camera's DSP can be modified to capture the same range of film in the same way as film.

Read the "Conclusions" section carefully and pay special attention to two key statements:

First, he specifically states that such modifications make it possible to "mimic" film performance. NOT "equal" film performance.

Second, carefully read the paragraph regarding the modifications:

"Contrast range: preset the gamma-corrector, black stretch and knee controls to capture 11 stops range... The resulting performance captures about the same range as does film, albiet without the straight line performance the film can deliver over its central exposure range."

Note that the specific comment is that the resulting performance captures ABOUT the same range as does film. Then, he continues "albiet without the straight line performance the film can deliver over its central exposure range."

That following statement is key to understanding the actual differences between the lattitude characteristics of current Digital cameras and modern Film emulsions.


Another point to consider is the comment that "setting these controls optimally is a laboratory operation and cannot be done reliably in the field." While I personally feel that is an overstatement, the bottom line is that such finely tuned DSP modifications do require the proper tools and careful attention to the smallest detail. And while it is not impossible to execute such manipulation in the field, it does require a more controlled enviroment. Controlling the enviroment on location is not always easy. I am often huddle in a tent of multiple 4x4 floppys trying to wrangle a huge bundle of cables, calibrate a monitor, waveform/vectorscope, and manipulate the DSP via a RMB-150 paintbox while the director grumbles about why we're shooting HD instead of film... Time is money. And production depends on getting things done as quickly as possible. So for every extra minute that a D.I.T. takes to further manipulate the cameras DSP while the DP is huddle over his shoulder requesting changes is another minute that the camera is not rolling and the production isn't moving forward.

Alan Roberts statements are much more appropriate to the types of productions he describes. Such as broadcast or studio situations.

Another issue to consider is what such modifications actually lok like. And how that look will translate to other recording and playback formats. Consider the gamma options of Panasonic's DVX100 and HDC27F Varicam. Both the DVX100's "Cine-Like" gamma setting and the HDC27F Varicam's "FILM-REC" setting provide a manner in which the camera can capture a much wider lattitude range than traditional gamma settings. However, those settings result in a picture that is "flatter" and lacks chroma saturation. Many who have used the DVX and even the Varicam often find the improved gamma settings to be lacking in what they perceive as good contrast and color.

These settings do have a purpose and can be used with excellent results to achieve a wider lattitude image capture. But capturing that wide lattitude isn't the end of the image chain. How that image will look when conformed to broadcast standards, mastered to DVD, or sent to a film out is a whole other issue that requires consideration before the image is captured.

Bottom line is, while current Digital cameras can be modified to mimic the lattitude of modern film emulsions, the actual performance of the camera once it is modified is not equal to the performance of said emulsions. And the resulting images are not beautifully contrasted pictures with pretty colors and perfect color tonal reproduction. But then again, niether is film...

Heath, I know we've wondered off topic here. And yes DVFilm's argument (as well as the information presented in WHP053) is not completely without merit or application.

As a professional Cinematographer, I constantly strive to balance the technical abilities of a given format with the real world working conditions of a given production. Then I choose the format, tools, and workflow that will compliment each other and that production in the most cost effective manner to the producers. Because in the end the only thing that matters is whether or not the format, tools and workflow get the job done on time and on budget.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 01:09 PM   #47
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I know we've wandered off topic, but it is a fascinating one. To get back on topic, what do people think of the way the camera is built? Too small, just right, etc.?

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Old September 16th, 2004, 01:35 PM   #48
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Jon, whether on topic or off, Thank You for such quality insight! Great post. Very often there are posts on this board which are of great value to us newbies, like yours. Thanks again.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 01:44 PM   #49
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I think it's pretty good overall.

One of the downsides to a handheld camera is some clients have to wonder why they're paying you the big bucks for a camera that looks like the one they have at home.

The alternative is the XL-2. Looks cool, but handheld is akward as is shoulder mount without the Anton-Bauer package or a brick with electrical tape. Yet another option that along with additional glass and pro viewfinder brings the real price of the Canon to $10,000.

With the OIS, you can get good handheld in your hand, so I'm not worried about the shoulder. On the tripod, I can get over any client anxiety with a 4x4 matte box and rail system, something I would add to any DV/HDV set up.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #50
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I agree with Mike: Unfortunately, the bigger the camera, the more confidence your client/actor/investor has in your legitimacy.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 10:48 PM   #51
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That's not always true; you show your client how good the image is, they'll understand that technology has come a long way.

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Old September 16th, 2004, 11:50 PM   #52
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> That's not always true; you show your client how good the
> image is, they'll understand that technology has come a long
> way.

You might be able to get that message across to some clients, especially the more tech-aware, but many clients can't tell the difrerence by themselves. Also, the idea that you spent more money on expensive-looking equipment helps justify what you are charging. If they see you with a Handycam-like toy (like mine) it doesn't matter that it's better than the one they can buy at Sears. Actually I have heard of clients doing that kind of thing, buying a TRV22 and Mac with iMovie and then finallyyhey end up hiring somebody to fix the mess.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 06:46 AM   #53
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Thank you Jon for your reply, i'm sorry i didnt mean my post as an attack, that was not my intention.
I stand corrected, i should have said that video can mimic the lattitude of film not equal.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 09:47 AM   #54
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For those that are concerned about the camera looking like a "Handycam", this camera most certainly does not. First off, it's sigificantly larger than the pd-170 in all dimensions. It also has a dizzying array of buttons and switches, making it look much more like an ENG camera, IMO. If you're still concerned about the size, add on a set of rails, a nice big mattebox with multiple filter stages and a french flag (a very handy accessory to have, anyway), a wireless reciever, an external shotgun mike, a nice, big set of headphones hanging off the top handle, an external zoom controller, and maybe an Anton Bauer brick adapter or external Hard Disk recorder, then put it all on a heavy-duty professional tripod. Your client will never even see the camera! You'll still need to spend a lot of time setting up, and then "adjusting" the camera (flipping some of those switches back and forth). The DP for "November" tells about throwing every possible accessory on the DVX-100 so as to make the actors feel at home on the first day. Hilarious.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #55
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would'nt all that extras cost more than the camera itself :) just joking.
Yea the FX1 looks "pro" to me.

Any ideas why its so big?
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Old September 17th, 2004, 11:43 AM   #56
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Genetics.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 12:24 PM   #57
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I notice the HD10 is smaller than the DVX100A, but weighs A LOT more!

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Old September 17th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #58
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According to this, the FX1 is 5 15/16" x 7 1/8" x 14 3/8". That's compared to 4.9 x 7.1 x 15.9 for the PD170 and 5 1/2 x 6 5/16 x 14 3/8 for the DVX100.
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Old September 17th, 2004, 12:30 PM   #59
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Aka, about the same size as the PD-170 and the DVX100A. I wonder if it will weigh a ton, like the HD10! <g>

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Old September 17th, 2004, 12:35 PM   #60
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4 lbs 10 oz according to the same site.
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