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Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1

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Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1
Could anyone tell me for sure if the downconvert feature of the Sony Z1 or FX1 can be programmed to downconvert from HDV 16x9 acquired footage to DV 4x3 (letterboxed) through the firewire (iLink) port ? I know, when properly programmed, it can send a signal of this type through the S Video or RCA ports, but knowing if it can do that through the firewire port is critical because I would like to edit downconverted video that is already letterboxed in 4x3. My NLE is not 16x9 capable. I can only edit in 4x3 (letterboxed). I do not own an HDV camcorder but I am planning on buying one if I know it can do this.

Last edited by:

DVman: Feb 28, 2005, 10:10 PM
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Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
DVMAN,
I own the FX1 and the Z1. Although I do not downconvert from my cameras, as I shoot and edit all in 16:9 HDV, you can downconvert directly from the firewire directly to your NLE. There are 3 options for the downconverted format, Squeeze, LetterBox, and I cannot remember the third. But I believe the answer to your question is yes it can be done. However, I hope others that are downconverting post here with more information.

Shane
Cahtia Pictures
http://www.cahtiapictures.com

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Re: [szerangue] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
So, if it has that awsome feature, I can shoot in HDV 16x9. And then connect via firewire to a standard DVcam deck and downconvert to DV in letterboxed 4x3. (No editing or computer involved). That way, I can just walk away with DV tape footage already letterboxed ready to be played in any DV deck outputting to a standard 4x3 TV monitor, and to be able to watch my already letterboxed footage ??? (Sorry for the redundance but I just want to be clear.)

If so, that is exactly what I was looking for. Please, confirm.




In Reply To
DVMAN,
I own the FX1 and the Z1. Although I do not downconvert from my cameras, as I shoot and edit all in 16:9 HDV, you can downconvert directly from the firewire directly to your NLE. There are 3 options for the downconverted format, Squeeze, LetterBox, and I cannot remember the third. But I believe the answer to your question is yes it can be done. However, I hope others that are downconverting post here with more information.

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Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Well, as I said, I do not downconvert my footage. But the ability is there, I believe. I will be back in town this weekend. If you will wait till I get back, I will confirm all of that for you using my camera. My email is szerangue@lifeproductions.net. If you would like to correspond on this issue.

Shane
Cahtia Pictures
http://www.cahtiapictures.com

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Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Hi DVman,

I don't own the FX1, but did "borrow" one recently to shoot a wedding and reception. In the menu, the Firewire output can be set to "HDV" or "DV", and there is even a little blue indicator light next to the Firewire port to tell you what the setting is.

In the DV-Out setting, I connected the Firewire to my Sony VX-2000 and made direct dubs to DV tape. I also tried capturing direct to my DV based NLE. The video is excellent-looking 16x9 letterboxed DV and I edited it on the Matrox RT.X100.

Downconverted video looks MUCH better than footage shot directly with my VX-2000. Much more "richness" in color and detail. The signal is very clean - dark areas (and there are plenty at church and reception) are not noisy and show good color and detail. Amazing.

So your answer is a big YES.

There is a shareware program called "CapDVHS" that can capture the MPEG stream from the FX1, and I did that as well and now have all this HDV footage sitting on my hard drive for later when I get an HDV-capable NLE package.

Jeff
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Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
I downconverted some testfootage directly from my FX1 into the firewire input on my Sony DVD-recorder, after changing the TV-format to 4:3 (instead of 16:9) in the cameramenue. The output was a clean, letterboxed picture on my old 4:3 TV when playing back the DVD.

After that, I did another downconverting, but changed the TV-format in the cameramenue back to 16:9. In the Sony recorder-menue I choosed the option Letter-box.

I couldn't notice any difference in the picture-quality on my TV. But, what would happen if I played the footage back on a 16:9 TV? (I couldn't test that because I don't have any 16:9, yet.)

Would the letter-box footage in the first case loose some vertical resolution if it was "stretched back" into fully hight compared to the second test, but, instead of the letterbox-option on my Sony-recorder used the option 16:9?

I live in PAL-land (Norway)

Last edited by:

mykle: Mar 2, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Re: [ProDV] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Hi Jeff:

I know you can downconvert footage from HDV to DV with the FX-1 or Z-1 cameras. The question is: did you enable the 16x9 mode in the firewire so it can output 4x3 letterboxed straight to a standard DV recorder? This question is quite specific because if a Non Linear Editing program is 16x9 capable, then it will automatically display it correctly. What I am trying to accomplish is editing 16x9 downcoverted footage transferred via Firewire to a DV deck which can then digitize the footage in a NLE which does not support 16x9. This is why I am trying to make sure if the downconverted 16x9 footage transfers via firewire: letterboxed footage than can be seen in a non supported 4x3 environment as letterboxed footage. If your Matrox editing software is 16x9 capable, then it may be automatically be displaying the 16x9 footage. But I don't have a 16x9 capable NLE software. Please, clarify on this. I would appreciate it very much.



In Reply To
Hi DVman,

I don't own the FX1, but did "borrow" one recently to shoot a wedding and reception. In the menu, the Firewire output can be set to "HDV" or "DV", and there is even a little blue indicator light next to the Firewire port to tell you what the setting is.

In the DV-Out setting, I connected the Firewire to my Sony VX-2000 and made direct dubs to DV tape. I also tried capturing direct to my DV based NLE. The video is excellent-looking 16x9 letterboxed DV and I edited it on the Matrox RT.X100.

Downconverted video looks MUCH better than footage shot directly with my VX-2000. Much more "richness" in color and detail. The signal is very clean - dark areas (and there are plenty at church and reception) are not noisy and show good color and detail. Amazing.

So your answer is a big YES.

There is a shareware program called "CapDVHS" that can capture the MPEG stream from the FX1, and I did that as well and now have all this HDV footage sitting on my hard drive for later when I get an HDV-capable NLE package.

Jeff

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Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Hi DVman,

I did say "16x9 letterboxed" and I guess that could be a little confusing, meaning widescreen with black bars, when I probably should've called it 4x3 letterboxed.

The DV output is DEFINITELY 4x3, editable in ANY DV NLE. Not squished or stretched or anything weird. Just normal video with black bars.

Jeff
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Re: [ProDV] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Hi Jeff:

Thanks so much. Made a decision based on what you told me and went to my local pro camera dealer and now I can say I am a new proud owner a Sony HDV camera. However, I feel 5 grand poorer now. Don't quite know to feel happy or sad. (lol) Hope it will pay by itself with the quality everyone is talking about.

I took it out of the box and turn it on, no tape inside. Play around with some of the controls and boy! I can tell you I love the placement of the controls and menu much better than my PD170. It feels more like my Beta D35 with the programmable gain, setups, SMPTE bar, three types of switchable white balance, etc. Havent got time to record anything yet.

The ability to record in NTSC and PAL is great. From time to time I have customers from Europe and they request PAL and can only deliver NTSC. Now I can ship a PAL tape, either in HDV or standard DVcam format. My feeling is that even if do not endup editing and delivering high definition, this camera is worth it because of the quality it delivers and all its functions. I am going to primarily shoot in HDV mode and downconvert to DVcam mode. Do not have the funds or the need to go HDV all the way yet as most of you. At this point I don't know whether to sell my PD170 or keep it. I don't really do much weddings so I don't have the need for three cameras. And since I have my D35 with Beta SP and DVcam backs, the PD170 may have to go. I have to say that the PD170 was really a camera I enjoyed so much shooting and which I recommend to anyone for its quality picture, sound and terrific low light capability. I am also considering selling my Beta SP back because I really consider that Beta SP is a dying format specially for corporate and industrial work. I know it is still around in many TV stations and it is the most popular format abroad but I really think HDV will be the format to kill Beta SP, at least in the U.S.

Thanks again, Jeff ...



In Reply To
Hi DVman,

I did say "16x9 letterboxed" and I guess that could be a little confusing, meaning widescreen with black bars, when I probably should've called it 4x3 letterboxed.

The DV output is DEFINITELY 4x3, editable in ANY DV NLE. Not squished or stretched or anything weird. Just normal video with black bars.

Jeff

Last edited by:

DVman: Mar 2, 2005, 8:26 PM
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Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Welcome to the world of HDV, DVman! (you gonna have to change your moniker?)

When you shoot, try experimenting with the sharpness. I think you'll be even happier if you pop it up to around 12

Douglas Spotted Eagle
Author, producer, composer
http://www.vasst.com
"I enjoy music, long walks at sunset on the beach, and poking dead things with a sharp stick."

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Re: [DSE] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
hahaha ....maybe I should be HDman now. Ok, thanks for the suggestion on the sharpness. Douglas, I have to be honest with you but one of the reasons I bought this camera was thanks to your postings which made me really aware of the quality of this camera. The video of that DP which you posted a few weeks ago, talking so good about this camera did it for me as well as everything positive that you said.

You dont think if I increase the sharpness to around 12 is going to look "contourished". Would that work fine even if I am downconverting to DV ? Also, I am thinking about getting some black promist filters, 1/4 and 1/2. Have you experimented with these filters specifically in this camera. I heard that in some 1/3 inch chip cameras, promists don't look that good. I have good results using them on the PD170. But this Z1 cam is a different animal. I am just wondering.




In Reply To
Welcome to the world of HDV, DVman! (you gonna have to change your moniker?)

When you shoot, try experimenting with the sharpness. I think you'll be even happier if you pop it up to around 12

Quote Reply
Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Funny you'd ask about the ProMists. Just spent several hours with the filters capturing information for a new book I'm doing.
The Black Mist Pro 3 is very sweet looking, I think I'm in love with it on this cam. Capturing for screenshots now, but it's looking gorgeous on both the CRT and LCD panels.
Sharpness on this cam isn't quite like what you (or I) am used to. I'm not finding contour until I hit about 14. I was talking to the guys from the show "24" and they turned me on to the sharpness. Hui Kang of Honolulu, who shoots and rents the FW900's confirmed it for me. So, 11/12, and even sometimes 13 looks stunning depending on the contrast. I've started "collecting" camera settings as well, for my picture profiles. Now if only I could figure out a way to download and share them.
So, you happy so far with the cam?

Douglas Spotted Eagle
Author, producer, composer
http://www.vasst.com
"I enjoy music, long walks at sunset on the beach, and poking dead things with a sharp stick."
Quote Reply
Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Hi, all of you over there!

The letterboxed, downconverted footage seems to be locked to that size. You’ll have bars at the top and bottom of the picture. Those bars make the picture loose some information, but will look OK when played back on a 4:3 television.

If you play it back on a 16:9 television, you’ll still have bars. And, if you make the footage fill the whole 16:9 screen, will you loose some vertical resolution caused by the bars?

If so, it would be absurd to make this letterbox-size, unless you want to keep your 4:3 television for ever.

It would be better to convert the HDV-footage into DV in the widescreen (squeezed) size. You’ll be able to edit that (my Casablanca-system does), and rather let the DVD-burner do the 4:3 (letterbox) or the correct 16:9 size-job.
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Re: [DSE] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Ok, I will definitely try the detail at 12. (maybe 13 according to your suggestions). Wouldn't the BPM 3 be a bit too much? I have shot entire programs with 1/4 and 1/2 but never with a 3 all the way. I always have to be really careful shooting subject against bright objects even with the black ProMists. I will give it a try. Would the book be available from VASST? Would be quite interested to get it. I will test the camera more this weekend.

One more thing about promists. I have seen some difference in some 1/3 inch cameras when I put the filter on a matte box vs. using a screw-on type of filter. I get a bit better results with the screw-on than with the 4x4s -using the same type of filter- and I think this happens because the filter gets closer to the lens and since the size of the chips is just 1/3' this may be critical. Any thoughts on that or am I crazy? I see a better filtered image with the screw-on specially when I am not zoomed in all the way. (i am aware of the focal length effect on the filter). I am using a Formatt matte box (not Chrosziel) and the distance between the filter opening and the actual lens maybe different. I am not sure.

I maybe an old timer but one of my favorite ones is Tiffen Softnet 5B.

I am curious about your silhouetted picture. It looks as if you have the camera mounted on your left shoulder and the viewfinder on your left eye. It is hard to tell but I just don't know why I have that impression when I look at your picture. (???)



In Reply To
Funny you'd ask about the ProMists. Just spent several hours with the filters capturing information for a new book I'm doing.
The Black Mist Pro 3 is very sweet looking, I think I'm in love with it on this cam. Capturing for screenshots now, but it's looking gorgeous on both the CRT and LCD panels.
Sharpness on this cam isn't quite like what you (or I) am used to. I'm not finding contour until I hit about 14. I was talking to the guys from the show "24" and they turned me on to the sharpness. Hui Kang of Honolulu, who shoots and rents the FW900's confirmed it for me. So, 11/12, and even sometimes 13 looks stunning depending on the contrast. I've started "collecting" camera settings as well, for my picture profiles. Now if only I could figure out a way to download and share them.
So, you happy so far with the cam?

Last edited by:

DVman: Mar 3, 2005, 8:48 AM
Quote Reply
Re: [DSE] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Douglas,
I am very interested in your picture profile settings. If you have anyway of posting them here, that would be great.

Shane
Cahtia Pictures
http://www.cahtiapictures.com

Quote Reply
Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
"My NLE is not 16x9 capable."


Any NLE that can handle 720x480 DV can do 16x9: it may look squeezed during editing, but after you encode it to MPEG2 and author it to DVD with the proper 16:9 flags, it makes a perfect widescreen DVD that plays letterboxed on 4:3 sets and full screen on 16:9 monitors.

I've edited 16:9 for a long time using older versions of iMovie: the new version of iMovie has a "widescreen" mode but that mostly just unsqueezes the video for display only: the files still stay 720x480.
Quote Reply
Re: [Bob Hudson] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
The problem is that I am exporting it directly to a Panasonic DVD stand alone recorder. How would go about doing that in that case? I do not have iDVD or DVD Studio Pro. And my computer is not capable of handling a DVD burner 'cause it is an old Power Mac G4 400 AGP. Any thoughts? I think I need a new computer or a major upgrade, right? Any suggestions are appreciated.



In Reply To
"My NLE is not 16x9 capable."


Any NLE that can handle 720x480 DV can do 16x9: it may look squeezed during editing, but after you encode it to MPEG2 and author it to DVD with the proper 16:9 flags, it makes a perfect widescreen DVD that plays letterboxed on 4:3 sets and full screen on 16:9 monitors.

I've edited 16:9 for a long time using older versions of iMovie: the new version of iMovie has a "widescreen" mode but that mostly just unsqueezes the video for display only: the files still stay 720x480.

Quote Reply
Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to

In Reply To
The problem is that I am exporting it directly to a Panasonic DVD stand alone recorder. How would go about doing that in that case? I do not have iDVD or DVD Studio Pro. And my computer is not capable of handling a DVD burner 'cause it is an old Power Mac G4 400 AGP. Any thoughts? I think I need a new computer or a major upgrade, right? Any suggestions are appreciated.



In Reply To
"My NLE is not 16x9 capable."


There are iMovie plugin's that will "unsqueeze" the video and letterbox it. You can download a demo of one such plugin package here:


Any NLE that can handle 720x480 DV can do 16x9: it may look squeezed during editing, but after you encode it to MPEG2 and author it to DVD with the proper 16:9 flags, it makes a perfect widescreen DVD that plays letterboxed on 4:3 sets and full screen on 16:9 monitors.

I've edited 16:9 for a long time using older versions of iMovie: the new version of iMovie has a "widescreen" mode but that mostly just unsqueezes the video for display only: the files still stay 720x480.


http://www.apple.com/...fectspluginpack.html
Quote Reply
Re: [Bob Hudson] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
System Requirements — Mac OS X 10.1 or later
— iMovie 2.1.2 or iMovie 3.0.x


My Mac is OS 9.2 So it looks that won't work.
2.1 will not run in the Classic Mode even after upgradingto OS X.
Any other economical solutions? I think I am just trying to stretch it to much.




In Reply To

In Reply To
The problem is that I am exporting it directly to a Panasonic DVD stand alone recorder. How would go about doing that in that case? I do not have iDVD or DVD Studio Pro. And my computer is not capable of handling a DVD burner 'cause it is an old Power Mac G4 400 AGP. Any thoughts? I think I need a new computer or a major upgrade, right? Any suggestions are appreciated.



In Reply To
"My NLE is not 16x9 capable."


There are iMovie plugin's that will "unsqueeze" the video and letterbox it. You can download a demo of one such plugin package here:


Any NLE that can handle 720x480 DV can do 16x9: it may look squeezed during editing, but after you encode it to MPEG2 and author it to DVD with the proper 16:9 flags, it makes a perfect widescreen DVD that plays letterboxed on 4:3 sets and full screen on 16:9 monitors.

I've edited 16:9 for a long time using older versions of iMovie: the new version of iMovie has a "widescreen" mode but that mostly just unsqueezes the video for display only: the files still stay 720x480.


http://www.apple.com/...fectspluginpack.html

Last edited by:

DVman: Mar 5, 2005, 9:23 AM
Quote Reply
Re: [DVman] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to

In Reply To
System Requirements — Mac OS X 10.1 or later
— iMovie 2.1.2 or iMovie 3.0.x


My Mac is OS 9.2 So it looks that won't work.
2.1 will not run in the Classic Mode even after upgradingto OS X.
Any other economical solutions? I think I am just trying to stretch it to much.


GeeThree has some iMovie plugin's that will work with iMovie 2.0.3 in OS 9 http://www.geethree.com/slick/ - look through those to see if they have something.
Quote Reply
Re: [Bob Hudson] Question about the downconvert feature of Sony Z1/FX1 In reply to
Hi Bob:

Actually I found out that the previous plug-in you referred me to will work with OS 9 and iMovie 2. I emailed that company and they told me it would be compatible. They had the requirements incorrectly listed in their website. they email me back to tell me that the plug-in will work fine with my system. They also updated the info in their website in reference to the requirements of their plug ins.

The only thing is that to make the edited footage compatible with both, 16x9 and 4x3 TV monitors, I would have to export twice to my DVD Panasonic camcorder. One version for 16x9. Then I will have to apply the unstrecth effect to the edited video in the timeline and then export that to a different DVD for 4x3 playback. Since I dont have DVD Studio Pro (even if I have it wont work with my system) I guess this would be the only way to have it compatible for both formats.

Thanks again for the useful info.



In Reply To

In Reply To
System Requirements — Mac OS X 10.1 or later
— iMovie 2.1.2 or iMovie 3.0.x


My Mac is OS 9.2 So it looks that won't work.
2.1 will not run in the Classic Mode even after upgradingto OS X.
Any other economical solutions? I think I am just trying to stretch it to much.


GeeThree has some iMovie plugin's that will work with iMovie 2.0.3 in OS 9 http://www.geethree.com/slick/ - look through those to see if they have something.

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