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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old December 11th, 2002, 12:17 AM   #1
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Question for PD150 PAL users

I have used the PD150 NTSC for about a year and a half (at my previous job) and I am interested in purchasing one for myself. I am wanting to buy the PAL version for myself but I keep getting different reports about it so I have a few questions.

1. Does it have a B/W viewfinder?
(different catalogs list it with a .7" color viewfinder whereas the NTSC version has a .4"B/W one)
2. What do YOU use for converting it to NTSC?
(I currently live in the US but I travel extensively and prefer the res, color and frame rate of PAL, also looking for possible transfer to film)
a. As far as standards conversion I would prefer a software solution but ultimately want very good quality so hardware is ok too.

Now before everyone jumps on and recommends the DVX100, I have experience with the Sony, it is a solid, proven rig. I also don't think it will be too long before a really decent 24P camera shows up, so I will wait until then. I can't imagine a pro camera (or even prosumer) with a cheesy built in mic like that, I would rather they cut the cost, put NO mic on it, and let me buy a decent one myself. Of course they couldn't get that right either, I have read that even a Senn K6ME66 (the mic I use, along with a 67 on boom) shows up in frame when installed in the little holder. I know from experience it doesn't on the PD150.
It's not that I am NOT interested in the DVX100, but so far the PD is still my favorite, and yes I have tried the XL1s also, I prefer to blur and warm my image in post.

thanks in advance.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 12:21 AM   #2
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Well, I have a PAL pd150,

Yes it has a b&w viewfinder.

It will output PAL as NTSC when viewed on a monitor, it has an in-camera display control setting for an external tv.

Other than that, and being PAL, it is pretty much identical to the NTSC model.

kermie
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Old December 11th, 2002, 12:27 AM   #3
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G'day down there, Thanks for responding so quickly!
I am grateful for the B/W viewfinder, I much prefer it to color.

I am planing to buy one but I am just wondering how to convert the PAL into a very good usable NTSC signal. It is cool that it has NTSC preview out though.
I just don't want to have to take my final tapes to a transfer house to make decent NTSC copies for $30 a pop if I can do it myself. (also a convenience thing).
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Old December 11th, 2002, 01:22 AM   #4
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depends what you want to do with it i guess.

For broadcast use could represent a few problems in the dubbing over, like sound and colour rendition.

If it is for anything else, i would take PAL anyday over 'never twice the same colour" NTSC.

The convertion is not as great as you may think, but it usually does a few little tricks that may be annoying.

ALL NLE's will convert either way, and so will your camera if u print a pal copy to tape, then output as ntsc for some vhs backups as well.

I live in Australia so it is a no brainer.

Just for the record, a PAL PD150 here new with no extra's at all is $7000 AUD, which is about $3600 USD so not the best or the worst price. That is with international warrenty.

I got mine used with 30 hours usage on it and under full warrenty for $5100 AUD so $22-2300 USD. I was lucky.

kermie
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Old December 11th, 2002, 02:01 AM   #5
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I have tried to get my hands on some "REAL" PAL footage to do some testing on but it is difficult here. Everything I have found on the web is so compressed it is worthless. I have tried to go from NTSC to PAL a few different ways (with software) and they all kinda stink. Canopus Pro Coder has the best solution so far but it skips quite annoyingly. I would be interested to see it go the other way, and my FCP work just looks the same.
I am wanting to keep my options open for Broadcast, but corporate and indie work are my mainstays. If I really need Broadcast I can always rent a better camera and bill it in.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 05:19 AM   #6
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Remember one more thing,

It is 'easier' for software to reduce the lines than increase the line... hence PAL-NTSC is easier than NTSC to pal as it dosn't need to interpolate any extra resolution.

The frame rates are not as problematic as it may seem, 24-25 is not such a big deal... it simply plays around with speed (very slight) and drops.. then sticks the pull down, you will encounter 100 more problems the other way around with NTSC-PAL.

kermie
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Old December 11th, 2002, 06:37 AM   #7
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Kermie offers accurate advice. I have several clients with global operations that require PAL from time to time. In my experience, software conversion and the cheap (if you can call under $2,000 cheap) VCR convertors do not produce broadcast quality results. I showed several tapes converted both by software and inexpensive hardware to various brand managers at their HQ. The software conversions were not deemed suitable for even approval tapes. Hardware conversions were acceptable for approval tapes, but not for finished product for distribution to field offices.

Your corporate clients may feel differently. Cost is certainly a factor. However, if the biggest percentage of your work is from NTSC clients, needing NTSC work, I don't think PAL is viable. The added cost of conversion (even occasionally) will affect your bottom line.

Jeff
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Old December 11th, 2002, 06:43 AM   #8
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Jeff,

I have found PAL-NTSC is 'a piece of piss' (easy).

It is NTSC-PAL that becomes a massive problem, you are talking about IRE levels that are not there and lines of resolution that don't exist.

It is easier to start with too much cake and not eat it all, than have a small cake eat the entire thing and have to eat raw sugar to finish your feed.

kermie
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Old December 11th, 2002, 10:58 AM   #9
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Re: Question for PD150 PAL users

. . . and let me buy a decent one myself. Of course they couldn't get that right either, I have read that even a Senn K6ME66 (the mic I use, along with a 67 on boom) shows up in frame when installed in the little holder. I know from experience it doesn't on the PD150.

But a long microphone with a WA adapter will show in the frame. Use the Sony CAC-12 holder which will bolt right in place of the standard 150 holder. About $180 at B&H or $75 used.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 01:33 PM   #10
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Mike, are you talking about the adapter that was used on the PD100? I was using a Senn shoe mount for the ME67 but I really like your solution better.

hmm...

Now a question for Mr.Hurd. (or anyone)

I just noticed an article from RES vol.5 no.1 where he reviews the XL-1s, he notes that having fewer (larger) pixels, will increase the light gathering capability of a camera. Does this lead me to conclude that the NTSC version of the PD150 (380K pixels) is better in low light than the PAL (410K pixels) version?

I can't believe how wishy washy I have been on this whole camera decision thing, it is really making me crazy. I am actually considering the Panasonic more these days, but I am waiting for a better 16:9 adapter (like perhaps a bayonett mount) and the price to drop a little (because of the cheesy mic thing). Then I could shoot in 24P mode to transfer to PAL (maybe).
Oh I don't know. I guess I will just have to plug along and do a little more searching. I am unemployed now and am waiting for a screenplay to get finished so I can shoot it, so I am not in an immediate hurry. But soon.

Many thanks for the info, I guess the only real answer is to get both of them (PAL and NTSC) I am just curious of what kind of disasterous changes they will make on the newer model (if it ever comes out) like they did to the PD100a.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 02:49 PM   #11
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The CAC-12 is the microphone adapter that is normally sold for use on the on-the-shoulder cameras. Those cameras come with an adapter that mounts to the viewfinder. The CAC-12 mounts on the camera body and has a ball-joint and a long base-to mount distance. Probably 1" more than the standard 150 mount.

Physically larger pixels mean more light sensitivity as there is more area for photons to hit. I do not believe Sony uses two different CCDs in the PAL and NTSC cameras. I think they are identical cameras with a different part of their firmware enabled. I'd even guess that in this day of DC Servo motors, nothing in the tape transport is changed either. In fact, since synch signals are not written to tape in DV, I'm almost certain of it.

Depending on how long your movie will be (in terms of shooting days) you may be better off to rent a DSR-500WS. May not be more expensive than purchasing a PD-150 and it certainly has better performance in both video and audio. And you get true 16:9 CCD performance.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 03:28 PM   #12
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Very good point about the 500. That is actually what I want but 2 things hold me back from it (the 500 or 570). One is it's huge, I have been in countries where blending in (as much as possible) is a good quality, so a huge camera wouldn't work, especially since they use consumer Hi8 for the news crews in some places (I saw this durring the festivals and the riots in Cuzco and Arequipa Peru this year). And secondly...yeah right, like I could afford that.

I know the adaptor you are talking about, very nice thought.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 05:19 PM   #13
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rhett

have you tried the DV Film Maker or DV Film Atlantis?

I tried the demos and was impressed with the conversion from PAL 2 NTSC plus you have the film look option too as a short term stop before a decent 24P comes on line. IMO they had the edge over Canopus but the interface is ....

if youre looking for some raw DV PAL footage to download and to play with check my post in 950 section on megapixel 25P
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Old December 11th, 2002, 07:53 PM   #14
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thanks tons. I actually have been messing with Atlantis but didn't have "real" PAL to try with and the sample on their web site is worse than terrible. I will run over and get it now.

well, I didn't see anything over there. There was a link to some tiff files but they were dead links.

better luck next time. thanks though.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 11:41 PM   #15
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rhett

sorry i misdirected you

download from here -->

http://briefcase.yahoo.com
login = agentpurpleone
password = matrix

for files part1, part2, part4
in the folder trv950e

http://briefcase.yahoo.com
login = agentpurpletwo
password = matrix2

for files part3
in the folder trv900

j
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