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Sony HDR-HC1: A Quantum Leap For Video Buffs

Last response: in Tom's Guide
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April 2, 2006 6:37:36 AM

Sony's smallest HD video camera costs upwards of $1,200, but is the way to go for serious amateur videographers looking to raise the level of their game.
April 3, 2006 12:53:19 AM

Quote:
1440x1080 pixels, or nearly 3 megapixels

I think the math is off a little here. That would be 1.5 megapixels.....
(1555200 pixels or 1.48 megapixels)
April 3, 2006 3:46:41 AM

Can you test this baby on a Mac?
April 3, 2006 1:21:17 PM

You're right, and the author even said that two paragraphs above. It's been fixed.
April 4, 2006 12:19:17 AM

With regards to "Green Screening" - I am planning a project that will make a small amount of use of Green-screen. It will be shot in HD, and now I am trying to decide which HD camera/format to use.

I am concerned about the edge effect using an MPG2 format. Firstly, edges will already be developing "blockiness" due to the MPG compression format. Couple with that the 4:1:1 colourspace (i.e. the chroma channels have only 1/4 the resolution of the luma channles), I expect that greenscreening will be quite difficult with such a format.

So, in comparing HD cameras, I think a comparison of their greenscreening ability would be extremely usefull, as a test of just how "edit-friendly" the format is. It could be that the Sony HDR-HC1 _can_ produce a decent greenscreen input image, but I would love to see some test results to compare that against, say, DVCPRO-HD from panasonic.

Regards,
Chris.
April 4, 2006 1:29:42 AM

I wish they would have reviewed Sony's Vegas Software.

I am glad they did this article as I am thinking of getting this or the upcoming HDR-HC3 camera from Sony.
April 6, 2006 3:22:14 PM

I've used Vegas & DVD Architect with my HDR-HC1 a bit, so I'll share my experience with you. I wish they would have done a formal review of this combination too!

I also have Pinnalce 10.5 and agree with most of their comments - it's awkward and expensive to license all of the different features and activate those licenses. While the entry price may be cheap, I'll bet it costs as much as the more expensive packages once you've bought the add-ons. In addition, I've found Pinnacle to be extremely sensitive - installation and stability problems abound if you install many other apps on the same box. For these reasons I've given up on Pinnacle.

Editing in Premiere and Pinnacle is very slow with HD files - they're gigantic. A one hour tape is about 11gb on your hard drive. Scrubbing through the tape can be rather monotonous if your box isn't cutting-edge, as mine is not.

But I must say, Vegas handles it beautifully even on my box. You can scrub right through the video as if it was DV quality. I'm running a 3ghz Pentium with 1gb of RAM. I do have fast RAID-0 drives which helps a lot. Vegas is very powerful, and pretty easy to use.

Dvd Architect is ok. It will read chapter points set in Vegas, which is nice. It really does take quite a while to encode the video to create a dvd. If I recall correctly, about 6 hours to encode a one-hour HD tape down to DVD size. But the DVD was beautiful. There are lots of features in DvdArch, including many advanced features. But one basic that I haven't been able to figure out: If you have a menu with several clips on it, after you click on one, I want it to play from there to the end without going back to the menu at the end of each clip.

If you're happy with the videos you downloaded, I'm confident you'll be ok with Vegas as long as your box isn't too underpowered.
April 13, 2006 8:03:33 AM

Just a head's up: Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 DOES export MPEG2 just fine. Additionally, encoding into WMV can be greatly sped up.

Say you have a 1440x1080 HDV footage and it's about 10 minutes long. If you plan on encoding it into WMV that means you'll likely use it on the web, not on a DVD. If you don't absolutely need your movie to be 1440x1080 you can scale it down (for example to 576x432 which is 40% of 1440x1080 and still very nice to watch online) and your encoding times will decrease dramatically.
I just exported/encoded a 10 minute movie with those precise figures and it took less than 40 minutes at two-pass encoding at 29.97fps,1049Mbps average bitrate, 48Khz stereo audio. It looks fantastic (better than encoding the exact same file using discreet cleaner, IMHO).

my editing machine is a P4 3.2Ghz HT with 3 Gb mem and 0 Raid drives, so nothing too out of the ordinary for somebody looking to do pro-am or professional video.

The only true issue with exporting HDV content is of course if you want it to be AVI of course.
Other than that, Premiere Pro 2.0 does a fine job encoding into MPEG2, SDVD, WMV, RM, FLV and so forth.

BTW: I LOVE TOM'S HARDWARE!!! Wonderful info all around!
April 19, 2006 8:34:17 PM

I see that the HDR-HC3 is now available. It seems to be smaller than the HC1 and both are 1440x1080i, the only feature difference I've been able to spot so far (I admit I haven't looked closely) are the HD1 is listed as 3.0MP and the HC3 as 2.1MP. What are they refering to here? 1440x1080 is 1.56MP ... are they talking about still pictures? Seems a little odd, I'd have thought there would only be enough pixels to capture the HD image.

Price seems to be about the same on both.

Has anyone had a chance to compare the two?

Thanks,
-P
May 5, 2006 1:43:09 PM

The issue is that the HDR-HC1 was cannabalizing sales of the more expensive Sony HDV Camera. Therefore instead uf updating the HDR-HC1 with fancy new features, Sony created the less capable HDR-HC3 with a smaller footprint, more features and an upgraded 4 Mega Pixel camera. The problem is that the pixel deph on the video was degraded and some people thought there was a problem with the focus on the HC3. No, it is not a problem with the focus. Luckily I was able to grab one of the last Sony HDR-HC1 cameras out there and of course I bought all the extra lenses and everything else I needed in case they could not be procured later. The entire package I purchased was less than $2K which is still less than the $3K on the more expensive Sony HDV camera. www.zoommania.com

So if you just want to play around, the HC3 is great. However, if you desire to take some professional video on the cheap, you should snag a HC1 before they are all gone.
May 17, 2006 4:33:24 PM

Update: On another message board it appears the pros believe the most important difference between the HC1 and the HC3 is the Optical Image Stabalization on the HC1 versus the Electronic Image Stabalization on the HC3. One responder said he has yet to see a EIS as good as a OIS system.

Curiously the HDR-HC1 is again readily available form many online retailers. What gives as a month ago they were hard to find. Where did all these HDR-HC1s come from as I thought Sony discontinued this model?
June 28, 2006 3:13:23 PM

quantum leap = "quantum leap is the smallest possible change"
Tom is a f#ck1ng ID10t
September 19, 2010 3:22:02 PM

This topic has been closed by Reynod
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