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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 1st, 2003, 01:35 PM   #76
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Making memory stick mattes

While we're on the subject... I downloaded some nice memory stick mattes from http://www.streamovie.com/vx2000.htm. I wanted to change the aspect ratio a bit in one of them, so I copied the file and expanded the blue area a bit in photoshop, then wrote it back out. When copied to the memory stick, it appears in the directory on the camera, however it turned into a solid black rectangle with no blue!

I tried several times, even keeping the same file and using "save" instead of "save as". The files are all .jpg's. This was all done on a Mac - maybe that has something to do with it? When I copy the original files from the website to the memory stick they work as expected, but the modified ones don't. Any thought about what might be happening here?
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Old February 1st, 2003, 01:53 PM   #77
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There are a number of ways this can go wrong, Boyd. First of all, the file must be 640x480. Then, you must use a naming convention similar to the DSC0000 in the original files. Finally, if you are using a Mac before OSX, you will need additional help. Let me know if this is the case.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 02:24 PM   #78
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16:9 memory stick option

Thanks, Boyd, for the URL to the 16:9 mattes. My own creation didn't work. I compared its properties to images Sony put on the stick and made them alike in all respects, but got only one large black rectangle, as you said, when trying to select it in the VX2000. I noticed that, unlike all the existing mattes on the stick, my creation, and the first image on the web page when I used it, display in the LCD as 100_xxx where the others are 100-xxx. The dash versus underscore has me beat as neither character appears in the file name and so can't be "fixed". While I take the advice about saving the games for post, I have a project I think this makes sense in and I'd love to test it. Can anyone suggest an approach to making this work? I have used RGB 0-3-254 which is what the Sony-supplied mattes read in Photo Shop, 640/480, 8 bit jpg, best quality. The advanced properties view of my file versus the others showed 192 horizontal and vertical resolution while the others were 300. I changed it to 300 without impact. The only difference I can find is in channels. The Sony files show content in all three RGB channels. My file shows nothing in R and G, but then the other files have colour spectrums where mine is black bars and blue chroma.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 04:21 PM   #79
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<<<-- Originally posted by Wayne Orr : There are a number of ways this can go wrong\\

Nope, I think I tried all that, just as David did. I just modified a file from the website then saved it with the same name. I needed to shoot some stuff in this format a couple days ago, and it had to match an existing sequence that was cropped a little tighter than the memory stick matte. So I just used the memory stick version, then using the motion tab in FCP cropped it further which was actually quite simple. But it would still be nice to know why the home-made mattes don't work. BTW, I am using MacOS 9.2.2.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 06:30 PM   #80
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This is for Boyd and David, and other Mac owners out there. I wrote this awhile ago but it is still up to valid:

Those of you who use a PC need read no farther. This brief lesson is regarding loading images to a memory stick for use in Sony cameras, such as the PD150 and the VX2000. This is a piece of cake for the PC folks who can use the software that comes with the Sony cameras, but unfortunately the software is not Mac compatible. When we try to upload images to the stick, they appear in the Mac, but will not load from within the camera. As many Mac users have discovered, the solution to this problem is not readily available on the Net.

I wanted to be able to place SMPTE color bars on the beginning of a tape, ala normal professional style shooting, and of course, the supplied camera bars are usable but do not contain some of the information that is useful for setting up a monitor in the field, or, in a post edit bay. Plus, there are times when it would be handy to be able to create a custom matte to be able to actually make the composite on the shoot, much like a matte painting. Anyway, I finally have the answer to the problem, thanks to a software called Graphic Converter from www.lemkesoft.com If you want to load accurate color bars to a memory stick, you should also download the free app, Test Pattern Maker from www.syntheticaperature.com. There are a lot of color bars floating around, and many of them are bogus. You can really make yourself crazy if you set up a monitor to incorrect color bars, and then wonder why your tapes all look weird. If you are curious about the bars you are using, import them to Photoshop and take a look at them, refering to the Info tab. You may find some strange levels. Anyway, once you have these two applications in your Mac, here is what you do:

With Test Pattern Maker, create the standard bars you wish to use, but be sure to make them 640X480 size, as those are the only dimensions you can import to the memory stick. You can make more than one set of bars, if you wish. One can be 0 setup and another 7.5. This opens up another discussion, and its your decision.

Next, open the newly created bars file in Graphic Converter. All you need to do is "save a copy" in the JPEG format pulldown. Be certain to give the copy a new name that is consistent with the files in the stick, such as, DSC00075. When asked, save at maximum quality. That's all there is to it. Unfortunately, you won't be able to get an icon with the file, even if you select that option. Maybe someone who is more computer savy than myself can figure that one out.

Now, to copy to the memory stick, simply drag and drop the new file to the memory stick in the folder which contains your still photos (that is, if you didn't save it directly from the Graphic Converter app). An important note; there must already be at least one saved photo in the file folder, otherwise there will be no folder. So if your memory stick is empty, take a still picture with your camera to create the folder, and you will be good to go.

Remember, you can create other graphics to import to the stick for compositing in the field, such as a "range finder." Sure, you could probably do it in post, but sometimes its just more fun to see the final composite when you shoot it. And often more helpful. You can also create a custom title which you can composite over the scene at the shoot. Since you can see the actual title at the shoot, you may think up ways to have your subjects interact with the title. Be sure to refer to the operating manual for tips on using chroma key or luma key stills for use with the memory stick.

I hope this brings back a smile to some Mac owners who have been cursing the Sony techs for their obvious snub.

(I have heard rumors that this problem no longer exists in OSX)
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 07:10 PM   #81
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16:9 mattes

Wayne, you are obviously a salt of the earth kind of guy. I didn't say so previously but I am PC, so it was wasted on me. That said, if you could be close to as generous with PC-friendly advice I'd love to hear it. I understand this is unlikely, given the polarity of user loyalty. I'll keep after it.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 07:24 PM   #82
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Well, just for being so darn nice, David, here is John Beale's advice on saving images to the memory stick for PC users. I hope he doesn't mind me plucking this out of his pages. You can find this and other useful information at:
http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/dvfaq.html

You can modify still frames, and add titles and other graphics on your computer and write them back to videotape, using the floppy disk or memory card. This gives you great flexibility without the expense of a firewire card, but there are a few tricks to keep in mind. First, remember that TV sets have "overscan", meaning about 10% of the image area around the edge of the JPEG picture will not be visible on the TV screen. Each TV is slightly different, you may have to experiment a little. Second, you must use the exact file name format eg: Mvc-0001.jpg and use 640x480 resolution, and do not use interlaced JPEG format.

Specifically: I've had success with modified TRV900 pictures and also scanned images from other sources. I've tried Adobe Photoshop 4.0.1 LE, ULEAD PhotoImpact SE 3.01, and ThumbsPlus 3.30 (shareware from www.cerious.com). Photoshop is the most difficult. Here's what to do:

1) Make sure the image is "True Color" (not greyscale, 256 colors etc.)
2) Scale your image to exactly 640x480 pixels in size, if it isn't already.
3) Make sure you are NOT using jpeg "progressive compression" format.
4) Do not save any image comments, thumbnail previews, etc.
5) Use a filename like MVC00001.JPG for a PC Card or MVC-0001.JPG for a floppy disk.
In Photoshop, turn off image previews: choose File>Preferences>Saving Files and select "NEVER SAVE" in the "Image Previews" box. In JPEG Format Options, choose "Baseline ('Standard'). When you save the file, confirm that the "Save Thumbnail" box is NOT checked. The camera can read Photoshop images with JPEG Quality 1-3, but does NOT work with Quality 5 through 10, I don't know why.

The camera can read files saved from PhotoImpact or ThumbsPlus in any Quality setting from the minimum right up to 100%. However, I have looked closely at the video output with highly detailed test files, and can see no differences above Quality=85%.

None of the programs I know of will generate a valid "index" image for the TRV900 6-photo-per-screen index mode, they just appear as black squares; but the full-screen version of the image should work. All of the above is on a PC/Windows platform. I've been told that for writing JPEG images that the TRV900 can read using the Mac, Photoshop doesn't work, but GraphicConverter from Lemke Software does.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 07:28 PM   #83
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Thanks Wayne, I'll give it a try!
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Old May 16th, 2003, 10:38 PM   #84
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16:9 ratio going back to 4:3 in TV

I was recording with 16:9.
I hooked up the camera with RCA cable to a TV and played it .


It came out expanded 4:3.

Why is this happening?



Can I fix this?
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Old May 17th, 2003, 06:43 AM   #85
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16:9 to 4:3

You might get some help viewing this well illustrated explanation:

http://www.dvdweb.co.uk/information/anamorphic.htm

When I first used the 16:9 selection in my VX2000 I had the same experience. Once I had properly edited the footage (in Premiere) I got a letterboxed output on a 4:3 TV - not by matting it, but by maintaining the original aspect ratio.

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Old May 17th, 2003, 09:43 AM   #86
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Interesting link David. As it explains, the reason that everything looks "squashed" is that your camera is creating an anamorphic image. A widescreen TV would detect a special embedded signal in the video and stretch it back to the proper 16:9 proportion. To view on a regular 4:3 set you'll need to letterbox.

What NLE software are you using? In Final Cut Pro there's a very easy way to do this. Drop your clip into the timeline then open it in the viewer. Now click on the Motion tab and click the little triangle next to Distort. Enter a value of -45 in the Aspect Ratio field. Render your video and it will be properly letterboxed.

There are other ways to do this as well, and I'm sure someone else can explain how it would be done in Premiere.
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Old May 17th, 2003, 09:55 AM   #87
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16:9 ratio going back to 4:3 in TV

I'm using Premiere 6.02, Boyd, which because of its PAR bug requires a tedious work-around to properly export a 16:9 project. Version 6.5 fixed that so the only requirement is to set footage in the timeline to "maintain aspect ratio". At least that's my understanding from other sources.

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Old May 17th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #88
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Thanks,

I have Avid Xpress 3.0.




I can keep 16:9 ratio with this program.


Will this keep the output with 16:9?
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Old August 10th, 2003, 01:44 PM   #89
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VX-2000 16:9 tests

On another site someone was asking if it's better to use builtin 16:9 vs cropping/stetching in post on the vx-2000 or pd-150. I've seen this question before, and long ago did some of my own tests. But I thought it was worth revisiting, so I repeated the test, realizing that I already had the needed images from a comparision I had done between the vx-2000 and pd-150.

I was surprised that there appears to be such a clear cut answer. Cropping and stretching in post appears to yield almost 50% higher vertical resolution (360 vs 240 lines)! I invite others to perform their own tests on this; I used still frame grabs and resized them in Photoshop. But it appears that the way in which DV compression is applied to the image with builtin 16:9 causes considerable degradation. You will find my tests here.
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Old August 10th, 2003, 02:02 PM   #90
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Boyd

have you tried the slim effect on the VX2K? to produce an anamorphic image in camera - it will save you some time.
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