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My new Sony HDR-HC7

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I just purchased a Sony HRD-HC7 last week. I admitted that I haven't had a lot of time playing with it yet. But I did manage to tape 1.5 hours worth of footage on a school play. I have several questions on this camcorder and hope someone can answer them.
1) When I transferred the footage to my computer, the Sony video browser software claimed that the resolution is 1440x1080?! I thought this is a 1080i camcorder so I am expecting the resolution being 1920x1080x60i. 1440x1080 sounds like 4:3 but the footage I taped was at 16:9 and I confirmed the setting on the camcorder. I called Sony tech support this morning and the guy insisted that the camcorder can only support a maximum resolution of 1440x1080 and it is considered high-def. He even asked me where I read that the camcorder can support 1920x1080. I went to the sony site and searched the specification as well as downloadeded the user manual and searched. Sure enough, there is not a single mention of 1920x1080. But sales site such as pricegrabber does claim that it has a resolution of 1920x1080. Am I missing something? The reason I started paying attention to its resolution is because when I played the footage on my 1080p TV, the picture is clearer comparing to my old digital camcorder but the resolution is not even close to what I saw in 1080i TV shows such as CSI Miami or even 720p TV shows such as Lost. Am I expecting too much from a consumer grade Hi-Def camcorder?
2) Also, there are a few places in my footage where the video froze a half second before moving on (i.e. Stutter). Have anybody seen this? As I said, I haven't had much time playing with it yet, so I am not sure what I had done to caused this. At first, I thought I might have accidentally pressed the pause/continue button during my taping. But then I taped the school play and was conscious about not to touch the pause button. I still got some pauses close to the end of the tape. Now I thought may be the battery was low at the end which was true (I ran out of battery at the end). But the pauses happened at least 15 minutes prior to the battery running out. I need to play with it some more to "reproduce" the problem more reliably but I'd appreciate if anyone can tell me if they have seen this before. Note that the pauses happened both when playing on the LCD of the camcorder and when playing the transferred footage on the computer.

Thanks.
post #2 of 19
To date, there is no camcorder that puts out 1920x1080 through firewire. They ALL put out 1440x1080 which is the HDV standard. It is true that it is actually 4:3, but the pixels are elongated. This was chosen as the standard since NTSC (4:3) is still widely in use and 1440x1080 meshes better with the old technology.

There is a new cam that JVC just put out which CLAIMS to put out 1920x1080... but this would be a first.


I have no idea of your freezing problem so I can't be of help there.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ah, thank you for the information. I have searched the web and did find information about the HDV standard being 1440x1080 at a maximum bitrate of 25 Mps. It's a bummer that the specification does not support true 1920x1080. To me, it means there will be yet another future format that will support true 1920x1080 possibly in 1080p. My "obsolete" camcorders are starting to pile up :-(
post #4 of 19
MTS--did the audio pause/stutter during the same moment(s) when the video stuttered? If so, then--short of a defective camcorder--try running cleaning tape on the heads and record some more material using the same branded/type of tape. If that doesn't do the trick, then I would ask you as to what brand/type of mini-DV tape were you using at the time. Some folks have reported dropouts from having used non-HDV formulated mini-DV tape (I say "some" because others have reported no such issues from having used "regualar" mini-DV tape); if you are using such a non-HDV tape, I would suggest cleaning the tape heads, then buying an HDV-formulated one (Sony comes to mind, but Maxell may be a less-expensive solution) and see if you still experience any dropouts.
post #5 of 19
Can you see if the pauses were on the original footage on the tape playing on the camera or is this just observed after you DL the footage via firewire. I had a similar problem and realized I was multitasking while DL'ing HD footage via firewire and was taxing my processor. So I re did the firewire download onto my hard drive this time disabling the program I was using (Paltalk) the last time and the problem was gone the footage was smooth as silk. This was using my HC7.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I played with it some more tonight and noticed that the pauses were not always at the same place when I played it again and again. So I am starting to suspect read errors causing the dropouts. To answer some of the questions, the dropouts happened on playing back with or without streaming through firewire. When it happened, both the video and audio dropped out and sometimes the dropout can last 2 seconds. After the dropout, the timestamp will resume leaping forward the lost 2 seconds. And yes, I am using regualr mini DV tapes. I got lots of them from my previous Sony SD digital camcorder. I did not realize that I need special HDV tapes. I will order some and try it again.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
The mini DV tapes I used are TDKs from Costco. I just checked on the web. Sony and JVC are the only brands that mentioned HD for the mini DV tapes. All others including Maxell's do not mention HD. The Sony HD tapes are very expensive at $10 per tape. Does anyone have any recommendations of brand and model of mini DV tapes that they know for sure works with HDV? I will probably buy a couple of Sony tapes to try, but in the long run, that may get too expensive.

Thanks.
post #8 of 19
MTS, you do NOT need HDV mini DV tapes for HDV recording. That's one of the marketing tricks from Sony and JVC. I have used both regular DV and HDV kinds and there is no difference in PQ and dropout. It is reported that HD DV may have a little tighter manufacturing specs. Two dollar mini DVs are as good as HDV DV for your HC7 recordings.

But the brands of mini DV tape do make a difference. The good ones are Sony and Panasonic. TDK is known to have more dropouts which seem to be the case with your situation. If the playback on HC7 without the firewire exhibits the same issue then its tape related dropout.

So to get rid off it you can go to amazon.com and order some multi Sony mini DV packs along with a cleaning tape. Make sure to stick with one brand b/c the wear patterns from different brands are different and will cause dropouts if you switch. So always run the cleaning tape before you switch brands.
post #9 of 19
I agree with Godo...
The HD tapes are a sham. I operate my HC3 with normal Sony tapes.

I will say though that I have had drop outs in the past ... mine seem to come as blank spots as opposed to freezes, but that maybe just the HC7 "hunting" and deciding how to tag the next clip after the dropout. The HC3 will freeze for a second when switching from from HD to DV on the fly (for example)

I have noticed though that dropouts seem to occur MUCH less frequently after a head cleaning following the use of a new tape, and THAT tape being used a SECOND time. (I'll use my tapes up to 4 times before retiring them)
post #10 of 19
if i may hijack this thread a little.

aren't this hdv tapes all digital? if so, then you should be able to read and write on them forever, no? i know we are dealing with magnetic media still, but i thought that these hdv tapes do suffer lowered quality from continous use. i am reminded of back in the days when i bought tapes (of any kind) they would have quality degredation after time...especially music tapes that would sound like crap with all the audio hiss and artifacts.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the info. I have ordered some Maxell HDV tapes but I am also planning to get some non-HDV sony tapes (e.g. the Sony Premium mini DV tape DVM-60PRL - $2.50 each) to compare. I will summarize my finding when I get some data. Thanks again.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTS View Post

Thank you for all the info. I have ordered some Maxell HDV tapes but I am also planning to get some non-HDV sony tapes (e.g. the Sony Premium mini DV tape DVM-60PRL - $2.50 each) to compare. I will summarize my finding when I get some data. Thanks again.

I always thought that you should not mix Sony with any other brand. I could have sworn reading something to that effect on this forum, something about Sony using wet lubrication and all others using dry and how you should not mix the two. Is this true?

Chris

edit: here's the previous post mentioning the Sony wet lubrication: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10194990
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hmm interesting... I didn't know about the problem of mixing tapes. I did a little search and found the following article.

http://thedvshow.com/faq-pro/index.p..._id=017&id=133

It sounds like you can mix them as long as you clean the head between switching brand.
post #14 of 19
As long as you clean them you should be good to go.

Kyser
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTS View Post

The mini DV tapes I used are TDKs from Costco. I just checked on the web. Sony and JVC are the only brands that mentioned HD for the mini DV tapes. All others including Maxell's do not mention HD. The Sony HD tapes are very expensive at $10 per tape. Does anyone have any recommendations of brand and model of mini DV tapes that they know for sure works with HDV? I will probably buy a couple of Sony tapes to try, but in the long run, that may get too expensive.

Thanks.

What a coincidence--my brother owns the Sony HC3 and he was initially getting dropouts; turns out he was using TDK just like in your situation! If you don't want to take the risk of using non-HDV-formulated tape but are on a budget, may I suggest the Maxell HDV:

http://tapestock.stores.yahoo.net/mamidv60mi1.html

Less than $5/tape--nearly half the price of the Sony HDV; I would have bought these had I not already bought a bunch of the Sony HDV ones from Amazon (2-pack for roughly $18; buy two 2-packs and get free shipping--or at least it was free when I bought them less than two weeks ago).
post #16 of 19
You can buy the Sony HD tapes on Amazon for $7.95 as singles.
post #17 of 19
I have used Sony HDV tape exclusively since I purchased my HC3 last September and have not noticed a single dropout since day one. Guess that buying a "premium" tape is worth it after all. Didn't we spend hundred of dollars on a camcorder to have the best looking picture that we can afford? Why risk ruining irreplaceable footage for a few bucks?
post #18 of 19
i have experienced a drop out using non-hd tapes so i would say that the premium hd tapes perform as advertised when it comes to hd recording.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTS View Post

The mini DV tapes I used are TDKs from Costco.

According to Amazing Photo (the store I buy all of my pro gears + HV20 from) the current TDK from Costco Canada and Maxell from Sam's Club Canada are problematic even on a regular miniDV cameras. They got the report from Canon Canada rep and several of their customers (none of them use HDV -- just regular miniDV)
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