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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Camcorders

Sony HDV HD HVR-V1: Get the film look

Looking to capture cinematic footage but can't afford Panavision cameras and half-a-million pound lenses? There's a new camcorder in town...

Our love affair with the Sony FX1 continues unabated to this day, but if we had to level one criticism at the camcorder, it's the lack of an in-camera 24p mode (to the layman, 24p is a broad emulation of the way a traditional celluloid movie camera captures footage). Sony has evidently sensed our mild disappointment and has created this, the HVR-V1.

Sony says it has collaborated with "prominent movie and drama creators" to come up with a more filmic capture method that trounces traditional 50/60i (PAL/NTSC interlaced). In addition to typical 50/60i, the HVR-V1 offers 24p/30p progressive scan capture -- this should give a very close approximation of film look, and make it easier to convert HD footage for traditional celluloid projection. The HVR-V1 adopts a 2:3 pull-down HDV recording system for storage of the 24p scanned images. The diagrams on Sony's Web site will give you the best idea of what this means.

In brief, a 2:3 pull-down keeps your existing 1080/60i HDV gear in action, and you can playback 24p/30p scan footage using Sony HDV equipment you already have at hand, or feed it to a compatible Non-Linear Editing (NLE) system without changing your HDV deck or monitors.

We've been exceptionally impressed by the HDV format so far and the HVR-V1 is definitely one to watch if you're an ambitious semi-pro. -CS