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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, 04:29 PM   #1
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Best Camera Settings?

Can you please share what your best settings on the camera? What Picture Profile settings you use? What settings you asign to preset buttons, etc.

Radek
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Old May 6th, 2005, 09:41 PM   #2
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There has been some good reviews of the cineframe 30P setting with 60fps.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #3
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These are my settings, the camera comes with a blue cast, like all Sony Cameras.

Picture Profiles for Sony HVR-Z1U
1 2 3 4 5 6
C Level +3 +6 +5 +5 +5 +3
C Phase 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sharpness 13 13 10 11 10 11
Skin Detail OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF
Skin LVL M M M M M M
AE Shift -1 -2 -1 -2 -2 -2
AGC Limit 12 6 0 0 6 6
AT Iris f11 f11 f6.8 f4 f11 f4
WB Shift +3 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4
ATW SENS M M L L L M
Stretch OFF OFF OFF OFF ON OFF
Tone OFF OFF T1 T2 OFF OFF
CineFrame OFF OFF CF30 CF30 OFF CF30

1- Basic Look
"2- Hi-Saturation Color- ""punchy"""
3- Film
4- Film Dark
5- High Contrast Subject
6- Hi-Sat Cineframe 30

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Old May 8th, 2005, 09:56 AM   #4
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BTW I think the Cine 24 looks bad, the 30 is better. Also, shutter speed can enhance the look.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 01:04 PM   #5
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George,

That was a very interesting post. Maybe we all ought to share our settings once we figure out what works for us. Perhaps in a table format though. I ended up putting yours in a table to review it.

Now I have some questions if you do not mind. I am quite new at a lot of this, and would love to generate some discussion on this before I start my shoot in Greece this June. If I can get you and a few others involved - like DSE - it could be very useful. I would be happy to host a list of settings and the explanations for each in a nice, easy to read format.

1. How do you decide between a sharpness of 10 and 11? I can see a real difference between 10 and 13, but one step at a time is tough. How do you decide?

2. What made you decide that a +3 in White Balance was right for the basic look but changed it to one step warmer for all of the others?

3. Your color levels are all significantly higher that the default. Care to explain?

4. I see you changed the AGC limit. So does that mean you often shoot in Auto? And you let the Basic look have more gain, but not everything it can. Why?

I appreciate any comments you might offer. Anyone who would like to have me host their settings in a table format online, needs to send me an email with the info. Taking info off this site and posting it elsewhere is probably discouraged, I would guess.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 03:07 PM   #6
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George:

I have not tried the Z1 with Sharpness at 13. You may know better on this but don't you find it a bit contourish at that detail level. The max I tried was 12. Maybe I should venture to 13.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Griswold
These are my settings, the camera comes with a blue cast, like all Sony Cameras.

Picture Profiles for Sony HVR-Z1U
1 2 3 4 5 6
C Level +3 +6 +5 +5 +5 +3
C Phase 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sharpness 13 13 10 11 10 11
Skin Detail OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF
Skin LVL M M M M M M
AE Shift -1 -2 -1 -2 -2 -2
AGC Limit 12 6 0 0 6 6
AT Iris f11 f11 f6.8 f4 f11 f4
WB Shift +3 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4
ATW SENS M M L L L M
Stretch OFF OFF OFF OFF ON OFF
Tone OFF OFF T1 T2 OFF OFF
CineFrame OFF OFF CF30 CF30 OFF CF30

1- Basic Look
"2- Hi-Saturation Color- ""punchy"""
3- Film
4- Film Dark
5- High Contrast Subject
6- Hi-Sat Cineframe 30

"George T. Griswold, Jr."
"New Orleans, Louisiana"
www.videonow.info
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Old May 9th, 2005, 09:56 AM   #7
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The settings are really a work in progress; I keep the first two as is, but will often make adjustments to the others. There is no magic explanation for the settings, just the results of a few days of testing using a 20" engineering monitor.

I like the look with a 13 sharpness and then use filters to take it down a bit. I am not sure that you can tell the difference between 12/13 or what ever, the adjustment range is deceptive... it could have been 1-5.

I wondered about the chroma level, since those numbers seem high, but I like the way it looks. Same with the WB shift
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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #8
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I am a beginner with these cameras so this is a thought which is not based on experience.

I find myself wondering if it would be better from the perspective of optimising quality (though not processing time) to use little or no in camera sharpening. That is pretty much the universally adopted strategy with digital still photography based on the notion that your editing software can do a much better job of it than can the camera. I wonder also if there could be additional benefits with HDV since compression is much more effective with unsharpened images (whether that helps depends on if the in-camera compression process can take advantage of say less image detail info to improve other aspects of the compressed image information).

I can see reasons why this approach would be less suited to video (more processing time, possible generation losses from an additional sharpening step on all footage, difficulty in workflow etc) but thought it might be worth raising the question.

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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:54 PM   #9
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To my eyes the low sharpness setting don't look like anything that you would want intentionally. It really just looks muddy; again, do it with filters-- it is a safer bet since it is easy at A/B the difference.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #10
 
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Oddly enough, the sharpness settings on the Z1 don't remotely correspond with the PD170 or any other cam I've used. A setting of 8 on the Z1 seems to be about the same as zero on other cams. I typically run mine in the 10-13 range.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:54 AM   #11
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Douglas, do you know which sharpness number the FX1 defaults to in the PP OFF setting?

I tend to used 12 in the PP mode.

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Old May 10th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #12
 
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I don't know. I expect it's probably 8, but not sure. I can only assume it's the same as the Z1, which I believe is 8
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Old May 20th, 2005, 01:13 AM   #13
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Cinematone/Black Stretch

OK, I'm trying to figure out some of the quite polar tendencies concerning the "film look" (and not just that, but the video look as well). To clear things out, I always shoot with manual exposure and tend to slightly underexpose. I'm not a real video professional like some of you on this board, but I've successfully worked and made some decent money with video for quite awhile (since the VX1000 days), so I'm not a noob when it comes to video :) . So...

We know that film can capture subjects of higher contrast better than video. And the biggest criticism from DVX community was that FX1/Z1 doesn't have as good latitude as Panasonic DVX100. Well, perhaps that's true with regular Picture Profile or Cinematone 1 or 2.

However, when I used Cinematone 1 with Black Stretch combination, it gave me the best shadows details while not blowing out light spots from any camera i've ever tried. So I'm very happy about that. However, here comes another major question: Are people seeking the "film look" actually looking for the right thing?

Here's my problem. All the latest Hollywood DVD releases (and the Sony HDV demos created by DSE), seem to have very high contrast ratios. The blacks are really black and the whites are really white. On my older CRT TV's I can hardly see any any dark areas at all because these new releases are so contrasty. Even pumping up TV's brightness doesn't help much - that is how dark those dark areas are. So my question is, if one of the most important parts of "film look" is to be able to see shadow detail while not overblowing whites, then how come all these latest film/video mastering jobs seem to drive darker image areas to near black? If you need some examples, then "Van Helsing" DVD would be pretty obvious. Even with TV's/Plasma's brighness/gamma setting high up, you could still hardly see any detail in shadows area. What's up with that? It seems like a high contrast is the latest thing. So why then do we still desire high level of detail in dark areas of image if Hollywood crushes it on their DVD releases? Even most of the shots in DSE's demo WMV's for Sony had the same look.

When I set up our Panasonic plasma monitor to my preferred picture setting (a lightly tweaked "Normal" setting, with gamma one notch darker than default), the Z1 footage shot with Cinematone 1/Black Stretch combo looks simply incredible. However, when I set the plasma to the levels acceptable for a watchable black levels on latest Hollywood DVD's, then at those settings the Cinematone 1/Black Stretch footage from Z1 looks faded with hardly any blacks (though with great detail in shadows). Before anybody jumps on me, no there's nothing wrong with my DVD player, as the high contrast issue is not a problem with earlier DVD releases, from say 5 years ago. It's just that now they are driving for deep blacks on most releases.

So here's my final question. Should I never use black stretch when using Cinematone setting on Z1? What is really more important, or should I say fashionable, these days, better detail in low light areas (which pretty much makes them lighter), or deeper blacks? It seems that video mastering is going through a similar thing that's happening to audio mastering - a constant change. For example, in the 80's and early 90's, the way they were mastered, the Audio CD's seemed to highlight high frequencies and had normal bass EQ, also not compressing/maximizing too much. Nowadays, the high frequencies are not very important (though 12k area seems to be boosted on some latest audio releases), while the bass is over-EQ'ed and everything is overcompressed. So, seeing that happening with audio I see that a similar thing is happening to video. It seems that putting the SD/HD resolution aside, what you produce today may not look right in tomorrow's fashion. If I make a video with a great level of shadow detail preserved I risk that it will look faded on those people's monitors who calibrated them to the latest ultra-dark Hollywood releases.

I know there are different situations and styles in which to present your production, but as a general rule, should I avoid black stretch if the film/video fashion these days seems to drive everything into deep darkness???

Thanks for any possible suggestions, and I hope I expressed myself somewhat clearly. I'm pretty much at a loss. I really like the look Cinematone/Black Stretch combination provides, but I DO NOT want to give my clients DVD's that don't look right according the the latest industry trend.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 02:40 AM   #14
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I own FX1E. It has better lattitude than DVX.

If you shoot for film out, you need preserve dynamic range/lattitude. Latest HDTV sets should have better contrast range. Older flat dispalys, plasmas especially, are not very good.

You can always change dynamic range in post.

The sound is getting overcompressed on new CD's because they used in cars where dynamic range must be minimal, because noise level. In past high fidelity belonged to audiofiles. Now it is mainstream, average person can't adjust properly any sound settings, phase speakers or place them properly. In past customers looked for best speakers. Now they buy most power. The overall sound quality of systems went down.

The video industry is going through same stages as audio industry. The audio industry raised sound quality for audiofiles, because they main buyers, then when it became mainstream, they tailored all normally priced systems to mainstream.

Many displays will soon be 1080p, with tremendous contrast ratio. But the mainstream customer will be going by screen size to price ratio, just like the average audio buyer goes for power to price ratio.

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Old May 20th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #15
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Hello,

Can ayone explain what is "Black Stretch" ??

Mike
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