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HMC 150 settings

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Randy Champion
HMC 150 settings
on Dec 18, 2012 at 9:32:45 pm

Trying to shorten the learning curve here. I know this an older model camera, but it is what I have to work with; it's brand new and I got it in a trade for work so I am excited to use it. With the myriad of settings what would be the best for my new HMC 150? There are lengthy discussions on specific situations, but generally I will be filming corporate videos, training, and interviews. If it was just for in-house or YouTube it wouldn't be a problem, but some of the footage may end up representing the company at trade shows on large video walls so it has to look good. Are there general rules to follow? When is 720 better than 1080? I or P? 24p, 30p, 60i? Any help would be appreciated as there are some shoots next week and I want to be ready and knowledgeable. When should I use a UV filter, only outside?


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 19, 2012 at 5:14:34 pm

Hi Randy,

I don't have the HMC-150, but have shot with the HMC-40, and am just going to comment in regards to the different formats, which apply to any camera really.

1080i is interlaced, and therefore provides smooth motion by recording 60 separate fields each second, at 1/60 second increments, to create 30 frames per second, or 29.97 for the purists (note that NTSC is also 29.97 interlaced, so 1080i is a good source if converting to DVD or broadcasting). 1080i is also the highest resolution at 1920x1080, versus 720p being 1280x720 (some cameras can also record anamorphic 1080i at 1440x1080, still a higher resolution than 720p).

720p is always a progressive shooting mode. There are no fields; rather, complete frames are recorded at the prescribed frame rate, for instance 24, 30, or 60fps depending on record modes offered (25p available to PAL users).

24p is generally for making "films" or wedding-type work, where the "film look" is desired. Due to the low frame rate, pans or fast motion can appear choppy, so avoid 24p unless specifically wanting that film look.

Web video is always progressive, since computer displays are non-interlaced. So if shooting content destined for the web only, then 720p30 can be a great choice, keeping the workflow progressive throughout and avoiding any interlacing issues.

720p60 is great for fast action (sports) recording and also offers better results for slow-motion replay due to the higher frame rate being recorded (shoot 60p, but edit 30p and get perfect 50% slow mo for instance).

Some cameras also offer 1080p modes, so getting the highest resolution, and progressive recording. Really up to you, no right or wrong necessarily - aesthetics play a big part. Do some samples, going through the entire workflow through delivery medium and see what looks best for your needs.

If there are other techs involved with the display end of things, ask them if they have a preference or requirement in mind as well, as you will want to provide them with a compatible format of course.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Randy Champion
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:42:44 pm

So 1080/60p is the best then, right? But the HMC150 offers 60p only in 720, 1080 is 60i. From Panasonic:

Recording Video Format:
PH mode: 1080/60i, 1080/30p (over 60i), 1080/24p (native), 720/60p, 720/30p(over 60p) and 720/24p (native)
HA, HG and HE mode: 1080/60i only
Transmission Rate:
PH mode: approx. 21 Mbps (VBR, Max 24Mbps)
HA mode: approx. 17 Mbps (VBR),
HG mode: approx. 13 Mbps (VBR)
HE mode: approx. 6 Mbps (VBR)

I understand it all has to do with the amount of light coming through the lens, but all those parameters being equal - let's say I'm shooting an interview outdoors on a sunny day - for the best quality on that large video screen at a trade show I would want to shoot it in PH mode (21 mbps) but what would be better - 1080/30p or 720/60p?


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 19, 2012 at 7:53:18 pm

Hi Randy,

I'd say that theoretically, 1080p60 should look awesome! However, we need to consider display technology as well. What formats can the intended display device handle? Not just the screen, but playback unit? 1080p60 is NOT supported by the Blu-ray spec, while 720p60 is, but again, what about the monitor/projector?

Contact the techs in charge of displaying this stuff and see what they want/need. A lot of this frame rate discussion comes down to personal taste, or aesthetics, but some technical considerations play a part as well and can't be overlooked.

I'd say there is no benefit to shooting 60p for interviews, as 60p is more for fast action/sports. So looking at a 1080i or 1080p30/720p30 scenario. With 1080 formats, you have more pixels and could therefore do some re-framing without quality loss, meaning shoot 1080 but edit in a 720p project and you can zoom/pan somewhat in post production then using the "extra" resolution available.

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Randy Champion
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 19, 2012 at 8:07:15 pm

Jeff,
I appreciate your patience with me as I struggle to wrap my brain around all this. So actually the settings will be dictated by the resolution of the monitors used at the trade show, right? If they are 720p then should I shoot and edit 720p? Same for 1080i? What if the monitor is 1080p? Will my videos shot at 1080i or 720p look better or worse?


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:43:35 pm

Hi Randy,

When talking about an HD TV in one's living room, those don't care too much what the source is. If the TV is a 720p model, you can still send it a 1080i or 1080p input, and it will just be shown scaled to 720p resolution since that is the max that the TV hardware can display.

So in that case, no the display does not really dictate what you shoot. Plus, in Adobe Media Encoder, you can always output to something different than what you shot (though frame rate changes can affect quality).

However, I still recommend that you find out what the whole deal is with the trade show setup. HOW do they feed the display? For instance, Blu-ray discs only support certain combinations of resolution and frame rate, so if they intend to play the source from Blu-ray, you'd want to shoot in a supported format. Or maybe they use some sort of "Media Player" device, so again, find out the specs of what it handles/requires. And same goes for the display - is it projection? LCD? Some third-party hardware the feeds multi-displays in a video wall? The the "living room" thing goes out the window and you need to find out the specs for the delivery system and produce your content in a supported resolution and frame rate.

Start at the end (delivery), and work your way back to the camera (acquisition). Once you know the specs for delivery, that will guide the camera setup.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Randy Champion
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:29:28 pm

Thanks Jeff,
The truth is the client knows even less than I do. This is their first venture into the trade show arena and they are looking to me to give them answers on which TV to buy and what should drive the videos. They will buy what I tell them to buy so I want to get the absolute best quality video that I can from this camera and then tell them what equipment they need to make it look good. They are talking about a USB connection from an iPad to the monitor.

So the camera arrived today. Right out of the box I did a test shot all on Auto at 1030p. Didn't wow me. That's why I need to know what the optimum settings need to be cuz in reality, my little Canon HF R20 for 300 bucks looks better.
Randy


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 20, 2012 at 5:41:36 pm

With the client using the iPad, is that so they can call up random video clips to show people as needed? If they just need a "looping" video to play in the booth, then I would recommend a Western Digital "WDTV" or similar "media player". These are very small boxes that have a USB input, into which you connect a thumb drive or small USB hard drive with your video on it, and then the box plays it out to the display via HDMI. So you encode your videos to H.264 and put them on the USB drive, and the WDTV has a remote control with it and provides an onscreen menu interface to your monitor where you can go through the videos, stills, music clips and choose what to play, whether to loop, etc. Under $100, I use one at dance recitals and such to sell videos, let it run all day and loop my demo clips in HD.

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Randy Champion
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 24, 2012 at 3:36:23 pm

It appears that the delivery system will be the Western Digital media player you mentioned, or a device similar, and will be used to loop a 2-3 minute piece onto 2 47" LG 1080p LCD monitors. It's preferable to have them synched to play together. Can 1 WDTV device drive both monitors?

So now that we know what the delivery system will be, we can start moving backwards.


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Jeff Pulera
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 24, 2012 at 3:40:44 pm

Hi Randy,

Just get an inexpensive HDMI "splitter" unit to drive two displays, such as those offered by monoprice

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Randy Champion
Re: HMC 150 settings
on Dec 24, 2012 at 4:38:20 pm

Thanks Jeff!

Now to production. I use Sony Vegas to edit and can set the project settings to a number of different things. I usually either match media settings or just set it to 1920x1080x30fps. To help my slow computer I convert the AVCHD from the camera to AVI and I get smoother previews while editing, changing it back to AVCHD prior to rendering. Creative Cow has a a pretty active Sony Vegas forum and they have been helpful. Any suggestions for editing would be helpful.

So are we back to the first question of what should I set the HMC 150 at to get the best results?


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