Sony HDR-HC7 HDV Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Multimedia, Feb 10, 2007.

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Do You Own or Plan To Own A Sony HDR-HC7 HDV Camcorder?

  1. Yes I Own One

    21.9%
  2. Yes I Have One On Order

    3.8%
  3. Yes I Plan To Buy One By April '07

    5.5%
  4. Yes I Plan To Buy One By July '07

    1.6%
  5. Yes I Plan To Buy One By Christmas '07

    5.5%
  6. No I Already Own Another HDV Model

    18.0%
  7. No I Already Own a DV Camcorder And Am Not Ready For HDV Yet

    18.6%
  8. Just Curious

    25.1%
  1. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #1
    Just ordered the new Sony HDR-HC7 HDV Camcorder from ProVantage in North Canton Ohio for only $1137.81 plus $12.95 shipping to CA. Almost everyone else is selling it for $1399 list or no less than about $1289 do it's a real bargain at almost 20% off from ProVantage. We may have to wait a few more days since this camera is just now making its way into distribution. This past week is the first when reports of it hitting some stores and reaching homes of the most eager buyers who paid list plus tax no doubt.

    So I hope this thread can help everyone who buys this camera work with their Macs. I have G5 Quad and Final Cut Studio. I will also be buying the 8 core Dual Clovertown mac pro as soon as it is announced. I am a charter DV Videographer since October 1995 and wrote the first published review of the Sony VX-1000 DV Camcorder for DV Magazine which appeared in the February 1996 issue.

    This will be my first HDV camcorder. I've been patiently waiting for all the features that are in the HC7 to come together. Here's a link to the Camcorderinfo.com First Impression Preliminary Review.

    One of the most deceiving aspects of this camera is its size:

    Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz. (650g) with tape and supplied battery
    Measurements: 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" x 5 1/2" (82 x 82 x 138mm)

    Update From My Post #50: Anyone who has this camera or who is interested in perhaps buying one or who can help owners use it with their Macs is welcome here. I have a lot more to share but I'll save it for more posts soon enough.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. pengu macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Diddily Daddily...
    #2
    I have an HDR-HC1 that i bought 12 months ago, and i love it :D
     
  3. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #3
    Friend With HC1 Is Buying The HC7 Now

    My best friend who's had the HC1 since it came out is buying the HC7 now because of all these improvements:

    1. Top Loader instead of Bottom Feeder
    2. Improved 1/2.9" ClearVid™ CMOS Sensor
    3. Lower Light Capability down to 2 Lux
    4. HDMI Out for Intensity PCIe Interface
    5. Bigger 6.1 MegaPixel Still Capability
    6. x.v. Color
    7. 3 Second Smooth Slow Records 720 Fields 12 Second Playback
    8. Cinematic Mode - fake 24p
    9. First prosumer HDV camcorder since HC1 with Manual Audio Gain and External Audio Input w/Headphone Output.

    Have you thought about selling your HC1 and moving on to the HC7 soon?
     
  4. pengu macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
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    Diddily Daddily...
    #4
    given that i dont use it heaps, nor am i a "pro"/"prosumer" user, not really...

    also. what are the advantages of HDMI for this? i already have Firewire 400 and 800 and i've not heard of using HDMI for transferring content, only viewing it (as in, HDMI == DVI + SPDIF in one cable).
     
  5. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #5
    Wow, that looks amazing. Makes me want to sell my DCR-HC36 and get it, but I can't afford it right now. :(
     
  6. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #6
    Blackmagic Design Makes Inexpensive HDMI i/o PCIe Cards For Mac Pro & Last Gen G5 PMs

    In post #3 I include this link to Blackmagic Design's Intensity PCIe Card for last gen G5 PowerMacs, Mac Pros and PCIe PCs. It's a $249 HDMI i/o card that lets you get the uncompressed HD directly off the sensor of all HDMI out camcorders.

    Is your Dual 2GHz G5 last gen from October '05 with a single dual core G5 and PCIe bus inside? They will soon support this last generation PowerMac as soon as they fix a bug in that Mac's bus.

    On-Air 2.0 will soon be On-Air 3.0 supporting 3 inexpensive HDMI out camcorders for live switching-recording of this more robust HD signal.

    Here's the full set of links to all 5 Blackmagic Design Intensity web pages.

    1. Intensity Home Page
    2. Intensity Software
    3. Intensity On-Air
    4. Intensity Quality explains the advantages of recording from the HDMI output.
    5. Intensity Tech Specs
     

    Attached Files:

  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    For consumer usage there is no advantage of capturing via HDMI w/a card like the Intensity. For professional usage you can transcode on capture to a more post friendly codec and use the card to feed an HD monitor (along w/what Multimedia has already mentioned).


    Lethal
     
  8. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #8
    HDMI Output Is For Prosumer, Academic and Low Budget Professional Productions

    Exactly. Thank you. Put much more succinctly than I did. ;)

    So from a pro point of view, the Intensity card provides a sort of low-budget HD production loop-hole that will let prosumers and ultra low budget pros, students etc create much higher quality HD productions than they ever dreamed they could afford.

    Lethal, what codec would you recommend for use with the Intensity cards? And does the codec you like come with the card? If not who is the publisher and how much does it cost? I was thinking DVCPro HD. Is that right or is there something even better?
     
  9. nickweston macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    #9
    Pseudo 24p?

    I'd like to know more about Sony's "cinematic" mode, a "fake" 24p...I don't hear a lot of talk about 24p, but after using Panasonic cameras with 24p, I was astounded. I can't imagine not using it now, it gives everything a very "film" look.
    I know that there's a new Canon prosumer cam that has 24p, but they also offer a "24f" technology, which is their "fake" 24p.

    confused...

    I want an inexpensive HD cam that does 24p (or a good fake)...any suggestions?
     
  10. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #10
    Canon HV20 Is Real 24p But Missing a LANC Port

    Aparently the Canon HV20 is real 24p and it also is the first Canon camera to have HDMI output as well. Downside of this camera is the missing LANC port so you may not drive it from a remote zoom controller on your tripod. If you never plan to use a remote zoom this would be an excellent choice.

    I use a remote zoom - Varizoom controller all the time. So from my point of view the Canon HV10 and 20 are DOA.

    Since I don't have the camera yet, I can't report on how the Sony "fake" 24p looks yet. Here's the text of how they describe it in the Features list:

    "Cinematic Mode
    Perfect for creating your own movie masterpieces, the HDR-HC7 cinematic mode lends a 24 frame film-like effect to your recordings."

    Fairly thin as feature descriptions go. :eek: :rolleyes: But we could all use a "Good Fake" 24p couldn't we? :p

    At least this camera has a LANC port on it. :D :rolleyes:

    You pose an excellent question that needs a much more detailed technical answer than I can provide today Nick. But when I go to NAB in mid April, you can be certain I will be searching for your answer if someone else doesn't give it to us in the mean time.
     
  11. pengu macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 20, 2005
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    #11
    No, i have an earlier one with PCI-X and two CPUs.

    also, if i understand you correctly, the whole point of the card is to bypass the MiniDV tape and record straight out over the HDMI to a PC, correct?
     
  12. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #12
    HDV Tape Recording Will Still Act As Backup To HDMI HD Recordings

    Not instead - parallel at the same time. According to Blackmagic Design, playback from the HDV deck out the HDMI port also delivers a better HD stream than what comes out the FireWire port. So TAPE will still be your backup, archive medium.

    You might want to sell your old Dual 2GHz while you still can for decent money and upgrade to a Mac Pro ASAP although that window may have already closed. Once the 8 core Mac Pro ships the old slowest G5's will have a resale value of less than $1k. I bought a dual core 2GHz G5 last September at Fry's just after Mac Pros shipped for $864.26 although Apple still sells them on the refurb page for $1599.
     
  13. pengu macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Diddily Daddily...
    #13
    Hmm. a company claiming IT'S method of doing something is better than the "industry standard". wow. what a suprise. given that we are talking about DIGITAL content here, i think i'll be fine sticking with firewire. im sorry but a stream of digital video isnt going to change because of the medium its copied over. anywho. as for the g5. i dont usually sell my old machines, i either give them to the folks (last 2) or in this case, i will probably relegate the machine to be a "server" for web develeopment work and attach a 5-drive external HDD case for using with an :apple:TV
     
  14. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #14
    HDMI Output Is Uncompressed 1920 x 1080 Rather Than 1440 x 1080 HDV

    That reads like you misunderstand how the Intensity card works. It's not bypassing industry standards at all. It uses industry standards totally.

    The HDMI port spits out uncompressed HD code directly off the 1920 x 1080 HC7 sensor never having reached the HDV circuitry at all. In your Mac Pro etc. you would use a richer codec than the HDV codec like DVCPro HD or other standards to reduce its size for editing in a superior format to HDV. Nothing about doing it in any Blackmagic Design exclusive way at all.

    Did you read their web pages? Your comment reads like you jumped to an inaccurate conclusion. :eek:
     
  15. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #15
    Meh ... 1080i? I'll pass.

    For what I've been doing lately (a lot of green screen work), it's 720p or nothing. 1080i is impossible to work with.

    I want a 4:4:4 1080p camera, but those are $100k. :(
     
  16. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #16
    RED ONE™ Is Only $17.5k + Lens As Long As You Can Wait A Year

    What about the RED ONE™ for $17.5k? I know they are sold out for this year but at least there's hope for next year right? :eek: ;)
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    DVCPro HD is probably the most cost effective alternative because you don't need a big RAID of drives to handle it. At the place I'm working at now we use DV, HDV, and DVCPro HD (sometimes in the same timeline :eek: ) and we all have an equal dislike for HDV as a post codec. I've actually been looking at the Intensity as it can do the HDV to DVCPro HD conversion on the fly, but that means we'd have to replace all of our HDV decks w/ones that have HDMI.


    Sony's "cineframe24" shooting mode is a piece of crap. They have a new prosumer camera (the V1U) that shoots really progressive footage, but I'm not sure about any of their other cameras.


    As Multimedia said, you'd use the HDMI to get a live feed from the camera and capture that to a higher quality codec, thus avoiding the HDV compression.


    Lethal
     
  18. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #18
    Sony 4 Year Service Plan w/Accidental Damage from Handling Protection $180

    While ProVantage doesn't sell warranties, I was able to buy the most comprehensive 4 year warranty directly from Sony today as they also confirmed that ProVantage is a real Sony authorized dealer for $180. $45 a year is quite a bargain I think. Includes repairs for external damage due to dropping it and such. This is something you need to do within the first 60 days of ownership.

    Here's the link to the Sony Style Camcorder Extended Service Plan web page.

    Phone is 877.865.SONY
     
  19. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #19
    Sony Cineframe24 Is No Good According To LethalWolfe

    Now that we know how you really feel can you elaborate on what it is exactly? Should we just forgetboutit and do better in post? What's the truth about film transfers from 30fps HDV footage or better still 30fps DVCProHD edited footage?

    Thanks. ;)
     
  20. BiikeMike macrumors 65816

    BiikeMike

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    #20
    So what is the advantage of this camera over the ol' standard PD-170? I understand that this one is HD and the PD150/170 is not, but they both have 3 CCDs, and this one only has one, no? So how can the image quality be better?
     
  21. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #21
    Well, if one camera records in standard definition resolution and the other in high definition resolution, that's how image quality can be better. ;)

    Basically there are still 3CCDs in each one, but there are not the same number of pixels on each CCD.
     
  22. ANIM8R macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    #22
    Multimedia,

    I, too, plan on getting an HC7 in the next couple of weeks and am thrilled that you seem to have done so much research on the Intensity. I have a couple of questions real quick that I can't seem to get through my head:

    1. With the intensity, you'd have to have a Mac Pro somewhere out in the field to record directly to the HDMI input, correct? Recording even to an HDV tape and then connecting it when you got back to your Mac Pro in the office would still introduce HDV compression into your shots, even if transferred later through HDMI to the Intensity, correct? That ones been bugging me. I don't see how it's feasible to carry a Mac Pro for direct capture everywhere. Set me straight on this one. :)

    2. On their web site they specify the Intensity is still not available for PowerPC systems yet you state they're working on it. Have you heard of any timeframes? I am also working on a PPC Quad G5 and loving it, though I am looking longingly at an 8 core as well. I think a MacBook Pro is closer in my future, however.

    Thanks for bringing up the topic and your help!
     
  23. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #23
    You can definitely do better in post. Sony's cineframe24 mode basically re-orders the fields to try and give the look/feel of 24fps. Not only does this cut into the resolution of the image, but it looks pretty jerky when there is motion in the image, IMO. I used to work at a place that shot w/Sony's CineAlta as the main cam and Z1U's (shooting cineframe24) as the B cams and the cineframe24 footage looked very jerky compared to the 23.98fps footage of the CineAlte. Sony's newer, CMOS based camera the V1U shoots a true 24p image.


    It's not feasible as a field option, but if you are locked down somewhere (on a set or in a studio doing green screen) it's doable as long as you have fast enough storage.

    All I've heard is they are working on. I haven't seen any rumors of target dates though.


    Lethal
     
  24. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #24
    Under low light conditions, the HC-7's image quality is not very good compared to the PD-170. Even though the HC-7 is marketed as a "high definition" camcorder, the images it produces is fuzzier and noisier than the standard definition PD-170. That's due to a smaller sensor.

    Under ideal lighting conditions (bright), that's when the HC-7 really shines.
     
  25. Multimedia thread starter macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #25
    I'll Take Wide Single Chip '07 HDV Tech Over 3-Chip 4x3 SD Every Day

    While the HC7 has only one CMOS sensor it does have the advantage of delivering 1920 x 1080 out the HDMI port directly off that sensor as well as 1440 x 1080 to the HDV recording mechanism. It's can't be all that bad compared to 480 x 640 SD no matter how "clean" the 3 CCD source is.
    I agree from the little I've seen the HC7 image is softer than what a 3 chip HD camera can capture, but I question your assertion any 3-chip SD camera is better than a wide aspect single chip HDV camera.

    I find all SD material to be radically FUZZIER than the worst HDV material. I am also very partial to the 16:9 aspect ratio now. So while I'm sure you're technically right, SpicyApple, from a practical point of view I just can't want to shoot anything SD any more. I have a bunch of SD cameras and I just don't want to use any of them now that I am hooked on HD.

    There's a camera size tradeoff we have to live with at this stage in the evolution of Prosumer camcorders. This is like the era before the TRV-900 shipped. You can buy a small footprint 1-chip HC7 or a gigantic footprint 3-chip FX7 - similar to the original VX-1000 - but not a TRV-900 size 3-chip HDV camera yet from Sony. I realize the 3-chip HDD only cameras are coming in TRV-900 size from JVC and perhaps others soon. But I am wary of those models due to unknown Mac codecs and what appear to be even higher compression schemes than HDV is. I also have a problem with how to archive HDD only footage.

    So while I'm sure you're right, I just don't want to wait any longer and I don't want a camera that is more than a foot long and weighs almost 3 times as much as the HC7. So I think HC7 is the best we've been offered this year in it's price point and I am willing to live with that. I'll be first in line to replace it as soon as Sony or Panasonic introduce a TRV-900 cantalope size 3-chip HDV model. I'm not wanting to abandon tape any time soon as my master and archival medium. On the other hand I'm very excited about the Intensity recording option. So I'm conflicted Spicy.

    May I ask your advice? The recording drum on my TRV-900 is broken and will cost $311 to fix from Sony or $400 from a local repair place. Should I spend the money to fix it since I don't plan on using that camera any more or not? i.e. does it have resale value higher than $500?

    SpicyApple's Rewrite of the above post (thank you for softening your position SpicyApple):
    True Dat. But I do like the option of Super Night Shot that none of the pro-cameras offer at any price. And I don't mind the grain in low light which Sony claims will work without Super Night Shot down to 2 lux with a 1/30th shutter slow down which adds motion lag but brightens the subject considerably still showing colors.

    I'm not sure how "Fuzzier" a noisy HC7 image would be perceived in a double blind test against any "Sharper" noise free SD image. Just can't face any SD recordings any more Spicy. Find all of it unacceptably "Fuzzy" no mater how noise free. ;) :eek:
     

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