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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 December 26th, 2006, 04:04 AM   #1
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HVR-Z1 First Camera. Second camera?

Oh dear, I've gone crossed eyed...

Having considered and just about commited to buying the HVR-Z1 as my choice for a new camera, I'd welcome any thoughts about choosing a second camera as part of a multi-cam shoot.

Whilst I appreciate the cameras aren't as good as the PD150s and PD170 in low light, please note I'll be shooting well lit stages.

In the past I've managed well enough to cut the events live with two or three PD150s/170s using a Panasonic WJMX50 mixer.

From what I can gather, the HDV flavours on offer to me are;

HVR-Z1
HVR-V1
HVR-A1
HDR-FX7
HDR-FX1

The most important factor for my second camera is the video. It must be identical to the HVR-Z1.

I'm not interested in the audio as this is handled separately using my Korg D3200 32-track digital HDD recorder, the output of which, will be a line feed to the main camera.

Can someone also recommend a cheap, simple four channel input vision mixer for cutting the HVR/HDR cameras when shooting in HDV mode?

Many thanks
Neil
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Old December 26th, 2006, 09:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil McLean
The most important factor for my second camera is the video. It must be identical to the HVR-Z1.
Well then you've answered your own question; get another Z1. The FX1 is basically the same camera, but is missing some things like black stretch which could cause the image to be different. If you think you can do without that, then it would be a good choice.

The others are nice cameras, and would probably come close with some fiddling in post, but they won't be "identical".
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Old December 26th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil McLean
Having considered and just about commited to buying the HVR-Z1 as my choice for a new camera, I'd welcome any thoughts about choosing a second camera as part of a multi-cam shoot.
I shoot a lot of conferences and events multi-cam, and I really prefer to match Z1s (using identical Picture Profiles) rather than mix cameras. It makes post SO much easier. The client's not going to pay for my time spent colour matching disparate cameras together, so I usually

i) Hire freelance camera ops with their own Z1
ii) Hire Z1s from variouis sources and use them as lock-offs

A colleague has a Sony A1 to back up his Z1, as his 'working abroad' setup (The A1's a backup, B-roll camera, and a deck for on-site ingest, and if his checked in kit of Z1, G5 et al goes missing, he can do the job on an A1 with his MacBook).

But the A1 does not match the Z1 - in perfect daylight, perhaps it can, but it's worse than matching a PDX-10 and a PD-150. The CMOS sensor sees things in a different way. If you're doing multicam with 1/3" equipment, you're not going to have a CCU to match cameras with, so getting consistent white balance, exposure and contrast is going to be tricky, and if one breed of camera does the colour matrix differently than another, then you'll be fighting that in post.

So unless you're shooting B-roll on a separate camera, I favour two+ of a kind, unless there's no budget and you get what you can get.

As for HDV capable vision mixers, I don't know of any yet, but the Edirol V-440HD would take 1080i50 analogue component - but that's a lot of cables to run...
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Old December 26th, 2006, 10:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

Wow! That Edirol V-440HD is expensive. I can't really justify this mixer at present as the second camera (locked off) is only going to be used for a couple of 5 or 6 secs cuts every three minute or so.

Well I guess I'll have to buy two HVR-Z1s, sell my DSR-11 and used the HVR-Z1s on an alternate basis to capture to my computer.

Cheers
Neil
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Old December 26th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #5
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Yes, if your heart's set on a Z1 (and if it is then your head is leading your heart) then the FX1 has to be your 2nd / backup cam, no doubt about it.

If your second cam is anything else your mind has to do some quick re-arranging when you pich up the second cam. With the FX1 in your hands, you as a Z1 operator will feel immediately at home.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 03:05 PM   #6
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I'd go with an Fx1, they maybe a prosumer camera but they are great. Im looking at getting one to match my Z1 sometime in the near future.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 03:43 PM   #7
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Hi Neil

Go with the FX1. I use a Z1 as my main cam with the FX1 as second cam. The FX1 is as close as you are going to get to the Z1 as it is basically the same camera minus a few pro features.

Gary
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Old December 26th, 2006, 06:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil McLean
Well I guess I'll have to buy two HVR-Z1s
Do you really need to buy the second?

I've held off buying an FX-1 because it doesn't totally do what the Z1 does in terms of set-up. Sorry, can't live without black stretch - but then again not every show of mine needs two cameras, and some need three or four.

Could you rent the FX-1s? I wouldn't like to own *both* as they're not equal. Maybe rent an FX-1 when pushed in a corner? But to own one, and not have 16:9 HDV to 4:3 DV down-convert, not have the audio limiters on your backup, to own a great all-rounder and a not-quite-pro?

Shock/Horror scenario: have you looked at the Canon A1s?

OTOH, Z1s are ubiquitous. Shake a tree outside most kit rental houses, and you'll find Z1s. You can get wides, teles, endescopic snoots, 180 degrees, ring lights, everything.

Best of luck - ain't choice a great thing? :D
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:11 PM   #9
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FX1 makes good backup

Neil:

I've been using the FX1 as a backup to my Z1 for more than a year now. Until recently, we uploaded tapes from both to FCP via a HVR-M10U VTR which allows downconverting of HDV, if needed, from either camera. By the time I get to a final cut you can't tell the difference between the two cameras. We shoot just about everything in 1080i and downconvert, if needed, to DVCam for ENG. We use CineFrame sparingly since most of our work is geared to video.

The HVR-10U, now discontinued, was a good deck if you are using two Z1s or a combination of a Z1 and FX1. It is basically the Z1 deck internals with all the downcovert capability of the Z1. We recently added a HVR-M25U to our rack and it provdies the same capbilities and more.

I tested an FX-7 and V-1 recently but decided against both because we have too many projects in production and there were differences in the picture produced by the CMOS cams.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 06:34 PM   #10
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Another option is to get a used FX1 as the second camera (though even the new ones are pretty cheap at B&H now at $2999), and with the money you saved, get a HC3 as an edit deck and backup cam.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 07:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss
I've held off buying an FX-1 because it doesn't totally do what the Z1 does in terms of set-up. Sorry, can't live without black stretch
I'd have to agree with that personally. Neil, you said you were shooting "events." Not sure what that means, but black stretch is a big help with contrasty theatrical lighting and also helps in low light situations.

But I suppose it comes down to how you use the cameras, and it might be hard to justify the price difference on the grounds of that single feature. The underscan mode for the Z1 LCD/viewfinder (Sony calls it ALL SCAN) is also very helpful. And if you ever want to work in both PAL and NTSC then of course the Z1 is a must.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #12
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Sorry for the delay in getting back in touch. I updated my contact details and changed my password and had to wait quite a while (given the festive season) until Chris had updated my details at his end.

Anyway, I'm back now...

I'll be filming cheerleading events, mostly on stages and in sports arenas that are well lit.

The NTSC mode ain't that important to me as I'll mainly be in PAL land.

Regarding the vision mixers for cutting the HVRs, boy are they dear. I can't justify this at present.

Has anyone considered sending the Z1 component output to a multi-input component switch-box, then sending the master video output from the component switch-box to a Z1?

Does the Z1 actually accept an incoming component signal?

For what it's worth, I've managed to successfully send 1080i video from our UK satellite provider Sky, 15 metres or so by simply running one CAT5 cable for video via the component output, then soldering 3 RCA connectors onto each end.

I used a shielded cable for this to work either FTP or STP CAT5 as opposed to UTP CAT5 (unshielded twisted pair). I didn't need to buy any BALUNs either which was an added bonus.

As previously mentioned the audio is not going to present any problems as I handle that separately and only send the master audio mix to my main camera (or DSR-11 tape-deck).
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