|A Creative COW Training Product Review
New York, USA
©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey and Creativecow.net. All Rights Reserved
CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey just made the leap to HDV by acquiring one of SONYs new HDV Cameras the HVR-Z1U. Then he was faced with learning his new camera. In this article, Jim takes a look at HandsOnHDV and has determined that they have put together the definitive training DVD for Sonys New HDV Cameras.
So you just laid out your lunch money for the next 16 years to buy the new Sony HVR-Z1U or its little brother the FX1 and you need to get up to speed on all the features that these amazing cameras possess. What to do? Well, if youre like most people, youll fiddle with the camera for a couple of days because we all know that We dont need no stinkin manuals. This will get you to the point where you can make the camera create images, and if you play with the menus enough, youll be able to get some different looks. But are you really getting all your moneys worth out of this new equipment? Probably not. Sure, you can refer to the manual when you get stuck How come I cant adjust the channel levels on the internal mic when Im in manual mode?
Sony is one of the better manufacturers when it comes to manuals in that the translation from Japanese to English is usually quite well done, none of that Please to keep camera from the sunshine place when warning about leaving things in hot cars. But, like most manuals its too sterile and flat. You never get a good feel for what exactly can this thing DO? Pouring over page after page in the manual to find your answer is tiresome. The manual, alas, has limits, boredom being the biggest.
Well fret no more children, because I have the answer to your questions in a terrific little DVD that has been produced by HandsOnHDV that covers virtually every single aspect of the Z1U and its sibling. If you watch this DVD a couple of times, you will be able to shoot with confidence knowing that all the little secrets of these cameras are at your command.
HandsOnHDV is a company that is comprised of three very talented shooters who between them have over 6 decades of experience. Doug Jensen, Nate Hill and Chris Jensen have done work for clients such as NASCAR, Survivor, All the Major Networks and the Heavy Cable hitters like A&E, ESPN, History, Discovery, Animal Planet and more. Lets put it this way, if you were looking to intern in this business, youd count yourself one of the very lucky ones if you could intern for any one of these guys.
The great news is that you dont have to quit your day job and camp out on their doorstep to take advantage of their knowledge. All you have to do is get their DVD that will take you step by step over each and every feature, menu setting and tweak that the Sony Z1U has to offer. Before you spend a penny on tape or extra batteries, you should get this DVD. Its especially nice if you are sitting on the fence about making the switch to HDV acquisition. This DVD will answer all the questions that you have and many that you didnt know to ask. Lets face it; this is a fair chunk of change for the average shooter to part with. Having the lowdown on exactly what this camera can and cant do will put you a step ahead of the rest and enable you to firm up your decision.
Over 22 Chapters cover every aspect of the functions of the Z1U and FX1
Additionally, the creators of this DVD dispel some silliness that has been floating around concerning these cameras. Perhaps its because it mirrors my feelings on the subject, but I particularly enjoyed the part where the faux 24P is discussed. This has been a bone of contention for a while now with the nay-sayers lambasting Sony for not including Real 24P in the camera, rather a simulated 24P that gives a similar filmic feel. I didnt feel cheated, as I dont plan on having ANY of my work transferred to film so it wasnt an issue. Realistically, most of the Indie films that are shot in 24P never get transferred to film either. Of course saying that is tantamount to heresy, but it remains a fact nonetheless. Now even though I never plan to have any of my footage converted to film, I had to try out the Cineframe 24 feature when I first got the camera. To say that I was disappointed with the results would be the understatement of the year. Frankly, it looked TERRIBLE. Well, Ill never use THAT setting I said to myself. After watching this DVD, I now understand exactly HOW to use the Cineframe 24 mode and I am delighted with the images that are delivered using that setting. Sure, I would have tumbled to the secret sooner or later, but having someone show me the right way to do something is always preferable to trial and error.
Color Correction is explained in simple terms that get your desired results quickly.
If you just read the manual, you could get a general sense of all the things that these cameras are capable of. Spending 90 minutes or so with this DVD will burn it into your head and amaze you with the depth of features that are available. Just the chapter on Color Correction/Extraction (Sonys term for highlighting one or two target colors) was worth the price of admission. What had taken me about 45 minutes to feel comfortable using was explained fully in just a tick over 7 minutes and covered every single aspect of the function. I dont know about you, but saving over a half hour of diddling around is priceless in my book. Too bad I didnt get this sooner. No matter, I learned more in the hour and a half of watching this DVD that I did in the two weeks Ive owned the camera. Thats value.
The DVD was shot entirely on a Z1U and just watching it is a treat. The camera delivers superb images and the production quality of this DVD is just excellent. The audio and narration is spot on and pleasant to listen to (I do the learn by osmosis trick sometimes and just let things play in the background while doing something else. We all know that narration can make or break a project. This project hit it square on the head). Take a trip over to their website and check out their trailer and see if you dont agree that these guys have produced an excellent product. Id love to see them produce another couple of DVDs on lighting and sound. You could have a complete package of setup and production training in 3 DVDs.
©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey | Creative Cow
All Rights Reserved