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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 6th, 2006, 07:35 PM   #1
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New FX owner questions...

I just bought an FX1 as a second camera to my XL2, and as a way to get started in hd. I wanted to throw out a couple of questions.
1-I've read many posts here saying that the FX1 24 mode is basically useless, and that if you want true 24p look, you should use magic Bullet or dv filmmaker. Today I did a test with my XL2 in 24p and the FX1 in cinefrme 24. I put them side by side on tripods, white balanced together, used a canon preset to match PP1, and then changed the FX1 to 24. I shot the same scene, with one person dancing and talking.I used a splitter so that I could go back and forth to check the look. I played each back seperately, then both simultaneously, using the splitter to ab comapre the footage.
maybe I'm not seeing something, but I think the FX1 looked pretty good. Can anyone who thinks the FX1 24 function is not good...could you tell me what I should be looking for?

2-This may sound dumb, but should you power down before changing tape?
I was shooting last night with a Firestore FS4 ( see my post on the 'Direct to disk" sub forum), and powered down between band sets. When I powered up, the fs 4 stopped working.
I'd really appreciate any feedback on these questions.
Btw, I really like th FX1 a lot.
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old May 7th, 2006, 02:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
1-I've read many posts here saying that the FX1 24 mode is basically useless, and that if you want true 24p look, you should use magic Bullet or dv filmmaker. Today I did a test with my XL2 in 24p and the FX1 in cinefrme 24. I put them side by side on tripods, white balanced together, used a canon preset to match PP1, and then changed the FX1 to 24. I shot the same scene, with one person dancing and talking.I used a splitter so that I could go back and forth to check the look. I played each back seperately, then both simultaneously, using the splitter to ab comapre the footage.
Maybe I'm not seeing something, but I think the FX1 looked pretty good. Can anyone who thinks the FX1 24 function is not good...could you tell me what I should be looking for?
The main problem I hear from a lot of people (especially myself) Is that when most people Use the Cineframe 24 / 25 They shoot like its 50i or 60i.

I'm guessing you havent moved the camera while shooting. The other complaint is that there is a very noticable judder seen when the camera moves. Although, like I said, you cant shoot 24p like 60i.

As for your experiment, sounds like you hit the nail ont he head for your needs. I have yet to understnad how to remove the noticable judders when I pan. But I'm getting there... As for your concerns with the comments made about the Cineframe, some people live by it, as it most likely suits thier needs. Others, who have different needs would recomend shooting in 60i and Magic Bullet the thing down to 24p. It usually depends.

I once tried shooting a standing conversation of 2 people by orbiting the actors with a steady cam. The cineframe looked fantastic, as the camera movement was deadly slow (maybe 10 cm a second( just less than an inch)) But when doing a chase/running scene I was forced to up the shutter speed just so it didnt look like a arthouse film... lol

Also, I'd be very interested what your PP settings were for the 24/25 settings. I've been trying hard to create the perfect settings for shooting closeups and two shots indoors that my Uni's XL2 used to do for me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
2-This may sound dumb, but should you power down before changing tape?
I was shooting last night with a Firestore FS4 ( see my post on the 'Direct to disk" sub forum), and powered down between band sets. When I powered up, the fs 4 stopped working.
I'd really appreciate any feedback on these questions.
Btw, I really like th FX1 a lot.
Bruce S. Yarock
When I change tape, I flick the switch to the middle. (This is my deffinition to "powerdown") Although, I have left my camera on "Camera" mode when quickly switching tapes for events I've done, and I've seen no problems. (I did it about 5 times to date)

As for Firestore, I've yet to use one. But I belive it wont hurt to just leave the camera on when changing tapes...

BTW... congrats on the purchase, you will not be dissapointed. I love my FX1, the outdoor shots are spectacular. And since Sony usually makes "cold" looking image cameras as opposed to Canon's warm image looking ones, i've never seen blue sky so blue... But thats my opinion.

I'm assuming you are aware of the other "danger" posts about power and FX1's and the other threads regarding the care of these wonderfull cameras... so I wont say much more than, Good luck, and can I have your XL2? lol..... (jks, I live in Pal land, so I cant use NTSC..)
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Old May 7th, 2006, 06:24 AM   #3
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Leo,
thanks for the thorough reponse.

"As for your experiment, sounds like you hit the nail ont he head for your needs. I have yet to understnad how to remove the noticable judders when I pan. But I'm getting there... As for your concerns with the comments made about the Cineframe, some people live by it, as it most likely suits thier needs. Others, who have different needs would recomend shooting in 60i and Magic Bullet the thing down to 24p. It usually depends"

I hadn't really done much on my xl2 in 24p before,so I'm knd of new to it. I understand you can't move like in 60.I just didn't see much difference in my experiment, but I'll try more motion. have you tried the conversion in Magic bullet? Is it difficult, and do you have to also use cineform aspect hd? if you did , how did it come out?

I used PP1,and shot in hdv. The only thing I changed was to cineframe24.I did some minor tweaks on the Xl2 to match the FX1.

I haven't read the "danger" posts, but will search for them. If you hace a link, I'd appreciate it. btw, what do you mean by "uni's
" xl2?

Thanks again,
Bruce S. yarock
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Old May 7th, 2006, 07:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
I hadn't really done much on my xl2 in 24p before,so I'm knd of new to it. I understand you can't move like in 60.I just didn't see much difference in my experiment, but I'll try more motion. have you tried the conversion in Magic bullet? Is it difficult, and do you have to also use cineform aspect hd? if you did , how did it come out?
i've never used Magic Bullet or Aspect HD (in fact, I've never had the need.) I've only had my FX1 for about 4 months and had shot a talking head mini doco in cinaframe 25 (PAL.) And I dont have the cash after the I bought the camera.

however, I can recomend it because it is a 'safe' way to make your footage into 24p. Some people that shoot bad 24p have to reshoot in 50i/60i because of some of the risks involved with unwanted judder. But its an added cost, and often requires a very new and powerfull PC. Well, I might be exaggerating a little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
I haven't read the "danger" posts, but will search for them. If you hace a link
Basically the sticky's above help a lot. The one below is one that should be known so the best of care can be taken.... Better safe than sorry I say.

The following is titled "My FX1 stopped working" It basically talk about not short curcuiting your camera.

This one made me a little paranoid about putting the power cable in my FX1. But as long as you make a concious effort not to use the battery and AC power at the same time, everything should be fine. (There are posts out there that expose the Z1. The AC connector is locked up... :-O
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=44855

This next one talks about the "secret plug" that was hidden away on the Z1 (because of the power problems found int he FX1 maybey)
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...=fx1+batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
btw, what do you mean by "uni's
" xl2?
Well, I finnished my Theatremaking degree last october, and Graduated just a few weeks ago in April. Yay me! I did a lot of film and writing electives so I can be a hybrid camera op and director. implementing the aspects of theatre into film and vice versa.

I used a lot of my University's equpment, and the best piece of machinery ever was the lone XL2 that usually gets booked out 4 weeks in advanced. (we had just upgraded a year before hand - we have like 10 XL1s' and several VX2000's.) when I got my FX1, the first thing I did was play with PP4? I think, the one for Cineframe, cinegama etc. It looked nice, but wasnt exactly like the XL2, with the warmth, the smoothness and the fact it was true 24P. But oh well. I think I tweaked my camera to match what I need.... I love it.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 09:23 AM   #5
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leo,
Congratulations on your degree.
You mention twaeks on your FX1...Can you post them?
by the way, where are you located?
Bruce Yarock
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Old May 7th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #6
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Cineframe is a viable shortcut

Thought I'd ad my two cents to this little debate. There's nothing wrong with using the cineframe 24 or cineframe 30 options. There are, however, some shortcomings. If you do a search you'll find out how these settings work and you'll better understand why some people choose not to use them. Also, the camera is still recording to 60i in all settings. It's not like recording native 24P in other cameras, but it still does look pretty good. If the XL2 you're comparing it with is an SD XL2 not the newer HD version that would also explain why you think the sony looks so good. The sony has triple the resolution.

Basically I boil it all down this way: cineframe is a decent time-effecient way to get a 24P "look." If you want the best quality and you have the time and computer power, shoot 60i and then convert. Do this test: record 60i with the FX and then record cineframe 24. Import both clips and look at them on a HD computer monitor and you'll see the main shortcoming - loss of resolution, half of the vertical resolution to be exact. It is it is very noticable between the two. The 60i footage is much sharper. That's why cineframe is a shortcut, but I don't agree with others who say never use it. I just finished a music video I shot entirely with cineframe 24. Why? Because I needed it done fast and the cineframe 24 option gave me the look I wanted immediately.

I'm shooting a short film beginning in June. For that project I plan to shoot 60i for the best resolution, capture in HDV, then convert the footage to 24P, and edit the footage in native 24P from beginning to end. I'm a final cut editor and I've been doing tests to find a time effecient way to convert 60i HDV using Compressor to turn it into 24P 10 bit uncompressed. One amazing thing I can share is how much better you can make the 60i footage from an FX1 (or Z1) by converting to uncompressed and by using compressor's filters to sharpen and do a noise reduction. And if that doesn't get you excited, check out what guys like Alex Raskin are doing. Alex has built a system that allows you to capture uncompressed video from the FX1's component video out (which output uncompressed analog HD) send through a capture card like the Decklink HD extreme and then store it on your computer (with a super-fast raid and lots of HD space.) It's certainly not a real portable solution, but NO MPEG 2 COMPRESSION!! Outstanding!
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Old May 7th, 2006, 07:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
leo,
Congratulations on your degree.
You mention twaeks on your FX1...Can you post them?
by the way, where are you located?
Bruce Yarock
I hanvent done anything special, but my camera is a little ont he warm side. I bumped up the colour phase to +1, my colour level is at +2, my skin tone detail is Type 1 (I shoot talking head docos) Sometimes, I push my Whitebalance shift to +1.

Like I said, its nothing special.

As for where I'm located, I'm in Sydney Australia. (how on earth do you get that added to your profile I dont know....)

Nathan has covered some reasons why Cineframe is avoided by some people, but I do not believe it applies to everyone. Sometimes wiht even half the vertical resolution, the picture comes across as very sharp is shot right... with a lot of light.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 09:14 PM   #8
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Nathan,
Thanks for the tips. I'll try the 60i vs 24 test with the FX1 through an hd monitor.
The reason that I compared it to 24p on the XL is this-
I've done some editing for a guy doing some "gritty urban " stuff. He normally rents a DVX 100 for the weekend(3 days' use, one days' price) when he has some shooting to do. He always shoots in 24p.He wants to do a project also in 24p, sd. And since I have both the XL2 and the Sony FX1, he wants to use me and my gear for the (2 cam) shooting( and not have to rent the dvx,etc.). He wanted to know if the XL2 in 24p could cut with the FX1 in cineframe24. That's why I did the test. Although I shot in hdv on the FX1, I out put both cameras by component cable, so the result was sd.
Do you think that if the out put is sd, that the two will match without my having to shoot the FX1 in 60 and convert(don't have the programs yet).
We edit in Premiere Pro 2.0.
Leo-
Thanks for the pre set info.Australia....Somehow I thought you had said you were from Poland.
Bruce Yarock
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Old May 7th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #9
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It's hard for me to recommend against shooting the cineframe 24 since it simply makes the edit so much quicker and easier. Leo is right that the difference between 60i and cineframe 24 is not horribly noticable. I think the FX would blend well with the XL2 if you tweak some color settings a little and the cineframe 24 will give you the instant 24P look. I'm assuming you'll be editing normal 60i right? If that's the case all you're looking for is the "look" you don't actually need 24P. Several years ago I cut footage together from an XL1 and a VX-2000 and that worked pretty well. I'd assume the FX footage will look better since you're starting with an HD image and dropping down to SD. Are you planning on importing the FX footage HD or are you going to do the HD-DV downconversion in camera? Also, good luck with the shoot. And let me know what you think when you take a look at the FX footage 60i vs. FX footage with the cineframe 24 setting.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:30 AM   #10
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"I'm assuming you'll be editing normal 60i right?"

Nathan,
Yes...I'd probably shoot the XL2 with the 2:3 pulldown, and edit everything in 29.97 .I use firestore FS4's (when they work), so the FX would be shot in hdv,and the m2t clips put in the same sd project timeline with the XL footage. I tried this with some 60 footage from both cameras, and it worked fine. But that was a real short test, so I'll try a test doing it with the FX cineframe footage.
How does that sound?
Bruce Yarock
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:55 AM   #11
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With cineframe footage, you're working with a piece of footage, half of its original resolution. It should be somewhat similar to use. In most cases, the FX1 is simply just recording 60i with a shutter speed at 24.... (Its a bad example, but the analogy is good.)
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:59 AM   #12
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Leo,
I assume you use 60 shutter speed whan shooting in cineframe24, right?
Bruce Yarock
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Old May 8th, 2006, 08:10 AM   #13
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Well, you see, I never had the need to move my camera when I shoot cineframe25. When I did check my shutter speed, It told me 25. I left it alone however... I do get judder now and then, but nothing noticable.

As I said before, I've only had it for 4 months. And so my own experience is limited, but I can tell you, when I shoot in 50i I check the shutter speed and its at 50. I've always assumed thats how the effect is made... or part of it anyway.

So I cant tell you adjusting the shutter speed would either help the cineframe avoid judder, or cancel cineframe altogether... I never had the time to experiment with that dilema, unless someone else can give us a better explanation on how to best use cineframe and shutterspeed, I'm afraid I wont have any answers for you mate... sorry

Leo
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