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Thread: Hitachi FP-Z31

  1. #1

    Hitachi FP-Z31

    The first question is regarding a "professionel" broadcasting camera, which we are having some problems with. First it takes about an hour to "warm up", when turning it off and on a bunch of times, it finalley seam to "power up".

    I'm aware that these old cameras may need some time to warm up, so this might not be the biggest issiue.

    I myself, own a Sony DCR-SR70E which isn't even comparable to the hitachi in quality. The reason i'm saying this, is that i've tryed hooking Hitachi up to my PC, and the picture quality is awful, considering that this should be a "professionel" camera.

    Having the above said, i'm mostly into computers, i have no idea about professionel cameras. I've only just learned to set gain, Iris and White Balance. But haven't been able to reach a combination, which improved the quality enough for me to consider using footage from Hitachi.

    I've also tryed running Hitachi footage through color correction, in sony vegas without much luck.

    I got this feeling, that footage of Hitachi never will be comparable to footage from the other cameras we are using, simply because its old. I really hope there is some magic combination of settings, which i havn't tryed yet.

    Also, dose anyone know why Casablanca editing systems are so expensive, when software like Sony Vegas or Liquid do a much better job?

  2. #2
    Hi BlueBoden

    The FP series cameras are not old they are ancient!! They still use 3 Saticon tubes and yes they do take a while to warm up but yours are probably almost at the end of their life!!! You are truely fighting a losing battle trying to capture analogue especially from a camera will failing tubes too!!
    They were probably good in their day!!

    Casablanca systems are not really expensive if you consider that you are not just getting software, but also dedicated hardware as well. It's virtually the same as taking Sony Vegas and bundling it with a computer to compare the price. They are useful for those who want an absolutely dedicated "editing machine" but the lower price of computers now have made dedicated editors a little overpriced!! If you already have a decent computer then just adding Vegas is probably the way to go..that's what I use.


  3. #3
    New Member myszy's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Warsaw, Poland
    Your camera definitely shouldn't warm up so long. My JVC KY-1900, also saticon based, is ready after 5-7 secondst since power up. It looks as the tubes are worn or the cathode heating circuit is faulty. Such old devices very often suffers form electrolytic capacitor aging, so it may be the reason.
    As regarding quality - first of all it's broadcst camera, so don't expect anything more than PAL resolution (awith 400 lines horizontally). Second - you probably need to adjust registration.
    A three tube camera has three separate imaging tubes for red, green and blue channels, and you need to adjust them to 'fit' each other using electronic controls (as for a CRT - shift, tilt, pin, cushion etc.). Usually one tube - green is a 'fixed' one and you need to align two others with it. On most cameras you will find some swithes to send individual tubes outputs, or adjustment pairs to the output connector. Color bleeding on edges usually indicates that camera needs registration adjustment. There are also some mechanical adjustments like focusing and rotatng tubes.
    To summarize - a tube camera is a chimeric and fragile piece of equipment (never pont it directly at the sun or other bright source of light - you will damage the tubes!), it requires regular maitenance, you will never get the resolution of the modern CCD consumer camera. But in my personal opinion, the image has a beutyful, soft look, with nicely graduated shades. Especially if combined with professional lens.

  4. #4
    Thanks for your answers. Im actualley happy on one side, because you confirmed the "feeling" i had when trying to "learn" how to use the camera.

    On the other side, its a shame since we spent quite some cash on this. My friend who brought this camera, belives that its better then my sony, and other more recent cameras. It may be easier to control manually, and in that aspect better. But what for what use? when the picture quality dosn't equal the new cheaper camcorders?

    At the time he brought it, he payed around 10.000 DKK, (about 2112.69USD), he however also got a very pro tripod and a suitcase for the camera. Even though the tripod may be worth half the money, it seams to be rather overprised now that i know more about cameras.

    I was asked to film the introduction video where the past owner (now deceased), explained about the different butons/functions. However i didn't know anything about cameras at the time, so i asumed my friend knew what he was doing.

    If the quality is to be comparable with the new camcorders, how many "lines" do you belive it should have?

    If i'm correct Megapixel can be "converted" into, (for me more understandable) pixel resolution, I.E. or the converter at: I asume 400 lines roughly is around 480x320 or something like that?

    The minimum acceptable resolution is around 768 x 576, and it can't get much worse, or better. Because then we need to degrade/convert the files to equal the lowest resolution, unless we want people to notice the cuts/transactions between cameras.

    I don't think above case will be much of a problem on the low resolution TVs, but those running higher resolution most likely will notice. Not to mention those watching on their computers.

    If i'm correct, it is best to buy matching cameras, in multicam productions. Otherwhise you end up converting the files, (given the differance is to big), to match the worst camera in the production?

    Regarding Casablanca. Since i know a Camera Operator who allowed me to try one, i was really stunned how bad this system was, also considering that is was rated as "professionel equipment". Perhaps most annoyingly, It has a unique OS which has WAY worse functionality then Windows, (even worse then Linux). Each new/old function of the OS, is overpriced and expensive to buy/anable.

    Such absolute basic functionality as USB transfer was not anabled by default, and reguired you to "buy" a additional license.

    I can't say that Casablanca is worth the money, its simply to difficult to work with, and expensive a solution. Difficult in that way, that it only adds to the "time consuming" editing process.

    Its actualley cheaper to build a PC, as a dedicated editing machine.
    Last edited by BlueBoden; 26th May 2008 at 18:25.

  5. #5
    New Member myszy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Warsaw, Poland
    In analogue equipment the term "resolution" refers to horizontal resolution, and it's something a bit different than "digital resolution". Theoreticaly resolution of the analog scan device is infinite - there is no "pixels", jus continuum of electric potentials. However various factors - subcarier frequency, transfer functions of the amplifiers, cable impedances etc limits the "qualitiy" of the signal. So the term "resoution" is used to express how many alternatig black and white lines can be disngished on the image. (for red and gray lines the value may be diferrent !). The typical 3 tube studio camera has resolution of about 600-650 lines. The vertical resolution is a diferrent story - there is a fixed number of scan lines - 625 in PAL. Its physicaly imposible to get more than 625 lines in verical direction from PAL signal. So theoretical the image of a good analogue broadcast camera is equivalent to 700x625 digital frame (with non-square pixel). But everything hardly depends on A-D converter you are using. It's even posible to double the resolution with interpolation.

  6. #6
    I don't think anything is wrong with the A-D converter, i tryed it on a Sony Betacam, and the quality was much better then hitachi, just not quite as good as my handycam.

    There's a picture of it here: In the hitachi case, since its so old, i used an adaptor to connect the yellow, to the camera. Sadly Vegas isn't able to "use" this device, as it says its "in use", i've yet to discover the exact problem. Windows movie maker, and VCL player is however able to use it, and even with good results.

    I don't like interpolating, i've never really seen good results with it. The artifacts, or noise in the footage/image, is just made more vissible. So i wouldn't say it improves the quality, it only makes the output frame bigger, by "scratching", or guessing about the missing information, from the orginal.

    Thanks for your answers everyone.


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