I got a new camcorder today (2005/04/26), and I did comparisons with the 4:3 and 16:9 modes of my old Sony DCR-TRV315
and my new Canon Optura60. Let me just say, the difference is absolutely remarkable!
Most of my films from "Fight Movie 1.5" on were done in the 16:9 mode of the DCR-TRV315. Looking at those detail comparisons
(first image; from left-to-right, DCR-TRV315 4:3, DCR-TRV315 16:9, Optura60 4:3, and Optura60 16:9), if I had known how crappy
of image quality the method of filming I was using was, I would have never used it. (and in case you were curious, the textures
I used in those comparisons were simply 52x52 pixel segments from the pics below)
Not only is there a difference in colours (as you can tell from the 4:3 and 16:9 modes, the DCR-TRV315 varies- it never
stays to one specific colour scheme; there's a bluish tint right there, most of the time, though, it's an overabundance of
red), but if you think that pixel-wide strip of blue on the left and the black strip on the top is irritating, watching the
actual video on a computer monitor (or something without overscan), it blinks like crazy.
Before, I was considering using the DCR-TRV315 as a second or third-angle camera, but with these image comparisons...
I would NEVER use that camera for my breakthrough feature film. NEVER.
In terms of the big images, look at the two 16:9 images, and the difference is just amazing. The DCR-TRV315 has much
bigger pixelly blotches (if you don't know what DVD compression artifacts are, because that would be my term for describing
what they look like) than the Optura60.
The Optura60 has a "True Widescreen" mode- as opposed to the DCR-TRV315 and many other camcorders, this one uses ALL
the resolution the camcorder has for its widescreen mode, not 75% of it. In the 52x52 side-by-side comparisons, look at the
second and fourth ones.
While the difference is probably not there that much on an online file, it's going to be there if you catch a screening,
and the eventual DVD release.