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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old August 18th, 2003, 02:12 PM   #1
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PD150 - 16/9 - Editing

Hey guys,

This is a great discussion forum. I'm new to this forum and I'm new to DV shooting as well. I've been working with film and TV parallell to IT work all my life though. Everything from filming with the good old super-8 to, more recently, acting in TV and film productions. Now, I'm however taking care of my need to create, by doing my own TV productions, preferably with a touch of film look :-)

I've been reading through this and other forums now and my eyes are starting to bleed, there so much information out here - it's great! (although I think my eyes soon will need a longer period of rest :-) Anyway, the subject of buying a camera...I think I've narrowed it down to either waiting for another year - for a possible DVCAM with everything possible, or, buying a PD150 within the near future. However, I'm a big fan of the widescreen formats, aren't we all, and this is what I really want to acieve in the end. Which brings me to the actual questions. If I was to buy a PD150 today and wanted to crop the picture to 16/9 in post, which, I've learned, will keep the most information in the picture, how would I actually go about doing this?

First, how do I get the actual view of 16/9 when filming without actually recording in 16/9, is this something provided with the PD150 (like the XL1S) or do you need to come up with a second-rate drawing on the screen in order to fix this problem?

Second, the actual cropping in post, is this a painful and time consuming process or is this something made in a jiffy?
(I've not decided on which editing system yet, either a fast PC with Premiere/After Effects or the Power Mac G5 and the Final Cut Pro - any suggestions on this by the way?:-)

Thankful for any advice on these matters.

Best

Chris
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Old August 18th, 2003, 04:28 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard Chris! I think this thread provides some answers to your question. You could also use a memory stick matte in 4:3 mode which would display in th correct aspect ratio in your viewfinder. See this website for downloads and instructions.

You could also take a look at this little standalone program, which is primarily for de-interlacing, but will also crop and squeeze your footage to letterbox. One possible advantage of this would be that it runs as a separate application in the background.

Also, do you want your end result to display full screen on a widescreen TV, or just in a letterbox on a 4:3 set? If you go the widescreen route you need to both crop it, then stretch it vertically to make it anamorphic. After doing this it will NOT display properly on a 4:3 set. You would need to make a separate version for this, or possibly burn to DVD and let the player handle the conversion from anamorphic.

Do some searching here, this is all frequently discussed.
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Old August 19th, 2003, 11:06 AM   #3
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hi Chris!
i think using memstick for letterboxing is'nt a good idea, it gives basically the same result as switching your cam to 16:9.
Maybe it's better then using anamorphic lens, in that way 150 will use the same pixel amount of CCD's as in 4:3 mode. You can find such lens from most lens providers, i've tested one from www.centuryoptics.com, works fine. Or, if you by DSR-PDX10, that cam can do full 16:9, but it has some drawbacks compared to 150 (you can find lot of threads about that here).

regs, Margus
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Old August 19th, 2003, 12:13 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for your replies! I really appreciate it!

I wrote the longest reply to you Boyd this morning here in sweden and just as I was going to post it it disapeared in to cyber space. Let's face it, computers are great, but hey, there are times when you don't really love them :-)

Anyway, hope it works this time ...

I was actually prasing the matte solution. I thought that was a great solution, together with either the editing programs cropping solutions or with the neat little DVFilmMaker program.

So...

Margus: Hmm..I don't really get it, if I use matte and then crop the picture without making any other adjustments to the picture, how can i loose resolution?
And, will you not loose resolution, or if not, receive focus problems, if using an anamorphic lence? If this is not the case, which one would you recommend and what is the cost? Do you know of an example I can look at with the PD150 and the lence?
I'm not so keen on buying the PDX-10 since as i understand it doesn't produce as fine a result with the picture.

Boyd: Do I want the 4:3 letterbox or the widescreen anamorphic?

Well, let's see if I can get this straight, when looking at 4:3 letterbox photography on a normal tv set you will see the black stripes at the top and at the bottom. This is fine, and it will produce a movie-sort of format (note that i don't write movie product, since i realise there is so much more to getting that movie look - elaborating with DoF and several other production details together with the post-production and that creative process will probably determine how close to personal product with a touch of movie look i will get). ok, so that's fine.

ok, now to the widescreen thing.

First, why do I need to make two version...how is this solved in a normal TV channel broadcast situation? If the broadcast need to be anamorphic for a widescreen TV to get the "natural" format, and this won't work with a normal TV set, .... ?

And then, if I choose to go with the 4:3 letterbox version, how will this look in a widescreen TV? Is the widescreen TV set really not able to adjust to this format?

Well guys, I realize i might have placed myself in the category 'weeell, he's new!', but hey, if you don't ask you won't learn, right? :-)

Best

Chris
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Old August 19th, 2003, 03:47 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Forsman : Margus: Hmm..I don't really get it, if I use matte and then crop the picture without making any other adjustments to the picture, how can i loose resolution?

Chris, I agree with you and don't think you lose resolution with the memory matte technique. I did some tests awhile ago and felt it looked better than the builtin widescreen. The problem with the builtin 16:9 has something to do with how it's compressed as DV which introduces artifacts and lowers the resolution.

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Forsman :And, will you not loose resolution, or if not, receive focus problems, if using an anamorphic lence?

The anamorphic adaptor will definitely give you the highest possible resolution, but they're very expensive... maybe $700 or so? You have limited zoom-through and focus ability. You get vignetting at the full wide setting. You can't add a wide adaptor lens to them. If you want filters or a lens shade you'll need to spend a lot more. I thought about going that route, but ended up with the PDX-10 for my widescreen work instead.

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Forsman : ok, now to the widescreen thing. First, why do I need to make two version...how is this solved in a normal TV channel broadcast situation?

I think they need to broadcast two versions basically. To display properly on a widescreen TV you need an "anamorphic" image. The 720x480 frame needs to be stretched across something like 854x480 pixels. Most regular 4:3 TV's can't do that and won't understand that it needs to happen. Therefore you will see a full 4:3 screen with no black stripes, and everything will look tall and skinny (maybe not so bad for me, come to think of it ;-) Some of the newer 4:3 TV's can detect a signal in the video stream and go into letterbox mode, but most do not.

If you want to make your cropped 4:3 footage display fullscreen on a 16:9 TV, you need to stretch the 720x360 frame vertically to 720x480. Then you need to tell your NLE that you've got anamorphic 16:9, and it will embed the magic cookie in the video stream that will tell a widescreen monitor to show it properly.

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Forsman :And then, if I choose to go with the 4:3 letterbox version, how will this look in a widescreen TV? Is the widescreen TV set really not able to adjust to this format?

This is actually covered in the thread I referenced before. My widescreen monitor lets you manually choose to expand letterboxed 4:3 to full screen. Needless to say, it doesn't look as good a "real" 16:9 however...
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Old August 20th, 2003, 04:01 AM   #6
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Hi Chris

Simple solution. (I had your dilema 6 months ago)

Buy the PDX10 (not as expensive as the PD150) and record in true 16:9.

Edit in Final Cut Express (or Pro if you have extra dosh, you can always upgrade frm FCX anyway to the Pro). These NLE accomodate 16:9 editing without any fuss.

If you need to move more upmarket at a later stage (i.e a PD150 for better LUX) the you can always use continue to use the PDX10 in different situations (quite a bit smaller and more nimble)
and buy the PD150 or it's 16:9 replacement (whenever that will be!!) at the appropriate time. (The DVCAM tapes will be interchangable)

Regards

P
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Old August 20th, 2003, 04:29 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for the input! I appreciate all the help I can get on this subject!

It sertainly sounds like using the PDX-10 for 16:9 shooting would be the better solution. Although, will you receive adequate broadcast quality with the pdx-10? A penpal friend of mine, shooting work for swedish television, recommended that I'd go with the PD150 or the PDX-10 instead of the XL1S, that first was my focus in this quest for the right camera, because of the DVCAM quality. However, in reading reviews about the two cameras I find mostly comments about the PD150 beeing so much better in quality compared to the PDX-10, this has made my thoughts go in the PD150 direction. But, with all the trouble you have to go through in getting a good 16:9 format I'm now actually considering the PDX-10. Also, I have to start somewhere. The only thing is that I don't want to end up with poor quality shots and a no no when it comes to broadcasting because of bad choise of camera. How much of a quality drop is it with the PDX-10 compared to the PD150? Is the low light problem one of the biggest differences, if that's the case you could always compensate by a good lighting kit? I guess there will be situations where you can't use to much lighting equipment but in most cases if shooting short stories I guess that would be possible.

So, filming in 16:9 with the "true" (at least better resolution) PDX-10 would that result in anamorphic 16:9 or just higher resolution cropped 16:9? Or is this something you decide in post? (Sorry Boyd, you gave it a good shoot but I'm still not quite there yet :-) - By the way, is there a manual of some sort somewhere that will enlighten you on all these format issues by the way?)

Best

Chris
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Old August 20th, 2003, 05:04 AM   #8
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Have a look at the PDX10 forum.

Most would sugegst that the PDX10 is only really inferior in respect of the Lower LUX ability and not having in-built ND filters.

ON the plus side, the audio shoe is detachable on the PDX10 (not on the 150) and hence can have a much smaller footprint. Bigger touch sensitive LCD screen too. PDX is also not likely to be replaced very soon (but the PD150 is ripe for a change!)

Note that most agree that the DVCAM format in no better that plain vanilla Mini DV tapes (just more robust and better cases!)

Regards P
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Old August 20th, 2003, 06:02 AM   #9
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I'll probably go with the PDX-10 but I still have to do some research on the draw backs with the PDX-10 compared to the PD150. The quest continues :-) Thanks again guys for all your input!

PS. I found this widescreen production forum on the sony web site that is quite useful (http://www.sonybiz.net/dvcam, and: 'widescreen production', and there's a presentation split up in to 7 files. Lot's of information there also. :-)
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Old August 21st, 2003, 01:33 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Forsman : Margus: Hmm..I don't really get it, if I use matte and then crop the picture without making any other adjustments to the picture, how can i loose resolution?

yeah, have to admit, i have'nt had need to use 16:9 in work, just tested it times ago. Never tried that memstick trick. Just thought that when using memstick camera has one more task of keying. Luma keyer for this task, i think. And that definently does'nt improve picture quality.

Margus
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Old August 21st, 2003, 02:41 AM   #11
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I'll probably go with the pdx-10 solution (or, if I suddenly should come across a ridiculous amout of money - for a future independent dv movie maker - the pd150 anamorphic solution:-).

Best

Chris
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