Student Filmmaker: to HD OR SD?

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    • #43572

      I’m looking at 2 cameras. The Sony FX7 or the Panasonic DVX100B. The FX7 is HD but the DVX100 is packed full of extra features (xlr inputs and 24p). It seems to me that HD is getting cheaper and easier to edit, but how much more will I have to invest? I assume I’ll have to upgrade my computer to go HD. Is the picture quality worth it. The DVX100 has great reviews across the board, its just not HD. PLEASE HELP. Thanks!

    • #182750

      GRZA Wrote:

      Student Filmmaker

      Your medium doesn’t matter so much as the story you tell. Some great films were shot on 8mm film, with some very horrible ones shot on oversized film. Some great TV shows were made in the black and white NTSC days, while some very horrible ones were made recently with overpriced film-simulating HD gear.

    • #182751

      So, you’re attending film school somewhere? If so, check with an instructor to see if student projects are being shot in SD or HD. If in SD, the DVX100 is a very versitile, professional camcorder. Ive heard of people shooting on it, then having a lab convert the video to HD (not the same as shooting in HD, but not too bad).

      I recently participated in a video contest (San Diego 48 Hour Film Project), in which everyone was encouraged to shoot wide-screen, even if shooting SD. I did so with my Panasonic DVC30 (kind of a little brother of the DVX100), and was surprised how good it looked on the big screen in the theater. All SD entries had been somehow "converted" to HD, and the theater had a Sony 4K projector. Of course, the few entries that were shot in HD looked amazing.

      If you’re going HD, you might consider the Sony A1U, their least expensive true professional camcorder.

      Have fun with whatever you choose! πŸ™‚
      Ken Hull

    • #182752

      I think Ken gives good advice in recommending the A1U. I would buy a DVX100 before buying an FX series model. I just saw some very scarry looking images from an FX while panning, it was actually useless footage in my opinion. There is also the Sony HVR-V1U that will shoot HD in 24p and also has XLR’s, but you’re looking at an extra $1000-$1500.

      HD’s picture quality is worth it and though you can edit HD on today’s latest home computer, it will be well worth it to invest as much as you can in upgrades. (RAM, Processor and most importantly…VIDEO CARD) A good video card will limit the HD headaches. It’s also important to note that HD is terrible in low lighting. You will want to make sure you have a good lighting kit…which I’m sure you have access to since you are a film student.

      Best Regards,


    • #182753

      cprybicki Wrote:

      I would buy a DVX100 before buying an FX series model. I just saw some very scarry looking images from an FX while panning, it was actually useless footage in my opinion.

      HDV cameras do tend to ‘smear’ panned images more than DV cameras, but one way to minimize that would be to record in widescreen DV mode. The DVX100 is a very capable camera but inherently limited in an era when more and more content is viewed widescreen. You can generate widescreen footage from the DVX100 but that’s not a particularly good option – better to buy an HVX100 if you like the look of images from Panasonic cameras.

      I own two Sony FX1s and an HC1 and don’t recommend the A1U as a primary camera – images are too noisy in dim lighting. I’d suggest either the Sony V1U or Canon XH-A1, which offer both HDV and DV recording with XLR inputs and good recording controls.

    • #182754

      I would definately say get an HD camcorder and shoot in HD all the time.

      If you need SD footage, you can covert the footage from HD to SD and it will look better than if it was orginally shot in SD.

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