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


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Old September 18th, 2010, 08:20 AM   #1
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PD150/PD170 for online video

Hi. I currently have a PD150 and PD170 for online projects that im doing. Some are live webcasts with justin.tv/ustream and some are prerecording for youtube/vimeo.

Wondering if there are any settings to look for when shooting for these. I would have thought progressive would be nice, but looks horrible on these cameras. Also 16:9 would be nice for youtube but was wondering which would look more realistic, either the mask 16:9 people are using or the 16:9 setting in the camera. Where would i be able to find these masks people are talking about.

Also, for youtube is there anyway to get my SD 16:( footage to show up in the full frame rather than a little widescreen box in the middle of the screen.

Any other settings or tips you may have for shooting with these cameras for online.

Thanks
Mark
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Old September 18th, 2010, 09:58 AM   #2
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I don't know enough about YouTube or the other you mentioned to say much but having owned 150s,170s and DSR250s (big brother to the PD cameras) over the last 10 or so years years and still use them here are some things to know.

The "progessive setting" on the PD series is 15 frames per second NOT 24 or 30. Why 15 FPS you ask? I don't think ANYONE knows the answer but it sucks. Period.

As for the 16:9 of the PD series it squashes the image so when I've needed the 16:9 look i use a mask thhat fits over the LCD (clear acitate with the lines drawn out on it) shoot for the image to fit that and then use a mask in post (black bars top and bottom). I know it's not a true look but it's close enough noone has really noticed.
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Old September 18th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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Don's right -- these cams don't really do progressive at normal frame rates. So avoid at all costs.

And the widescreen is no good ether -- it's a simple crop, not a squeeze. It plays squeeze on some TV sets because of the flag that's set, but there is no difference in doing this in cam or doing it in your editor. Your resolution will take a huge hit -- it'll go down to about 360 lines and you can never get that detail back. Might be okay for web but not much else.

Many vocal debates on this right here in this forum.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #4
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I have a PD170P so I have the added headache of PAL, but here is a workflow that works for me.

I have a slow computer and a fast internet connection so this may not work for you.

1) Capture Footage using WinDV
2) Edit using Premiere CS2
3) Export DV-AVI (Do not deinterlace!)
4) Export as .DV using MPEG Streamclip
- Deinterlace (Click Better Downscaling)
- Click 16:9
- Enter 25fps
5) Upload

CONS:
- Very big files
- Leaves a very thin "letterbox" on the clip
- The footage turns out a bit bright so I would grade it a little before uploading (if I was worried about IQ)

PROS:
+ PC encoding is super fast. If I encode to h.264 or wmv it takes hours
+ Youtube is getting better and better at encoding which may correct the letterboxing in future
+ MPEG Streamclip is much better at deinterlacing than Premiere

Here are some of the test clips I made directly from the captured DV-AVIs (no grading/anything)

It won't win any quality awards but it is an efficient workflow for me.
I have been going through my old tapes, editing and uploading footage that would otherwise just be gathering dust
Last night's edit with no grading
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Last edited by Laurence Janus; September 19th, 2010 at 12:20 PM. Reason: tidied up links
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Old September 19th, 2010, 11:11 AM   #5
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Progressive was useful years ago when on-line streaming was often at low frame rates -- it is useless now that full frame rates are the norm.

As for the anamorphic 16:9 this camcorder delivers, I've never understood the haters. The camera records a full 720x480 (NTSC) anamorphically flagged 16:9 file from an imaging window of 720x360 -- exactly the same as if you shot in 4:3 and cropped in post. So it saves you the time and attention required in post if what you want is a 16:9 result. So shoot 16:9 if that's what you want, in my opinion.

Cheers,
GB
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Old September 19th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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We don't really need to go into this again -- plenty of threads and external references on this already if you want to check -- but that's only partially right. It's flagged only for playback because it is anamorphically stretched vertically. It's only 360 lines and will never be more than that. It's simply cropped in the cam -- you can tell because when you switch modes your field of view doesn't go any wider -- it's not any wider than 4:3 but they just stretch it vertically to cover the bars that have been created buy masking.

But Geoff's right in that it's exactly the same as if you shot normally and cropped in post. But it doesn't go any wider, which is the point of 16:9 -- it's just shorter.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 02:45 PM   #7
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I'm not sure what you mean by 'only partially correct' -- I think my statement is entirely and completely correct.

And as no SD camcorder ever built went 'wider' when you switched it from a 16:12 (4:3) aspect ratio to a 16:9 one, I can't think of what you give up by using the PD150 or its relatives.

Could there have been a better way to implement SD widescreen? Sure, but no camcorder ever offered it. You could add an anamorphic glass adapter to any SD camcorder and modify the flag in post to generate the proper playback -- assuming the glass was top-notch, you'd gain something there. But as SD camcorders go, the PD150 is as good as any when it comes to 16:9.

Cheers,
GB
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Old September 19th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by 'only partially correct' -- I think my statement is entirely and completely correct.
False. You said "The camera records a full 720x480 (NTSC) anamorphically flagged 16:9 file from an imaging window of 720x360" which if not completely false is at least misleading. The picture is 720 x 360 and will never be more than that. That is it stretched to make fake 480 doesn't mean it's really 480, which your statement implies. It will never be mistaken for 480.
Quote:
Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
And as no SD camcorder ever built went 'wider' when you switched it from a 16:12 (4:3) aspect ratio to a 16:9 one, I can't think of what you give up by using the PD150 or its relatives.
False. The XL2 had a native 16:9 chip and did true SD widescreen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
Sure, but no camcorder ever offered it.
False. See above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
But as SD camcorders go, the PD150 is as good as any when it comes to 16:9.
False -- as the article below points out, of the five ways you could do this, the Sony way was unquestionably the worst. See the article below.

But as I noted you are generally correct that this is the same as cropping in post, and therefore you should never do it in the camera because once you throw away the top and bottom, you can never get it back. And who knows, maybe some day you'll need that 4:3 picture for something. And anything you do in an NLE is reversible, unlike doing stuff in the cam. Cropping in the cam is like shooting in B&W mode -- you could do it just as easily in post and someday you may wish you still had the data you wastefully threw away. And these days I'm guessing a decent NLE could actually do a better job of rescaling than the cam.

One last time: The DV, DVCAM, & DVCPRO Formats -- tech details, FAQ, and links.

And I'm still not sure I grasp the notion that just because most things do something in a crappy way, crappy is actually good. This must be to so-called "race to the bottom" we hear so much about these days.

But Mark, as your original question was about live streaming, the only way to do 16:9 is in the cam, (although I guess there could be some software that could do this for you in the PC while you are streaming) and for a simple webcast the resolution hit may not matter. The only time to care about it is if you are going to DVD resolution or want to play the video in a widescreen TV at some point. 360 lines in a small YouTube window on a PC monitor looks okay, I guess. 360 lines on a large 1080 HDTV screen looks like, well, looks like bad web video.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; September 19th, 2010 at 03:38 PM.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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Not sure why you keep reading something misleading into my statement -- the PD150 does exactly what I say it does. It records a 480 vertical signal from an imaging window on the chip of 360 vertical. I don't find that misleading, and certainly not false.

As for mistaking this for something else ... you are correct in reminding me that the XL2 had a 'real' 16:9 chip .... and I'd forgotten that. However, that chip had some other oddities, including the fact that it only had enough pixels to generate a 720x480 result in widescreen mode, so that with that camera you tossed away horizontal resolution when shooting in 4:3 mode. Tossed away in the sense that you used an imaging window of something like 600x480 to generate a 720x480 result .... But if a widescreen SD signal was your goal, the XL2 was/is the ticket -- though maybe not if you are often shooting 4:3!

As for your operational conclusion, I'm generally in agreement -- shoot in 4:3 and fix it in post. But that assumes that you have the time in post, and that your production process allows for this extra step. If you don't -- and it is not for me to instruct you on how to plan your time -- the PD150 gets you exactly where the post effort would have.

Thanks for adding Mr Wilt's summary to this thread -- his writings are always worth reading. And his statement on 16:9 is fulsome and complete -- though maybe not as absolute as he'd like us to believe!

Cheers,
GB
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Old September 19th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #10
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We generally agree, but to the uninitiated it must be pointed out that 360 isn't 480 any more than DV is HDV when you play it on an HDTV. It's still SD DV, and 360 is still 360, and neither can ever be any more than that. Once the data is gone it's gone forever.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 04:00 PM   #11
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No argument -- throwing away resolution is just that, there is no getting it back. But for those with time to ponder, the fact is there are plenty of solutions that do just that, or fail to deliver the full potential of the format. Using a chip without enough pixels to achieve the destination format has long been popular -- the XL1 used chips with only 250K pixels to deliver a 350K recording; the XL2 did have 350K pixels, but only when shooting in widescreen ... it threw away 25% of its resolution when recording 4:3 and 'cheated up' to record a 720x480 file. HDV uses an anamorphic setting to make 1280 look like 1920 and that is the format itself -- some HDV camcorders make do with a chip that has fewer pixels still.

Best to know exactly how your tools work, and what works best in your work flow. And sometimes darn difficult to get straight answers on how the workings are going 'behind the scene'.

Cheers,
GB
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Old September 19th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
HDV uses an anamorphic setting to make 1280 look like 1920 and that is the format itself
Well, not 1280 but 1440 -- but I get your point.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #13
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The only useful thing I learned from that discussion is not to invite either of you to dinner
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Old September 20th, 2010, 07:56 AM   #14
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Thanks Laurence. Thats the look i was going for. I don't mind the slight letterbox on the top, just didnt want the tiny SD widescreen in the middle of the big window.

Just wondering if you shot those in 16:9 mode or 4:3 and did 16:9 in post.

Thanks
Mark
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Old September 20th, 2010, 09:28 AM   #15
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I guess I won't wait for your dinner invite, Laurence!

But I'm not clear -- are you shooting 16:9 or no?

Cheers,
GB
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