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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 March 11th, 2006, 05:57 PM   #1
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The truth about HDV Z1 Keying...

Howdy...

I'd read many topics about using HDV for keying, and how terrible it is due to the MPEG compression and such. I decided to do a few tests... Here are the results...

I shot some quick and dirty footage (didn't white balance, didn't light the scenes with much care, etc...) The scenes were shot indoors with a flexi-screen. Twin flourescent lights lit up the screen, while I was lit with fairly rudimentary 3-point lighting with three softboxes.

I shot basically the same thing first with my Sony DSR-390, and then again with my Sony Z1, in HDV mode. Most settings were on auto on both cameras.

The screen basically looked like this:

http://www.rooproductions.com/keytest/grnscrn2.jpg

First I shot with the DSR, captured with DVRACK, and took it straight into Serious Magic Ultra to key. This is the only app I key with generally. The results looked pretty good for 20mins worth of work:

http://www.rooproductions.com/keytest/dvkey1.jpg

Then I shot the same thing again with the Z1, captured to HDVRack, compressed with Cineform, imported into Vegas, and shrunk to DV Spec, rendered and brought it into Ultra. I found this key to be just as easy to work with as the DV key. Probably should have white balanced, but I was in a hurry...:-)...

http://www.rooproductions.com/keytest/hdvkey1.jpg

Finally, I took the same footage and blew it up 200% in Vegas before rendering, too see if I could get a '2nd camera' close up from the original HDV footage:

http://www.rooproductions.com/keytest/hdvkey2.jpg

My conclusions? HDV keys just fine, thanks very much. With these quick and dirty settings, I was able to get very acceptable keys. Much of what I do these days is delivered via flash for internet delivery, and I think the quality of these keys is quite acceptable for that. With more time and care, even better keys could be produced...

If you're intersted in seeing the actual footage, you can find it here:

Ben's HDV Keying Test

I hope this helps folks who are worried about keying wiht HDV. I now feel that the HDV format is just fine for creating acceptable keys, at least with Serious Magic Ultra.

Best,

Ben
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Old March 11th, 2006, 11:26 PM   #2
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Links don't work

Please let us know when your site is online. I'm interested in seeing your tests. Thanks!
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:09 AM   #3
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Howdy...

The links work for me. Can someone else confirm if they can get to the jpgs and the video?

The video does require flash 8, which you can get from the link at the bottom of the page...

Thanks,

Ben
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:20 AM   #4
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Still no luck

Sorry, Benjamin, still doesn't work for me. I don't think it's my connection because I can view other sites.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:25 AM   #5
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Understood. Can someone else please confirm?

Thanks,

Ben
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:47 AM   #6
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Benjamin,

BTW, I'm no techie, but I tried to ping your website and it timed out.

Darn, well, I'll just try again tomorrow. Thanks.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 02:49 AM   #7
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I tested earlier today and can still load the JPEGs, but the videos are all black. The page for the video loads, so it is not a connection issue.

I use Firefox and Opera. I do not allow IE to run on my machine unless the need is severe.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #8
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Works fine on my Firefox, sh8, XP sp2...

They look great btw.


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Old March 12th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #9
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Thanks. If they videos are black, it's probably because you need Flash 8. There is a link at the bottom of the page to get the update.

Best,

Ben
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Old March 12th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #10
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The page loads perfectly here, great key!
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Old March 12th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #11
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The keying looks very good to me Benjamin - viewed the clips with no problem at all (but then I 've probably got every codec/player/whatever on my PC :-) )

I though the "blow-up" worked very well.

Robin
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:34 PM   #12
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Yep, I can view the links now. The keys look good to me and are good enough for internet delivery as you said.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #13
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Here is my first key. I used an Z1U/FCP nothing else. It's also my first time lighting a green screen and I can certainly see where I went wrong in that department.

http://www.feelthisfilms.com/media/test1.mov

Is there any z1 settings that I should be aware of that make keying easier? Any other comments on this would definately appreciated. I'm here to learn.
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