Jump to content


Photo

Blu-ray mastering with Hitachi palmcorder video


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Jim MacGregor

Jim MacGregor

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Producer

Posted 06 October 2009 - 01:59 PM

I've been lured out of retirement by the amazing resolution of Blu-ray technology. My first camera back in the 70's was an Ikigami 3 tube camera which we worked to death producing training videos and 1,000's of TV spots, but my Hitachi palmcorder runs rings around the Iki in terms of color and resolution.

My question is... "am I the only one naive enough to think it can be done successfully"?

I am producing a travelogue on El Valle de Anton, a mountain community situated in an extinct volcano crater in Panama.
  • 0

#2 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:52 PM

Well, you can blow standard def up and release it on blu-ray if you like!

But seriously. Yes, the modern stuff is capable of absolutely astonishing performance compared to something that cost as much as a house twenty years ago. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, though, by saying that modern HD cameras that cost as much as a house still exist and are better than your palmcorder.

Exactly how they're better is easy to define technically. From the front end back, the lenses are sharper and open up to higher F-stops, to allow for less gain (or more properly require less sensitivity, which is the same thing), reducing noise. The chips are bigger. Bigger chips (generally) means better noise floor and/or dynamic range, depending on how you choose to define these things. The chips will also be full resolution on a high end camera, whereas yours may even be a single Bayer filtered chip or an RGB block with less than 1920x1080 pixels (often they're 1440x1080 as this matches HDV recording). The processing electronics won't be quite as good, offering less controllability and more noise. And finally, the recording format will use considerably more compression.

Technical analysis aside, what tends to make the big difference is lens, chips and recording format. Lens you often can't do much about beyond try to operate it near its optimum F-stop, and protect it from situations it doesn't handle well, such as light sources in frame which may cause flaring. The chips are an absolute, and have a given sensitivity, noise floor and dynamic range which you can't alter, but which you can make the most of by setting the camera up carefully and using optical rather than electronic corrections (why amplify signals when you have plenty of light to balance things with glass). Tape (or disc) format is particularly problematic, since heavy compression can exacerbate problems with noise from the sensor, and makes postproduction corrections more difficult to unobtrusively. In some, typically studio-bound situations, you can record many of these smaller cameras uncompressed to disk arrays via their HDMI outputs, which can improve things beyond all recognition, but that's more often than not impractical.

So really it's less flexible more than it's less good (though it is less good). You have to spend more time considering approaches that will mitigate the way in which it is less good and there are more things you simply avoid doing. But with care, and this is where skill comes in, you can do quite well with them. A lot of the problem with handycams is how much manual control you get. Lock off all the irrtatingly wandery auto features and they can generally look OK.

P
  • 0

#3 Jim MacGregor

Jim MacGregor

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Producer

Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:12 PM

Well, you can blow standard def up and release it on blu-ray if you like!

But seriously. Yes, the modern stuff is capable of absolutely astonishing performance compared to something that cost as much as a house twenty years ago. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, though, by saying that modern HD cameras that cost as much as a house still exist and are better than your palmcorder.

Exactly how they're better is easy to define technically. From the front end back, the lenses are sharper and open up to higher F-stops, to allow for less gain (or more properly require less sensitivity, which is the same thing), reducing noise. The chips are bigger. Bigger chips (generally) means better noise floor and/or dynamic range, depending on how you choose to define these things. The chips will also be full resolution on a high end camera, whereas yours may even be a single Bayer filtered chip or an RGB block with less than 1920x1080 pixels (often they're 1440x1080 as this matches HDV recording). The processing electronics won't be quite as good, offering less controllability and more noise. And finally, the recording format will use considerably more compression.

Technical analysis aside, what tends to make the big difference is lens, chips and recording format. Lens you often can't do much about beyond try to operate it near its optimum F-stop, and protect it from situations it doesn't handle well, such as light sources in frame which may cause flaring. The chips are an absolute, and have a given sensitivity, noise floor and dynamic range which you can't alter, but which you can make the most of by setting the camera up carefully and using optical rather than electronic corrections (why amplify signals when you have plenty of light to balance things with glass). Tape (or disc) format is particularly problematic, since heavy compression can exacerbate problems with noise from the sensor, and makes postproduction corrections more difficult to unobtrusively. In some, typically studio-bound situations, you can record many of these smaller cameras uncompressed to disk arrays via their HDMI outputs, which can improve things beyond all recognition, but that's more often than not impractical.

So really it's less flexible more than it's less good (though it is less good). You have to spend more time considering approaches that will mitigate the way in which it is less good and there are more things you simply avoid doing. But with care, and this is where skill comes in, you can do quite well with them. A lot of the problem with handycams is how much manual control you get. Lock off all the irrtatingly wandery auto features and they can generally look OK.

P


  • 0

#4 Jim MacGregor

Jim MacGregor

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Producer

Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:34 PM

Thank you for your in-depth review. You are absolutely right about the cost differential. I paid $75,000 in 1970 dollars for the Ikigama, and $650 deflated $s for the palmcorder.

I can live with the lens clarity and low-level noise, as a travelogue is only a few steps up from a home movie. What I can't live with is the unstable camera moves (which I suspect are more the fault of the editing software, since the playback is silky-smooth on the camera). Still shots are sharp and clear, but the quality goes in the tank on pans and tilts.

My editor defaults to de-interlacing, but all I see are interlaced blurs on any camera moves. I'm going to try adding interpolation to those segments and see if it helps.

Thanks for your valued input,

Jim
  • 0

#5 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 07 October 2009 - 12:03 PM

Yes it was a mistake to get a 1080i interlaced camcorder even if its high definition. Next time try the 720p progressive format that shoots at 60 complete frames per second.
  • 0

#6 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11937 posts
  • Other

Posted 07 October 2009 - 12:06 PM

Yes it was a mistake to get a 1080i interlaced camcorder even if its high definition. Next time try the 720p progressive format that shoots at 60 complete frames per second.


Why?
  • 0


Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Opal

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Opal

Tai Audio

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine