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


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Old June 2nd, 2008, 02:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Yes, I suppose he is (right).
I'd say you both were. He would be right if he was saying "we should be producing our product 16:9", but you're right to be saying "we've got 4:3 cameras and they don't work as well in 16:9 mode".

The obvious conclusion is that it may be time to upgrade......... Sorry...... :-)
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 02:54 PM   #17
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I know. I have an FX7, and the low light is so terrible. The EX1 is out of the question, not interested at this point.

If I felt I could shoot wedding videos with the FX7 and V1Us I would buy a V1u, but it's that darn low light thing. I've only used the FX7 for it's zoom as a fourth camera from the balcony.

Has anyone made the transition from the PD and VX series cams to the FX7/V1U series succesfully? How do you handle it?
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 02:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Has anyone made the transition from the PD and VX series cams to the FX7/V1U series succesfully? How do you handle it?
Not quite. We went from PD170s to Z1s - I never liked the V1 - not the images, nor the operation, and the Z1 (with gain) is close to the PD170 in low light - although not quite as good.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 08:02 PM   #19
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I shoot weddings, etc using the VX2100 and the PD 150/170. I always shoot in 4:3 mode.

I personally have never even tried shooting in the 16:9 mode on these cams, don't see the purpose, not for what I do.

Am I missing something here, is the kid right and are all of us old geezers in cincinnnati are just too old-school to know what's good?
The PD150/170's widescreen mode isn't really "fake." It chops the top and bottom off the 4:3, 720X480 screen to a 16X9, 720X405 screen. You lose a little vertical resolution but it edits as wide screen and looks just fine. Before HD came along and SD was just beginning to go 16X9 I was able to sell quite a bit of footage to Discovery and BBC in this mode. The most important thing is to import your footage as component video and it will look great.

And yes you are old. The video world is going HD and 16X9. Bet you don't see a lot of 4:3 TV's in Best Buy anymore do you? Finally, widescreen is more pleasing to the eyes because it more closely resembles the way we see the world. Our eyes see in widescreen not 4:3 boxes - never have.

Is he right? It's your business and you make the rules but give it a try anyway. It won't hurt. I promise.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:33 AM   #20
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A couple years ago I tested various options for getting widescreen footage from 4:3 cameras and concluded that the 'faux widescreen' option isn't worth using. Not only is the quality marginal when viewed on a good HDTV, you also compromise your ability to crop back to 4:3 output if you decide you need that. Better to run the camera the way it was designed and determine whether to convert to widescreen in post, which isn't hard to do these days and works about as well as faux widescreen recording.

Anamorphic lens adapters work better, but for a little more than what one of those costs you could trade in the camera and buy a Sony FX1 or Canon XH-A1. I sold my Canon GL1/GL2 and upgraded to two FX1s for about $4K, of which I recouped nearly half in the form of reduced taxes. Buy a faster computer if you need one for editing HD, get a Blu-ray burner and authoring software for ~$600-800, and your total upgrade cost shouldn't be much more than $5-6K after tax credits. Spread this process out a little and it shouldn't be too painful, compared to getting stuck when customers start expecting widescreen/HD video.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:01 AM   #21
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If I could find 2 FX1s for $4k I'd buy them!
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:23 AM   #22
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Yes Jeff, do that - switch your VXs and PDs to their in-built electronic anamorphic modes and tell your NLE that it's 16:9 footage. OK, it will be softer than footage generated from an FX1, say, but hopefully you'll not be intercutting footage with a genuine 16:9 camera (your FX7), so it'll largely go unnoticed.

But you suddenly tell us you have an FX7! Forget the VX/PDs, sell them pronto while they still retain some value, and shoot all your weddings on the FX7 and bump the gain. Sorted!

tom.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:33 AM   #23
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That would be easy Tom if I didn't need three cams to shoot my gigs! I have on FX7, one VX and two PDs. My single FX7 is meant to be taking me in the right direction. If I found an FX1 or two cheaply enough I could probably scratch up the money, but they seem to be expensive even used!

Also, late to the 16:9 game as I am, there is the additional masking thing! Apparently there are various ways to do that. I always wondered in the past when I would see it mentioned as I had no idea what they were talking about.

Now thanks to a previous post, (forget the the guy who mentioned it) I understand what you see is not what you get in 16:9 mode on these cams.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 02:58 AM   #24
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Hey Jeff,
I have the 170 and a Z1 and this is what i do to sort of get a wide screen from the 170 and still mix it with the Z1.
I use Vegas as my NLE. Record 4.3 with the 170 and put some tape top and bottom on the 170 screen to give you a 16.9 frame.

Capture your footage as 4.3 with Vegas as it will do.
When it comes time for editing, go in event pan crop on each pd170 footage and choose the 16.9 template. on the same page go to Source, STRETCH TO FILL FRAME AND SELECT NO. This will keep the footage 4.3 but gives it that 16.9 look without the loss of quality.
When you veiw this on a 4.3 TV you get black bars top and bottom and on a widescreen TV it is smaller than 16.9 and to MY liking it looks good, it's like another frame size but i'm not to sure what size it is.
Hope this makes sense.
I use this a lot also with regular 4.3 footage, i just mix it all up when i have different footage from different cameras.

Cheers
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 08:37 AM   #25
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Recently I had to intercut some performance footage shot on my VX-2000 in 2002 as 4:3 with 16:9 downconverted from my Z1. I was a little worried at first, but it worked surprisingly well - I doubt that many (if any) people would notice the difference. I just dropped the 4:3 clip into a 16:9 FCP sequence and zoomed it out to fill the width of the frame.

However, I think it has a lot to do with your subject material. In this case, it was a close shot of an opera singer. If it had been a wide shot of the entire stage then it would be immediately noticeable as soft. Anyway I was glad it worked so well, since it was vintage footage of Anna Netrebko who has since become a true superstar in the opera world :-)

So if you have a mix of 4:3 and 16:9 native cameras, I'd suggest using the 4:3 for the closeups. I think it's a perceptual thing - there's only so much detail that we expect to see in a face, but if it's a landscape we look for details in the small objects and it appears out of focus.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:01 AM   #26
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Kevin,
In my opinion 4:3 footage looks just as marginally bad on a good HDTV as faux 16:9 does... SD only tends to look better on an CRT rather than HDTVs. Isn't that the consensus?


As far as blowing up a 4:3 shot to fill the 16:9 frame, I think it will really vary on the shot, as you said. Many many shots can look terrible intercut and you end up looking stupid doing it.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:30 AM   #27
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I remember doing the math on this in the other thread I started. I came to the conclusion that on your SD tv set, with nominal 640 x 480 resolution, it really didn't matter whether you shot 4:3 and masked in a 4:3 project, or shot 16:9 "electronica mode" and edited 16:9. The output to the common CRT looked pretty close. When you started looking at it on computer monitors, or on high def monitors, thats when things start to suffer.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:46 AM   #28
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I have a pretty nice Toshiba hi def set. My 4:3 videos, look great on my TV. I sold a wedding pakcage on it last week. Groom was relieved that SD looked so good on a HD set. I am likely one of the only six or seven people on the planet who do not use the stretch or zoom mode.

But you know Simon, I do see what your suggesting. It does make sense. Not a bad suggestion! Thank you!
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 11:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
If I could find 2 FX1s for $4k I'd buy them!
My point was that if you sell your SD cameras while they're still worth anything and use that money toward a downpayment on a couple of HD cameras, your net upgrade cost (before tax savings) shouldn't be more than ~$4K. Then figure that your overall marginal tax rate including FICA is probably over 40% (15.3% plus 25% plus state), and your actual net upgrade cost is under $3K. I've also heard of people buying used FX1s for ~$2K or so each, so if you go that route you could cut your net upgrade cost to under $2K after taxes. That's still real money, but not as bad as $20K.

Regarding the question about how 4:3 footage looks on HDTVs, it can be okay depending on the TV but it's just not a good production format as we move into the widescreen display era. I'd rather take native 16:9 footage and crop it to 4:3 for old TVs than try to do the opposite for new TVs.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 04:12 PM   #30
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If you're viewing on a widescreen TV with decent scaling hardware, my guess is that 4:3 footage in "zoom" mode (such that it fills the 16:9 screen) will look better than either method of creating widescreen from the VX/PD series. In fact, a few years ago someone posted some examples which made a strong case for that.
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