A Complete Guide to the Sony HDR-HC1, HVR-Z1U & HDR-FX1
A Complete Guide to the Sony HDR-HC1, HVR-Z1U & HDR-FX1
"How to shoot like a Pro with the Sony
HDR-HC1 Camcorder" $45.
"A Complete Guide to the HVR-Z1U and HDR-FX1
Review by Steve Douglas
I opened the box to my new Sony HVR-A1U
and started in on the manual. That was my first mistake, what
a confusing piece of mumbo jumbo. I started reading about one
thing only to be told to jump 89 pages later to get the rest
in not too clear prose. Okay, I have always disliked manuals.
I much prefer to learn by either just doing it or experimenting
or simply by someone going through the paces with me. It was
at that time, shortly after I had been using and reviewing Vortex
Media's excellent Warm Cards that I noticed that they had 2 Hands
On discs covering both the Sony HDR-HC1 and Sony's HVR-Z1U and
HDR-FX1. Since the A1U has much in common with both cams and
I was able to borrow a Z1U for the purposes of this review, I
was off and running with both of these tutorial discs.
I made a good choice as both of these
DVD discs will cut the confusion of manipulating menus, clarifying
controls and learning how to use the new tools you now have at
your disposal. The Complete Guide to the HDR-HC1 has a running
length of 2 hours that, when watched, goes by so much quicker.
It is broken up into 12 different chapters covering everything
from a basic overview and layout of the camcorder to the multi-layered
menus and customizing your own personal menu. Lessons on the
many features are demonstrated in such a way that it is very
easy to have your camcorder in hand while following along.
There are so many features in the Sony
HC1 that anyone, beginner or advanced shooter, may find themselves
confused as to how each one works and when to use it or not.
Unsure of how to properly use the Histogram? This tutorial will
clear that up through it's easy to understand lesson. How about
this setting for Status Check, Spot Focus, or the wonderful Expanded
Focus feature? It's all covered exceptionally well and was a
breeze to go through. The Shot Transition feature could easily
be confusing to some. It basically is an automatic rack focus
feature but the manual fails to clearly explain just how to use
it. Not only does Hands On HDV for the Sony HDR-HC1 explain it
all but provides a fine demonstration that dissipates any cloudiness
caused by the Sony manual.
What doesn't it cover? Answer: Nothing!
The narrator of the DVD has a fine
stage presence; he knows how to present all the features of the
HC1 clearly and precisely and always with a smile on his face
and amiable disposition. For the beginner in HDV he frequently
makes good suggestions but guides you to explore all the options
prior to making your decisions as to recording, setup and output.
I found no hyperbole that could not be trusted and that's comforting
to this sometimes-cynical reviewer. The only problem I found
when using this disc was that there were no submenus to jump
to quickly. For example, if I wanted to jump forward to the section
on the unique guide frames that the HC1 offers, I would have
to fast forward (albeit, not too quickly on the G5's DVD player)
through eight and a half minutes of lesson 4, which covers the
many menu choices. I didn't care for this at all yet, in the
face of things, this is a minor (and my only) complaint.
The Hands On HDV for the HVR-Z1U
and HDR-FX1 was an equally good disc. Utilizing my friends Sony
Z1U, I found the same quality as I had for the HC1 DVD. A different
narrator retains the same friendly ambience of the tutorials,
once again, clear and precise. While the Sony HVR-Z1U has many
features not found in the HDR-FX1, the owner of either of these
excellent camcorders will find everything they need to get up
and running and then some. Theory as well as practical usage
of each of the functions pervades throughout. Instructions on
assign buttons, drop-frame vs non-drop frame, and AllScan is
is left out within the Chapters Menu.
Again, the only negative is the
lack of sub menus to get you quickly to a section of a chapter
you might want to access pronto. Never the less, all the functions
of these two camcorders are clearly explained in detail.
Question on the Audio
functions or Button usage? Its all right here.
Bottom line is that both of the Vortex
Media tutorial DVDs are finely written and excellently produced.
With so many features in common between these camcorders, I was
able to glean just about everything I needed. When I go back
to them I am certain I will be able to derive even more. I can't
imagine anyone not preferring to use 'How to Shoot Like a Pro
with the Sony HDR-HC1 or the Sony Z1U or FX1' over the supplied
manuals. They are inexpensive and very well worth the price.
In fact, if you were the new owner of any of these cams, you'd
be crazy not to get these.
copyright © Steve
Steve Douglas is an underwater videographer and contributor to numerous film
festivals around the world. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast
Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los
Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious
2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, Steve has
also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea",
contributed footage to the Seaworld parks for their Atlantis
production, and is one of the principal organizers of the San
Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. Steve leads both underwater filming
expeditions and African safaris with upcoming filming excursions
to Kenya, Bali, the Philippines, and the Red Sea. Feel free to
contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of
these trips. www.worldfilmsandtravel.com
This article first appeared on www.kenstone.net and is reprinted here
All screen captures and
textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.