16:9 Real World Result with PD's and VX's - Page 20 at DVinfo.net

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


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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #286
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Robert - I shoot with my PAL VX2000 in the 16:9 mode. I appreciate the fact that both v'finders are undistorted (unlike a lot of Canons and Panasoniocs in the widescreen mode), and the footage plays back off DVD onto my ancient 1990 Sony Trinitron 34" set looking very good indeed.

Of course only the middle 432 lines are being used for the display, but as a lot of braodcast TV arrives anyway in this format, it looks perfectly 'normal' now. If I play the same DVD through the 16:9 Philips TV it automatically switches to fill the screen.

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Old April 25th, 2006, 10:56 AM   #287
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I must be honest, Tom, I'm not sure what you're getting at; I agree with you, the 16:9 mode looks great to me, and I'm using the NTSC version, lower resolution and all. I'm not sure what it looks like when transferred to film (in the examples I've seen comparing the standard 4:3 image and the built-in 16:9 image, there is just the tiniest drop in quality in certain areas of the picture; complex lines, patterns, and the like, which I imagine will look much worse when blown up to film dimensions), but other than that I'm all for shooting that way. You can't nudge the shot after the fact, in post, but that just encourages care and planning during production, which we should all pay attention to anyway. The big kids, with their VariCams and CineAltas, have to frame it right the first time, we should hold ourselves to the same standard. The only reason I haven't is, I suppose, peer pressure. "Cropping in post provides superior quality", "You've gotta be able to move the frame around during post production", and so on. In fact, I think I'm gonna shoot my next movie with the "inferior" technique, just for the hell of it.

As for the displays automatically identifying the proper aspect ratio of the signal, well, what you describe is the way I thought it was supposed to work; Nick said he had problems with it working correctly, however, and I thought I knew the answer. Apparently not, if 4:3 TVs, even from the era you're dealing with, display things properly. Any idea what his problem might be?

And my marker lines suggestion, well, you ultimately told Nick his best bet would be to shoot 4:3, and I offered my method so he wouldn't have to deal with a permanently recorded letterbox on his footage (using the "Memory Mix" trick). Perhaps there was a miscommunication somewhere, my apologies if I seemed to be contradicting your advice in some way.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:10 AM   #288
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To all:

I've noted what I call a "strained" look when shooting the VX2K in 16:9 mode. I don't understand why, because you would think Sony would be doing the same thing as we do with the Memory Stick mask. But for some reason they don't. In fact, it appears some sort of manipulation is being done over and above what normally happens in the 4:3 capture. Some tech Guy can explain it, and the reason, I'm sure.

It is a pain in the neck to have to use memory stick for a mask all the time, and I've often shot just full screen and then masked in post. But thats what we have with this beast. I shot this cam next to my FX1 in some recent things, and I still love the low light latitude versus the FX1.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:26 AM   #289
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Trying to get this all:


shooting 4:3 with memory mix = permanent black bars
shooting 16:9 with built in bars = permanent black bars?
shooting 4:3 with marker lines = no permanent black bars, and more adjustable?
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #290
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Good summary. Works for me.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Wagner
Trying to get this all:


shooting 4:3 with memory mix = permanent black bars
shooting 16:9 with built in bars = permanent black bars?
shooting 4:3 with marker lines = no permanent black bars, and more adjustable?
The second one is incorrect; the viewfinder and LCD are given a letterbox, but the footage is not recorded that way. Some cameras DO record that way, but the VX2000 (and 2100, and PD-150/170) crop the top and bottom of the image, stretch the result vertically to fill the 4:3 frame, and write that to tape (with a flag of some sort that tells monitors and other devices "this footage is stored anamorphically, please unsqueeze it"). The footage as recorded is distorted, and is only unstretched on playback. You may very well NEVER see the distorted version, if all of your equipment is set up properly, but it's there.

More details can be found on Adam Wilt's website, but the important point can be found at http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-FAQ-etc.html, where he discusses the right and wrong ways to do 16:9 ("right" and "wrong" at least from an engineering standpoint; the quality may be acceptable for your tastes):

"The "wrong way" is for the camera to simply chop off the top and bottom scanlines of the image to get the widescreen picture. When you throw the switch on these cameras, the horizontal angle of view doesn't change, but the image is cropped at the top and bottom compared to the 4:3 image (it may then be digitally stretched to fill the screen, but only 75% of the actual original scanlines are being used)."

Emphasis mine. The VX2000 and its family are among the cameras that do the digital stretch he describes.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #292
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Which method does everyone think will yeild the most options. I am thinking this.

Use memory mix and just have those with 16:9 use the zoom function.

OR
Use built in 16:9 and hope that it doesn't look like sh^t on 4:3 displays

???? It seems like such a simple answer but I feel like I am making it harder than it is.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 12:02 PM   #293
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I have far too little real world experience to offer advice regarding potential problems with either approach, so someone (namely Tom, since he's participated in this thread already) wiser will have to chime in.

I'm not one to have a big ego, and I'm not looking to push anybody, but if you're looking for versatility, I highly recommend at least trying to frame for 16:9 without any masks from the Memory Mix function. Whether you want to do the little grey marks with the pens that I did is up to you, but I believe the most options would come from a 4:3 source composed so that all major action falls within 16:9 frame boundaries. You can always crop it during editing, compositing, or compression, and if not you'll still have a pleasing 4:3 composition to use for full screen video.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #294
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Martens
"The "wrong way" is for the camera to simply chop off the top and bottom scanlines of the image to get the widescreen picture. When you throw the switch on these cameras, the horizontal angle of view doesn't change, but the image is cropped at the top and bottom compared to the 4:3 image (it may then be digitally stretched to fill the screen, but only 75% of the actual original scanlines are being used)."

Emphasis mine. The VX2000 and its family are among the cameras that do the digital stretch he describes.
Well, whether you shoot 16:9 with the built-in stretch or shoot 4:3 and crop and stretch to 16:9 in post, it's going to look about the same. That is it will look like 4:3 resolution footage letterboxed rather than the tighter anamorphic 16:9 pixel pattern. It really comes down to convenience.

If you are working with other 16:9 footage and want to pop some VX2000 16:9 footage directly on the timeline without rerendering it, shooting stretch 16:9 will save you a step and look about the same.

If you are using all VX2000 footage you can really do it either way. Cropping and stretching in post will give you more options (you can move the 16:9 frame up or down) and you can do both 16:9 and 4:3 final renders if you want.

Just remember a couple of things. Some things look terrible stretched and interpolated and some things look pretty good. Things like a talking head against an interior background look almost as good cropped and stretched as if they were shot anamorphically while things like leaves or grass look absolutely horrible cropped and stretched. If the points being interpolated are part of a larger line they usually look quite good, but if they are defining a smaller pattern like leaves, grass or a patterned shirt, they can look terrible.

Also, remember that true 16:9 footage and cropped and stretched footage look the same on a 4:3 monitor since the extra lines of resolution are thrown away anyway. The difference between letterboxed and anamorphic footage has more to do with formatting on both aspect ratio televisions than it does with quality considerations. Cropped and stretched 4:3 to 16:9 footage will look no worse than letterboxed anamorphic footage does on a 4:3 set.

Fortunately, in the case of underwater video the interpolation will usually look pretty good. What I would do is just shoot with the VX2000 and not worry about it. If you are doing an all VX2000 project, shoot 4:3 and crop and stretch in post, but if you are mixing the underwater VX2000 footage with topside anamorphic footage, just shoot 16:9 and save yourself an intermediate step.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:54 PM   #295
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Also, if you do crop and stretch and slide the 16:9 frame up or down, remember to move it two lines at a time so as not to screw up the interlacing pattern. I do this by zooming out to 50% in Vegas as this automatically means that my movements up or down are going to be an even number.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:59 PM   #296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Kingston
If you are working with other 16:9 footage and want to pop some VX2000 16:9 footage directly on the timeline without rerendering it, shooting stretch 16:9 will save you a step and look about the same.

If you are using all VX2000 footage you can really do it either way. Cropping and stretching in post will give you more options (you can move the 16:9 frame up or down) and you can do both 16:9 and 4:3 final renders if you want.
Okay, one more crack at this. When you use the 4:3 setting, and either lay down the letter box matte in the camera, or lay down the letter box matte in post, you will not have any "stretching" when you rerender it as a 4:3 project. There is no loss of resolution in the picture area. And it plays great on any 4:3 monitor, whether or not it can detect flags for 16:9. Even at this point, the major percentage of TV are still 4:3 aspect ratio.

Now, if you are going to take the 4:3 letterboxed file into a 16:9 timeline, and render as a 16:9 file, you will have to stretch, and the strech will result in eliminating all of the bars at top and bottom.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 02:22 PM   #297
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I think I have it. I am going to film 4:3 with the 16:9 guide marked on the view finder. Than do the rest in post. Thanks a bunch!
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Old April 25th, 2006, 04:20 PM   #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Kingston
Also, remember that true 16:9 footage and cropped and stretched footage look the same on a 4:3 monitor since the extra lines of resolution are thrown away anyway. The difference between letterboxed and anamorphic footage has more to do with formatting on both aspect ratio televisions than it does with quality considerations. Cropped and stretched 4:3 to 16:9 footage will look no worse than letterboxed anamorphic footage does on a 4:3 set.
I think we're all misunderstanding one another, and further confusing the issue, so let me try and simplify what I was trying to say: if you shoot some footage with THIS camera (I'm not speaking in general terms, referring to any other manufacturer, or any other Sony product) in 4:3, then shoot the exact same footage with the built in 16:9 mode, and compare the two closely, there will be a slight difference. Different, or rearranged artifacts. The nature of the process this camera uses (internal scaling of the picture) produces sometimes-less-than-optimal results.

Is the difference objectionable? Perhaps not, depending on your point of view. Does the picture look okay from a distance? Yeah, sure. Are the two pictures functionally identical as far as most audiences are concerned? It's very likely. Do both versions of the footage look great on a 4:3 monitor? Hell yes! But are we talking about televisions? No. The original poster said he got hired to shoot some footage, with this camera, intended for film. Knowing that a difference in quality, however small and insignificant on television, may have larger repercussions for film--or at least knowing that that's what I've been told by people with more experience than I--I merely meant to caution the gentleman. That's all.

There's an excellent article at DV.com that explains all of this widescreen stuff quite well: http://www.dv.com/columns/columns_it...cleId=59100233 Pay attention to the "Digital Stretch" section, and the part about the PD150 (identical to the VX2000 as far as the image is concerned); the "edgy-yet-soft" detail of the sharpened digital stretch in these cameras is what I was warning Nick about, as while it's true the effect is hard to see in real world shooting conditions when displayed on a production monitor, I have no idea what they'd look like blown up to a thirty-foot screen.

Last edited by Robert Martens; April 25th, 2006 at 05:17 PM.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 05:17 PM   #299
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Robert:

I don't think anyone has a problem with the 2 cents everyone is putting in. My problem with this whole thing is I don't get the technical side of it.

From what I can make out, DV 16:9 in the Sony still comes packaged inside a 720 wide frame. And so does 4:3. So it seems to me you should avoid the 16:9 hocus pocus in the camera, and stretch into your 16:9 frame in post where you have more control over the output. Thats why if I know I am going out to 16:9 I would rather choose a matte in camera, over the 16:9 selection. Others just put a tape or guide over LCD to approximate letter box and do it on time line in post. But no matter what you choose, if you go to 16:9 you loose use of some of the pixels, and that is an effective loss of resolution.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 05:24 PM   #300
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I know what you mean; it's hard enough to try and understand this stuff, let alone explain it well enough for others to also get it. Especially since I'm not an engineer.

I believe the article I posted (just edited my post, check it out if you missed it the first time around) does a much better job of sorting all this out than I do--though if you're anything like me you'll have to go over the article several times to fully understand it all. And I think you and I are using the word "stretch" to refer to different concepts. The one I'm talking about is the one presented in the DV.com article.

As for losing resolution, well, as far as I know the only way around that is a 16:9 anamorphic adapter, like the one from Century Optics. Barring that, the only way to get a 16:9 image is to get rid of some scanlines, so "throwing away" resolution isn't so bad: you couldn't use it otherwise. You lose image dimensions when you apply some sort of mask, sure, but not detail in the remaining image area.
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