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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 21st, 2006, 06:19 PM   #241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
Is that mask on the memory stick recorded to the actual footage? I just bought a stick and a card reader, waiting for the reader to ship.
Yes, it is part of the footage.

This raises the question I have wondered about with 16:9. If you select 16:9 on the VX models, you end up with a 16:9 signal produced on a 4:3 chip. It looks strained. When I use the 4:3 with the mask method, displaying it on a 4:3 format screen results in a nice picture. If you show the 16: 9 on a 4:3 only screen, it stretches it vertically and distorts picture.

Is the camera actually reconfiguring pixels rather than just adding a bar, as many seem to indicate ?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 06:21 PM   #242
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Why not just film in 4:3 without a mask and just do the stretch to 16:9 thing in Post? It seems like the mask limits what you can do with the footage.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 06:29 PM   #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
Yes, it is part of the footage.

This raises the question I have wondered about with 16:9. If you select 16:9 on the VX models, you end up with a 16:9 signal produced on a 4:3 chip. It looks strained. When I use the 4:3 with the mask method, displaying it on a 4:3 format screen results in a nice picture. If you show the 16: 9 on a 4:3 only screen, it stretches it vertically and distorts picture.

Is the camera actually reconfiguring pixels rather than just adding a bar, as many seem to indicate ?
I guess what I am asking follows fropm statements that I have heard that all DV is 720 x 480- whether 16:9 or 4:3 aspect. That confuses the heck out of me.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 06:31 PM   #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georg Liigand
I found out that turning sharpness to the lowest level in CP the widescreen video comes out pretty nice. I will try to post some tests.

I am assuming CP is control panel on the camera?
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:33 PM   #245
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Over-all, performance-per-dollar wise, I find my GY-DV300U to be about as good as it gets for 4:3 SD. From what I understand, it doesn't do as well as the VX2100 in low light (I've never used a VX2100), but I don't know of another area of performance where the DV300U isn't at least on equal footing, and in some regards, offers superior performance (again, from what I have gathered). The cost differance is substantial though.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 12:18 PM   #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
I am assuming CP is control panel on the camera?
Yep, the button on the handle. There you can change sharpness.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 04:46 PM   #247
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Marco: actually CP stands for "Custom Preset," but you've got the right idea. There are only a few things you can adjust on the VX as compared to a larger variety on the FX1 and Z1.

Chris: yep, all DV is 720x480. 16:9 is sort of a "hack" that came along as a way to stretch the image a little wider. I guess the thinking was that almost no televisions are capable of showing the full 720 pixels of horizontal resolution, so why not stretch them over a wider surface?

To create 16:9 optically you'd use an anamorphic lens which compresses everything in the horizontal dimension only. Then on playback your TV would stretch it back electronically to the full 16:9 proportion. Instead of doing it optically you can do it electronically (digitally) inside the camera. But to get full quality your CCD's would need a minimum of 854x480 pixels. When writing the image data to tape the vertical pixel value would be the same as its position on the CCD. But you would have to multiply the horizontal value by .84 such that the CCD pixel number 854 is written to tape as 720.

Now a camera like the VX-2100 only has a 720x480 sensor, so the only way to create 16:9 is to letterbox it within that area. This works out to a 720x360 area. Now we must end up with 480 vertical lines in the final image, so have to stretch that image vertical by 33%. The result is "softness" in the 16:9 image because a certain amount of information just isn't there.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 06:05 PM   #248
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Boyd: Thanks for confirmation !!
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 11:00 PM   #249
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So by just using the 4:3 image, enlarging it to 16:9, are you getting full res? As opposed to using the in-camera chop.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 11:12 PM   #250
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
So by just using the 4:3 image, enlarging it to 16:9, are you getting full res? As opposed to using the in-camera chop.
Nope, that doesn't work very well either. If you think about it, enlarging a 4x3 image to fill the width of a 16x9 frames means some of the image is off the top and bottom of the frame, which means you're back to losing some of your vertical resolution. The bottom line is that it's difficult to get a decent 16x9 image from a 4x3 SD camera, especially if you expect your output to be viewed on a large HDTV display.

The answer to the original question is that the best reasonably priced 16x9 3CCD camera is the Sony FX1.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:19 AM   #251
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Marco: the simple answer is that you can't make something out of nothing. You need 480 vertical lines for a full quality 16:9 image. The VX only has 480 vertical pixels in 4:3 mode. No matter how you convert to 16:9, you're going to lose 120 of those lines (60 off the top and 60 off the bottom).

Kevin: I think the word "reasonable" has to be defined before you can answer the question about the best reasonably priced native 16:9 camcorder. I have a Z1, and agree that the FX1 would be a great choice for 16:9 DV. It has much better image adjustment and manual controls and a great LCD screen. However, if you have a limited budget and want the most bang for the buck then I would suggest the PDX-10. It produces great 16:9 DV, has XLR's and the same mike as the PD-170, records in DVCAM plus some other nice things. It's also part of Sony's pro line so you get a much higher level of service than you would with the VX or FX series. I've had one for about 3 years and shot tons of footage which I'm still very hapy with. For $1,700 it's a terrific deal:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

The downside is smaller CCD's, a tendency to vertical smear with bright point light sources, and slightly worse low light response than the FX1. But considering the price, it's a lot of camera.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #252
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What a fun subject to be troubled by, lol. What I am thinking is that it will look better enlarged rather than letting the camera remove the top and bottom. Or would it look the same using either method? I understand that both will give you the loss to 360, BUT which "looks" better?
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Old February 24th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georg Liigand
16:9 is indeed getting much more popular, but you can't really say that 4:3 is dead. A lot of TV broadcast is still done in 4:3 and there is no reason to produce the shows in 16:9 if the majority of homes have standard televisions, not wide. It would be absolutely pointless to have all the content in 16:9 and then have the whole channel letterboxed all the time. It's simply wasting of the screen space. As much as I've talked to the real broadcast professionals, they say that 16:9 really becomes the standard when HDTV does. And this is about to happen in the next 4-5 years. Remember, it takes quite a while until the majority of people have those new generation TV sets.


4:3 probably will be dead, but it is not yet :)
George, what you don't realize that most of the programming is shot in 16:9 with framing for 4:3. It's then broadcast digitally in 16:9 and side cropped to 4:3 for standard analog broadcast. All of the primetime network shows and most sports events are now available in HD. Most TV stations are having to broadcast both digital and analog at the moment. Eventually, the analog transmissions will cease at which time the FCC intends to re-allocate those frequencies to other radio services. Latest I've been told is 2009.

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Old February 24th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #254
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You're true Greg, but that doesn't apply to all locations. Here they have very expensive 4:3 cameras and it would cost a great fortune to replace them all with 16:9 SDs. Therefore they are waiting for another 4-5 years till HD takes over and then they will buy straight HD cameras. Here it is planned to go over to digital television in 2007, but 4:3 will still stay for a while. At least this is what a professional in the national television said to me.

By the way, it looks like Torino 2006 olympics are also at least broadcasted in 4:3. And as far as I could find from the web, all the clips are 4:3 too. Looking at http://video.msn.com, their website player is designed for 4:3 and so are most of the shows they have up on the site. Same goes for Fox News, Deutsche Welle, Reuters etc... So I am wondering why they do not convert their websites to show in widescreen?

One country that seems to be going especially towards 16:9 is United Kingdom and CNN website really does show videos in wide and so seems to be doing BBC. But if looking at the clips then big part has been filmed in 4:3 and is squeezed into wide by CNN.

Isn't it so that 4:3 footage squeezed onto wide display doesn't really look that bad and it's up to the watcher how he/she prefers to watch it? I think that here we arrive at another little point - the computer users. A lot of people nowadays watch TV programmes via computers and wide monitors are rare and not very useful either. Are they happy if all the videos they watch in full screen are wasting 25% of their monitor space?

Just my thoughts. Feel free to argue ;)
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Old February 24th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #255
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Two things are happening in the US, very soon, that may kick-start a considerable acceleration of mainstream adoption of HD.

The first HD-DVD players from Toshiba will start shipping this month, and apparently Hollywood will produce content to play on it.

Second, beginning this summer, ALL new television sets sold in the US, larger than 25", MUST have ATSC tuners. That will start putting large numbers of HDTVs in living rooms that actually have HD content easily available to display on them (significant numbers of people in the US already own HDTV "ready" sets, but without anything connected to them to provide HD content).

As HDTV becomes mainstream, widescreen is going to become mainstream as well (probably on the net too).
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