Z1U Allscan mode, pls explain at DVinfo.net

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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 April 2nd, 2006, 05:59 PM   #1
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Z1U Allscan mode, pls explain

The Z1U has an "allscan" mode which you can only set by programming it onto one of the Assign Buttons. Besides putting a black border around the frame in the Z1's lcd screen, it also includes more of the edges in the frame. When should I have this mode switched on? Should I only use this when shooting or outputting dv 16:9, and switch if off when shooting/outputting hdv?

The manual is useless in explaining this, and even the very good dvd on the Z1 does not address this.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 06:17 PM   #2
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Hi Chris. Use the AllScan mode when you want to make sure there's nothing in the picture that you don't want. In normal viewfinder/LCD mode you can't see all the way to the edge of the image. For example, there might be a microphone just inside the frame, or maybe you're using a filter, wide angle lens or mattebox which cuts off a little porton on the frame. These might not show in normal viewfinder mode. Of course they might also be outside the normal field of view of most consumer TV's, but they'd show on a computer screen.

Switching to all scan mode doesn't change anything about what gets recorded to tape, just how it's displayed on the LCD and viewfinder. I find it really useful myself. Basically, jump into Allscan mode to check framing, then jump back into normal mode to focus (you lose a bunch of LCD pixels in that black area in Allscan mode).

Does that help?
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 08:28 PM   #3
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allscan

I like your suggestion about jumping into Allscan briefly and then back to normal for focus. I guess if I don't have a free hand to switch it on I should just remember to shoot tight.

Your post almost answers my question. I was thinking that was what it was for and used it to check framing for some test shots I was doing to assess several Z1 features including framing, etc. But then I got confused when checking the footage on a HD monitor and also by the ambiguous note in the manual.

Does it make any difference whether I'm shooting in hdv or dv, dv 16:9 vs. dv 4:3, or shooting in hdv to convert to dv? The manual (p.88) made me think this is part of the equation - but can't figure out how.

In case it matters, I've always have the "In/Out Rec" down-convert set to "Letterbox" instead of Squeeze or Edge Crop - though in this case I was not down converting.

When I looked at test footage on the Dell HD lcd monitor, it showed even a bit more than what Allscan showed - on the left screen and top.

I was checking it at a colleague's place because I don't have a way to view HD. So I didn't have a chance to play around with it to verify all the settings, but assume he had it set properly. He switched the Dell to "Standard" mode because that was the only mode that looked right.

We used the component cables, hdv out for one tape, and dv out for the other tape which was shot in dv 16:9 and also dv 4:3. (DV 4:3 is how I'll need to shoot at times when shooting 2nd cam for colleagues using the PD170).

Wish I could remember now if the fuller frame view was on both the hdv and dv, on both modes of dv, etc. We were assessing so many other things I didn't keep track of this.

Often I don't know what someone's going to end up using to view my final edited footage., eg. could be on a 4:3 ntsc, or a HD 16:9, or even projected on various types of projectors. In rare cases a client might look at it via dvd on their computer screen. To further complicate matters I'll shoot some stuff in hdv, some hdv will be down converted to dv on the way in, some dv 4:3, some dv 16:9. For the near future everything will end up a dv for delivery.

It seems it would make more sense if the Z1U just showed the "unsafe" zone with frame markers overlaid to indicate the normal hd viewing area. From your answer I guess Sony didn't do that because it would make it harder to focus using the lcd. I wasn't even expecting to be able to focus on an lcd screen, would have been content with the view finder. Just have to get used to this.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 06:39 PM   #4
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Allscan only works iin HDV mode unfortunately. The button won't do anything if you set the camera for DV. The downconvert settings you mention shouldn't have any effect therefore. They determine how the camera converts a tape shot in HDV to normal DV over firewire. The Allscan display is showing you the full HD frame as you shoot - it's only available in camera mode and not on playback. Honestly, I've never checked it agains a monitor to see if it really does show everything, will have to do that sometime. I don't use the letterbox setting myself for downconverting - I use squeeze mode to view on real 16:9 monitors.

The Z1 can display guides - see the "marker" functions. You can display an "action safe" zone, a center mark and 4:3 markers. Personally I don't find the action zone useful because it's very conservative. I've never seen a TV which doesn't show more than their marks.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 05:27 PM   #5
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Allscan etc.

Thanks Boyd.

It makes sense that Allscan wouldn't display when shooting dv 4:3 because the lcd on the Z1 puts the black frame right there on the screen. So the dv 16:9 must also be wysiwyg in normal Z1 lcd mode.

I'm pretty sure I was able to activate the Allscan view on the Z1 lcd screen while simultaneously viewing it via component out to the 24" Dell - and the Dell view showed more edges than the Allscan. Now I'm wanting to test this again, but it's a big ordeal because I don't own the Dell monitor and have to wait for a convenient time.

Would you set it to squeeze mode only if the final delivery is going to be HD for viewing on some HD monitor?

Do you use squeeze, edit while viewing full HD and then deliver on SD DVD in letterbox 16:9 or what mode for your end viewers who might be viewing on SD or HD screens?

I'm getting buried in all the possible variables and have to make myself some list of easy notes when I get it all worked out.

During the interim period I'll mostly be shooting in hdv, maybe downconvert via fw to dv and then continue in dv. Later I'll stay in hdv though more of the process even when not doing final delivery on hd, and eventually will go hd all the way for clients how opt to pay the extra.

But also for now I have to shoot both in dv 4:3 and dv 16:9 depending on who I'm shooting with - several who hire me are shooting in these formats.

So I need a good quick "cheat sheet" for reference to remind myself what I can expect to be in the frame - and - when I want "squeeze vs. letter box don't think there's a good reason for the 3rd choice for the dumb looking edge crop.

I suspect it will be pretty simple once I just get a few notes on this - and verify that the Allscan is accurately showing the full HD view. Like I said, the Dell for some reason showed more edges than the Allscan display, but will try to re-do the tests when I can get with the Dell - maybe some settings were wrong.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #6
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Phew, you're covering a lot of ground there :-)

First, you aren't really in allscan mode unless you see a black border all around the image.

Squeeze, edge crop and letterbox have no meaning when working with HD. They only affect downconversion to DV. So if final delivery is HD then they are irrelevant.

If you want to deliver a SD DVD then I don't think letterbox makes sense. Set it to squeeze mode if you want 16:9. Then author an anamorphic DVD. The user's DVD player will take care of the rest: if they have a widescreen TV then it will fill the screen at full quality. If they have a 4:3 TV then the DVD player itself will provide the letterbox. So I can't really think of why you'd ever need letterbox, unless you are hooking up your computer or tape deck to an old 4:3 TV. DVD players are clever enough to provide their own letterboxing if needed.
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