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I’ve heard that the next new Sony cameras will ship around February, but I don’t think anyone knows for sure yet. If the HD1000 has a single 1/3″ CMOS sensor I’ll be skeptical about the low-light performance and wouldn’t order one without testing that first – even the EX1 tends to be noisy in poor light with three 1/2″ CMOS chips.
You can’t currently buy burners for the HD-DVD format, but you can put short HD-DVD projects onto standard (red laser) DVDs using your existing burner and that will probably work. Or you canbuy a Blu-ray burner in either internal or external versions, such as shown at the Google search link below. Just remember that people with HD-DVD players can’t play Blu-ray discs, and vice-versa.
There’s a definite benefit for producing widescreen SD output, which most DV-only cameras aren’t designed to do well. For standard 4:3 output the difference may not be much, but it doesn’t hurt to start with higher quality HD source. Bottom line: you lose nothing by shooting in HD and gain a lot more flexibility in terms of delivery options for both widescreen and 4:3 display.
Thank you Kevin! Do you happen to know what file extension you would need to have on the file for the PS3 to read it? Do you think Pinnacle 11 would be able to create / render a file like that?
The PS3 can play pretty much any standard MPEG2 file, using file extensions like M2P (SD) or M2T (HD). The video also has to be in a folder labeled “video” on a disk or drive with FAT32 formatting. Pinnacle should be able to create such files but I haven’t seen the latest version to confirm what output options it has.
“I’ve heard that 720p can be sharper than 1080i. Is this true?”
In general you could say that 720p produces sharper still frames while 1080ihas more overall detail with smoother motion, but a lot depends on the specific camera you’re using and how you’re processing and playing the footage. Among inexpensive HD cameras the ones with the sharpest images are the Sony EX1, then the Canon HDV cameras, followed by the JVC andSony HDV modelsand finally the Panasonic HVX200. But image sharpness isn’t everything either, and a lot of people like the Panasonic camera because of the overall “look” it produces.
“What is HDV like to edit? Can you edit it in realtime using Adobe Premiere or Final Cut? Also, how is the render time? “
Depending on who you ask HDV editing is manageable on a modern dual-core or multi-processor computer, but it helps a lot to convert it first to an “intermediate” editing codec like Cineform Aspect HD, Edius HQ or Apple ProRes. This increases the file sizes by about 3X from 12 GB/hour to ~40 GB/hour, and takes a lot of load off the processors to smooth out the editing. Rendering your final HD output can be painfully time-consuming depending on the software you’re using and your choice of output formats. I just made my first Blu-ray disc this week and it took a full day to render and transcode the video and author and burn the first disc, but it can be evenworse than that if you’re rendering to formats like WMV-HD or H.264. All things considered HD production is more time-consuming than SD production, so you need to be smart about how to handle that.
I upgraded from a Canon GL1/GL2 to two Sony FX1s and have mostly been quite happy with the results. The main drawback with all current low-cost HD cameras is that they’re not particularly good in dim lighting, but this isn’t necessarily a big deal if you’re careful and learn your camera’s limits.
Regarding the Panasonic HVX200, note that the resolution of the sensors in this camera is only 960×540 pixels, and in real-world tests the discernible resolution of recorded footage was basically the same as good SD cameras. Recording inHD modeon the HVX200 also requires the use of memory cards which currently cost over $50 per MINUTE of recording capacity at full quality, compared to a few bucks per hour for HDV. (Or you can use a Firestore hard-disk recorder with the HVX200, which costs about $2000 for 100 minutes of recording.)
The Sony EX1 will be the hot camera of 2008 but costs $6500 with a memory card that only holds 25 minutes of footage, and extra cards cost about $18 per minute of recording capacity. This makes HDV the obvious choice for anyone of modest means, and the best cameras to consider for this format are as follows:
Sony FX1 and Z1U (same basic camera with different features)
Sony V1U (similar to above but with CMOS sensor instead of CCD and better zoom range)
Canon XH-A1 (better value than the Sonys but trickier to use in dim lighting)
JVC HD110U (shoulder-mount design with manual-focus-only lens and 720p recording)
Personally I’d recommend either the FX1 or the XH-A1, or the JVC if you like shoulder-mounted cameras and don’t care for autofocus. For HDVediting try Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas or Grass Valley Edius on PCs, or Final Cut Studio on Macs.
The PS3 won’t play a disc intended for HD-DVD players, but it can play HD content rendered as a computer file in MPEG2 format with an appropriate file extension. Even better, it can play that directly from an external USB2 hard drive (with FAT32 formatting) or from its own internal hard drive or wireless computer network, so you don’t have to burn any kind of disc to play your edited HD videos. There are some steps to learn to make all this work but it’s not particularly difficult, and at $399 for the new base-model PS3 that’s a good deal for both SD and HD video playback. (The SD upsampling is very good.)
If money is tight try making widescreen SD DVDs at a high bit rate and play those on a good upsampling DVD player via HDMI to your HDTV. This isn’t as good as HD but looks nice compared to most standard SD playback options.
One thing to think about if it matters to you is the V1U will give you better results in darker shooting situations.
One advantage of the larger sensor in this case.
Correction: it’s the FX1 which has the larger sensors and hence better low-light response. Also note that a larger sensor gives you better depth of field control, which is something I noticed when I switched from my Canon GL1/GL2 (1/4" sensor) to the Sony FX1 (1/3" sensor).
I’d say go with the Sony FX1 for better low-light response over the FX7, which uses a different type of sensor. I’ve used the FX1 for everything including stage plays, and it works well under a wide range of conditions. But keep in mind that a better camera may not solve all your image quality issues – you’ll still need to work on shot composition, audio quality, editing, etc. For audio on the FX1 you can add an XLR adapter if necessary.
Well, I’m into special effects, with lots of chromakey shots. If you’re not, then maybe the PMW-EX1 would be the perfect camcorder.
Hey Sony, how about coming out with an EX1a, modified to encode 4:2:2 ?
A lot of people have been asking that, but if you take a closer look this isn’t necessarily a big deal. The EX1 has 1920×1080 pixel sensors which generate 960×540 color samples per frame after processing into 4:2:0 color, while the HVX200 only has 960×540 pixel sensors to start with and hence can’t generate any more color detail except by interpolation. The HVX may have a slight advantage due to using I-frame recording rather than GOP-based, but in practice the EX1 should hold its own for most purposes. We’ll see for sure once the EX1 is shipping, but I don’t think too many people will complain about its quality for chromakeying purposes.
As far as price is concerned, the EX1 is potentially cheaper than the HVX200 if you need more than a few minutes worth of recording memory. The EX1 with three hours’ worth of SxS cards will cost less than $10K (using three 16GB cards plus the 8GB that comes with the camera), while an HVX200 with three hours worth of P2 cards currently costs as much as $15K depending on what recording mode you use.
Do they expect the home user to plop the camcorder on the floor in front of the TV to watch everything they have recorded?
As far as I can tell that’s how most consumers watch all of their home movies, unless they use VHS-C cameras or ones which record to mini-DVDs. Some video cameras even come with a remote control so you can advance or rewind as needed without getting up from the couch, and that’s not a bad solution compared to buying a special deck.
I got an email from B&H today saying that they’re taking pre-orders for the Sony EX1 camera, but it’s not in stock yet. By the way, it looks like I was wrong about the cost of memory for the EX1, which will be basically the same as P2 at $900 for 16 GB – but you’ll get 50 minutes of recording time for that price instead of 15 minutes.
Early reviews of the EX1 suggest that it’s the new camera to beat for under $10,000. The sensor has 4 times the resolution of the one in the HVX200 and it’s better in low light situations, plus it has a unique combination of auto-focus and manual focus features which should appeal to a wide range of users. The main drawback of the EX1 for some will be that it’s not a shoulder-mounted camera, but then neither is the HVX.September 21, 2007 at 2:11 PM in reply to: Getting back into vid-which camera, format rules now? #171760
Be proactive, once you provide online video for 1 client and they invite 300 of their offline/online friends, then business starts being generated. Market it by saying this is new, no one has it. Market it to the younger crowd, people who have online habits. Don’t wait until someone asks you, offer it to them so that you are very far ahead of your competition.
Now that I can relate to, plus the possibility of enabling downloads to people’s cell phones and portable video players. It just doesn’t mean that discs are going away…
P.S. Java programming can play a role in advanced HD disc design, but it’s not required for making a basic disc.September 21, 2007 at 1:49 PM in reply to: Getting back into vid-which camera, format rules now? #171758
Why is it so difficult to hire a professional web developer to create your online media?
It’s not, and it’s not really that hard to do your own web site – I was just giving you a little ribbing for saying we need to learn Java programming in order to make a Blu-ray disc.
I think it’s a fine idea to use the internet in any way which is useful to customers and your business, but let’s not get carried away implying that online video is ready to replace disc-based delivery. I don’t have any customers of any age yet who have asked to forego physical delivery of their paid video projects, but I can see it becoming increasingly valuable to offer both disc-based and non-disc options.September 21, 2007 at 12:10 PM in reply to: Getting back into vid-which camera, format rules now? #171756
I value video very much, and am building a business online based on what I believe. The more people are able to share it, the more likely they will pay for high quality edited footage.
Online video is definitely a growing trend, but it’s not likely to replace disc-based distribution any time soon – especially for high definition content. The important thing here is the comment that starting with high-quality source is desirable regardless of your final intended output, whether it be at low resolution on the internet or otherwise. If you use HD cameras you can deliver quality suitable for anything from a Blu-ray disc to a video iPod; if you don’t use HD cameras you’ll miss out on the growing market for HD discs.
So you can spend the $15-30 for each of these blank disks today. And the $800-1000 player. Learn java to create your navigation for these one way optical disks. Get a thousand dollar computer to edit in high def. Purchase software which allows editing in high def. Hope your client gets a thousand dollar flat screen to appreciate your high def work. And sell to that 1 person who can consume your media. Or create your process and workflow and deliver it online.
Right, let’s all learn to be web programmers so we can post our videos online with marginal quality and then have that pirated to the entire world for free. Not that disc-based distribution will prevent piracy, but at least people who buy discs will pay something for them when many online users won’t – or will maybe pay $1.99 for a download if they’re feeling generous. Seriously though, it’s a fair point that online distribution is a useful option to consider, but it won’t eliminate disc-based distribution in the next few years. So just do both…