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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:08 PM   #1
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Widescreen

I have a VX2000 and want to take my filming to a new level. I'm interested in some more information on filming in 16 X 9. Can anyone suggest some online resources to better understand filming in this format?
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Old January 31st, 2004, 09:24 PM   #2
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Quite a lot has been written on this topic right here at dvinfo.net. Try a search, or just browse backwards through the forum. On the VX-2000 there are several ways to work in 16:9. You could use the builtin "wide" mode which will produce an anamorphic image in the correct format to show on a widescreen TV.

You could also use the memory mix function with a matte as explained here: http://www.streamovie.com/vx2000.htm You could also just shoot normally an apply a matte when you edit.

All these methods will be suitable to show 16:9 letterboxed in a 4:3 frame, however they will all suffer if displayed on a widescreen TV. In order to acheive the 16:9 aspect ratio you will need to crop the image inside the 4:3 frame and that will result in fewer scan lines with an image roughly 720x360 instead of 720x480 for standard 4:3.

To use the full resolution of the camera you would need an anamorphic lens adaptor. Here are a couple reviews of these:

http://www.dv.com/print_me.jhtml;jse...turyoptics0901
http://www.dv.com/features/features_...eview/wilt0202

And here's an article from Bealecorner about 16:9: http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/16to9.html

Bensyverson.com is another site: http://members.macconnect.com/users/...een/index.html

This site also explains some of the different video formats: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~leopold/Ld/ResolutionComparison/
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Old February 1st, 2004, 05:17 PM   #3
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I've been shooting a TV show using a VX2000, and we are now creating commercial DVDs, all in old-fashioned 4:3.

All the while I have noticed that 16:9 option in the VX2k, but (blush) I have no idea what it is for.

I guess I just live in a different world from the 16:9 people... (well obviously 'cuz I don't even know what it's for - !)

So my questions to the 'widescreen' group: Can someone just give a few lines of ultra basics on the PURPOSE of 16:9?

* Who wants to shoot this way, and why?

* What products are created in 16:9?

* Who buys these products?

* What is the future of this format, given the arrival of HD?

Thanks,
Scott
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Old February 1st, 2004, 06:29 PM   #4
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You might find these interesting, although they are more slanted towards presenting films in their original format:

http://www.widescreen.org/widescreen.shtml
http://home1.gte.net/res0mrb7/widescreen
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 07:10 AM   #5
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Scott, the core of the issue is that 4:3 is the shape of a TV image while 16:9 mimics the cinema experience. It's the cinema experience that widescreen TV sets aim to provide while also presenting "regular" TV programming with black areas left and right of the image. If you rent or buy DVDs, check the back of the package for aspect ratio information. Nearly all such movies are presented in some version of widescreen, many much wider than 16:9.

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Old February 2nd, 2004, 07:48 AM   #6
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Sounds like for us producers for 'regular television,' we should just go on with 4:3, waiting for the lower-priced tools for HD to really be worthy of HD (sorry: I won't get started on THAT!) -- and leave 16:9 alone....

I did read the great websites that Boyd recommended and of course now I totally 'get it' - 16:9 is for movie makers, people interested in independent cinema production, Hollywood, Bollywood, etc. who are fed-up with seeing their work truncated to fit the small screen.

But for us producing for regular TV and creating - for example - fitness DVDs...there seem to be no stand-alone products that require 16:9, no market of buyers who would want to buy a 16:9 video that is not a 'theatrical film.'

Pls correct me if I'm wrong about that - !

Thanks,
Scott
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 04:57 PM   #7
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16 by 9 isn't necessarily a 'movie' ratio. In fact, there are probably something approching 10 'movie' ratios out there.

4:3 takes maximum advantage of the available resolution for video for video.

And plenty of work that hits the theatre that was originally video, was shot 4:3.

Someone once said it's not the equipment, the format or the experience of the operators, it's content, content, content.

Tell a great story and the world will happily watch it on 4:3

I'm not certain I've ever even turned on the 16:9 capabilities of my cameras.

I'm with you Scott.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:19 PM   #8
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I'd agree that there isn't any really pressing reason to provide content in 16:9 at the present time. But the change is inevitable, although we could certainly debate the "when" issue. Sales of widescreen TV's were strong during the holidays, and relatively inexpensive "ED" plasma screens are popular items right now, going for about $2,000 for a 42" model. But of course you can buy a 32" 4:3 set for a couple hundred bucks at WalMart though. How many years did it take for color televisions to reach critical mass in US households?

For now I really think it's a personal choice that you should make based on the nature of your work. For me, I'm doing everything in 16:9 but admittedly it's more "artsy" stuff.
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Old February 8th, 2004, 05:07 PM   #9
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I personally left 4:3 TVs back in 1998 and I'll never go back.

I shoot exclusively 16:9 for my home archives and considering thats the the shape of my present and future it just makes sense.

Besides, if you're in the market for a TV larger than 40" you had better like 16:9/HDTV because they account for about 95% off all large screen TVs in current production. Cruise over to Sears or Circuit City's website and try to filter by size over 40" and 4:3. It'll be a short list if any at all.

I can definitely understand where a business might be saddled with 4:3 for a while to come but anyone looking for a home camcorder should definitely consider a quality 16:9 mode*.


Here is an example of a quality 16:9 mode found on the Sony PDX10

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-5/74415/PDX10.jpg



* - Increased angle of view with little to no resolution loss (vertical zooming).
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Old February 9th, 2004, 05:59 PM   #10
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I just love the ratio (16:9), my eye, my field of vision, is just right at home in the rectangle. Hey! A bumpersticker if ever I hearda one!

"Thinking Inside The Rectangle"

Whaddya think? :-)
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Old February 12th, 2004, 09:45 PM   #11
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All of the training programs we produce are distributed on CD as interactive-web training, so I shoot everything 16:9 now. I also shoot 16:9 on any stock footage I think might be around awhile. You can always letterbox it if necessary for video release. Independent documentaries I work on regularly are all done in 16:9 also. Hopefully more and more people will be buying wide screen TVs in the near future.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 11:19 PM   #12
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I just got a VX2100 and the Century Optics. I can certainly see the barrel distortion, and depending on what I am seeing some of the Adapter on the sides (mostly from light reflecting I think) on the widest setting, but zooming in a bit seems to solve the problem. I will be running a full test to see what I really think on Friday.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 04:35 PM   #13
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Jonah,
I take it you got the Century anamorphic adapter?
Is it the newer one or the older one? Let us know
what you think of it; I've been considering one
myself.
And anyone know where I can find any stats on the
how well widescreen TVs are selling? I've heard
sales are much better in Europe -- or atleast France --
than the US.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 04:36 PM   #14
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Yes it is the Century Optics, and it is the older one. I can't afford the new one.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 05:49 PM   #15
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Not too impressed

OK I just did some tests on the Century Optics 16:9 Adapter on my VX2100. Fully wide, the lens is quite obvious in the frame, though is barely visible on either LCD screen.

http://www.whaleofatale.net/OutsideI...ptics_16-9.jpg

And zoomed in a bit, so you can't see the Adapter at all in the LCD screens, you can still see the adapter on the sides of the image, and their is still barrell distortion on the image.

http://www.whaleofatale.net/OutsideI..._16-9_zoom.jpg

For the price, and from the rave reviews, I expected much better.

Sure the image quality is higher than the 16:9 mode, but the wider horizontal of the adapter is pretty much cancelled out by having to zoom in to get the lens out of view!
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