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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 December 19th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #1
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Using the FX-1 in a large HD production

I'll be working in some HD trucks around new years for ABC college bowl games. I'll have access to some high-end downconverters. I'm going to compare downconverted HDV and straight DV. I'm also going to compare externally downconverted HDV vs In-camera downconversion. I won't be able to post any frame grabs or anything but I'll be looking at high end monitors and scopes and can provide a subjective opinion.

I'll also be able to compare the FX-1 with the Sony HDC-750 camera which is a 2/3" HD camera. I plan on seeing how well the Fx-1 would intercut with other cameras and HD footage we're using on the show. This will be the first time working in a HD truck since I bought the Fx-1 so I'll be doing all sorts of playing around. 2 things to consider though - the HDC-750 is a native 1035 camera, not 1080 - but there are upconverter cards installed- doubt that will really affect this subjective test. Also- our show, since it's on ABC, will be 720p- but the truck is capable of both formats and I should be able to test everything in 1080i.

All of these tests will be done via component and not firewire (unless these downconverters have 1394 which I doubt)

If anyone has any suggestions or would like anything specific checked, please let me know. I'll also have access to HD scopes and charts.
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Old December 19th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #2
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hi Mike, could you find some people and do a "blind test" ie have the same scene footage from different cameras and ask them to spot which is which as it would be nice to have some feedback from different peoples perspective other than raw specs and numbers.

Thanks Mike!
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Old December 30th, 2004, 12:45 AM   #3
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I'm now here in LA and will be doing some tests tomorrow. The truck we're on is actually a 1080i truck only. I'm doing the Rose Parade for ABC. I plan on getting some FX-1 footage on the air so plan on watching ABC from 8-10am pacific time. I'll post specifics when I figure out where I can use the camera in production. Most likely scenic shots, behind the scene shots, etc.
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Old December 30th, 2004, 12:52 AM   #4
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cool, I cant wait!
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Old December 30th, 2004, 01:43 AM   #5
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Hope you've got good rain gear for yourself (let alone the cameras), Mike! Could be an ugly day weather-wise!
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Old December 30th, 2004, 01:55 AM   #6
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If you've got access to a full truck of 1080i gear, try to plug the component output of the FX1 into some scopes and see if the engineers can verify whether it's uncompressed HD.
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Old December 30th, 2004, 09:01 PM   #7
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I will try that Barry and see what they think, although I'm not exactly sure how a scope will determine that. I'll watch a live feed on the scope and then playback the tape and see if I see a difference, I imagine that I won't- even if it is compressed.

I have bad news however- the truck can't accept HD component. I assumed their frame syncs would have a component input, but they don't so I have no way of getting the FX-1 into my switcher or router. I examined every possiblity- going through a tape machine, DVE, everything.. all the gear on the truck is HD SDI in. We can take HD composite, but the FX-1 doesn't output HD composite. I'm able to get the FX-1 into a scope and HQ HD monitor, to view, but that's about it. The tape machines we're using are HDCAM with HD SDI in. The only way I can get the FX-1 into the "system" is to bring it in SD.. the upconverters will accept component - but what's the point in that. I never though that this would be an issues, I assumed there had to be some gear, at least 1 piece of gear that would input component, but nope.

I did shoot a good bit of stuff and watched it on a monitor and it looked just like anything else we're using. I only saw a few cameras up today and only briefly. The Director of the show and myself actually watched some HDCAM ENG footage and some FX-1 footage side-by-side on two identical monitors (our Program and Preview monitors) and we actually thought my FX-1 footage looked better - but to be fair, the HDCAM stuff was low light stuff and the FX-1 was outdoors- but we both agreed that the FX-1 is certainly airable and would intercut into our show fine. But I really haven't seen much else to do a good quality comparison yet, so tomorrow I might have a different idea.

Sorry I won't be able to put some FX-1 footage on ABC... unless we find some solution.

Charles- forecast for rain tomorrow and sunny for the parade. we'll see.
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Old December 31st, 2004, 07:38 AM   #8
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Dont know if you could get your hands on one of these, would this help Mike?

http://www.sierravideo.com/products/digilinxrgb2sdi.php

or maybe this one;

http://www.evertz.com/products/7730ADC-HD.php
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Old December 31st, 2004, 09:03 AM   #9
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Anhar,
More like something like this:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&Q=&is=REG&O=productlist&sku=259904

There are a few boxes that will do this, but we don't have any onboard.
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Old December 31st, 2004, 10:26 PM   #10
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Didn't have any time today to do any testing, today was wall to wall setup, pre-production, technical faxing, etc.

But I can tell you a bit more about our show for those of you interested. We're using 8 HD cameras plus 3 aerial cameras- in 3 different formats:
Blimp (pool feed) - SD 4x3
Fixed wing aircraft (ABCs) SD 16x9
Helicoptor (KTLA)- 16x9 HD

As of right now, we may not have the Helicoptor feed because we're about 600 feet from the KTLA truck and HD-SDI doesn't go that far. We even have 3 re-timing DA's in line. We really should be using fiber but I wasn't involved in the preplanning process. All of our cameras are fiber. The 8 cameras include 2 hand-helds and 1 jib with a wide angle lens (11x4.5). The cameras look GREAT! Nicer than the FX-1 simply because the image is so clean and sharp - no MPEG 2 junk in the small details. You can see much more detail- also helps the cameras are 1920x1035 native- so there is more horizontal resolution. But the FX-1 would intercut very nicely- especially on a televison broadcast- where everything is MPEG 2 encoded over and over and over by the time it gets to your HDTV set. I haven't really had time yet to do a detailed side-by-side comparisons though...

For those of you watching our broadcast in HD you'll notice our open and tease isn't HD- it's SD rolled from New York.
At 8:01:30 (all times local Pacific) we go to a HGTV pool feed of the Parade opening. The feed from HGTV is 4x3 SD- so I'll be adding pillar bars to the edge of the screen. I'm taking areas of the footage, blurring them, and adding them to the left and right areas of the 16x9 HD broadcast. Those watching in HD won't notice any difference.

At 8:07:45 we'll be showing some SD footage from NBC from 51 years ago when they did the first color broadcast- we'll then show our truck on the inside... We haven't shot that yet, it will be shot about 5 minutes before we air it. I'll be sitting all the way in front of the truck right in front of the monitors all the way to the right. (I'm also in the credits at 9:57:10)

I sure wish I could've got the FX-1 on the air but nobody has the HD-Component > HD-SDI converter... but I'm sure I'll be doing another HD show soon so I'll let you all know. Guess I better get some sleep now since we're in at 2:30am - then tomorrow night it's off to the sugar bowl- long day. :-)
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