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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 June 5th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #1
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in defense of the HDV format

I've been reading so many negative comments about Sony's HDV video standard (long GOP structure, artifacts, bad at panning, etc, etc), that I thought I should post a comment.

[1] How can it be that HDV is considered such a bad format when it's resolution is 4.5 greater than DV?

[2] Why are people so sure that films shot in HDV won't be taken seriously by the film making community, when low-budget standard DV independent films like "In This World" and "Open Water", (both shot with PD-150s) have already made it to the big screen?

It used to be that you had to shoot on film to enter a festival. But in the last few years, we've seen more and more DV films win prizes in film festivals, especially in the documentary field.

So then why wouldn't HDV be accepted?

Incidentally, I shot some HDV footage with my Z1 involving motion and exported it out of FCP5 with the H264 codec. The picture quality was superb and no motion problems with H264. Mpeg 2 was another story.

Though it took me 15 minutes to export my 30 second HDV clip out of FCP5 with Compressor, I am sure this tediously slow 30:1 ratio will very soon improve.

Perhaps we should wait a little, until faster DVD burners, HD DVDs and HD DVD players arrive, by which time we'll be able to distribute HDV.

Always interested to read other opinions.

- Nicholas
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Old June 5th, 2005, 06:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Natteau
I've been reading so many negative comments about Sony's HDV video standard (long GOP structure, artifacts, bad at panning, etc, etc), that I thought I should post a comment.
All these comments are BS. Longer the GOP, more efficient compression becomes; there are no serious artifacts or panning problems.

Radek
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Old June 5th, 2005, 06:55 AM   #3
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Dear Nicholas,

I am with you. I have been shooting video since 1979 and the HDV looks good to me. There is always lots of hand wringing when a new standard comes out. The Panasonic camera is the new "thing" right now, but their gear just never did it for me. Sony has already sold nearly 40,000 HDV cameras so the people have voted with their wallets.

As far as I can tell the artifact issue has more to do with display technology, not the compression. I shot a tree in a rainstorm last week and did not see any macro-blocking, etc.

Enjoy your camera and don't look back.
George
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Old June 5th, 2005, 10:23 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radek Svoboda
All these comments are BS. Longer the GOP, more efficient compression becomes; there are no serious artifacts or panning problems.

Radek
Well....as big a cheerleader as I am for HDV, of course there are panning issues, and of course there are artifacting issues. There are with EVERY compressed format, and if people are naive enough to believe the shorter JVC won't have some issues, or the new Panny DVCProHD cams won't display some sort of issue, they need to wake up and smell the coffee. Even HDCAM will display issues in some situations.
The question is, how bad are they? If you know how to shoot, they're not an issue at all. But if you use an HDV cam to shoot the same way you'd shoot home video, if you shoot high action with a low framerate, or if you have other shutter/aperture challenges, then HDV can have issues.
The format itself is quite robust; those who use it always aren't quite that advanced.
Always remember the trade offs of compression vs cost, because that's the very real factor in all this. And in the case of Sony HDV, it's a very good trade off, IMO.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 11:03 AM   #5
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Hi DSE How is it possible to shoot high action with a low framerate if the Z1 can only shoot at 30 fps (NTSC) or 25 (PAL) Are you referring to the shutter speed ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
if you shoot high action with a low framerate, or if you have other shutter/aperture challenges, then HDV can have issues.
The format itself is quite robust; those who use it always aren't quite that advanced.
Always remember the trade offs of compression vs cost, because that's the very real factor in all this. And in the case of Sony HDV, it's a very good trade off, IMO.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #6
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I am saying same thing as DSE. I said no "serious"...

The 25 Mbps is limit we may see for long time in prosumer cameras. With MPEG4 can fit 1080p60 and can use current 19 Mbps of HDTV for 1080p60 for broadcast. Compression is factor that allows us save money. Cine Alta SR is MPEG4. Panasonic talked about compressing D5 with MPEG4. Talk that less compressin the better in camera is meaningless unless you tie it down to price.

You can make excellent 25 Mbps MPEG 2 camera for 5,000 USD, as in FX/Z1. And you can make a superb 25 Mbps MPEG4 camera.

25 Mbps without MPEG2 nad have nothing more than DV.

Radek
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Old June 5th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #7
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i think bad comments about HDV are not really about how bad is HDV (since it is at leat a bit better than DV we all love).
It is more about hoe new technology is always going to the same trend.
It gives you more and in the same time it gives you less.
Take an example with music.
Definitely, from the old vinyl disc to CD, there was improvement. The format was smaller, more resistant, and the quality of music was better (but you still find vinyl fan who are thinking differently).
Then we got MP3 and all digital format.
It is still offerred as improvement. It is even smaller, can be sent to internet, stored in many ways, but definitely, they way it is found most of the time (i mean 128kps stereo) it is not improving the audio quality.
But for many others reasons, it is perceived as improvement on CD.
The same for HDV. Since DV was a huge improvement in analog video (like the step from vinyl to CD), HDV is more an evolution like CD to MP3.
The format itself is not really good due to high compression, but definition is very appealing since it is a lot higher than the one we used to work with.
So , where is the problem ?
We more and more work with formats that are offering more , but only in specific conditions.
If you are an amateur, you want a format that can forgive a lot. DV is, HDV is less. If you are a pro, you need a format that will let you play with the full range.
That is the beauty of 4:4:4 compression (or absence of compression).
with high compressed long gop 4:2:0 , you can make no mistake or change your mind after the shot.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois
That is the beauty of 4:4:4 compression (or absence of compression). with high compressed long gop 4:2:0 , you can make no mistake or change your mind after the shot.
4:4:4 could be 10x more compressed than 4:2:0.

1080i HDV picture quality improvement over DV/Digital 8 is higher than DV/Digital 8 over analog Hi8.

Radek
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Old June 5th, 2005, 06:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radek Svoboda
4:4:4 could be 10x more compressed than 4:2:0.

1080i HDV picture quality improvement over DV/Digital 8 is higher than DV/Digital 8 over analog Hi8.

Radek
How do you know the picture quality improvement specs? Sure, it may look like a better jump to your eyes, but to mine, comparing it to the other cameras in it's price range, it's not a huge jump at all. In fact I can't see much of a quality difference at all. The only real difference is more pixels and native widescreen.

It's all what you use it for though. You can have a $100,000 camera and still shoot like an ameteur, and you can have a $300 handycam and shoot like a pro. Sure, the one with the $100k camera will have better resolution, better definition, but the $300 camera will produce very good results in the hands of a pro.

Don't put too much emphasis on your equipment. I used to, and I got a reality check by some of my filmmaker friends who had been in the buisness longer. If you think your camera determines how good of a movie you make, you haven't learned much.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wills
How do you know the picture quality improvement specs? Sure, it may look like a better jump to your eyes, but to mine, comparing it to the other cameras in it's price range, it's not a huge jump at all. In fact I can't see much of a quality difference at all. The only real difference is more pixels and native widescreen.
The thing is that it's 4.5 times as many pixels on the tape, which has an immediately obvious benefit when played directly on an HDTV. I haven't met anyone yet who didn't think that HDV looks impressive under these conditions and said so, so to casual observers the resolution is definitely noticeable.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 07:52 PM   #11
 
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Why not use software tools to make mathematical comparisons in addition to perceptual comparisons?
http://www.compression.ru/video/qual...t_tool_en.html
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Old June 6th, 2005, 02:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wills
Sure, the one with the $100k camera will have better resolution, better definition, but the $300 camera will produce very good results in the hands of a pro.
Resolution and definition are same thing.

What pro would use $300 camera?

Radek
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Old June 6th, 2005, 11:11 AM   #13
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Thomas Vinterberg used Sony TRV7s to shoot "The Celebration" back in the '90's. It won awards all over the world.

From all I've see of the Z1, it seems to me that you need to shoot with it the same way you would with any film or video camera that shoots 24p. Don't do the fast pans, zooms, etc. All cameras and all formats have some limitations.
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Old June 7th, 2005, 09:00 AM   #14
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Half Full or Half Empty seems more the point. For many years I was a recording engineer/record producer got to work with some big recognizable names and was always looking for the perfect mic, compressor, pre-amp... When i got good what i found was that they didn't exist. So, I started using the tool that fit my need the best, the right mic for the right instrument or vocal type. it's the same with cameras. I picked up a Z1 a few weeks ago and i've been shooting everything I can. Bringing it on commercials, music videos and to the park. I'm not using it in production yet just hauling it around with my cameras that I already picked for the job and you know what I discovered. The Z1 is *another* valuable tool. I can shoot footage and crop when converting to SD, something that has been making my still pictures look great for 20+ years. I can derive multiple SD streams from the same footage, what a trip. I can pan fast and get dizzy looking at it on a big Plasma display (some music video director will surly find a use for that). It's all how you see it and use it.

By-the-way Douglas I signed up for your presentation in Atlanta next week so i hope get a chance to say hi.

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Old June 8th, 2005, 02:00 AM   #15
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HDV is excellent

Seems the pros like it. I use HDV for action footage (skaters, bmx bikers, rollerbladers) with no problem. Any artifacting at 1080i practically disappears when I downres to 720p, which is used for HD cable broadcast anyway... can't beat that! I was at CineGearExpo in LA this weekend, and the FX1 and Z1 were out in large numbers with many vendors... I'll write up a review of the event on this board when I get a chance.

Last edited by Daniel Lundmark; June 8th, 2005 at 02:01 AM. Reason: add info
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