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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 6th, 2007, 06:38 AM   #1
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Important tip for Z1 monitor

I have been working with my Z1 on a doc for several days now, and I must say that if you want to do quality interviews this is what you should get:

http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product=4090629

There are not many places where you can get that LCD screen, which doubles as a DVD player ;).

It's a fantastic deal what you get for what you paid. Framing is quite accurate on what the camera sees, and also contrast and focus are very good.

Focus only gets more critical to see on wider framings, but it also has to do with low light response in the Z1. Boost it 6dB and things get great, with no apparent grain. BTW: you can also see the video noise, which is very important to notice and you can't do that on the Z1 screen.

My cameraman, who is a broadcast pro, couldn't believe the price I had paid for it. You would have to go much over a thousand dollars to get an improvement over it.

I put this thread here instead on the monitor forum, because this is a filmmaker's tool which can be an invaluable help.


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Old April 6th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #2
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does it have just composite video in? or does it have s-video as well?

also.... does the screen flip around and close while visable?
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Old April 6th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #3
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There aren't any real specs on that page, but I found them on Phillips website: http://www.consumer.philips.com/cons...specifications

The 800x480 resolution is very good for a portable DVD player, from what I've seen before. But according to this, it only has composite input. So it's hard to believe that it would be very good for critical focus.

Are you saying that it underscans? Or that the viewable area just matches the default on the Z1 screen (without ALLSCAN)?
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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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Its drawbacks:

1) It only takes composite video in. I will try to find a service manual for it to see if it's possible to go S-video in, because it does have S-Video out.

2) Focus is quite accurate in mid to tele positions. Not quite so in wide shots. To my surprise it was better than I imagined it would be.

3) The screen seems to match the Z1 screen. It doesn't seem to underscan. In fact I do think the Z1 screen underscans a bit, doesn't it, Boyd?

Let me do more accurate tests and I will get back with more comments. In any case it's a much better deal than ANY LCD screen in its price range. And you get a 10" screen!

IMHO it's probably better than using a laptop screen, particularly because I don't know if you can go into a laptop with an analog video signal. And I consider 1394 interfaces very delicate for mobile situations. That is I think you shouldn't use them if you can.


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Old April 6th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Carlos E. Martinez View Post
3) The screen seems to match the Z1 screen. It doesn't seem to underscan. In fact I do think the Z1 screen underscans a bit, doesn't it, Boyd?
No, the Z1 screen overscans. This terminology comes from the analog world where an electron beam sweeps across the face of the tube. When a display overscans, the beam sweeps across an area wider than the tube which results in some of the image not being displayed. If a display underscans then the beam sweeps completely inside the face of the tube so the whole image is shown.

However the Z1 has ALLSCAN mode, which is the equivalent of UNDERSCAN in the description above. In other words, when you select ALLSCAN you see the entire image all the way to the edge. Put your Z1 into ALLSCAN mode and compare it with the DVD player. I'll bet that the image on the DVD player is getting cropped somewhat.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #6
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However the Z1 has ALLSCAN mode, which is the equivalent of UNDERSCAN in the description above. In other words, when you select ALLSCAN you see the entire image all the way to the edge. Put your Z1 into ALLSCAN mode and compare it with the DVD player. I'll bet that the image on the DVD player is getting cropped somewhat.
I do not quite understand, from the manual, how I can get to the "SCAN" setting.

But I think you are right that the image on the DVD player is somewhat cropped. I did check on that today.

BTW: the player also has "Component out" output. It would be great if we could go in with such a signal from the Z1. But I wonder if the LCD screen is so advanced as to allow that. In fact I think low priced LCD screen with S-Video inputs may not be really so or they just convert such signals inside into composite ones to send to the screen. But dreaming is cheap ;)

Now I wonder how and where and if I can get a service manual.


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Old April 6th, 2007, 04:33 PM   #7
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Now please allow me one more tip. And this is valid for the Philips LCD screen, for the Z1 LCD screen and probably all LCD screens around: they all show a lag in quick movements, like a hand moving or similar things.

I got quite worried yesterday when I shot an interview and the usual movements (head, hands, etc.) all showed a lag that I thought had to do with long GOP limitations, even if I am shooting in DV.

But when I checked them on a TV (not pro monitor) everything was fine: no lag of any kind. Everything was great.


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Old April 6th, 2007, 06:08 PM   #8
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Don't feel bad Carlos, it took me awhile to figure out how to access ALLSCAN also (Sony's manauals are really bad). The only way to switch to this mode is by programming one of the user buttons, there isn't a direct menu option for it. Press the menu button and choose OTHERS > ASSIGN BTN, pick one of the 6 buttons, then scroll down the list to ALLSCAN MODE. This is one of the handiest uses for the assign buttons IMO.

I have noticed the lag on the LCD screen also, but find it more noticeable in PAL (50i) mode than NTSC (60i). You get used to it pretty quickly though, once you confirm that things are actually OK on tape. I also see this problem sometimes on an external HD monitor connected to the camera via component.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #9
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Don't feel bad Carlos, it took me awhile to figure out how to access ALLSCAN also (Sony's manauals are really bad). The only way to switch to this mode is by programming one of the user buttons, there isn't a direct menu option for it. Press the menu button and choose OTHERS > ASSIGN BTN, pick one of the 6 buttons, then scroll down the list to ALLSCAN MODE. This is one of the handiest uses for the assign buttons IMO.
I did that, but then I press the Assign BTN #1 (in my case) and nothing changes on the screen. What am I doing wrong?

Quote:
I have noticed the lag on the LCD screen also, but find it more noticeable in PAL (50i) mode than NTSC (60i). You get used to it pretty quickly though, once you confirm that things are actually OK on tape. I also see this problem sometimes on an external HD monitor connected to the camera via component.
Maybe that's why I didn't notice it before. This job is 50i.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #10
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I did that, but then I press the Assign BTN #1 (in my case) and nothing changes on the screen. What am I doing wrong?
Geez, I don't know, it's pretty straightforward and should work as described. But it only works if you're shooting HDV. It doesn't work in DVSP or DVCAM mode. Is that the problem maybe? It also doesn't work in playback mode, only in camera mode.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 01:22 PM   #11
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Geez, I don't know, it's pretty straightforward and should work as described. But it only works if you're shooting HDV. It doesn't work in DVSP or DVCAM mode. Is that the problem maybe? It also doesn't work in playback mode, only in camera mode.
Oh, I see. I am shooting this job in DV SP, because the other camera we are using is a DSR300, which can only shoot 4:3 DV.

So it would be a hell of a job to edit all this stuff if we were shooting in 16:9 and 4:3. If someone can suggest an effective and practical way to make that work I would be glad to use it. In any case it would still be DV.

BTW: does someone know this DSR300 camera? We can't seem to make it shoot in anything but DVCam, which I don't think we need to. With the tapes running faster on that camera of course. How do you set it up to DV SP?

I have been trying for find an on-line manual to download, with no success.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #12
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I have been trying for find an on-line manual to download, with no success.
I typed in "sony DSR300 manual".

The second link in the results is a manual:

http://www.austinpact.org/resources/DSR300.pdf

You have to brush up on your Google skills, hehe....
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Old April 7th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #13
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So it would be a hell of a job to edit all this stuff if we were shooting in 16:9 and 4:3.
Well you could shoot HDV and use i.LINK CONV to capture with EDGE CROP. But then you would need to capture directly from the Z1 instead of a DV deck. I am of the opinion that the results are better shooting HDV and downconverting in-camera as opposed to shooting in DV SP or DVCAM.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #14
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I typed in "sony DSR300 manual".

The second link in the results is a manual:

http://www.austinpact.org/resources/DSR300.pdf

You have to brush up on your Google skills, hehe....
Those were exactly the words I had written. Just now did I check on Google and it came up as looked for. Go figure.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 09:22 PM   #15
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