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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 April 2nd, 2005, 07:14 PM   #1
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Amazing results using the full auto functions.

I just did a one-man-show-shoot using my fx-1 (pall) and a z1 that I rented, I shot two shows of 45 minutes, each show was shot twice with both cameras. Because of all the limitations being only one person I set both cameras on manual (iris, shutter speed, focus and gain)

The results amazed me, I usually swear to do all focusing manually, and I see no reason not to except this case, but in all the raw footage (approx 6 hrs) only roughly 4 mins were out of focus, I doubt I could have done a better job manually.

The exposure was pretty much perfect except for some scenes where the contrast was really high, but it still came out within acceptable limits.

No drop-outs either, using standard Maxell tapes (6 hrs)

The project was shot in HDV (for future possible HD use) but downconverted to DV on output.

I am normally very "anti-auto", but for this job it was a compromise I had to make. And I was seriously impressed.


As expected the footage from both cams integrate seamlessly.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 11:30 PM   #2
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cool! I hope your results do well for your client, and you get much more work for your efforts.

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Old April 4th, 2005, 05:23 PM   #3
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Re: Amazing results using the full auto functions.

<<<-- Originally posted by Eirik Tyrihjel : I just did a one-man-show-shoot using my fx-1 (pall) and a z1 that I rented, I shot two shows of 45 minutes, each show was shot twice with both cameras. Because of all the limitations being only one person I set both cameras on manual (iris, shutter speed, focus and gain)

The results amazed me. -->>>

The high rez input seems to enable AF to be better than most humans. The AE is almost always perfect with the use of BL and SL as needed. The AWB is equally perfect. And AGC also works as it should.

Moreover, if you preset the AUTO paramters you can get Auto to match YOUR needs.

I think we are seeing the end of manual control.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #4
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The "end of manual control"?! What planet are you living on? Maybe for run and gun style, but not for controlled lighting situations.

The human brain is amazing with regards to opening and closing its iris and understanding what "white" is etc etc. However, the video camera is completely dumb and we need to tell it what "white" is in the environment in which we shoot. Every single shoot is different, so professionals need manual controls to compensate for unforseen variables. How many of you have been shooting and noticed a huge dark cloud about to completely cover the bright sun?? If you know you're camera you can adjust it in real time.

Unless they figure out how to put a human brain into cameras I don't think we'll lose manual controls. (maybe in 50 years they'll actually accomplish that!) I'll never buy a camera without them again - the HD10U taught me a good lesson!
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Old April 4th, 2005, 08:16 PM   #5
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"I think we are seeing the end of manual control


No don't think so, I think you don't have alot of shooting experience to make such a statement, there are times for auto and times for manual, I don't think Sony is stupid enough that they will make any camcorder in the future that is all auto.
I hope JVC learn their lesson with the HD10 or whataever they had and not listen to you and make the same mistake again.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #6
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First, hello Eirik, long time no see! Donīt think Iīve seen you since I borrowed your Arri 16mm for Soul Deep (the ski film). Nice to see you posting here.
I have a question for you; Is it possible to adjust the speed the auto focus?
The reason Iīm asking is that I went to see some footage shot with the Z1 at 24-7 (rental company in Oslo).
I watched it on a Panasonic 42" HDTV, and the footage looked great. The only problem I saw was that the auto focus seemd to be very slow, and even having trouble to find focus.
I spoke to the cameraman that shoot the footage and he liked the camera, but he found the auto focus to be quite bad.

This isnīt a big problem as one shoot with manual focus 95% of the time, but I was just curious.

PS Could the fact that I watched the footage at a HDTV make a difference?
Thinking that you might not notice it on a normal TV
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Old April 6th, 2005, 02:15 PM   #7
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The thing I really hate about the Z1 is how gain looks - namely, awful. I would put it to zero gain, but otherwise, yes I think it does a great job of exposure control and sometimes focus (though I would still keep it in manual and use push auto when I needed to).
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Old April 7th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #8
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Hi Joachim nice to hear from you again, and a bit weird to talk here in english... but then again its an open forum so weīll have to let the norweigan rest untill next time we meet....

I donīt think the auto focus speed is adjustable, but I donīt know at all, itīs not a thing I am very likely to explore (as I swear by manual focus.). I am sure if I was to use my footage in full HD I would have seen some more out-of-focus shots. Standard definition is a lot more forgiving than HD, its like downsizining an out of focus shot, the smaller it gets the harder it is to tell.

My point is simply that in my one-man-shoot situation these cameras really did very well, the results were above my expectations.

And I will still continue to work manually whenever I can, as I always want to control as many aspects of my shooting as possible, but in this case it wasnīt an option.

I am very happy with my FX1 and itīs performance so far, and although I would prefer to shoot film anyday, these low cost HD cams are a really great option when the budgets are limited (like they very often are...)

All we need now is for NAB in Las Vegas to happen and Apple to announce Final Cut 5 and OSX10.4...

Hope to see you soon Joachim!

Eirik
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