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Willax
01-15-2004, 11:13 AM
I'm trying to find out what video camera to get for use in compositing work. Any suggestions?

ericsmith
01-15-2004, 11:53 AM
I'm a big fan of the Canon XL1. For mini DV, it has really nice image quality, and you can shoot progressive, which is very nice. It beats the pants off of anthing else in the price range.

Anything mini DV is going to be a challenge to do any green screen work, but with the right tools, it's doable.

There's a new Panasonic that also shoots 24p, which could be even better, but I can't vouch for the picture quality.

From what I've heard, the new prosumer level HD is pretty cruddy. I'd stay away from that technology for a while yet.

Eric

Liber777
01-15-2004, 12:44 PM
The JVC GY-DV5000 is an absolutely superb, professional camera. Stunning quality. The high-resolution CCD's make a very noticeable difference in the resulting 720x480 final picture compared to other cameras even remotely in its price range. It will also take full-size DV tapes for up to 276 minutes of footage.

If you're taping in the studio and have something like the VT[3], you can record directly off the S-Video feed to uncompressed and get a very good key.

It's entirely possible to get a good composite with 4:1:1 DV compressed footage, but it may take some extra work, and there are some tricks that can help.

~Stivan

Liber777
01-15-2004, 12:46 PM
That said, if you can afford to move up to 4:2:2 the quality will be better, and the footage easier to work with.

jorbedo
01-15-2004, 02:11 PM
If you are really into compositing one of the best cameras to do this: JVC DY-70 & DY-90U

They are broadcast quality D-9, 4:2:2, and records at 50 Mbps, that means that you will have one of the best specs to do Chromas at low cost: $6000 - $15000.

Cameras Review (http://videosystems.com/ar/video_starting_five/)

Solutions from Sony and Panasonic on the 4:2:2 area are the Betacam SX and DVCPro50, both of them starting on the $25000 price range.

It's much better to go with the JVC DY-70U than the low cost MiniDV Pro camcorders from JVC, only for the extended gamut that 4:2:2 provides, you can' go wrong with the low cost D-9.

JB

w_will
01-15-2004, 02:30 PM
I see most of the recomendations so far have been for video. I use the new Canon Digital Rebel for stills and love it. If your thinking stills or looking for a 35mm digital replacement this camera is a 6Mega Pixel+ beast. The only draw back is the small imaging space internal gives all lenses a 1.6X magnafication, but for zoom work thats kind of nice. With the included 18-55mm lens the kit can be had in the US for under $1000.

js33
01-15-2004, 04:21 PM
I would recommend the DVX-100A (new version just released).
It is the only TRUE progressive camera below $20,000.

The advantage is the progressive frames are easier to work with in Lightwave or compositing and would look better on DVD or computer playback.

Actually it is the only progressive camera. Sony and Cannon claim to have a progressive mode but is either only 15Fps or is only 1 field meaning half resolution and probably also 15 fps.

The Panasonic has Progressive scan at full 720 x 480 at both 24 FPS and 30 FPS. It also does interlaced 60i if you need that.

I think the price of the new version is about $3500-$3900.

Used versions of the previous DVX-100 could probably be had for $2500-$3000 range.

DVX-100A (http://www.panasonic.com/pbds/subcat/products/cams_ccorders/f_ag-dvx100a.html)

2 Pop forum (http://www.uemforums.com/2pop/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=PanasonicAGDVX100Camera)

Cheers,
JS

T-Light
01-15-2004, 06:56 PM
'Actually it is the only progressive camera. Sony and Cannon claim to have a progressive mode but is either only 15Fps or is only 1 field meaning half resolution and probably also 15 fps. '

Not quite true there js33.

Last year I was looking around for a relatively cheap video camera. There was an awfull lot of talk from various video magazines of 'True progressive cameras'. The more I looked into it, the more baffling it became. Conflicting reviews from industry proffessionals were the norm.

Eventually, I came across a thread from a german bloke, who'd bought the Sony DCR-TRV60. A lot of people asked him to post screen grabs, showing the resolution. He did, he also posted divx video.

I bought the camera a few weeks later, It really is full progressive video. 25fps PAL (720x576).

It can't change fps formats eg(NTSC (30) to film(24)), but for the money, the quality is unmatchable.

The Sony codes might be different in America, the price I paid was around 1000 ($1,500).

Bargain. ;)

Beamtracer
01-15-2004, 07:19 PM
I'll just reaffirm the other comments above, that you should get a camera with "progressive" mode. That is the most important feature for compositing.

T-Light
01-15-2004, 07:34 PM
Here's a picture of the TRV60E in action.

OK, it's not the most artistically creative video still in the world, but it gets the point across. The curves in the paper can't be produced by combining frame fields, this really is full progressive.

ps, the jpeg format loses a little quality on the original. If anyone wants to see it running at 25fps I'll post a vid.

Liber777
01-15-2004, 09:17 PM
Really would have to agree with JB that D-9 is the way to go for very high quality at a low media cost. It will cost a bit more than a DV camera to get started, but it's well worth it.

js33
01-15-2004, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by T-Light
'Actually it is the only progressive camera. Sony and Cannon claim to have a progressive mode but is either only 15Fps or is only 1 field meaning half resolution and probably also 15 fps. '

Not quite true there js33.

Last year I was looking around for a relatively cheap video camera. There was an awfull lot of talk from various video magazines of 'True progressive cameras'. The more I looked into it, the more baffling it became. Conflicting reviews from industry proffessionals were the norm.

Eventually, I came across a thread from a german bloke, who'd bought the Sony DCR-TRV60. A lot of people asked him to post screen grabs, showing the resolution. He did, he also posted divx video.

I bought the camera a few weeks later, It really is full progressive video. 25fps PAL (720x576).

It can't change fps formats eg(NTSC (30) to film(24)), but for the money, the quality is unmatchable.

The Sony codes might be different in America, the price I paid was around 1000 ($1,500).

Bargain. ;)

Hi T-Light,

The Sony TRV-60 looks nice but it is only a single CCD consumer camera.
If you only want to spend around $1200 it looks nice.

The Panasonic DVX100A is a professional level 3 CCD camera and has more advanced features.

Cheers,
JS

Beamtracer
01-15-2004, 11:49 PM
Some cameras can do 24p, that is, 24fps (like cinema) with progressive scan.

You know what would really be best? To get hold of a 24p camera from Europe that does PAL format. Reason is that you get more scan lines in PAL.

The 24p cameras on the American market all seem to conform to NTSC resolution, when there really is no need to.

js33
01-16-2004, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
Some cameras can do 24p, that is, 24fps (like cinema) with progressive scan.

You know what would really be best? To get hold of a 24p camera from Europe that does PAL format. Reason is that you get more scan lines in PAL.]

Beam the ONLY 3 CCD sub $25,000 camera that can shoot Progressive Scan 24P is the Panasonic DVX100 and DVX100A(new version). It also can shoot 30P and 60i. I thought you being a video professional would know this?

The next cheapest is the $25,000 AJ-SDX900.
Panasonic AJ-SDX900 (http://www.panasonic.com/PBDS/subcat/Products/cams_ccorders/f_AJ-SDX900.html)

The PAL version of the DVX100 camera shoots at 25P since it was so close to 24 they just left it at the default PAL framerate of 25.


The 24p cameras on the American market all seem to conform to NTSC resolution, when there really is no need to.
No need to? True Pal does have more vertical resolution but...
The reason the cameras in America use NTSC is so they can be played back on American TVs and DVD players. The PAL format doesn't have any support in the US. If you are doing a totally digital movie and just playing it back on the computer or going straight to film you could use PAL but that would be kind of limiting use of your camera in the US.

Cheers,
JS

BeeVee
01-16-2004, 02:01 AM
The funny thing is that NTSC is achievable over here in Europe - even though we never use it - cheap home VCRs, TVs, DVD players, you name it, can usually play back NTSC, or a pseudo PAL mode called PAL 60Hz (which is NTSC, basically). I did some research for someone wanting to buy equipment that would allow him the same range of options in the States as he got in the UK and nope, nosirree. He could have a prgressive scan TV. He got have dual tuners (what is that for?!), he could even get one that was HDTV ready, but not a single one could handle a PAL signal...

B
PS. The basic upshot was that he took a TV from Europe - a Philips model - and used in in the states...

js33
01-16-2004, 02:24 AM
Dual tuners are for PIP (Picture in picture) effects. Well sure you could bring PAL equipment over and use it but how many people in the states are going to have a PAL TV? If you want to distribute your product in the US it must be in NTSC format.

I wish when moving to HDTV all countries would adopt the same format so everything could be universal. No more PAL, NTSC or Secam which are aging formats.

Cheers,
JS

T-Light
01-16-2004, 02:50 AM
Originally posted by js33
I wish when moving to HDTV all countries would adopt the same format so everything could be universal. No more PAL, NTSC or Secam which are aging formats.


Amen.

BeeVee
01-16-2004, 03:01 AM
He had a collection of 1,100 PAL DVDs... :)

B

T-Light
01-16-2004, 03:27 AM
1100 DVD's,
I wouldn't envy him trying to get that lot through US customs :p

ps NTSC ONLY tv's?
'0' region DVD's are a complete waste of time in the States then:confused:

js33
01-16-2004, 03:28 AM
Man that is alot of DVDs. :D

Cheers,
JS

BeeVee
01-16-2004, 03:54 AM
No, Region 0 DVDs are usually okay because they are normally NTSC (lowest common denominator). He had so many because not only is he an animator, but he's also something of a film historian... (and obsessive collector!)

He didn't have any more than the usual trouble getting them through customs because he had to move there for a job and there were just part of his household effects (including the TV).

B

T-Light
01-16-2004, 04:19 AM
Sorry Ben,

I was pulling your leg,
T-Chest as carry on luggage :D

BeeVee
01-16-2004, 04:28 AM
Well, he did consider putting them in condoms and swallowing them to get them through that way... :)

B

T-Light
01-16-2004, 06:25 AM
:D :D :D

Beamtracer
01-16-2004, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by js33
The reason the cameras in America use NTSC is so they can be played back on American TVs and DVD players. I thought all DVD players from all regions were capable of both PAL & NTSC. Maybe I'm wrong.

I'm surprised there's not more demand for PAL in the States. The playback of movies looks much better. No frame blending. No 3-2 pulldown. More scan lines. Better color.

Places like Blockbuster Video should be full of PAL disks.

Willax
01-16-2004, 09:23 AM
Thank you everyone for your excellent reccommendations for video cameras. I think I need to refine my intent for compositing with animation over video. Since I am NOT a professional, nor do I intend to become a professional animator, my needs are a bit more simple. I'm definitely not going to purchase something in the high end as some were mentioned. That would be overkill. I'm looking for something consumer/prosumer that a hobbyist like myself would be able to use for decent results. The Panasonic AG-DVX100 would be the maximum I would be willing to go price and quality wise, but even that is still a bit high for what I would be doing.

Elmar Moelzer
01-16-2004, 11:37 AM
NTSC= Never The Same Color ;)
The reason why Pal has 50 Hz and NTSC 60 is because in the beginning a frequency- controller would have cost more than the entire TV. So they decided to use the frequency of the electricity, which is 50Hz in Europe and 60 in the US.
Nowadays you would get such a chip for one cent or so, so I am not really sure why they decided to stick with that...
Also: Fields are evil. I would have expected them to abbandone fileds for HDTV.
Ideally I would have used 48 progressive frames (for obvious reasons). Well but nobody of those idiots that did the new standard decided to ask me ;)
IMHO HDTV will not last very long once it ever really gets going.
Only thing where I have seen it used a more often recently is with 24p in the production of movies...

To get back on topic: Both the JVC and the Panasonic cameras, that have been suggested here look very nice (only thing I dont like about the JVC is that it uses its own tape- format.
From what I know though, the good old Betacam SP is still the best format to get a good key from and you might get a used camera for very little money nowadays. However it has the disavantages of all analogue formats and is certainly less comfortable to use than modern digital ones.
CU
Elmar

T-Light
01-16-2004, 01:05 PM
Hello Willax.

Thought at the beginning there you might be talking about kit in this sort of bracket, that's why I mentioned the Sony.

The truth is (as has already been said) you need a very good YUV ratio for chromakey to work well. You won't get this with standard DV. (Don't let it stop you experimenting though).

What I would suggest, is to go for the best picture quality you can get for the price.

While these cameras, won't give you 'Attack of the Clones' chromakey quality, they can definetely give you a good foundation for animated mats, etc. A progressive mode can only assist you here, as you can see the whole frame at once, without interlacing. If you go along the lines of progressive, (as stated by js33) be carefull, not all progressive cameras are true progressive.

I brought up the Sony before, I know that some of the other cameras in the Sony range have this progressive facility too, and because of the very high resolution CCD's in these cameras, they go some way to achieving the standard of a good number of the prosumer 3 CCD cameras. (There's a technical reason for this, which for the life of me I can't remember - has something to do with reading seperate RGB pixels over the pixel capacity of the chip - If I can find the original document I'll post the link).

A nice site in the UK to visit is
http://www.simplydv.co.uk/simplyBB/

It's essentially a newtek forum of the DV world. The guy who runs it is an old TV hand with decades of experience with all kinds of camera equipment. If you have questions on various cameras, quality, price, formats etc, this would be an excellent place to start.
Beware though, Camera codes in the UK and Europe are usually different from the US, and I'm not just talking about a PAL or NTSC badge stuck on the end.

Have fun and happy hunting :)

js33
01-16-2004, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by Beamtracer
I thought all DVD players from all regions were capable of both PAL & NTSC. Maybe I'm wrong.

I'm surprised there's not more demand for PAL in the States. The playback of movies looks much better. No frame blending. No 3-2 pulldown. More scan lines. Better color.

Places like Blockbuster Video should be full of PAL disks.

Well sadly that is not the case. However you can play a PAL DVD on your computer as it doesn't care what the format is. That is if you can get past the region code.

I think companies are more focused on HDTV these days rather than worrying about any loss in quality between PAL and NTSC.

Cheers,
JS