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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 August 9th, 2005, 09:54 PM   #1
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a "film" look with the Z1

from what I understand the Z1 has 24p. does this give it a film look similar to the dvx100? is it even possible to simultaneously have a film look and hd look?

if I'm trying to achieve a film look is the Z1 the right camera to use, assuming the dvx100 is not available?

thanks for your time.
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Old August 9th, 2005, 11:09 PM   #2
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For a better film look using the Z1 shot with CineFrame25 (rather than CineFrame24) as the temporal cadence is correct. I shot my last short using CineFrame25 converted to 24p on capture. See info on the CineFrame modes here: http://www.cineform.com/products/Son.../CineFrame.htm
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Old August 9th, 2005, 11:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Osman
from what I understand the Z1 has 24p.
For clarification -- no, the Z1 doesn't have 24p, nor does it do any sort of progressive scan at all. It is an interlaced camera.

It does offer some CineFrame effects to simulate progressive scan. The CineFrame 24 is awful, but CineFrame 25 does a nice job of simulating 25p (although at lower vertical resolution).

Quote:
does this give it a film look similar to the dvx100?
No, CF24 looks nothing filmlike. CineFrame 25 would give a temporal feel similar to a European DVX shooting 25p.

Quote:
is it even possible to simultaneously have a film look and hd look?
Yes, if you shoot with a 24P HD camera (such as the VariCam, CineAlta, or the new JVC HD100 or Panasonic HVX200). CineFrame 25 can give a similar look but it's less "HD" than the Z1 otherwise would be; CineFrame 25 cuts the vertical resolution down to where it's about the same vertical resolution as a PAL DVX (but still twice as much horizontal resolution).

Quote:
if I'm trying to achieve a film look is the Z1 the right camera to use, assuming the dvx100 is not available?
Others may disagree vehemently, but I'd say no, definitely not. The right camera to use would be the SDX900 or SPX800, if you can afford a 2/3" camera -- they're the ultimate filmlook SD cameras. Or an XL2, with edge enhancement toned down a bit, and perhaps with color saturation tweaked up a bit. Or the JVC HD100, pending getting reports of its real-life image quality. All those cameras shoot pure progressive scan at 24 frames per second, meaning genuine film motion at full resolution. Presumably the HVX200 (when it's available) will offer the ultimate, as it'll have genuine 24p, the DVX's CineGamma functions, and 1080 resolution, and 4:2:2 color sampling, and a prosumer-level price point.

The Z1 is best used for what it's designed for and made for -- producing high-def interlaced footage. That's where that camera shines its brightest, that's where it's at its best, and that's where you're most likely to get the "wow" factor from it. Trying to use it for a purpose for which it wasn't designed will demand compromises and introduce limitations.
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Old August 9th, 2005, 11:48 PM   #4
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Barry,

How about CF30? What's its most useful purpose?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
For clarification -- no, the Z1 doesn't have 24p, nor does it do any sort of progressive scan at all. It is an interlaced camera.

It does offer some CineFrame effects to simulate progressive scan. The CineFrame 24 is awful, but CineFrame 25 does a nice job of simulating 25p (although at lower vertical resolution).


No, CF24 looks nothing filmlike. CineFrame 25 would give a temporal feel similar to a European DVX shooting 25p.


Yes, if you shoot with a 24P HD camera (such as the VariCam, CineAlta, or the new JVC HD100 or Panasonic HVX200). CineFrame 25 can give a similar look but it's less "HD" than the Z1 otherwise would be; CineFrame 25 cuts the vertical resolution down to where it's about the same vertical resolution as a PAL DVX (but still twice as much horizontal resolution).


Others may disagree vehemently, but I'd say no, definitely not. The right camera to use would be the SDX900 or SPX800, if you can afford a 2/3" camera -- they're the ultimate filmlook SD cameras. Or an XL2, with edge enhancement toned down a bit, and perhaps with color saturation tweaked up a bit. Or the JVC HD100, pending getting reports of its real-life image quality. All those cameras shoot pure progressive scan at 24 frames per second, meaning genuine film motion at full resolution. Presumably the HVX200 (when it's available) will offer the ultimate, as it'll have genuine 24p, the DVX's CineGamma functions, and 1080 resolution, and 4:2:2 color sampling, and a prosumer-level price point.

The Z1 is best used for what it's designed for and made for -- producing high-def interlaced footage. That's where that camera shines its brightest, that's where it's at its best, and that's where you're most likely to get the "wow" factor from it. Trying to use it for a purpose for which it wasn't designed will demand compromises and introduce limitations.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #5
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the following clip was 'filmed' handheld with a FX1E and is a 5th generation compression copy (30 megish)

http://s59.yousendit.com/d.php?id=1U...C43CCKGSI3VPGK


this may answer your question
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Old August 11th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
Barry,

How about CF30? What's its most useful purpose?
CF30 is a pretty good simulation of 30p. None of the off-speed motion rendition of CF24; instead it offers an exact simulation of the motion of 30p. It's lower resolution (since it's only one field) but I've found that it seems less artifacty (i.e., it seems to help the MPEG compression out by being lower res).

I'm not a fan of 30p though, whether CF30 or genuine 30p. It's a very limited format. It can't be transferred to PAL 25p, it can't be transferred to film, it doesn't look like film frame rates, it's sort of a hybrid film/video look. Some people like it, and it's definitely more filmlike than 60i.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #7
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Are there any issues of shooting CF30 with a 1/30 shutter speed that you know?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
CF30 is a pretty good simulation of 30p. None of the off-speed motion rendition of CF24; instead it offers an exact simulation of the motion of 30p. It's lower resolution (since it's only one field) but I've found that it seems less artifacty (i.e., it seems to help the MPEG compression out by being lower res).

I'm not a fan of 30p though, whether CF30 or genuine 30p. It's a very limited format. It can't be transferred to PAL 25p, it can't be transferred to film, it doesn't look like film frame rates, it's sort of a hybrid film/video look. Some people like it, and it's definitely more filmlike than 60i.
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Old August 11th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #8
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More motion blur. :) Otherwise no other issues.
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Old August 28th, 2005, 12:10 AM   #9
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Two elements contribute to "film look" -- 24p and gamma. Cinetone (gamma change) gives more of a "film look" on the Z1 than Cineframe, in my opinion. I prefer shooting with Cinetone and rendering out 24p in the NLE. If you are really transferring to film, check out DV Film and their book.
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Old August 28th, 2005, 02:44 AM   #10
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The problem with Cinetone, either 1 or 2, is that even with Black Stretch on, it seems to crash the blacks. At first I thought that Cinetone was something like Dyna latitude or Dynamic Contrast Control. This is not the case. Cinetone basically kills any clipping but overall it seems to affect the pedestal and not just the midtones or highlights. For me it looks almost unusable. And in not enought (not low light), it is definitely unusable, either 1 or 2. I am wondering if pedestal needs to be raised to 7 IRE in the Z1 in order to use Cinetone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Waters
Two elements contribute to "film look" -- 24p and gamma. Cinetone (gamma change) gives more of a "film look" on the Z1 than Cineframe, in my opinion. I prefer shooting with Cinetone and rendering out 24p in the NLE. If you are really transferring to film, check out DV Film and their book.
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Old August 28th, 2005, 06:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
The problem with Cinetone, either 1 or 2, is that even with Black Stretch on, it seems to crash the blacks. At first I thought that Cinetone was something like Dyna latitude or Dynamic Contrast Control. This is not the case. Cinetone basically kills any clipping but overall it seems to affect the pedestal and not just the midtones or highlights. For me it looks almost unusable. And in not enought (not low light), it is definitely unusable, either 1 or 2. I am wondering if pedestal needs to be raised to 7 IRE in the Z1 in order to use Cinetone.
YOU are totally correct. CineTone crushes mid- to low-levels and has no value at all. Especially, since does NOT really prevent clipping!

It is Sony's idea of what 1960's K64 looked like. No one would shoot with such a film stock today.

Thankfully, it looks like JVC has included a true Varicam Cinegamma for transfer to film.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
The problem with Cinetone, either 1 or 2, is that even with Black Stretch on, it seems to crash the blacks. At first I thought that Cinetone was something like Dyna latitude or Dynamic Contrast Control. This is not the case. Cinetone basically kills any clipping but overall it seems to affect the pedestal and not just the midtones or highlights. For me it looks almost unusable.
Perhaps it's unusable by old standards, but look at all the new DVD releases, be that film source or video source. The way they are color graded nowadays is that there are hardly any shadows left to look at. Most of the shadows areas are nearly black. I have to pump the CRT's/Plasma's brightness or gamma quite a bit up in order to see anything in the shadows of the latest Hollywood DVD releases. Compare that to Cinetone 1 or even 2 on Z1, and Z1's video with Cinetone looks with way too much detail in shadows and almost no blacks. Everything from Z1 lacks contrast if you calibrate your monitor to Hollywood's DVD's and try to watch Z1 material afterwards. And I'm not even speaking of Black Stretch. Try watching video shot with that on a monitor that was calibrated according to THX suggestions - the video will look completely dull.

So no, Z1's Cinetone doesn't kill shadows, it just tries to match them closer to what you see on popular video releases these days. Perhaps Hollywood does such high contrast DVD's because of the poor contrast abilities of many plasma/projection/lcd TV's? I don't know.

I now almost always use Cinetone 1 when shooting outdoors. The question remains though: Do I increase contrast even more afterwards in NLE for the final output, or do I leave it alone? I'm afraid that if I leave it as Z1 captured it, it will look dull on TV's that are calibrated to the latest trends.

I was at the DV Expo East in July and got a Sony HDV Demo DVD "Sony HDV for Professionals is Here", prepared by Douglas Spotted Eagle (I'm assuming). While everything in the Titles 1 through 3 color- and contrast-wise looks just like what I normally shoot with with Z1, the Title 4 with a final demo montage looks very different. There was definitely some color grading work applied and what I noticed the most is that contrast was also increased, so all the shadows areas look even darker on the same shots that looked normal in Titles 1 through 3. I don't know who did that enhancement for Title 4 montage, but sure it needed to be mentioned that it wasn't just shot with HVR-Z1, but that it was also further enhanced. It definitely has a different, darker and crisper look on the same footage.

So I'm guessing that the high contrast video is "in" (just like digital audio maximizing beyond belief has been "in" for a few years already in music recording industry). And if you want to be "in" with your videos, I guess you gotta make sure to nearly kill all your shadow detail.

One of the extreme examples of killed shadows that comes to mind is the Region 1 "Van Helsing" DVD. Pump up the brightness on your monitor and there's still not much there to see. I realize that it's a dark film, but even in the ballroom scenes, there's hardly any shadow details at all. More and more commercial releases seem to have that crushed look these days.

I really do like to view the medium contrast video on quality CRT monitors with lower brightness/higher contrast levels set up. But it seems that nowadays you have to master your image so it's suitable for a new generation of monitors, that usually suffer from low contrast. Therefore you pump it up in your final product.

Am I wrong on all this? After all, ultra high contrast seems to be the latest "film look" coming out from Hollywood, which is a complete opposite of the film look that people here are talking about (high level of detail in shadows, etc.). Aren't we all supposed to follow Hollywood in that trend if we want to achieve the "look"?
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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:17 AM   #13
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You almost answered your own question. First off, the way to watch Hollywood movies as intended by the director/producer is not by the monitor you own but by the projected image on the big screen, in other words, the release print !!!!!!!!!!!

Second, a video producer does not rely on how an image is produced on a plasma monitor, an LCD screen or the latest high technology consumer monitor sold by your local video store but by oscilloscopes, which are the only way which you can tell if your image is calibrated to view for the general public on ANYTHING including BROADCAST. If you do not understand this, go back to VIDEO ENGINEERING 101.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruslan Odintsov

Am I wrong on all this? After all, ultra high contrast seems to be the latest "film look" coming out from Hollywood, which is a complete opposite of the film look that people here are talking about (high level of detail in shadows, etc.). Aren't we all supposed to follow Hollywood in that trend if we want to achieve the "look"?
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Old August 30th, 2005, 12:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
You almost answered your own question. First off, the way to watch Hollywood movies as intended by the director/producer is not by the monitor you own but by the projected image on the big screen, in other words, the release print !!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, but what most people here are trying to achieve is the "film look" that is displayed on video monitor and not in the theatre. In the theatre film print, yes I see all the details and gradations. But why do they crush blacks during the DVD mastering? And if they do that why shouldn't we do it as well. They set the standards, they gave us a crappy 24p with pulldown look, and many of us (not me though) followed like sheep and now shoot everything in 24p, wich still doesn't look like real film, no matter what you do to it. CCD produced image will never look like film. Just look at digital still cameras and the images they produce. While some of them are excellent, it still doesn't look like film. So with videocameras, you might as well take the advantage of 50i or 60i (or 50p/60p if you can do that), which produces a far better and natural result than 24p/25p/30p. If you really want a film look - shoot on real film. It's as simple as that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
Second, a video producer does not rely on how an image is produced on a plasma monitor, an LCD screen or the latest high technology consumer monitor sold by your local video store but by oscilloscopes, which are the only way which you can tell if your image is calibrated to view for the general public on ANYTHING including BROADCAST.
Guess what? If you're a smart producer, after using all your fancy oscilloscopes, you would go out and test your final output on any kind of display equipment currently available to consumer, to make sure that your product looks good. After all, those are the kinds of displays that your production will be viewed at, and if you ignore that, then I'd feel sorry for you. Theory is theory, oscilloscopes are oscilloscopes, but sometimes you just have to go out and see what the masses are gonna see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusto Manuel
If you do not understand this, go back to VIDEO ENGINEERING 101.
Is that a suggestion or an insult? Please clarify. On a final note, I've seen way too much "professional" video work that made me want to puke. All kinds of atrocities I've seen, including dull images, severe compression problems, sound issues, scaling and field artifacts and many more, which can normally be avoided with some little brains and common sense applied to the workflow. If those professionals are using VIDEO ENGINEERING 101 or, God forbid, maybe even 102, as their only user's manual, without being in touch with reality and not learning anything new in practice, then your advice/insult is pointless. I'm not a real video professional, but I'm proud of my audio and video work (with many happy and returning clients), first of all because I set high standards, and try to achieve them by any means possible. If some real professional says here that "Method A" is the wrong way, but "Method B" is the only right way to do things, I'll go with "Method A" if that is the only thing that will contribute to my high production values. I'm open minded. I just wish that everybody on this forum was open minded too. I'm not trying to insult anybody, but just stating what I often see here: "professionals" looking down at "amateurs", dismissing everything constructive that the "amateur" might say. Oh well...
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Old August 30th, 2005, 09:34 AM   #15
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I think we should remember we are only talking about "faking it" -- this isn't film but I want to fake it on DVD to make it look like film.

I went to the DV Film class on shooting video for transfer to film a few weeks ago. I wanted to work out the best workflow for myself. The point they make is to send them unprocessed video. The film will naturally give it the "film look." If you send them Cinetone, it will only get darker -- too dark. We watched some very good 35mm film from digital cameras, including the Z1.

I changed plans on shooting a feature in Cinetone to just shooting straight 60i and then giving it the look I want in post for the DVD. If the DVD is accepted at a top notch film festival or a distributor picks it up, remove the post changes and send them the 20 min. reels the way they want for film transfer. (Personally, I plan on using "Ultimate S" and "Reel Packs" in Vegas because they are just Vegas effects which can be tweaked and are easy to apply and remove.)

So I guess I've come full circle back to something an old video producer told me, "Shoot the best video you can and do the effects in post."
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