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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #1
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VX2100 "soft" enough?

I'm currently using a Panasonic AG-DVC30 camera and thinking of replacing it with a VX2100. From what I've gathered, the 1/3" CCDs of the VX will likely give me better detail and increased low-light performance. All this is good. But I'm worried that the VX won't give me as "warm" a picture as my DVC30, especially when I have the latter in the "MovieMode" setting.

Does anything think this a reasonable concern? I shoot a TV show with a theme of old fashioned living, and I like the softness I can get out of the Panasonic; it seems to match the idea of the show. Is the Sony too "sharp"? If it is by default, is it just a matter of decreasing the sharpness? Does the VX have a movie-like setting? I'm not really keen, especially with my older Powerbook, of adding this effect in post.

I should also mention that my very first camera was a Sony Hi8 and it was built like a tank, never malfunctioned for a second, and was nice to operate. After a year with the DVC I'm still not very comfortable with it and find myself pining for my Sony setup. But I like the look of the DVC30 footage.

Thoughts, anyone? How would you describe the look of Panasonic compared with Sony?
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Old April 10th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #2
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You can certainly bring down the sharpness in the custom preset option (I presume the VX has this, I run a PD and can never remember which bits are shared and which bits are 'special' :) ), there's a few different options in there where you can warm up the whitebalance etc too, which might help you.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #3
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Yes, the VX and PD have the same sharpness controls. Several years ago I shot a series of tests at each setting (see below). I guess I understand where you're coming from by saying "soft" if you want to avoid the artificial edge enhancement typical of video cameras. But of course film is really much sharper than standard definition video. "Soft" is probably a bad choice of words since it's also a term used to describe an image which is out of focus.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 03:21 AM   #4
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Thanks James and Boyd. Very useful information.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 06:39 PM   #5
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I have never used a dvc30 before but I think (and only taking a stab at it) that the "movie mode" you use to get the "soft" image would be similar to the sony vx2100's "progressive scan". Switching this on from the menu gives you an imitation 24p look which is what I think you are looking for.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 06:50 PM   #6
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Unfortunately that isn't what progressive scan does on the VX series. It shoots 15 progressive frames per second. This will give you a very choppy and stylized look which isn't very useful for most things. You can use it like a continuous "motor drive" for taking 720x480 stills, and it is also useful for timelapse footage that you plan to speed up in post. But it isn't 24p or even an imitation of 24p. It is true 15p. Maybe you're thinking of the FX1, HVRA1 or the Z1 which have "cineframe 24"?
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Old April 16th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
Unfortunately that isn't what progressive scan does on the VX series. It shoots 15 progressive frames per second.
Wow I've owned the Vx2100 long enough to have known that. I feel a little foolish thinking it was fake 24p. That's really just ridiculous that it's actually 15 fps.

If the person who started this thread has been checking back frequently lemme add this. I read in the "filmmaking for dummies" book that a technique you can use is for this "soft" end result is to get a UV filter and evenly spread some vaseline over it and screw it onto the camera. I cannot verify how well this works but it wouldn't hurt to try.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 02:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amit Sitapara View Post
Wow I've owned the Vx2100 long enough to have known that. I feel a little foolish thinking it was fake 24p. That's really just ridiculous that it's actually 15 fps.

If the person who started this thread has been checking back frequently lemme add this. I read in the "filmmaking for dummies" book that a technique you can use is for this "soft" end result is to get a UV filter and evenly spread some vaseline over it and screw it onto the camera. I cannot verify how well this works but it wouldn't hurt to try.
Vaseline? Maybe I'll try that. Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe I'll also pick up a copy of that book.

Thinking more about it, instead of the word "soft" I probably should have used "saturated." Or a combination of the two. I like how the colors are rich on my DVC30 and wonder if I can get the same look in the Sony vx2100.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amit Sitapara View Post
Wow I've owned the Vx2100 long enough to have known that. I feel a little foolish thinking it was fake 24p. That's really just ridiculous that it's actually 15 fps.

If the person who started this thread has been checking back frequently lemme add this. I read in the "filmmaking for dummies" book that a technique you can use is for this "soft" end result is to get a UV filter and evenly spread some vaseline over it and screw it onto the camera. I cannot verify how well this works but it wouldn't hurt to try.
The vaseline on the UV filter is ingenious.
I think the "filmaking for dummies" should just go ahead and reveal the easier and right way of doing this. While the vaseline works I would not want to have that in my bag and get on other things (plus my UV filter would be kind of shot).

I've been using a 58MM diffusion filter for quite a while now on my VX2000. It works really well and best of all I don't have to get grease or vaseline on a piece of glass. I would highly recommend this route. I got mine for about $8 at my camera shop but I see them on e-bay all the time.

The best combo I use is the polarizer stacked with the difusion filter. This combo is unbelievable. I'll post some of my many videos I've done tonight when I get home.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #10
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Whooh! Softening filtration at the time of shooting means accepting that what you've done can't be undone later. I'd always advise getting the sharpest, most accurately exposed shots you can up front - remembering that softening, flaire, vignetting, and region filtration can all be done, and more importantly undone, in post.

In the peace of your editing den you can mix and match, try different levels of flaire, softness and exposure yet always return to the pristine footage for the A / B test. Have I really made it better? Do I want to produce two or three different versions of this film? Do I want vaseline so close to my front element?

OK, the polarisor is the one filter that's mighty hard to duplicate in post, but even so beware its use. It brings continuity headaches with a simple 90 degree pan on the tripod, and talent won't be best pleased at the sheen having been removed from her hair.

tom.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #11
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As Josh Mellicker said in his very popular article. There are people who get video jobs over the competition just because they use difusion fitlers to make things look better than in real life. I recentley did a test with some duck footage. I first shot without difusion and just a polarizer (stock settings on the VX2000). The 2nd time I shot the same ducks with the polarizer and the difusion filter. I've shown both videos to 10 college friends of mine. All I asked was which do you like best. All 10 picked the difusion filter.
Like anything you must know what to use when. DV is way to ovesharpened to begin with and while you can turn the sharpnes level lower the difusion filter is on a whole new level. I've personally made some nice videos with the fake VX 24p wannabe (FLASH effect at +1) and the diffusion filter + PL and people were impressed.

This may not work for everyone but if you want the film look the difusion filter can help greatly.

http://www.dvcreators.net/products/tiffen_filters.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Whooh! Softening filtration at the time of shooting means accepting that what you've done can't be undone later. I'd always advise getting the sharpest, most accurately exposed shots you can up front - remembering that softening, flaire, vignetting, and region filtration can all be done, and more importantly undone, in post.

In the peace of your editing den you can mix and match, try different levels of flaire, softness and exposure yet always return to the pristine footage for the A / B test. Have I really made it better? Do I want to produce two or three different versions of this film? Do I want vaseline so close to my front element?

OK, the polarisor is the one filter that's mighty hard to duplicate in post, but even so beware its use. It brings continuity headaches with a simple 90 degree pan on the tripod, and talent won't be best pleased at the sheen having been removed from her hair.

tom.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 01:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Amira View Post
The best combo I use is the polarizer stacked with the difusion filter. This combo is unbelievable. I'll post some of my many videos I've done tonight when I get home.
I'm looking forward to seeing the footage, thanks.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 07:37 PM   #13
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Here is this short video.

Unfortunateley I'm having issues with the upload to Stage6 so I had to go Youtube. Quality is pretty nice for Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTNnEci2vZE

I want to mention that I shot this with my Aroma difuser which is a tad on the strong side. I'll shoot some with fX3 tiffen when I get it back (I've loaned it to a friend). I normally only use the FX3 which I love since I think the Aroma is just a tad too soft but you can get an idea of what it can do.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 12:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Amira View Post
Here is this short video.

Unfortunateley I'm having issues with the upload to Stage6 so I had to go Youtube. Quality is pretty nice for Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTNnEci2vZE

I want to mention that I shot this with my Aroma difuser which is a tad on the strong side. I'll shoot some with fX3 tiffen when I get it back (I've loaned it to a friend). I normally only use the FX3 which I love since I think the Aroma is just a tad too soft but you can get an idea of what it can do.
Very helpful, Alex, thanks so much. I do see what you mean by the effect. I think I'll pick up one of the tiffen.
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