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Author Topic: Canon HV20 First Impressions  (Read 7875 times)
samirkharusi
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« on: June 04, 2007, 10:07:00 AM »
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Just received my HV20 PAL version. The video on a 70" 1080 screen via HDMI is just simply wow! Really sharp, brilliant colours. Like you see in those demos on HD TVs. The sound is just simply awful! Pity. The mic sensitivity is set far too high and you simply can't avoid the camera noise, even when you speak quite loudly. Very disappointing compared to my last Sony Micro Mv. Sony seems to make a better execution for built-in mics, better than my last JVC (too prone to wind noise) and better than this latest Canon. Looks like one is condemned to use the Canon accessory directional mic that goes into the hotshoe. Nuisance for holiday shooting, which is all I use these cameras for anyway. Sony and JVC also seem to use plastics that have better tactile feel. The Canon has the plasticky feel of a Canon 350D. The Sony is closer to a 20D. Still photos in the Canon are sort of OK, 3 megapixels, less noisy than in my Sony Mv (2megapixels) but the in-camerta sharpening is set too high. Have not yet found a way to adjust it yet. Will have to restudy the instruction manual. Hopefully there is a way of reducing it.

About that directional mic, anyone tried it out? Does it actually make the sound behave? It'll be ridiculous if I have to get RF mics to carry around on vacation, and set the sound level via earphones.
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 05:37:29 PM »
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Samir,
I get the impresssion the HV20 is short on manual controls. I take it there's no way of adjusting the sound level of the internal mic. Is that right?

I read on the AVS forum there's also an automatic gain that is uncontrollable which can be a problem in low light situations. Apparently the gain exaggerates noise. It seems there are ways of tricking the camera into not applying the gain, but this is a situation that has got me baffled. I assume gain is another term for increasing ISO. If this is the case, I can't see any advantage to underexposing without gain.

I presume you are in a PAL system country. How do you find the 25p mode?

What program do you use (or intend using) to edit the footage from the HV20?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 05:39:47 PM by Ray » Logged
samirkharusi
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2007, 10:38:57 PM »
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Perhaps I was too harsh in my criticism. You can adjust the mic gain when you are not using the full auto setting, basically you put the camera into "Program" mode (like in a DSLR) instead of "Auto", and you have better control. Main problem is that you have to know what you are doing. You can switch on a good sound meter on-screen. Looks like it works very well. OK for us techno-geeks, not OK for your spouse. You can set the mic sensitivity before you start shooting a scene and then the gain does not ramp up all the way to recording the camera's sound when there is no dialogue. I suppose I may get the directional mic that slips into the hot shoe, and perhaps that will be good enough for kids' parties on full auto. Have to play around with the camera a bit more. On the image side you do have all the usual modes, Program, Av, Tv, backlight, snow, beach, modes, etc. The instant backlight button is great! No need to fumble through menus. Also has various White Balance settings, including Custom. Sufficient manual control on everything for techno-geeks at my level.

For editing I was thinking of using Ulead's Studio 11 Plus, provided they incorporate downloading from the HV20, rumoured to be on the way. Seems to get the best reviews for HD at this juncture. I am shortly off on a 2-month trip and will worry about editing when I get back. Things seem to be changing very rapidly. By the way, connecting the camera to a TV for playback via HDMI is a pleasure, no more fumbling with multiple plugs.

The camera has a "cinema" mode that has a nice look, colours more muted, warmer/brownish than the normal setting that has high saturation and is "vivid", just like in the HD demos you see in the stores. I suppose the best way to describe the "cinema" look is that it reminds me of The Godfather films. A "deliberate" story-telling style. The P25 mode introduces frame smears and/or jerkiness when there is a lot of action, eg in fast pans. I do not like it, feeling that it is rather pretentious, emulating the deficiencies of film shooting. My own human vision does not smear, so why should I chase smearing other than going for a retro look. Like Sepia, also included. Each to his own tastes. In low lighting the shutter speed becomes longer and the smearing gets worse with P25. Nevertheless you do gain something like a full f-stop in exposure (maybe more?) and probably worthwhile when you are shooting under very dim conditions. I do not think I will ever use P25 except for the low light situation to get the extra f-stop (in longer shutter speed). Interestingly, in bright scenes without too much action, you can view P25 and normal intercuts without noticing that you have switched the scan mode.
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Ray
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2007, 09:06:55 AM »
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Quote
The P25 mode introduces frame smears and/or jerkiness when there is a lot of action, eg in fast pans. I do not like it, feeling that it is rather pretentious, emulating the deficiencies of film shooting. My own human vision does not smear, so why should I chase smearing other than going for a retro look. Like Sepia, also included. Each to his own tastes. In low lighting the shutter speed becomes longer and the smearing gets worse with P25. Nevertheless you do gain something like a full f-stop in exposure (maybe more?) and probably worthwhile when you are shooting under very dim conditions. I do not think I will ever use P25 except for the low light situation to get the extra f-stop (in longer shutter speed). Interestingly, in bright scenes without too much action, you can view P25 and normal intercuts without noticing that you have switched the scan mode.
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Hi! Samir,
I downloaded a couple of HV20 24p demo clips and noticed the obvious judder. I thought it might be due to some conflict with the 70Hz refresh rate of my monitor. Also 24 fps does not fit neatly into the NTSC 60Hz system, whereas 25p does fit into our PAL 50Hz system with a simple frame doubling, but I can't see any reference to such a feature in any of the video editing programs I've come across, ie. converting 25p into 50p with frame doubling.

The judder I saw in the sample clips is not something I've noticed when watching a movie in the theatre, yet I believe all movies are shot at 24 fps.

This is a new game for me. I'll probably buy an HV20 at some stage but I get the impression there might be some difficulty in getting the most out of 25p due to a lack of appropriate software.
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