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


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Old March 24th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #166
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Boyd,
Unfortunatley, he's not selling the new glass, DS-WS13-SB, that Century Optics claims to have full tele-photo range. It's a big difference from the one on sale with regard to performance and especially price. But, good catch.
Bob
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Old March 24th, 2005, 10:54 PM   #167
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bob Harotunian :

Can you add anything else about the 16:9 lens?

Bob -->>>

I have noticed pleasing colour to the images shot with the Century Optics, little more saturation. This is a nice side effect and something I've experienced with good photographic lenses e.g. a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens on my DLSR. Overall a very nice imaging using the Century Optics.

Here are two frames shot within minutes of each other and both set to outdoor WB. (no de-interlace just saved at max JPG quality after export from the DV capture stream)

View them side-by-side in 2 diff browser windows...outdoor scene really shows up the lack of detail i.e. pebble ground and fine leaves in the hedges.

I used to think the VX2k wide-screen was 'okay', that was until saw the results from the anamorphic lens!

http://www.netspeed.com.au/mark/century.jpg

http://www.netspeed.com.au/mark/vx2k.jpg
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Old June 24th, 2005, 12:57 PM   #168
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16:9 on the PD 170

I'm starting a documentary and was thinking of shooting in 16:9, but after reading about it, and checking the looks of 16:9 versus 4:3 on my camera, the 16:9 looks bad. Apparently, there are two ways that 16:9 is acheived. One is to increase both the height and width to the appropriate size until the new ratio is reached. The other is just to lop off the top and bottom of the screen. The PD 170 appears to do the latter, and it looks horrible. Does anybody know how I can get my camera to shoot 16:9 correctly? Thanks.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #169
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You can buy an anamamorphic 1.33:1 squeeze lens. This has cylindrical elements and fills the 4:3 frame, but gives you more wide-angle coverage in the horizontal direction only. If you show the footage on a conventional 4:3 TV everythings compressed in the horizontal plane, but if you open it wide on a 16:9 screen, everything looks just dandy.

tom.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #170
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Unfortunately the PD-170 - great camera that it is - isn't a very good choice for 16:9 work, for the reason you describe. The anamorphic adaptor will give you full quality but it's heavy, expensive, and introduces some compromises in how you can use the camera.
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Old June 24th, 2005, 10:49 PM   #171
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I have an anamorphic lense for my VX2000, but never use it. I dislike it for several reasons. First you get barrel distortion if you zoom out all the way. Zoomed out all the way is about the same as not having an external lense on the camera. With the anamorphic lens I just can't ever seem to get far enough away to frame the shot I want. Since you have to zoom in a little, camera shake is exaggerated. Forget handheld shots! Not only can't you go that wide, but you can't zoom in that far either. The image looks compressed on the viewfinder and always seems out of focus without some kind of extra preview screen hooked up. I just feel it is more trouble than it is worth.

What I do is simply change the aspect ratio in post in Vegas. I know Final Cut Pro does this as well. It looks noticably better than it does if you use the built-in 16:9 camera setting. Also it lets you do both 4:3 and 16:9 versions of your final product. It doesn't look as good as native 16:9, but it don't let that put you off totally. It doesn't look any worse than letterboxed 4:3 either, and it formats properly on a widescreen TV.

Another thing I've found is that the extra pixels that you normally throw away with a 4:3 to 16:9 conversion can be used by the image stabilizing software Deshaker (an excellent free plugin for VirtualDub).

When you do a 4:3 to 16:9 conversion you can also "tilt and scan" and move the 16:9 window up and down to best frame the action. When you do this though you have to make sure to move the frame two lines at a time so as not to mess up the interlace field order. In Vegas I zoom out to 50% and just move the frame up or down to best frame the action. The 50% zoom insures that all movement will automatically skip every odd line and keep the interlace order intact.

One thing you need to be aware of is that 60i widescreen footage doesn't look that great when it is letterboxed on a 4:3 television. With most commercial movie DVDs this isn't really that much of a problem because the 24p letterboxes more clearly. The reason for this is that the automatic letterboxing your dvd player does when set up for a 4:3 television works by dropping every fourth line. This screws up the field order on 60i footage and the DVD player does a hardware deinterlace to compensate. This really messes up the clarity of 16:9 interlaced footage when it is viewed on a 4:3 tv. 24p footage doesn't look nearly as bad letterboxed on a 4:3 set because the 3:2 pulldown suffers less from dropping every 4th line. On a 16:9 TV, both aspect ratios look clear but you have to change the TV aspect ratio manually and most people viewing a 4:3 DVD either don't know how or don't bother.

For these reasons I like to do separate 4:3 and 16:9 versions of my videos. That way, the video looks reasonably clear on whatever TV it ends up being viewed on.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 10:12 AM   #172
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Thanks

Just want to say thanks for the responses. Very helpful.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 06:03 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
You can buy an anamamorphic 1.33:1 squeeze lens. This has cylindrical elements and fills the 4:3 frame, but gives you more wide-angle coverage in the horizontal direction only. If you show the footage on a conventional 4:3 TV everythings compressed in the horizontal plane, but if you open it wide on a 16:9 screen, everything looks just dandy.

tom.
It's simply amazing (and refreshing) that when I have a question about something I can do a quick search and see that not only does someone else have the same question and has asks it, but a few people have responded and weigh in with the answers.

I love this site!

I was just checking out Century Optics website and was looking into the anamorphic lens for 16:9. And now I know.

So thanks!
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:35 AM   #174
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Yup, the information exchange offered by the www is staggering, Colby. Just think - 10 years ago you'd have to write to a photo magazine and wait 8 weeks for the next issue to see if your query had been answered. Invariably it hadn't, and if it had it had been answered incorrectly. We live in good times, indeed we do.

tom.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #175
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PAL PD170 for both NTSC 4:3 & 16:9

I like doing dual format 4:3 / 16:9 selectable SD DVDs as my final output. It seems to me like the extra vertical resolution of a PAL VX2000/2100/PD150/170 would make it ideal for extracting both good 4:3 and 16:9 frames. Ever since Vegas 6 came out with it's much better frame rate conversion I've been thinking along these lines.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 09:50 AM   #176
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Personally I think that would be a mistake. The PD-170 is poor at 16:9 since it just crops the image. You would get a few more lines on the PAL version, but I suspect any advantage there would be offset by resampling it to NTSC and of course you'll have to render everything.

Why not just get another camera that does real 16:9. The FX1 comes to mind, or the Z1 if you can afford it - and that would give you both NTSC and PAL too.

B&H has also just gotten the PDX-10 back in stock. The price is now $1,800 after rebate which isn't as good as the $1,600 it used to be... but still a lot cheaper than a PD-170. Especially the PAL PD-170 which is listed at $3,600 at B&H.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #177
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You're probably right. Most people looking the projects I'm working on are doing so on old CRT TVs. The documentary style stuff I do really looks better in 4:3. Between the talking heads and the animated photos, 4:3 just works better. None the less, 16:9 is obviously important. I really like doing dual format DVDs and the 16:9 versions look pretty good. I generate the 16:9 frame in Vegas, and of course titles and photo animations are rendered directly into the 16:9 format. For the stuff I do, low light performance is of utmost importantance. I just can't go into a dimly lit room with a PD10 and get footage anywhere near as good looking as my VX2000 gets. I'd rather loose 16:9 resolution than the low light performance, even on a 16:9 project. If I shoot with an FX1 or Z1, I'd get a better 16:9 image, but for the majority of people who are looking at DVDs on 4:3 sets, it wouldn't be as good. I could shoot HDV and still have resolution for both formats, but on a documentary style project, I end up with so much raw footage that the cineform intermediaries would take up way too much space, and Vegas's gearshift would mean a whole lot of rendering before I even began editing. All this for resolution that is mostly going to be thrown away anyway. At some point I'll go HDV I'm sure, but it is still a few years off.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:23 PM   #178
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Professional use of PD170 in 16:9!

Hello,

I've been watching the new King Kong movie production and post-production diary videos online every week and I've always been thinking which cameras they are using. A friend told me that they are mostly Sony PD170s, but I didn't believe until I could somehow hear it from the team myself. Now in the last diary which was published a few days ago, the director Peter Jackson with some others are talking (probably) from the same room the diaries are created at and they clearly show the PD170s in that clip. As all of their footage has been extremely professional and good looking + filmed in 16:9, I am glad those Sony cams can do it all so well. I think they are using the built-in widescreen function and at least the camera on the right hand side of Peter Jackson doesn't seem to be wearing any widescreen adapter lens and has probably the default lens hood.

You can watch the clips at www.kongisking.net . At least the post-production diaries should be all PD170.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:28 PM   #179
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I don't see how you could possibly judge image quality from low resolution highly-compressed web video. Unless you're using an anamorphic adaptor lens the PD-170 does a poor job of 16:9 by today's standards, although it's certainly a great camera beyond that.

(edit)
I was just looking at those clips and the highest resolution version is 480x270. Now the PD-170 shoots 16:9 by cropping the 720x480 4:3 frame to 720x360 which is a loss of 25% vertical resolution. However in a web video that small this wouldn't be apparent. If fact, if video of this size and quality is what you're doing then just about any DV camera will look fine. But if you look at full resolution DV footage shot on the PD-170 and compare to another camera with higher resolution CCD's that shoots native 16:9 you will see a very noticeable difference. I did some tests comparing my VX-2000 (same CCD's as the PD-170) to my PDX-10 awhile ago. The FX1 and Z1 do an even better job in 16:9.

http://www.greenmist.com/dv/16x9/
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 01:05 PM   #180
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I didn't actually mean that they are getting out some perfect 16:9, but I just mentioned they are using it.

Their footage is not only being shown in web, but they are also going to sell the diaries on DVD in Amazon.com.

I tested now my VX2100 in both 4:3 and widescreen by having it connected to the workstation. I filmed an object with small detailed text on it and some other situations. There indeed is a resolution difference, but speaking honestly, it's so small that you barely notice it. I imagine that on TV there is basically no noticeable drop in sharpness.

Thanks for providing that comparision! There it shows quite huge difference, but I didn't notice that bad at all.
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