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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 July 25th, 2005, 09:23 PM   #16
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Standard definition is flat out obsolete. In this day and age all wedding videographers should shoot in high definition. A wedding video is an heirloom that lasts a lifetime and it needs the future proofing of high definition.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #17
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You can always rent to start out. I can get a FX1 in L.A. for 175.00 a day
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Old July 29th, 2005, 12:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy James
Standard definition is flat out obsolete. In this day and age all wedding videographers should shoot in high definition. A wedding video is an heirloom that lasts a lifetime and it needs the future proofing of high definition.
On the other side of the coin, shooting in HD now does not give you something to deliver the product on. You can downconvert it to SD but you're somewhat defeating the purpose. I would also argue that the majority of wedding clients would not come back in 2-3 years for their HD copy. For those who run a business the last thing you want to do is re-visit weddings from previous years.

Weddings Videos are heirlooms but to say that SD is obsolete is incorrect when the vast majority of people still own SD TV's.

When the HD delivery format finally arrives, the public adopts it and last but not least my customers start asking for it then will I adopt it.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 07:54 AM   #19
 
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[QUOTE=Mathew Evan] I would also argue that the majority of wedding clients would not come back in 2-3 years for their HD copy. For those who run a business the last thing you want to do is re-visit weddings from previous years.

Weddings Videos are heirlooms but to say that SD is obsolete is incorrect when the vast majority of people still own SD TV's.
QUOTE]

I would have to disagree here. Business is business, and part of that business is selling services that benefit your client at a profit to the business.
If you have the ability to shoot HD now, then you have the ability to:

a-deliver a MUCH better picture in SD, which is your responsibility to the client, IMO. Just because they're satisfied with a lesser quality doesn't mean you should be delivering it.

b-upsell them on the HD copy in 24-36 months. After all, you own the master. You may be right; the customer may not be coming to you. That's why I get phone calls, snail mail, and email in the form of *advertising.* These people are asking me to come to them. That's what businesses do.

Further, how many referrals will you get if you shoot SD today,and they ask for an HD copy in a couple years when the customer does have a hi-def monitor? Any business (as opposed to a part time hobbyist) that isn't future-looking all the time, is simply biding time until they close their doors, whether it's video or selling tires.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 08:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathew Evan
You can downconvert it to SD but you're somewhat defeating the purpose.
I won't offer an opinion about the marketability of HD to brides and grooms, but I do take issue with the statement above. With the FX1 and Z1 you can shoot in HDV 1080i mode and choose a menu option where the camera downconverts, sending a 480i SD signal over firewire. So no extra work is involved in maintaining HDV masters while capturing and editing SD. But the SD image you get using this process is noticeably cleaner than shooting in SD mode.

If you get a Z1 you also have the ability to shoot PAL which might come in handy someday.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #21
 
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I'm not so much commenting on marketing to brides/grooms either, but rather the statement about business, and people not coming to the production company looking for something. This is marketing 101....take your product to the people, rather than the other way around. HD is a nice bullet point in a marketing brochure, yellow page ad, or business card.
Same comment as Boyd made, and I made in the post above. Shoot HDV and downconverting offers a much better image than you'll get with even very high end SD cameras. For a quarter the cost.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 04:37 PM   #22
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>Shoot HDV and downconverting offers a much better image than you'll get with even very high end SD cameras. For a quarter the cost>

If a person has FCP5, which I understands edits HDV, are you saying that if you shoot HDV, edit HDV, then deliver SD masters or DVDs, the quality is better than if you used a bigger chip camera and stayed SD all the way?
The Sony demo DVD of the Z1 looks as if this would be true, but I'm assuming that was bumped to HD and edited full HD and then downconverted.

Or are you saying shoot HDV and downconvert when you capture?
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Old July 29th, 2005, 04:54 PM   #23
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I still use FCP 4.5, but have read that FCP 5 does a good job of downconverting. But I was suggesting shooting HDV and using the camera to downconvert. This is done from the IN/OUT menu (hmm, that reminds me of Clockwork Orange ;-) You would choose i.LINK CONV and set it for ON. Now all that data from the firewire port will be in SD DV format.

I've tried a quick test shooting the same thing in DV mode and then HDV with in-camera down-conversion. The downsampled footage was noticeably more detailed. Still frames looked a little better, but watching the video in motion showed even more improvement.

So unless you want to shoot DVCAM, or if you want to play the tapes in a regualr DV deck, it seems best to shoot everything in 1080i and downconvert with the camera if you need SD. You can also choose to output component video shot in HDV mode as 480p which looks really nice on my widescreen LCD. Unfortunately there is no way to send the 480p (or 576p in PAL mode) video out the firewire port.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #24
 
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[QUOTE=Bill Pryor]>Shoot HDV and downconverting offers a much better image than you'll get with even very high end SD cameras. For a quarter the cost>
The Sony demo DVD of the Z1 looks as if this would be true, but I'm assuming that was bumped to HD and edited full HD and then downconverted.
QUOTE]

HDV is a subset of the HD standard. It is HD. Just because it's compressed HD doesn't mean it's not HD. Most HD is either compressed, chroma subsampled, or both. No matter what cam at what price range. There is this ridiculous myth that if it's not 4:2:2 YUV from the cam, it's not HD, or not broadcastable, or not pro, or other such nonsense.

That said, the Sony footage was shot on a prototype Z1, captured via component in, edited as HD, and delivered as SD. That's not quite the workflow we use, and our images are actually better than what that was back then. Remember, that's technology that goes back nearly a year now, and in HDV-land, a year is ancient.

The place you do the downconversion is entirely dependent on what NLE you use. If you use FCP 5, I'd NEVER consider downsampling in the NLE. If you use Vegas, I'd ONLY consider downsampling there. Vegas does better downsamples than the camera hardware does, and FCP does worse downsamples than the camera hardware does. A lot of NLE's fall in between those places. For FCP for instance, I'll take the HD analog outs of the cam, capture as SD using a Convergent Design, BlueFish, or Aja box as either 8 or 10 bit. In Vegas, I capture the m2t stream, convert to either CineForm 4:2:2, 4:2:2 YUV, or 4:1:1 DV proxy, entirely depending on how the client wants the media delivered. In the case of the Sony DVD, they knew it was going to DVD, and I'm sure they wanted to stay in the 4:2:0 world, simply to avoid transcoding. However, when that DVD was made, there was nothing available that could capture a 1080i stream from the cam.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
For FCP for instance, I'll take the HD analog outs of the cam, capture as SD using a Convergent Design, BlueFish, or Aja box
This raises a question I've been wondering about. If you set the component output to downconvert HDV to 480p you get a very nice looking progressive image. Is there some reasonably priced card which can capture 480p (and 576p) on the Mac as an alternative to working in HD?
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Old July 29th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Mathew Evan
On the other side of the coin, shooting in HD now does not give you something to deliver the product on.
Actually there is, but we don't yet have the mainstream delivery solutions we'll be getting next year. Plus HDV downsamples very nicely to true widescreen SD video, which only a handful of SD cameras can produce. So you can deliver excellent widescreen video to any customer and "pretty good" HD video to high-tech customers willing to work with current delivery options. Things are good now and will be much better in another 6-12 months.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 12:45 AM   #27
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Saying HDV isn't HD is like saying DV isn't real SD video just because it happens to be compressed more.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 12:50 AM   #28
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Boyd a SD decklink uncompressed card can be had for around $295.00. The problem is that the card is SDI only and all current HDV cameras only have firewire and component output. There is the Decklink Extreme that is the same as the card above except it has component inputs and outputs for SD. That card I think is $895.00. I haven't tried it but using that card with the component jacks on a HDV camera should give very nice quality for "live" shooting.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 07:52 AM   #29
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SD is not obselete

This one goes out to Tommy with the comment on SD being obsolete. I definitely do not agree. If you are primarily shooting for DVD, there is no discernable difference. I have edited a lot of footage downgraded from HDV to SD off of Z1's and Canon XLHD. The Canon does have a very nice picture, but essentially on DVD the difference is nothing. I have a nice screen to view the end product on and I have tested footage from my PD170P compared to footage from the Z1, there is no difference. In fact, the Z1 has very poor dynamic range and will not beat the PD170P in low light. I can get an excellent picture with little grain even at +15db, whereas the Z1 would lose it in the blacks and because of poor dynamic range be hard to pull anything out without severe mosquito noise. The Z1 is prone to overshooting and blowing out the highlights and HDV is unforgiving if you have the focus slightly out. Also if you get a dropout, it is pretty severe on HDV, DV standard def is hardly noticeable. Nobody is interested in HDDVD or Blu-Ray just yet, also the majority of TV's are not true high definition, so until it becomes mass market, standard definition is far from over. Once they start producing High Definition TV's (that are affordable) and networks broadcast in all HD, then we may see the shift occur. For now and especially for shooting weddings and live events, SD is great. I would rather shoot with the PD170P for any night event than the Z1. Actually, I am waiting until Sony bring out something better!
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Old June 25th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jamie Kehoe View Post
I have a nice screen to view the end product on and I have tested footage from my PD170P compared to footage from the Z1, there is no difference.
I'd disagree with that for delivery in widescreen format, which is what looks best on modern HDTVs. When I compared several HD and SD cameras side-by-side last year shooting the same test subjects, the SD footage deteriorated badly when converted to widescreen format. If you're delivering 4:3 output then that doesn't matter, but that probably means your customers are viewing your finished videos in "stretch" mode on their best HDTV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Kehoe View Post
In fact, the Z1 has very poor dynamic range and will not beat the PD170P in low light. I can get an excellent picture with little grain even at +15db, whereas the Z1 would lose it in the blacks and because of poor dynamic range be hard to pull anything out without severe mosquito noise. The Z1 is prone to overshooting and blowing out the highlights and HDV is unforgiving if you have the focus slightly out. Also if you get a dropout, it is pretty severe on HDV, DV standard def is hardly noticeable.
No question the PD170 is a champ when it comes to low-light shooting, but the Z1U is serving many folks well in all but the worst lighting conditions. If you must shoot without additional lighting in a very dark room then the PD170 has an edge, but you can add light to a dark scene and you can't add resolution to an SD camera. Focus issues are similar unless you're planning to deliver in HD, in which case HDV clearly has an edge for image quality and you just have to learn how to focus accurately. Dropouts have been less of an issue for me shooting HDV than they were shooting DV (perhaps because the error correction is better), and even a 1-frame dropout in DV will ruin a shot just as much as a longer dropout would in HDV. For anything critical either run two cameras or attach a hard-drive recorder to a tape-based camera, then dropouts become a neglible issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Kehoe View Post
Nobody is interested in HDDVD or Blu-Ray just yet, also the majority of TV's are not true high definition, so until it becomes mass market, standard definition is far from over. Once they start producing High Definition TV's (that are affordable) and networks broadcast in all HD, then we may see the shift occur.
I've had several customers inquire about HD delivery over the past year or so and recently sold a Blu-ray upgrade to someone who doesn't even own a Blu-ray player yet. Most TVs for sale in most electronics stores now are at least 720p resolution (which is by definition HD), and I recently picked up a 1080p set for about $1100. Networks are starting to brag about shooting in HD even on their SD broadcast channels, and there's a similar marketing opportunity for independent producers regardless of how the final output is delivered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Kehoe View Post
I would rather shoot with the PD170P for any night event than the Z1. Actually, I am waiting until Sony bring out something better!
The Sony XDCAM EX may prove to be the answer for those who haven't been happy with current low-cost HD cameras, but it won't come cheap. Once that's available the main excuse for not shooting in HD will be if customers simply don't want to pay for it, and there's no arguing with that. But eventually HD will become standard and customers will come to expect it for professional work, so it's mainly a question of when to make the switch. Now that HD delivery is becoming a practical reality it's time to have a production process in mind if customers inquire about HD, and be prepared to implement that if someone's willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile.
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