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Vincenzo
03-30-2005, 01:29 AM
Hello;

Anyone use digital camcorders to get video for compositing? If so do they have any good recommendations for digital camcorders?


Thanks Vincenzo

Mdust
03-30-2005, 03:13 AM
I am a big fan of Canon. They have the best lenses on the higher end stuff from GL1 up... well that leaves only the XL series. And thier treatment of color is nice.

The biggest thing you need out of a camera is the latitude you get out of three chips - the ccds that records the signal. Anything less than this and you are not going to get a good contrast ratio. (What you get when something bright is next to something dark. Lesser chips wont be able to give you the ability to come up with a happy medium)

On the HD side, Sonly just released an HD camcorder with three chips but the lenses are going to be inferior(compared to the XL series). But this is recording in Mpeg so that's also a trade off.

If it were me, I'd buy an old XL1 with that great lense, for video anyway you can't beat it. Oh wait, if it were me? I own an old XL1!

Rather than buy a new camcorder, I'd suggest finding one of these for well under 2 grand.

There are newer things out that shoot in 24p and so on even the new XL from canon - if you want to spend 3 or 4 grand.

Whatever you do I would look for these two things 1) 3 chips 2) Great lense and 3) full manual controll. OK that's 3 things.

There's more but that should get you started.

Mdust

Vincenzo
03-31-2005, 07:55 PM
Yeah the Canon XL2 looks like the best SD camcorder, but it doesnt do HDV and its expensive. Do you think HDV is that important or how soon will it become important? Do you have any experience with the Sony HD FX1?

Thanks,

Vincenzo

Mdust
03-31-2005, 10:59 PM
No I don't have any direct experience with either of the HDV cameras (mpeg format consumer recorded on miniDV) But I have looked pretty close at the footage that came off of the JVC one chip.

The thing is, you see things are going HD pretty fast. HD content is going to be even hotter than it is now. As TV screens get better and cheeper there will be a pay off. But look at the HD broadcast signal you see now. It's pretty crappy. Crappy because it's compressed Mpeg 2.


Sure it's got more resolution but it isn't 1080 - yet. It's only 720 (x1280) And you can just see the compression artifacts flying all over the screen.

That's what you get with one of these camcorders (well not exactly probably less compression than the boradcast signal but pretty close) and that's what they are aimed at. They are aimed at the "let's get HD broadcast content now."


They are not aimed at the professional market which is uncompressed 1080 and 720 - for the most part.

So shooting on an HDV consumer camera now would almost be the same logic as shooting SD in Mpeg - assuming that your target is an SD screen for either.

Why loose the quality? HD will get hot in my opinion when most consumers have DVD players in HD. I think that will look better than the broadcast signal. Just my opinion.

So the asnwer lies in you target audience and format of screen when wondering what camera to use for compositing. I just can't justify a spendly little Mpeg recording camera right now. That's just me. Now if Canon came out with a HD XL series, why that would be interesting. The lenses they would put on it would be worth it. Remember they have been making pro HD lenses for years now.

I also can't justify putting Mpeg into LW to do compositing. Like trying to make good cookies with sour dough. On top of that none of the cameras out there that shoot it have any good lenses. That is a HUGE consideration for me.

I can't over emphasize the importance of lenses on a video camera. It really is the sigle difference other than chip number and size that makes a video signal look good.

So, depending on your target screen, the choice is yours. Also your subject matter. What are you going to try and shoot and under what conditions?

A solid SD camera will out perform those little HD cameras in a lot of areas. In others, such as a sweeping vista scenenery shot, maybe the resolution is what you need.

Mdust

rflo
04-01-2005, 12:35 AM
I own an XL1s, it's an amazing camera, if you aren't big into full manual, get a Canon GL2 for cheap. The image quality is amazing, the major advantage of the XL1s is you can buy full manual lenses. A GL2 offers near the same quality image; also accessories (lens filters, glide-cams, braces, blah blah) are way cheaper for the GL series than the XL series. If I had the money and a reason I'd upgrade to the XL2 in a heartbeat. HDV isn't that big of a deal to me just yet.

HDV will be important shortly before Canon Releases their version of an HDV camera. Canon is always one of the last to join in market trends (like DV and HDV), but when they do, they blow everyone out of the water in my opinion. It will also be a lot more important when DVDs switch over to the new formats, the leader so far in HDDVD is Blu-Ray. When it takes over, HDV will be much much more useable, and useful. For now, it still feels like a novelty.

Here's a still frame from my XL1s, no color/sharpening processing done. All I've done to it is stretched it out to it's 16x9 size. The JPEG compression does a little bit of damage, but not much. Being displayed on a computer screen doesn't help too much either... file size is 720x400. This was shot in "frame mode" and anamorphic 16x9 (the electronic kind, the fake anamorphic)

http://www.secondsection.com/samples/xl1s.jpg

Mdust
04-01-2005, 12:48 PM
It goes without saying that I agree.

The only thing I would add is if I were trying to save money I'd opt for a used XL1s or even an original XL1.

I think the above picture says it all. I shot a feature with mine, (An original XL1)projected (the cropped widescreen image) digitaly in Hollywood on a 40 foot screen and people thought we had transfered to film!

Thanks for the visual imput rflo.

M

rflo
04-01-2005, 01:10 PM
Thanks. Just a quick side note, I had a Warming UV Filter on at the time. I find it to help tremendously with skin tones ... something I feel almost all digital cameras/video cameras struggle with. Wouldn't leave home without it!

Vincenzo
04-04-2005, 03:49 PM
Thanks for the responses. I am new to video production and have been trying to learn as much as I can. I think I am gonna wait until after the NAB before making a purchase decision. BTW that pic looks real nice.

Vincenzo

MikeMD
04-04-2005, 06:36 PM
It also depends how mobile you want to be.

XL2 although nice is a little too big compared to Sony pd 170.Filming around NYC with PD 170 you will look like a tourist wth a larger camcorder. Filming with XL2 may result in a cop approaching you and asking you for a license to film.

Either one will give you excellent results, you may lean more towards one or the other ( as many people do, it's almost like Mac vs PC sometimes ).

<some generalizations>

XL 1 and 2 generate softer image, better for tv viewing, closer to film. PD 170 is better for stuff that will end up on DVD or be viewed on computers. PD 170 is a better low light performer.
The saying goes ( I'm not saying I believe it :) Canon makes better lenses, Sony makes better cameras.

</some generalizations>

If you have the money one of Sony HDV cameras may be the way to go, but I'd get the more expensive one with XLR inputs.

JVC HDV camera is garbage. As soon as clouds cover the sun a bit, it doesn't have enough light. ( I'm exaggerating, but it's a terrible without almost perfect lighting and feels like a cheap toy compared to Sony's or Canons ).

Then there is the Panasonic 24p camcorder for around $3500, prety nice too.

Having said all that I use PD 150 ( older version od PD 170 ) and so far I have no need to upgrade.

And the winner is:

Sony PD 170: about $1500 Cheaper than XL2, smaller and more mobile and unless you really like images produced by Canons better ( not everybody does ) there's no reason to spend more.

peter66
04-05-2005, 06:47 AM
If you want something that's a bit cheaper than an XL2 but with very similar picture quality I recommend a Panasonic DVX100A... although if you're not buying yet, the king of all DV camcorders is gonna be the HVX100 because of:

1080i and 720p recording

in720 in 60p, 30p and 24p,
in 480 in 60i, 30p, and 24p
either in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO

Compare that to any Canon or Sony!

http://www.dvxuser.com/V3/showthread.php?t=24050

Imagine doing 3d compositing with HD 60P footage... you could slow it right down.

MiniFireDragon
04-05-2005, 08:55 AM
Colors...

Most consumer camera's come fitted with 4:1:1 color, which is why they look so washed out. I haven't been able to find any info on the XL1s camera, but I assume it is 4:2:2. If you can find a camera for cheap that does 4:4:4 jump on it!!

For those that are going what is all this 4:1:1, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 crap, let me see if I can explain it (excuse the miss wording since I don't have it fully memorized and my information isn't in this office). Digital equipment samples video by Chroma and Luma (is there one more?) anyway, a 4:1:1 samples less chroma then a 4:2:2 which is a little less (not much) then the 4:4:4. The reason they don't just go full out 4:4:4 is the video bandwidth required is huge and expensive to implement.

Like I said, don't shoot me for mistakes, go and look it up on the web if you want a perfect explanation of maybe someone reading this post will be more definitive on the explanation.

MikeMD
04-05-2005, 11:51 AM
DV camcorders is gonna be the HVX100 because of:

Too many questions there. How much??? When??? Specs often lie. How will it all work together??.

Most of all, don't believe anything until you see it.

If it ever materializes ( something will, but will the final production model have those exact specs or will they tone it down ) it will be too expensive ( I believe we are discussing things costing around $2000 - $4000 here ).

somnambulance
04-05-2005, 02:06 PM
DVX 100 - DVX 100 - DVX 100

I have used just about every high-end consumer video camera, I have own a GL-1 and used to own a XL-1. Get a Panisonic DVX100, the final product seriously looks like 16mm. The DVX100 has me on edge about using 16mm anymore.

Mdust
04-05-2005, 09:12 PM
If you want something that's a bit cheaper than an XL2 but with very similar picture quality I recommend a Panasonic DVX100A... although if you're not buying yet, the king of all DV camcorders is gonna be the HVX100 because of:

1080i and 720p recording

in720 in 60p, 30p and 24p,
in 480 in 60i, 30p, and 24p
either in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO

Compare that to any Canon or Sony!

http://www.dvxuser.com/V3/showthread.php?t=24050

Imagine doing 3d compositing with HD 60P footage... you could slow it right down.


How much does this cost?

If it records in DVCRPRO then it is a professional grade camera which puts it into a different class than the Canons or Sonys we are discussing.

This format is still DV though correct? Which means it is still recording in Mpeg - just based on logic ,with the info provided.

However, seeing is everything. But I do believe cost is an issue as well.

M

js33
04-06-2005, 01:15 AM
The new Panasonic camera coming out is called the HVX200 and it will be using the DVCPROHD codec so editing will be easier than the SONY HDV Mpeg2 codec. Although people using the HDV will usually convert the footage to some other intermediate codec to make editing easier such as the Apple AIC.

The HVX200 will be unique though in that it will record to P2 memory cards rather than tape.

Here's a blurb from DVXuser.com (http://www.dvxuser.com/V3/showthread.php?t=24050) and a very long thread debating and speculating on the new camera.

"Unveiling at NAB 2005, the AG-HVX200 is the professional video industry's most anticipated technology breakthrough. This revolutionary, hand-held P2 camcorder provides 1080i and 720p recording with the production proven image quality of 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD. The AG-HVX200 records on a P2 card in 1080 in 60i, 30p and 24p; in720 in 60p, 30p and 24p; in 480 in 60i, 30p, and 24p either in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO."

Cheers,
JS

Mdust
04-06-2005, 03:34 AM
DVCPRO HD!

That wasn't specified in the earlier post

Well I tip my hat to Panasonic then.

Sounds indeed intriging.

This along with what is happening in editing in HD now has a large impact on LW animators wanting to create HD content.

Also if I were planning to do any compsiting - based on what this thing actually looks like footage wise - I'd hafve to give it a strong nod.


Any idea on a price?

Mdust

T-Light
04-06-2005, 07:37 AM
Cheers for that js33 :)

Been waiting some time now for one of the big names to release an affordable piece of kit that doesn't record the d*mned output to shabby mpeg.

Mind you, for someone who finds a 30min DV tape restrictive, I might have to wait a while before getting some decent recording times out of the "P2 card".

Panny's figures for a 4GB P2 card.
--------------------

DVCPRO (25Mbps) = 16min
DVCPRO50 (50Mbps) = 8min
DVPRO HD (100Mbps) = 4min? :eek:
--------------------

At the very least, Hopefully this camera will give the market a much needed shakeup. :cool:

T-Light
04-06-2005, 07:59 AM
Addendum.

Just found this.

http://www.ag-hvx200.com/p2.html

If it's the same camera there's five P2 card slots allowing a whopping 20 minutes of footage. :o . Yeah, still not crazy about that.

Quote from a panasonic site

the AJ-P2C004 4GB and AJ-P2C002 2GB cards* will be available in May at suggested list price of CDN $2,800 and CDN $1,350 respectively

Wow, we're way of topic and cost now, that's a lot of dough.
60 mins of recordable DV tape costs less than $10
60 mins of recordable P2 (in HD res), wait for it...
$42,000

Well blow me Panny.

Solid state's definetley the way to go, but not at those prices :p

rflo
04-06-2005, 02:13 PM
... Get a Panisonic DVX100, the final product seriously looks like 16mm. The DVX100 has me on edge about using 16mm anymore.

Strongly disagree. But to each his own.

This thread is very close to crossing the point of no return when it turns into a "whose is better" war, lets not do that. The only way to trully know which camera produces the 'better' image is to go out and see for yourself. At this level they all produce great images, it just depends on what you think is 'better'.

And yes the new Panny is way off from what the OP was asking about. (although it does sound awesome)

Mdust
04-06-2005, 03:46 PM
This thread is very close to crossing the point of no return when it turns into a "whose is better" war, lets not do that....

And yes the new Panny is way off from what the OP was asking about. (although it does sound awesome)

Yea, it looks that way based on the memory price - still no post about it's actual cost though.

Well anyway - another pro camera release is not going to effect this issue if that's what it is.

Apples to oranges, I agree.

Cost of the camera anyone?

Mdust

rflo
04-06-2005, 04:36 PM
Trying to keep this one topic, if you are wanting to know more/talk about the new Panny, please go to this forum, dedicated to this camera and the P2 storage.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=80

Mdust
04-06-2005, 10:34 PM
Trying to keep this one topic, if you are wanting to know more/talk about the new Panny, please go to this forum, dedicated to this camera and the P2 storage.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=80


What are you the thread Cop?

For god's sakes man! Lighten up!

All you had to do was give a price and as far as I am concerned it's end of discussion. As if it isn't already.

Somebody brought this camera in to the foray as if it was in the same class. Anyway I don't think you can arbitrarily bend this thread. It'll go where it needs to go and in the end much will be learned.


"And for the love of god would you let the boy babysit your grandmother...."

- The late great Chris Farley

T-Light
04-09-2005, 10:00 PM
Anyway I don't think you can arbitrarily bend this thread Mdust

Ooh I dont know about that old man, but thanks for the back up :D

Pricing info on the Panny AG-HVX200. Read in a couple of places that the AG-HVX200 was going to retail at under $10,000 but no-one would be any more specific. However, If this new preview is to be believed (These people are usually pretty good), The camera is going to cost a heck of a lot less than anticipated.

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/Main%20pages/what's%20new%20pages/panasonic%20AG-HVX200.html


As for the price, it will retail for a little over 3,000

3000?
That's giving Sony's HDV a real run for it's money, if only the P2's where cheaper or there was an alternative hard drive option available.

Suppose we'll have to wait another six days for NAB to find out.

T-Light
04-09-2005, 10:59 PM
There's another HD camera appearing at NAB, the JVC GY-HD100

1080i, 720p and 24 frame, XLR inputs, interchangable lenses (comes with fujinon 16x zoom). On the downside it's HDV mpeg 2 (Same as the Sony FX1 and Pro equivalent), but other than that, like the competing Sony, it's got a lot going for it.


The expected list price, including 16x Fujinon zoom lens, will be under 4,200

Price and info from the same site as before (dvinfo.co.uk)

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/Main%20pages/what%27s%20new%20pages/GY-HD100.html

On a wider note.

JVC, Sony, Canon and others are all part of a consortium pushing HDV mpeg onto mini DV tapes. If Panasonic doesn't make the breakthrough with DVPro, we might be stuck trying to eek quality out of the Mpeg2 HDV format for many years to come.

MikeMD
04-10-2005, 11:10 PM
The expected list price, including 16x Fujinon zoom lens, will be under 4,200

That's $8000 and I believe way, way above what the starter of this thread intended to pay ( he said Xl2 was expensive and that was around $5000 ).

I don't think Panasonic can do anything for less than around that figure either, so if you want an affordable excellent all-around camera, it's still pretty much Sony pd 170 for around $3000 ( or Panasonic DVX100A if you really feel you need 24p ).

T-Light
04-11-2005, 07:16 AM
That's $8000

$8000, nah, if the original quote is correct you should be able to get it for around $6000 or less, funny things happen to the exchange rates when electricals come into the UK, we can't get anything at the prices you can in the states :(


and I believe way, way above what the starter of this thread intended to pay

OK, appologies for thread bending, just thought people might like to see where the market was going. To get back on track then, If $5000 is on the heavy side, How about the Sony HDR-FX1?

High Definition 1080i, 720i,and normal DV modes, (No 720p unfortunately)
Triple CCD's
Manual Focus
Manual Zoom
Manual Aperture
Manual Shutter
Cine Gamma's etc etc (Bristles with manual controls for just about everything)
No fancy features such as touch screen, bluetooth, stills recording to memmory stick, USB output etc, this camera simply does what it says on the tin. :)

I'm not advocating the HDV format but the features of the Sony are amazing at this price.

$3,039.00 (US) at Pricerightphoto.com
http://www.priceritephoto.com/priceritephoto/itemdesc.asp?CartId={71BA36BD-5D88-4ACE-97F8-EVERESTA858DED21AD6}&ic=SYHDRFX1
or
2,126.73 (UK) at Ebuyer.com (includes VAT)
http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?action=c2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=82392&_LOC=UK

Some in-depth reviews

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/Reviews/Camcorders/sony%20hdr-fx1%20review.html

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-HDR-FX1-First-Impression-Camcorder-Review.htm

http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/review.php?dXJsX3Jldmlld19JRD05OTc=

The quality of the HDV format is not as bad as mentioned near the start of the thread and is somewhat superior to that of HD cable/satelite broadcasting, here's a clip of a daylight fire with smoke. No artifacts, blocks etc, it's not the rippling water clip I'd really like to see made with HDV but is worth a look nonetheless.

http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=478


Here's someone who converted the FX1 to take various Nikon camera lens. :D

http://www.eidomedia.com/hdv/

Here's something slightly off topic but interesting regarding transfer from the FX1 to 35mm film
http://www.dvfilm.com/fx1/

Anyway, back to the camera, needless to say, the FX1 is a versatile beast, with a price in the range of this thread. In my opinion it's worth a look.

ps
Someone somewhere mentioned how far they'd pushed HDV in post before it broke. It wasn't very far I'm afraid, but then we all new that. It will be interesting to see if the bods that make deinterlacing software can come up with a mechanism for converting the 4:2:0/4:0:2 compression of HDV to somewhere near 4:2:2 progressive. I'm only guessing at the possibilty here, but it may give a bit more leeway for processing.

T-Light
04-11-2005, 11:46 PM
Just a quicky, was browsing through some sites and came across this. It's a framegrab from some footage shot with the Sony FX1.

The original thread with a few more scaled down images (excellent)
http://www.sonyhdvinfo.com/showthread.php?t=596

In the guys words

I shot all this in cineframe24 and +2 chroma and it looks fantastic. Notice how well the camera handles highlights. Most of it was also shot in cinematone.

Have to say I'm really impressed.

http://www.miketiffee.com/HDV/manfacefullrez.jpg

js33
04-12-2005, 12:22 AM
Yeah the FX1 is the budget HD (HDV) camera and it will probably continue to dominate in the $3000 price range. But as T-Light mentions you are stuck with Mpeg2 acquisition but it can be converted to another codec for editing. However it is only 1080i. It has a fake progressive called Cineframe but the quality of these modes means its better to just shoot 1080i. You are also limited to 4:2:0 color sampling so compositing footage and doing chromakeys is not ideal.

OK the new Pani is the way forward regarding doing away with tape. Yes the P2 cards are expensive right now but the price will only drop and capacities will only go up. Also there is rumor of other mfgs making recordable hard drives for it.

The price on the new Pani won't be known for sure until NAB. It has only been metioned it will be under $10k but no mention of how many, if any, P2 cards are included.

With the Pani you get 1080-60i, 1080-30p, 1080-24p, 720-60p, 720-30p, 720-24p, 480-60i, 480-30p, 480-24p. Needless to say no format was left out.

Also you get DVCPRO-HD 100Mb, DVCPRO50 50Mb, DVCPRO 25Mb (DV). DVCPRO is 4:2:2 color sampling and records on every frame rather than Mpeg2 which uses a 15 frame GOP meaning there is much less compression. This also means it will be easier to edit as it's compatiable with existing edit systems.

It will definately be at the higher end of the lower end HD. :D

All will be revealed at NAB.

Cheers,
JS