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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 1st, 2010, 11:39 PM   #1
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What makes HD look so good on mainstream TV channels?

Is it cameras they use? I mean, it's just amazing how good it looks on my tv when I watch channel 11 or 2, even with the rabbit ears via digital converter, simply outstanding clarity, colors and sharpness. Is HD in my fx1 a toy?
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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Your FX1 is hardly a toy. It's a brilliant device which performs admirably, given its price. But even your local station has much more expensive cams with bigger chips and, most importantly, a different compression scheme that holds up better than HDV. The resolution is the same. Over the air often looks better than cable because it's less compressed.

Something's only a toy if it doesn't meet your needs. If you're not getting brilliant color and clarity from your FX1 you may be doing something wrong.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 05:50 PM   #3
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80,000


That's the difference.


But really, sensors in your FX1 are cheaper than the 90k broadcast cams, glass isn't as good, and other things like sensor size.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 11:10 PM   #4
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I thought 80k cameras were the key too.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #5
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Ba-dum . . . ting!

(Thank you. Thank you. He's here all week)

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Old May 5th, 2010, 11:39 PM   #6
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Two words: production value.

It's in the planning, the budget, the resources, the facilities, the lighting, the lighting, the lighting, and the grading. But mostly it's the crew. Take a look at the credits list... all of those names put together equal the single most important thing you don't have, and the primary reason why their product looks as good as it does.

The camera itself really doesn't have very much to do with it at all.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #7
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And to prove it, I've seen some crap broadcast... especially right when the changeover was happening... I think it took a while to get used to the new "toys".

Like anything else, you can take cheap gear and get relatively outstanding results, or good gear and make garbage. Inexpensive cameras have their limits, you have to figure out how to work within them, the more you learn, the more the limitations will "bug" you (and not the other 99.99% of the population).

Learn to squeeze all you can out of the gear you've got and focus on CONTENT - there's a lot of things broadcast that look so bad I cringe, but they are being broadcast because it's what people want to see. Image quality is a consideration far down the list, if it's a clip of some famous person doing something dumb...

The consideration of image quality comes higher up when it's a "serious production", but it still boils down to THE CONTENT, and with HD for the masses and their dog, that content needs to tickle the brian, not just the eyes.

An optically perfect, non-aliased, uncompressed and artifact free clip of a brick wall might excite a pixel peeper for a little bit... but in the end it's not of terribly much value, and no one will watch it for very long.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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I used to shoot with an F900 before I left the network, and my Z1U is virtually indistinguishable.

It's the talent behind the camera that matters.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 08:54 AM   #9
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Mike

given your industry experience

what are you tips, for shooting high quality video with a Z1 ?
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Old May 11th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #10
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I took a Cinematography class given by Hiro Narita where he showed parts of a movie he had just finished principal photography on using a Sony EX3. Native 35Mb codec and the stock lens. It was a "small budget" indie film (budget was less than $5M). The pictures were spectacular. And so you can take an $8k camera and make it look like a $80k camera if put in the right hands.

The way to improve your production value is through good lighting, correct framing, and know your cameras strengths and weaknesses.

Most importantly, as David said, focus on good content and a compelling story.

Garrett
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Old May 31st, 2010, 12:55 AM   #11
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I'll add to Garrett Low, in that great audio will always make your pictures look better & the viewer will never know.

But the biggest thing is lighting, framing & color correction. A Canon HV20 with those three things will look better than a Panasonic Varicam if it is lacking those aspects.
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