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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 June 2nd, 2006, 01:29 AM   #1
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Z1 letterbox, edge crop

What actually happens to the pixels/image if you use letterbox or edgecrop when downcoverting hdv via firewire in the Z1 in order to edit in dv?

When would I want to use those modes, and if I used one of these modes instead of Squeeze, do I lose the quality I'd want for full 16:9 display?

Seems like edge crop keeps the quality but with some of the scene missing on each end ??, and I can't figure out what the heck letterbox actually does during downconversion.

I'm trying to understand the various workflow options when shooting hdv and delivering sd, preferably 16.9, but delivering both on dvd and dv tape, still having the occasional request for a vhs copy with the dvd.

The DVD player will know to apply letterbox if I captured in Sqeeze and did Anamorphic in DVD production, but I need to account for delivery and viewing on other than DVD.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:21 AM   #2
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Edge crop chops off the sides to give you 4:3 video. I haven't ever used letterbox, but I assume it puts black bars above and below the 16:9 image so it will display on a 4:3 screen. I always use squeeze, which gives you anamorphic 16:9. That's the option you want for full resolution 16:9, and as you said, the DVD player can provide its own letterbox for viewers with 4:3 sets.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:49 AM   #3
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The Z1 is true, 16:9 isn't it?
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 09:21 AM   #4
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Of course... it goes beyond that to high definition, so scaling it down to "true" 16:9 DV is certainly no problem. But you need to use the squeeze mode when downconverting to get full quality in standard definition.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:38 PM   #5
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Squeese vs. whatever

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Of course... it goes beyond that to high definition, so scaling it down to "true" 16:9 DV is certainly no problem. But you need to use the squeeze mode when downconverting to get full quality in standard definition.
So, I'll use Squeeze to maintain true 16:9 through output to DVD. But I still get the occasional request for a vhs and DVD. This would mean more steps just to make a vhs that would look right on a 4:3 monitor, I'd have to drop it into a 4:3 sequence and render. (more tweaking on my price list).

Now I'm thinking that "maybe" the letterbox option for downconvert out of the Z1 would save the rendering time for the rare situation where I'd not be delivering DVD, delivering only on tape to be viewed on 4:3 t.v. but wanting the pretend 16:9 look.

I got deep into the FCP user manual which was helpful on most of this but not for the specific Z1 features, ie., can't imagine when the Edge crop on the Z1 downconvert would be useful.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 02:22 PM   #6
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Yes, you could use letterbox to downconvert for a 4:3 TV, but this would be yet another time-consuming step. I think you can get DVD players for $30 these days... maybe you should just throw one into the deal? I got a "free" one when I bought my daughter a laptop awhile ago, so I gave it to a friend who was always asking me of VHS tapes :-)

Another option which I've used when someone absolutely must have VHS is to just connect a VCR to my DVD player and record the disk while it plays, with the DVD player providing a letterbox. That has the advantage of being a no-brainer which can run in the other room without tying up any computer resources or putting any wear and tear on my camera.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 02:55 PM   #7
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Letterbox

Hi guys,

I have been downconverting regularly to letterbox and like it lot. It seems to keep the entire capture HD image, and the bars on top and bottom really aren't a big deal. And it looks like you get all the visual information shot on HDV. Is that true?
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack D. Hubbard
And it looks like you get all the visual information shot on HDV. Is that true?
Definitely not, but if you're going to watch the video on a 4:3 TV set then it won't make any difference. However a letterboxed standard definition 16:9 image only contains 720x360 pixels whereas an anamorphic 16:9 image is 720x480. But of course you need a 16:9 monitor to take advantage of that extra resolution...
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Old June 5th, 2006, 08:49 AM   #9
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tnx

Thanks Boyd. I guess the second part of the question was aspect ratio...I shoot HDV. When I letterbox it, do I see the (not the same pixel info) same edge to edge image originally capture by the camera (as opposed to edgecrop).

JH
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Old June 5th, 2006, 09:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Of course... it goes beyond that to high definition, so scaling it down to "true" 16:9 DV is certainly no problem. But you need to use the squeeze mode when downconverting to get full quality in standard definition.
You can't just shoot 16:9 SD? Since it has the 16:9 chip. Is the Z1 different that say the XL2 that lets you shoot 16:9 SD?

If you shoot with the Z1 in HDV mode, can you just downconvert to SD and still have 16:9 with using a squeeze mode?
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Old June 5th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #11
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Sure, you can switch to DV SP or DVCAM mode and shoot in squeeze (anamorphic 16:9) or 4:3. I find that the quality is slightly better when shooting HDV and downconverting in camera as I capture DV however, and you then have full resolution HDV tapes for future use. And yes, you can choose squeeze, letterbox or edge crop as a downconversion option.
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