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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 February 5th, 2005, 04:07 AM   #1
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HVR-Z1U - what to do with it?

I grabbed some footage posted here that was recorded with a HVR-Z1U camera and was very impressed :-). It is so good!
But have a question: what to do with such a video?

For two years I skydive with a GR-HD1U camcorder and have plenty of video including 3 dimensional footage - a piece was posted here, in this group - but have very poor experience:

1. Finally I convinced skydivers to pickup copies on DVDs. The video is copied straight to a DVD recorder using a component cable. It gives the best quality, better than on a VHS tape. The mode I use? ... Yea 480i ! No lightning struck me yet :-).

2. Sometimes TV crews wonder at the airport and they would like to have a footage of our skydives. Why not? Amazingly they don't take HD tapes - don't know how to play them. Copy? Yea, via a composite cable only - obviously a crappy 480i too !!! They don't even use SVHS connections and forget about component output - they don't know what it is, they are professionals!

So, why I should buy an HVR-Z1U camcorder?

At serious skydiving competitions only PAL 50 camcorders are accepted. They don't use there drop frame counters. They need accuracy. It is very important when teams crank "points" in a free-fall in exactly 40 seconds. This would be the only point to have a HVR-Z1U but any crappy PAL palm corder would do the job because copies are made via SVHS cable only. Yea, we prefer better quality than TV professionals :-).

Now, what kind of gizmo I could use to make an instant copies to the professional HD camcorders? I understand that these units can accept some kind of an RGB signal. Any resistor matrix would do a transformation from a component to an RGB but, I think, that levels, bandwidth and sync pulses count too.

Have I any chance?

This Sony camcorder is too good to be used without a possibility to show the video in a true HD format. Even my portable 17 inch monitor has maximum resolution 1280x720p pixels. It is still good but for a GR-HD1U only.

What to do with a 1920x1080i video? Watch it at home?
I'd rather be skydiving! :-)
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Old February 5th, 2005, 12:42 PM   #2
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What exactly are you trying to say? You'd rather be sky diving, then go sky diving. I'm not sure what you're saying, other than you love your HD1 and sky diving.

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Old February 5th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #3
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What about how to transfer video so it can be used by a HDTV station?
In two years of using a GR-HD1U camcorder I heard negative answers only. Are they dumb ot lazy? And yes, they liked footage.
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Old February 5th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #4
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If you want to watch it at home as HD right now, and don't want to buy a DVHS deck or play it from your camera, then buy an Avel Linkplayer or similar and encode your footage as an WindowsMedia9HD DVD.

Otherwise, wait 6-12 months and there will be numerous (cheaper) options.

For broadcast, any sensible studio should be able to capture the 1080i component output diretly from your camera.
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Old February 6th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #5
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Hi Graham. I have a DVHS recorder - HM-DH40000. Supposedly can't be used with a HVR-Z1U unit. Shows many dropouts and no sound. Don't know about sensible studio. The only experience I had was the lack of RGB output from my JVC HD unit. Pro field camcorders don't use component inputs. At least what I learned. May be in the future, in 6-12 months :-) but before I resume skydiving in May, much sooner. Now we have too much snow in Milwaukee and I have time to modify my helmet to carry a new camcorder. It take some time, it has to be safe and robust. Imagine I loose $4900 in freefall 8-) .
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Old February 6th, 2005, 06:19 AM   #6
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I'd say HD is definitely not for you at this point in time, seems
obvious. So don't consider it then. Stick to SD and enjoy the
skydiving and shooting and sharing with others. I have no idea
what your PAL rant is about, PAL 25p/50i is in no way superior
than 60i drop frame (unless you want it to look more film like)
except for an increase in resolution. NTSC country is built on 60i
dropframe, so everything can work with that without problems.
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Old February 6th, 2005, 10:49 AM   #7
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Andre:

<<They don't even use SVHS connections and forget about component output - they don't know what it is, they are professionals!
>>

I've never shot news for a TV station, but I used to shoot film promos for several of them and had some contact with a variety of news shooters. Their job is to take the camera that is given them and bring back shots that are in focus with acceptable sound and are cuttable into news segments. Some of them like to keep up on the consumer/prosumer developments like HDV; others have ambitions or experience shooting higher end formats like HDCAM, but many of them prefer to do their shift, go home at the end of the day and grill a steak or whatever. This does not make them any less professional at their jobs. To ridicule them as such (with or without the use of emoticons) probably reflects more on you than on them.

<<Yea, we prefer better quality than TV professionals >>

I would also suggest that the single advantage that the JVC camera has over a typical 2/3" news camera is number of lines of resolution, and that it falls short in every other way. Obviously one is not going to skydive wearing a helmet-mounted Betacam, but I would personally rather see a cloud with detail than one blown out to white, even if it did appear sharper.
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Old February 6th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #8
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Hi guys. Thanks for valuable info.
On net I found a gizmo KD-CTCA3 that transform component to RGB.
Would it be enough for dumping a video to $40,000 up field HDTV camcorders?
I could even use it with my GR-HD1U camcorder. And, trust me, skydivers like video from this camera better. They like its film-like look and better overall quality. 3D videos, made by using Pulfrich effect, I show on a big HD screen, we have one in our club. It blows their minds, but I found that after 10 minutes they got a headeck. Yea, I have to rotate myself around formation uniformly, one turn per 10 seconds.

HD fit me well in skydiving. To use a JVC GR-HD1U for it I had to glue a floating lense of the optical stabilizer in place irreversibly, otherwise video was destabilized by vibrations in the freefall. And it didn't matter on the stabilizer switch position. Now I have to "stabilize" video with my head only. There is a very good opinion among skydivers about Sony optical stabilizers. It really helps. You don't see cameramen jumping with other camcorder branches. Hope the HVR-Z1U unit will be equally good in this matter.

There is another problem with JVC GR-HD1U. On exit from a tailgate airplane like Casa the exit shot is over exposed for a second or two. This camera has too long lag. It didn't happen with Sony cameras, at least with these I used before: Hi8, first DV 700 and PD-100a. What is lag time in a HVR-Z1U?

Why PAL? At world competitions it is mandatory. Good team can crank 25 different formations in 40 seconds! Imagine now that NTSC video starts at counter 1;50;25. Counter will loose 2 frames in the next 40 seconds and these judges count frames! Trust me. One can win or be a second if a finishing grip is on the last two frames! This is why I don't like competitions, but I film them. Big formations made for fun only are my favor. I made over 200 jumps with a GR-HD1U camcorder. Hi time to change it :-)
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Old February 7th, 2005, 02:25 PM   #9
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Drop frame counting does not drop frames!

This nonsense about frame counting doesn't hold water -- NTSC doesn't drop frames, it just skips some numbers in the notation. There are plenty of df frame count calculators for the challenged, but no reason at all why it won't work.

Which kind of makes me wonder about everything else in the post ...
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Old February 7th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #10
 
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The Z1 can be drop or nondrop anyway.
As far as upscaling, you wouldn't be upscaling, you're just converting colorspace. Yes, there are devices for converting the component to SDI or other transfer mechanisms to receive HDV. We'll likely see a lot more of them at NAB, so keep your eyes open.

Further, the Z1 shoots 50i OR 60i, so no big thing there, either. In fact, I'm shooting most things at 50i right now, just because some of this will be going to film later. Tomorrow night, Latin America will debut the HVR-Z1N using film for the display media rather than a projector. It's stunning.

Andre, I don't know your particular DVHS unit, but I've done several transfers to DVHS with HDV converted and sent out via firewire at 30Mbps. It's how all the Sony video is displayed in Honolulu right now.
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Old February 7th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for exta info especially about SDI.
... and to Geoff: I did not invent frame counting. And yes, it is a nonsense, we don't have a dropframe problem in the USA. Anyway it is a timimg problem. 28 frames last less than a second, but they are marked as a one every minute, except for 10, 20, etc.
Once I had my 4-way skydiving team and it was fun then. Today, even on the ground, it is not easy to make 25 points in 40 seconds. Forget one grip in the freefall and you lose next five points till you repeat the sequence. I don't do it any more. I jump for fun!
With a video I have to stay on the ground (heh in the air :-) on my four legs. Or I do it right or I am not invited! To make photographs I have to do a really good video. Skydivers like to review their performance but only photographs pay. I finally learned: do a free video copy to anyone who buy a photo. Doesn't take more time and everybody is happy. The equipment I have to buy myself! I almost made a mistake with a GR-HD1 (poor optical stabilizer) but once in my life I made a video camera from scratch and am able to make fixes. I used it with a transmitter (home made also) to record jumps on the ground on a big and heavy 3/4 VCR. Made over 800 jumps with this system. Repaired it every 20 jumps, so I have practice with video equipment and don't want to do another, this time a $4900, mistake.
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Old February 7th, 2005, 11:23 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Andre Jesmanowicz : Hi Graham. I have a DVHS recorder - HM-DH40000. ..... The only experience I had was the lack of RGB output from my JVC HD unit. Pro field camcorders don't use component inputs. -->>>
I normally copy without losses the tapes from my JVC-HD1 to my JVC-DH40000 using just firewire between the two and no particular care at all. I have zero drop out or whatsoever. I then have a D-VHS tape that anybody with a compatible D-VHS VCR can playback.
It is also possible to convert component HD from the JVC-HD1 to RGB with one of the many consumer conversion box in the market, RCA had one for example, I paid it about $120 2-3 years ago. There is no visible quality loss. It is as big as two boxes of cigarettes and use external DC power.

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Old February 7th, 2005, 11:28 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Andre Jesmanowicz : To use a JVC GR-HD1U for it I had to glue a floating lense of the optical stabilizer in place irreversibly, otherwise video was destabilized by vibrations in the freefall. And it didn't matter on the stabilizer switch position. Now I have to "stabilize" video with my head only. -->>>
You are pulling our leg, right? Wasn't simpler to switch off the stabilizer?
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Old February 7th, 2005, 11:48 PM   #14
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Hi Gabriele,
I also don't have a problem with GR-HD1. For last two years, every few months, I dump my HDV tapes via IEEE1394 to DVHS using a JVC DH40000 recorder. I do it just in case the camcorder, mounted on my helmet, was be destroyed during the exit from an airplane. It would be sad having to buy a few grands player only to review my adchives :-).
What about straight copy via IEEE1394 from Sony HDR-FX1 / HVR-Z1 to JVC DH40000? Anybody tried it? I learned here that JVC DH30000 doesn't record well the Sony m2t stream, but converts it without a glitch as a pass-through to a connected TV. Is DH40000 better?
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Old February 8th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Andre Jesmanowicz : To use a JVC GR-HD1U for it I had to glue a floating lense of the optical stabilizer in place irreversibly, otherwise video was destabilized by vibrations in the freefall. And it didn't matter on the stabilizer switch position. Now I have to "stabilize" video with my head only. -->>>

<<<-- Originally posted by Gabriele Sartori : You are pulling our leg, right? Wasn't simpler to switch off the stabilizer? -->>

It didn't work. The problem was mechanical. The floating lens was not balanced and gravitational force affected the image. During opening, for example, the image was shifted momentarily, vertically, by 1/4 of the frame. A green vertical line created from filming sun on exits was not even straight, looked like a moving snake, so fast this lense was vibrating. Tried it with swith on and off. I even glued a tiny dot to a UV filter to see the effect. I put money where my mouth is. I bought a whole optical block from JVC for $300 and modified it ... then I replaced the whole block. Worked like a champ! Now the green line from filming sun is straight like it should be! Just in case - I am an experimental physicist.
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