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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 January 27th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #16
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Re: If HDV audio sucks and DV audio is great.....

<<<-- Originally posted by Shannon Rawls : Rather then using a double recording system to get good audio....can't you just just downconvert HDV to DV via firewire, and VOILA you'll have the high quality PCM audio you need.

Simply replace the HDV audio tracks with the downconverted DV audio tracks, and all is well?

or is it because the Mpeg Audio is the original source, that the downconverted DV audio will not be good as if it was originally recorded DV?

- Shannon W. Rawls -->>>

'You' need? Who needs?

Am I the only one who hasn't taken some kind of reality numbing drug? It seems like the FX-1/Z1 are being unshakeably perceived by a zealous few as cameras Sony created for 'Theatrical' release productions.

The simple fact that the FX-1/Z1 (and indeed the HD10) were meant to fill a perceived market for the growing number of people upgrading their entertainment equipment to HDTV and DTS/Dolby 5.1 (or better) AV systems seems to be too easily forgotten in the rush to dream of the ultimate product to stimulate the creative juices.....

I; for one, am surprised that the FX-1 has such a good quality on-board mic, which may not meet the elevated standards some may require. But it exceeds the requirements of HD broadcast video and sound hands down. If you want more than what the camera provides natively....get the right gear to supplement it!! Or get something else..... Is the mathematics of common sense that difficult to comprehend.

Hopefully those who feel the current (and future) HDV offerings are inadequate in either sound or image will avoid purchasing the 'inadequate' HDTV's and AV systems that HDV is designed to complement in favour of their 'superior' 4:3 SD TV's and analogue stereo sound.

Broadcast levels are the standard that HDV cameras should be compared against, and to trumpet otherwise betrays a misunderstanding of HDV's raison d'etre.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 09:33 AM   #17
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Chris,

I agree, 384 mbps can give you very good audio, I know DJs that use MP3s for shows recorded at lower rates.

I tested the FX1 audio via a Studio 1 Productions XLR adapter and I was not happy with the audio, especially when compared to other cameras. I recorded CD tracks off a DJ rack.

My problem is the audio loses it's low and high ends and gives the midrange too much of a boost, the overall cleanliness of the sound also suffers. Bit rate transfer is one issue, but it seems if not the compression, some other issue is affecting the dynamic range and frequency response of the original material in a negative way. On this same camera, there is improvement when recording in DV mode but still not as good as a VX2100. My old digital 8s even did a better job.

The cleanest and best audio was on a Panasonic DVC30, on playback, the DVC30 sounded as good as the original CD, it was incredible and that was not using Panasonic's XLR adapter, still using the Studio 1.

The Panasonic has a "wind cut filter" that you can switch off for the on board mic and external mic input, and the manual states that you might lose some bass response with the filter on. On a windy day, if you have any wind and that filter is off, the recorded wind noise is very loud. I am wondering if Sony by default incorporates this filter into their circuitry to avoid wind noise thus affecting the frequency response as Sony's recorded wind noise is low (the level with Panasonic's filter on). If Sony does that, it would explain why Pansonic's audio (filter off) is cleaner and closer to the original recorded material than any Sony camera I have used.

To the average listener, the FX1's audio will be more than adequate but audio is very important for me as I record concerts off a mixing board.

The million dollar question is whether the Z1 with XLR connections will have improvements. Has anyone been able to compare CD quality audio on a PD170 vs a VX2100 (using a Beachtec or Studio 1)? Is there a wind noise filter option on Sony's professional line?

David


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Old January 27th, 2005, 10:41 AM   #18
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Re: Re: If HDV audio sucks and DV audio is great.....

<<<-- Originally posted by Steve Crisdale :
I; for one, am surprised that the FX-1 has such a good quality on-board mic, which may not meet the elevated standards some may require. But it exceeds the requirements of HD broadcast video and sound hands down. -->>>

Yes steve, I no doubt beleve the audio is great when listening to the first native recording.

The problem arises in post. After you have captured that audio, and are now beginning to assemble a movie project, or commercial. Now you have shipped the audio tracks off 3 different ways to the sound designer and music supervisor and composer who now disects and rips that audio apart by adding foley sounds, and ADR and special effects, and compression, and gating the audio, and more special effects, and more compression, and bleninding stock audio to make certain creaking noises during a suspensful scene. And then returning those tracks back to the editor from 3 different locations for synchornization and mixdown.

Do you know how many times that original production sound track will get sourced and ripped apart and re-compressed??? This is why production sound mixers deliver audio in an astronomically high quality & bitrate using $1000 mics and $3000 recorders and $500/day boom operators and (not incl. accessories and lavs) so that the audio will be crisp and clear and extrodinarily HIGH Quality to begin with, just so that when your done with post...it will sound half decent.

I'm not saying that HDV audio sucks, it's 3 times better then the MP3's that kids are jammin' in their iPods now-a-days....But everybody is not gonna use their HDV audio to rock a concert with 2000 people in a hot and sweaty warehouse at 3am where the quality won't matter much. Some of the HDV users (namely me) will need pure and whisper quiet dialog audio from a very dramatic scene in a pre-prepped sound proofed room from a cabin in big bear lake. And Production sound is the answer...not looping it in post. get it right the first time. Ofcourse the argument is "get good audio gear as a 2nd", but what if I don't want to. I dropped DV and went to HDV and as a reult I got a better camera eye...is it too much to ask for a better camera ear?? or is that my trade-off? an audio system that is not capable of keeping up with the quality of the VIDEO side of the camera.

384 mb/s is overkill for the home user who uses his FX1 to record little timmy's birthday on saturday afternoon, or maybe the nature videographer chasing birds in yellowstone...but for the Indie movie maker who saved up $15,000 in the BofA savings account for the last 2 years just to shoot a story that he/she wrote and truly beleives in and wants to tell the world.......they may not be able to get that 2nd audio system, and I don't theink they should have to. Especially knowing that their resolution just doubled to allow more treats and tricks in post....why not the audio too? Or is that asking too much?

Hence my question......I was wondering if there was a way to get HDV imagery and DV audibles all from one unit. That would be awesome for the indi moviemakers that this camera is supposedly being targeted for.

You need...Who needs??.... *smile* WE NEED! (filmmakers!)

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Old January 27th, 2005, 11:19 AM   #19
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<< 384 mb/s is overkill for the home user who uses his FX1 to record little timmy's birthday on saturday afternoon, or maybe the nature videographer chasing birds in yellowstone...but for the Indie movie maker who saved up $15,000 in the BofA savings account for the last 2 years just to shoot a story that he/she wrote and truly beleives in and wants to tell the world -- why not the audio too? Or is that asking too much? >>

I don't think it's asking too much, but I guess I'm coming from the point of view that it is a consumer video format by design. At the press conference for the Z1, the Sony suits giving the presentation made more than one reference that HDV is intended to be a consumer format with some obvious limitations and targeted to a consumer market (and they pointed to other HD formats higher up the food chain for professional applications). Now I'm all for the effort to push the envelope of the HDV format, to see what it can do in a filmmaking or professional or semi-pro environment, but I also think it's important to realize that the limitations are in there by design. They want you to buy up to the next level, should you feel the need for it. I guess what I'm saying is, they didn't design HDV for filmmakers -- they made it for consumers. More power to the filmmakers who can use it though.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 11:59 AM   #20
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd :
I guess what I'm saying is, they didn't design HDV for filmmakers -- they made it for consumers. More power to the filmmakers who can use it though. -->>>

Then they should have steered clear of Sundance, and instead, setup a booth at Best Buy & Circuit City! *smile*

Just my opinion.

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Old January 27th, 2005, 12:37 PM   #21
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shannon Rawls : Then they should have steered clear of Sundance, and instead, setup a booth at Best Buy & Circuit City! *smile*
Just my opinion. - Shannon W. Rawls -->>>

DAMN STRAIGHT! I don't know what the heck Sony is doing. At least JVC started out with a single chipper, sending an obvious message "This crap is for amateurs". Sony is talking out of both sides of their mouth, "use this, no, use this!" They can't have it both ways.
Sorry, didn't mean to insinuate that HDV is crap, or that only amateurs use it, but compared to Sony's other HD offerings it really is, and it really was designed for consumers, but then again, so was DV.

Now if Panasonic would drop the price of DVCProHD or make an HDV50mb/s format, goodbye Sony. (heck if they could just cut the price and camera size in half of the AJ-HDX400 or AJ-HDC27F I'd be stoked... well maybe cut the price 2/3's, I'm cheap!)
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Old January 27th, 2005, 12:48 PM   #22
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Rhett:

<< Now if Panasonic would drop the price of DVCProHD >>

Well, that's the buzz that's going around -- NAB will be interesting!

<< Sony is talking out of both sides of their mouth, "use this, no, use this!" They can't have it both ways. >>

They're not the only ones who do this. Canon constantly pitches the XL2 for professional applications and yet it comes from their consumer imaging group. Their first line of defense is always "what do you expect, it's consumer equipment," even though they promote its professional appeal.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #23
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The FX1 is being sold through their consumer division and is more pro than the JVC HD10. The Z1 will be sold through Sony's pro division, that was the camera shown at Sundance.

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Old January 27th, 2005, 01:19 PM   #24
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I do agree that the companies send many mixed messages. The simple fact being the camera is a "Pro" (Z1) version of the "comsumer" FX1.

I'm not pointing fingers, but they can't expect people not to complain about certain things - they confuse us with their own verbage. It's (almost) bait and switch if they are spending millions of dollars on full page color ads in magazine's saying something is "Pro". Afterwards, their sales/marketing/tech people go around afterwards calling it "consumer"? That's insane!

They know full well "Pro" and "consumer" are two very different things. Someone who buys a "Pro" piece of equipment for their business is absolutely looking for a certain level of quality and service - it's to sustain a business. These corporations know exactly what they're doing -- however, it's sometimes how they get into trouble with class action suits! (Microsoft is an example of a large corp getting in big trouble legally...and they didn't get out of it. They had to change their business practices completely.)

Anyway, my little opinion is this...a "Pro" is "Pro" anyway you look at it. If someone is buying a piece of equipment for business use - those corps should market it that way and give equal service to all their "Pro" customers. It stinks being told you're down with the consumer buyers, and not with their "Pro" buyers. We did buy the "Pro" product...so, what's the deal? It's not our problem they have to make super-expensive gear to sustain THEIR business model. All we know is that we are a paying customer that bought "Pro" from them.

When they turn around after making their money and give a "sorry, you're SOL" attitude because they want consumers to buy too....that's plain wrong. It bugs me that I have to unlock the codes to their cryptic messages sometimes. If it's "Pro" than make it "Pro"...don't talk consumer talk with my "Pro" unit I'm buying from you!

Every single "Pro" in the world...a "Pro" basketball player making a billion dollars or a "Pro" videographer shooting a Wedding deserves the same "Pro" quality/service if buying from their "Pro" line.

I said "Pro" 16 times!!!

That was a rant and a half.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #25
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Pretty good rant, though. I tend to look at it in terms of application. Whatever a piece of gear is, it's "pro" if you're using it in a professional capacity.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 02:47 PM   #26
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Thanks Chris. Sometimes it's nice to let it all out. :)

It's probably just anxiety from knowing I already paid for my "Pro" Z1.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 04:29 PM   #27
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Well, as "bad" as the audio is for HDV, I guarantee you there are people shooting features with it RIGHT NOW who don't give a damn.

And maybe a little boom mic and a dat deck wouldn't hurt....

I also agree that opinion is very monitored on this site and it's unfortunate.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #28
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Well, there is a point. I think it's ok for us to ask Sony et al to meet professional expectations in what they label as pro equipment. Take for example the PD150. It's audio is really handicapped. They must have saved --I don't know, US$50?-- by using low-end preamp, AGC and ADC circuitry. They got the message and the PDX10 is a bit better. But still my 10-year old portable DAT (also Sony) has less noise and more gain, and I think a more linear frequency response.

I can expect the VX2100 and FX1 to have some audio shortcomings like unbalanced audio input and such. Still, I would expect it's audio input to be as good as that of a portable MD recorder and, at least with the VX2000, it's just not.

And then there is all the software limitations they include (I know, it's off-topic, but it's part of the same mind set at Sony). Sure they have commercial reasons for dumbing down the consumer version. But why should we take that for granted? NO! We need to put our foot down and expect decent business practices. We are to get what we pay for, and if it says 20 Hz -- 20 KHz digital audio in the specs that should for real, not with a 3 dB por octove slope below 150 Hz or above 10 KHz.

Sure, I'll pay more for XLR inputs. But that's a physical piece of hardware that costs real money, no problem. Either pay Sony more or buy a Beachtek. But why should I spend on double system when the camera's spec promises good audio? Furthermore, why should I pay more for an additional cinetone gamma, smooth zoom, AF assist, peaking indicators, underscan and other software-driven features that would cost NOTHING to include in the FX1? I bet even the multisystem nature of the Z1 is just a software difference from the FX1.

Hate hate hate. Sorry, just had to say it. I feel better now <grin>.
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Old January 28th, 2005, 06:54 AM   #29
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Amen Ignacio!

We speak with our wallets. I bought the JVC HD10U, loved certain things and hated others...definately expressed those feelings to JVC's team. I told Ken (JVC's east coast rep) directly to his face what I thought.

Upon selling the HD10U because of the shortcomings I looked at Sony's offerings and the FX is good, but NO better than the GR-1 "consumer" camera from JVC. (I'm talking audio wise)

How did the Z1 compare to the HD10U? It's better - seperate volume channels accessable to the shooter. This is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE in the field and any "Pro" knows this to well. I'm definately expressing my disappointment that the captured audio isn't improved upon. But, the controls are definately an improvement. Therefore, I bought Sony's product and so I feel I'm speaking with my wallet - they definately improved the overall camera. Not that it really matters right now...JVC, Panny and all the rest don't even have anything to buy.

But, my overall point is that we have large numbers of buyers here. (all online videographers who buy equipment) It's great that we can post our likes and dislikes - unlike 10 years ago when you had no outlet. At least now we can slam a product that is killing us in the field and praise ones that save our lives! (livelyhoods, I mean)

When I say "slam" - I don't mean slander/libel either. I mean real world analysis that sends loud and clear messages to these companies. Afterall we pay for this sh*t!
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Old January 30th, 2005, 10:28 AM   #30
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Is that definitely the case on the FX1? What about the VX2100 and other consumer Sony cams? Do they put those filters on there by default and is that hi and low pass filter to cut down on wind noise?

Does the Z1 do this by default as well or can we remove those filters and get the full frequency range?

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<<<-- Originally posted by Ignacio Rodriguez : We are to get what we pay for, and if it says 20 Hz -- 20 KHz digital audio in the specs that should for real, not with a 3 dB por octove slope below 150 Hz or above 10 KHz.-->>>
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