Key West in HD via Canon HV20

11/26/2007  //  0 Comments   //   tags: , ,

Key West HV20 from Andrew Swihart on Vimeo

I uploaded my first HV20 video to Vimeo in 720p HD, with footage from my recent trip to Key West. Most of it was filmed aboard the Key West Express cruise boat that I took back and forth from Ft. Myers.

Everything is done handheld with optical image stabilization enabled, in 24p and “Cine” mode. Only a UV filter is attached to the lens. Sound is via the onboard microphone. Video was captured and converted to Cineform Neo HDV format with pulldown removal via HDLink. No color correction or other image editing was done, just splicing of takes in Sony Vegas. The video was exported as MainConcept MP4.

The camera is tiny and very light, so holding it steady can be a challenge, but when I am standing still and just holding it straight on or doing slow zooms, the image stabilization does a good job of smoothing out small movements. Panning must be done slow and steady to look good without a tripod or other mechanical stabilizer. When I’m walking around or fiddling with buttons, the shaking kills the otherwise amazing video quality this camcorder delivers. If you keep it steady, carefully frame your shot, and ensure good focus, a stock HV20 is capable of astonishing quality, almost like a Discovery Channel HDTV broadcast.

You’ll have to go to the Vimeo page to see it in full HD. The most beautiful and sharpest scenes in this video are at the end, at sunset as the boat pulls out of Key West, so watch the whole thing!

Update 3-30-08
Below is my first try at using Amazon S3 to serve up high-definition flash video, rather than using a video hosting service like Vimeo, which downgrades HD videos to SD when embedded on any site other than Vimeo.com (unless you have a premium membership). This is a nice way to get a really high-quality video on your website (or any other large files), paying a small amount for the scalable storage on S3, without using up valuable space on your web hosting server.

This is not a great quality video though, because I made the FLV file by transcoding an already compressed MP4. Optimally, I’d like to export directly to FLV from Sony Vegas, but I don’t know of a way to do that yet. In the future, I should export to an uncompressed AVI and then convert that to FLV.

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