Even ugly days look pretty on an XL-H1

I had an XL-H1 out this weekend for some test shooting, but unfortunately only got to use it on Sunday, which was rather gloomy. In any case, I’ve posted an H264 of some footage from around the river, which at least gives you a sense of the depth of field and the range of the zoom. Click on the image to take a look.

Riverh264

If you’re on a Mac with Final Cut Pro and want to see the original footage, control-click here and save it to your disk.

HVX-200 CCD Information

Those who are of a geekish bent might enjoy this article from DVXuser.com. It’s an official statement from Panasonic on the design and implementation of the imaging block in the HVX-200. The brief summary is that they’re using 960×540 CCDs which are intentionally misaligned from each other. This means that the Red CCD sees slightly different bits of light versus the Blue CCD and so on.

It’s an interesting approach to dealing with HD on a small CCD. By using a lower resolution chip, they’re able to have bigger pixels, and thus (theoretically) better low light performance. It does raise a couple concerns. Follow the jump to read more.

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What’s Slow Shutter all about?

When I was at Sony’s XDCam HD show and tell the other day, they spent a ton of time pimping “slow shutter” as a feature. Essentially it lets you clock the shutter speed slower than the framerate, to allow for better sensitivity without gaining up the signal, at the expense of less fluid motion. But … The XL-H1 does that, and I believe a number of other cameras do to. Does anyone know if Sony is actually doing something special, or are they really just pimping old news?

Focus Enhancements Makes Me Sad

Focus Enhancements really disappoints me. It’s a company with a really good product, in the Firestore line. Maybe not the most polished interface, but it gets the job done in a usable form factor. But somehow the company is still managing to destroy itself.

We recently ordered 3 80gig FS-4Pro units. We got shipped PAL units the first time, and 40gig units the second time. Still waiting to see what happens the third time. I’ve had similarly disappointing experiences in the past.

I really get the feeling that it’s a company suffering due to a lack of direction and focus (ironically). They make semiconductors, digital signs, asset management tools, portable harddisk recorders, etc. The company is now at risk of delisting from the NASDAQ. It just makes me very sad, because it’s a company that deserves to prosper. They’ve got the right product at the right time, but somehow it’s still being botched.

Enough ranting, I just feel like they’re blowing it and it makes me sad…

I’m on hold right now

So, calling Apple with a question about running Compressor on an xServe.

Me: “I have a question about running Compressor on an xServe”

Him: “Who makes Compressor?”

Me: “You do. It comes with Final Cut Studio”

Him: “We’re not selling Final Cut Studio right now”

Me: “???”

Him: “???”

Now he put me on hold to punish me. Fun.

-1 for Apple.

Real HDV Decks? I’ve gone all blurry

So, Sony just announced two new HDV decks, the M25U and the M15U. They look an awful lot like a DSR-11 and a DSR-25. They take large format and mini tapes, and have a boatload of other features that could fairly be described as rocking. The real question is, can they play back Canon and JVC tapes? Signs point to no, but we’ll know more once there’s more than just a press release.

More XL-H1 pornography

Just playing around a bit more with these XL-H1s. Decided to pit one against a Sony DSR-D50 SD camera. Both were in SD mode, both going SDI into a Videotek VTM-440 scope, shooting a standard (read:cheap) bars chart. Here’s the screengrabs:

CANON

XL-H1

SONY

DSR-D50

The XL is about a stop less sensitive than the D50, which is understandable considering the differences in chip size. Otherwise, I think the XL did pretty well. Obviously it could be tweaked a bit to have better saturation, especially in the reds, and a bit better pedestal level.

Here’s an assortment of shots, all taken with the XL’s still camera mode, as we were playing around.

IMG_0101 IMG_0103

IMG_0104 IMG_0105

IMG_0107

Sony HDR-HC3 – HDV for less than $1500

Take a look at the press release about the new Sony HDR-HC3 HDV camera. It’s … not that great. But for $1700 msrp (less than $1500 retail one would imagine) it seems like a pretty decent camera for those situations where you really really need to toss a camera off a cliff.

Does anyone find it odd that Sony talks about “snuggling” in a camera press release?

The camera isn’t shipping till April. NAB is in April. Maybe the HDR-HC1 will be joined by a Z3U and FX3 in April? Hmm …

Interesting P2 Developments

Panasonic has announced a big brother to the HVX-200, called the HPC2000. 5 p2 slots and 2/3″ CCDs in a traditional ENG style body. Pricing won’t be available until NAB, but I’d guess between $20k and $30k. So, now we can have XDCam HD and P2 duke it out in the HD space. I’ll write some more thoughts on the two later this week, having recently had a chance to play with the XDCam HD gear.