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


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Old November 22nd, 2008, 03:41 PM   #1
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Are we becoming dinosaurs

and should be extinct? Is it time for everyone to switch to HD yet? Personally I am having a hard time convincing myself that I am somehow cheating my customers out of quality shooting with my Sony VX's. Am I old fashioned, is it time to switch to HD???
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 07:02 PM   #2
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Most customers do not have HD equipment. Especially HD playback equipment.

And Blu-Ray recordable disks are still very expensive.

I think your customers will be quite happy with SD video for some time.

When someone asks for HD, then you can decide if it is time for you to invest the $. Camera, editing suite and DVD burner all have to be upgraded at the same time.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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My main issue with the VX-2000 is the lack of a better quality 16:9 mode. For 4:3 work, it still produces beautiful images. Mine has now found a new home as the stage-view camera which feeds the backstage and lobby video screens at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. I hadn't used it for years myself.

If you and your customers are happy with your work, there's not much motivation to switch. But sooner or later you will want to; VX-2000 footage looks pretty soft on a big widescreen TV. See the following: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-vx21...w-shooter.html
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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Being a fan I've just bought Joni Mitchell's 'Painting with words and Music' DVD. This girl's a star and has been for many years, so the production values are high, with wire guided multiple tracking cameras and Dolby 5.1 audio.

But wait - the entire show is shot in 4:3 and it just looks disastrously out of date on a new TV. 4:3 can look rectangular on a 4:3 TV, but it looks perfectly square on a 16:9 TV. I feel somewhat cheated.

So yes Harry - I feel it should be extintified.

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Old November 23rd, 2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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Harry

As long as your customers are happy with your work then don't be pushed into hd, some posters on her are always looking to buying the new kids on the block and diss such as the VX/PD cameras but let me tell you this,

I have a wedding comming up next wk and its a candle lit service went for a practice the other night and thank god (sorry for the pun) i had the 170 the xlh1 just couldn't see the picture was dark and horrible but the 170 was great and i showed it to the couple who much prefered the look on the 170, as for 16:9 or 4:3 they didn't give a jot

SD1 HDV0
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 02:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
My main issue with the VX-2000 is the lack of a better quality 16:9 mode. For 4:3 work, it still produces beautiful images. Mine has now found a new home as the stage-view camera which feeds the backstage and lobby video screens at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. I hadn't used it for years myself.

If you and your customers are happy with your work, there's not much motivation to switch. But sooner or later you will want to; VX-2000 footage looks pretty soft on a big widescreen TV. See the following: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-vx21...w-shooter.html
I don't usually do three camera shoots, but Friday night I did one with three cameras at a local high school play. I shot SD with my FX1, HV20, and my VX2000. On the VX2000, I mounted a Century Optics wide adapter, I had bought of $99 on closeout (those were selling for $1 K in the old days). The footage turned out pretty well for my purposes, though as you might expect with the extra glass and distorting nature of the glass, that the image is a bit softer. All in all, pretty good for SD purposes.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 06:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Harry Settle View Post
Personally I am having a hard time convincing myself that I am somehow cheating my customers out of quality shooting with my Sony VX's. Am I old fashioned, is it time to switch to HD???
Depends who your customers are. Are they paying you to produce material primarily for "now", or for "the future"? And for the wedding video market, future viewing may be more significant than now - assuming the couples don't divorce in the meantime. :-)

In that case, when your customers get out their discs in 20 years time, 16:9 HD will have become the norm, if something better hasn't come along. So yes, if they find out they could have had an HD Blu-Ray disc, and all they got was an NTSC 4:3 DVD, I think they may have grounds for feeling a bit cheated.

Even if not HD, I'd certainly say true 16:9 should be the norm for something likely to be watched in the future, at the very least. Buy any Hollywood DVD now and it will be 16:9, shouldn't the same be true of weddings?
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 07:27 PM   #8
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If we use your logic, David, then those who received their video on video tape must already feel cheated because DVD media is now available.

We and the customers make a choice and live with it. Just like buying anything, something better is aways coming along.

Deliver the work in the resolution they are willing to pay for and want and on the media they can use.

If they want it future-proofed, good luck. There is no way to really do that...all you have to do is wait long enough and the today's latest technology will be hopelessly out of date.

The best you can do is sit around with the video in your archives, at your expense and hope someday they will come to you and want it placed onto the latest media. (SD with a sufficiently good upscaling conversion, looks much like HD to most people.)

We know 4096 video will be coming down the road some day and will be available to consumers. That doesn't mean we have to shoot in double HD even though we can find cameras that do that.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #9
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If we use your logic, David, then those who received their video on video tape must already feel cheated because DVD media is now available.

We and the customers make a choice and live with it. Just like buying anything, something better is aways coming along.
Yes, and "future proofing" is inevitably never fully possible - as you say, something better is always coming along.

But there's normally an overlap as one (newer) technology takes over from the previous, and for something with future value then by and large the later technology is normally always a better bet than the older one.

I bought my first consumer camera at the time of the birth of my first child (20 years ago), and it coincided very well with the first S-VHS cameras. Do I wish his early years were recorded in 16:9 High Definition? Well, obviously yes. More practically, am I glad that I got an S-VHS camera then, rather than the VHS or Video 8 that were the alternative norm at the time? A resounding yes again.

Given the same choice today, be it a camera purchase or commissioning a wedding video, the outgoing technology is 4:3 SD, the incoming technology is 16:9 HD. Better than either may well be available in the future, but that's no reason to go with 4:3 SD now. In many ways getting 16:9 may well be more important than HD. It may look soft in the future, but at least it should be the right shape.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 02:17 AM   #10
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In many ways getting 16:9 may well be more important than HD. It may look soft in the future, but at least it should be the right shape.
Good words. As to the 'looking soft' I'm pretty impressed with what Toshiba are able to do on the upscaling front into a posh new HDMI TV. It's not HD of course, but it sure makes my SD stuff look very acceptable indeed.

What upscalers can't do is get around the resolution loss of fitting a 4:3 image into a 16:9 frame. It's soft or distorted, period.

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Old November 25th, 2008, 11:36 AM   #11
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Harry,
The replies listed above are all right on. Having been in a similair situation some nine or ten months ago, I really had to think long and hard about parting with my beloved VX-2000 video camera. ( which I got next to nothing for ) Well, finally made the decision to sell the ol' VX and purchase a new FX-1. What provided the final impetus for me was the 16:9 aspect ratio. I am more of a serious hobbyist type of videographer and as such low light capability is important but not always critical. If you shoot weddings, then you need good low light capability. It is my understanding that the new FX-1000 has really good low light capture, but the VX/PD series cameras still appear to reign supreme in this area. In several instances, I actually had people ask me if video I had shot with the VX-2000 was in fact high def. Obviously, this was not the case, but it does underscore what good lighting, composition and a little tweak in post can do for your video.( not to mention a consuming public that is still getting used to the idea of high def. ) Now that I have familiarized myself with the workings of the FX-1, I don't feel nearly as bad about selling the ol' VX as I once did. Having started out with super-8 home movie film through VHS, high-8, DV and now HD you'd think I would have learned when to quit. You do of course realize that it is only a matter of time before you'll have to make the switch. It's a trap I tell you. It would appear we're on a never ending treadmill of video need/affliction. Just my two cents worth.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #12
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I almost sold my VX2100, but it has found new life in corporate web site work. HD is overkill for stuff on a company web site, and the VX is perfect for the job. I don't see getting rid of mine anytime soon.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 04:51 PM   #13
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The Army still uses PD-170s... and XL-2's, and Beta SXs. For what it's worth. :)
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Old November 25th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #14
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Well time is ticking on 4:3 to be sure. I dumped my Sony's and picked up a JVC HD110 for 16:9 and 24p work which comes out VERY well on 16:9 DVD via HDMI cable on a HDTV. Most people can't tell it's not HD. (downconverted HDV 720p 24p to 24p DVD standard). This came out hands down better than my 4:3 SD ever came out. Since most TVs sold in the last few years more and more of your clients will be 16:9 HDTV's, it's getting nearer than you think.

That being said, I sorely missed my old Sony DVCAM last week covering some bands at a dark performance. The HD 1/3 chips simply can't compete against 1/3 SD chips for low light, and most SD chips are not really full SD anyway, but it does mean they were far more sensative in low light.

Does this mean you should run out and get a new $4,000 to $8,000 system? Not nessisarily. A good camera operator with skill is more valuable than the bad operator with the new gear. Many of my friends are working full time with Vx2100 and DVX100's. Others are shooting TV shows on a HVX200's. I switched and 95% of the time I'm happy with it. I see clients more often seeing lighting, audio and basic camera work as to being the most desirable. So no everyone doesn't need to upgrade for work, but I expect some day soon you will start loosing work to someone else just because of the gear.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 03:12 AM   #15
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A good camera operator with skill is more valuable than the bad operator with the new gear.
Quite true, but a good camera operator with skill *AND* new gear is more valuable still!

And a bad operator with old gear must surely be bottom of the pile? :-)
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