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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 July 13th, 2007, 10:31 PM   #1
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Horrible, frightening problem!

I have just shot some footage and captured it to my computer.

Though it plays back on the Z1s LCD screen just fine and I had no problems shooting or capturing, all of the footage looks like the attached picture or strange variations of it.

I used a head-cleaning tape about a month ago and have only used it for about 16 hours since then.

When I play it back on the Z1s LCD screen the footage appears to be fine. When I play it back on my TV via component the footage is fine.

Can I blame my firewire cable?

Or is it possible that it's some problem with the camera? Please say no!
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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good news is if it's playing back OK on the lcd and TV you're footage is AOK... downstream you have:
a) the firewire out on the cam
b) the cable
c) the card in the computer
d) the software

Eliminate them one at a time as the culprit - hopefully you have access to another cam? Any chance you updated any software recently? That's where I'd start... go from cheapest and work up if you can't swap parts readily - this is where having redundant systems is handy!
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Old July 14th, 2007, 01:29 AM   #3
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Yes, I've had similar experience and in fact took the camera in for service because I experienced it on 3 different computers, 2 different firewire cables and two different capture packages. But didn't cost me anything because they recognised that the problem wasn't in the camera.
The LCD is just about at the end of the data chain, so if it looks good there you look for the problem post-camera.
Turned out to be a computer software problem, although it's precise nature has remained vague. I use Cineform HDLink for capture and recoding to avi files, but got similar pixellation with HDVSplit. Did a thorough uninstall and reinstall of Cineform NEOHDV and problem went away. I forgot that I had a 3rd option for capture which was capturing through my NLE (Vegas 7) and that worked fine when I tried that.
So, how are you capturing?
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Old July 14th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #4
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Turned out to be a computer software problem
That seems most likely.

I tried capturing with the same camera and same firewire cable to a different computer and it worked just fine.

So I guess it's the only new software I've installed... MAGIC BULLET!

Which, not only have I struggled to get working at all, is probably the cause of my new problems as well...

So am I going to need to re-install everything from scratch?
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Old July 14th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #5
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First try going back to a restore point prior to installing Magic Bullet, or to whenever you were having no problem capturing. There should be no need to re-install everything -- that would be extremely drastic. If the restore point doesn't work, try uninstall Magic Bullet. Also have a look at HDVSplit (free) which everybody seems to love for capturing HDV. How are you capturing your HDV?
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Old July 14th, 2007, 08:38 AM   #6
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First try going back to a restore point prior to installing Magic Bullet, or to whenever you were having no problem capturing. There should be no need to re-install everything -- that would be extremely drastic. If the restore point doesn't work, try uninstall Magic Bullet. Also have a look at HDVSplit (free) which everybody seems to love for capturing HDV. How are you capturing your HDV?
At the moment I'm capturing with Premiere. I've tried HDV Split and it screw up every time. Not once have I managed to get it right.

I'll try uninstalling Magic Bullet but I'll just get cranky if that fixes it and therefore to have Magic Bullet means that I can't capture with Premiere anymore.

EDIT: I just downloaded the current version of HDV Split and had more problems. The m2ts it creates are not understood by Media Player and don't stretch to the correct ratio, and the m2t file would not import into Premiere Pro, which said that it was an unsupported file format! Man I hate computers!

And I've attached two screenshots, comparing the difference between HDV Split's m2ts and PPro's avis. The screen captures are from Nero Showtime and you can clearly see how much better the colours are in the avi than the m2t. What is the reason for that?
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Last edited by John Hewat; July 14th, 2007 at 09:11 AM.
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Old July 14th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #7
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Your image captured with HDVSplit looks a bit desaturated, which should be fixable in an NLE. Have a look at http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=3728 to see if you can find helpful information and responses. Do you have an mpeg encoder on your machine (outside of Premiere Pro)? If not you may need to download one (see instructions on http://strony.aster.pl/paviko/hdvsplit.htm).
Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the limitations of PP, although I have that now with my purchase of CS3.
You can find at http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/...rumid=4&page=0 many who do have expertise in all of PP and HDVSplit and Magic Bullet, so a query there will likely get all answers in short order.
I've used HDVSplit only once when investigating my download problem, so have no expertise in that; as I said, it's the preferred tool for many.
You should be able to use Magic Bullet without problems, but the first thing is to get back to your previously functioning system. The easy way is to go back to a suitable restore point (are you familiar with the process?).
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Old July 14th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #8
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...the first thing is to get back to your previously functioning system. The easy way is to go back to a suitable restore point (are you familiar with the process?).
Ok. Problem solved. I re-installed Magic Bullet and all is well.

Thank you for your help Serena. I only just noticed you're also in Melbourne. Do you have a business here too?
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Last edited by John Hewat; July 14th, 2007 at 11:43 PM.
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Old July 14th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #9
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OK that's good that PP is working again. Before installing Magic Bullet again (or anything else) it's a good idea to set a restore point. This will enable you to undo all software changes (but leave data alone) done after that time. The OS also generates its own restore points, so even if you haven't set one up it's always worth checking for a suitable point. Assuming that you haven't been seduced by Vista, click "start", click "help and support", click "undo changes to your computer with System Restore". The rest is self explanatory.

The advantages that attract people to HDVSplit is its accuracy in splitting scenes, its cheap, and they are very happy with the way it works. I know that many people are reluctant to colour correct every clip, but this is normal professional practice to achieve a designed consistent look throughout the video and that look is often different to that recorded on the tape. In PP you can paste all corrections from one clip to all others, so pretty easy. You should be able to apply to a track if you are happy that everything requires the same modification. Anyway, you have it working again as you want it.
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Old July 15th, 2007, 12:03 AM   #10
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I see our posts crossed. Great that everything is working again -- these things can be very time wasting. Glad I was able to help in some way.

Documentaries -- almost keeps the wolf from the door!
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Old July 15th, 2007, 05:41 AM   #11
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I see our posts crossed. Great that everything is working again -- these things can be very time wasting. Glad I was able to help in some way.

Documentaries -- almost keeps the wolf from the door!
You're right about compulsory colour correction - though in my line of work I can get away without doing it so I rarely have to bother with it.

What kind of documentary work have you done? That would be so much more interesting than Deb Balls and Wedding Ceremonies. Your profile says you have an FX1, is that what you shoot them with?
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Old July 15th, 2007, 06:57 PM   #12
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Well weddings are documentaries too. I never underestimate the skills of people who truly capture the romance of the "one and only" day with all the hazards of little production control and relatives with their rivalries, without retakes. Harder than science based stuff.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 04:26 AM   #13
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Well weddings are documentaries too. I never underestimate the skills of people who truly capture the romance of the "one and only" day with all the hazards of little production control and relatives with their rivalries, without retakes. Harder than science based stuff.
That's a nice way to put it, but I've come to the conclusion that we don't 'capture' the romance, we insert it - with things like slow motion and high contrast black and white shots. Though it's probably negative advertising for my business, I'm unashamedly over weddings and desperate to try something like documentaries. I live (and work) for the chance to make my short films, and to find work doing that very thing is my next goal I think.
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Old July 18th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #14
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John,
I encourage you to try a short film. Doesn't have to be very long. Find something your interested in and give it a go. I have stayed away from Doc, weddings and such to focus on filmmaking, short and long stories. If you write to your resources you can produce a good little flick. I made a 12 minute short for about $125.00 per minute. This included 3 locations, 5 days of shooting, costumes, transportation, talent($50.00 per day), set design, etc... I did the whole thing without permits, (used public land) and everything went just fine.
So go for it, if that's what you want to do....it's too much fun!
Jon

the film: http://www.fotgfilms.com/video/campsite.html
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Old July 18th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #15
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I encourage you to try a short film...
I have done a few times. I've written and directed three (and a half) but since I started working full time and started my event videography business I just don't get the time. I'm not interested in the writing process - just the production process, so my inability to write anything, and my lack of time to do it anyway keeps holding me back from doing it again.
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