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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 22nd, 2006, 11:54 PM   #1
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Fx1 - Need Advice!!!

Hey everyone,

I am an independent filmmaker from Detroit and I am heading into my first experience with HDV technology. After doing some research and talking to a few pros, I have decided that I am going to purchase the Sony HDR FX1 in the next few months.

I am going to be shooting a few shorts, and a documentary. And for the documentary, I need to shoot it so it is suitable for a film transfer.

I just wanted to see if there were any comments about this camera that I have not yet heard. I am new to the technology, so please try and simplify for me.

What can you tell me? Share your wisdom!
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:11 AM   #2
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There's been plenty written about this camera here already, so to try and precis all the info now would be a waste of time and probably not do the camera justice.
Try doing a search for the camera - all I'll add is that it won't disappoint you - I use it myself ;-)


Robin
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:33 AM   #3
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Yep, doing a site search will get you what you're looking for. Some areas you might want to look in include the loss of aperture when zooming in, CF24 and CF30, Cinematone (I think the FX1 has it), overscan, compatable tripods, audio levels in auto, shooting HDV and downconversion and things like that.

I have no experience in shooting for film but most people seem to prefer shooting in 60i then converting to 24p in post. The camera's built-in CF modes combine progressive and interlaced frames to simulate an overall progressive look (that's a simplified explanation, there's more info out there on it).

Good luck!
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 06:47 AM   #4
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Regarding the "loss of aperture when zooming in," every prosumer camera does this so it really isn't an issue. It has to do with zoom lens design.

Yes, the FX1 has Cinematone type 1 whereas the Z1 has this and type 2.

On the overscan issue; again, all prosumer camcorders have viewfinders and LCD screens which overscan (in other words, they don't display the entire image all the way to the edges which can result in things like microphones being recorded to tape by accident). The Z1 does feature an underscan mode ("allscan" in Sony-speak) which shows the full image.

The CF (Cineframe) modes don't "combine progressive and interlaced frames." The FX1 is an interlaced camera; it can't capture progressive frames. The CF modes are explained in detail here:

http://adamwilt.com/HDV/cineframe.html
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 07:38 AM   #5
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I find overscan to be useful... What I shoot is what appears on my DVD, so nothing important is out of the frame.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 07:52 AM   #6
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If you watch a DVD on your computer you'll probably find that it shows the full frame, but you won't see the full frame when you watch the same DVD on your TV. I think most of us have experienced a few problems about things getting into the picture that we weren't aware of since the viewfinder overscans.

Also, there's a lot of confusion about these terms:

Overscan means that the actual image is larger than what you see on the monitor, and there are things at the edges the picture which you can't see. The term originates with CRT screens where the electron beam scans across the surface, so overscan means the beam is sweeping across an area wider than the tube.

Underscan means that you see the entire image all the way to the edges. On a CRT display the electron beam would only sweep an area that is completely within the tube surface.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:12 AM   #7
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So this means.....

That if you have an FX1, you dont have the luxury of knowing if you're slightly vingetting, or got a part of a mic in shot or so? The Z1 then overcomes this?

If this is true then:
Fark.... shoulda gotten a Z1.... Ah well
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:26 AM   #8
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Basically true. However, the Z1's all scan mode isn't a cure-all. When you switch to this mode the image is surrounded by a big black border so you lose a lot of LCD pixels in the image area. It really does come in handy though. You program it into one of the user buttons and can quickly toggle between all scan mode for framing and normal mode for focusing.

Another caveat thought - it only works in HDV mode, not in regular DV mode.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 09:45 AM   #9
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Leo - it really isn't a problem. Once you get to know the degree of over/underscan by checking your rushes on your monitor as well as TV, you'll be able to compensate accordingly. After all, you've only got to pan or tilt a little to check where the mic is before shooting.

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Old March 23rd, 2006, 07:51 PM   #10
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In regards to when I said the CF24 mode blends interlaced and progressive images, I was going by memory and I was off a bit. Taken from the page Boyd linked to on the subject:

Quote:
Cineframe 24

Cineframe 24 (CF24) is the really interesting one: it implies the look of 24fps motion picture film. For casual uses, it works very well: the images appear to have 3:2 pulldown, with two "interlaced" frames and three "progressive" frames in every five, and the motion is pleasingly stuttery. However, the camera itself is still running at 60i, so there's definitely some funny business 'twixt the chip and the clip.
Sorry for the confusion.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:24 PM   #11
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Mark,
What did this post mean by "casual uses"?
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