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Z1 vs Varicam


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#1 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 09:12 PM

Was all set to make a music video on the Z1 + Mini 35 and the client has all of a sudden developed cold feet and wants it made on HD. The video is for broadcast on MTV (Digibeta PAL). How different would the quality of the Z1 be from that of the Varicam (the only other camera i have access to). Thought i would shoot both mediums and actually compare. The video will be in B&W and will have almost no other kind of effect used.
Could anyone throw some light. Hit the floor on the 21st...
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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 02:40 AM

These cameras aren?t in the same league. Varicam shooting true 24P HD. The Z1 however is very compact and flexible. Footage from the Z1 might be good enough to cut in as some cool shots in a rock video.
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#3 Joseph White

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 02:51 AM

yeah have to chime in and agree - the Z1 has its place but in terms of side-by-side quality, Varicam is a proper HD camera - not HDV which, while nice in its own right, is still recording onto mini dv.

if you're sure this is going to air, i'd shoot Varicam - put your best foot forward if you can afford it.

best of luck!
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#4 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 12:49 PM

Thanks guys, but how much difference do they make when you are finally going to down convert to Standard Definition. I understand they are not in the same league but once down converted will there be a marked difference between the two. Anyway have decided that i will film with both cameras, with the varicam as the main one obviously and the Z1 only for test reasons.
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 01:10 PM

Thanks guys, but how much difference do they make when you are finally going to down convert to Standard Definition. I understand they are not in the same league but once down converted will there be a marked difference between the two. Anyway have decided that i will film with both cameras, with the varicam as the main one obviously and the Z1 only for test reasons.



Hi,

It depends on whats in the scene! If the scenes were fairly static and the camera still the Z1 might look very good downconverted in SD. However move the camera, then try to color correct the images, you may be very disapointed. There is a good reason to pay more than ten times more for a Varicam.

Stephen
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#6 Brian Wells

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 04:12 PM

The video will be in B&W

Good. If you eliminate the (lower resolution) red and blue channels and use the (full resolution) green channel as the basis of your B&W effect, you could end up with a really, really sharp-looking master.
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#7 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 10:14 AM

If you use the Z1 I would use the black and white filter in the camera so it won't have to worry about recording color informatation and can take more bandwidth to record the rest of the picture if that makes sense.

Varicam in IMHO has great color, a much shallower depth of field, and of course the 24p film like capture.

Since you aren't using any color, and if your subject can deal with large areas in focus rather than the shallower focus seen in motion pictures, and you could deal with the reality look of 1080 interlaced capture you could go with the Z1. Though I feel as others on here that the Varicam is a much safer way to go and has the film look that is standard in music videos.

Any SLOWMO? Then go with Varicam which can shoot upto 60fps!
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#8 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 02:44 PM

Thanks John, but we will be using the mini 35 with Nikkor Lenses so am not worried about the DoF, can replicate that part of the look with the lenses we have. Will try it with the black & white setting in the camera, have two days of test before we actually get down to filming.

There is no slo mo.

We are doing a day with the Z1 and the next with the Varicam, the Z1 day being a dress rehersal.
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#9 s_walker

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 12:22 AM

Q: " If you eliminate the (lower resolution) red and blue channels and use the (full resolution) green channel as the basis of your B&W effect, you could end up with a really, really sharp-looking master."

Why so? How is this possible?
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#10 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 12:17 AM

I think he means if you eliminate the color in camera it will give the MPEG2 codec less to deal with allowing it to record more info about just the picture.
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 08:00 AM

Hi,

I think the point here is that if you eliminate the colour from a 4:2:2 image, you end up with an effectively 4:4:$ mono result.

I'd do this by averaging RGB, though, not simply by discarding the UV channels, as I think you'd then run into compression artifacts that might otherwise be averaged out to invisibility.

Phil
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#12 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 05:32 PM

if you're editing/onlining in final cut pro you can use my free black and white filter plugin. it lets you select which channels to use for the black and white conversion, and how much of each. using the green only indeed makes the image much sharper although i like to mix in some red for better skintones. i usually drop the blue altogether.

http://www.mattias.nu/plugins/

/matt
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#13 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 09:44 AM

Thanks Everybody, Thanks Mattias

The day we started shooting we decided to keep the video in colour - although very desaturated. Shot day #1 with the HVR Z1 + Mini 35 + Nikkor lenses and day 2 with the Varicam + Angineux + Arri Lenses. The conclusion everybody on our end has come to is that there isn't a remarkable difference (as different as their prices are) in quality of video when viewed off the monitor. It may be a totally different story when blown to 35 mm. But anyways we have finally decided to mix both mediums. The Mini 35 + Nikkor makes all the difference i suppose. Will try and put up the video once we finish the post.

Planning to use the HVR - Z1 for a TVC Production in a weeks time. This time we will go with only one camera and lot more light :)
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#14 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 11:27 PM

Did you not notice the difference in the interlaced image from the z1 and the progressive image from the varicam ?
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#15 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 12:50 PM

Yes we did. They looked very close while digitising - but the moment we start working on them the HDV footage tends to take a huge beating - maybe it had something to do with the way we used it on the same timeline on FCP - but all the shots with movement started to go soft - so we had to take out what looked like very good footage while digitising and replace it with footage from the varicam. At the end of it - we now have two HDV shots of approx a second each in a 4 minute video.
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#16 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 04:26 AM

Yes we did. They looked very close while digitising - but the moment we start working on them the HDV footage tends to take a huge beating - maybe it had something to do with the way we used it on the same timeline on FCP - but all the shots with movement started to go soft - so we had to take out what looked like very good footage while digitising and replace it with footage from the varicam. At the end of it - we now have two HDV shots of approx a second each in a 4 minute video.

Wow Sony HDV not ready for prime time. Could you post a link to the finished video?
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#17 Matt Jeppsen

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:11 AM

They looked very close while digitising - but the moment we start working on them the HDV footage tends to take a huge beating - maybe it had something to do with the way we used it on the same timeline on FCP - but all the shots with movement started to go soft - so we had to take out what looked like very good footage while digitising and replace it with footage from the varicam.


Abraham, can you provide a few more details of the path you took acquiring and editing the HDV footage? Did you capture the HDV footage native, or convert to an intermediate codec? On the FCP timeline, how did you deal with the HDV footage being interlaced, while the was Varicam progressive? You say in reference to the HDV footage "all the shots with movement started to go soft". Was that movement inordinately fast?
Sorry for the barrage of queries, just trying to understand the details. Thanks!
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#18 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:08 PM

Abraham, can you provide a few more details of the path you took acquiring and editing the HDV footage? Did you capture the HDV footage native, or convert to an intermediate codec? On the FCP timeline, how did you deal with the HDV footage being interlaced, while the was Varicam progressive? You say in reference to the HDV footage "all the shots with movement started to go soft". Was that movement inordinately fast?
Sorry for the barrage of queries, just trying to understand the details. Thanks!




We grabbed it through fire wire and converted it to DVCPro HD 1080i 50 - everything was fine at this stage - the image was as sharp as what we saw on the monitor while filming.

The Varicam footage was 1080i 50

There was no fast movements at all - in fact some of them were almost still images - but for some strange reason - when the whole edit was down converted to a PAL timeline - the image went soft.

Will post the video - once the record label lets us.

Cheers
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#19 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 04:56 PM

We grabbed it through fire wire and converted it to DVCPro HD 1080i 50 - everything was fine at this stage - the image was as sharp as what we saw on the monitor while filming.

The Varicam footage was 1080i 50

Are you sure it was a Varicam? On Panasonics webpage for the Varicam it says " Recording Format DVCPRO HD (720/60P, 720P/59.94P)" Nothing about 1080i 50. Could you have mistaken Panasonics 1080i camera http://catalog2.pana...Model=AJ-HDX400
for a Varicam?
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#20 Abraham Cherian

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:35 PM

Are you sure it was a Varicam? On Panasonics webpage for the Varicam it says " Recording Format DVCPRO HD (720/60P, 720P/59.94P)" Nothing about 1080i 50. Could you have mistaken Panasonics 1080i camera http://catalog2.pana...Model=AJ-HDX400
for a Varicam?


Very sure it was a Varicam. The VTR - the 1200 lets you choose between 1080i and 720. Thats why the 1080i timeline in FCP. Have done 6 varicam projects all of them with the same workflow.
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