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How does it hold up?


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#1 Mark Allen

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:13 AM

I have shot a couple things with the HVX200 now but I've never had the chance to see it projected on a theatrical sized screen. How does it hold up?

Even on SD it leans towards a little gain it seems... but sometimes I find that HDcam does as well. Anyone have experience with it?
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#2 David Gottlieb

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 12:23 AM

How amazingly stupid this sounds... the easiest way is to see Jackass Number Two. If you can stomach your way through creatively brutal forms of self-torture for about 40 minutes, there is one (confirmed) shot with the HVX - almost all the rest is from other HD or SD cameras. The reason I knew was they had multiple cameras and was able to see the actual camera and the gold DVCPRO-HD logo on the veiwfinder and match it to the shot by the direction it was pointing.

The shot is the successful launch of Johnny Knoxville's rocket replayed in slow motion (but not perfect slo-mo like the camera is capable of) - when I saw it, I was impressed - the colors were much more vibrant and it looked much cleaner than any of the other footage from the movie. You could tell it was the money shot. I still think the camera is capable of even better - they weren't going for asthetics here - but it still was a very impressive shot on a full-size screen. This is the one shot that I can confirm without asking the projectionist to hold a frame so I could see which cameras they were using in each scene. Their standards seemed to be Sony Z1Us.

It actually was a funny movie, if you suspended all moral judgment for an hour and a half (that's what Knoxville told us to do before it started). But this is the easiest way to answer your question (comparing it to film is moot - I think digital and film will never look identical anyways) - it didnt look like video and didnt look like film but rather a clean, detailed and colorful image (I love 4:2:2). Now go see it for yourself!

I have shot a couple things with the HVX200 now but I've never had the chance to see it projected on a theatrical sized screen. How does it hold up?

Even on SD it leans towards a little gain it seems... but sometimes I find that HDcam does as well. Anyone have experience with it?


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#3 Markford Astina

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 10:45 AM

What great detective work to try and figure out the shot of HVX for the Jackass movie.

But a question:

Could it be possible though that they would be shooting using the DV mode of this cam. Since I would think it would be a more sensible and economical way of shooting for this type of a production. Meaning 60+ minutes on a DV tape versus a few miutes using the P2 cards? (just doing a little bit of detective work myself :D )

I've worked with the HVX a couple of times and it is quite noisy. Although I have only used them in HD mode. So wouldn't be sure if there would be a difference in terms of picture quality with regards to the visibility of noise when shooting in DV mode.

Which leads me to this obvious if not repetetive question:
Is there a difference between picture noise shot on the HD mode as opposed to the DV mode on the this camera?

Anyways, I know of a production who used this cam, which is currently in it's final stages for film transfer - will let you know of their results as soon as I find out.

Thanks.
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#4 David Gottlieb

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 01:51 AM

I considered it also, but the quality of the shot and how it looked different (smoother like they only slowed it down a little when it was going less than half speed) than the other slow motion shots made me think otherwise. I own the camera and while noise is certainly there, on a bright sunny day you're not going to find much of it. This camera shows very very little noise when a lot of light (aka sunlight or a well-lit room) is present. The moment you hit 'open' with no filters, you'll start to see it, although by having it open the shallow DOF helps blur any noise not on the subject and helps the image tremendously (I just shot a whole documentary that way). I personally barely use DV unless forced to - the HD DOF and 4:2:2 is more than worth the hassle, so can't answer the noise question there.

The color looked too good for 4:1:1 SD but it is possible - my guess is they wanted it as a slow-motion cam (probably 720/24pN) since there were two other cams next to it getting the same shot, and both weren't HVXs. Also, the footage struck me as familiar, but you never know! Let me know about your friend's transfer!

Could it be possible though that they would be shooting using the DV mode of this cam. Since I would think it would be a more sensible and economical way of shooting for this type of a production. Meaning 60+ minutes on a DV tape versus a few miutes using the P2 cards? (just doing a little bit of detective work myself :D )

I've worked with the HVX a couple of times and it is quite noisy. Although I have only used them in HD mode. So wouldn't be sure if there would be a difference in terms of picture quality with regards to the visibility of noise when shooting in DV mode.

Which leads me to this obvious if not repetetive question:
Is there a difference between picture noise shot on the HD mode as opposed to the DV mode on the this camera?

Anyways, I know of a production who used this cam, which is currently in it's final stages for film transfer - will let you know of their results as soon as I find out.

Thanks.


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#5 Markford Astina

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 11:47 PM

Hey David,

There are a lot of things I like about the HVX:

-color rendtion is absolutely beautiful and very film like
-you can shoot true 24fps
-you can overcrank the image for slow-mo
-the compression scheme being DVC proHD is a lot less compressed than HDV
-the color space being 4:2:2 as opposed to HDV's 4:2:0

The HVX is truly a wonderful camera.

I know this is a bit off-topic but, am considering purchasing a camera. And was considering between the HVX and the Z1.

One question for you:

What are the specs of your editing machine?

DVC proHD being a 100mbps data stream, can it be edited through firewire 400 hassle free? Or would you need at least firewire 800 or maybe a RAID setup?

What was your workflow during your documentary shoot with regards to data management? Did you have the P2store? Or a firestore? How many gigs where your P2cards? Would you have done anything different to improve your workflow for your next shoot?

How much space and storage did you use for your documentary? What was the lenght and it's equivalent data size of the raw footages of your documenatry? What was the lenght of the final output?

Can DVC proHD be edited over firewire 400 without hassles? Or would you need a RAID setup?

Being an owner of the HVX - you would be the right person to ask, since you would have quite a good idea of the ups and downs - ins and outs of the whole workflow of the cam.

There quite a few questions here. :D


Oh, and okay, just so that we can pretend that I'm still 'On topic':

I will get back to you and perhaps even post some of the film transferred screen grabs of the Panavision HVX originited feature.


Thanks.
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#6 Markford Astina

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 11:58 PM

Sorry fo the repeat question,

What was meant to be in place of the repeat question was this:

I've only ever used the HVX in a TV commercial production environment - so everything was hassle free, since the production house had all the necessary equipment to handle the job.

But owning it would be different - since your major concern would be to get the best quality and smoothest workflow for a smaller price (which could mean the bare essentials, which you could upgrade later on).


Thanks again.
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#7 David Gottlieb

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 01:42 AM

Ready for a surprise?

The DVCPRO-HD is easier to edit for NLEs than HDV.

Since there is only frame-by frame compression (as opposed to HDV's mpeg2 sequences intraframe compression), it is less demanding on your editor to review and alter footage (compression may be longer though). I edit in Final Cut on a Macbook Pro with simple firewire400 drives (not even RAID) and have zero issues - I edit in real time (supposedly even iBook G4s can handle the footage okay) and love the workflow.

I have used Firestore, and while it does work, I broke the bank getting the camera and a microphone (worth the investment on both counts) and had one 4 GB card to go on for the entire time. Since it was a single location documentary, I would film on 720/24pN which is a 10 minute/4 GB ratio (and actually only a 40 mbps stream while maintaining full quality), then offload straight to my internal drive in my laptop via firewire, requiring me to film for 10 minutes and then pause for 5 to offload. Not the perfect solution, but I still managed to get about 35-40 minutes of footage per hour. I bought a 100 GB bus-powered external hard drive and have used that to subsequently offload the footage off the computer (you can do it straight from camera but it takes longer than a firewire transfer). Then I had two single drive 500 GBs to offload to where I was staying. Next time I hope to have the cineporter and/or the upcoming expresscard34-to-PCMCIA card reader for switching out P2 cards.

I unfortunately havent edited the documentary yet, so I don't know about output, but of the other HVX projects I've done in the same mode, you will need substantial space to make a pure output; however, the Compressor software (5.1.1 has some major DVCPRO improvements for people who tell you otherwise) does a wonderful DVD transfer that takes about 3 hours straight from timeline per 10 minutes on maximum quality settings (2-VBR 90 min best quality). Get a couple 500 GB separate hard drives and you should be set - the preferred setup actually is to back up everything onto DVD-Rs, but I just keep two hard drives in separate locations.

The Z1.
Say goodbye to easy key-ing and greenscreening. I have some poor friends who have been greenscreening ever since Star Wars came into theatres and they could barely get a greenscreen shot to pass on the Z1, even after using 5 different software programs. A Sony rep even told them the camera won't do it well. Their solution was to uprez the Z1 footage to 4:2:2 and then work with it - what you start with on the HVX.
With HDV, it will be easier to record for longer, but very very hard to manipulate in post.
But for event shoots it is a pain without a Firestore. Unless you can invest in several P2 cards, Firestore, the upcoming Cineporter, or will be tied to a laptop with a Hard Drive (for capture you should get RAID and no daisy chaining!), long recording times are hard. But the footage that does come out is well worth the effort. It's already being used in TV shows for handheld shots. And the camera has even more shooting frame-rate modes than it advertises - Barry Green's HVX book that now comes with the camera shows how to get double the advertised framerates out of the camera. Personally couldn't be happier, but I can't do event stuff until another $1,500, which is the tradeoff (unless they provide the firestores). For me the system worked fine, the shallow DOF that comes out of this camera can be stunning, and it has great glass. Depends on what you need it for; easy capture, or easy edit. Hope that helps!
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#8 Markford Astina

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 02:11 AM

Thanks David!

This helps a lot!

I'm thinking to purchase a presonal cam and at the moment that desicion is tipping towards the HVX.

I have one more question though, hope you don't mind.....

Just want to clear things up.

When I shot the TVCs we shot using the 720/24p (or so I thought) coz when we got to the editing machine the converted Quicktime files (from MXF) had a frame rate of 59.94fps.

Did the camera tech mess up? (The cam is quite new here locally)

Isn't the converted MXF file supposed to have 23.978 fps?

Or does one need to do this in the Final Cut (reverse pulldown through Cinema Tools)?

Or does it have anything to do with the 'n' feature (720/24pn).

Thanks again. :)
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#9 David Gottlieb

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 06:17 PM

720/24p is an over 60p (59.94) setting with a 2:3 duplication built into the camera.
1080/24pA is over 60p setting with an advanced 2:3:3:2 duplication built into the camera.

Both of those are like normal tape-derived framerates like you find on the Varicam (all tapes are 59.94) Still 24 frames, but with duplication.

720/24pN is a P2-only mode where the camera doesnt duplicate any frames. Since it's recording to flash and doesnt need to go to tape, it only writes the actual 24 frames sans duplication of any kind. This also takes up 40% of the room on the P2 cards compared to the normal 'p' framerates (for 720/30pN it saves half the space). This is also where you can do slow motion - in this mode it will play back in 24p/second no matter what frame rate you choose (e.g. choose 48p/s in 720/24pN and it will play back half speed). Since now its only recording the necessary frames, with 48p/s selected it will take up 80% of space on the cards (or computer HD or upcoming Cineporter which acts like a giant P2 card).
Using the intravolmeter is only in over 60 modes, but all slow motion in camera and all space saving modes are 720/24pN & 720/30pN ( you can set it to 720/60p and change frame rates to get super-fast motion if you're going from a 59.94p timeline.)

Hope that clears things up and good luck!

Edited by David Gottlieb, 28 September 2006 - 06:18 PM.

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#10 Michael Schrengohst

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 09:52 PM

Hello,
Some fellow shooters suggested I find out what is going on over here.
I have a stock footage site and the HVX200 is the camera being
used by 90% of the shooters on my site....
They are really tweaking on the camera to deliver some great footage.
I shoot a few projects here and there but devote most of my time to the
site. So I don't get banned here, you all can come visit us and I would
be more than happy to answer your questions!
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#11 David Gottlieb

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 10:14 PM

If you guys wanted a genuine digital projection of the HVX, here's your chance, 220 theatres nationwide :D

http://bigscreenboxo...asp?EventID=606

I was one of the 5 cameras at this shoot (I posted under the comedy shoot topic about it). Supposedly ads for this are already playing in theatres, but know that every camera except for the crane cam was an HVX shooting (almost entirely) 1080/24pA (there was a broken firestore midway that necessitated some tape but not on the main cams).

The full discussion is here: http://www.dvxuser.c...ead.php?t=76284

It's a one-time only thing, this Thursday November 9th at 7:30pm. I suggest going simply on Josh Blue's merits - he's a gifted comedian and I had to struggle not to laugh at the jokes even during the second show. Cheers!
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#12 David Gottlieb

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 12:30 AM

Wow. Such a clean image - the gain complaints are irrelevant - I couldn't even see it AT ALL and we didnt alter factory settings whatsoever - what this camera is capable of even projected at 720 is astounding - color rendition was beautiful and shadows had tons of detail with no visual artifacts. To think with tinkering what it could produce... I've seen HDV stuff before and there's no comparison. Just astounded - looked like Collateral minus Tom Cruise and excessive gain to no ends. Highest recommendation (and yes, I'm biased. I have justification to be)
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#13 Michael Schrengohst

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 12:45 AM

Hello David,
Thanks for the report....I want to see that show when it comes to DVD...we are wraping up an edit for a 5 screen plasma show,
all shot with the HVX....yes HDV does not compare.
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