If only it wasn’t Sony

I know that Sony announced the HVR-DR60 harddisk recorder a week or so ago, but I hadn’t seen a good picture until today. Darn that’s a nice looking DDR.

I mean, it’s totally useless, but darn it sure does look nice.


Useless for me at least. Perhaps you’ll find it to be a world full of happy. It’s M2T and AVI only, and likely won’t support anything like Canon’s 24F or JVC’s 24p. So, FCP users are out in the cold.

As I say, I wouldn’t give it a second thought if it wasn’t such a darn nice looking product. Sigh.

Oh, it’s also FAT32. It’s time for FAT32 to die. Yes, I know, it’s the only truly cross-platform disk format. Frankly, I’d much rather a device that gave me the choice to run the disk in NTFS or HFS+. Generally, when I’m out shooting, I know whether I’ll be hooking the drive up to a Mac or a PC. Since these are all using Linux under the hood, it shouldn’t be too difficult – Linux can more or less write to both NTFS and HFS these days. Getting rid of the 2gb file limit would be a dream.

Done with that then…

Off Topic: Espionage Anyone?

So, every day I read through the press releases from a bunch of the companies in this field – Sony, Canon, Panasonic, etc. So, today I came across the Canon PC170 personal copier. There may be similar things out there, but this is just so cool.

So here’s my plan: I’m going to get some sunglasses, a nice suit and a PC170. Then I’ll sneak into the base of the evil supervillian and escape with the plans for the moon rocket. Muahahaha.

Step one: sunglasses.

A1Us in the Hiz-ouse

Man, I’m so cool with the titles.

Anyways, we’ve procured a few Sony HVR-A1U cameras, to replace our dying PDX-10s. We’ve got three out of four at this point, after a protracted battle with Sony. Sony apparently forgot to keep making them or something, so everywhere on the planet ran out of them. Bummer.

In any case, three of the cameras are here. And what do I think? Follow the jump!

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Sony HVR-V1U drops

Can someone explain to me what Sony’s prefixing is all about? They just announced the V1U, the successor to the Z1U. So far, they haven’t made any changes to the A1U. So the V is better than the Z and also better than the A. Obvious eh?

In any case. Here it is, the V1U. The gist? It’s a tarted up FX7, as we might have expected following the announcement of the FX7 at IBC. The only major difference is that instead of the pseudo-24p stuff from the Z1, it’s go true progressive chips (CMOS not CCD). Interestingly, Sony derides those crummy old “progressive-look” systems in their press release.

A few interesting things to go along with it. First, it can apparently run at hi-speed, 240fields per second, and record that to the normal 60i tape. That’s a VERY cool feature – true slow mo without laying down for the HVX-200.

They’re also pushing a 60 gig harddisk recorder to go along with it. They don’t say too much about it, but it’s an interesting option.

So here you have it, the V1U. $4800, shipping in December (January in the real world, nothing really ships in December).

Sony Hvr-V1U Camcorder-Angle Med-1

Introducing Scopebox

I know the majority of the folks who read this site are Mac users, so you might be interested to take a look at a project I’ve been contributing some code to here and there. It’s called Scopebox, and it’s a software based Waveform/Vectorscope/Preview monitor (with lots of other stuff) to do live analysis of your video. Mike‘s been working on it for the last six months or so, and it’s finally about ready for release, so take a look.


Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 announced … Announced?!

So, currently Final Cut Pro is at version 5.1.1. At IBC, Apple is showing off Final Cut Pro 5.1.2. One wouldn’t think this would be big news, but this is hopefully the release version of what they were showing off in their booth back at NAB in April. They say it’ll ship within 30 days. I’m a bit perplexed as to why a 0.0.1 release has taken 6 months to get out the door. Dig the description though.

Finally, Canon 24F support, 18/35 XDCam support and additional P2 support. Finally!

Blackmagic Intensity

This is an interesting little product that showed up at IBC: the Blackmagic Intensity.

It’s an HDMI ingest board. They’re targeting at folks with newer HDV cameras with HDMI outs – the HDR-HC3 for example. The theory is that you get uncompressed video out the HDMI port, which is somehow higher quality.

This is… interesting.

I can only imagine this making a visual difference if you’re recording directly into the computer, not recording to tape and then ingesting later. So, I suppose if you want to haul your MacPro around with you, chained to your handycam, you’ll potentially get higher image quality. Assuming that the HDMI outs on these cameras come before all the subsampling and whatnot.

Otherwise, all this gives you is a way to get very high bandwidth data out of a very low bandwidth source. This would be the same as capturing the video in HDV and then doing a file->export to Uncompressed. Again, it’s nice that this saves the step, but it can’t magically improve the quality of the image that was compressed to tape. Just like capturing uncompressed 4:2:2 SDI off a DVCam tape. You may want to work in the larger color space for your post work, but the capture process itself won’t improve your image quality.

Furthermore (yes, I know this is turning into a rant), I must take issue with the Intensity Quality page. It’s primarily completely bogus. For example, they claim how much better it is to get the native 1920×1080 image instead of the 1440×1080 of HDV, and they assert that the reason HDV uses that resolution is because of the size of the tape and the speed of firewire. Hu? HDCam is 1440×1080 as well, and I’m pretty sure they’re not limited by their cassette size. Furthermore, I highly doubt that the CMOS sensor on the HC3 is natively 1920×1080 like they claim. I can’t find definitive CMOS specs one way or another, but seeing as nobody else is using native 1920 sensors, I doubt they are as well.

Their 4:2:2 versus 4:1:1 gradients are also a bit laughable. Somehow sampling the colors less often makes them look dull? The banding I might agree to, but come on.

Ok, enough ranting. I really like Blackmagic in general. I think they have great products. Which is why this is especially annoying. Sell it as a board to monitor your timeline on an HDMI monitor. It’s cheap ($249) so for that reason along I think it’d be worth it to most people. But don’t trump it up as if you’re going to make that $1200 HDV camcorder look like a CineAlta.