This is a rough-and-tumble, run-and-gun series of video clips that I shot on my lunch break and after work today in Washington, D.C. It's illegal there to use a tripod without a permit (seriously), so I apologize in advance for all these shots having the shakes. Sony's Active Steadyshot image stabilization is best-in-class as a mechanism, but seems to perform slightly worse than their previous flagship high-end consumer camcorders, the HDR-XR500V and later HDR-XR550V (makes sense, since the sensor in the NEX-VG10 is dramatically larger and requires more than just micro-movements for stabilization). That's where I'm coming from.
I have not applied any color-grading, image processing or otherwise to these clips (it hurts!); they were dumped straight from the camera onto an Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 timeline, then rendered out to 1080p at a high bitrate for uploading to Vimeo. You can download the raw file using the link at the right side of your screen (if you're a logged-in Vimeo member).
Aside from the luxury of shooting these sights on another beautiful day in Washington, D.C., I found a few opportunities here and there to push the limits of the NEX-VG10. You'll see parallel lines on buildings and waves on water that invite aliasing/moire distortion; a propeller that invites rolling shutter; lens barrel distortion; and of course that vastly over-used effect of rack-focusing between foregrounds and distant backgrounds.
In order to achieve that shallow depth-of-field for which this camera is so coveted, I filmed everything in aperture priority mode, always setting the F-stop to as low a number as possible. Since I only used (and only have) the stock lens, which goes from 18 to 200 mm, and from F3.5 to 6.3, at the widest angle -- almost always there -- the aperture was set at F3.5. For brightness variations, I let the camera do its auto-gain and left the exposure setting at 0, which often results in washed-out brightness that I would have otherwise manually throttled down. I also let the camera auto-focus except for those moments when I rack-focused from foreground to background and vice-versa. The recording mode is AVCHD at 24 Mbps. Playback here is at 1080p when the HD icon at the bottom-right of the frame is blue; if your Internet connection or graphics card is giving you trouble, toggle it off.
For all the world's sample videos from this camcorder so far collected into once place, along with discussions and Web links, visit vimeo.com/groups/nexvg10.
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