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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 23rd, 2004, 05:48 AM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steve Crisdale :
So you are saying that you don't have the cam or access to it, or even un-encoded, raw m2t sample clips from the FX1; and that your judgement is based on the analysis of material that has been re-encoded for web distribution.

It's a shame Kaku Ito's m2t files aren't available for you to analyze.

Like Khoi, I have not seen any 'artifacts' in any of the FX1 material I've shot, including high motion stuff of helicopters performing acrobatics. What I have noticed is the occassional tendency to 'ghost' movement in areas of very low light, while well lit areas hold up perfectly. Some footage I shot of a friends' band exhibits this behaviour in the almost nil lit audience, while the well lit band in the same frame is fine. This effect could be down to the MPEG2 encoding algorithm, or more likely the motion stabilisation, which I had on (the low setting), as I was forced to shoot hand held.

I have encountered the 'dropout' situation, but strangely only when playing back to HDTV via component. The dropouts occured in differentpositions on subsequent re-plays of the tape, leading me to believe the cause might be something else than the recording media.
To add to the quandary, i-Link captures were fine.

Harish...It seems to me that you should be out organizing demo's of the cameras you want to use for such an important project, rather than trusting someone else's judgement. -->>>


First of all let me tell you that I am not doing any judgements, but passing an opinion based on m2t clips captured from the web. It's a pity I can't find the URLs so everyone can see them. Some of them were Kaku's m2t files with his bike, which sometimes also had the artifacts I mentioned.

If we can't get to an opinion that may help on the equipment purchase me and others will be looking for, how can we decide what to buy? That certainly doesn't mean you should spend or not that amount of money on trust from tests you didn't do yourself.

HDV is certainly an advance for us indie filmmakers, and I am willing to bet on it. If there are weak spots I will look for ways around them, because the image quality makes it worth.

But HDV seems to be full of treacherous tricks at the same time, particularly on the post-production, which seems to be what is happening now. Clips may have been badly processed to put in the web and they show something different than what is the real thing.

To do a real judgement, which should be done by everyone by testing the camera, you have to have as much information as you can. Whether the clips were wrong or not IS part of the HDV system as it is now, at least from how I see it. Processing the HDV signal, be it for going into your PC, MAC, Web or film lab seems not to be a paved road yet, so it's full of bumps.

Yours and Khoi's valuable opinions based on actual use of the camera put some more light in what seem to me the "dark areas of HDV". Do put some sample clips here or somewhere else that may help eliminate doubts or insecurities people might have.

There were also audio tests that were done which I had doubts on how they were performed, suggested different ways to do it and things then went fine. But audio is something I know there is not much you can change to make it bad, if you start with a reasonable system.

Images is something you have to judge yourself, and this time that is the real word: judge. That is what you do when you sentence your bank account to let go of $3,500.

Until then it's only opinions. To improve your opinions you get information, when the information is confusing you have to find ways to make it clear. It's what we do in these forums.


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Old December 23rd, 2004, 09:13 AM   #17
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Hey Carlos, you can buy it from Sony Style and test it yourself, if you don't like it, you can return it within 30days.
Back to the original post, I think if you have control of your lightning, the picture will be much better than the DSR500 on the larger screen, FX1 weakness are lattitude, low light, and consumer style handheld camera, you can get great shot with different angles, but you can't hold it steady for a long speech or anything like that unless you have tripod, monopod, shoulder bracket, the light mount is in the worse possible place, rignt on top of the lens, making a already front heavy camera even more so, and if you add a wide angle lens to the mix, you got a pretty akward camera to hand held, and then on top of that you can't open or close the LCD if the light is mounted on the camera because it will hit the light. If you don't mind all of these short coming, it is a very nice camera.
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 10:05 AM   #18
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Thank you guys for sharing the experimentation and experience with me . I will go downtown tomorrow to the the guy who rents in toronto and then there test both cameras DSr 500 and Fx1 as he has every sony camera available to rent and he knows in and out of all cameras . There is where I went ot test the JVC hd10.

BUt I really dont want the blur when in motion which I actually saw myself at henrys when I held the camera . Again I didnt change any settings ...it was just pick the camera see some shots in the viewfinder and the light was just regular in any store.

And also I want to wait for z1 to come out while I finish my script.

thanks guys again and again..
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 10:11 AM   #19
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Also , I downloaded some of kaku's clips and I saw the same artifacts ....(the clip with the bike.)

but I thought it was my laptop ...I played it on vlc....my laptop is only 1.06ghz p111 so I thought it was'nt good enough to play thgese files.



Thanks again
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Old December 23rd, 2004, 11:16 AM   #20
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<<<-- Originally posted by Khoi Pham : Hey Carlos, you can buy it from Sony Style and test it yourself, if you don't like it, you can return it within 30days.
-->>>

Not me. I live in Brazil and we have no such advantages. I should have done it already to give personal impressions and make some tests.

Kaku's clips I played on my AMD 2700, 1MB memory, 128MB video card home computer. So I think they should play fine. Why they did not I wish to know.


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Old December 23rd, 2004, 12:22 PM   #21
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"Some footage I shot of a friends' band exhibits this behaviour in the almost nil lit audience, while the well lit band in the same frame is fine"

Steve: you said you noticed ghosting when filming your friend's band. When I buy the FX-1 I intend to do a lot of vidotaping within clubs. Is this ghosting effect very noticeable? Do you see the ghosting even when people are standing still? Is it something you could live with?

....any chance of posting a JPEG, if not a clip?

Thanks,
Aldo.

Oh yeah, how did the audio turn out?
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Old December 24th, 2004, 07:32 AM   #22
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<<<-- Originally posted by Aldo Erdic : "Some footage I shot of a friends' band exhibits this behaviour in the almost nil lit audience, while the well lit band in the same frame is fine"

Steve: you said you noticed ghosting when filming your friend's band. When I buy the FX-1 I intend to do a lot of vidotaping within clubs. Is this ghosting effect very noticeable? Do you see the ghosting even when people are standing still? Is it something you could live with?

....any chance of posting a JPEG, if not a clip?

Thanks,
Aldo.

Oh yeah, how did the audio turn out? -->>>

The 'ghosting' effect - maybe some people would call it 'strobing' appeared worse to me after editing to DVD, and on computer monitor. I would have called the lighting circumstance the camera had to cope with abysmal (stage lit by three red gel spots and zero ambient). I'm not a regular 'clubber', but I've never been to a club with lighting as terrible as this venue. I'm not saying the FX1 will definitely work in the situation you mention, just that I now know what to expect in a similar circumstance, and maybe how to avoid the movement aberation.

When I initially played the tape back for a couple of band members, I output to my LCD HDTV with sound directly to a 5.1 surround amp; and the motion effect wasn't anywhere as noticeable.....so much so, that when I mentioned it everyone else thought I was imagining it.

As for the sound..... let's just say that the band members comments were all along the lines of "you can hear everything" and "it sounds better off the video than what it sounded playing it".

For a finnicky audiophile, the FX1's mic wouldn't cut the mustard, but Sony appear to have put a quality stereo mic on-board the FX1 that doesn't overly clip levels, while maintaining a solid dynamic range.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 09:05 AM   #23
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Thanks, Steve, that's helpful. From the sounds of it, videophiles might notice the effect, but the regular Joe wouldn't. So I think I'll be able to live with it.
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Old December 28th, 2004, 04:40 AM   #24
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<<<-- Originally posted by Khoi Pham : 1) Fast objects going past the camera, either because the camera is panning, moving on a dolly or the subjects simply passing by, the image will develop an artifact that looks like a "crooked staircase". It's not clear to me if that happens during recording or at the camera itself. My guess is Sony must be doing something about that problem to see how it's solved or dealt with.

I have not seen any of that artifacts you talked about, did you actually see it or you heard it from someone? It might got softer but no artifacts.
-->>>


Ok, here's one of the sites where "choppy" figures or images are there to see:

http://www.vasst.com/HDV/FX-1_images-Surfers.htm

Look at the file called "sled_ride_gamma" and you will see what I am talking about. I am watching them with VLC.

Is that due to shooting problems, capture problems, download problems, etc.? How can I solve the artifact?


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Old December 28th, 2004, 10:58 AM   #25
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Yeah I see that, that is probably from plalying a interlaced footage on a computer monitor (progressive), I absolutely don't see anything like that on a 1080i tv.
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Old December 28th, 2004, 11:57 AM   #26
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A bit earlier in this thread there was an allusion to the DSR500 having "better" (i.e. shallower) DOF than the FX1. In my experience, even though 2/3" cameras have half the DOF of 1/3" cameras, it's still too much to make a massive difference. I just finished shooting an HD feature with the F900, and even though we were usually between T1.6 and 2.8, I rarely was able to achieve a shallow look which is easily attainable with 35mm. Basically I gave up on the concept and embraced the "Citizen Kane" look. By this I mean that I didn't force longer lenses into play simply to attempt a soft background (there is a psychological difference between the same image size with a wide angle lens and a long lens that goes well beyond DOF).
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Old December 29th, 2004, 12:35 PM   #27
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With a 2/3" chip camera, you can shoot something like a head and shoulders shot with the background 15 to 20 feet away and light it (ie., so you can open up the aperture wide) so the background will be soft, while in the same situation, a 1/3" chip camera will keep the background sharp. When shooting wide angles and stopped down, there won't be much difference, unless you're right up in the person's face.

Most of the time my backgrounds get just a little bit soft (with a DSR500), and I think that's fine. Wide angle shots usually have big depth of field, which is fine. I'm not all that hot on having the background soft on every shot anyway. They don't do that in movies. Closeups always have soft backgrounds, because of the size of the 35mm negative, but wide shots don't.

That is not to say there aren't times when the background should go really soft to create an effect. A few months ago I did some outdoor night shooting, and the character was supposed to be trying to change a tire while talking to his p***ed off wife on his cell phone, in the cold, with traffic in the background. I shot it with the background traffic, car lights, neon signs, etc., really soft, which looked great and seemed to help with the feel of the scene. However, for the establishing shot, I wanted the background reasonably sharp so you knew where he was and what was going on. If every shot had a soft background, that would be weird, in my opinion.
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Old December 30th, 2004, 05:26 AM   #28
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FYI, we've been using the JVC HD10 camcorder (another HDV camcorder) for about a year now, and there are no artifacts during fast motion.

Now, you will have a problem with jerky or really fast camera pans, but if you use a tripod, dolly, hand-held steady tracker, or even use care when doing handheld work, you won't have a problem. You can do moderately fast pans on all of the above. The problem only occurs when the CAMERA moves fast and abruptly (the compression doesn't have time to catch up, so you get a "tearing" of the image).

Having said that, I doubt HDV will be a suitable format for any type of ENG / run-n-gun, because that will inevitably result in very fast and jerky camera movement. DV, BetaCAM, DigiBeta, etc. have always been the best ENG / run-n-gun formats, they are very forgiving. You kind of have to treat an HDV shoot like a film shoot, and if you can handle that the results are outstanding.

Finally, any type of stair-stepping is definitely an interlaced artifact. If you view that same footage on a 1080i display (or a regular 60i TV), you won't see that artifact. In any case, "stair-stepping" or "jaggies" is not a typical MPEG2 artifact.

Luckily the HD10 is 30p native, so we never worry about stair-stepping and other interlaced artifacts. This is another reason I was happy to move from the 60i of DV to the 30p of HDV, and why I'm reluctant to go back to 60i on the Sony FX1.
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