2007 December 9th, 10:53
Compendium of HV20 Solutions
HV20 Problems and Solutions
Problem 1: Lack of a LAN-C. (A LAN-C is a hardwired remote control that is extremely useful with a crane/jib or any situation where you can’t reach the controls easily.)
Solution: Open the InfraRed remote, snip the wires on the IR bulb half way, install a 2.5mm or 3.5mm (1/8") phone jack. (I tried the 3.5mm and it requires removing more plastic.) Cut the female end off a 2.5mm or 3.5mm extension cable. Slide 3 sizes of shrink over the single wire and the groups of wires. Solder the bulb to the end that was cut off. Separate the bulb wires, slide the wrap up and shrink.
[An alternative is to cut the female end of the extenstion, leaving a few inches of cable. Then solder that to the stubs where the bulb was.]
Below is a picture of my unit after I finished. It turned out that the IR led bulb is sensitive to polarity. If you put it on backwards it does need to be removed and reversed. Fully tested, works like a charm.
Problem 2: No manual control to shut off the gain.
Solution: Lock the exposure with the gain off then adjust the exposure manually.
Problem 3: Difficulty manually focusing (a requirement with a DOF adaptor) on the small screen, especially upside down if you have a DOF adaptor. This is really two problems. The DOF adaptor flips the image recorded. Flipping the camera straightens out the image, but not the view on the LCD. In addition, manual focus without the DOF adaptor is dependant on the tiny roller in the front.
Solution: a) There is the flip hack if you are going to use a DOF adaptor. It works but you might break the little switches taking the camera apart. Risky.
b) Mount the camera upside down, but you still need to flip the LCD image.
c) Use a separate high resolution monitor. Either buy one ($800-$3,000), or build a monitor. You can mount either monitor upside down. The little Lilliput 7" type monitors are NOT high enough resolution.
c) The follow focus gives a bigger knob to allow smoother focus if you use a DOF adaptor. If no adaptor the rubber wheel against the smaller wheel changes the gear ratio of the original roller. [We are all looking for a source of gear boxes. Let me know if you find some in the US.]
Problem 4: Video cameras in general, and small ones in particular, don’t have depth of field like a 35mm film camera. In part this is due to the small aperture.
Here's a good freeware tutorial on how and why DOF works.
Solution: Putting an adaptor on the front allows us to use bigger lenses with a bigger aperture that gives us a depth of field.
Problem 5: Lack of respect for a tiny hand held camera. It looks amateurish at a shoot if you just have the stock camera.
Solution: This is an advantage and a disadvantage. If you are using what looks like a little home camera (with or without a little tripod) on the street no cop is going to ask you if you have a permit. If you have a big rig, they might. Another advantage to a small camera is tight situations. We had a shoot on a yacht and the big cameras and Steadicam didn't fit. An HV20 with a wide angle lens would work.
When shooting in a studio, or with professional ‘talent’ you get a lot more respect if your rig looks professional. If you have a DOF lens adaptor, a high resolution screen, a good tripod, matte box, lens support rails, etc. it looks professional and people doen't even notice the little camera behind all the attachments.
Here are some examples of rigs that look more professional. (My appologies to anyone I left out. I'm happy to add more.)
Problem 6: Sound. You really don’t want to use the on-board mic unless you have to.
Solution: XLR wires tend to resist interference better than phone plug type mic wires because they are balanced, so try to run mics with XLR cables.
Might I suggest the BeachTek (or SignVideo) adaptors. Mine accepts two XLR inputs and two 1/8” phone inputs at the same time. (Only two level controls though, left and right.) They pass the signal straight through and allow good stereo separation.
The HV20 preamp is a bit noisy for some use. A separate preamp can boost the signal before it gets to the camera so you can turn the camera gain down.
One example is the Rolls MX-34 (2 mics) or MX-54 (3 mics) which are very inexpensive, but don't have the 1/4" screw mount like the Beach Tech above or Juice Link below.
Rolls MX-34 This was designed specifically for video cameras like the HV20.
Another example is the JuiceLink which has the tripod type mount and was also designed for video cameras but costs a bit more. JuiceLink
I don't know about real life, but the specs for noise are the same for both.
There are many vendors, this is just an example.
Then use the best mics you can get. Wireless gives you portability and distance, but may pick up interference.
It’s also a good idea to back up the sound with a digital recorder and lav mics.
Problem 7: Capturing the best picture and color.
Solution: The Blackmagic Intensity card using an HDMI cable captures in 1920 x 1080 with 4:2:2 color instead of the HD video standard of 1440 x 1080 with 4:2:0 color. In theory a 25% better picture. The trouble is you need to be connected to a computer with raid disks to do this. That leaves out most laptops. But, there's always a way. A couple of people have taken the portable computers (like the shuttle) and made them into back pack rigs.
Problem 8: Shuddering when panning or following action.
Solution: Often this is a side effect of the optical stablizer trying to work with too much movement. The optical stablizer is intended to stablize a stationary hand held shot. Turn off the OS when panning or moving.
Also, the CMOS chip has a rolling shutter from top to bottom. The net effect is it skews to the side if you pan quickly. (It's not a defect even the $17,000 Red has a CMOS sensor.) The CCD chip has a rolling shutter from side to side. CCD cameras skew when tilting. Both are amplified at 24 fps. A longer shutter time makes it less apparent by introducing motion blur.
The solution is to plan your shots and move slowly if at all possible.
I will gladly add other ideas here for good suggestions.
Last edited by Duke; 2008 May 29th at 23:39.
2007 December 22nd, 08:07
Compendium of HV20 solutions
Many thanks for this. I have been cutting and pasting solutions into Word that I have found on this forum that I have personally found I needed or were helpful to me. I would share them but I have not referenced them in any way, and also they are solutions/hints/tips that were for me, perhaps others would find them boring.
I have always wondered who was going to write the HV20 book (E Book?)! A wordsmith, experienced with the HV20, could find a great many chapters on this forum. The manual is just a navigational road map with absolutely no practical help or guidance to practical use of the features the HV 20 offers.
2008 January 4th, 10:01
2008 January 9th, 21:20
2008 March 15th, 07:22
thanks for the effort duke!
2008 March 26th, 05:53
Thank you very much, Duke!!! It's very helpful!!!
very good post.
it brings up my pet peeve though, so here's a correction: film cameras don't have less dof per se. 35mm ones do, 16mm just a little bit less and super 8 about the same, regular 8 a bit more.
Problem 8 correction
Hi everybody!, I'm new here.
I think this:
"Problem 8: Shuddering when panning or following action."
is indeed caused by the rolling shutter and there's nothing we can do about it, one of the downsides of having a CMOS instead of a CCD.
2008 April 3rd, 13:36
CMOS vs. CCD
A CMOS rolls from top to bottom, and a CCD rolls from side to side. There's nothing inheirantly wrong with CMOS, and a few things are better with them. Even the $17,000 Red is a CMOS camera.
Originally Posted by onnevan
A CMOS distorts when panning quickly and a CCD from tilting quickly. CCD cameras have a problem on a crane, going down stairs, etc. The simple solution is plan the shot.
2008 April 4th, 08:10
Hi Duke!, I completely agree with you and in fact i think most of the hv20 (many) shortcomings can be greately minimized by planning the shooting. You can do great things with this camera just knowing how it works and planing your shooting.
I think we need more imagination and ideas than how to get the "freaking ultimate ultra shallow DOF" (F.U.U.S.D.O.F. for now on).
I just wanted to point that the shrudder you talked about is in my opinion due to the rolling shutter and not the image stabilizer, I didn't mean CMOS is inferior to CCD but in that aspect -the panning skew- which I must admit I find really annoying as horizontal panning is in my opinion more used in filmaking.
By the way, thank you for your compilation, is of great help when you buy your HV20 and are unshure is it is a great lite device capable of making movies or just an expensive toy. Needles to say I think it is the former.
Thanks again and excuse my english.
Last edited by onnevan; 2008 April 4th at 10:47.
Nice work Duke, but what about catering for some of us less intelligent people who need things broken down further and pictures added. I'm refering to the sound problem (6). With regard to XLR's and preamps etc, would you be able to show a diagramatic flow or photo with the components listed so we know how it all pieces together? I find a lot of the talk goes straight over my head and I need to see exactly what people are talking about before I can put together any suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Sound isn't my strongest point, but for the most part it's fairly easy because the plugs only go in one way.
The HV20/30 has an 1/8" stereo phone plug. If you're going to run any useful length of wire you need XLR as it resists electrical interference by being balanced. XLR is the standard for pro mics. The plug is round with three holes or three prongs. They look like this:
To connect XLR cables to the HV20 you need something like the Beachtek, Rolls MX34, or SignVideo XLR pro. They all look similar to this SignVideo XLR Pro:
Back side of the SignVideo:
All of these give dual, or more, XLR input jacks and an 1/8" cable into the HV20.
Next issue is a pre-amp. A good external preamp will produce better sound than the HV20/30 internal one. Some of the Bechtek's have a pre-amp and some don't, they're passive. The Rolls MX34 and MX54 have battery operated preamps. The SignVideo doesn't, it's passive. All three of these are small and can mount under the camera or on the tripod.
The Rolls don't have tripod mounts but are otherwise designed for cameras. Here's the Rolls Mx34:
Another possibility is a good mixing board to provide a pre-amp. However, they aren't as portable and usually require AC power. There are some that are battery powered though like the Behringer MXB1002. You have to look hard to find the battery power source ones. They are very handy in the studio as they allow more mics and you can tailor the sound as it's being recorded (if you know what you're doing.)
There are also variations of all of them that allow more mic inputs.
Your XLR cables will go from the mic to the mixer or preamp. Some mics need an adapter from the mic to the XLR cable, for example if the mic has an 1/8" or 1/4" phone plug.
It's possible to make the mic too hot coming off the mixer or preamp. You can put an inline Pad in between, or you can turn your camera attenuator on (not especially recommended since it's not controlled), or turn the manual mic control on the HV20/30 down to 1/4 or less, and the preamp probably between 3/4 and 1/2. Bring good earphones and listen/test.
Hope that helps.
Last edited by Duke; 2008 June 3rd at 23:01.
This is a great summary!
Please don't forget about the juicedLink XLR adapter/preamps. They attach to the bottom of the camera, and battery powered. Plus, they have an integrated low-noise preamp, which allows you to throttle back the noisy camcorder amps while recording fine audio detail, reducing hiss. There's a demo video comparing performance to passive type adapters like the passive Beachtek's, and also comparing to the industry gold-standard for ENG type mixers from Sound Devices.
More info can be found at:
Yes, I didn't mean to slight JuicedLinks. I hear (pun intended) that they are very good. I need to try one myself.
Thanks. This dummy is now a little smarter for all your input!
2008 July 10th, 04:05
you mention a few different xlr adapters. What about an xlr to stero cable with the stereo cable plugging directly into the stereo jack? How does this compare to the quality of the xlr adapter?
2008 July 15th, 14:11
A dual XLR to stereo 1/8" Phone plug would work, but you'd have no volume controls other than the camera's controls. An XLR adapter with a preamp would be better and bypass the cameras noisy preamp.
2008 August 7th, 11:51
Sony DPFV700 7" digital photo frame
Has anyone tried the new Sony DPFV700 7" digital photo frame out as a focus monitor? It has HDMI (but I don't know if that is just output) and 800x 480 res. I know that is not true HD but maybe close enough for focusing for an adapter.
2008 August 11th, 10:53
Rolling shutter. Ok, it`s possible to minimize, planning shot, but, what about photo flashes??. It`s terrible, whem working in night events w/ photo flashes!
2008 August 11th, 22:44
This may prove interesting later in the year when its released:
$1000 Belkin Flywire box promises wireless HD video and audio (wireless HDMI)
could be modified to enable a mobile HDMI to Blackmagic Intensity card recording - wirelessly
Last edited by elantric; 2008 August 11th at 23:00.
2008 August 15th, 20:12
Last edited by Lee Wilson; 2008 August 15th at 20:22.
2008 August 15th, 21:37
Great video, Lee. Thanks for posting it.
What's the law in the US?
2008 August 16th, 19:41
Filming is not illegal per se, but conducting a business on a public street without a permit is. With the HV20/30 you can claim you're a tourist.
It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, city to city, but you look like you're doing a commercial shoot in Los Angeles, up in the valley, or surrounding areas the police are likely to ask you for a permit and/or give you a ticket.
Of course guerilla movies are made all the time without a permit, but they are sometimes caught. A real Hollywood production with multiple trailers, generators, huge lights, etc is pretty hard to hide.
2008 August 16th, 19:42
Yep, it you're working around paparazzi don't use CMOS.
Originally Posted by Gicfilmes