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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old December 4th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #16
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I launched my production company last year. I've worked in broadcast and non-broadcast for years (as well as teaching production for years) but eventually decided to set out on my own. This time last year I was wrestling with what cams to buy. SD or HD? As a (new) business owner I obviously wanted to keep overhead low. Since my company concentrates on weddings (just like people are dying all the time, people are getng married all the time... ha ha) low-light performance was also important. I ended up buying a VX2100 and a PD 170 used from a member here. I am very glad I did. For now, I don't anticipate needing to buy anything for at least another year. When I do I guess I'll go HDV (Canon vs. Sony... another thread:). For now the VX/PD combo does anything I want it to. In addition to weddings I'll also be doing some training videos (I'm merging my experiences in teaching/instructional design with video prod.). So far I have the funding for one (the important part) but haven't started on production of training videos. When I do I will be shooting in cheese production plants (yes, I am actually setting out to make a cheesy video:). I'm sure the PD170 will do well shotting in that environment. I'm happy with mine.

As I believe others have said here...When I do 16:9 I simply shoot normal 4:3 and pretend there is a mask covering the very top/bottom of viewfinder. In post I use a letterbox matte (comes as a Adobe preset but could easily be made with any graphics/title program). Just lay that matte over whatever you are editing and you'll have a pseudo 16:9. Average viewers don't know the difference and the 16:9 effect looks more dramatic for wedding montages. I also picked this trick up from am member here. It's not complicated at all.

If anyone is using the PD 170 as a doorstop, I wouldn't mind buying one for cheap as a spare. :)
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Old December 4th, 2007, 01:15 PM   #17
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Hi Don Bazley,
Yeah I love the PD170 and in low light this thing rocks.
With the letterbox matte does this show the full frame in wide screen TV or does it still have the letterbox in wide screen TV. I say this as Sony Vegas has a 16.9 letterbox mask but in wide screen TV it still retains the black bars top & bottom, I just had a thought that maybe its the way i'm rendering to MPEG format, I render as 4.3 template maybe it should be 16.9 format.

Can anyone confirm this?

Good luck Don with your filming.

Cheers
Simon
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Old December 4th, 2007, 02:41 PM   #18
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I can't confirm anything on rendering . I edit and render 4:3 and yes, on wide screen TVs you do still see the letterbox (black bars on top/bottom). Works for me. :)
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Old December 4th, 2007, 02:46 PM   #19
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Yes, it still has years of shelf life. If people don't pay extra for HD, they get SD and PD170s

Jon
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Old December 5th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #20
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pd170

We love our pd170 for filming our outdoor tv series, I can tell you for fact that the pd will go aleast 10-12 min more at dusk than the FX1 and for me that is the most important time. It will be in my production use for a good while.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #21
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We use a couple of PD 170's for a triathlon show on Comcast. So yes they are still being used. A very good workhorse.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #22
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I am currently upgrading to pd170's for making instructional videos. I am selling content, and so far no one has asked for HD. up to this point I have made 3 videos, close to 800 dvds sold so far. all recorded on a pair of sony trv340 s8. I have not had a single complaint, and most ask when my next video will be coming out. now if I could just access dvinfo classifieds so I could find another camera....
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Old December 5th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #23
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Pd150

We are still using my mates old PD150 as there are many times when my HC1 and my mates V1 still don't cut it for low light work (we're doing a lot of work for a cathedral at the moment.)

Anyway, like many others, most of our output is Std. Def. DVD's.

Great camera, although I still have n't worked out why the 16:9 landscape option on it records a slightly less high horizontal slit for the 16:9 letterbox (more like 16: 8.95!) than the other two cams??? - makes for a bit more work in editing all 3 camera shots together on projects in Vegas 7. Anyone know why this is?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #24
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PD170 for live music acts

I've had my PD170 for a few years now, and it's been excellent for documenting live music events. It can handle dimly lit clubs, smoke filled bars and underlit bowling alleys (yes, one show was set at a bowling alley. Great show too). The low light performance is wonderful, and the colors are quite vibrant. It gives a pop to places that should just go phud.

Recently I purchased a Canon XH A1 on this forum, so the 170 is now my B camera on 2 camera events, however it is great in extensive handheld situations due to its relatively low weight. Unless I purchased a second A1 the 170 will still have a valuable place in my camera arsenal.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 02:29 AM   #25
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Hi James,
I think I have decided to get the Sony Z1 and use my PD170 as a back up.
How do you use your PD170 with the Canon when it comes to editing?
Do you shoot the PD170 in 4.3 or mask the screen to get 16.9 or use the 16.9 in the camera?

Cheers
Simon
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Old December 7th, 2007, 10:22 PM   #26
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James?

I also own an A1. My GL-2 does not match it at all. How do u find the color match between a PD 170 and the A1?
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Old December 10th, 2007, 11:35 PM   #27
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re: PD170 color/aspect

To Simon and David,

I have used the PD170 at 4:3 the entire time, the one time I turned on the 16:9 mode it was so bad I vowed never to use it ever. All it did was stretch out the picture and throw away a lot of info. I haven't really had a need to add letterbox to the PD 170 image as you also lose info, just not as destructively.
For the shoots I have used the A1 and the PD170 together I have just set the A1 at SD 4:3 mode. A bit backwards, but I white balanced both so that the two looks weren't too different, so colorwise you can get them to look similar. I imported the footage of a training seminar, and did find the 170 looks quite good when compared to the A1 SD mode. Perhaps I had the detail/sharpness set too low on the A1, but it had an odd lack of resolution, almost a smearing/creaminess to it, and some blockiness in the dark regions that the 170 did not have. It wasn't like the XL2 which I have intercut with the 170, the A1 seemed more compressed or something. I have definitely seen that the PD170 produces vibrant color without any tweaking at all, while the Canons you have to dig into the menus and work out your color schemes there, otherwise your blacks can be crushed and colors desaturated in the standard configuration.
I have shot tests in HDV 1081i mode on the A1, and this is where the camera truly delivers. As an SD camera it looks worse than the PD170. You can work with the two together out of necessity, but I'd almost go out and get a second 170 if the gigs were worth doing. That would be a real step backward. As is, the A1 in 1080i will get me through some shorts and perhaps a no budget feature or two, while the 170 I'll keep strictly for the rare business/events work I do.
And then I'll get a Red One and it'll become a moot point. HAHAHAHA!
Until that day comes... but seriously, I could do a few frame grabs to show and compare, I will be working on the seminar this week and should have some time to make a few stills for comparison. No color correction, just straight from the camera. Later on I'll be working on a music show done with both cameras, A1 also in SD 4:3, in a very dark and garishly colorful setting, I'll try to post some comparisons down the line. I will give the A1 credit for having a sharp flip out monitor, the 170 looked like mush after I shot with the A1 for an hour. Focus was easier and more readily defined.
Sorry for making this a really long post. I hope I somewhat helped out, if not I'll try again when I'm not about to fall asleep.
Thanks,
JF
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Old December 11th, 2007, 12:50 AM   #28
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PD 170 still rules

Simon,

Just thought I'd add my two cents worth, I have been using a PD 170 for about 3 years and I can't fault it, especailly in low light situations, (I have worked a lot shooting in theatres and in pubs for bands). Also I was reading on ScreenHub that SD televsion signals won't be turned off in Australia till 2013, so there is quite a bit of life in the old dog yet.

I'm currently working for a company that uses Z1's and they aren't as good in low light or as robust in construction. If you're still getting good images out of your camera keep it, as the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"

cheers
David
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #29
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Hi David,
I wont let go the PD170 it is a great camera for all things apart from 16.9 which I seem so keen on.
I have just bought the Sony Z1 as i speak so I'm looking worward to getting my head around this now.
I have just finished a three month long shoot with the PD170 in SD 4.3 mode and It has came up looking good on my TV, It will be intersting seeing this on my clients large widescreen. I'm a bit nervous as I have watched every micro bit I have just shot an I know it's gonna be stretched to the hilt... oh well.

Cheers mate

Simon
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #30
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Thanks James.
I agree 16.9 in camera on the 170 is not so good but 4.3 I think It rocks.

Cheers
Simon
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