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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old August 16th, 2008, 07:00 AM   #61
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Tom, if you have the results you describe, i.e. the Z1 outperforms th PD170, it is because of differing imaging chips, not differing methods of recording SD 16:9 ... that's the sum total of my point.

The PD150/170 shoot true anamorphic 16:9 video, not faux letterboxed video, but they do it with less than optimal imaging chips. Same is true of some formats, which record at less than the display resolution (HDV, DVCProHD) and many, many camcorders which have imaging chips of less than the target resolution.

Hope that helps,
GB
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Old August 16th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #62
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I agree with you RGB (good initials you have!) Both cameras record 'proper' 16:9 but the Z1 uses the entire chip surface whereas the PD170 uses a 16:9 rectangle from the middle of its 4:3 chip.

The Z1 has a 1"/3 chip (diagonal, let's say, though of course we know these figures are only arbitrary).

The PD170 also has a 1"/3 chip, but when you place the 16:9 rectangle over this chip you now see that the chip is no longer 1"/3 - the diagonal line has been shortened.

You can see this in the v'finder - the PD has less wide-angle coverage in the 16:9 mode. I'm not complaining, the VX/PD are very fine cameras indeed, but were designed in the 4:3 age.

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Old August 22nd, 2008, 04:58 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Ian Thomas View Post
Do you deliver HD to your customers on a blue ray disc!
or do you downconvert to sd DVD's
Don't new Tvs adjust the aspect ratio? well my HDtv does, ........

My point is why shot HD unless the customer has blueray, as you only downconvert sd for distribution

Until HD is mainstream seems pointless to me
Toms comments were mainly to suggest that true widescreen, not HD, should be the de facto "here and now", at least in the UK. And he's right. It's not a question of complaints, like any craftsman it should be a cameramans duty to do the best job for a customer he can within reason, and nowadays that must mean 16:9. If that means a new camera, so be it, is the cost really that much compared to other business expenses, and with the expectation it should give some years service?

In the case of wedding videos they are likely to be watched in years to come, well after the last 4:3 TVs have gone to landfill, and a 4:3 original will inevitably be compromised in the viewing. New TVs may well "adjust the aspect ratio", but inevitably at the expense of losing part of the picture or distorting the shape.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 03:36 PM   #64
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David

Most tv's now adjust the aspect ratio and i can't see anything wrong the pd's footage
Iam very pleased with the quality and i know that my customers are


I use my XLH1 now for my wildlife work and i love the picture but until someone asks for hd
or 16:9 i will use the 170
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 05:37 PM   #65
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Most tv's now adjust the aspect ratio and i can't see anything wrong the pd's footage
I can think of three basic ways a modern (16:9) TV can "adjust the aspect ratio" to cope with a 4:3 input.

1] Put it uncropped as 4:3 in the centre, with black columns either side. (Some TVs can let you make these coloured.)

2] Horizontally stretch the full 4:3 image to fill the screen. Normally the sides are stretched more than the centre, and there will obviously be distortion of shape - circles will become ovals, etc.

3] Lose the top and bottom of the picture, fill the 16:9 TV frame with the centre 3/4 of the original 4:3 image.

All of the above are possible if needs must, but for a 16:9 display, none of them are anywhere near as good as shooting a true 16:9 original, on a camera with true 16:9 chips. That's the only way to fill the screen with the original image, without cropping or distortion - period. If I was commissioning anything which was to have future value (and a wedding video is surely one of the best examples), I would not now entertain it being produced in 4:3. HD may be desirable for the future, widescreen should be a must.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 05:52 PM   #66
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I use my XLH1 now for my wildlife work and i love the picture but until someone asks for hd or 16:9 i will use the 170
I've seen this statement in quite a few video forums, "I'm not going to do 16:9 or HD until one of my clients asks for it." What the heck ever happened to salesmanship? It's up to US to keep our clients informed about the trends in video production and delivery. I've been shooting HD exclusively for the last four years, whether the client asked for it or not. Since I'm not doing car commercials, which have a very short "shelf life", I've been gathering HD material which can delivered in SD now and repurposed into an HD product later for an additional fee. I've also been collecting a lot of stock footage in HD. Much sooner than later, all my SD stock footage will be outdated and unusable.

A couple of months ago, I pitched a corporate client on HD and she half-jokingly said, "it's too bad we haven't been shooting HD all along." I said, "But we have! I've just been delivering in SD." Now she wants most of her previous product in HD which is a simple matter of loading the old project, spitting it out as HD and burning it to a Blu-ray disc. She's thrilled and I have another revenue stream with virtually no additional effort. I don't do weddings, but as David Heath pointed out, weddings would be a prime example of generating additional revenue after the fact.

There is a learning curve to shooting HD, not the least of which is getting the "feel" of framing a shot in 16:9. That was the strangest part for me since all my "chops" were based on shooting 4:3 for decades.

You don't want to wait until the client asks for it and then have to learn it on the job. You're not going to be ready to shoot and post HD when the client finally asks for it. Start shooting HD and start educating and selling your clients on the idea NOW! It's going to be a 16:9 HD world sooner than you think.

John

Last edited by John Cline; August 24th, 2008 at 05:30 AM.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 01:05 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Ian Thomas View Post
until someone asks for hd
or 16:9 i will use the 170
Ian - just like John I too have seen this said on so many forum posts and I'm afraid that you must now bite the bullet and accept that the PD170's days are very nearly over. You live in England and I'd say this Sony will be saleable this year to people who shoot exclusively for the web, say, but difficult to sell next year as 4:3 screens will look increasingly old fashioned.

People don't ask for 16:9 in the same way as they don't ask for colour - they simply expect it, as they expect it will be sharp and delivered on DVD.

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Old August 24th, 2008, 03:20 AM   #68
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Tom

If as you say that the pd170 will be saleable for this year but hard to sell next year,
why does it still command a good price! more than some of Sony's same size HDV offerings

Look iam not knocking HD, yes it will come and as you know i have the XLH1, and yes the picture is stunning, But when the lights go down this is were it lets you down images start looking murky, yes a good light works but in dimly lit churches the vicar won't allow, so in this instance good 4:3 is better than poor HD 16:9

Also focus has to be spot on or images in hd look soft which can spoil a important shot


And how many couples are going to come back to you in a couple of years and want that HD master? how many marriages last that long

Hd is the future make no mistake but i think that it will take a few years before joe public has the tackle to play hd

this just how i find things at the moment
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Old August 24th, 2008, 04:00 AM   #69
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The PD170 deserves to command a good price and I see them used a lot by the paparazzi on the news - but only in 'desert regions' shall we say. Here in Europe 4:3 is so dead that footage from the war and the Beatles is habitually cropped for 16:9 transmission.

Agreed, the 170 comes into its own in gloomy churches, but only for its ability to see in the dark, not for its ability to shoot sharp widescreen (for which it was never seriously intended).

You say, 'good 4:3 is better than poor HD 16:9' but I wobble over that one. The Z1 is a stop and a half down on the 170, so it's at +9dB when the PD's at 0dB. This is a fair trade in my view - the sharper pictures (in widescreen) vs the grain of using +9dB. And I'm talking SD remember.

I'll say it again - how many couples that can afford your wedding videography services come home from expensive honeymoon and turn on an old 4:3 CRT?

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Old August 24th, 2008, 04:19 AM   #70
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Tom

How many couples tell you that they thought the picture quality was great and it looked great on there widescreen tv! not many i wager, but they will tell you that there Dvd was great and how did you manage to capture all that footage most of which i can't remember

Thats the secret if the content is good and it is edited well you are not going to get many complaints what ever format it is filmed on
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Old August 24th, 2008, 04:26 AM   #71
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Tom

How many couples tell you that they thought the picture quality was great and it looked great on there widescreen tv! not many i wager,
That's a strange thing to say to a filmmaker that you've never met Ian. I actually get quite a few compliments to that effect.

But you're right - if the content is good and it is edited well that's surely a big, bold Number One.

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Old August 24th, 2008, 04:44 AM   #72
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no Tom

i didn't mean that your quaility was not good, iam sure it is, the point i was making how many notice!"
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Old August 24th, 2008, 07:26 AM   #73
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so in this instance good 4:3 is better than poor HD 16:9
I also have waited a HD upgrade because I never saw the advantage of putting it on a dvd afterwards, now finally I bought a xh-a1 because my vx2100 footage started to look like crap on some full hd or hd ready tv's. Only my pana dvx100b was better, it gave nicer color and a bit sharper image which I believe has to do with the fact that the camera has better manual iris/nd filter/gain controll because all 3 have a big impact on the end result, with the vx2100 the controll you had over this was more limited.

Also because the vx2100 looses quite some resolution once you switch to widescreen mode I felt it was time to move on and get a camera with a "real" 16:9 lens.

I haven't used the xh-a1 on a paid job yet because I want to get used to it first but did allready some testing in different circumstances, especially darker places and now I have seen it I'm impressed with what the camera can do, you know Ian, a few months ago I would have agreed with you but now I don't anymore.

The xh-a1 produces clearly sharper images after convertion to a regular dvd, especially when going wide with the lens, the difference is then quite noticeable, Once you zoom in with an SD or HD camera the difference is less noticeable.

In regard to filming in dark places, I did some test footage 2 weeks ago at a reception, I didn't use any camera light, the room was lit with 4 small small lamps on each side of the dancefloor so it was quite dark. I used the +6db preset from Wolfgang Winne, filmed in 50i, 1/25 shutter, no gain and guess what; the footage matched the one from a vx2100. The only difference was that further away in the reception hall the xh-a1 was noticeable darker compared to the vx2100. Only everything on the dancefloor (I was standing beside the dancefloor) did have the same amount of light (the sony was at that moment at 12db) One thing you can not do under those circumstances with the canon is zooming in because everything will get completely underexposed, the Sony on the the other hand has much less problems with that. But if you don't zoom, get closer to your subjects and use a 10-20 watt lamp the canon will match the Sony when it comes to showing detail in dark places. It's just a matter of using the right preset/settings.
Also the xh-a1 footage was virtually without noise which I could not say from the Sony and it was sharper.

The xh-a1 has me convinced, also for use on a regular dvd, only the dvx100b that I also use is still a good camera, even if it isn't as sharp, it just gives a better overal look and feel compared to my Sony and I can see that it's a bit sharper. For the pana I do have to use sufficient extra light in the evening but the images are also great then.

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Old August 24th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #74
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so what you are all saying its 16:9 nothing less

If so what about a 16:9 adapter for the 170 how do they perform
and how much
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Old August 24th, 2008, 08:51 AM   #75
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Don't know about the Sony but the pana dvx100b does have a anamorphic adapter for widescreen footage which uses the full resolution but it has one big disadvantage and that's the autofocus that will not focus right anymore and manual focussing is difficult, you have to use the autofocus setting (which will not be correct) and use that value to compare it to a distance chart to be able to set the right anamorphic setting.
That's ok under controlled situations but not for run and gun.
The difference in sharpness is noticeable which is normal because you don't loose any resolution, only your camera will get front heavy with the adapter on top of your lens.
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