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Big problems with Z1 footage

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Ignatius Gorin
Big problems with Z1 footage
on Nov 4, 2009 at 9:10:50 pm

Hi --

I'm in big trouble. I received footage today, shot from someone I know and trust; 5 (SONY DV Premium) tapes (I know bad, bad, and everyone I know is doing it), shot in 1080/50. This was shot with our own Z1 that just came back from maintenance at our usual dealer's (they replaced the tape mechanism, after replacing the whole optical block in July).

I had to lean this particular Z1 unit to someone else, so I don't have it at hand. I rented a HVRM15 to capture these tapes. I don't have a TV monitor at hand either, but the HVRM seems properly set (I checked with the dealer; it's HDV anyway).

In FCP (5.1.4/Mac Pro 2x2.66/Ggig/10.4.11), when I play these tapes, what I get is mostly a black screen (with TC running though), sometimes a partial image, soon freezing, with about the bottom third of the screen filled with green (and dozens of green pixels in various places of the screen).

The girl who shot these tapes (like dozens of ITV's for me before) says she checked about 30" on the last tape, which was playing flawlessly (image and sound); she didn't check each tape as this was so much of a rush all day. I can't read this particular portion (black screen).

I tried to capture onto a Macbook Pro's internal HD for tests, and it looks the same.

I'm supposed to deliver partial dailies tomorrow afternoon (GMT+1 here).

Any hint will be greatly appreciated.

Something with heads (didn't notice TC drop symptoms)? Something else to check? Is that possible that the camera itself was set to something special that would allow us to read the tapes on something else? The HVRM itself or settings? Any hope?

One other question: the Z1 internal monitor: is it a recording monitor, or just showing what goes through the lense before it's being taped?

Many, many thanks in advance for your help.

— Ig. (sweating)

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Adam White
Re: Big problems with Z1 footage
on Nov 5, 2009 at 1:19:51 am

I had the same issue with some Z1 footage recently.

Like you, the camera had been recently sent in for repair. It turned out the camera was recording as HDV1080i/60 (Z1s can shoot in both) even though it had been set to 1080i/50. It was an error with the camera.

So when FCP was set to capture as HDV1080i/60 the footage was fine. This also explained why the footage played back fine on the camera itself (same scenario as you). We even shot on Sony premium tapes too (never again!).

I hope this proves to be a solution for you - I know what a nightmare it was for me when I thought we'd lost all the precious footage!


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Ignatius Gorin
Re: Big problems with Z1 footage
on Nov 5, 2009 at 6:16:01 am

Thanks for your input (and temporary hope).

I don't want to expect too much, but I wasn't able to find 1080/60 capture settings, it's "HDV" (or "HDV Apple Intermediate Codec"), then I can set the sequence to be 50 or 60.

So I get the same thing in the capture window.

Thank you again.

-- Ig.

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Ignatius Gorin
Re: Big problems with Z1 footage
on Nov 5, 2009 at 10:45:43 am

Replying to myself (in case someone runs across this thread later) :

I went to my local dealer, and in fact, the Z1 heads were (expectedly) misaligned somehow. The HVRM15 couldn't read more that one of the two heads (thus we could see something in fast forward), but after trying a Z7 and a Z5, the Z5 could read the tapes, but kept dropping TC, and the Z7 would play pretty decently.

Bottom line, if that happens (at night...) don't panic, there are good chances that the tapes will end up being read by something; and I can't yet say hos they read in the same Z1 they were taped with).


- Ig.

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