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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 October 26th, 2005, 12:54 PM   #1
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questions about Sony FX1 and HD/HDV

OK, this camcorder (Sony FX1) has just recently grabbed my attention and I have not been researching HD/HDV at all yet til now so please bear with me.

My first question is; What is the difference between "HD" and "HDV"? Is there any difference or are these terms used interchangably.

second question; when it comes to the "HDV/DV switching feature" that this FX1 camera has.....is this as simple as it sounds. If I switch to regular DV, am I recording as if I have a regular Digital Video camera?? and if so...what kinda "quality" regular DV??

I am very close to buying a panasonic GS400 and I realize that these cameras (sony fx1 and panasonic gs400) are two entirely different animals.
But my thoughts are that if the FX1 is just as good in "standard DV mode" as the Panasonic GS400 quality, then I may go for the FX1 so when I am ready to dig into HDV I already have a camcorder with this feature.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 01:34 PM   #2
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HDV is a highly compressed form of HD. Really too much to cover in a post, and there are plenty of articles which discuss it at length. Here's a good place to start: http://adamwilt.com/HDV/

Yes, you can simply change a menu setting and the FX1 will shoot standard DV. Even more interesting however, you can shoot HDV but set the firewire port to send DV. The camera does the downconversion on the fly as you playback a tape. This sort of gives you the best of both worlds with an HDV master tape that you can work with as standard DV.

I don't have a GS400 but I have a PDX10 which uses the same CCD's (or at least the specs are identical). I think there will be no contest here. The FX1 has native 16:9 shaped 1/3" chips which are substantially bigger than the GS400. It also has very nice manual controls and a lot of menu options to tweak the image.

You might also look at the Z1, which is the "pro" cousin of the FX1. See the following for a comparison:

http://www.hdvinfo.net/articles/sonyhdrfx1/compare.php
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Old October 26th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #3
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Boyd, I have to say I am very excited about this. your post brought good news. I am going to start checking out the links you provided. Thanks. I think I have read somewhere that HD is a lot better for compositing than SD like green screen chroma key. Is this the way you understand it. Thanks for the help Boyd.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #4
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Actually there are some threads here where people have complained about problems compositing HDV. I have no experience in this area personally. But the in-camera downconverted footage looks really nice to me. Seems like that would be cleaner than shooting with a regular DV camera, but this seems to be an area of ongoing debate.

Spend a little while browsing back through this forum for more insight.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Witt
My first question is; What is the difference between "HD" and "HDV"? Is there any difference or are these terms used interchangably.
HD is a set of display options defined (in the US) by the ATSC specification, of which the two most common formats currently used are 720p and 1080i. HDV is one of several available recording formats designed to generate an HD image, and is more compressed than other HD recording formats like DVCProHD, HDCAM, etc. Some fans of the more expensive formats like to say that HDV isn't 'real' HD because of its compression, but neglect to mention that the formats they prefer are also significantly compressed. So HDV is to HD as apples are to fruit, or as DV is to SD.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 07:57 PM   #6
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Many tests have shown that shooting in HDV on the FX1/Z1 and downconverting in camera out through the FW port yields slightly better results that shooting in DV on the camera to begin with.

We shoot everything in HDV (with the FX1) and output DV for editing. We can come back and online an HD version at any time if we need to.

I've not yet done any compositing with HDV directly, but I have done quite a bit of green screen work with material shot in HDV and downconverted to DV in camera. It's been the same as working with stuff shot with my GL2.

Basically, the FX1 is a great SD camera and the HDV is just icing on the cake.

Sweet, sweet icing...
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Old November 6th, 2005, 02:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan McCullough
I've not yet done any compositing with HDV directly, but I have done quite a bit of green screen work with material shot in HDV and downconverted to DV in camera. It's been the same as working with stuff shot with my GL2.
HDV is excellent acquisition format for blue/greenscreen, if you're working on SD.

Here's how to do it: digitize the footage as native .mt2 file. From this, make an uncompressed standard definition copy using your NLE. I use Vegas, which gives excellent results.

What will happen, is that when scaling down in software, the blockiness of the 4:2:0 color sampling of HDV, as well as basicly all visible compression artifacts will be averaged out. The result looks spiffy!! In my side by side tests, it's slightly better than Digibeta, if one processes the footage correctly.

This is VERY different from using MiniDV conversion - the standard def being uncompressed is the key to perfect compositions.

I've gotten some rather good results when keying HD too, but not as good as in SD.

See this for more:
http://www.kolumbus.fi/erkki.halkka/...nd_keying.html

Edit: added the link

Last edited by Eki Halkka; November 6th, 2005 at 02:59 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:18 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info!
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