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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 May 6th, 2005, 05:25 AM   #1
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Safe zone of viewfinders

The viewfinders of the FX1 shows about 90% x 90% of the recorded image. What would have been really useful is the other way around: 110% x 110%, so you can view more than is actually recorded, with corner marks of the recording area. Or at lest just plain 100% x 100%.

Yesterday I forgot about the 90% and thought I had some really ugly stuff just out of the shot. Turns out I didn't. There's still so much to do in post, and I don't want to be forced to crop/resize shots that are well composed to begin with. I guess some (most) people like to have "safe zones" to save them while shooting, but to me it is just an annoying additional step to consider while setting up a shot.

Is there a setting for this? I have looked but not found it.

Another thing I've been thinking about is that the lcd viewfinder has about 1/4 of resolution, or 1/16 of the pixelcount of the resulting image, if we imagine that the FX1 is a true 1920 x 1080 camera. In expanded focus mode the image is 1/2 of the resolution. Perhaps a 1/1 expanded focus mode would have been usable, because then we have a 1-to-1 pixel correspondance, and we are able to really fine-adjust the focus?
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Old May 6th, 2005, 07:00 AM   #2
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Put it through a TV - you'll still most likely have the stuff out of shot.

What you are talking about is what's refered to as "underscan" - which basiacally refers to the fact that a TV does not show a full frame but rather a smaller centralised part of it (this is where action-safe and title-safe zones come into play).

The EVF (and LCD) will be set to match closely with this - but all TV's are slightly different so they're not always accurate.

The Z1 features an underscan mode on the EVF (which shows the full recorded frame, every single pixel), if I'm not mistaken - I'm not sure about the FX-1, though, It's one of those things you've got to deal with, not too much of a worry really now that you know it's a potential problem...

Oh, BTW a good way of checking yor actual footage, with underscan, is DV Rack (if you're on a PC). They are about to bring out an upgrade for HDV - exactly when I'm not sure - but that (at ~$500) is a great piece of monitoring kit that will ensure you never have the same problem again! It also features (or will in the new upgraded version) 1:1 monitoring, for exactly the reason you mention - how's that for all your problems solved in one hit (and no I don't work for the company!!!).
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Old May 6th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info Dominic.

Just played a clip on my PC which has a PAL output, and viewed it on a TV. The underscan is minimal, and far from the zones the FX1 viewfinder crops away. Maybe the difference is less if I play the segment from a DVD.

But how about lcd/plasma TV-sets? Isn't this problem solved for them, since they have more of an exact resolution?
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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #4
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The expanded focus is still pretty cool. I like the idea of getting a 100% expansion of the image. Surely the peaking lines go in 100%?
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Old May 6th, 2005, 08:00 PM   #5
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I believe they intentionally left the underscan feature off the FX-1 to help differentiate with the Z1. I have a plasma screen and two smaller 16:9 LCD's. All of them overscan, just like consumer 4:3 TV's...
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Old May 7th, 2005, 04:16 AM   #6
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It really isn't a problem - once you realise how much the camera LCD is overscanning by checking out images on a PC.
I was horrified to see some vignetting from a matte box last week on the Avid preview pane, but there wasn't anything on the TV picture alongside.
Mind you, i guess if you shoot for the web and not TV, you'd need some way of checking out the actual frame - such as DVRack.
Anyway, I solved the vignetting problem - just in case!

Robin
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Old May 31st, 2008, 07:32 AM   #7
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A different spin....

My main news clients want vision shot in 16:9 but 4:3 safe. This is because 90% of TV sets in Oz are of the good ol' 4:3 variety.

My question is; Is there an easy and non destructive way of 'marking' or similar, the camera viewfinder that is in widescreen, but to show the 4:3 safe areas?

Ben
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Old May 31st, 2008, 03:17 PM   #8
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Yeah. Post-it notes.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 02:45 PM   #9
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On the Z1 go to MENU > CAMERA SET > MARKER SEL > 4:3. Now go to MENU > CAMERA SET > MARKER > ON. You will see 4:3 frame markers on the LCD and viewfinder now. These will appear in both normal and underscan (ALLSCAN) modes. You can set one of the programmable buttons to turn the markers on and off and that will make them available with a single button push.

I don't have an FX1, so I'm not sure if it has the same feature however.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 07:11 PM   #10
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Unfortunately the FX1 does not have this feature. I wasn't being a smart-aleck when I suggested post-it notes... or a grease pencil.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 01:03 PM   #11
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Well Ben (who originally asked the question) didn't tell us whether he had a Z1 or FX1 so I thought it was worth mentioning. But sure, I have used post-its for marking my LCD myself when I had a 4:3 camera and wanted to crop to 16:9.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:18 AM   #12
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For the FX1 to show the 4:3
Go to Menu->Camera Set->DV Wide Rec
Setting it to off show 4:3 guides

Not sure if that's what you are looking for.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:37 PM   #13
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That's for recording 4:3 DV. Maybe that's what he wants but I was assuming he was recording HDV (which is always 16:9) but wanted safe markers for 4:3.

I wasn't assuming Ben had an FX1, but rather was responding to Boyd's mention of the FX1.
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