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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 May 2nd, 2006, 08:41 AM   #1
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FX1 - Getting That Film Look

Hi everyone, I’ve had my FX1 for a few weeks now and could not be more impressed with my new purchase. Currently I have shot mostly everything with it set for PP1. I decided to experiment with PP4 to get the “film look”. I shot a scene with some people outside in very good light and I noticed in the viewfinder that it was very jittery. I bought it from B&H and it came with Vortex Media’s Hands on DVD. On the DVD it said not to judge PP4 by the viewfinder because this is unprocessed footage. Well, with that in mind I imported the footage into my Apple just with iMovie HD and it basically looked the same. I connected the camera to my monitor and playback was very similar. Now I don’t think my questions is to debate that this camera in not true 24p or that the footage can be done in PP1 and then modified in post but I’ve noticed that many people have posted footage that looks really really good with a very nice “film look” right from the camera. Am I doing something wrong with my import? I’m importing with my project set for 1080i. I would think that Sony would be a little closer in getting the film look than what I am seeing. I guess the biggest problem that I see is that even if I did a slight pan the picture had a very bad strobing effect. I tried George Gridwold’s setting for film and it looks a little better. If people would be willing to share their settings with me, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if it something I am doing wrong with my import, I’d like to know that. Thanks
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:01 AM   #2
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There are two things at play here: One is that you can’t just take a 24p camera and shoot like it’s 60i. 24p requires slow camera movements and it takes time to get use to. The second is that Sony did some weirdness with their 3-2 pulldown in CineFrame24 mode (which I believe is what PP4 uses by default) that has a strange jitter all its own.

I have found that CineForm Connect HD (which works with Sony Vegas) has a nice option to remove this pulldown when capturing and it gives great results. Otherwise it is generally recommended that you shoot CF25 and slow down by 4% in post (which you can’t do unless you have an FX1E or Z1), or shoot 60i and convert to 24p in post.

Connect HD will also do the slowdown for you when it captures. So if you are serious about 24p and have the FX1/Z1 you might want to consider Connect HD. For a 60i FX1, you would use CF24 mode and remove the pulldown with Connect HD as you capture. I would download the trial of Connect HD (or Aspect HD if you use Premiere) and test this out and see if you like the results.

~jr
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:15 AM   #3
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I don't think you're import is wrong

It's hard to know for sure, but I doubt you're doing anything "wrong". Importing with imovie HD is pretty straight forward (if I remember correctly). The PP4 you're talking about is really the cineframe 24 setting that the camera uses to fake 24P. When you select any picture profile there are a whole bunch of options you can use to tweak the image. You can turn on the Cineframe 24 option on any of the PP.

I think it's safe to say that the general concensus on Cineframe 24 is that it's a great shortcut, but not really all that great other than that. Now in terms of seeing that with "a slight pan the picture had a very bad strobing effect," I don't know if that's the cineframe 24 or just the result of 24 frames per second, but I don't think anything's wrong. 24FPS results in motion blur and stuttering even in major motion pictures including on pans. Watch a few films and look for it. Why after over 100 years of film making we are still all shooting 24FPS and if fact deliberately trying to make our higher frame rate cameras go slower is insane, but the nature of the beast since the whole Hollywood machine runs on 24 FPS. In video games you want the highest frame rate possible. Why? Because you get smoother motion and less stutter, what a revolutionary idea.

The "film look" is the most loaded term used right now. What exactly does it really mean? Sure 24FPS is the motion part of that, but it goes a lot deeper. In part it's color and contrast and gamma curve. Simply crushing the blacks on a video, I've found instantly makes people say "film." Then you have film shooting techniques like controlling depth of field, dolly shots, and just careful creative shooting in general. All of these things come into play to create what people call film.

If you're cutting in iMovie then you have limited post-production film effects you can use. Use the Cineframe 24 and the Cinematone. I'd also drop the color levels a bit and don't be afraid to tweak your color phase settings and play with slightly off white balance settings. Both of these controls are in the PP settings. White balance is an excellent way to give a video a "look" and it's very easy to do. You've obviously learned that pans don't really look that great. Use slow pans or really fast snap pans, but know that 24 FPS means motion blur and stuttering and with an interlaced video camera that is going to be accentuated by horizontal or vertical motion.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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Hmmm... I read too fast past the iMovie part. I guess everything I said about Connect HD is moot since you can’t use any of it (sorry). You might want to try CF30 mode which is a lot smoother but I agree with Nathan that the “look” is a lot more than just the 24p cadence.

~jr
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 01:35 PM   #5
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What's your final delivery format? In other words, are you planning on showing this via film or will it stay in the digital realm? If it's the latter, I would shoot in 60i with cinematone on and deinterlace in post. Nathan is right on the money with how the film look is as much about gamma curve and contrast. If you're serious about a film look, you might also look into a letus35 flip d.o.f adapter for razor thin depth of field. It's about $700 and there's a good discussion or two in the "alernative imaging methods" forum.

Chris Watson
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 06:32 PM   #6
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What's your final delivery format?

Right now, I'm just burning to DVD. In the past few years I've been working with a former network television producer that’s not too far from retirement but still plans to work as long as he is still healthy and enjoys the work. He's been a "one man show" for about the last 5 years and just hires a few select people as a crew when he gets work. I've known him for awhile and for fun helped him out as a production assistant and since I've been a still photographer for along time I had an interest in doing video work. As things would have it I'm now doing backup/secondary camera operations for him. I bought a PD150 a few years ago and was excited to use it as part of a nationally released DVD. He's taught me alot about technique and the business but a newer technology like HD and even the 24p look is something that he doesn't have too much interest in. He's had to pass on some HD work recently due to only being Beta SP and DVCAM so I bought the FX1 and some extras to allow us to do a little HD work. Typically we do "shoot & ship" so I really never have to do too much editing or capturing. Since I've gotten the bug for all of this it's become an expanded hobby and I’m loving it. I'm hoping to do a few smaller projects on my own and would like to refine some sot of film look with the FX1 to offer a customer.

Last edited by Curtis McCormick; May 2nd, 2006 at 07:28 PM.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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Hi guys, thanks for the replies! I think I'm now setup for the look I was trying to find. I edited PP4 and took John's advice and changed to CF30. I also dropped the sharpness down a little. I have to do some test footage but I think I'm going to be alot closer to what I was trying to find. I'm sure different lighting and talent positions will require me to make changes based on the situation.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:13 PM   #8
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I hope I'm not hijacking the theread, but I have a related question.
I've been shooting with an XL2 for 1 1/2 years, and have wanted a second camera, and also to get started in hd. Last sunday I bought a new FX1, which I've been getting used to for a few days. My first goal (thanks Ash) was to tweak the Canon so I could match both cameras. I've got the look pretty close, with both shooting in 60i.
But two things happened last night. First, we did an editing job for a guy who shot some gritty urban footage on a dvx100 in 24p. The footage blew me away. So I took out my XL2, and shot some stuff in 24p ( I had rarely used 24p on the XL2). Second, I read this thread. according to John Rofrano, the best way to get the 24p look on the FX1, would be to shoot in 60, and then use Aspest hd (along with PPro which we use).
So here are my questions:
1- Do you guys think that I can get a simialr look with both cameras shooting 24p on the XL2, and using John's suggestion with the FX1?
2-I have a couple of Firestore FS-4's up graded to hd.If I shoot in 60 on the FX1 with the goal of going the Aspect hd route ( I don't own that yet), will I still be able to do that after I transfer the FS 4's m2t clips to PPro?
thanks for the help.
Bruce Yarock
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:54 PM   #9
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Just to add to Bruce's question, I'd like to know if the Magic Bullet Program allows for this (if I shoot in HD as well)
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