Testing for Nikon1 V1 workflow. Edited with Windows Movie Maker Live. (Sony Vegas fails big time here!)
Footage is from cameralabs.com.
Since EosHD has published their article about the V1’s surprising capability of producing 4K raw video (though each sequence only lasts a second and then the buffer is full), this camera has caught my attention. Other cameras capable of 4K easily cost 400 or 1000 times more. Yes, that’s right! The 1 sec limit, of course, is a huge bummer. But that’s not really why I’m intrigued by it, because 4K and raw video have hidden costs (storage and computer power/time) which are unattractive to me anyhow.
Still, it is the V1’s CX sensor that I’m intrigued by, as Nikon declared that video performance was important from day one when they started developing the camera. Its built in time lapse feature will be very useful to me and I’m very curious about the CX1’s sharpness and dynamic range in video mode. Many reviewers say this little camera has the fastest real time auto focus ever. Also, there are the more exotic features, such as a mechanical and electronic shutter, and 400fps an 1200fps slow motion, and 60fps burst rates.
So I decided to buy a V1. Since its successor, the V2, has hit the market, the V1’s price has dropped significantly; in fact, I was able to buy a V1 with the 10mm pancake lens for a price that was lower than of the lens alone. Does that make sense? Nope!
Here is the gear I bought:
A white V1 + Nikkor 10mm f2.8
Nikkor 30-110mm VR (refurbished)
Add to that my Manfrotto tripod and 701HDV video head. (I guess the small V1 will be ridiculous on that tripod, but who cares?) When I convert these lenses into 35mm numbers, I get the equivalent of a 27mm wide lens, and a 80-270mm zoom. I like primes and I read that the 30-110mm lens is pretty sharp and comes with VR (Vibration Reduction or stabilisation).
From my experiences with my Canon 550D, I know that this combo will cover most of my needs. (I usually have a 14mm, a 28-75mm zoom and a 135mm prime in my bag - on a FF 35mm camera, that would be a 22mm, a 44-120mm and a 216mm)
My plan is to do real life video project with it which will become the next episode in my passion project ‘On Holy Ground’, which is about World War One cemeteries in Flanders’ fields. I have made 25 movies now with my 550D/T2i already, so I have a pretty good idea about the workings, limitations, image quality and workflow of that asp-c sensor camera.
So my plan is to create my next OHG-episode with the V1 and then formulate a conclusion on the pros and cons of the V1.
As I was waiting for the the arrival of the V1, I downloaded some original V1 mov files (from Cameralabs.com ).And I must say the footage is brilliant! Sharp, color and contrast are amazing, noise levels are limited, even at iso 3200. It plays really wellon my pc and Samsung 200Mhz LED tv, and when uploaded to Vimeo, the result is brilliant also. Panning is much more fluent than my 550D footage, and the V1 footage is sharper and has a bigger lattitude (dynamic range).
Unfortunately, I soon found out that Lighroom and Windows Movie Maker Live can easily play/edit the V1’s files, but my trusty NLE, Sony Vegas Movie Studio 12 had a very tough time with it and had only 5fps in playback, which makes it useless to work with.
For those interested, here is the thing: mov is a ‘container’ for a compressed video file. The way it is compressed (and decompressed) is determined by the ‘codec’. This codec is typical of the brand. Canon, Nikon and many other cameras record mov files, but what is inside this container is not the same! As Canon dslrs have become very popular as a video camera, most NLEs have invested in implementing Canon’s mov files. Not so with the Nikon mov files, unfortunately. So I avoid Vegas in my workflow altogether and rather than transcoding/converting or wasting time online finding (non-existent) solutions, I have decided to rely on Movie Maker to edit. Many years ago, I learned editing with Movie Maker, so it feels like coming home again!
After studying V1 footage,I noticed some issues with the V1, which can be prevented:
occasional flickering: is caused by aperture change; filming in M (or A?) mode should prevent this.
focus hunting occurs when the AF system is confused, due to large, monochrome areas. Manual focus should prevent this.
panning: to avoid counteractions of the VR system, VR must be turned off while panning. (Note: when on tripod, VR perhaps should be turned off all the time?)
White balance will be on ‘daylight’ outdoors, even on clouded days
To avoid any unpredictable behaviour, I will be filming in manual mode