The Z7U, M35U & Avid

January 30, 2010

Popping an HDV into the HVR-1500, the deck violently spewed “Illegal Format” back at me and then proceeded to take a nap. A problem I’ve become familiar with the past couple months, if the Sony Z7U is set to shoot in a true progressive format (whatever that means) the HDV will not play in just any deck. Actually, the tape will only play in two devices; the camera itself, and the HVR-M35U deck.

Digitizing from the camera was not an option. Destroying the camera is a possible consequence, and the fact that we don’t have access to the camera doesn’t help either.

Me: “Can we tell the camera dudes to stop shooting in this weird format?”
Boss: “What format? Will it look different? They’re not going to do it if it looks different”
Me: “Otherwise, we have to rent the M35U to play the tapes”

So we have rented the expensive HVR-M35U, which comes with “all the bells and whistles”.


Sony Tech Support: “Hello this is Bruce”
Me: “I have some tapes shot on the Z7U, and to my understanding the M35U is the only deck that will play these tapes.”
STS: “Yes, it’s the latest HDV deck from Sony. It comes with all the bells and whistles.”
Me: “I use Avid for video editing, and when I hook up the deck with the firewire connection, it won’t capture across timecode breaks. I have to restart the deck every time there’s a timecode break.”
STS: “There’s a setting in Avid…”
Me: “It’s turned on…  I can capture across breaks whenever an HDV deck is hooked up with a 9-pin connection, such as the HVR-1500, but not with a firewire connection. Are there any other decks with a 9-pin connection that will play these HDV’s”
STS: “No…”

Avid Tech Support: “Hello this is Bill”
Me: “The deck….firewire….timecode breaks…yada yada yada”
ATS: “Try this, that, the other thing”
Me: “Doesn’t work”
ATS: “I’m looking at the notes for the deck to see if there are any problems with timecode breaks and I don’t see anything. The notes do say the deck has problems batch capturing, but nothing other than that”
Me: “How are we going to upres these tapes later?”
ATS: “Hmm”

I decide to capture the HDV’s anyway because they need to get in the system asap. Excruciating babysitting of the latest greatest HDV deck has me ecstatic. After week 1, we decide we should not be capturing 4×3 letterbox due to possible complications later when the shows go to online, so all the media needs to be recaptured. I proceed to smash my head in with a hammer.


January 29th, 2010

Night Assistant Editor: “I tried to batch capture one of the HDV’s from January 14th but the deck can’t seem to figure out how to batch capture.  Unfortunately I blew away the media for that tape before testing it.”


Bells and whistles.

We are now dubbing all HDV’s shot with the Z7U to XDCAM.

If you have tapes to digitize and not the time or means, I’m available to work. Check out my services and contact info here.

-Matt Rittorno


3 Responses to “The Z7U, M35U & Avid”

  1. editmentor said

    And now, a moment of silence for the thousands of unfortunate souls who have been tortured by the initially impressive yet ultimately professionally unusable HDV format. Been there… Godspeed to you, Matt. And your post sup’s budget. :-0

  2. Adam said

    We have clients that are shooting this Psf mode on the Z5u and Z7u. We always make them DUB from the 35MU to HDV1500a (this deck has an HDSDI input) because the 35MU has a 1080i output.

    The other option is to make the camera dept switch their recording format to interlace 24 look. Those tapes will play back in an HVR-1500. For god sakes Sony please don’t do any more of this or put real remote connection on a m35u for us pro users!

  3. Good site you have here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: