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cresshead
10-14-2009, 05:11 PM
http://www.geekbrief.tv/brief-641-a-tale-of-three-cameras

Kodak Zi8
Smallest HD camera with mic input and image stabilization

Very inexpensive looks totally awesome for the money can CAN be used for GREEN SCREEN
which is a MASSIVE plus for CG sets!..plus just 125

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41GI7vwLOCL._SS400_.jpg

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31pPj4bY5-L._SS400_.jpg

love the price and at a push it's usable fr blue/greenscreen workwith a little help from a matte or 2:)

so what ya think guys?
anything BETTER for el cheapo green screen work at HD?

Titus
10-14-2009, 07:54 PM
[

love the price and at a push it's usable fr blue/greenscreen workwith a little help from a matte or 2:)

It's good to kown it has green and blue sensors :P.

LazyCoder
10-14-2009, 08:16 PM
lol yea, what are you talking about? I figure any camera can be used for blue/green screen work.

cresshead
10-15-2009, 05:44 AM
well most dv cameras are 4:1:1 which gives you a absolute rubbish color space to key with...that's the trouble with DV tapes..these use sd card so are not constrained by the yukky color space of dv tape. [not pro dv tape but consumer compression of DV]

http://www.vfxtalk.com/forum/archive/keying-dv-t2219.html

specialist DV keyer to handle the poor quality of dv footage
http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=dvmattep3

as you can see the camera is cheaper than a specific DV keyer...and it's FULL HD.

Juancho00
10-15-2009, 07:33 AM
I agree with cress here.

keying DV footage is a pain in the butt. Anything that has a lossy compression on, will be painfull. And keyiing itself can be SO painful already.

the biggest issue of the camera : no zoom or focus

biliousfrog
10-15-2009, 07:37 AM
To be fair the chromakey footage was pretty bad and would take a lot of matting to clean up. The footage looked quite nice for a cheap camera though, would be great for holiday video or action stuff though, like strapping it to a bike or helmet.

The big downside that I can foresee is that the shape doesn't lend itself to steady filming. The lens is at the top, you hold it at the bottom, a few mm of tilt and the lens will be all over the place.

125 though...that's quite a neat gadget for the price.

cresshead
10-15-2009, 08:03 AM
To be fair the chromakey footage was pretty bad and would take a lot of matting to clean up. The footage looked quite nice for a cheap camera though, would be great for holiday video or action stuff though, like strapping it to a bike or helmet.

The big downside that I can foresee is that the shape doesn't lend itself to steady filming. The lens is at the top, you hold it at the bottom, a few mm of tilt and the lens will be all over the place.

125 though...that's quite a neat gadget for the price.

i wouldn't have it as a everything camera more just for bluescreen/greenscreen sets for cg set compositing real actors into them
we had some green screen trial on venus rises but the DV footage was usless and could not be keyed properly in comsbution or speed edit,final cut or premiere due to the heavy dv tape gives in it's compression....this camera would free us up to get cg sets up and running.

as you see in the review it's a little noisey but a couple of trash mattes sould solve that..we're not doing 'live broadcasting' so adding clean up mattes for shadows cast on the blue/green screen is okay.


re holding the camera...we'd put it on a tripod..solved!

..for 125 it's a real bargin.

cresshead
10-15-2009, 08:23 AM
http://www.neopics.com/bluescreen/

and

http://philipwilliams.com/greenscreen.aspx

worth a read!

Titus
10-15-2009, 11:46 AM
Well, to me that camera looks like a cellphone-like camera, I bought two similar last year to build a stereo camera rig for $400. It works OK but quality isn't really great.

EDIT: Found a link to my cameras:

http://www.digilifeglobal.com/DV/IMAGE/1080.jpg

calilifestyle
10-15-2009, 12:46 PM
how about the apitek hd cams. i have read some good.
http://www.aiptek.com/HDCamcorders/

radams
10-15-2009, 03:37 PM
Hi Cress and all,

Well I looked into it...

I don't like that it is mpg4...that doesn't key well at all.

for live capture...through the USB or HDMI...then there are possibilities, but again it has a limited depth of field and field angle...

But yeah for $180 bucks...can't argue ;)

Not what I would use...but it could be fun :)

Cheers,

Jim_C
10-15-2009, 04:35 PM
I have the Zi6 and the Zx1 versions of Kodak's camera. I believe same capture codec, the Zi8 added stabilization (and other?)

I LOVE them for home spun run and gun stuff. Vacations etc... Really stunning images for the size.
Low light is of course iffy and the internal mic is not fabulous but very useable.

If you want a couple raw clips to play with or check quality, let me know.

ps.. the files drag and drop into Speed Edit 1.5.5 with ZERO problems and edit smoothly even on a basic AMD dual core with onboard graphics.

Jim_C
10-15-2009, 04:55 PM
Oops.. sorry my bad.. just looked and the new Zi8 moves up to 1080 as opposed to the 720 mine shoot....

Anywho... here are a couple links to some sample raw footage I had posted a month or so back if interested....

http://www.sendspace.com/file/vpmsbx
http://www.sendspace.com/file/9w5t1b

Von Polygon
10-15-2009, 04:56 PM
At 125 it's a nice gadget to play with, but there are some obvious drawbacks with this camera, especially for chromakey.

As everything is on full auto, there is no control over exposure.
No control over white balance.
Image stabilization is electronic - works by cutting into your 1080 frame.
According to Kodak specs the sensor is 1/4.5" 1.6 MP - not full HD, but 1440x1080 sensor image interpolated to 1920x1080
Records H.264 MPEG4 which is highly compressed delivery format.

It does what it's designed for as pocket consumer camera and for 125 it sure looks nice, but chromakey - probably not.

cresshead
10-15-2009, 04:59 PM
anyone got an alternative to offer up for bluescreen/greenscreen set-up that isn't 4,000?

the thing is i can 'SEE' it workin in the video from geek brief...
i'd need to 'SEE' some footage f rom another camera before i'd be convinced...
yes it;s FAR from perfect...that would be a 4000 purchase for a panasonic...
i'm lookin for a budget but that 'will do' for the occasional blue/green actor cg comp work
that's between 100 and 500

write ups and spec sheets mean ZERO..i need to see footage shot on it and keyed...
the kodak isn't perfect but it will do with a little help from some trash mattes.

cresshead
10-15-2009, 06:05 PM
i think it compares pretty well>>>and it's 3,875 cheaper too!

tischbein3
10-15-2009, 09:17 PM
i think it compares pretty well>>>and it's 3,875 cheaper too!

- Without any manual exposure control you might be only able to key some presenter (better said: more or less static) video. So check for yourself if you can overide it manually . (Same goes for white balance)
- Also mp4 tends to cut off darker parts.
- Tracking is also a problem, since those kind of cams are mostly cmos based
- The mem based cheapo-cams market is quite growing, at that price range there might be also other options ( aviable.


For me the big unbeateable bonus of these cams is the abillity to carelessly carry them with you all the time.

chris

Greenlaw
10-16-2009, 02:17 AM
Hi,

I'm a big fan of tiny consumer cameras for production work. Here's some info about what I've used in the past. The first two are small DV cameras, and the third is an HD palm camera.

I used to use a JVC GR-DV 2000U, which was a 'cheap' (for the time) DV camera with progressive scan. I used it four years ago for Hello Frankenstein (http://www.youtube.com/user/littlegreendogmovies), and the result was really craptacular mattes. The problem, as noted in other posts, is the horrible compression applied to the footage by consumer DV cams. You can sort of fix this by blurring the chroma channel more along the x axis than y, and leaving the luma alone. (Most of your 'detail' is actually in the luma channel, so it doesn't get very soft when you do this.) You can do this manually in Fusion or AE, but I used a DV keyer plug-in called zMatte (http://www.digitalfilmtools.com/zmatte/) in Fusion (zMatte an AE plug-in but works in Fusion too,) and got much better results than with the native keyer. Even so, I still had to do quite a bit of hand roto for this short film.

Later, I upgraded to a Panasonic PV-GS400, which has similar features but has 3 CCDs instead of one. Same compression issues but the higher color fidelity made its footage much easier to key. I've used this camera for shooting fx and green screen elements for work. (Tip: when shooting actors standing in place or walking on a treadmill, bank the camera 90-degrees to maximize your 'vertical' resolution.) I've been told that this camera 'fakes' its progressive scan, but I thought it looked fine and it was better than dealing with fields. Unfortunately, Panasonic removed this feature from later models.

For the past two or so years, I've been using two Sony HandyCam HDR-CX7 cameras. The HDR-CX7 is a tiny HD camera that fits in your palm and can record 1080i to an 8GB MemoryStick Pro Duo. I chose this camera because it was relatively cheap (about $900 at the time) and tapeless, and my intention was to mount these to the outside of a car (using StickyPods (http://stickypod.com/car_camera_mount.html)) to shoot footage for a short film.

As a bonus, the camera is capable of shooting 240 fps (no that's not a typo) in 3 second bursts, producing 12 seconds of slow motion. This feature worked well for smoke and water elements I shot a while back for a project.

The HDR-CX7 is not a 3CCD camera like the Panasonic, but it uses Sony's ClearVid cmos, which is a cmos rotated at 45 degrees to improve resolution. The way it works is actually pretty interesting (to me anyways,) and you can find more info about it here:

How Stuff Works: Sony ClearVid CMOS (http://videos.howstuffworks.com/sony-electronics-inc/801-sony-clearvid-cmos-sensor-technology-for-handycam-camcorders-video.htm)

There are a couple of downsides to using this camera, though I was able to overcome them:

First, in low light, this camera's footage is very grainy. To solve this, I use a plug-in for Vegas Pro called Neat Video, which does an amazing job of degraining video without losing detail. It's available for 64-bit Vegas, so it can handle large HD footage well.

Second, the footage is interlaced. I use Re:Vision FX's (http://revisionfx.com/) FieldsKit to deinterlace. FieldsKit is a 'smart' deinterlacer; it uses optical flow technology to recreate the missing data. The process is a bit slow, but FieldsKit does a very good job of it. This was especially helpful with the slow-mo stuff I shot. (If you're not familiar with Re:Vision fX, they make several very useful plug-ins, most notably Twixtor and ReelSmart Motion Blur. We also use Re:Vision FX's ShadeShape a lot to fake gooey liquid effects like blood and saliva.)

Third, its default codec is AVCHD, which can be processor intensive. I use NeoScene to transcode to Cineform, which looks great, plays fast, and it actually cleans compression artifacts to make it easier to key. Here's a bit from the program's specs about this:

"Most HDV and AVCHD camcorders record chroma (color) in a format known as 4:2:0. Without boring you with details, 4:2:0 chroma is half the color resolution of more professional 4:2:2 formats. When Neo Scene detects 4:2:0 chroma it properly interpolates the source chroma to 4:2:2 for more accurate color processing during editing and effects work. And if you ever "key" your material, CineForm’s chroma interpolation will substantially improve your resulting visual fidelity."

(The camera can also save footage as mpeg if you shoot in standard DV res.)

I have to admit, I haven't tried keying HD footage from this camera yet. I'll get around to it soon though. My original intention was to just scale the HD footage down to DV res to eliminate any compression or interlacing issues, but I think my next 'live-action' short will probably be finaled in HD anyway.

Overall, I really like this camera. This particular model is no longer manufactured, but I see that Sony sells refurbished ones for around $550. Of course there are newer models now, but I haven't kept up with the specs. I believe the new ones do full HD now (the CX7 only did 1080 x 1440) but I don't know if they still have the slow-motion feature.

Hope this info was interesting, if not actually helpful.

Greenlaw

Greenlaw
10-16-2009, 02:35 AM
BTW, I only use FieldsKit to deinterlace footage for FX elements and compositing. If I need to deinterlace non-FX footage, I just let Vegas 9 Pro handle it; it's much faster and it does a decent job.

Greenlaw

cresshead
10-16-2009, 03:21 AM
thanks for all that info!
just to note that combustion2.1, lightwave 9.6 and 3dsmax2008 all CANNOT load up mp4 footage which was the sample podcast from geek brief...speed edit does though!...
so i outputted to clip as a seq of frames for combustion to play with.

cresshead
10-16-2009, 03:26 AM
oh and WOW!...love your short film!
http://www.youtube.com/user/littlegreendogmovies

cresshead
11-06-2009, 01:03 PM
well it arrived today in the post!
did a quick test and the vid loaded up into speed edit but i don't think the audio is working...maybe a codec thing...

it does load up into imovie just fine though with audio etc..so i can pull the audio from that if i need to.


here's a poo lo light test with the macro setting...this will probably be THE WORST footage you'll see me make with it!
room is lit with just a lo energy bulb!

http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/technology_and_gaming/watch/v19331107fNGE3xz9

cresshead
11-06-2009, 02:41 PM
here we go...don't laugh too much though!

green screen really rough test....had to try it even though i don't have any proper lights to light up the green screen as yet!..this was done with a $6 clip on spotlamp! main lighting is provided by the enerysaver lightbulb which is utter poo at generating any light!

http://www.newtek.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=79069&d=1257543677

have to say if/when i get a job...a proper lighting kit and proper green screen is high on my list!

i DO have to say that the discreet keyer in combustion 2.1 is F.A.B!

OnlineRender
11-06-2009, 05:22 PM
the new gadget was always going to work for keying .mini DV "esp" is a nightmare but it can be done easily now . I told you lighting rig goto B & Q

buy 3 outdoor garden spot lights "you know the ones that scare robbers away ,ye right"

3 dimmer switches , electrical tape and 3 plugs whhhalla rig ! .


total cost
================================
20 if you go on a WED

cresshead
11-06-2009, 05:55 PM
well that standard res DV i got from the panasonic camera used on venus rises would not key...was awful!...impossible to use the green screen footage

when you say 'easy' you mean buy the $299 DV keyer for finalcut?:D
or are you refering to dv 'tape' as opposed to hard drives and SD cards in many new cameras?

this kodak HD camera solves that and the panasonic was $2000+...!!!
dv tape sucks..

small test on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd2i4zHRc6A

Titus
11-06-2009, 06:15 PM
Cress, where are your whiskers? :D

Captain Obvious
11-06-2009, 06:41 PM
So, this camera... How big is the sensor, exactly? And how wide will the depth of field be. Forgive me for not being all *that* excited. Besides, my 100 Samsung compact records 720p.

cresshead
11-06-2009, 06:52 PM
Cress, where are your whiskers? :D

funny you should say that...that's all Poly will eat...whiskas!..puches and ONLY jelly ones..not gravy!:D

hey..here you go!

http://pet.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pPETS-3756270t400.jpg

cresshead
11-06-2009, 06:55 PM
So, this camera... How big is the sensor, exactly? And how wide will the depth of field be. Forgive me for not being all *that* excited. Besides, my 100 Samsung compact records 720p.

yeah the kodak records
1080p 30fps
720p 60fps
720p 30fps
and wvga

plus 5mgeapixel stills
external stero mic input...

eis [stabiliser]

i added a 16gig sd card...class 6
gorrilla pod:devil:

me like it!:thumbsup:

re dof...no idea... it has a macro mode and standard mode switch...

i'v just updated the firmware as it added better lo light capability..

ted
11-06-2009, 07:19 PM
here we go...don't laugh too much though!


I gotta say, the light source and perspective really helps make it look believable. Much more so than many people do that do have all the lighting tools available to them.
Well done!

cresshead
11-06-2009, 07:29 PM
I gotta say, the light source and perspective really helps make it look believable. Much more so than many people do that do have all the lighting tools available to them.
Well done!

thanks!


yeah i just went thru the sample image folder in max!....:devil:
found that render..and put a flip operator on it in combustion

as you see in the shoulder area the key isn't great...but then my lighting set up is 1 step up from a candle and a match!

quicktime zipped up to have a look at:D

DiscreetFX
11-06-2009, 07:53 PM
How does the video camera on iPhone 3GS compare?

cresshead
11-06-2009, 08:00 PM
How does the iPhone 3GS compare?

well the iphone costs around 450 in the u.k to buy it...as in NOT rent it.
so around 400% more cost wise...
you can't expand the memory..
you can't change the battery...
the iphone is only capable of vga video at 30 fps...
that's 640x 480 pixels
http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html

the kodak does full HD 1920x1080 pixels at 30fps
also 720p at 60fps...yeah 60!
need i say more...!

DiscreetFX
11-06-2009, 08:19 PM
@cresshead

You answered my question, it compares poorly to the Kodak.

:thumbsup:


We will have to wait for the 2016 iPhone refresh.

:D

cresshead
11-07-2009, 03:06 AM
I'm off out to do some daytime filming with it...will upload later!

cresshead
11-07-2009, 08:19 AM
video up from my trip downtown!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMETK6Pxqak

cresshead
11-09-2009, 10:30 PM
cycle ride out to Burrough Hill Iron Age Hill Fort which is arund 5 miles south of where i live.
filmed with the Zi8 HD camera at HD 720p

this is the rough footage...maps, voice over and some 3d models to arrive in due course!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIccZ5vFmn0

Mr Rid
11-10-2009, 12:20 AM
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=939452&postcount=10

OnlineRender
11-10-2009, 02:39 AM
footage looks nice and sharp at some points ! thinking of buying my father in-law one for x-mas ,hes been going on about an hd camera , this might just be the bad boy he needs .

PS CRESSHEAD you need a job quick ! anyluck with POS possition ?

cresshead
11-10-2009, 05:21 AM
footage looks nice and sharp at some points ! thinking of buying my father in-law one for x-mas ,hes been going on about an hd camera , this might just be the bad boy he needs .

PS CRESSHEAD you need a job quick ! anyluck with POS possition ?

no didn't get that POS job ..ho humm!:)

re sharpness...remember youtube is not 'great' for quality of encoding :D
so when i pan their compression goes into lego brick mode!

cresshead
11-14-2009, 03:00 AM
another vid...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN9EGQDXfjU

edited in imovie
music composed/mixed in garageband

Titus
11-14-2009, 08:33 AM
You need to add a good external mike.

cresshead
11-14-2009, 08:45 AM
You need to add a good external mike.

yeah i have a couple...sony tieclip stereo and a audio technica hand mic...need a boom mic for filming on green screen set once i make one that has proper lighting and bg.


didn't use it on this gallery vid as i wrote a bit of music for it...just testing out what editor i want to use with it cutrently..
this last one was edited in imovie HD...though i set the preferences wrong !...next time it'll be fine as i'v sorted that bit now!

nanaboso
11-15-2009, 12:41 AM
I think your footage looks great. At least as long as you keep the camera still and there is not to much movement going on in the frame. I don't know if this is caused by Youtube, but when you pan inside the gallery ( the raw version), I think the picture jump a little. Also in the edited version, look at the black car (26 sek into the movie), and also at 2.04.
The camera also seems to have a little problem with the white balance 1.13 into the movie. But this beeing a mixed lighting that is to be expected with "full auto", and at that price it looks like a good buy.
Btw. NTSC-DV cams are 4.1.1 PAL-DV cams are 4.2.2, as is mpg i believe.

cresshead
11-15-2009, 03:16 AM
I think your footage looks great. At least as long as you keep the camera still and there is not to much movement going on in the frame. I don't know if this is caused by Youtube, but when you pan inside the gallery ( the raw version), I think the picture jump a little. Also in the edited version, look at the black car (26 sek into the movie), and also at 2.04.


i think imovie is preset to 25fps if your in u.k...i've now over ridden that in the preferences panel and set it to 30fps as this is what i shot on the camera 720p so this is not a great edit 'tech wise'

so this edit was shot at 30fps, edited at 25 [once i found out!] and output to 30fps....on output i used the single pass encode, in future i'll use the multipass encode option..takes MUCH longer but should help youtube abit i think.

the camera itself has not problems with whip pans, you can set it to 60fps [720p] as well for hi speed capturing of sports etc.

and yeah youtube has real problems with pan shots
from wherever...it's a flash wrapper of a mp4 file so not fantastic but
but it's the most popular place for video so you have to use it!:)

cresshead
11-15-2009, 03:22 AM
Btw. NTSC-DV cams are 4.1.1 PAL-DV cams are 4.2.2, as is mpg i believe.

i'm completly over the idea of 'capturing footage from tape'..that seems SO 90's!:D

yeah i have a sony digital8 camera and will probably never use it again!
it's not HD, it's not recording to SD as quicktimes so it's sorta old hat!
it CAN import via it's cable connections from vhs though ro DV...so has some use for old footage i want on computer that's only on vhs!