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PD 170, DSR 250 viewfinder discrepancy


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#1 michael scannell

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 03:03 PM

I work at Austin Community College and have noticed something starnge with our cameras.

Has anyone ever noticed that the viewfinder on sony's stuff doesn't show the entire frame? When I hook up any of ACC's seven pd170s or the DSR 250 to a projector or in Final Cut Pro there is more video on the left and right edges of the frame than what is shown in the camera's viewfinder.

I noticed because students started bringing in footage where cables and booms were visible on the extreme left and right edges of the frame when editing their footage. Then I did a test and there is a little bit less shown on the edge of the frame in these camera's viewfinders than what I see in the computer and on a video projector. That does not seem right. Has anyone ever noticed this when using either of these Sony cameras? Just thought someone may be able to shed some light on this strange discrepancy I am seeing.
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#2 Alvin Pingol

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:28 PM

Hello "scanny,"

What you're experiencing directly relates to something called overscan, and is not specific to Sony cameras. Overscan exists so that CRT monitors wouldn't show black borders at the edges of the frame. If memory serves me right, the action-safe area of the frame (where to keep your subjects such as that they will not be cut off by overscan) is 5% inwards from each edge, with the title-safe area being 10% in from each edge. You should enable the safe zone markers in your NLE. I typically try to keep most of the action within the title-safe zone, since consumer television sets greatly differ in the amount they overscan, varying from manufacturer to manufacturer (and model to model).

Professional video monitors have the ability to underscan, or show the entire frame. You will also be seeing the entire frame when you import footage onto your computer (with typical overscan being denoted by the safe-zone makers). When looking through the viewfinder of these SD cameras, the image is set up such as that it will represent what you see on an SD television set (i.e. one that will have an overscanned image). Thus, you will see more around the edges while editing than you will through the VF or a television set.

People will not see the equipment in the footage unless they watch it on a computer monitor, professional video monitor, a video projector showing full frame, or any other device capable of underscan. If this worries you, matte out the overscan area; though there will now be black borders around the edges, chances are you wont see them on a monitor that overscans (e.g. television set).

Just remember that when looking through the VF, there is still "more" image around the edges. Compensate for it and frame tighter, or move equipment further back, or whatever you need to do.

Please try to sign your posts with your real name. Set it up as a signature to make it easier. Thanks,
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#3 Alvin Pingol

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:32 PM

And don't crosspost PLEASE! Or else you make people like me write long responses to questions that have already been answered in another thread.

Meh.
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#4 Bob Hayes

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 12:28 AM

I got really burned on a XL 1 shoot. Framed carefully and when they transferred to final cut the boom was in. Go figure. I haven?t worked for those guys since. And they were looking at monitor. It was in Under Scan so no one saw it. The SONY Z1U has an over scan toggle so you can check.
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