Giving to charity - an ongoing commitment

Back in 2006 when Justin and I started this crazy high definition video stuff, I wanted to make sure that our software was "societally responsible". That is, I wanted to give back to the community in one way or another. Since then, mac1080hd.com has become shedworx and the economy has been on a roller coaster ride, but my commitment to supporting charities continues...

Panasonic HDC-SDT750 3D Camera Review

Panasonic HDC-SDT750 3D camera review

We have had a Panasonic 3D video camera for a week now, so it's time to give a mini-review.

We don't usually review cameras, but now and then something big comes along. The Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is something big.

First Impressions

We fired up our Parrot AR Drone for another filming and got the camera ready to go. Out to the car park on a sunny morning and we managed to get a few good clips before Craig crashed the Parrot. Again.

Back into the shed, fire up the Panasonic 3D TV, pull out the SD Card and stick it in the side of the TV.

One word - WOW!

Watching this 3D footage was like watching HD video for the first time. HD video made you feel like you were looking out the window, rather than looking at a video. 3D makes you feel like you are there. The experience of watching your own movies in 3D is truly amazing.

The depth of the video is remarkable. The images appear to come out of the screen a little but the depth behind the subject area is huge. It looks like the TV is a box 10 meters deep.

3D Shooting

The instruction manual tells you to keep your subject between 1.4 and 4 meters from the camera. This is because there is no zoom in 3D mode, so you have to be careful what you shoot.

You also lose all of the manual video controls, but really, who ever uses that stuff?

3D Editing

We didn't do any editing of our footage because there isn't a 3D editor for the Mac. We're going to fix that. The camera came with some PC software but that wasn't much use to us at Shedworx. We will be updating all of our products to work with 3D.

How does it work?

So how does all this 3D stuff work? It all starts with the twin lenses on the 3D module. These two lenses are focused about 2 meters out and record a dual video image.

The video is recorded on a regular 1920x1080 size at 25 frames a second, but each side of the video is squashed horizontally so that two channels fit on the video.

Back on the TV, it knows that it's a 3D video and takes each side by side frame and displays them in turn on the screen.

The final part of the experience is the 3D glasses. These glasses switch each eye on and off 25 times a second so that your left eye only ever sees the left recording and vice versa for the right eye.

2D Shooting

Apart from the wow factor of the 3D video, the Panasonic 3D video camera is really just a top of the line Panasonic HD video camera with a bolt-on 3D lens. This means that without the 3D lens attached you get all of the top-of-the-line video goodness from Panasonic.

The key features of Panasonic's finest consumer video camera include:

  • 1080/50p shooting. That's 50 full video frames per second at Full HD resolution. Fantastic for sports and slo-mo footage;
  • Full manual control via the focus ring. In manual mode you can adjust shutter speed, aperture and focus very easily. This works as easily as our GH-1 DSLR and is by far the best manual control system we have seen on a video camera, and we have seen a few;
  • It's simple. Panasonic have clearly spent a lot of time pulling out all the controls and features that no one ever used. There are now less buttons and less menu items to worry about;
  • It's fast. A new one second startup is very welcome. Push the power button and you are running in one second; and
  • It's light. Anyone who has had to take long clips by hand will know how quickly a camera gets heavy. This camera is around 500g, quite a bit lighter than it's predecessors.

In summary, the regular 2D recording mode of this camera is outstanding and a pleasure to use. It's faster, simpler and lighter than it's predecessors, making it an outstanding consumer-level HD video camera.

It should be noted though that the best quality HD footage we have is from the Panasonic GH-1. While the SDT750 is great for a camcorder, it can't compete with the massive SLR lens and the much bigger sensor of the GH-1.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a new HD video camera and you have a 3D capable TV, then this camera is a must-have. In Australia you pay a premium of about $500 for the 3D capability, which isn't cheap, but you're worth it.

The 2D capabilities of the camera are top class, so you won't go wrong there. Throw in the amazing 3D ability of this camera and I'm sure you will have as much fun with it as we have.

Samples

Please visit our AVCHD Samples page if you would like some sample 3D footage. We have individual clips and a complete (but small) camera disk image of 3D footage available for download.

We're coming to MacWorld 2011...

ShedWorx is coming to America!

We have just booked in for MacWorld 2011 and will be running booth 305.

This is our biggest marketing push so far and we will be demoing all of our products including the two new ones in development.

While in the US of A we will also be visiting a bunch of our partners and pro users from California to New York.

Apart from the weather, we can't wait to be there :)

3D video is on its way!

3D video is on its way!

3D is now out in force in the consumer TV market and is about to appear for consumer video. Panasonic are first to market with a 3D consumer camcorder (the HDC-750K and variations) and will also release 3D lenses for their Lumix Micro 4/3 range (which includes the GH1, GF1 and G2 DSLRs). Here is a great article on the new Panasonic 3D camera from Colin at SimplyDV.

We've just updated the ShedWorx Test Bench with a Panasonic 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player. The 3D movies are remarkably clear - much better than the 3D experience that you will get at a cinema. We're now waiting for the 3D cameras and lenses to ship to see how the 3D home movies look.

Technical Details

As far as we know (without seeing the first 3D movie samples), the 3D picture is being recorded using using a standard AVCHD format movie but with a side-by-side left/right view. 3D-capable TVs will detect the side-by-side video and display the left and right channels using 3D display.

The side-by-side approach means that each video stream will actually be 960x1080 in size. The X-axis will be "stretched" out from 960 to 1920 on playback, similar to the way older 1440x1080 cameras recorded 1920x1080 HD footage. This is a slightly lower HD format, so you can bet that there will be "Full HD 3D" entering the market next year. The beauty of the side-by-side approach is that it can be achieved without major changes to existing hardware, so that cameras such as the GH-1 can be made 3D-capable with a new lens and a firmware upgrade.

ShedWorx 3D suport

In July this year we released Native AVCHD editing for Voltaic and Revolver. Native AVCHD editing allows you to edit AVCHD footage without conversion, preserving the full quality of the original footage. It turns out that this will be perfect for 3D editing. We will release a 3D update to the whole product line, mainly to update our previewer so that it displays just one side of the dual-image video. Apart from that we will just do some testing and fine tuning of the Native AVCHD editing function and we will be right for 3D editing.

We should have some early 3D samples to work with by the end of August. We will then update our software lines to support 3D formatting so that you can edit a 3D home movie in either Voltaic or Revolver. Check back here (or even subscribe to the ShedWorx Blog in your RSS reader) and we'll post updates as we find out more.

Moving Servers

We've just moved the ShedWorx web site and store to a new, faster server.

The main web site is working fine (and a lot faster) but the store has a couple of issues at its new home.

Please bear with us while we get the store working correctly again. Purchases and Activations will not be possible while we fix up the store.

YouTube Competition Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered the YouTube Competition.

We have two winners - Jim, from the US has won the Major prize while Laura from Canada has taken out the random prize draw.

Major Prize Winner

Jim took his AVCHD movies from New Year's Eve, did some simple trimming, added a title and pushed it up to YouTube.

Congratulations Jim! A Panasonic FT1 is on its way to you. Here is the winning entry...

Random Prize Draw Winner

Laura entered a movie of the band The Ground Luminosity performing at the Roberts Creek Hall in Canada, again on New Year's Eve.

Congratulations Laura - we'll get an iPod Touch out to you ASAP

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