LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Sony HVR-Z1U and HDR-FX1: First Impressions

COW Library : HDV Format : Jim Harvey : Sony HVR-Z1U and HDR-FX1: First Impressions
HandsOnHDV: A Complete Guide to the HVR-Z1U and HDR-FX1

A Creative COW Training Product Review

HandsOnHDV: A Complete Guide to the HVR-Z1U and HDR-FX1

Jim Harvey Jim Harvey
JHV Digital
New York, USA

©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey and Creativecow.net. All Rights Reserved
Article Focus:
CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey just made the leap to HDV by acquiring one of SONY’s 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 Sony’s 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 you’re like most people, you’ll fiddle with the camera for a couple of days because we all know that “We don’t 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, you’ll be able to get some different looks. But are you really getting all your money’s worth out of this new equipment? Probably not. Sure, you can refer to the manual when you get stuck “How come I can’t adjust the channel levels on the internal mic when I’m 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 it’s 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. Let’s put it this way, if you were looking to intern in this business, you’d count yourself one of the very lucky one’s if you could intern for any one of these guys.

The great news is that you don’t 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. It’s 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 didn’t know to ask. Let’s 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 can’t 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 it’s 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 didn’t feel cheated, as I don’t plan on having ANY of my work transferred to film so it wasn’t 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, I’ll 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 (Sony’s 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 don’t know about you, but saving over a half hour of diddling around is priceless in my book. Too bad I didn’t 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 I’ve owned the camera. That’s 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 don’t agree that these guys have produced an excellent product. I’d love to see them produce another couple of DVD’s on lighting and sound. You could have a complete package of setup and production training in 3 DVD’s.

.

In Conclusion

It’s a real treat to be able to tell readers about a product that delivers more than you bargained for. The HandsOnHDV training DVD is one of those products. This is a MUST HAVE on anyone’s list who is remotely interested in HDV as a coming force in the industry. Regardless of whether or not you actually buy one of these cameras, understanding what they can do and what they are about will make you more knowledgeable when you finally do make the transition. And whether you like it or not, you are going to make the transition. It’s here folks. HDV isn’t going to fade away like MicroMV. It’s the MiniDV of the 21st Century and you better get ready for it now.

HandsOnHDV gets a HandsDown 5 cows for the best InfoDVD of the year.


©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey | Creative Cow
All Rights Reserved


If you got here by a direct link to this page Click here to visit Creative COW's user forums and many other articles





Related Articles / Tutorials:
HDV Format
Demystifying HDV Workflows

Demystifying HDV Workflows

Creative COW Leader Tim Kolb uses his HDV expertise to explore the technology behind HDV, and show how it applies inside Final Cut Pro and other NLEs, with a special focus on longer projects. As Tim notes, this is a modified version of a post he made in the HDV forum responding to a question about FCP, but anyone who wants to know about editing HDV needs to check this out.

Tutorial, Feature
Tim Kolb
HDV Format
Building the Perfect HDV KeyBuilding the Perfect HDV Key

In the first of our Creative COW Magazine Web Extras, we begin with Stephen Smiths outstanding article on setting up an area for proper keying from the May-June 2007 edition. His article covers every option for setting up and lighting perfect keys. Here, we look at the best advice around The COWs online communities for pulling keys from HDV footage.

Tutorial, Feature
Tim Wilson
HDV Format
VisionLab Studio/CompositeLab/Effects Lab from Fxhome

VisionLab Studio/CompositeLab/Effects Lab from Fxhome

In this article, CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey takes a look at Vision Lab Studio, Composite Lab and Effects Lab from Fxhome. Read on to find out why Jim calls it 'professional compositing on a budget.'

Review
Jim Harvey
HDV Format
Sony Vegas 7

Sony Vegas 7

In this article, CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey reviews Sony Vegas 7 and concludes, ''...It Just Keeps Getting Better. For the money, you 'd be hard pressed to find a better editing program.''

Review
Jim Harvey
HDV Format
HandsOn HDV Training DVD for Sony HDR-HC1

HandsOn HDV Training DVD for Sony HDR-HC1

In this article, CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey reviews HandsOn HDV Training DVD for Sony HDR-HC1. HandsOn HDV has produced a DVD training for trhe new Sony HC1, which Jim finds ''...very Informative for the target market and a well produced package.''

Review
Jim Harvey
HDV Format
Taking Sony's HDV Camera to the Outer Limits of Performance

Taking Sony's HDV Camera to the Outer Limits of Performance

Sony has made a big splash in the video world with the release of their HDV camcorder the HVR-Z1U. By itself, it is capable of images that will amaze even the most jaded video professional. But as with all things, there's always room for improvement. By not having a microphone or wide angle supplied, you can choose better components that will enhance the performance of an already incredible camera. In this article, CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey walks CreativeCOW members through what they need to build the Ultimate Z1U set up.

Feature
Jim Harvey
HDV Format
HDV/DV Rack by Serious Magic

HDV/DV Rack by Serious Magic

There are times when a piece of software or hardware comes along that changes your thinking about what tools are critical in your work. DV Rack was one of those pieces for Emmy Award winner, Tim Kolb. The ability to have accurate and comprehensive image and audio quality measurement via FireWire anywhere you can power a laptop changed the way Tim thought about acquiring video. With the arrival of the HDV Power Pak upgrade module, the same technical control is now available for those of us shooting HDV. Read the rest of Tim's review.....

Review
Tim Kolb
HDV Format
High Definition for the Road

High Definition for the Road

Thanks to formats like DVCPro HD and HDV, High Definition can now be edited pretty much anywhere on just about any computer. Yeah, this is cool and you can really make your friends jealous just cutting away with your super slick laptop. But you know what's really slick? Editing Uncompressed High Definition anywhere. How about an Uncompressed editing workstation in a 25'' square box? No way? Way! Read on to find out about Wally's Traveling Box of Mystery and Intrigue...

Tutorial, Feature
Walter Biscardi
HDV Format
Sony FX1-Z1U Made Easy

Sony FX1-Z1U Made Easy

CreativeCOW leader and Video enthusiast Steven Gotz takes a look at the Elite Video tutorials Sony FX1-Z1U Made Easy and concludes ''..these training DVDs really cover all of the necessary topics for anyone who has purchased, or is thinking of purchasing either one of these Sony HDV camcorders.''

Review
Steven Gotz
HDV Format
HDV vs HD: A Primer

HDV vs HD: A Primer

Emmy Award winner, Tim Kolb discusses HDV and its place in the greater scope of HD production formats. Since the inception of the HDV format, we have seen many responces regarding the HDV format and how it fits alongside HDCam, DVCProHD, XDCam and other formats in the greater scope of the HD picture. In this article (which is taken from an HDV Format forum responce), Creative Cow's Tim Kolb gives what we feel is an exemplary job of dissecting the subject and clarifying the many components of the HD universe, HDV being one of those parts....

Tutorial, Feature
Tim Kolb
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]