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SomeAssembly

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Everything posted by SomeAssembly

  1. I've used both with HDV, but not AVCHD. They have both been fast and stable. I currently use Vegas as my primary editor. Vegas Movie Studio Platinum has been by far the most stable of the consumer priced editors I've tried. They both have trial downloads that should let you verify if they work with your camera.
  2. Sony Vegas Pro 8 and Vegas Movie Stutio Platinum both support AVCHD. Sony Vegas products
  3. DrMark, I've had no problem with MWB down to 80 feet with the filter. This was in reasonably clear water. I haven't tried any deeper. Admittedly, at that depth and with the filter, there was some noise from the gain.
  4. I'm using HDV Split. (Free) It can run the capture, or split files that have already been captured. http://strony.aster.pl/paviko/hdvsplit.htm I believe the Cineform does scene detection, plus converts to a codec that is going to give much better editing performance. I have not used this myself, but I think others here have. http://www.cineform.com/products/AspectHDPPro.htm
  5. I don't know that I can add anything new, but I will confirm what Dean & Barrett have said. You really need some way to stabilize the camera if you are going to use Telemacro. Remember that you will be shooting an area less than 2 inches across from over a foot away. ANY movement of the camera will show up as a huge movement of the subject. You'll also need to be using lights to get any type of depth of field. Without lights, even under good conditions you'll be shooting wide open. I don't know if you have seen this, but I have attached a clip that shows what I got the one time I tried using Telemacro. This is handheld, and without lights. The first half of the clip is wide angle, from the same distance as the Macro. This was shot with the A1 in an L&M Bluefin, which should have very similar optics to the EVO. Shrimp Disclaimer: I'm new to video, so I'm sure I had more motion than someone with more experience. In spite of the challenges, the ability to shoot macro without being right on top of your subject could be very useful.
  6. The trial versions of the Sony editing programs don' t support HD. They have to pay for the MPEG-2 codec, so they don't activate it except in the paid version. I think this might be true for some of the other companies also. It also doesn't show a full screen version of the video. For what you want, look at VLC player. It's free, and can capture and show the video. VLC Player It also seems to a good job of showing smoothly, even on a slower machine.
  7. biminitwist, Sorry to hear you can't open the clips on your Mac. I'll look at finding a codec I can use that will work and repost the clips. Also, something to be aware of when vendors talk about specific angle of view for their lenses. (like 65 or 75 degree) Those angles are normally based on use with a specific camera, often the TRV-900/950. With the A1/HC1 they are going to be noticably less than that. Sony did not do UW shooters any favors with their lens choice on this camera.
  8. Yes, it is the standard zoom macro lens. Like you, I have heard that the wider lenses are not working well with this camera. I'm hearing rumblings that there MAY be a wider lens in the works. I have my fingers crossed. As far as the light sensitivity being an issue on WA, I don't think that will be a major issue for me. All my diving is tropical diving, generally under good conditions where there is plenty of light available. I just shoot for myself. For someone trying to earn a living from it, that may be another story.
  9. On further thought, the problem is pretty obvious...this is the camera that you had sealed up in a housing with your socks! I'd be a little twitchy too.
  10. Dean, Sounds like a real pain! I know this is the obvious, but it sounds like you were not really in manual focus. I know I wasn't able to easily tell from the dispay if I was in manual or auto focus. If the contol toggles manual on/off it would be easy to be in the wrong mode. Have you tested above water, in the housing to make sure the control really works? Really only three choices here: Housing control not working correctly, camera not switching correctly, or the ever popular opererator error I do know what you mean about the camera being sensitive to everything!
  11. I've updated the telemacro clip. There was a rendering problem in the first version that has been fixed.
  12. Background After following the discussions on this board for months trying to make up my mind, I finally ended up with the Sony A1 in an L&M Bluefin housing. The decision to get the A1 instead of the HC1 was made purely to get access to manual white balance through the assignable button. Early in my decision making I decided I wanted the ease of use of a housing with primarily electronic controls. I ended up with the Bluefin because it had the feature set I was looking for, it had been out for a while without any issues, and also because of the ability to buy from a dealer that I thought would be there for backup if there were any issues in the future. I took the setup on a trip to Roatan in March and had a chance to try it out. Here is a summary of what I found. Controls The housing has a fairly complete set of controls done as a mixture of electronic and mechanical. Electronic: Record, Zoom In, Zoom Out, Auto/Manual Focus, Momentary Auto Focus, Focus In, Focus Out, Photo, Lights, On. Full playback control when in Play/Edit mode. Manual: Manual White Balance, Exposure (3 buttons), Telemacro, Expand Focus, CC Filter I could reach all the controls except On and the filter without taking my hands from the handles. All the buttons were easy to find with bare hands. The exposure buttons might be hard to use with gloves. Handling The housing handled well. The housing without lights or monitor was slightly positive. It was well balance front to back, but a little heavier on the left side. Not enough to be a problem, and a small balance weight on the right would have evened it out, and also made it completely neutral. When used with the monitor the housing was slightly negative. The monitor made it a little top heavy. There was a slight tendency to want to porpoise, but not hard to control. The compact size made it easy to deal with overall. It was not a problem getting it in and out of the water, and was very easy to maneuver underwater. Optics I was using the .55x, full zoom through lens that comes standard with the housing. Optics seemed sharp corner to corner. The lens seems to cover the entire sensor, since I saw no vignetting, even with stabilization turned on. On wide angle, focus seemed to go right up to the front of the lens. Telemacro worked fine as far as the lens was concerned (holding it steady is another issue!) It was certainly interesting to be able to shoot close-ups of cleaner shrimp from 18 inches away. Depth of field on Telemacro was very shallow, made worse because I was shooting without lights, so was getting f1.8. Because field of view of the lens on the A1 is so narrow, even with the adapter on the housing, the FOV is not as wide as I would have liked. This is going to be a problem with any of the normal lenses that come with the various housings. Setup Setup was easy. The camera attaches to a mounting plate, and connectors for LANC, Monitor, and the microphone are connected. The mounting plate then slides into the housing and latches when it is in position. There are only two slightly tricky areas. 1. There is a lever that has to be positioned correctly to straddle the exposure control. 2. The camera has to be tightened down VERY firmly to the plate. If there is any slippage, the front of the camera will shift just enough when pressing the white balance to also press the Telemacro on the other side. White Balance I had no problem doing a manual white balance at any depth. I did use the filter most of the time. I usually flipped it on at 20-25 feet. I found the WB to be very sensitive. Minor changes in depth or subject distance made a noticeable difference to the balance. I set the balance before most shots if there was any change at all. I normally just balanced off sand at the same distance as my subject. The one touch button made white balancing very simple. The button is in very easy reach. As often as I was balancing, I can’t imagine trying to do it with a system that required multiple presses on a touch screen. To anyone debating between the HC1 and the A1, I HIGHLY recommend getting the A1 for the assignable button. Exposure I used auto exposure, with exposure compensation. Under normal lighting, the camera overexposed slightly. I normally used –1 or –2 compensation, and generally got better results at –2. Once compensation was set, exposure seemed to be consistent. Autofocus Autofocus worked extremely well. The only time I saw any hunting was when I was shooting a low contrast subject out in the blue. The only other time I wished I had used focus lock was on the shark dive. With sharks coming in very close from over my shoulder, there would be a very brief moment when the focus was shifting to the new subject. After it got the new subject it tracked well. Viewfinder/Monitor I was using the 2.5 inch L&M compact monitor. This was the one area I was disappointed in. I felt the monitor did not have enough resolution to really be able to tell much. I had the output letterboxed, which may have made it worse. HD really needs a higher resolution, 16:9 monitor. The quick connect L&M used to attach the monitor to the housing was very convenient. It allowed me to transport the housing with the monitor separate, and then attach it just before entering the water. I found the viewfinder difficult to use. I just found the image hard to see from the distance required by the housing and mask. Transportation The housing is very compact and easy to transport. I removed the handles to make packing easier (the wrench used does not come with the housing, you have to buy the handle replacement kit). I use a rollaboard softside camera/computer case and was able to fit the camcorder & housing, my S70 & housing, and all accessories like chargers, cables, extra batteries, plus my computer in one bag. Results All my shooting was done without lights. Visibility varied from 40 to 80 feet. This was my first trip shooting video, so please excuse the camera movement. Closeup Like all underwater photography, the less water between subject and lens the better the results. Medium to close shots worked extremely well. Depth of field was very good even thought the lens is not very wide. On wide angle, focus went almost to the front element. Shots taken from 4 feet and closer were great. Detail was good corner to corner. Wrasse Lizardfish Telemacro Telemacro was interesting. I was not able to get anything usable since I was not able to put the camera on anything to steady it. I can see how it could be very helpful if the camera were supported and used with lights. The ability to shoot small subject from 18 inches away could work well in some instances. Without lights my attempts ended up at f1.8. That, combined with the long lens, created very shallow depth of field. The following clip shows the same scene, shot from the same distance using full wide, and then Telemacro. Excuse the motion, this was hand held. Shrimp Reefscape More distant, scenic type shots were a little more problematic. The fact that the standard lens on the A1 is so narrow causes two problems; the perspective is not as panoramic we are seeing from Z1 shots with 90 degree lenses, and scenic shots just are from too far away. Reef On more distant shots, the camera also seemed to be very sensitive to the direction of the sun. When the sun was in front of the camera, I had significant problems with a lot of haze in the picture, along with low contrast and saturation. That may be a problem with all cameras, but it seemed more severe with the A1. Sharks Low Light Poor low light performance has been talked about in a number of posts. The low light performance was not great, but I did not have some of the severe, pixilated noise that some people are reporting. Some of that may be because I shot with sharpness set on –2. I had seen indications that the camera may tend to over sharpen, and may sharpen the noise under low light. Even before seeing these results, I would not have tried to shoot if it were any darker. The noise on the rocks in the bottom left is artifacts from rendering. It does not appear in the original. Swim Through Conclusions Overall, I was very pleased with the results I got. Most of my throw away shots were because of my own errors. I thought the shots that worked were far superior to what they would have been with SD. I do think that shooting HD is going to be more demanding than SD. With the increased resolution, even small problems are more obvious. As an example, I have attached a clip that looks fine when previewed, or shown at SD, but when shown in HD, the last part of the clip is not quite in focus. Trumpetfish Thanks to Wags for making resources available to post theses clips.
  13. The camera definitely white balanced under those conditions without any problem. This site was a crevice with the floor about 80 feet deep, with the top in about 30 feet. It was about 50 percent covered. There was some light making it down in the foreground, but not all that much. The right hand side was very dark. If you look at the right, especially near the end, that is about as much grain as I saw in any shot. That was part of why I picked that clip. I reviewed the tape, and that segment was at 1/60, f1.8 and varied between +9 & +12 db gain. That should be as bad as it gets.
  14. I looked at the original, and the noise was not there. Must be from rendering. I have fixed the link on the wrasse shot. I also put out a corrected copy. I had been playing with corrections and did not realize I still had brigtness/contrast changes in. Exposure was automatic, with exposure compensation. Both those shots were -1. Later shots were often at -2 and seemed to look a little better.
  15. Here's another clip just to show a better example of performance with better light. Taken at about 40 feet. Please excuse the camera movement. This was my first dive shooting video Wrasse WB was done just using the sand.
  16. Here is an example that shows WB at 80 feet in a swim through (fairly dark). It also gives some idea of the noise issues. This was without lights. Swim Through (7meg)
  17. I haven't had a chance to do a full review of the camera from my trip, but I'll give some quick information related to issues that have already been raised. All my shooting was done without lights in a Bluefin housing. White Balance Camera seemed to white balance just fine. I felt I got the best results using the filter early. I started using it at about 20-25 feet. Deepest shots were at 80 feet in a swim through. I did not have any WB problems at that depth. Only issue I really had was that WB was VERY sensitive. I found even minor differences in depth or shot distance made a noticeable difference. I white balanced before most shots. Low Light As others have reported, low light performance left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, I shot everything with black stretch on. Definitely got a lot of noise in low light, although I did not see the problems with badly off color pixels that I saw on the frogfish shot. Field of View With the narrow field of view on the A1, even with a .55x lens the field of view was not very wide. Did not get any of the good panoramic feel that is being seen with the 90 degree lenses on the FX1. The biggest problem this caused was that the color and contrast on reefscape type shots were not as good as they could be. Just shooting through too much water. A wide angle lens is top of my list to buy next. Exposure The camera on auto exposure does overexpose. I found I used –2 as my starting point most of the time. Overall In spite of the FOV and low light issues, for shots of medium distance to close-up subjects in moderate to good light, I thought the results were great! A wider lens and some type of fill lights would fix the only issues I had.
  18. I'll try jumping in. I think a major difference between video and stills was the difference between film and electronics. With film, particularly slide film, you had no control over color except adding light. What the film “saw†was what you got. Filters could be used, but were not precise enough to be usable. You could do some manipulation of prints in the darkroom, but it was not easy. (Kodak offered print manipulation specific to underwater for a while) Video, even above water has always made use of filters and white balance. Use the filter to get close, and then white balance to get it just right. With digital cameras, you can do most of the same things as video. Set manual white balance, or shoot Raw and then white balance after the fact. If you look at what Alex Mustard it doing with his Magic Filters with still and no flash you see results similar to video. He even says he was inspired by seeing what could be done with video. Magic Filters
  19. I can only relate the issues that appied to my decision. Everyone has their own set of factors. I do have a TV that can display 1920/1080. (the 1440 are non-square, will display at 1920) I plan to feed it through the component cables directly from the camera. I also have another TV, and comptur monitors that will do 720. I will probably produce data DVDs for that, and play them from a PC. There are a few DVD players that can play WMF files from a data DVD iat 720. My biggest factor was that I was ready to do SOMETHING. I felt that even if I don't show in HD now, I am going to gather my source material in HD for use when HD DVD is readily available.
  20. erik, Something to keep in mind: I think the differences between the A1 and the Fx1 are going to be trivial in comparison to the differences in the ability of different photographers and different rendering for the web. I won't speak for anyone else, but at my current rate of diving, I could spend the next 5 years filiming with $100,000 professional equipment and not get results like Paul Wags If that's your point of comparison, you are probably going to be disapointed in almost everything you see. Just look at something like Blue Planet and see what can be done with SD. I don't expect to get results like Paul with my A1, but I do expect to get results that are dramatically better than what I could get with SD, and more than good enough quailty for anything I need, in a package that I can deal with. I think the quality of equipment that is available is so good that it would be hard to make a bad decision.
  21. Thanks. I didn't realize how much lighter the Gates housing is than some of the others.
  22. I think for a lot of us, the size and weight issue is a huge factor. With the A1, I can just get the whole system in a rolling carryon bag. Weight of the housing & camera is about 10 lbs.(no lights) Even at that, I picked up a small duffle bag to use to carry it to and from the boat because that's still quite a bit to lug above water. I can't imagine trying to get a 40-50 lbs setup transported on the trip, and then back and forth to a dive boat several times a day. You may also be underestimating the price difference. The ports/lenses for the housings are not the same for the A1 and Fx1. If you look at complete systems, The Amphibico EVO PRO is $3000 but the Phenom is $5500. I don't think Gates makes what would be considered the normal wide angle port for the Fx1 (glass, multielement). I think you either get just a simple acrylic port that you use with a wide angle adapter that you buy for the camera, or you get the Fathom wide angle. I don't know where you are located, but if you are looking at the A1U (NTSC version) B&H has it for under 2000 after the Sony rebate. There is no doubt that the Fx1 has better optics and contols, and does better in low light. If you need every bit of performance possible, that is a great way to go, but it is going to come at a major increase in size, weight and cost. I was struck by pmooney's comment:
  23. Issues of what camera settings to use on the HC1/A1 camera have come up in several discussions. I thought we might have one topic to discuss this where it is easier for people to find. Some of the items that I have seen posted already: Steady Shot – May cause vignetting, or make it worse. This is probably housing/lens dependent. If you turn it off, probably should turn full scan on. Marker Set – Turn all off. Turned on causes no status information to be sent to the external monitor. Items that I think would be good to experiment with: Black Stretch Sharpening Color (Saturation) Cinegamma Cineframe? There is another thread already talking in general about Auto Focus and Auto Exposure, but it would still be good to hear experiences with this camera.
  24. With steady shot off, you might as well turn full scan on. Why throw away resolution? I don't know about black stretch. That's part of what I want to test. Based on what I have read, you might want to turn down sharpening a little. The camera seems to over sharpen a bit which seems to make artifacts worse, particularly in low light. I plan to try the Cinegamma set to 1. Seems to give a less harsh tonal curve. Good luck with your testing. It will be interesting to compare notes in a week or so.
  25. I feel like a troll I didn't expect quite this much response! Nick, I can see why you would feel strongly about L&M! I can't imagine trying to deal with that many problems, much less from a remote location. I'm glad to hear that the rig seems to finally be stable. The housing decision was very hard. Based on the length of this thread, plus other threads, other people are struggling with it also. All the housings involve some type of trade-off. The good news is that we are starting to see posts from at least one person with each of the major housings. Hopefully reviews will get posted that will help those who have not made a decision yet.
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