Sony HDR-FX1 HDV camcorder review - NOW live!

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bcrabtree
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This review is now live!

It's James Morris's take on Sony's rather special HDV camcorder, the HDR-FX1.

The review details not just the camcorder, but also James's experiences editing HDV footage with a bunch of Windows programs.

Oh, and there's also stuff in there about Matteo The Modder - as per other threads hereabouts - and his interchangeable-lens FX1s.

You can download a PDF of Showreel magazine's review of the Sony FX1, as well as the magazine's test of the first HDV camera, the JVC HD10, at www.showreel.org/subscriptions.html

This is a temporary measure - we'll be having these reviews and others from Showreel accessible directly from DVdoctor.net, but Steve Parker (Showreel's editor) and I thought now might be a good time to make these available - not some future time when more work has been done on DVdoctor's site.

Click here to go to the discussion thread on Showreel's forums about its FX1 review.

I also thought that DVC's HDV presentation at VideoForum contained a lot of useful info, and so, with Richard Payne's permission, have posted an edited version on page five of this thread - here. To see that posting in its page context, go here, then scroll down to message 87.

Bob C
editorial director (*)
DVdoctor Inc
(* A fancy title I made up; hope you all like it. If not, say so, and I might make up something different)

S Parker
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What should also be interesting is a look at the FX1's rivals. Interesting because there's an argument to say its greatest rival currently is Sony's Z1.

Because the two cameras are marketed by different division of Sony, the FX1 and the Z1 are in direct competition.

Although they have a lot in common, the Z1 boasts more features, but is, of course, more expensive.

I'm sure the merits of each are going to be the subject of considerable debate. And I reckon this is the place to have it.

Showreel's contribution in its Feb issue will be a full test of the Z1, two articles by filmmakers who have shot short projects on the FX1 – one of which was edited using Windows systems and the other of which will be edited by the end of January (fingers crossed) on the first version of Final Cut Express for HDV; oh yes, and a more detailed look at the workflow involved in NLEs such as Mediastudio Pro and Liquid Edition 6.

I don't want to entirely preempt the FX1/Z1 debate, but I will make an intial contribution: my advice if you're thinking of buying the FX1 in the next week or two is to wait and see what the Z1 offers.

Not everyone will want to pay extra for the added features of the Z1, but in this thread we shall be discussing the importance of its key extra features – and I'm sure the postings here will give everyone a clear idea of how useful these features will be to them.

Steve Parker
Editor
(or as Bob might have it, Vice-President Editing)
Showreel

cstv
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i'm by no means a pro camera operator, so the only "real" difference for me between the FX1 and Z1 is the XLR inputs. It'd be nice to compare the Z1 with an FX1 with a beachbox...

mark.

bcrabtree
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I hope Steve won't mind, but I've included below an extract from Showreel's review of the FX1 (in the current issue) that lists the differences between the FX1 and the Z1.

Bob C
============
There are 40 facilities on Z1 that don’t appear on the FX1. The key eight are given first:

* HDV/DVCAM/DV switchable
* 50Hz/60Hz (PAL / NTSC) switchable One world, one camera
* Two-channel audio XLR inputs High quality audio recording with an external microphone supplying +40V phantom power
* Two-channel independent audio recording level control
* Time Code Preset Time Code and User Bits setting
* B/W & Colour Switchable Viewfinder
* Simultaneous operation of LCD panel & viewfinder
* Six assignable buttons - Assign frequently used functions such as hyper gain, AE override, white balance level, safety zone marker and more

Additional features include colour-correction, all scan mode, AE override, blackstretch, microphone input setting, edge crop on 4:3 SD down conversion output, setup level select, AF assist, external rec control, white balance outdoor level shift, hyper gain, all display off, quick rec, numerical value display of zoom ratio, selectable peaking level and colour, expanded focus-off mode, safety zone and 4:3 marker, date rec, audio monitoring select, audio limiter, audio noise-reduction, wind noise reduction, sensitivity select on built-in mic, two-mode Cinematone gamma, shot-transition start timer, skin-tone level control, 480p output(on analogue component), smooth on-handle zoom audio output level select, two-mode colour bars, hours-meter, AC adaptor/charger (AC-VQ850) supplied as standard, Silver support with two-year warranty (available in EU Countries only).
==================

infocus
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I presume the FX1 is just HDV/DV - not DVCAM? Not so sure about the usefulness of the B/W & Colour Switchable viewfinder - pro v/fs are B/W, as this has given optimum sharpness in the past. If this is no sharper in B/W mode than colour, it makes one ask why bother? In the UK a 14:9 marker would be as useful as 4:3 (if not more) - this is the standard shoot and protect mode for most broadcast TV over here.

The things which most catch my eye from the list are (obviously) the improved audio, but also the 50/60 Hz switchability. That would be very useful in the pro SD world, but presumably is more easily implemented in the HD world, where at least line standards are common between Europe and the US/Japan.

cyberwest
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The FX1 is just HDV/DV, yes. And you have to choose to buy a PAL version (if in a PAL area) or NTSC (if in an NTSC area).

[ 27.01.2005, 01:16 AM: Message edited by: bcrabtree ]

James Morris

tom hardwick
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The Z1's v'finder can be switched between b & w and colour, but as it's a pretty high def LCD, there does indeed seem little point in having the switch.

The Z1 will record in HDV, DVCAM and DV(SP) whereas the FX1 will only record in HDV and DV SP, though I suspect it'll replay DVCAM quite happily. The FX1 is indeed better looking with it's metallic charcoal colour. The Z1 is rather shiney black, and a bit Panasonic looking in my view.

Oh I do love this camera. That iris control wheel is an absolute delight.

tom.

Alan Roberts
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Just to add a bit, there's an "edit deck" for HDV axs well, from Sony. It will play HDV tapes, and miniDV SD, and DVCAM SD, and record HDV, and DVCAM (and, I think miniDV).

The real competition for the Z1 is the new JVC. It's 1"/3 with interchangeable lenses, plus a 1"/2 to 1"/3 adaptor, and records 1280x720p at 25 fps. For my money, that makes it a non-starter because you'll never get fluid motion, it always does "film-motion". Launch at NAB.

The next alternative is really to the FX1 rather than the Z1; Panasonic's offering will be announced around mid-year, a palmcorder recording to flash-card at 25 and 50Mb/s. Current guesses are that the camera will be significantly cheap (no moving parts for tape) although the card expensive. That may not be a problem is shooting methods change, using the card only for moving footage from camera to hard-drive. Time will tell.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
The real competition for the Z1 is the new JVC. It's 1"/3 with interchangeable lenses, ....

Three chip or one? Hopefully JVC will have learnt the error of their ways with the first generation of HDV...... ;)

PaulD
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Hi
There are online .pdf brochures for the USA versions of the HVR-Z1U and HVR-M10U deck here:
www.llsr.com/downloads/hvr-z1u.pdf
www.llsr.com/downloads/hvr-m10u.pdf

tom hardwick
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Have you seen how close Mark (2032 postings) and Alan (2031) are?

Alan Roberts
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The JVC/s a 3 x 1"/3 camera, with a 1"/2 to 1"/3 conveter supplied as standard. Problem is that it's a 720p camera that will do HDV at ONLY 25p. So it's always going to do jerky film motion. For me, that makes it a non-starter, but I know lots of other people for whom that's not a problem.

And, Tom, I'm still the fifth most prolific poster (using my "at work" profile) even though I closed that last April, so if you add in all that in..... :D

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

elbow
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OK - couple of questions some of which may be a bit dumb - apologies in advance.

What is the 35mm equivalent zoom range? How does this compare say with a PD170? How wide in 35mm terms, can you go with the wide angle adapter? I know I should be able to work this out from the available information but maths is making my head hurt!

Also the DVCam format must be a massive benefit for shooting as dropout is going to be a real issue with this camera. Alan pointed out that if dropout were to occur on an i frame - half a second would be lost! What price can you get the FX1 for? I had a quote from Toptecks of £2,950 for the Z1. Must be worth the difference for the DVcam alone although for me the timecode presets and user profiles not to mention the NTSC capabilities make it a clear winner for me (personal choice). One other point is if I purchase one I would hope that I may get the odd days hire out of it to trustworthy pro cammeramen (Digi-beta owners who require a smaller beast for one reason or another - often seems to happen) The more the camera emulates properly pro kit the more likely they will be happy to use it.

Also I was wondering if anyone has thoughts, or better still, evidence, about the difference in quality between HDV shot material downconverted to DVcam and material aquired under the DVcam settings? Is native DV shooting likely to produce significantly better results in an SD environment? Adding to this has anyone compared the downcoverted images against same images aquired from a PD170?

On Alan's advice I went to talk to Panasonic to try and get an incling of their possible future offering and it does indeed sound very intersting but reflecting upon it - whilst downloading the camera frequently would not be a problem in drama and some other projects it will always be a massive pain for live events and I think the Sony format will probably win out.

Another possibly dumb question - where are Canon in all this? They are signed up to HDV and have a good reputation in the DV world surely the must announce an XL HDV model by the time of IBC

I am posed ready to buy the the Z1 which is why I'm rambling on wondering if anyone will talk me out of it. At the moment I suspect the biggest rival in this sector will be when Sony release the HDV2 50Mbit successor with a more robust tape format. When will this be I wonder?

Anyway I do think the Z1 was just the best thing for me at the show and made the video forum really exciting for once (Normally I feel there is nothing new as everyone is holding back for NAB) Also it was great to meet Alan in person and have a chance to thank him for all the help he has given me over the last few years.

Dual eyes and ears, single nose and one very large mouth.

cstv
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YEY! looking forward to that panasonic cam already!

Personally i agree with Alan about 720p@25fps, but that's going to be perfect for a lot of people looking for that beloved "film look" - no, i don't mean cepier and scratches ;)

Sony's HDV deck looked rather sexy on their stand at the show, but everyone ignored it and crowded round the Z1... Thanks for the pdf Paul, now i knwo where the tape goes!

The robustness of the HDV mpeg stream is a bit of a worry with a 12 frame GoP. It really adds more weight to the idea of recording simultaneously to a Firestore and just having the tape as a backup. That does of course assume that it's the recoding medium that fails rather than the mpeg encoder in the cam - i can't really see that happening though...

As for the the postings count, i'm afraid Alan's right... he has been around much longer that i have after all! :D ...around the forum that is...

PaulD
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Hi
The rumours going round are that Panasonic will ignore HDV totally - and try and match Sony's Z1 price point with a low-end DVCPro HD (100Mbits/sec intra-frame non-GOP) solid state camera - much easier to edit, and also not fully 100Mb/s if you shoot at one of the slower frame rates apparantly (since it can record its data any way it needs rather than the fixed 60fps-to-tape of the Varicam)...

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by elbow:
OK - couple of questions some of which may be a bit dumb - apologies in advance.

What is the 35mm equivalent zoom range?

Not dumb questions at all! The 35mm equivalence figures were gone into in this thread: http://www.dvdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=10;t=013324#000003 - the FX1 is about 32mm equivalent at the wide end - not bad for this type of camera.

Quote:
I went to talk to Panasonic to try and get an incling of their possible future offering .......... whilst downloading the camera frequently would not be a problem in drama and some other projects it will always be a massive pain for live events and I think the Sony format will probably win out.

Ahhh! But which Sony format? In the pro sector P2 seems to be currently losing out to XDCAM rather than any format based on tape, and what if Sony bring out an XDCAM (or Blu-Ray) FX1 type of camera? I think that would really blow Panasonic out of the water, it would get over the theoretical drop out drawbacks with HDV (I've not seen one yet, but concede it's a potential problem) and offer most of the advantages of solid state whilst still being a consumable recording medium. Both XDCAM and P2 seem to have similar download times, about 4x real speed for 25Mb, I understand. And XDCAM doesn't need to be downloaded just to free space up of course. HDV and Blue-laser could co-exist quite easily side by side at different price points.

And yes, where are Canon in this? Definately not a dumb question. They're signed up to HDV, and an HDV "XL3" would potentially be a real winner. And don't forget JVC. They may have lost their way badly in the last year or so, but they had successes in the past and are rumoured to be bringing out a 1/3" HDV with interchangeable lenses. No doubt that will be looked at very closely when it arrives. But I can't help thinking that just as other manufacturers start to launch HDV kit, Panasonic and Sony will be onto solid state and blue laser though.....

Regarding your comments about "holding back for NAB", lets not forget where we first saw the FX1/Z1 prototypes - yes, NAB2004. And NAB2005 is not too far off now, I await it with interest.

Alan Roberts
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All correct, but the JVC product is mthe one I mentioned earlier, 720p at 25fps. So it's ONLY going to be ok for film-type shooting. You can forget the fluid motion of 20Hz shooting.

Canon's the dark horse currently. They are being very quiet, I suspect they're trying not to undermine the xl2 etc. But don't forget that Sharp are in there as well, I'd expect to see a significanht camera from them, aimed well under Sony for price, more specifically at the consumer than the FX1/Z1 (even though Sony are still adamant that FX1 is consumer and Z1 prosumer, I still reckon ther Z1 is a consumer cmare with professional connectivity).

NAB is going to be very interesting. Anybody going?

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

bcrabtree
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I think I HAVE to go!

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Watch this space, the review should be going live in a few hours time.

Bob C
(3-3-05 3:30pm)

bcrabtree
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This review is now live!

Bob C

Alan Roberts
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Two of the sponsored links seem to be irrelevant, the link to S-video points to Playstream (nothing to do with s-video), and the scanning link goes off about document scanning O nothing to do with video).

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

bcrabtree
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Alan,

You are quite right but we are currently piggy-backing on HEXUS.net and I'm happy to have a few irrelevant links in our articles if it brings them in a bob or two.

The presentation of DVdoctor articles will be changing, though, and what you'll see in future (may be a month or more) will be a DVdoctor-branded web site (still piggy-backing on HEXUS, mind).

And, as that point approaches, we'll be looking at whether or not we continue with such links.

My intention, of course, is for many such links to lead to explanations in a glossary about what tems means, but that will be a while down the road.

In a perfect world where money was not important, I'd put in these links now - to web-based glossaries - but I don't have time to do that, and I also don't have time to create our glossary.

But, irrespective of that, for the next month or so, though, these ad links will be in the DVdoctor pages.

Bob C

Alan McKeown
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I remember, a long time ago, complaining about the use of the description “PAL” as applied to DVDs. (DVDs are not PAL).

I jokingly suggested that some people might even still be using “PAL” as a descriptor for HDTV when it eventually arrived.

But I did think such a suggestion was a little far fetched!

Apparently I was wrong.

Alan

bcrabtree
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Alan McKeown,

Cryptic can sometimes be good, but that comment about Pal was just a bit too cryptic for me and, I suspect, the vast majority of people reading.

Care to spell out what you are actually saying?

Pretty please.

Bob C

Alan Roberts
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PAL is being used to describe video systems running at 50Hz rather than 59.94Hz. So the FX1 is described as a "PAL" HDV recorder. The only actual PAL part of it is the croma coder on the composite and s-video outputs.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

PaulD
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Hi
Good article. Thanks - though reading off a screen affects the way written-succinctly-for-paper-page writing comes across (IMO ;) )

I've had a browser problem with a couple of the pages, and not finding a webmaster link on Hexus.net I've tried to find a suitable forum to post a note, but I suspect the Hexus code-wizards haven't conceived of a Mac user dropping by and having problems...
(And I haven't worked out the lie-of-the-land of the Hexus site generally).

http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=37413

djr
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Hi Paul,

Just replied to your HEXUS posting about this - FireFox sometimes gives the rendering problem - a refresh fixes it.

BTW stats wise: 0.8 % of HEXUS Readers Use Macs.
& 0.5 % use Safari

David
--
//founder, director of commerce and publishing - HEXUS Limited

johnpr98
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I emailed Bob privately, he knows what I think of the review ;) FANTASTIC!!!

The only niggle is the dealtime link been $ not £ (There may be a reason though?).

I've been looking for my piggy bank all day :(

johnpr98
 
If you have any Forum Suggestions please post them here

djr
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The Dealtime Agreement will be going soon and replaced with a better one.

With the new release of HEXUS we are hoping to have people able to specify what country they are in.

Meanwhile here is a link for all you UK guys:

http://www.dealtime.co.uk/dt-app/SE/KW-HDR-FX1E/FD-0/linkin_id-3027201/NS-1/GS.html

David
--
//founder, director of commerce and publishing - HEXUS Limited

Alan McKeown
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Bob,
Re. the review of the Sony HDR-FX1E.

“PAL” stands for “Phase Alternate Line”.

It applies to an analogue colour encoding system used as part of an analogue composite colour video signal.

DVDs (the discs) do not use analogue video encoding.
So they cannot correctly be described as “PAL”.

HDTV (and HDV) does not employ PAL encoding and has no connection, not even a tenuous one, with “PAL”.

A description such as “50i “or even “50 Hz” would seem appropriate.

Alan

johnpr98
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David

That's more like it, AAA1

2 minutes was a long time to respond though :D
(Even though I took 4)

Ouch, there's a hole burning in my pocket

All jokes aside this is probably the best review I've seen & is right up my street (As Bob, Tom & Alan know).

johnpr98
 
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PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by DR DVdoctor:
...0.8 % of HEXUS Readers Use Macs....

Hi
Your loss
Thanks for the reply.

BTW In the last few months I've met droves of Unix/Linux users who've recently bought PowerBooks. But they wouldn't use Safari I'm sure, but some obscure unix command-line utility....

And on-topic again, I've come across two quotes that struck me today whilst browsing www.sonyhdvinfo.com and elsewhere:
"In 40 hrs of HDV tapes they reviewed no dropout was apparent - they shot on standard Sony mini-DV tapes." ( about recording in HDV mode), and
"We heard tonight that Sony Australia isn't going to bring the HDV tapes into this country. They are telling retailers to just use Sony DVCAM tapes as they are as high quality as the 'new' HDV tapes."

djr
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PaulD - The adoption of Apple Notebooks due to the OSX/BSD thing amongst Linux/Unix People has been huge - I know a fair few as is. I am not sure which browser most of them use.

We want the site to work for everyone; on all platforms. This is something we strive towards but due to people not sticking to the 'right' way to render webpages and with increased functionality comes problems. We are trying to find a balance, but I agree with the links not working or appearing in the right place in Safari is not good.

We do have a printable layout avaliable which should make life a bit easier for you in the meanwhile. Please click the 'Printer friendly layout' link (for this review: [url=http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/review.php?dXJsX3Jldmlld19JRD05OTc=)]http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/review.php?dXJsX3Jldmlld19JRD05OTc=)[/url]

In regards to the Google ads which show 'irrelevant' adverts (I could not agree more) and the InteliTXT adverts (Green 'Hot links') are functions to draw revenue, we are looking for advertising and have recently engaged new ads sales team at HEXUS and for sure this will also help with DVdoctor ads sales - but it is the chicken and the egg thing. There are many reasons for this but I am not going to go in to them now (Loads to go in to but not here - maybe one day).

0.8% of readers is still a significant number - we have to make sure we cater for them and the IE/FireFox users of the world.

Could you try it in Camino?

David
--
//founder, director of commerce and publishing - HEXUS Limited

djr
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnpr98:
David

That's more like it, AAA1

2 minutes was a long time to respond though :D
(Even though I took 4)

Ouch, there's a hole burning in my pocket

All jokes aside this is probably the best review I've seen & is right up my street (As Bob, Tom & Alan know).

I think after a review like this it is rude not to pick one up

I have to say - I think what a beast, and as many of you know - I don't have a background in this field at all.

I will stick with my Sony DCR-PC109 (The retailer sent me this one instead of the 106 I ordered... bargain!) for the meanwhile until I atleast understand how to 'edit' the damn stuff :( :( :(

David
--
//founder, director of commerce and publishing - HEXUS Limited

johnpr98
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I also read in another review (Forum linked to DVD Doctor) that:

Quote:
Sony recently learnt that limited units of its digital high definition camcorder HDR-FX1/HDR-FX1E may exhibit the following condition :

When the audio mode of HDR-FX1/HDR-FX1E camcorder is switched to the 16-bit setting (in DV mode), and the unit is then turned off, a software used in the camcorder causes the unit to reset to the default 12-bit setting, though the LCD indicator of the unit continues to display the 16-bit audio setting.

This is a little worrying & hopefully has been sorted out now?

johnpr98
 
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PaulD
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Quote:
Could you try it in Camino?

Hi
Sure (sometime ;) ).

David, is it OK to post links to the Hexus FX1 review pages from other places on the web where people (hotly) contest the merits of the FX1 (and other such reviewed items)?

PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by DR DVdoctor:
...at least understand how to 'edit' the damn stuff :( :( :(

That's what we're here to help with

djr
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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulD:
Quote:
Could you try it in Camino?

Hi
Sure (sometime ;) ).

David, is it OK to post links to the Hexus FX1 review pages from other places on the web where people (hotly) contest the merits of the FX1 (and other such reviewed items)?

Paul - of course you can - the more links the better.

Would you be prepared to also test future builds of the HEXUS site for us in Safari?

David
--
//founder, director of commerce and publishing - HEXUS Limited

PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by DR DVdoctor:
Would you be prepared to also test future builds...

I'd love to

harlequin
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link to review posted on canopus forums , re: a previous post i had made about the canopus nx card and the sony camcorder and hdv footage.

one japanese member of canopus is interested in the edius 'problems' i saw at videoforum.

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulD:

quote:Originally posted by DR DVdoctor:
Would you be prepared to also test future builds...

I'd love to

Phew!

I thought this was going to turn into a Mac vs Windows war - and that's something we DON'T allow here, irrespective of the respect with which the combatants are held!

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
Bob,
Re. the review of the Sony HDR-FX1E.

“PAL” stands for “Phase Alternate Line”.

It applies to an analogue colour encoding system used as part of an analogue composite colour video signal.

DVDs (the discs) do not use analogue video encoding.

So they cannot correctly be described as “PAL”.

HDTV (and HDV) does not employ PAL encoding and has no connection, not even a tenuous one, with “PAL”.

A description such as “50i “or even “50 Hz” would seem appropriate.

Alan

Alan,

That is hugely useful. Thanks.

I did, of course, know what Pal stood for (though not, I must admit, what it MEANT) and also did not realise that it was analogue-only.

So, now come the key questions - to you, to Alan Roberts and to anyone else who cares to comment.

If Pal is wrong, and I accept that it is, how do we:

Make it clear to a readership that largely will not understand the meaning of Phase Alternate Line (or know that Pal is analoguey), what we are actually talking about?

Do that WITHOUT, in every single article, having a detailed explanation?

Bob C

johnpr98
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I don't usually print out web pages, especially on photopaper

Quote:
We do have a printable layout avaliable which should make life a bit easier for you in the meanwhile. Please click the 'Printer friendly layout' link (for this review: [url=http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/review.php?dXJsX3Jldmlld19JRD05OTc=)]http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/review.php?dXJsX3Jldmlld19JRD05OTc=)[/url]

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bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by harlequin:
link to review posted on canopus forums , re: a previous post i had made about the canopus nx card and the sony camcorder and hdv footage.

one japanese member of canopus is interested in the edius 'problems' i saw at videoforum.

Gary!

Not you too?

The title Mr Cryptic really doesn't suit YOU.

Please spell out here what you saw, rather than tease and tantalise - while noting, of course, that our review of the FX1 only mentions in passing the Edius NX for HDV hardware/software combination that you are, I believe, alluding to.

Bob C

harlequin
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcrabtree:

quote:Originally posted by harlequin:
[b] link to review posted on canopus forums , re: a previous post i had made about the canopus nx card and the sony camcorder and hdv footage.

one japanese member of canopus is interested in the edius 'problems' i saw at videoforum.

Gary!

Not you too?

The title Mr Cryptic really doesn't suit YOU.

Please spell out here what you saw, rather than tease and tantalise - while noting, of course, that our review of the FX1 only mentions in passing the Edius NX for HDV hardware/software combination that you are, I believe, alluding to.

Bob C [/b]

Apologies, I wasn't being cryptic, really just telling 'hexus' that I had taken up the offer to allow other sites to link to it, and posted a link on the canopus nx webboard

However, and I'll try to get this as 'right' as I can:

The system was set up for us by DVC (thanks!);
the bin was full of footage, in Edius (HQ AVI) format, and Edius was using the NX hardware to output component from timeline to the 37in Sony plasma TV set (KDEP37XS1) - through which we also played the Sony-supplied FX1 and Matteo's mod'd, interchangeable-lens FX1.

DVC gave us a partially set-up timeline, and I played around with the footage - altering duration, layers, transitions etc.

The system would happily:

Play one layer with a 3d p-in-p

Allow one layer to overlay another with chromakey enabled on one, no tweaking to replace either sky or water with the required background.

Allow titles to be added to any single layer.

BUT

It would require at a minimum the buffers pre-loaded or at worst timeline renderred if you tried titles over 3d p-in-p over main layer OR a third layer added to the chromakeyed double layer.

DVC put a new bios onto the motherboard , because they had found a 'niggle' that this would sort.

I would suggest that MAYBE if the drives for video had been RAID-0, we may have had a better realtime experience - not that the experience of even managing to edit HDV wasn't a thrill.

I'd also point out that the machine had the MINIMUM level of dual-processor recommended for the Edius hardware.

WOULD I BUY ONE IF I COULD AFFORD IT ? yes

WOULD I BUY A SONY HDV CAMCORDER ? yes

I would, however, really prefer to edit on the fastest dual-processor machine and have it equipped with raided drives.

Oh, and I still prefer CRTs to LCD/TFT/plasma.

But I wouldn't say no if I were to be offerred the system DVC allowed us to have on the stand.

[Bob C adds - I think that this posting may have blown your chances of a freebie from DVC. Though, of course, the likelihood of that was always VERY remote! ;) ]

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcrabtree:
“PAL” stands for “Phase Alternate Line”.

If Pal is wrong, and I accept that it is, how do we:

Make it clear to a readership that largely will not understand the meaning of Phase Alternate Line (or know that Pal is analoguey), what we are actually talking about?
[/QB]

At the risk of being REALLY picky, does it not rather stand for "Phase Alternation, Line" - this being after all exactly what happens? (The phase of the subcarrier, as modulated by the V signal, is flipped by 180 deg line by line.)

Did Alan not give an answer to the question posed some answers back, suggesting "50Hz" or "60Hz"? Ideally, references to 50p, 50i, 25p etc as appropiate would be better, but may be more confusing to a general readership. Yes, it's unfortunate that in so many places "PAL" is loosely used to describe digital 576/50i signals, but there is no reason whatsoever to use it in the High Definition world.

infocus
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An even pickier colleague believes PAL stands for "Phase Alternation by Line", which I concede even more accurately describes what it represents! A Google search does however seem to back up my definiton as the most generally accepted one, eg http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?refid=561506349 .

johnpr98
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/factsheets/docs/abbreviations.pdf

Quote:
PAL Phase Alternate Line - version I is the UK system of television (versions B and G most of Europe)

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Alan Roberts
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I feel that tagging it PAL or NTSC has some tenuous merit, because it describes the analogue composite and s-video outputs that it makes. I've explained all this many times on this board, probably about 5 times a year since 1999.

The accurate description of the HDV operation is that the cameras are "1080-line HDTV, with versions running at 50Hz or 59.94Hz (making PAL or NTSC downconversions, respectively)". That's totally unambiguous, and 100% accurate.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

johnpr98
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The Sony HDR FX1 Manual 3.72MB(USA), I can't find a European one (Yet)
http://www.docs.sony.com/release/HDRFX1.pdf

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PaulD
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Hi
Feedback on the Review
quote:
"Very thorough review - one of the better ones I've seen thus far. What I like is the inclusion of software "solutions" and comments on their ability to handle HDV."
www.creativecow.net/forum/read_post.php?postid=110746745381084&forumid=162

harlequin
harlequin's picture
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Quote:
Originally posted by harlequin:
link to review posted on canopus forums , re: a previous post i had made about the canopus nx card and the sony camcorder and hdv footage.

one japanese member of canopus is interested in the edius 'problems' i saw at videoforum.

Canopus , Japan , have confirmed my findings and are looking into it.

http://tinyurl.com/4lus2

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Alan McKeown
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Posted by Bob Crabtree:
“If Pal is wrong, and I accept that it is, how do we:

Make it clear to a readership that largely will not understand the meaning of Phase Alternate Line (or know that Pal is analoguey), what we are actually talking about?

Do that WITHOUT, in every single article, having a detailed explanation?”

Note that PAL, being an acronym, is written as PAL not Pal.

In the case of HDTV (and HDV), all that is being referred to by the (incorrect) description “PAL” , is a picture field rate of 50 Hz.

50 Hz is the essential difference from the other version.

So why not refer to the Sony HDR-FX1E as a “50 Hz HDV camcorder”?

The fact that there just happens to be a PAL encoder built in, operating on an analogue version of a down-converted signal, is of no relevance to the HDV function. Down-converted HDV is not HDV. So it is quite unreasonable to characterise the machine as a “PAL HDV camcorder”.

To quote infocus:
“Yes, it's unfortunate that in so many places "PAL" is loosely used to describe digital 576/50i signals, but there is no reason whatsoever to use it in the High Definition world.”

We should be trying to avoid repeating past mistakes and the introduction of a completely new format (HDTV) grants a golden opportunity to make a clean break from such errors.

Alan

PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
DVDs (the discs) do not use analogue video encoding.
So they cannot correctly be described as “PAL”.

HDTV (and HDV) does not employ PAL encoding and has no connection, not even a tenuous one, with “PAL”.

Hi
Nevertheless all the rows of DVDs on the shelf at home or in the shop all seem to have PAL on the sleeve label.
This is entirely to do with ensuring the things we buy work with other devices we buy, players, TVs, recorded media etc.

Whilst devices are on sale (such as analogue TVs) they will need to be labeled to ensure that the retail trade can sell compatible devices. "The system formerly known as PAL" isn't likely to trip off the average persons tongue as easily as the pedant would like I suspect... The 'golden opportunity' to reclassify this will have to come up with something that the ordinary punter can relate to - particularly as the brave new High Definition world will have to co-exist with the standard def world for the foreseeable future ;)

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
We should be trying to avoid repeating past mistakes and the introduction of a completely new format (HDTV) grants a golden opportunity to make a clean break from such errors.

Alan

Absolutely. Very well put. On that subject, I fear we all may have been getting some nomenclature wrong, unless the standard has recently changed - see this from the EBU. To quote (para 3): (N.B. The convention used to describe TV formats is the “number of active lines per frame” + the "scanning algorithm” [interlace(i) or progressive (p)] / the “frame rate”. Current and near-future scanning formats include 576i/25, 720p/50, 1080i/25, 1080p/25 and 1080p/50.) Note according to the EBU 1080i/50 is NOT correct nomenclature, for the most common European standard.

Hence, when I spoke of 576i/50 earlier I appear to have been wrong - it should have been 576i/25. Thinking about it, the EBU notation is sensible - the second number is ALWAYS frames, rather than fields or frames, depending on whether it's i or p.

To finally put paid to references to "PAL" in connection with HDV, and with tongue slightly in cheek, can I ask whether a Brazilian version of the FX1 exists? In that case, we are presumably talking of a PAL model, which is also 60Hz HDV? ;)

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulD:
Quote:
The 'golden opportunity' to reclassify this will have to come up with something that the ordinary punter can relate to - particularly as the brave new High Definition world will have to co-exist with the standard def world for the foreseeable future ;)

See the thread on "HDTV in Europe" in "Chatter". For the "ordinary punter", "HDTV ready" will be the magic words.

It's far more than being pedantic - try taking your UK "PAL" equipment to somewhere like Brazil (also a "PAL" country, just "PAL"-M) and see how far you get! Or even a UK TV to Europe. "PAL" ONLY defines the way of coding colour information, and ONLY in the analogue world. By itself, it defines NOTHING about the line standard or transmission system.

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
Note that PAL, being an acronym, is written as PAL not Pal.

Alan [/QB]

Alan(s) and InFocus,

Let me just make it clear that, when it comes to pedantry, you are NOT in my league, at least in matters in which I regard myself as a little knowledgeable!

;)

And, Alan, there is NO rule that upholds what you are saying.

Indeed, in some of the UK national press, the reverse of what you are saying is judged to be the best way of doing things (I usually look to the Guardian to give the most practical and commonsense advice).

There, an acronym - of which, Pal and Nato, are examples, (and of which NTSC is not because the letters in NTSC are pronounced individually, not as a word) - is thought best written in upper and lower case.

As always, in matters of English, I try to follow the establish norm, not set any trends (unless I believe the trends are not helpful to understanding).

So, Pal - whatever it actually stands for - is not only, in my view, acceptable, it's also the preferred way of writing this acronym.

For the same reasons, this "rule" was applied in Computer Video to most acronyms [I nearly wrote CV there, but realised that a flaw in my logic would instantly be exposed ;) ].

And, the "rule" will be applied on the DVdoctor web site, too. Here are just a few examples:

Pata
Sata
Secam

On the other hand (after failed experimentation had followed failed logic), I concluded that:

SCSI has to be spelled all caps. Otherwise, you'd been fooling people into trying to pronounce it EsSeeEsEye. However, I've found it helpful to follow the capitalised version with the phonetic - Scuzzie.

Bob C

PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by infocus:
For the "ordinary punter", "HDTV ready" will be the magic words.

So I go into Currys and ask the young man for an ordinary 'HDTV ready' TV to plug my FX1 into, do I?
Quote:
"PAL" ... By itself, it defines NOTHING about the line standard or transmission system."

I was going beyond that. PAL defines nothing to the average punter - its what's written on the DVD box, and it has to match what's written on the player box. Its purely a label they both have - despite as Alan impeccably points out, being non-applicable to either.

Its a new 'user friendly' label system thats needed, not a scientifically correct dissertation.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulD:
So I go into Currys and ask the young man for an ordinary 'HDTV ready' TV to plug my FX1 into, do I?

Errr, yes. Exactly that, that is exactly why a great many people from the manufacturers, the EBU etc etc have devoted a lot of time and energy to the matter. In case you haven't followed my link, the relevant passage from the EBU is:

the members of EICTA (the trade body representing the consumer electronics industry in Europe) have just agreed an HD-ready label to help consumers understand whether a particular display is ready for HDTV. In essence, this HD-ready label can only be attached to displays that meet the following conditions:

have a minimum of 720 horizontal lines;
accepts HD inputs via:
analogue YPbPr, and;
DVI or HDMI;
can accept 720p/50, 720p/60, 1080i/25 and 1080i/30 inputs;
the DVI or HDMI input supports content protection (HDCP).

In other words, buy a set with the label and not only will you be able to display your FX1 on it to best advantage, but come the advent of Sky HD and you won't be left with a blank screen. Which is what may happen if a customer just went into a shop and asked for "a PAL HD set". Surely checking to see if a TV has a label stuck to it with seven letters on is within the capability of any shop assistant?

Quote:
Its a new 'user friendly' label system thats needed, not a scientifically correct dissertation.

????? Is that not exactly what "HD ready" is!? Anyway, perhaps better a "scientifically correct dissertation" than inaccurate terminology, which may lead one to buy a useless monitor? To take your example of DVDs, my player will quite happily play NTSC DVD - as long as they're not region 1 only. Having "PAL" on the disc and the player does NOT guarantee the disc will play, and equally a "NTSC" disc may play in a "PAL" player.

Bob, I haven't, and am not, commenting on "PAL" or "Pal", but as to the rest of it, it is not merely being pedantic. Simply a way of ensuring that things are correctly described and therefore bought such as able to work best together. Or in the case of forthcoming Sky services, work at all! Surely that makes it worth it?

Mark W
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Greetings to all,

Below is the official Ulead response to mention of Ulead in this article.

With the MediaStudio Pro HD Plug-in, Ulead aims to provide an affordable solution for capturing, editing and output of HDV footage. As such, we have gone the route of editing native HDV, converting losslessly between transport stream and program stream, rather than using an intermediate codec.

It is of course true that the more CPU speed and RAM you have, the better will be the performance. Another factor that is very important for HDV playback, is the GPU on the display card, and so far the best results are to be had with 16X PCI Express cards asuch as nVidia 6600 range or the new Matrox Parhelia APVe.

So with a machine that may be very high-spec for DV, playback of HDV is still likely to be not very smooth. However, it can be improved with a some judicious tweaking of the output options, which I imagine you didn’t have time to muck around with. Even so, whether playback is ‘usable’ or not is a matter of opinion. I am able to edit a sequence together with added effects and titles quite effectively on such a machine, even though it might take a little more time and patience. At least, with Ulead’s SmartRender, only the parts that are changed need to be re-rendered. And rendering out effects to see them smoothly is not THAT distant a memory for me!

We are well aware batch capture is currently not frame accurate, and not even consistent. This however, is due to the way the device responds to the signals from our software – there is an inconsistent lag that has nothing to do with Ulead software. We are in discussions with Sony about this, but for the moment we recommend that users allow 5 seconds of top and tail around their batch captures. Users still have the advantage of being able to automatically capture only the clips they need.

With the MediaStudio Pro plug-in it is possible to view playback on the camcorder monitor or an external monitor connected to the camcorder. In playback settings, choose “Desktop and DV Device” to activate this feature. (Note, some users have reported some problems with this, that we have been unable to duplicate. So it is still under review.)

As for output options, we most certainly offer the ability to write back to the camcorder.

The manual describes how to do this, but briefly you create your Transport Stream .m2t file, then select File/Export/DV recording, and the HDV Recording Preview Window will open. Click on the record button, and the program will set your camcorder to record mode and start writing the file to tape.

MediaStudio Pro furthermore offers all the SD options such as DV, MPEG 2, Real, and Quicktime (even MPEG-4 if the free WM-9 SDK from Microsoft is installed). You can in fact mix and match formats on the timeline, and MediaStudio Pro will output them all to a single format of your choice. For HD, it will do not only Program Stream HDV and Transport Stream HDV, but also WMV-HDV. (In the current release version you have to set up the WMV-HD screen sizes, but we have a beta version of a set of WMV-HD presets which will plug in to MSP, due for release in a few weeks.)

As you rightly say, these are early days yet and we are confident that hardware will soon catch up to the point where editing HDV will be the same as editing DV today. As new technologies for distribution becomes available, you can be sure that Ulead will be there to support it.

Regards

Tobie Openshaw
Ulead Systems Inc.
tobieopenshaw@ulead.com.tw

harlequin
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Quote:
Originally posted by harlequin:

quote:Originally posted by harlequin:
[b] link to review posted on canopus forums , re: a previous post i had made about the canopus nx card and the sony camcorder and hdv footage.

one japanese member of canopus is interested in the edius 'problems' i saw at videoforum.

Canopus , Japan , have confirmed my findings and are looking into it.

http://tinyurl.com/4lus2 [/b]

email answer from JAPAN

Quote:

Hi Gary,

Our engineer found a bug, the wrong message (PCI bus busy) is shown. Correctly, the message should be "Playback Stopped".
I will be able to send the fixed driver to you.

However it is not enough for your original question.
The 3D Picture in Picture filter is too heavy for HDV editing now.
We try to improve this performance more and more, but you may have to render now...

Thanks,
Shin

I've slightly edited Gary's post to correct the spelling mistake about which a little jokey was made, and have also deleted the other posting in which the little jokey was made.

Hopefully, the reason I've done this will be obvious to the person who made the joke and to anyone who saw it before I zapped it.

If any one objects - including the joke-maker (whom everyone, I hope everyone round here knows, I sincerely hold in the highest regard) - I'll explain myself but would prefer to do that by email, and not here (though if it is requested that I explain here, I shall do so).

Bob C (really not trying to come The Almighty Mod, simply trying to preserve peace and goodwill)

[ 04.02.2005, 05:31 PM: Message edited by: bcrabtree ]

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

infocus
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Ignoring the PAL/NTSC issue, I thought the review good, but it does seem to be in two parts - the camera, and HDV editing as a topic in itself. Would there be any advantage in having two separate right to reply topics, even if the review itself stayed in one piece?

Whilst I take my hat off to Matteo and his ingenuity, I was surprised to find how much space is devoted to the subject in the middle of the review. Not being relevant to the average production camera, or buyer thereof, but interesting all the same, would it not be more suitable as an "and finally"?

MainConcept
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Joined: Mar 23 2001

Great review -- very comprehensive (but that's not a surprise).

Since the review mentions HDV editing in Adobe Premiere Pro, I thought I would answer a question we often get regarding our MPEG Pro editing plug-in for Premiere Pro.

People often ask why we don't use an intermediate codec to enhance editing performance. Actually, our strategy is to avoid using an intermediate codec. The plug-in offers native MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 editing with smart rendering, thus avoiding the time and quality loss of transcoding to an intermediate format (and then possibly back to MPEG for distribution).

Even with this approach, good HDV editing performance is possible on a capable PC. (We offer a demo version of the plug-in so people can assess the quality on their own systems before buying.) And, as CPUs continue to get better, multi-layer realtime performance will happen "automatically". At that point, who will want to spend time transcoding back and forth when they don't have to?

I just thought I'd explain our strategy since we do get inquiries about it.

BTW, best wishes to Bob and all of his colleagues. You will shine wherever you are.

Mark Bailey
MainConcept

Alan Roberts
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Back on the "HD Ready" business, this is effectively a trade-mark, applied to kit that conforms, much like the CE symbol etc. As a customer, you should not need to know any more than that, it should just work.

And I don't give a hoot about PAL or Pal, SECAM or Secam, both describe analogue composite encoding of SDTV signals (and the occasional digital encoding of that analogue composite signal as well, but not often these days). Neither have anything to do with HD, nor does NTSC.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

bcrabtree
Offline
Joined: Mar 7 1999
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark W:
Greetings to all,

Below is the official Ulead response to mention of Ulead in this article.
=========
Snipped by Bob C, cos the original is in this thread
=========
Regards

Tobie Openshaw
Ulead Systems Inc.
tobieopenshaw@ulead.com.tw

Mark/Tobie,

I think you know that if the review is factually wrong, we WANT to correct it.

So, do please let me have chapter and verse by email, if that is necessary.

What others may not know is that we are talking with Ulead about the practicalities of allowing companies such as itself (mentioned secondarily in a review, not as the main subject of the review) being able to have a right2reply WITHIN the review itself - as the primary company already has.

The right2reply in reviews is NOT intended to correct errors of fact - errors, we put right - but, instead, to given companies the opportunity to offer opinions which may differ from our own.

And, of course, what we say in a review, largely, is subjective and not necessarily a statement of fact, as can wrongly be thought to be the case.

The logistics of having this secondary right2reply are still not clear to me, but if it is possible to do this without it being a major headache, we will. And, of course, irrespective of anything else, these forums exist to encourage dialogue and debate, the better to inform members and other forum visitors.

Bob C

bcrabtree
Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by infocus:
- Snipped by Bob C - Would there be any advantage in having two separate right to reply topics, even if the review itself stayed in one piece?

Whilst I take my hat off to Matteo and his ingenuity, I was surprised to find how much space is devoted to the subject in the middle of the review. Not being relevant to the average production camera, or buyer thereof, but interesting all the same, would it not be more suitable as an "and finally"?

First, the multiple right2reply idea.

Frankly I think that has little merit (and would make things unwieldy), assuming, that is, you mean a separate forum topic for each.

Far better, in my view, to keep the two together - and I believe that this is well illustrated by the comments in Ulead's posting about time-code issues and the strategy of not having an intermediate file type, and also by the comments in Mark B's posting showing that MainConcept's strategy is also not to go the intermediate-file route.

As a brief aside - I have to say I find it marvellous that both companies are willing and able to share their thinking with us here.

However, getting back to the point, as I have just mentioned in another posting talking about Ulead's posting, we are investigating the logistics of having a right2reply WITHIN a review for companies mentioned secondarily by the review, so that this is not restricted only to the company whose product(s) are the main subject.

As for the position of the Matteo stuff in the review, while I do not agree - because your assumptions about who will be reading the review are incorrect - I have to say I greatly welcome that comment.

I would also welcome others' views on the relative positions of the various elements of the Sony review and of other reviews past and present (though those should not be here but in the relevant forum topics).

In a magazine, you try to ensure consistency of appearance between, for instance, two reviews, but it's a little early for us to be able to do that on the web as we are still feeling our way and experimenting with works works and what doesn't.

But what's wonderous to me is the fact that, rather than work on a design for a print publication that turns out not to be satisfactory - and everybody's lumbered with it (the classic being the too-small type sizes in the first new-look/new-size issue, Nov 04, of CV), here it's almost as though, as we tweak the publication, we've got thousands of readers in the office all looking over the designer's shoulder and giving their opinions, and none of them getting in the way or treading on anyone's toes.

Marvellous.

Yes, and we do intend, if possible, to revisit reviews and bring them into line with the design we finally alight on.

Of course we are aiming for consistency in the layout of articles - because it makes the reading and navigation of them easier - but in these early days I really don't care if one review is laid out totally differently from the one that proceeded it.

At least, not if this process means that we end up with reviews that are easier to read, better-looking and more logically laid out.

So know that we will be tweaking and teasing the layout and design - hopefully with a lot of input from your good selves - to try to get things as good as possible.

As an aside, David Ross was doing some tweaking for me of the FX1 review (prior to the URL being made public) while he sat at home speaking to me on the phone, and it was like magic to see the changes taking place many miles distant from David as I watched on my own PC!

I really do think that this internet and world-wide web stuff could catch on!

;)

Bob C

bcrabtree
Offline
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Mark,

Thanks for explaining MainConcept's strategy, and thanks too for the kind words about the review and your generous take on the prospects for DVdoctor's site!

Bit of background, people.

Very many moons ago, Mark wrote a series of interesting and useful articles for CV, that were within the wild-frontier spirit of the early days of DV editing (FireWire-enabling Widgets and all).

Most notable, in my view, was the article about how to get the, then, non-OHCI version of Adobe Premiere to run on a low-cost FireWire card, rather than having to buy a proprietory and relatively expensive card, such as the Miro DC30 (yes, we are going back a while). And, I thought this was still accessible here as a FAQ, but seemingly, I'm wrong.

Now, of course, he's all suit-and-ties on account of being the COO of MainConcept.

;)

But the man has paid his dues, and I thought people might like to know that.

Bob C (sorry if this sounds like the annual general meeting of a mutual appreciation society)

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcrabtree:
As for the position of the Matteo stuff in the review, while I do not agree - because your assumptions about who will be reading the review are incorrect - I have to say I greatly welcome that comment.

Firstly, don't get me wrong, the writing about Matteo and the mod was interesting and good, my point is more that when reading a review of anything, the core points normally concern "the product as it comes out of the box". OK, as the FX1 is so ground breaking, and the reason for that is it heralds the introduction of Hi-Def HDV to Europe, editing HDV IS relevant to the review in a way that editing DV wouldn't be to a review of any run of the mill DV camera. But then again, as more HDV cameras come on the market, as no doubt they will, is it right that posts about general HDV issues should have been pigeonholed into one thread labelled as specific to one camera?

I just feel that the majority of people interested in the camera (and hence the review) won't be considering modding it too much, therefore shouldn't the bulk of the review remain focused on "the camera as it leaves the factory"? After all, presumably the mod COULD have been done to other cameras - it's not intrinsically specific to the FX1?

My apologies for bringing the topic back to the subject of commenting on the review itself. ;)

OtisWild
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Has anyone noticed that Sony keeps talking about 1080i resolution on this cam but it's actually 1440x1080 rather than 1920x1080?

Is 1440x1080 actually a real ATSC spec 1080i resolution?

Sony really needs to be more forthright in their advertising and promotion about this.

simon ferrigan
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I found the review very interesting reading, espcially on the editing side. Would my system in theory be powerful enough to cope with HDV?

Athlon 64 3000+
1gb RAM
250gb SATA HDD
Radeon 9600 128mb.

The bit about proxy DV AVI's was heartening but is this a real possibility in say the next 6 months?

thanks,

simon

harlequin
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you can edit , but it won't all be realtime.
depending upon software and which codec you use for editing the hdv footage , you have up to 4x the resolution and therefore up to 4x the data bandwidth to manipulate.

if you only have a single sata drive , that will also impact editing speed.

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

cyberwest
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On the PAL/NTSC front - what about swapping to saying "the 50Hz world" and "the 60Hz world"? That's pretty much all it boils down to.

James Morris

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by OtisWild:
Has anyone noticed that Sony keeps talking about 1080i resolution on this cam but it's actually 1440x1080 rather than 1920x1080?

Is 1440x1080 actually a real ATSC spec 1080i resolution?

Sony really needs to be more forthright in their advertising and promotion about this.

1440x1080 is also the resolution of HDCAM, but not HDCAM SR. I don't think Sony have made any secret of this, and the review also certainly makes it clear at the start.

It's actually more complicated than you say, since the resolution of each of the 3 R,G,B CCDs is 960x1080. A half pixel shift on the green enables them to claim a "derived" resolution of 1440x1080 to be recorded to tape. Note this only applies to the luminance signal - as it's a 4:2:0 signal, the colour signals only have resolutions of 720x540 recorded.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cyberwest:
On the PAL/NTSC front - what about swapping to saying "the 50Hz world" and "the 60Hz world"? That's pretty much all it boils down to.

Couldn't agree more - simple, accurate, and unambiguous. Ahhhh. "Peace At Last". ;)

Alan McKeown
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Posted by James Morris:
         
“On the PAL/NTSC front - what about swapping to saying "the 50Hz world" and "the 60Hz world"? That's pretty much all it boils down to.”

“the 50 Hz world and the 60 Hz world” sounds good to me, James.

It strikes a balance between accuracy and simplicity and should be meaningful to the majority of readers.

Alan

Alan Roberts
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The problem with that is Japan. They have both 50Hz and 60Hz mains systems, even inside Tokyo city. This stems from half a century ago when Germany and Amaerica were competing to supply hardware. So they got two generating and distribution systems.

Therefore, you have to make it specific to tv, and that's where it gets harder.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

cyberwest
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So what about "the 50Hz TV world versus the 60Hz TV world"?

:D

Actually, if you want to be REALLY picky, what about "the 50Hz TV world versus the 59.97Hz TV world"?

;)

James Morris

bcrabtree
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The more this goes on, the more I'm thinking that whatever we do will confuse the masses.

But, I'm still reading and thinking.

Bob C

cyberwest
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I think that's going to be unavoidable with HDV. It's rather different to DV. Having the same resolutions in both camps, but different framerates is one thing - but the pixel aspect ratios for the two popular resolutions are different too. Why is 720p square pixels but 1080i 4:3 ones? Go figure...

James Morris

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cyberwest:
Why is 720p square pixels but 1080i 4:3 ones? Go figure...

At the normal resolutions of 1280x720 and 1920x1080, both of the main HDTV formats in their various flavours DO have square pixels. However, HDV as used in the Sony flavour, and HDCAM have horizontal resolutions of only 1440 recorded to tape, hence the 4:3 pixels. Hence, full resolution 1080 does have square pixels (eg HDCAM SR), HDV and HDCAM 1080 have 4:3 pixels.

As to what we call it, what about leaving out the world bit - just 50 Hz and 60 Hz? Or 50Hz HDV and 60Hz HDV? Either of those must be better than PAL/NTSC.

In other words we refer to a "50Hz HDV camera" or a "60Hz HDV camera" or "this camera is 50 Hz only" or (for the Z1) "this camera is 50/60Hz switchable" etc etc. That's accurate enough for me (unlike PAL/NTSC!) and about as simple as it gets for the masses.

StevenBagley
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Quote:
The more this goes on, the more I'm thinking that whatever we do will confuse the masses.

How about using the proper terms (50i and 60i -- I guess) and make the terms links to definitions, either by popups that appear on the current page or by links to a glossary?

Steven

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by StevenBagley:
How about using the proper terms (50i and 60i -- I guess) and ....

Good in principle, but the proper terms in that context should be i/25 and i/30 according to the true EBU definition I linked to earlier. 50i would refer to an interlaced signal with 50 frames (100 fields) per second. I quote again from the EBU:

(N.B. The convention used to describe TV formats is the “number of active lines per frame” + the "scanning algorithm” [interlace(i) or progressive (p)] / the “frame rate”. Current and near-future scanning formats include 576i/25, 720p/50, 1080i/25, 1080p/25 and 1080p/50.)

Note according to the EBU 1080i/50 is NOT correct nomenclature, for the most common European standard. And DEFINATELY no mention of PAL! :D

Alan Roberts
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All agreede, except that the SD formats do NOT have square pixels either in 50Hz or 59.94Hz versions. They both have 720 pixels across, but the 50Hz version has 576 lines and the 59.94Hz version has 480 lines. These numbers folloow automatically from the scanning systems of SDTV (625/50 vs 525/59.94).

The comments about the changing description of interlaced formats has arisen from much discussion in the US, about the accuracy of nomenclature. To explain:

SDTV Formats have always been described by the number of lines in the raster (525 or 625) followed by the field rate. This was fine when the only systems were interlaced. Now, I always regard the field rate as being the "image" rate, the speed at which images reach the eye. But when we started getting progressively scanned images, the rules had to change, so SDTV suddenly became 625/50i and 525/59.94i, so that the new progressive HD format could be 720/59.94p etc (where the 720 now is the number of active lines, not the raster size which is 750).

However, it didn't stop there because the 1080-line systems (1080 active lines, 1125 in the raster) developed a life of their own. Originally only interlaced, it was modified to run the cameras in progressive mode without increasing the data rate. So the cameras ran at 29.97Hz progressive but delivered the frames to tape as a pair of interlaced fields. Clearly this is neither progressive nor interlace, it's something else. So it got called "psf" (progressive with segmented frames). This is exactly the same process that we use for scanning film for interlaced SDTV, where two fields belong to one film frame.

So, this new mode cannot be called 29.97p because the frames are delivered in parts, unlike the 720p HD mode where frames are delivered all in one lump. Images still reach the eye at 59.94 but they belong to captured images at only 29.97Hz, and thereby give the dratted jerky film-motion. So the mode became called 29.97psf to separate it from p and i. The same has happened at 50 and 24Hz.

So now we get the field/frame rate confusion, because we use the field rate for interlace but the frame rate for progressive and psf. It makes logical sense to rationalise this now, and to talk only of the captured frame rate, using the i p and psf descriptors to identify them.

So SDTV is now officially 625/25i and 525/29.97i, and the i symbol denotes interlace that doubles the seen image rate. In the same way, HDTV can be 720/50p or 720/59.94p, fine for sports and fast action stuff that has to look smooth. And the other variant of HD can be 1080/25psf or 1080/25i where both versions deliver images at 50Hz but the capture runs at 25 for psf or 50 for i. The same rules operate at 29.97/59.94. There's a fly in this ointment, running 1080 at 24psf or 23.98psf. In this case the camera runs at normal film speed and the recorder does a real-time 2:3 pull-down onto tape, making a normal speed 59.94 image rate. The new nomenclature still doesn't correctly describe this process, but those in the know have no problem with it.

Did that help?

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

cyberwest
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I think I'm even more confused now.

James Morris

bcrabtree
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You can download a PDF of Showreel magazine's review of the Sony FX1, as well as the magazine's test of the first HDV camera, the JVC HD10, at www.showreel.org/subscriptions.html

This is a temporary measure - we'll be having these reviews and others from Showreel accessible directly from DVdoctor.net, but Steve Parker (Showreel's editor) and I thought now might be a good time to make these available - not some future time when more work has been done on DVdoctor's site.

Click here to go to the discussion thread on Showreel's forums about its FX1 review.

Bob C

johnpr98
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Thanks for getting this thread back on topic I downloaded the mallard.m2t video from http://www.vasst.com/HDV/FX-1_images.htm + VLC media player http://www.videolan.org/

Hard going to view the video though, the detail was amazing on what I did see, Windows Media Player also played it (With difficulty).

johnpr98
 
If you have any Forum Suggestions please post them here

bcrabtree
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I thought that DVC's HDV seminar at VideoForum contained a lot of useful info.

So I have, with Richard Payne's permission, edited down to its essence the original Powerpoint presentation and include here that version subtly tweaked in a few likkle was, too.

This will, I think, answer quite a few questions that people typically ask about HDV.

Bob C
===============
DVC’s take on editing HDV
(from Richard Payne’s seminar presentation at VideoForum 2005)

HDV is a new video format that records at much higher resolution than PAL

Standard PAL is 720 x 576 pixels
HDV comes in two flavours
JVC flavour - 1280 x 720p (p=progressive)
Sony flavour 1440 x 1080i (i=interlaced)

Why do we need HDV?
* Sony, JVC and DVC need to sell you new stuff
* The American TV Standard (NTSC) is not good and public is very keen for something better
* PAL standard definition can look poor on big screens
* In a few years all televisions sets will be large flat and need higher definition
* Have you had hands-on with Sony's lovely FX1 camcorder?

The science of HDV
* HDV records IBP MPEG2 onto DV tapes
* The data rate is the same as DV because the video is compressed
* The data can be sent through FireWire in the same way as DV and, in theory, capture can be controlled via FireWire, too
* HDV uses the already developed DV tape mechanisms and tape to keep down, reducing the cost of development and manufacturing costs of hardware and tape

Editing HDV
* Recording HDV onto Mini DV tapes requires the video to be heavily compressed into an MPEG 2 stream (or the tape-recording time would be impractically short)
* It really is just like any other MPEG data stream in that you cannot get at a single frame without decoding a bunch of up to 15 frames first
* The collective noun for a bunch of frames is a GoP, or Group Of Pictures
* HDV's inter-frame compression presents an obvious challenge for anyone who wants to edit HDV - that’s because, in order to edit video, it's usually a good idea to see the pictures
* In order to edit HDV you need to decompress it
* But do you decompress it before you edit or as you edit?
* Each approach has benefits and drawbacks

Option one - transcoding
* If you capture the HDV MPEG 2 stream and convert it to a less
* compressed format you will have a slicker editing experience and be able to do
* more real-time effects on a given PC configuration
* The downside is the extra conversion time and the extra hard disk space you
* will need to store the video
* The less compressed transcoded HDV files can take up to five times more space than the original HDV file (but less if opting for a lower-quality standard)
* This doesn't just mean bigger storage, but also faster storage

Option two - not transcoding
* Here you are editing the pure, unadulterated MPEG 2 files
* This requires the PC equivalent of a solid-state Einstein to chomp the Gops as you edit
* On most PCs, the experience is akin to wading through treacle; and real-time effects will be circa 1986

The editing programs – and our experiences with them
* Ulead Media Studio 7 with HDV Plug-in
* Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 with Main Concept MPEG Pro
* Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 with CineForm Aspect HD
* Sony Vegas with CineForm HD Link
* Pinnacle Liquid Edition 6.1 Pro (Beta)
* Canopus Edius 3 Pro

Program-by-program

[Please note Axel Braun's comments here since they point out that the Ulead-related stuff may NOT be based on hands-on with the latest version of the MSP 7 plug-in, which, according to Axel, works very well. Bob C]

Ulead Media Studio Pro 7 - capture
* It can batch capture but about 4 seconds after the chosen in-point
* And the file contains no time-code information
* Previewing of capture was coming and going

* Ulead Media Studio Pro 7 - editing
* Bad playback performance sometimes
* Trimming slow
* Can't manage 25FPS playback straight cuts
* Cursor not changing
* Not a fan!

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 with Main Concept Pro plug-in - capture
* Batch capture actually works
* But doesn't take the time-code

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 with Main Concept Pro plug-in - editing
* Wading through treacle
* Sluggish even on dual Xeon 3.2GHz PC
* But it does work!

Pinnacle Liquid Edition Pro 6.1 Pro (beta) - capture
* Batch capture works and takes time-code
* Slick single-file capture
* Capture is well integrated into program
* LE 6.1 (beta) had best capture of all programs tested

Pinnacle Liquid Edition Pro 6.1 Pro (beta) - editing
* Good 25fps playback of cuts
* Drops right down for cross-fades. Takes a while to recover
* Two-second lag after press play
* Best quality capture-previewing of all the programs
* RT colour-correction good
* Full-screen playback
* Currently my favourite organic editing program - roll on release to the public

The Programs - Transcoders

Sony Vegas 5.0d with CineForm HD Link - capture
* Crashed on high quality setting - laptop HD probably not up to it
* No problems on standard quality
* Scene-detection good
* No previewing while capturing
* Basic capture interface
* Had to catch up and convert – so capture is not in real-time

Sony Vegas 5.0d with CineForm HD Link – editing
* Low quality preview
* Slow frame-rate playback
* Picture-in-picture at 5fps
* Does preview through FireWire without changing any project settings

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 with CineForm Aspect HD - capture
* Much the same stand alone capture program as needed for Vegas
* No problems on standard quality
* Scene-detection good
* No previewing while capturing
* Basic interface
* Had to catch up and convert

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 with CineForm Aspect HD - editing
* Delay of two seconds on pressing play, faster on subsequent playback
* Timeline playback smooth and slick at 25fps
* Smooth RT cross fade
* Trimming good
* Motion path good
* Frame-rate slowed down with three streams
* Doesn't show Adobe Effects on playback
* Codec works in Adobe’s After Effects program, too
* But, can't record to tape until Premiere 1.5 is updated

Canopus Edius 3 Pro - capture
* MPEG Capture applet is different to traditional Edius capture
* Stopped by itself once
* Good previewing while capturing but sometimes hesitated
* Can capture either native MPEG or convert (on the fly) during capture to a more easily editable AVI using Canopus HQ Codec
* No batch capture but does take timecode
* No wait for conversion to finish after capture

Canopus Edius 3 Pro - editing
* With HQ AVI, slick as DV - instant playback
* Could cope with picture-in-picture, and cross-fade but not for more than 10
* seconds. The same for chromakey
* Colour-correction not a problem
* Using the buffer, you can play even complex composites in real time
* Worked on a 1.9MHz P4 (just)
* Edius is even more impressive if used with Canopus’s hardware solutions - NX and SP – on appropriately spec’d PCs
=================

Hope folk do find this useful. BC

Chrome
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It would be very interesting to see how Apple's FCP HD compares to the above when editing HD footage...

Is anyone doing that yet and care to comment?

bcrabtree
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I know that Steve Parker of Showreel mag managed to get hold of a copy and that his technical editor was going to be trying it out tonight - as part of the review he's writing of the Sony Z1.

I'll see if either of these good people is able to comment here.

Bob C

S Parker
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Possibly this afternoon…

Steve

Steamage
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Re the DVC HDV overview: thanks Bob and Richard - very useful. I caught the end of this presentation at Video Forum, so was glad to see the notes from the first half.

I think this would make a good FAQ, or perhaps two: 1)the generic bit; 2)the program-by-program bit.

Mark @ Steam Age Pictures - Steam trains on video in aid of railway preservation societies. Latest release: "Mainline 2012, LMS Locomotives", on DVD or Bluray Disc.

Steamage
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Re the description of Matteo's modified FX1: I agree with InFocus that the very interesting description of Matteo's work was in the wrong place. If that were a magazine article, it would probably be in a side-box or similar. What's the web-article equivalent? I'd suggest a small box or block, perhaps in a different colour, containing a small picture, two introductory sentences, and a "click here to read more" link. In that case, the position of the reference would be just right.

Mark @ Steam Age Pictures - Steam trains on video in aid of railway preservation societies. Latest release: "Mainline 2012, LMS Locomotives", on DVD or Bluray Disc.

Steamage
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Regarding the possibility that Panasonic and/or Sony will ditch tape in favour of solid state: I'm all for fewer moving parts in cameras, since it should make them lighter, cheaper and more reliable. However, unless we are gathering news or event footage that will be edited in a few days and only the finished product retained, we still need a way to preserve our original material. Presumably we dump it to tape or high-capacity DVD at the end of the day. Therefore we still need a portable recorder, for use on holiday or location, so the cost goes back up again. Perhaps the manufacturers will sell matched pairs of camera and DVD- or tape-deck that can be used connected together or separately. Actually, Sony's new HC1000(?) cam with the swivelling hand-grip/tape-housing is half way there already.

Any idea how long it will be before we can buy such an HDV cam/recorder for the sort of price of a current VX2100 or XM2?

Just how reliable are the solid state media? Are they suceptible to static electricity or magnetic fields or similar? To put things in prespective, is this risk greater or less than DV tape dropouts?

When I first read about HDV, my first thought was "good; backwards compatibility with existing DV tape; my archive just got another 10 years life"!

Mark @ Steam Age Pictures - Steam trains on video in aid of railway preservation societies. Latest release: "Mainline 2012, LMS Locomotives", on DVD or Bluray Disc.

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steamage:
Re the description of Matteo's modified FX1: I agree with InFocus that the very interesting description of Matteo's work was in the wrong place. If that were a magazine article, it would probably be in a side-box or similar. What's the web-article equivalent? I'd suggest a small box or block, perhaps in a different colour, containing a small picture, two introductory sentences, and a "click here to read more" link. In that case, the position of the reference would be just right.

VERY interesting idea.

Thanks, we'll chew that one over.

Bob C

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steamage:
Presumably we dump it to tape or high-capacity DVD at the end of the day. Therefore we still need a portable recorder, for use on holiday or location, ......

Exactly what Panasonic say..... and which makes Sony retort by saying "why not just record it to that in the first place!!" Which I consider (at present) a very valid point.

I think perspective is being lost a little in some of the talk about the FX1, with some pundits hailing it as the Holy Grail, whilst others are prepared to dismiss it because of possible drop out problems amongst other issues.

Truth is somewhere in the middle. Talk of HDCAMs being thrown away because of it's arrival are nonsense - the FX1 is not an "HDCAM killer", but that's not to say it isn't a very good product for the price. Which is consumer level. You do get a remarkable camera, but don't let's pretend it's anywhere near a true pro camera.

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
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Spot on. FX1 is not a professional camera. It's a consumer product. Chalk and cheese comparicons with the HDWs and Varicam. Trust me, this is what I do for a living.

The Panasonic line is that you shoot to card, mark wanted shots in the camera and then dump just them to your achive medium. That's exactly what Sony are saying for XDCAM, the very same words, with the very same facilities in the camera. Both Sony and Panasonic are working to get away from tape in the camera but are taking different routes to get there. The coice of archive medium is still yours, as it has always been, but with this new generation of camcorders you get a chance to eliminate unwanted shots before you capture to your NLE.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Axel B
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Joined: Feb 9 2005

about Sony HDR FX-1 and Ulead MediaStudio Pro 7 HD plug-in 2.0

by Axel Braun, Ulead Product Manager Europe.

Additional to what Tobie Openshaw of Ulead HQ already said let me remind you that Ulead has indeed a full working HDV software only solution.

Given that HDV is indeed a brand new format with system requirements that are not comparable to DV, we need to really think back about 10 years ago when DV editing was in it’s infancy and needed powerful PCs with additional hardware interfaces. So let’s try to approach this topic with a little bit more subtlety.

With Ulead MediaStudio Pro 7 HD Plug-in 2.0 the latter requirement is gone – except of a standard OHCI no additional hardware interfaces are needed - and limitations of PC systems will be passed by while systems will become more powerful. Remember within the HDV forum discussion at VideoForum the pro-filmmaker in the front row stated that HDV editing with MediaStudio Pro 7 works just fine. This was proofed by Ulead at VideoForum with demos on six different work stations including the one at DVdoctor, Matrox, AMD and the Ulead booth.

Capture
MediaStudio Pro 7 with HD Plug-in 2.0 can do HDV-device control, capturing, batch capturing, live HDV signal capturing & outputting!

Editing
MediaStudio Pro 7 with HD Plug-in 2.0 will play back one stream of native HDV no problem on systems from 3GHz CPU, 1 G RAM & a PCI express graphics card. A raid system with fast drives will boost performance – the latter is still a recommendation for a number of hardware based DV-editing stations. Effects will have to be rendered which works comparatively fast thanks to smart render that only renders alterations in the stream.
Project preview output through the HDV camcorder works just fine when setting the MSP 7 outputs options to DV device and FX-1 output options in the VCR menu under ‘iLink conversion’ to ‘HDV>DV’.
MediaStduio Pro 7 is capable of outputting a full HD resolution signal via the dual head output option of a standard or PCIe VGA card. On VideoForum we demoed the brilliant output quality at the Matrox both with a triple head system dual interface layout plus additional full HD out to an HD broadcast monitor via the new Matrox Parhelia AVPe. Bob Crabtree was present to see it work just fine.

Write back to tape*
In all set ups with about 10 different PCs and two different models of Sony HDR FX-1 we never failed in writing back to tape. Just use the explicit explanations under:

http://www.ulead.co.uk/learning/msp/msp7_11_1.htm

* it may be that the reference system the test for hexus.net was based on used a Beta-version of Ulead HD plug-in 2.0. There were problems in the Beta-version, but the final version that has been availbale some time already now works just fine.

Axel Braun
Ulead Systems GmbH
Product Manager Europe

abraun@ulead.de

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
The Panasonic line is that you shoot to card, mark wanted shots in the camera and then dump just them to your achive medium. That's exactly what Sony are saying for XDCAM, .....

That may be fine for a true drama ("Shot 32, Take 5".... print it!"), but we are thinking about holidays etc here, with shooting not quite structured in the same way! Personally, I would not relish having to make a lot of pre-edit decisions every night on holiday, just to free up memory for the next day. Consumable media still has a big appeal. ;)

But back to the subject of the review and the FX1. One aspect of the review which I feel does deserve praise is the inclusion of frame grabs from the camera. But it has me thinking - if this is to be the first of other camera reviews, these test images become FAR more relevant still if they are all as far as possible of the same subject under the same conditions for each camera tested. When choosing a still camera, I found the sample images at "Steves Digicams" most helpful (eg for the Canon EOS20D ) and especially the way he uses the same still life tableau (half way down that page) for every camera evaluated. Could DVDoctor apply a similar principle to future video camera tests on this site? Especially valid would be sample images at given (low) lighting reference levels, ideally with samples from a pro camera to provide a control. Low light performance is what often really distinguishes between cameras, but is so often glossed over, or at best not evaluated remotely scientifically.

I feel this sort of thing is something a web based site can do FAR more effectively than a print magazine.

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Spot on. FX1 is not a professional camera. It's a consumer product. Chalk and cheese comparicons with the HDWs and Varicam. Trust me, this is what I do for a living.

Alan and infocus,

You both say that our review of the FX1 should use precise terminology - and in that I agree, though not at the expense of making things utterly incomprehensible.

Yet both of you, I fear, are yourselves lacking in precision when you talk about the FX1, since you are confusing two terms - professional and broadcast.

Broadcasters might be close to the top of the professional tree, but someone earning a living shooting weddings or anything else is a professional and they do NOT necessarily need to use the sort of camcorders you say are "professional".

And, of course, there are going to be times - and I suspect plenty of them - when broadcasters use the sort of camcorders you say are not professional, just as they have done with the VX1000, VX2000 and other camcorders - and not always because they've regarded them as "disposable".

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by S Parker:
Possibly this afternoon…

Steve

And possibly not!

Steve - can you fill us in yet?

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Axel,

Thanks for the comments!

I've done a little update to my posting.

You have had email about the software version I'm running and James Morris is running, but we await DVC's update on what versions it had been running.

Bob

Alan Roberts
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Bob, my claims about the FX1 aren't my words, they're Sony's. The FX1 comes from the Consumer Products part of Sony and is claimed in their literature as a "consumer camcorder". Putting extra connectors and some extra contolability in the Z1 raise it above that level, but the image quality (especially at the long end of the lens) still prevents it from being a "professional product". At best, the Z1's "semi-pro". But I'd still like one

As yet, I haven't expressed any professional opinion on the cameras because nobody's asked me to do so as a professional. One of the things I used to do for a living was to assess cameras in the lab and produce internal BBC publications detailing the ways to get the best from them. I still do that, freelance now, for the BBC, but I haven't been asked to do a full test on FX1 or Z1 yet. I did some preliminary tests on FX1 before it came but, but nothing formal.

I'm all in favour of precision, but if it tends to confuse then I expect explanation and/or clarification. Please don't take any of this as a criticism of the review, I like it and the style, although I agree that Matteo's efforts should have been separated. And, of course, you already know that if you want scvientific explanations and/or clarifications you only have to ask :D

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Richard Payne
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Quote:
Originally posted by Axel B:
about Sony HDR FX-1 and Ulead MediaStudio Pro 7 HD plug-in 2.0

* it may be that the reference system the test for hexus.net was based on used a Beta-version of Ulead HD plug-in 2.0. There were problems in the Beta-version, but the final version that has been availbale some time already now works just fine.

Axel Braun
Ulead Systems GmbH
Product Manager Europe

abraun@ulead.de

On reading my HDV Editing text posted by Bob earlier in this text I realise that none of the verbal caveats and other disclaimers and explanations of detail are present. The text is the copy contained in the PowerPoint Slides with none of the extra discussion.

The editing was done on a 3.4GHZ Laptop with 5400 RPM drives and ATI graphics built in. There were various versions of Software, beta and release all sloshing about on the platform and so my results were in no way scientific. Infact in relation to U-lead, I have seen it work faster and better on a desktop solution with a previous build and I mentioned this in my talk.

My results were reported as I saw them and analysed more in a discussion. If I get the time I will attempt to write up some of my notes with more detail, but to be honest things will probably be different by the time I get round to it.

Richard Payne

johnpr98
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I've done a few tests with the footage from http://www.vasst.com/HDV/FX-1_images.htm & MSP 7 with the HDV plug in

Zoomed in on quarter of the image with a 2D moving path & inserted it into some DV footage, the detail is still very pleasing on the mallard's feet (1) & the ruffling feathers (3).

It's looking very good for HDV, any chance of a few seconds of footage from the DV Doctor shoot of the Video Forum seminar Bob?

I had my subscription copy of PC Pro today, FX1 review + my GIGABYTE GA-K8NXP-9 motherboard did well

Regards

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infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcrabtree:
Alan and infocus,

You both say that our review of the FX1 should use precise terminology - and in that I agree, though not at the expense of making things utterly incomprehensible.

I assume that's a reference to the incorrect use of PAL/NTSC in respect to HD. My comments were intended very generally, to references made in all sorts of areas, and certainly not specifically to your review - which on the whole I found good. Precise terminology may indeed not be desirable if it should make a text "utterly incomprehensible" - but can that latter description seriously be applied to the alternatives several of us have suggested: 50Hz and 60 Hz!?! And in this context "PAL/NTSC" are not merely "imprecise", they are fundamentally inaccurate.

Quote:
Yet both of you, I fear, are yourselves lacking in precision when you talk about the FX1, since you are confusing two terms - professional and broadcast.

Firstly, in our posts of the 10th, at no time did Alan or I ever use the term "broadcast" - and at least on my part that was quite deliberate. We were both absolutely precise, and the terms we used were "professional" and "consumer". Whilst I don't especially like these terms, then as Alan has said, their usage follows from such as Sony, with their Professional and Consumer divisions.

Quote:
Broadcasters might be close to the top of the professional tree, but someone earning a living shooting weddings or anything else is a professional and they do NOT necessarily need to use the sort of camcorders you say are "professional"..

Well, in tree dwelling terms, broadcasters are well below the likes of Hollywood, and frequently below high end corporate work, let alone a lot of advertising. Some weddings are done to higher production standards than some low end broadcast work. That's why I think the middle term "prosumer" is so useful - to define equipment mainly styled towards the consumer, but used professionally, or in other words, to earn money. And that money may come from broadcast sales, corporate sponsors or a bride and groom - it's immaterial. Our references to such as HDCAM gear as "professional" are simply following the manufacturer descriptions, but I admit, I don't feel they are good descriptions.

Quote:
And, of course, there are going to be times - and I suspect plenty of them - when broadcasters use the sort of camcorders you say are not professional, just as they have done with the VX1000, VX2000 and other camcorders - and not always because they've regarded them as "disposable".

Bob C

Yes, there will be times broadcasters use them, as they already are with such as the DVX100. But I think you are misinterpreting the points we're making. If we say they're not professional (I actually said "a true pro camera") we're referring to their place within the manufacturers hierarchy, NOT to their not being able to be used for money making purchases. If anybody can think of better terminology (and persuade the manufacturers to adopt it) I'd be delighted, but in the meantime "pro", "prosumer" and "consumer" are the best anyones come up with to distinguish market sectors.

A lot of this may go back many years, when I believe Purchase Tax was charged on consumer cameras, but not on professional ones. Hence I believe a (well off) amateur was not allowed to buy such as a Bolex 16mm camera new, and could only buy such a thing on the secondhand market.

But all this is getting away from the point I was really trying to make, namely to try to stop these cameras being seen in two extreme ways: either "just as good as a top end camera", or "not worth bothering with, you may get an occasional bad dropout." As I said before: "Truth is somewhere in the middle. You do get a remarkable camera, but don't let's pretend it's anywhere near a true pro camera."

And by "true pro camera", I mean as according to the manufacturers definitions. ;)

Alan Roberts
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Thanks, that's exactly right. I'm not criticising Bob or the review as such, only making a plea for a general improvement in the use of descriptive terms. Sony call the FX1 a consumer product; the BBC has bought quite a few of the Z1 and will make programmes using them that would otherwise have used PD170. They, most certainly, will not make any programme for sale as HD using them, at least not yet. HD production for sale is still firmly in the realm of HDW and Varicam camcorders and the like.

Personally, I'd put the FX1 in the consumer bracket and the Z1 in pro-sumer, for all the reasons we've been through already. And I don't think Sony would disagree with that.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

johnpr98
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Quote:
Personally, I'd put the FX1 in the consumer bracket and the Z1 in pro-sumer, for all the reasons we've been through already. And I don't think Sony would disagree with that.

Sony said a similar thing to me at the Video Forum

The Hexus review link is here, plus some other references to PAL & NTSC land :eek:
http://www.humanvalues.net/hdv/

Yikes, mentioned here (HVR-Z1E)!
http://www.sony-europe.com/PageView.do?site=odw_en_EU&page=PressReleaseDetail&section=en_EU_Press&pressrelease=1095156844875

Quote:
50/60Hz (PAL/NTSC) switchable recording and playback

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Where do we start when it comes to defining consumer, prosumer or professional products? Yes, Sony's literature says that the Z1 is joining its DVCAM range, but the truth is that the quality of the camera puts it more in line with the company's Digibeta products than, say, the PD170. Some would argue that it is even capable of going beyond Digi.

The Z1 doesn't have (officially sanctioned) interchangeable lenses, so it can be argued that it lacks some of the features of a full pro camera, but it's image quality is certainly good enough for the professional SD TV market: no-one would argue that Digibeta is a prosumer format.

Just because Sony is happy to position it as part of its DVCAM range, we have to remember that there is a certain amount of politics here. I suggest Sony won't be doing a huge amount of further R&D on Digi, but it wouldn't necessarily gain friends if its tagline for the Z1 was "professional picture quality to match Digibeta". Not when it's still selling Digi equipment and when the Z1 has an exceptionally competitive street price of around £3500.

Let's remember that HDV was conceived as the next step in the consumer product evolution that started for Sony with 8mm, went to Hi8, and then to DV. It wouldn't surprise me if, when the format was announced nearly two years ago, not everyone within the company realised that the image quality of HDV would be as good – and accepted – as it is now.

Bob is currently editing the footage of the DVDoctor/Showreel HDV Q+A session that was held at VideoForum last month. But I think most people who attended the session will agree that, to the HDV users who contributed to the debate, image quality was not the issue. What concerned everyone (quite rightly) was the post-production support.

I think Bob may have mentioned in an earlier posting but, in addition to the Z1 review that is featured in the imminent next issue of Showreel, we have also managed to get hold of the first copy of Final Cut Express HD to hit the UK.

Obviously, the magazine has subscribers who deserve to read the full reviews first, but Bob has persuaded me to give the headline news: and that is, in a nutshell, it works perfectly with Sony's 1080i cameras, but has problems with JVC's 720p HD10 – the same bogus "end of tape" error messages that we found when we attempted to test Pinnacle LE6. I would be very surprised if Apple didn't sort this out by the time its next version of Final Cut Pro is released (probably on or around 17 April at the NAB show in Las Vegas). LumiereHD will then have fulfilled its purpose.

As the editor, I would of course always recommend that anyone with an interest in film or TV work subscribes to my magazine. So please forgive the advert, but we have initiated a special offer with this issue: the magazine will hit doorsteps in about a fortnight, and anyone subscribing to the magazine between now and then can email Denise Haskew at denise@showreel.org, and she'll send them a pdf of our Z1 test straight away.

All the best

Steve Parker
Editor
Showreel

Alan Roberts
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FX1/Z1 certainly doesn't belong in the Digibeta class, it's a good match for the PD170/DSR570. There are many features of the BVW790 that would be wonderful if implemented in the FX1/Z1, but they come from different parts of Sony who have different outlooks on the world.

HDV is a step up from DV, but it isn't a replacement for Digi or HD, they are one and two steps up again.

I could easily set up a 790 to make pictures that are much worse than the best the FX1/Z1 can do, and vice versa. Once you get into the full professional league, the cameras acquire a degree of control that sets them totally apart from the consumer/prosumer level. And it's this degree of control that costs money, there's far more dsp involved. Any published test that ranks professional cameras against each other, or against cameras outside their range, has to be hugely suspect, because it's very easy to set any of them up to sparkle relative to the competition. It's this very flexibility that makes them professional, not the skill/payment level of the user. At the top of this tree, the HD cameras are vastly more flexible than the digibeta level, apart from having more pixels.

In my book, a consumer camera has few real controls, you pick it up, point it and shoot.

A professional camera has great flexibility that needs co ncentrated time in a lab to fully exploit (and that's the area of freelance work that I'm in).

A pro-sumer camera lies in-between, having better flexibility than consumer, but nowhere near as much as professional.

As an example, the BBC setup document I wrote for using the Panasonic Varicam runs to 48 pages of data tables in Times Roman 8 point, and defines 5 different ways of using the camera to get different "looks", and that's nothing to do with colour matching etc, they are fundamentally different ways of using the camera. By comparison, the FX1 has only two modes, video and film, and the film mode is rather poor. That alone precludes it from getting near professional, and in my opinion keeps it out of pro-sumer as well. The Z1 has a few more controls, but not significantly affecting image quality, so it's still a consumer camera but with professional connectivity.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Steve, Alan has already answered a lot of the issues you raise from an engineering point of view, and whilst I’d probably still put it in the prosumer rather than consumer camp, I agree with all he says. Additionally, and remaining on the technical side, it may be worth mentioning the concerns of cascading differing compression systems. Whilst any individual system may be fine IN ITSELF, it is possible than when two or more are cascaded through a transmission chain, the final result may be poor. Just because after a straightforward edit HDV looks great (and yes, it does) does not necessarily mean it will after the full transmission chain. A good SD example of this point is using DVCAM to produce DVDs in the NTSC world. (SD, so “NTSC” is OK! ;) ) In this case, NTSC DVCAM uses 4.1.1 sampling, whilst NTSC DVDs use 4.2.0, as in PAL. Each by itself is fine – 4 luminance samples to 1 chrominance - but shoot DVCAM, and use that material to produce a DVD means half the chrominance samples are thrown away - and 8 luminance samples to each one of chrominance are far from OK.

But to speak as a cameraman, and leaving all the technical issues aside, the difference between the prosumer and “professional” market is far, far deeper than just the issues of “picture quality” you talk about. “Ergonomics” starts to sum it up – it still amazes me that I find a full size pro camera so much easier to use than the mini-DV I take on holiday, it has a “controllability” that does not exist with prosumer or consumer cameras. That said, I would not consider taking a Digi-Beta on holiday with me for obvious reasons, and frequently use such as a PD150 for special circumstances, when size etc is of primary importance. Horses for courses is a phrase I’ve used many times in the past. Other issues include connectivity and the sensitivity of 1/3” chips – it may well give a Digi-Beta a run for it’s money under good lighting, but what happens when the sun goes down? I gather the use of gain becomes even less desirable in the HD world.

I bought the last copy of “Showreel”, will happily endorse it, and thought the overall quality very high. That praise extends to your review of the FX1, though I would disagree with the comments about that cameras handling – would I be correct in thinking your reviewer came from a general production and editing background rather than primarily camerawork? On a tripod the cameras fine, but I would be able to hand hold a much heavier pro styled camera for a much longer period of time than the FX1.

What both Alan and I are both trying to say is that what defines whether a camera is consumer, prosumer, or professional goes far, far deeper than just shooting, editing, and looking at the pictures in isolation. For a home user, few of our points matter, for the high end user, they are fundamental. That’s what starts to define the differences between “consumer” and “professional” gear – not image quality at the very start of a chain.

Alan Roberts
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Thanks for the support, I can't argue with a word of that.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

johnpr98
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Quote:
HDV is a step up from DV

Precisely what I'm aiming to step up too, soon ;)

If people are complimenting me now on the quality of MiniDV footage converted to DVD & played through a projector, I am sure a camcorder with nearly 4 times the resolution will be an advantage in my armoury.

(Someone will probably say the FX1 isn't 4 times the resolution now, I think it is in my consumer tests though :cool: )

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Alan Roberts
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You get about 4 times the number of pixels in the display. That doesn't make it 4 times as sharp, because w eview these things logarithmically. If you want to see a mathematical explanation of this effect, and how it affects the nomenclature of disparate systems, take a look here :D

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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I don't intend to comment on how many times sharper it is, just say how much we should all be looking forward to Blu-Ray or whatever. At the moment you'll have to drive the projector with the camera - obviously going to DVD will knock the resolution right back down again. Anyone want to hazard a guess when Blu-Ray drives will start coming to the consumer?

In Tottenham Court Road the other day D-VHS machines were being used as sources to drive HD displays. Not much generally seems to be heard about using these as eventual output devices from an edit? (Incidentally, Tott Crt Rd prices for an FX1 seem about £2,250 for starters, a lot of interest is being shown, and that applies to HD in general in those stores.)

johnpr98
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Alan

Thanks for your link, however I think I can get away with post production zooming with a moving path into 4:1 of the HDV picture & still match my MiniDV picture quality on optical zoom. (I would use this if I missed an actors' entrance on the outer fringes of the stage, I have post zoomed & cropped with MiniDV before, not a 4x zoom though, as 'Mr Pixilation' starts tapping on the screen.

I won't be able to prove this works with HDV on the ground & post production until June, my next stage shoot.

btw I'm not expecting my productions to be broadcast on the BBC, I am looking for a balanced shoot though.

2:1 is probably correct according to your square root example though :(

Re: Blu-Ray
My customers are currently running at 66% DVD, 33%VHS, I don't think my market will be Blu-Ray for a while, when they are I may be buying a proper camcorder

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johnpr98
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Tom

Was It something I said? ;)

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RayL
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Picking up on the point by Infocus about the handling of the FX1, I was part of Pete Wells' team last Sunday when we did a four-camera HDV shoot (3 x FX1 and 1 x Z1) at a club in Brixton, South London*.

Ususally for these shoots I use a shoulder brace which is either used as intended (i.e. on the shoulder) or held in the right hand pistol-grip fashion with the arm extended to gain extra reach or height, the left hand under the body of the camera with the thumb operating the zoom ring. The previous camera for this set-up had been a VX2000 which gave no fatigue problems after an evenings shooting.

I was interested to see if the extra weight of the FX1 would be a problem but despite using the camera off the shoulder rather than on for the whole evening (so I was carrying the weight of the FX1 + brace on extended arms) it felt fine at the end. With a 'lively' audience all around us (my position was right in front of stage amongst the punters) it was a lot safer to use the screen rather than the viewfinder because I retained peripheral vision.

Pete gave me a quick preview of some of the pictures this afternoon (Tues) and although the only lighting for the stage was a puny 200w spot with a double layer of light amber gel (they like it primitive in Brixton) the cameras gave amazingly noise-free pictures with really convincing blacks.

* the first 4-camera HDV shoot in the UK?

Ray Liffen

johnpr98
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Am I right in saying that you were happy with the results Ray?

I'm not intending to be a prospective FX1 buyer for much longer ;)

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RayL
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John

Yes, happy with the results. I'm holding back on buying my own (probably the Z1) until I've received and tested the Firestore FS-4 because I want to be reassured that the short recording time of a miniDV can be overcome (the FS-4 should give 3 hours continuous recording and that includes HDV once the mod is in place) (see my thread on this subject). If the FS-4 works as I'm hoping, then the Z1 will be suitable for event recording.

Sunday night was ANOTHER example of the miniDV problem. The headline band played a full 1 hour set. All four cameras were flashing 'tape out' when (fortunately) the band didn't/couldn't play an encore. Otherwise we'd have been into sign language (it was deafeningly loud) to avoid all of us doing tape changes at the same time, and sign language means you can't be concentrating on your shots.

As I've said before, the continuous recording time of a camera/recorder combination should be equal or greater than the average time between the human need to empty the bladder.

Ray

cyberwest
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Quote:

John

Yes, happy with the results. I'm holding back on buying my own (probably the Z1) until I've received and tested the Firestore FS-4 because I want to be reassured that the short recording time of a miniDV can be overcome (the FS-4 should give 3 hours continuous recording and that includes HDV once the mod is in place) (see my thread on this subject). If the FS-4 works as I'm hoping, then the Z1 will be suitable for event recording.

Sunday night was ANOTHER example of the miniDV problem. The headline band played a full 1 hour set. All four cameras were flashing 'tape out' when (fortunately) the band didn't/couldn't play an encore. Otherwise we'd have been into sign language (it was deafeningly loud) to avoid all of us doing tape changes at the same time, and sign language means you can't be concentrating on your shots.

As I've said before, the continuous recording time of a camera/recorder combination should be equal or greater than the average time between the human need to empty the bladder.

Ray [/QB]

That reminds me of what Bill Wyman said about playing the bass guitar. Asked for his most important tip for prospective bass players, he remarked "take a piss before the gig".

[ 17.02.2005, 03:02 AM: Message edited by: bcrabtree ]

James Morris

infocus
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Firstly to say I agree with Ray about running times - an hour isn't enough for event etc filming. Apparently XDCAM gets around the problem in a novel way - recording to solid state for up to about 10 seconds to enable a seamless disc change. As long as it can be done in 10 seconds..... and not much use if not on a tripod!

Quote:
Originally posted by RayL:
Picking up on the point by Infocus about the handling of the FX1, .......despite using the camera off the shoulder rather than on for the whole evening (so I was carrying the weight of the FX1 + brace on extended arms) it felt fine at the end.

I can only say better you than me. Several kilograms on extended arms for over an hour sounds like treatment that if forced on a prisoner would have you up before a human rights court nowadays. :( In a way, all the talk of shoulder braces etc only reinforces my point. So many cameras, of similar and greater weight, from the early JVC S-VHS models, through the Canon XL series, and all shoulder style cameras, didn't need extra devices for support - IMO, they were styled correctly from the start. Why should it be necessary to spend extra money to put right a design feature that should have been designed better in the first place? Equally, the physical handling is only one side of my objections to the styling. It may not have been relevant to your recent shoot, but an FX1 with shoulder brace puts the lens a long way in front of you, and in a confined space that could more than offset the benefits of a wide angle lens in coverage terms. I still firmly believe the best place for the bulk of the camera is by the side of the head - there it's most out of the way, and the lens is brought physically backwards.

Quote:
.....it was a lot safer to use the screen rather than the viewfinder because I retained peripheral vision.

In my training a lot of store was put on keeping both eyes open whilst looking through a viewfinder (not the natural thing to do) for the very reason of retaining peripheral vision. Nowadays, I need glasses for reading, and would need them to use the screen accurately - so bang goes peripheral vision. The great advantage of a viewfinder is it's ability to be adjusted to give a virtual image at infinity, hence keeping both eyes open, a sharp image in each, and improved peripheral vision.

But coming back to the real topic (the review), a while back I commented that the posting of sample images in the review was very desirable, and went on to suggest the possibility of standardising the image scene for future reviews, to better directly compare one camera with another. Any comments on that?

tom hardwick
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No, nothing you said John Price - I just pushed the wrong button.

Right, you FX1 and VX2k owning guys. I really want to know how these two cameras perform and compare in the gloom.
Say you have a wall sized grey card illuminated from behind you. You can take light meter readings off this card from anywhere in the room and they'll all give the same reading.

That's what I'd like the FX1 vs VX2100 test to be of course - a big grey card. Knowing this to be unlikely, I suggest a shot of a room where both cameras take in the same angle of view. Because the FX1 is so much more wide-angle, it'll have to move forward in the same room to frame it in the same way. Moving closer to your subject doesn't alter the amount of light
falling on, or being reflected by, your subject.

The reason both cameras need to be set to wide angle is that that's the only time when both their apertures match. At full telephoto the FX1 lags behind the VX/PD by a whole half stop.

tom.

PaulD
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Quote:
Originally posted by RayL:
... I want to be reassured that the short recording time of a miniDV can be overcome

Hi
Best have your bank account fully primed Ray, as the pre-NAB rumours are that Sony are hinting at a shoulder-mount version of the Z1, which, although it could be full-sized DV tape, is much more likely to be Blue-Ray disc.
And that could add $10,000 to the price......

This is additional to a $30,000+ 3 x 1/2" CCD HD BR camera, and a 0.6lux new DVCAM camera.

BTW another pre-NAB statement (not a rumour,but official) from Panasonic:
quote:
"DVCPRO, DVCPRO50, DVCPROHD recording capability on P2, 24P, and under $10,000."
What is still subject to rumour is that there may be a miniDV tape mechanism in the camera for DVCPRO (equivalent to DV), as well as the P2 solid-state recorder for the higher data-rate modes.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by tom hardwick:

That's what I'd like the FX1 vs VX2100 test to be of course - a big grey card. Knowing this to be unlikely,.......

Firstly, to Tom, well done for proposing the test - too often low light performance of cameras is ignored. And well done for thinking of the lens ramping implications. But a word of caution. I recently posted of comparing a PD150 with a DSR500 in low light, and finding that initially (using the PD150 side screen) they seemed to be evenly matched - they both seemed to just manage to expose my "test scene" at full gain. But later looking at the results on a proper monitor showed that the PD150 had only managed it by considerable degradation and softening of the image - I suspect it may have averaged neighbouring pixels, or some such. Hence I don't think it can simply be said "camera x needs this much light, and camera y this much", without considerable qualification

Hence my suggestion of a controlled test scene for different cameras, and the ability to post sample frames along the lines of "this is the quality you get from camera x at light level y". Two cameras may give similar quality in good light, but in poor light one may either not give full exposure, or look substantially worse. Or both. ;)

Alan Roberts
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I've been banging this drum for years. Sensitivity comparisons must be done on a level playing field; it's no good letting the camera change gain, filtering etc, you have to compare like with like.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

johnpr98
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The deed is done

Someone with 3 FX1's told me

Quote:
I think the FX1 is absolutely completely and utterly breathtakingly amazing

My FX1 is ordered, life will never be the same again: ;)

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bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnpr98:

It's looking very good for HDV, any chance of a few seconds of footage from the DV Doctor shoot of the Video Forum seminar Bob?

Yes, that is a real possibility but not until I get hands on again with an FX1!

:-(

I have the original tapes and I also have the footage on hard disk (as Canopus HQ AVIs).

But without an FX1 or Z1, I can't get the original footage into a PC in an appropriate format without transcoding the footage that's already on hard disk, and that really isn't a sensible idea if people are going to attempt to judge the quality.

So, I'm looking for a volunteer within striking distance of my base in east London whose FX1 or Z1 I can borrow for a day.

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by infocus:
But coming back to the real topic (the review), a while back I commented that the posting of sample images in the review was very desirable, and went on to suggest the possibility of standardising the image scene for future reviews, to better directly compare one camera with another. Any comments on that?

I think it might be better if someone such as James Morris, Tom Hardwick, Peter Wells or Lisa Keddie commented - people who've reviewed camcorders for CV and are likely to review them for DVdoctor too (or in James case have already done a camcorder review for us).

They are in a better position than me to talk about the practicalities of doing this.

It's all well and good me asking people to do this test or that test but if stuff is looked at by multiple reviewers I kind of think that standardising what's shot would be hard verging on impossible - even assuming the weather and outside colour temperature remained constant and suitable.

And, relying just on studio shots, in my view, is a poor option, though I understand that they can fulfil a useful function as part of the range of shots.

Bob C

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan Roberts:
Thanks, that's exactly right. I'm not criticising Bob or the review as such, only making a plea for a general improvement in the use of descriptive terms. Sony call the FX1 a consumer product; the BBC has bought quite a few of the Z1 and will make programmes using them that would otherwise have used PD170. They, most certainly, will not make any programme for sale as HD using them, at least not yet. HD production for sale is still firmly in the realm of HDW and Varicam camcorders and the like.

Personally, I'd put the FX1 in the consumer bracket and the Z1 in pro-sumer, for all the reasons we've been through already. And I don't think Sony would disagree with that.

Alan,

I think that infocus's lengthy posting which preceeded your own (and your own posting quoted above) do actually reinforce the point I was making about about pots calling kettles black - and you know, I hope, that I made this point not defensively, but simply to point out the anomalous lack of precision in postings calling for precision in reviews!

When I next come to write (or edit) anything substantive about HDV, I'll try to ensure that I revisit this thread and formulate suitable wording when terms such as Pal would otherwise have been wrongly used. At that point, I'll revisit the review and make what changes I feel are helpful - for precision AND clarity.

Er, but can we let the topic of precision in reviews (and in postings) rest and stick with the review proper?

Bob C (ever eager to have the last word, of course)

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcrabtree:
It's all well and good me asking people to do this test or that test but if stuff is looked at by multiple reviewers I kind of think that standardising what's shot would be hard verging on impossible - even assuming the weather and outside colour temperature remained constant and suitable.

Point taken - but camera tests of still cameras seem to get around the problems, and I refer again to Steves Digicams which I personally found so useful when choosing which digital SLR to get. As far as I know, sites such as that have no equal (yet) in the video world, which seems to me a gap waiting to be filled. And filling that gap would benefit you and your team as well as the rest of us. What was of most use to me there when choosing a DSLR were the still lifes, which are identical between all of "Steves" tests - the stack of magazines, "Mr M", clock, dice etc. A test scene like that can't take up much room, is easily lit in a controllable and repeatable way - the only "special equipment" would be an exposure meter - but takes so many of the variables out of comparisons. Can I at least suggest the four reviewers you mention visit that site before responding, and bear it in mind in their reply? By no means do I suggest anything on these lines should form the bulk of any future review, my concern is that whilst I like the idea of sample images, then without any control over how they are acquired they could show up good/bad lighting conditions etc rather than anything intrinsic about the equipment under test.

To Tom Hardwick - following on from your observation about the FX1 lens ramping, are you saying that the ramping happens when wide open over the whole zoom range? Many lenses, even expensive ones, ramp in the last 10% or so of their range, but over the entire range is unimpressive.

tom hardwick
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Ramping over the entire range may well be unimpressive, but it's sure become the domestic norm. Of course it doesn't have to happen, but manufacturers are loath to mention maximum zoom maximum apertures, and you'll search in vain in the glossy, multi-page advertising brochure for the Panasonic DVX100A for this rather useful bit of photographic information. It's a camera, for God's sake! Why can't I be told the maximum aperture of the lens?

As to whether the ramping is uniform, it's hard to tell. To avoid human brain overload, the viewfinder aperture readout on my Sony and many other cams is given to the nearest half stop. So when it says f2.5 it means it's f2.5 + /- a quarter stop. You can't tell whether it's + or - of course. On tape replay it's the same thing, and in aperture priority (where the shutter speed is smoothly varied) again only the nearest half stop speeds are displayed.

Of course this ramping is great on the sales counter. Mr Punter sees he's getting an f1.6 lens, but with many cameras he'll need nearly four times the light just to film at full telephoto. Many people are unaware of this, and it often takes a good instruction book hunt to find out the truth.

Ramping means fast lenses at wide-angle (good) and lighter, cheaper, smaller zoom lenses (also good). What you lose though is speed, and generally this happes the moment you zoom towards telephoto. The Canon XL2 is a good case in point.

Moral: If it's gloomy and you're struggling, take off any converter lenses and filters, set the white balance to a preset and film at maximum wide-angle. Only then up the gain.

tom.

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by tom hardwick:
Mr Punter sees he's getting an f1.6 lens, but with many cameras he'll need nearly four times the light just to film at full telephoto. Many people are unaware of this, ......

This is certainly the case with many still cameras, even DSLRs with fairly dear lenses. I'm willing to accept it there as you're not usually going to be altering the zoom angle during the taking of any one photo - in return you get a small light lens, fairly wide aperture at w/a, capable of zooming in, just don't expect everything at the same time!

Videos different. Now you can zoom in the course of one shot, and if the picture darkens whilst zooming in the main part of the zoom range, to me that's an unacceptable compromise at this point in the price range. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Alan Roberts
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Eliminating ramping's probably the hardest aspect of lens design, after eliminating focus breathing. It costs money, real money, to do both of those. Witness the glorious Cooke HD lens, to buy which you'd need to sell the other Ferrari.

Ramping and focus-breathing are two areas that the manufacturers can let go of because it lowers the lens cost immensely.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

tom hardwick
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Generally 10x and 12x zooms lose a good stop and a half from wide to tele, but a new breed (Canon MVX3i and Sony PC330) are very good, losing less than half a stop. Mind you, camcorder man seems happy to take the manufacturer's maximum aperture specifications as the truth, whereas anyone who reads proper tests on 35 mm camera lenses will know that manufacturer's specifications often push the tolerance limits pretty severly. Read: f2.8 can often be f3.0.

tom.

infocus
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In video lenses I'm used to ramping in the tightest 10-15% of the range when wide open, and will accept that. But to behave like an average still camera lens, and ramp uniformly across the range, is another thing again.

cyberwest
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In answer to Bob's earlier request for reviewers to comment on their testing procedures, I do tend to use some fixed subjects when I test camcorders, but they're not absolutely constant and not very picturesque either, so I don't usually publish the results. For example, I shoot out of my kitchen window at the garden below, where there's a bright orange artwork, some diagonal bricks, and usually lots of contrasting shadows. But light conditions obviously vary from day to day (and time of day - I usually try and test in the morning).

For indoor tests, I set up a fruit basket and maybe chuck in something furry like one of my kids' soft toys and I usually put a PCB in there as well - lots of detail, with shiny bits. But the arrangement is different each time - it depends on what fruit we have in the house! I shoot this with some spotlight illumination first, then I switch those off and just use minimal tungsten lighting.

I have looked into true professional test card targets, but so far all the targets I've found would be far too expensive to be economically viable. I could literally buy another three-chip camcorder for the price of a decent DV and HD test card set. Unless someone has some suggestions on this.

Fixed tests like these are very useful in giving you a common reference between models, but you always need to go out on a shoot and try some different conditions to get the feel of a camcorder in everyday use. You're not likely to go on the same shoot each time, although I often take camcorders to the South Bank because I go there most weekends to take my son and wife to a martial arts club.

James Morris

johnpr98
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I want to see some video of a Punk gig from last Sunday night ;)

I will be testing the FX1 in the next couple of weeks, if it doesn't come up to scratch it will be for sale ;)

Regards

johnpr98
 
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Alan McKeown
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Steven Bagley posted a PDF copy of the 16:9 test chart “EIA 1956 wide”, a couple of months ago.

http://homepage.mac.com/stevebagley/EIA1956wide.pdf

This chart shows markings corresponding to a maximum
resolution of 1600 lines per picture height (l/ph) for both horizontal and vertical directions.

For HDV with 1440 horizontal pixels, we could expect the limiting horizontal resolution to be less than 810 l/ph. A wide-screen standard definition camcorder should have a limiting horizontal resolution of less than 405 l/ph.

Alan

cyberwest
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Thanks!

James Morris

bcrabtree
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alan McKeown:
Steven Bagley posted a PDF copy of the 16:9 test chart “EIA 1956 wide”, a couple of months ago.
http://homepage.mac.com/stevebagley/EIA1956wide.pdf

This chart shows markings corresponding to a maximum resolution of 1600 lines per picture height (l/ph) for both horizontal and vertical directions.

For HDV with 1440 horizontal pixels, we could expect the limiting horizontal resolution to be less than 810 l/ph. A wide-screen standard definition camcorder should have a limiting horizontal resolution of less than 405 l/ph.

Alan

Thanks but what concerns me is that there are no printing instructions.

Surely assuming any results from such a chart are to be valid, there must be some minimum printing standard, in terms of resultion, whether or not to print as greyscale, what paper type to use, etc?

Without establish such boundaries, can such a chart have any practical objective use?

Bob C

Colin Barrett
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Returning to the original topic, you might be interested to know that my friend Robin Davies-Rollinson, for many years a freelance TV cameraman/director based at BBC Wales in Cardiff (and about whom I wrote in the feature "Busman's Holiday" recently in Computer Video magazine) has bought an FX1E after giving much consideration to upgrading from his Canon XM2 to an XL2. He and I jointly reviewed the XL2 immediately after its Pinewood launch for Camcorder User magazine, and he was smitten with it.

However, the technical guys at BBC Wales got hold of an FX1E for a couple of weeks for evaluative purposes, and Robin had a good play with it. He started his career in 16mm film production for TV and has shot and directed loads of broadcast stuff - and regularly uses the BBC's full-spec DSR-570 DVCAM units as well as DigiBeta. On a day off from directing the welsh-language soap Pobol-y-Cwm in Studio 1 at Cardiff, he went in and recorded some HDV footage of scenes in the studio alongside the BBC's Thomson studio cameras. Later, the material was played back on a Grade One monitor in the gallery and several of the technical team looked on in amazement at the footage which - admittedly - was shot under TV studio conditions. To say they were impressed is an understatement.

Not only did Robin buy one for his own work and also for his freelance assignments on various BBC projects, but the Beeb itself is looking seriously at the cam for documentary projects.

Thought you'd be interested to know......

Colin

bcrabtree
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Colin,

Interesting!

Be keen to hear more feedback as Robin spends more time using the FX1E.

Oh, and people should note that Colin's own site - SimplyDV - is worth bookmarking.

Bob C

Colin Barrett
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Cheers Bob! I was going to say that I might invite Robin to put together a little piece with some thru-the-lens frame grabs for the site, but he doesn't know it yet so I'd better keep schtum!

Colin

Alan McKeown
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Posted by Bob C:
“Surely assuming any results from such a chart are to be valid, there must be some minimum printing standard, in terms of resultion, whether or not to print as greyscale, what paper type to use, etc?

Without establish such boundaries, can such a chart have any practical objective use?”

This PDF version of the EIA 1956 chart is in vector form, so the resolution of the resulting print should be limited mainly by the printer’s capabilities.

I would consider the print only as a resolution chart and ignore the grey scale aspect, which is probably too difficult to reproduce accurately. The resolution bars are either black or white so they do not involve grey scale accuracy.

The 800 to 1600 lines per picture height (l/ph) regions of the chart should be visually free of aliasing when printed out. This may require printing the chart to fill most of an A3 sheet and checking the 800 to 1600 l/ph sections via a magnifying glass.

Printing on A3 should allow a chart size of some 391 mm wide by 220 mm high, which is sufficiently large for most camera lenses to frame in focus.

I suggest using heavyweight matte paper intended for photo quality ink-jet printing.

Alan

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by cyberwest:
I do tend to use some fixed subjects when I test camcorders, but they're not absolutely constant and not very picturesque either, so I don't usually publish the results........
For indoor tests, I set up a fruit basket and maybe chuck in something furry like one of my kids' soft toys and I usually put a PCB in there as well - lots of detail, with shiny bits.....I shoot this with some spotlight illumination first, then I switch those off and just use minimal tungsten lighting.

....... but you always need to go out on a shoot and try some different conditions to get the feel of a camcorder in everyday use.

Thanks for the reply James! Very interesting, and first off I've copied your last sentence out of full agreement, since whilst my earlier comments are for repeatability in testing, then it is important to get an overall "feel" for the equipment - as you so rightly say. "Still life" and test cards have an important place, but they would not identify dynamic aspects of equipment - the ramping Tom commented on being an obvious example.

I for one would not be bothered about your samples not being picturesque, especially not in an online environment, where side by side comparison of samples of different models becomes far easier. Even if the scenarios aren't totally identical, then the same props, and roughly the same lighting would be helpful. With just a light meter, a table lamp and a dimmer, the lighting could be brought down to the minimum level necessary for exposure, and quantified. It would still be necessary to post samples, to identify cameras (such as the PD150) which degrade the image in low light to keep the noise within certain limits.

Bob very sensibly asks about the printing criteria for test charts. Can I also mention that other test criteria variables can also influence results? Zoom angle and aperture are the obvious ones, and possibly gain (softening being employed to keep noise down as gain goes up.)

I find Colins comments about Robin Davies-Rollinsons experiences very interesting, and not too surprising. It begs the question: which is the best camera to use, the Z1/FX1, or such as a DSR570? I'd love to do personal tests, but think the answer has to currently be "it depends".

If the project is to have future value, or if the maker is to have end to end control (ie including display/projection), I suspect the answer would be the Z1/FX1 - simply because the High Definition factor becomes so important. If the project is for here and now purposes (broadcast is currently only SD in the UK, after all), the choice becomes more difficult - the resolution advantages of the Z1 become less significant. If equipment size is not an issue, don't let's lose sight that "picture quality" (whatever it means) is so, so much more than resolution alone, and here is where a 2/3" camera normally wins over a 1/3". That can mean improved low light performance, but more crucially far better control of depth of field - for some subjects it can be such an advantage to throw a background out of focus to accentuate the foreground.

All that said, if I was to buy a camera in that price bracket tomorrow, it would almost certainly be an FX1. As it is, I await NAB with interest, I see the FX1/Z1 as only the beginning, good though it may be. What may other manufacturers have in store? Can we expect an HDV version of the DSR570? Or a smaller, cheaper version, more like an "HDV TRV900"? In their respective market segments, they, to me, would really be cameras to drool over!

johnpr98
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A test of my own

2 videos from DSE at http://vasst.com/hdv/FX-1_images.htm

Ulead MSPro 7.2+ HD Plugin 2.0

Overlay track with 1440x1080 Moving path on V1
This is approximetely the centre of the picture on Va.

Heres the short video, DVD (720x576, 6000) showing the effect of zooming in on the HDV video at 4:1.

IMO a very useful tool when filming stage productions with the FX1 as the wide shot cam, missed an entrance on the edge of the stage with your main cams?, zoom in at 4:1 on the FX1 footage & who would know .

I realise that this isn't showing of the full cababilities of HDV, it's a useful option though.

============================
Bob C adds - John's reworked clip is now hosted on DVdoctor.net.

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tom hardwick
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I do a lot of converter-lens tests and many who've seen them will be sick to death of the sight of the back of my garage. That's because I'm a great believer in the Brick Wall Test, and having a stable, repeatable location can tell you a lot about various lenses. Setting up a camcorder perfectly perpendicular to a brick wall may be dull, but it can give you lots to look at and gives aberrations nowhere to hide.

Bricks (and door frames and windows) are useful in a number of ways. It's very easy to count bricks to see if a lens is a 10x as stated, or merely a 9.5x, or to see if a 0.5x wide-angle is much more of a 0.6x in reality.

Chromatic aberration shows up clearly on the white window frames, and barrel / pincushion distortion can be seen immediately. Sharpness tests across the frame and at differing apertures show up clearly in Photoshop. Using converter lenses to flash memory also pushes them harder because of the bigger chip area that's often used.

What needs to be tested on the run (as both James and Infocus have pointed out) is the vignetting caused by a large number of cameras that employ optical image stabilisation. What can look fine on a tripod can vignette quite badly when used in a big dipper - which is where a lot of wide-angles will be used.

The other point is flare suppression, and there's no substitute for a slow pan across the sun to show up the added flare caused by only partially coated elements in the lens' construction. This cost saver is much more common than people suppose, as manufacturers are happy to write ''multi-coating'' when they only mean the front of the front element.

tom.

johnpr98
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A Picture tells a Thousand Words ;)

Here is the moving path I used

+ an example if I had used the lower 25% of the picture (4:1)

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Colin Barrett
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Quote:
Originally posted by infocus: I find Colins comments about Robin Davies-Rollinsons experiences very interesting, and not too surprising. It begs the question: which is the best camera to use, the Z1/FX1, or such as a DSR570? I'd love to do personal tests, but think the answer has to currently be "it depends"

That's right, it does. When Robin directs Pobol-y-Cwm outside the studio, it's often the case that they'll shoot single-camera or two-camera (either routed back to the gallery for switching or for shooting in iso) DSR-570s, whereas his own FX1 will be used for his own freelance projects, including BBC Wales documentary and general features programming.

In general, I'd rather use a DSR-570, to be honest. Having shot video since 1973 (and before that 16mm - like Robin) I like a camera whose controls you can get at without lifting an eye off the v/f, and I know that Robin feels the same way. The bulk of a DigiBeta or large-format DSR has much in its favour - especially since you have the full range of lenses that can be put onto the front. The lens control of the FX1E is pretty good, considering, but it's not a patch on a "proper" lens, let's be honest.

Colin

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Colin Barrett:
When Robin directs Pobol-y-Cwm outside the studio, it's often the case that they'll shoot single-camera or two-camera (either routed back to the gallery for switching or for shooting in iso) DSR-570s,.....

My apologies for veering off topic, but in the case of DSR570s routed back to the studio, how is the signal sent? My experiences are those cameras are great for stand alone work, but need a lot of extra money spent for them to be successfully used as studio cameras. Unless, perish the thought, one forsakes the advantages of component and digital, and just takes the PAL output.

As for the rest of your post, fully agreed. Hence my interest in what follows the FX1. JVC are rumoured to be producing a professional HDV camera, what will Sony come back with?

Colin Barrett
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Sorry, my wording was misleading due to typing in a hurry as usual. I should have said that the DVCAM units will be used when shooting independently or in iso. It's less likely that these will be used on the backlot but more when they're shooting on location. To my knowledge, they use Sony camera heads only with backend adaptors (triax?) when plumbing in a lightweight EFP camera channel.

Incidentally, I've heard rumours that two competing HDV models are due this year.

Colin

Robin Davies-Ro...
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If I may correct Colin about the cameras used on Pobol y Cwm, the studio/backlot cameras are Thomsons (i forget the model number) which are triaxed conventionally into the gallery.
The single camera insert unit uses a DVW-790 Digibeta.
The DSR570s are not used in drama shooting, only factual and doc.

Robin

johnpr98
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Hi All

I have another small DVD-quality 4MByte clip this time with a 4x zoom example of a mosquito on a leaf from:
http://www.vasst.com/hdv/FX-1_images.htm.
Thanks Spot

If anyone is interested I will link it here.

I think it's impressive

Regards

============================
Bob C adds - John's reworked 4x zoom clip is now hosted on DVdoctor.net.

[ 25.02.2005, 01:49 AM: Message edited by: bcrabtree ]

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flame
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Well i have just received my new Sony hdr fx1 today, and after initial tests have just found 3 dead pixels coming from the ccd as opposed to just the viewfinder or lcd display, so am a bit dissapointed at the moment, no other comments except this one is going straight back to Sony.

Flame

bcrabtree
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Flame,

Bummer!

:(

PLEASE keep us posted.

Bob C

johnpr98
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The Parcel has arrived :D (Slight dent in the top of the outer box, no damage though)

All OK so far, No Dead Pixels
(Unless I am missing something?)

I will report again later this evening

First impression

Very Nice

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Robin Davies-Ro...
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Tell me folks, it's not just my FX1E that has NTSC colour bars (or should that be COLOR bars!) is it?
I really don't see why Sony should ship a PAL - camera with "E" for European I guess - without EBU bars. Even my Canon XM2 has those...
Could there be a tweak in the software somewhere?
It shouldn't be too difficult after all.

Robin

Alan Roberts
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I assume you mean SMPTE bars, not NTSC? The camera's an HD camera, not an NTSC camera, not a PAL camera. It has HD colour bars, and they're SMPTE. Those are far more useful than either EBU or NTSC bars.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Robin Davies-Ro...
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Alan,
You're right of course, but you know what I mean about EBU bars.
I just wonder how many edit suites will be happy if I preface material with non-EBU bars that't all...

Robin

infocus
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Quote:
Originally posted by Robin Davies-Rollinson:
I just wonder how many edit suites will be happy if I preface material with non-EBU bars that't all...

You put NTSC bars in front of NTSC material.
You put EBU bars in front of PAL material.
You put SMPTE bars in front of HD material.

Three types of bars for three totally different types of material. And if they have a problem with that in the edit suite.... just refer them to Alan Roberts. ;)

Robin Davies-Ro...
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Well, it's a whole lot clearer, but what if one shoots straight SD material - it could happen ,if it was needed in 16:9 by a broadcaster who didn't want to use the HDV>SD conversion process?
No EBU bars available... or am I missing something here ;)

Robin

Alan Roberts
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Yes, you are missing something. The FX1 is the first of a new breed of cameras; it's a consumer HD camcorder so it follows HD rules. SD operation is very much a "bolt-on" goody, but in several parts of the world it'll not be used because HD is now the norm (e.g. Japan). So the rules are being rewritten. The most honest thing you can do is to shoot with SMPTE bars because they're what the camera generates, and the editors are going to have to get used to it pretty darn soon.

FWIW, NTSC bars fell into disuse across the pond some years ago, because SMPTE bars are much more useful. Any professional edit suite will be happy with them, irrespective of the shooting standard.

Any BBC editor complaining about that should be immediately referred to Andy Quested in Production Modernisation. Can't really comment much about the rest though

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Robin Davies-Ro...
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Joined: Feb 21 2005

Thanks all, that's all I wanted to know!
Here beginneth the first year of the New Era: 1 HD.

Robin

johnpr98
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I have at last got some of MY HDV footage onto MY computer
(Few problems to resolve yet but I'm past GO)
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/johnpr98/4to1zoomjohnpr98b.mpg

Slighty longer video this time of Cat's & Rabbits at DVD 4000 all zoomed in at 4:1 (4MB)

Guilty Party Note (Kay)
Crumpled Magazine Writing (Read It)
Mischief Is Alive (Fergie)
Bill
Molly
Flower
Bob (Not Crabtree)
Bob Yawn (Frightening)
Rabbit (Frightening)
Rabbit
Plants
Plants

Free utility to capture HDV
http://home.earthlink.net/~weathersix/other.htm

No preview or device control, it works fine though.

Regards

johnpr98
 
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johnpr98
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This HVR-Z1E HDV link may have been posted before?
(with a quote from a certain Mr Alan Roberts)

================
Bob C adds - I've deleted both links because they didn't work and also made the page ridiculously wide.

John has put things right in a posting below

=====================

[ 02.03.2005, 07:49 PM: Message edited by: bcrabtree ]

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Alan Roberts
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Both links raise errors for me.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

johnpr98
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Joined: Aug 20 1999

Alan

It was working before

Try this way through the site

http://www.sonybiz.net/

(Top Right of Page)
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VPLES2

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(Click On) BBC predicts bright future for HDV

Sony confirms pricing, delivery date & features for first professional HDV camcorder and VTR

(Click On) BBC completes first production using HDV footage

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johnpr98
 
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Alan Roberts
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I can't argue with anything there, all the names are known to me :D The quotes are a bit edited, but nothing to complain about.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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I find bits of the story a bit odd, such as, quote:"Although this is not an HD production and is shot in standard definition using Betacam SP, ......, King-Dabbs was interested to try out the new HDV camera on the documentary content. Beta SP? That normally implies a 4:3 camera, and I would have thought for such as this the BBC would have wanted 16:9? Beta SP and HDV seems a very odd mixture for all sorts of reasons.

Alan Roberts
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I don't think it was SP, IIRC it was digi. The HDV footage was shot on a recce trip to see what happens behind the scenes, it was a matter of just using HDV to get a feel for the pictures. They were largely ok but I'd have set it up differently had I been asked. That doesn't happen so often these days because DV Solutions (Andy Benjamin, Chris Price, and others) know the kit well enough. I've done my job there

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003

Looking elsewhere in that Sony site, at this address , there's a review of the FX1/Z1 by Kevin Cook, Executive Administrator, Institute of Videography - reprinted from their magazine.

I thought it a good article, from somebody who obviously knows his stuff from a practical point of view. Generally, the review is very positive (I don't suppose Sony would have reprinted it otherwise........!?) and he gives a long list of things he likes. But I can't help quoting the next paragraph:

"The Things I Didn’t Like

Not much really. The only criticism would be that, like all cameras of this design, they are incredibly uncomfortable to operate. Holding the camera in front of you for more than a few minutes will start the muscles aching. Sony obviously recognise this and in the not too distant future we will see a bespoke camera mount system from them."

Err - yes. And if Sony really do recognise the problem (this is their website, after all), can we hope future cameras of this type will be better ergonomically designed from the start? Why should it be necessary to spend more money to overcome bad initial design?

Alan Roberts
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Don't want to steal any thunder and that, but Sony were showing a shoulder mount at the Video Forum. By the way, the comment about handling/holding's exactly what many of us said when we saw the empty plastic shell of it 18 months ago. Problem was that the design was too far ahead to change it at that stage, but Sony aren't stupid.......

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

johnpr98
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The last link doesn't work for me ;)

http://www.sonybiz.net/
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Below
Reference information

HVR-Z1E review by Kevin Cook - Executive Administrator - IOV UPDATED

johnpr98
 
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johnpr98
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I've had the FX1 for a few days now.

To say I'm very pleased with it is an understatement, I have a very busy few days (Daughter's 18th) then hopefully I can give it a test with some editing.

I may get a landscape shot today.

The www.hexus.net/review.php?review=997 review was the most expensive I've ever read ;)

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johnpr98
 
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flame
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Judt in case anyone was wondering how the Sennheiser MKE300d works on the Sony FX1, i have just compared the built in mic to the sennheiser and the sennheiser is far superior with no problems that seem to plague this mike on other cams at this price!

I know there has been alot on controversy about which mike to use at this price bracket, but to me the mke300d would make a very good replacement to the inbuilt mike, which i have to say is far inferior.

I did try the mke300d on my sony pc303 and had many problems with this mike camcorder combination though, but not so on this cam.

My twopence worth.

Flame

johnpr98
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Hi Flame

Have you received your replacement FX1 then?

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johnpr98
 
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infocus
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Today I spoke to a colleague who had just come back from his first experience of filming for broadcast with a Z1 (and saw my first Z1, as opposed to FX1). So what did he think of it? In short, extremely impressed. It's worth mentioning that his use was purely as a DVCAM camera, not HDV, and the requirement is solely for SD. It's destined to replace a PD150, which is what he has been using up to now, and that was what he was mainly comparing it with. True widescreen is an obvious benefit, but he considered even in SD the quality was way better than what he was used to.

After all my comments about handling, I was interested in what he thought about that. He agreed in principle (why wasn't it styled to sit on the shoulder), but being used to the PD150, was used to a "bodge" to make the camera usable in a handheld form - in his case a short monopod - so he noticed little change in that respect from the PD150. He agreed that that could make it very difficult to operate some combinations of controls whilst filming, but at least it got over some of the worst aspects of handling.

Now I wonder if I may at last be able to test one alongside a DSR500 during the next week.....? ;)

Robin Davies-Ro...
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I viewed a test tape in BBC Wales this morning where material from the Z1 and DSR500 - of the same subject - had been split-screened to show the comparison. The DSR500 just - and only just -had the edge on the Z1. The same type of split-screen comparison between down-rezzed HDV and SD showed that the HDV was only marginally better. They're working on the principle in Cardiff to now only use the camera in SD mode, unless there is a specific requirement for HD...

Robin

infocus
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What I'm expecting is not a lot of difference in good conditions, with the DSR500 well ahead in low light (and possibly highlight handling). Whilst the light weight of the Z1 has a lot to say for it, I find the DSR500 also well ahead in usability and connectivity terms. (Should be, at that price difference...... ) Of course, should HD be required.......

Have they compared the two in low light at BBC Wales?

azharshah1
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SONY PD170 PAL, Vs Z1E PAL

Hi....
Plz let me know the which camcorder is best for documenatries .....SONY PD170 PAL, Z1E (PAL), FX1E (PAL) .coz. FX1E record only DV, HD but Z1E record DV/DVCAM/HD.....
I need a full info about these camcorder i studied lot of review but cofused in FX1E (PAL) there is NO Digital Zoom like PD170 PAL, as 12x optical and 48 Digital secondly XLR externtional microphone, third 3 lux low light...as PD170 PAL is only 1 lux.....fourth RAM and cordless mics etc
Plz. help me to out its detalied features and prices if possible

reagrds
A Shah

azharshah1
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Z1E PAL vs PD170 PAL

i need info about which one is best camcorder PD170 PAL vs Z1E PAL, OR FX1E PAL, i m new eletronic media journalist ,,,i need for documentaries, interviews...etc.......

A Shah

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

In a nutshell:

If you're happy with a 4:3 aspect ratio then the PD170 still has a lot going for it. It's tough, sorted, reliable, great in low light and takes professional microphones. The lens is fabulous.

If you want to shoot 16:9, then forget the 170 and look at the FX1. It's the same price, but won't shoot SD DVCAM, is not so good in the dark and won't take pro mics. Ah - but you'll be able to shoot HDV.

The Z1 is the camera for you, simply because it's so versatile. You can plug in any mic, it'll shoot 16:0 or 4:3 and you can record in SD ot HD. There's nothing to touch it at the price/size/weight point.

tom.

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003
tom hardwick wrote:
There's nothing to touch it at the price/size/weight point.

Not in the Sony catalogue, at least, and I'd say it's a lot more future proof than the PD170 now.

But for what you describe, look at JVCs HD100. Comparable price/size/weight and much more professional than the Z1. Not without some issues (see other threads), but used SD most of them become irrelevant. I'd say the most serious negative compared to the Z1 is the lens not being as w/a at the wide end - 5.5mm, compared to 4.5mm of the Z1.