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Old November 11th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #1
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Magic Bullet SUITE useful when shooting PAL?

I've seen some great results from MB footage, and i'm thinking of buying it...
Now the most stuff i've seen and what people are talking about is from 60i to 24P, but since i'm only into shooting PAL I'd like to know if it's still sensible to buy MB suite over just MB for editors plus a cheaper de-interlacer, since the conversion for 50i to 25P is a less complex process than 60i to 24P because no pulldown is required (or so i'm thinking at least). Or does MB de-interlace 50i still significantly better than cheaper software (or de-interlacers in NLE's like premiere pro)? Please tell me what you think about it...
Oh by the way I own the good old VX-1000 (PAL) currently but want to buy the fx1E (50i) very soon..

Regards,

Steven
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Old November 12th, 2004, 01:20 PM   #2
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It depends where you want your footage to be seen?

The full magic bullet suite has a deartifacter too to help remove the problems of the DV compression and colour space. It works damn well too from what I have seen. But this would only be of use if you are going to a 4:2:2 master without compressing to DV again anyway (although some say the deartefactor gives slightly better results even if the footage is recompressed back to DV).

I'm not entirely sure that the standard version of MB can handle the resolution of HDV. I think you may need to get the next version up. I think Magic Bullet For Editors also falls over when rendering to a final file at HD resolution (although it will let you preview it on the timeline).

As for deinterlacing, peoplre here seem to think Fieldskit and DVfilmmaker do just as good a job at this as MB. In fact DVfilmmaker has been upgraded to handle HD resolutions. So that may be your best bet for deinterlacing.

You could also get a deartefactor from DigitalFilmTools cheaper than MB. Although as far as deartefacting goes I don't think any of these are configured or work for HDV. Yet.

I wouldn't worry too much about the different looks that MB can do. By the creators own admission, these looks can be recreated (almost) by using other colour correction tools and adjustments. Magic Bullet look suite just puts all these controls into one box and allows adjustment in 32 bit colour. I'd hate to use it on FX1 footage though! It takes long enough at SD resolutions!
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Old November 12th, 2004, 05:06 PM   #3
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Hi Steven,

Here a reply from the Netherlands ;-)

Converting the 50i material into 25P material will ask a lot of horsepower of your computer. If you are really into 25P material (just like I do), why not considering the Canon XL2 or the Panasonic DVX100. It's not high def, but both offer a lot of quality straight from the box and enough manual controls to adjust the camcorder to your own taste.

I work with the DVX100 (first model) and do all my projects (short film and documentary) in 25P mode and the cinegamma settings. It works easy with your editing software (set it to DV PAL, progressive). It renders quicker compared to 50i footage, no heavy time consuming conversion that often has the risk of motion artifacts, it can be rendered straight to a PAL progressive MPEG2, etc.

The new Sony Hi Def camcorder will be a great machine, no doubt about it. But time will show that there will be others that succeed it that will offer more on the 25P and manual controls area.

Greetings/Groeten,

Peter
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Old November 13th, 2004, 03:51 AM   #4
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Thanks Simon and Peter

Peter, your arguments are very convincing and I have had the exact same line of thought. I was actually one button away of buying a dv100a PAL but are now more leaning towards a fx1e for some reasons:

I saw someone on another forum reasoning that if you start with fx1e footage, which is recorded at 990x1100, even if you cut the resolution in half (like NLE's do in matter of seconds) you still have a picture with a larger resolution of an XL2/dvx100a and also progressive. Now this is of course the crudest method and you should get some amazing results with proper de-interlacers.

Furthermore, there's also the question of price. I can get a dvx100ae and fx1e both for about 3000,- whereas a XL2 would cost me 1000 more.... The XL2 and fx1e both have native 16:9 which is the resolution that I want to use for 99%. If the XL2 was in the pricerange of the fx1e and dvx100ae I would probably have bought that one, but it's just a bit out of my budget right now... If I use the 4:3 dvx100a I'm still gonna have to do modifications somewhere...

I agree with you completely that out-of-the-box 25P gives some great peace of mind (and processor:), and I am in that matter still not completely convinced what to buy. Maybe I'll await some tests from people about de-interlacing HDV.
The only thing that stings a little is the fact that the dvx100ae and the xl2 are both pieces of professional hardware, whereas the fx1e lacks some control (and XLR).

I was first thinking of waiting for panasonic or canon to make a move in the 1080P direction, but I'm afraid that make take some more years.

These are all thoughts that are spinning in my mind, fighting each other and preventing me to make a decision ;)
I'm very happy to hear your input on them!

regards,

Steven
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Old November 13th, 2004, 04:19 AM   #5
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It's a tough time to choose which camera to buy.

It sounds like you should wait and see what the Z1 brings to the table in February as that will have more controls than the FX1.
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Old November 13th, 2004, 05:30 AM   #6
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Yes, it's difficult to choose. But if I understand you correctly you find the XL2 too expensive. The Z1 will also be expensive when it's released. I expect the DVX100a will drop in price the coming half year, I'm sure the XL2 will follow the coming year. It's always the same... ;-)

There's something I have to correct about the 25P footage of the DVX100 and XL2. It's different with the frame-mode of camera's like the XL1S: the progressive footage of these two camcorders have full resolution, where the XL1S did not. So you have a full resolution DV frame in 25P format with the DVX100 and XL2.

If you now how to light your shots properly, the 25P image of the DVX100 comes close to a 16mm film camera. Enhancing it with color correction or MB is ofcourse possible, to tweak the image more to your own taste.

If you like to shoot in widescreen, the DVX100a has a built in squeeze function. Or you could consider the anamorphic adapter.

Something you also could consider with the DVX100:
- the 25P mode is not terrific in low light conditions, but do you know any normal filmcamera that will work in the dark?
- you cannot interchange the lense like the XL1 and XL2, however you can add lenses in front of the standard lens
+ the standard lens offers from modest widescreen to 10x zoom
+ the XLR inputs are very useful when working with external microphones

If you like check my website (URL below) to see the short movie BitterSweet we made earlier this year for a project of an American film festival. It's a DVX100 (25P, letterbox widescreen) with a tripod and Vegas 4 for editing & some basic color correction that did the job. And the final product screened wonderfully at the film festival (beamer projection). I had to explain several fellow filmmakers at the festival that we worked on mini-dv video in 25P and not on film.

Surf to www.dvxuser.com to read more user experiences and watch several productions made with the DVX100.

If I had to decide to buy a prosumer camcorder right now, I would buy the DVX100 again (well, the 2nd=newer model with the enhancements, I think it's called DVX102 or something in PAL country, in NTSC areas it's names DVX100A).

I'm sure I've made your decision not any easier ;-)

Peter
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Old November 14th, 2004, 05:10 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Simon Wyndham : It's a tough time to choose which camera to buy. -->>>

Still we should be happy, since it's a problem of luxury!

<<<-- It sounds like you should wait and see what the Z1 brings to the table in February as that will have more controls than the FX1. -->>>

Hmm, I still I think that the biggest advantage of the z1 over the fx1 (except for the XLR's) is the ability to switch between 60i and 50i, which is great in NTSC-land, since they can do TV things in 60i and film-things in 50i (and transfer to film through 50i-->25p-->24p). But since I live in PAL country I will probably never use that 60i setting. Off course, the Z1 is simply just a better and more complete camera then the fx1(e) but when it's a question of price everyone has to make their personal considerations.

Peter, I know that the 25P of the XL2 and dvx100a is TRUE progressive (whereas cinemaframe 25 on the fx1e is NOT), all I was meaning that because of the higher resolution of the fx1e (1440x1080 HDV -vs- 720=576 PAL), even if you de-interlace with the prehistoric method of throwing away half your vert. resolution you still end up with more pixels than PAL... Of course these are just numbers, but I have heard nothing but positive remarks on the amount of detail in the fx1e picture, even with cinemaframe 25 on.

Don't get me wrong, if I had bought the dvx100a, I wouldn't regret it for a day probably. It IS a great camera in it price range. It is just that when I saw someone reviewing the fx1e alongside the Varicam (and viewed the results with a digital projector on a large screen) and said he didn't see much difference in quality my heart skipped a beat ;) The guy was also very positive about the lens of the fx1e. He also put the XL2 in along the test and said it was a toy compared to the fx1e. I'm just waiting for some more feedback in especially the fx1E 50i but am very eager to step into the HDV boat!

Steven

PS: don't get me wrong (before we start off that discussion ;-)
I don't think the fx1e can match up with the Varicam at 25 times the price. OF COURSE the Varicam is a much greater camera (control, reliability, quality) and no one who is in the budget for a varicam would ever consider a prosumer like the fx1e, I just wanna say if us poor indies can get anywhere near this beast I am in heaven already :P
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Old November 14th, 2004, 05:34 AM   #8
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From what I saw of the FX1 first hand the other day, it did have a good picture. But it looked soft compared to the high end cams (that is to be expected).

Although if you deinterlace by throwing away half the fields you will end up with LESS vertical resolution than PAL (540 lines for deinterlaced HDV and 576 lines for interlaced or progressive PAL)

People may want to futureproof their footage, or they may want to be HDV ready if it catches on. I don't have a problem with the former, especially if capturing family memories. However I fell that by the time HDV has a useful outlet for material distribution there will already be a much better camera available, such as a Bluray version of the FX1/Z1, as well as Panasonics developments.

The FX1 does capture great DV anamorphic 16:9 footage however,
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Old November 14th, 2004, 05:50 AM   #9
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Hi Simon,

I'm sure that better camera's will come out in the future, but I need to buy one right now! If I already owned a dvx100a or XL2 I would never consider trading it in for a fx1e, but when everything is still to be decided, I'm really considering it.

So if you had a budget in the price range of a dvx100a pal and fx1e (so about 3000,- , the xl2 being 600,- more expensive) what would you buy?

I'd like to hear your opinion.

Steven
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Old November 27th, 2004, 07:18 AM   #10
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Steven, I've written extensively about using the PAL format for making films as well as various workflows in this thread which you may find helpful: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=34404

As for the DVX vs FX1 debate, the difference in the end is going to be your workflow and process in post, something you don't always know until you're actually there yourself.
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Old November 27th, 2004, 08:14 AM   #11
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Steven, if I did already own a DVX100 or an XL1 and I had 3000 to spend, I wouldn't spend it.

There is no point buying the FX1 for the sake of it. The DVX100 is a superb camera with excellent control.

My current situation is that I am in the market for a new camera and I have gone for an XDCAM PDW510P. Why would I do this when an FX1 costs around 7-8000 less and produces a higher resolution picture?

My reasons are this;

- Workflow. I simply cannot go on with tape. I'm fed up of searching through it for takes, dealing with broken timecode from people who don't lay down a continuous code, etc etc.
- I want professional controls over the camera.
- I desperately want it's timelapse function along with the very slow shutter speed.
- I want the ability to have my original files and my EDLs on the same disc at the end of a project.

There are many more reasons than this, but workflow advantages are the main thing. I work on a lot of tedius projects funded by local authorities, and anything that allows me to stop my brain from melting while editing them is most welcome! As soon as someone produces a higher level HD or HDV camera that is affordable (even when the lens is taken into account) and works with non linear media I will move on.

So my main question to you is, do you NEED to spend 3000 on a new camera right now, or is your current camera still doing it's job well? You need to buy a camera to suit your real needs rather than just spending for the sake of having the latest toy. Save that 3000. The FX1 and Z1 will still be around. If you find you have a use for HDV, excellent, go and buy it. If it's just for the sake of being one of the first, why not save a bit longer and see what the real improvements on the Z1 are when it's released?

My main advice is don't rush. Buy a camera based on what you really need and whether that new camera gives you a real world advantage over your current one.

Where my own business is concerned, if I have clients demanding HDV I'll buy an HDV camera. But until then I will buy a camera based on my needs.
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