Spoiled

Last Saturday, shot a very interesting event for a colleague. Lots of action, lots of fun, beautiful day for it. Only caveat – he needed it to be a Z1 shoot. HDV. 1080i50.

Not a problem. So I arrived and shot as usual using a mutually agreed Picture Profile (Black Stretch On, Sharpening at 9, No Cinegamma or other diversions). Audio consisted of camera mounted short shot-gun on channel 1, AKG reporter mic with Sennheiser wireless dongle on channel 2 – I should point out it was a very windy day with vox pops shot outdoors. The AKG 230 is an amazing tool. You can bash nails in with it, play rounders with it and even record very nice sound with it in noisy windy environments. I was recording interviews in a Sea Breeze next to fire engines and diesel generators, and getting really nice sound considering the impossible surroundings.

And herein lies the rub: it sounded great. The Z1’s unburstable audio circuitry coped with everything from quiet teenager interviews with event PA echoing in the background, to enthusiastic organiser almost shouting down the mic in a stiff wind. All shot on HDV, and it’s… well, it’s all very okay.

Shots of a lifetime: BCU of police helicopters, RNLI rescue boats, and it’s all nice. Well exposed, in focus. But I’m seeing HDV compression in areas of blue sky around my helicopter. I’m seeing sharp shots of Lifeboat go fuzzy when I deinterlace. I’m seeing the limits of exposure range in shadow and highlight detail as an interview is conducted with sun going in and out behind clouds. And through all of this, watching it ingest, I’m thinking ‘if only I’d shot all this on my EX1’. The truth is this: the footage is fine. I’ve turned into something I used to hate: an anti-HDV bigot. And that on top of being a Progressive Zealot. There is no hope…

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