XL2 or DVX100A?

Well I don't think it's fair to accuse Barry of anything when he isn't here to defend himself. That said, I've always found him to be good at taking an impartial stand. Of course, no one is entirely non-partial - we all have opinions.

If you need HD right now then I say go for the FX1! If you can wait though I see no reason not to. We'll see what Panasonic has in store for us (and likely JVC) at NAB i'm pretty sure.

Personally, if you don't need a camera NOW I would wait until we hear more about Panasonics offering. A camera priced competitively with the Z1 which can shoot DVCproHD is absolutely amazing. The Varicam uses the same format. Whether the camera will be amazing has yet to be seen.

BeebleBrox: Are you certain? I was under the distinct impression that they shoot the footage interlaced intentionally to get better low light performance and then converted it to 24p. Then again, I've never used the CineAlta so I don't know anything from hands on experience :D
 
WideShot said:
Any other setting and the GOP Compression is not an issue.

I've personally never liked Mpeg editing because of the GOP issue. For one thing, frames get corrupted 15 at a time instead of just one like in DV compression. Also, the compression rate is much, much higher to fit that image onto a standard DV tape.

I'm not saying the FX1 sucks, but for real indie filmmaking at 24p, it doesn't work all that welll. Converted 60i with DVFilm is not the same as 24p, even with all the extra resolution.

I have seen many DV movies blown up to a movie theater screen. Most of the time its not pretty. The best ones are OK.

First of all, if you haven't seen Xl-2 or DVX footage blown up to 35mm, then you don't have a good comparison. nlike regular 60i DV footage, the 24p DV footage blows up remarkably well, looking amazingly like 16mm. PAL blowups are especially impressive.

Second of all, if you haven't seen FX1 footage blown up to 35mm film, then you don't really have a good comparison either. I haven't seen FX1 footage blown up to 35mm, so I can't really say how much better or worse it looks. But I do know what the technical limitations are, and for what I want to shoot, the FX1 just doesn't cut it.
 
Shaw said:
Are you certain? I was under the distinct impression that they shoot the footage interlaced intentionally to get better low light performance and then converted it to 24p. Then again, I've never used the CineAlta so I don't know anything from hands on experience :D

I thought I heard that about the Varicam, not the Cinealta. But maybe I'm getting the two confused.
 
720x480 acquisition is going to look better compared to 1920x1080?

15 frame GOP or 24p, Mpeg-2 compression or uncompressed there is no replacement for resolution, IMO.

I have never seen a Mini-DV movie ever look like film in a theater. Not at any film festival Ive ever been to. HD Ive seen and it looks good. Not like film, but it looks very good. Ive only just this last year worked on a feature that will go box offices and receive a 35mm blowup, it was shot on DVX100a.

Id love to keep going on this but I dont want to take this any further off topic than it is.

I would only strongly caution ANYONE considering spending their savings on a DV camera to make a feature that wont be out for a year or two at least, to see what prosumer HD offers in this year and next. I am already seeing the traditional frame of mind of last-generation clingers talking about how their format is not about to die, how Mini-Dv cameras like the DVX100a and the XL2 will take you through the next few years with no problem. Well, if you value futureproofing your production, seriously consider the consequences of shooting in Mini-DV today.
 
I'm not sure if the Varicam can shoot interlaced. I'd have to go look that up. I am sure, however, that it shoots with a variable frame rate from 4p to 60p 720 footage. It also uses DVCproHD by the way :D

I agree with you on the limitations of the HDV format. It is my opinion that HDV will eventually be relegated to an entirely consumer market. Loosing an entire 15 frames due to a tiny dropout is just not acceptable for most pro applications.

Anyway, here are my grievances with the HDV codec and more particuarily with the Sony X1 and Z1:

Resolution:

It has been proven time and time again that the effective resolution of interlaced video is approx half that of progressive. Thus frame size is irrelevant. We want to look at effective resolution. Taking into consideration the necessary step of deinterlacing this reduces the effective resolution more (some forms of deinterlacing more than others but all affect resolution). We also know that the HDV format has a significant resolution drop in high motion scenes. These are tried and true facts.

In the cineframe modes it seems from res chart test that the camera picks up approximately 500-600 vertical lines of resolving power

A progressive camera will retain all of it's possible resolving power giving a comparative 720 lines of effective resolution.

This is before taking into account any loss of resolution in MPEG2 due to compression. Numerous people have noticed this resolution drop. You can find mention of it in most any technical review of the camera. Whether this is that big of deal will, of course, depend in part on your audience. The effect of this compression shows up in moving scenes as a drop in resolution.

The bottom line is that 1080i and 720p are both very good HDTV formats. One is not better than the other; they are just each better with particular types of subject matter. Converting 1080i to progressive isn't as effective as starting out in a progressive format and thus, not nearly as good for a film transfer. Motion sampling is also not a true 24 discreet samples per second when converted. You can usually tell a difference between the two [especially if you work with both side by side]. This is in reference to 60i converted to 24p. 50i converted to 25p and then to 24p is pretty darn good at representing the movement.

Cineframe 25 converted to 24p in post seems to be a widely accepted process. The only problem with cineframe is that it entirely deletes one of the fields cutting your horizonatal resolution in half and then duplicates the first. If we are generous and say (based on res chart tests) that the Sony can discern 1000 discreet lines then this instantly becomes 500 vertical lines in cineframe mode - less than the DVX or XL2 can pick up vertically in progressive mode (about 540 in progressive mode)! Of course, you still retain more than twice the horizontal resolution which is a huge plus.

You could save more res, of course, by going with a deinterlace in post.


Regarding Color Performance:


MPEG2 is MPEG2. It's no different from any MPEG2 that has been used in the past. If it was the compression wouldn't be MPEG2! Some argue that the Sony utilizes a more advanced codec. I honestly don't understand where this came from but it's clearly not true. Since MPEG2 has been around for a long while as well there's really no arguement about the codec being better.

We cannot talk about compression directly. The two are NOT directly comparable. We must talk about compression plotted against frame size!

Since we do not have many details about the Panasonic camera we can't make a judgement about which is better really. All we can do is play around with numbers. If we do however, I think we end up with interesting results:

Assuming we don't loose any color and/or luminance information from the interpolation needed to create the 15 entire frames between I-frames and thus go 500kB a second and if we assume that there is no movement in frame to lower this (seems unlikely to me but I will go with it for arguements sake):

The frame size for 1080i is nearly 2.25 times larger than a 720p frame. Thus your color data is spread out 2.25 times more than a DVCPROHD frame:

50% of 208 = 104kB - DVCproHD
33% of 500 = 167kB - HDV BUT-

If we then take into account frame size:

104kB - DVCproHD
vs
167/2.25 = 74.2! - HDV

We are talking about much, much less data per area which is what REALLY matters. Thus the image quality will clrealy be less than that of DVCproHD.


Conclusion:

DVCproHD is of course a far better codec to use. It's a tried and true format in the industry with support by most NLEs already. The problems with the HDV codec are too big for me to swallow. I just can't bring myself to use the format especially since the above is weighted in favor of the HDV codec.

Do the FX1 and Z1 produce nice images? Yes they certainly can and do look nice. But a better codec will look twice as nice!

I'm looking forward to seeing what the Panasonic camera is like. Like the Sony cameras it will probably have less dynamic range than the DVX due to its higher pixel count. I'm also interested to see if they address the noise issues that the DVX can be prone to.
 
WideShot said:
720x480 acquisition is going to look better compared to 1920x1080?

Yep, under the right circumstances. If the FX1's 1080 resolution is interlaced, then the effective resolution is roughly half that.

I have never seen a Mini-DV movie ever look like film in a theater. Not at any film festival Ive ever been to. HD Ive seen and it looks good.

Yes, but you're comparing the very best HD (1080p, which the FX can't even do) with 60i video, which is the least film-like setting on both the DVX and the XL-2.

I am already seeing the traditional frame of mind of last-generation clingers talking about how their format is not about to die, how Mini-Dv cameras like the DVX100a and the XL2 will take you through the next few years with no problem.

I'm not saying that at all. In fact, I'm quite sure that prosumer HD is right around the corner and will certainly replace standard miniDV, including the DVX and the XL2.

What I'm saying is that the FX1 is not the camera that's going to do it.
 
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FilmJumper said:
Just finished reading the latest issue of VIDEOMAKER magazine. Sony will debut its new High Def camera, the HVR-ZU1. Apparently, it shoots in the following modes:

60i
50i
30
25 frames per second
24 frames per second
XLR imputs
12X Zoom
SMPTE timecode

Here's some links I found on it:

http://news.sel.sony.com/pressrelease/5327

http://news.sel.sony.com/pressrelease/5331

http://www.digitalproducer.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=29230

I only mention it here because DVFilm.com says that the footage from the Sony FX1 looks really good transferred to film.

Supposedly going to be available in February. Could this be the new indie filmmaker's camera?

filmy


Someone on another site is talking about the Panasonic version of HDV around 7 grand is what Im told.

It too will have 24p

Panasonic I think would make a great camera.
 
WideShot said:
720x480 acquisition is going to look better compared to 1920x1080?


I have never seen a Mini-DV movie ever look like film in a theater. Not at any film festival Ive ever been to. HD Ive seen and it looks good. Not like film, but it looks very good. Ive only just this last year worked on a feature that will go box offices and receive a 35mm blowup, it was shot on DVX100a.

Id love to keep going on this but I dont want to take this any further off topic than it is.

.

My understanding is both 28 days later was filmed on the DVX100a with a special lens and attachment as well as much of the remake of Dawn of the Dead.

both movies had some strange color bleeding or a bleached look to it but I thought they looked pretty good. Kind of 80s quality to them.
 
The Z1 and FX1 don't have progressive - which is fine. They just don't.

Both have "cineframe" modes though which emulate 24p, 30p, 25p.

We don't know the official price yet. All we know for certain is that it will be DVCproHD/DVCpro50/DVCpro25 recorded to P2 media with optional hard disk recording. We also know it will be "priced competitively with the Sony Z1."

Don't know anything about w24. Maybe a typo?
 
28 days later was shot on a Canon Xl1. With the crop to 16:9 and the frame mode, that was a serious lack of res! Maybe 200 lines at best (worst than your VCR). I believe Darn of the Dead was also XL1. Don't quote me on that last part though.
 
I just spent last weekend at DVFilm.com's 24p film school. Very technical information. According to Marcus van Bavel, they do recommend shooting with the FX1 or ZU1 but to shoot in 50i not 60i. 50i is similar to shooting in PAL. Then he says to convert the footage with DV Filmmaker to 24p.

In fact, there was another student there with a new ZU1 and we captured some footage (50i) using iMovieHD and then converted it to 24p with DV Filmmaker. It look awesome. Not only that, but he had some FX1 footage transferred to film on DVFilm's demo 35mm reel. I mentioned this in another thread but the footage was a real long shot of surfers in the ocean. The transfer to 35mm film looked unbeliveable! There was easily enough detail in the footage to assume it was originally shot on 35mm.

Anyway, Marcus says that he does in fact recommend the FX1 and ZU1 if you are considering a transfer to film... Just shoot in 50i not 60i. Apparently the ZU1 will shoot both. The owner of the camera said CineFrame was totally useless. Apparently, he and a friend of his are creating tests and posting the results on HDForIndies.com if anyone is interested...

I'll stick with my DVX100A until Panasonic comes out with a similar product... With the anamorphic adapter, the footage transferred to film was equally impressive. I'm just not sure that the DVX could pull off the same long distance shot...

filmy
 

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shane dean said:
i agree with that if that's the panasonic. i have a film entitled SUGAR VALENTINE in BLOCKBUSTER just released october 2004. very good stuff in the digital medium. i am trying to find out what cameras were used on the movie COLLATERAL starring Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, that was shot 85% digital and it was awesome. if anyone knows, please let me know...shane dean

Hey Shane, :welcome:
 
I hear ya FilmJumper. The footage is good looking and HD for sure!

My comments were based on comparing the two HD formats though. It is my opinion that DVCproHD is a much much better codec and I think that would show up as even a greater improvement in a film transfer. The Z1 and FX1 can certainly be used for cinema. It's just not nearly as nice as a native 24 progressive 4:2:2 format :D. Out of all the products available today, the Sony cameras will offer the most resolution hands down. I just can't wait to see what a prosumer Varicam will be able to do! Anyway, we'll have to wait and see just what Panasonic hits us with.
 
Old technology? It came out merely a month or so before the FX1 was announced. If you mean that SD is old technology, well, it's going to be here for a while still. Old, yes, but not outdated yet. The market will certainly shift but we just aren't all the way there yet.

That said, the XL2 looks pretty good on an HD set.
 
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