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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old August 9th, 2007, 03:40 PM   #16
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Actually, I do what I can to make it *less* luggable! Less luggable = less prone to theft! It's a gamble taking a computer that expensive out in the field. I have multiple locks and chains to secure the computer. Even then, you need a minimum of two people on any shoot like that – one to operate/protect the computer, the other to operate/protect the camera. ;) If I have the Mac Pro in an arrangement (plastic/wooden box, etc) that a single person can’t lift, it adds a layer of safety. Again, locking the computer to the box, and the box to a fixed structure/car frame.

Also, I have a 1000W inverter for the car that can power the beast - in theory since I've not used this option yet. ;) I also had an APC to filter any power before it reaches the computer (APC is dead - even though I only used it at home - think I need a higher wattage one than I had).I wish I had a cheap 19” LCD to monitor on in the field – less likely to worry about getting bumped around.

I think it’s worth it though. The HV20’s glory won’t last too long – Canon set the bar high, and other companies *must* reach it. I view it as a very good camera for the money, but an interim one. 4:2:2 for the everyman in every camera isn’t long off either – in two years, I think that most of the HV20 power users will be eyeing/owning some camera that offers 24P, internal hard disk recording at full raster 1080P at 4:2:2. The HV20 can generate those incredible images NOW, just can’t record it! Well, if it’s only a question of recording/capture… In two years, 1440x1080 HDV 4:2:0 will be old, and be disrespected – it already has no backing by many industry pros.

So if I can shoot for the future now, by golly, I certainly will! I need my work to stand the test of time longer than two years, because, HDV is an interim format as well ;) Well worth lugging a beast in the field :D The HV20 is a godsend, to me.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #17
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Robert,

What are the advantages / disadvantages of running uncompressed video from camera to the mac? How much bigger are the files? Could this be done with an HV20, a Macbook Pro, and an external drive -- or do you need more CPU, PCI Card, and a RAID setup?

Thank you,
-Hans.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #18
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Hans,
The MacbookPro is powerful enough, but you must have some way of getting an HDMI signal into it. Becaue a laptop can't accommodate PCIe cards, the only option is the portable AJA IOHD, which is over $3,500. At that price, you'd have to seriously consider getting a MacPro!
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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:34 PM   #19
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Advantages of uncompressed HD? Post work - I shoot with colour correction and image manipulation in mind, and with indoor footage, HDV doesn't cut it if I really want to massage the image. The Prores 422 codec is great - it's practically uncompressed without the need for a 4 hard drive RAID! I can now use two hard drives in RAID for the safety of speed.

However, I bet that Blackmagic Design will make a card for the Macbook Pro that'll allow HDMI in - I estimate 6-12 months, tops. It's a theory, but mark my words!

Why? A Macbook Pro in the field sure beast lugging a Mac Pro tower! At most, you'd only need an external SATA drive RAID.. could easily and safely power that easily with a 900W generator.

The Macbook Pro is quality - plenty powerful enough to capture very high quality HD now that the Apple Proress 422 exists - with the Proress codec, it's possible to capture/playback 1920x1080 60i HD 4:2:2. And, the Macbook Pro has a fast card bus, and HDMI is pure digital.

So, the stars are aligned - I believe it's only a matter of time. 'Intensity Mobile' anyone?

For now, Mac Pro is the only way to do it simply because it's the only Mac with a PCIe option, and RAID. The iMac has a powerful enough CPU, just no HDMI in. For now, the Mac Pro in the field is worth it to my clients, and to me. I think they'll be other options soon though - call up Blackmagic Design and ask for a mobile HDMI option ;)
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Old August 9th, 2007, 09:36 PM   #20
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Hans --

I've edited many many hours of HDV on a G4 Powerbook. It's no problem at all. You need at least Final Cut 5.12.

You'll sit and wait when you output but straight-cuts editing is completely painless. Renders take a while so save your filters and effects til the end.

I'm a pro who uses 3.0 Quad Mac Pros with 8gb ram and have a personal G5 Quad which is almost as fast as the Mac Pro. Don't listen to the FUD.

Native HDV is gorgeous. You don't need any of the streamclip/black magic/decklink / voodoo stuff at all. HDV actually uses a tiny bit LESS space on your drive than DV.

An HV20 will plug into your 400 firewire port; put an external drive on your fw800 port and enjoy. No problems at all.

It's not rocket science -- it's a consumer cam made to be simple. Go make movies!
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Old August 9th, 2007, 10:25 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Joseph H. Moore View Post
Mark, maybe a dumb question, but why not just play through via HDMI straight from the cam?
Oh simply I sometimes replay the footage dozens of times from media server or PS3 HD, saves cam tape transport wear and having HV20 tethered to the flatscreen in the lounge-room.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 12:22 AM   #22
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Native HDV is gorgeous. You don't need any of the streamclip/black magic/decklink / voodoo stuff at a
Hans, Chuck is right - for most, HDV is wonderful. HDV IS wondeful. I shoot HDV and only shoot uncompressed at certain, special times. Rarely. The Canon's HDV is the best yet - better than the Sony implementation in the Z1U or FX1.

I've shot 70 tapes of Sony HDV.. yes.. seventy. HDV is great.. get a HV20, use it now. If you need more, you'll know.. and then upgrade if you need then, but not before.

Macs + HDV + iMovie (or better) = yield great results.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #23
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Native HDV is gorgeous.
Huh? Wha?

Native HDV is "bearable." Most of the time it is "acceptable." (Though there are places, such as Discovery HD, that won't accept it.) But I've never heard it described as "gorgeous."

Adriana Lima is gorgeous. A Lamborghini is gorgeous. An unmolested 1080P image can be gorgeous, (epsecially if it is footage of Andriana Lima on a Lamborghini) but nothing about MPEG-2 intra-frame compression is gorgeous!

I'm not saying I don't love my little HV20, but lets be realistic here. Macro-blocking, mosquito noiuse, ringing, lack of color resolution and color errors are not gorgeous, not even pretty. They're down right ugly, and they crop-up at the most unwanted times.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:23 AM   #24
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Hans,
Capturing and editing HDV on the Powerbook should be possible, if not snappy. You need to check and see if you can reliably play back full frame size, full frame rate consistently, though. I know that this can sometimes be a stumbling point, especially with rates higher than 24P.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:07 PM   #25
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Hans,
The MacbookPro is powerful enough, but you must have some way of getting an HDMI signal into it. Becaue a laptop can't accommodate PCIe cards, the only option is the portable AJA IOHD, which is over $3,500. At that price, you'd have to seriously consider getting a MacPro!
Joseph,

Thanks for this perspective. It's always a juggling act when you have a limited budget!

Thanks,
-Hans.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #26
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Advantages of uncompressed HD? Post work - I shoot with colour correction and image manipulation in mind, and with indoor footage, HDV doesn't cut it if I really want to massage the image. The Prores 422 codec is great - it's practically uncompressed without the need for a 4 hard drive RAID! I can now use two hard drives in RAID for the safety of speed.
Robert,

Thanks for the further information. So a 2-drive RAID (in a speed enhancing configuration) is a good idea for directly capturing video in Prores 422, correct? What kind of RAID card do you use for that? [Apple's is expensive!]

Thanks,
-Hans.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #27
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I've edited many many hours of HDV on a G4 Powerbook. It's no problem at all. You need at least Final Cut 5.12.

I'm a pro who uses 3.0 Quad Mac Pros with 8gb ram and have a personal G5 Quad which is almost as fast as the Mac Pro. Don't listen to the FUD.
Chuck,

Thank you for your input. A few quick questions:

1) Will Final Cut Pro 6, Final Cut HD Express 3.5, and iMovie '08 talk to each other nicely?

2) When I look at Macworld review benchmarks, which numbers are most relevant to working with HD video? Cinema 4D Render? MPEG-2 Encode? iMovie Aged Effect?

3) What does FUD mean?

Thank you,
-Hans.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:20 PM   #28
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1) Will Final Cut Pro 6, Final Cut HD Express 3.5, and iMovie '08 talk to each other nicely?
There's some interplay between FCP and FCE, but iMovie `08 is a completely unique beast, nothing like a normal NLE. (It's kind of fun, though.)

Quote:
2) When I look at Macworld review benchmarks, which numbers are most relevant to working with HD video? Cinema 4D Render? MPEG-2 Encode? iMovie Aged Effect?
Not Cinebench. The MPEG-2 Encode and the iMovie filter are more representative of the work you'll be doing.

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3) What does FUD mean?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear%2C...inty_and_doubt
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:28 PM   #29
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Hans, ProRes requires 145Mbps throughput from your drive(s).
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Old August 11th, 2007, 01:09 AM   #30
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"1) Will Final Cut Pro 6, Final Cut HD Express 3.5, and iMovie '08 talk to each other nicely? "

Final Cut Pro 6 won't even talk to itself nicely. It's having some unresolved childhood issues at the moment. Hopefully that will be fixed soon. Haven't played with the other two. Older versions of iMovie worked in Apple Intermediate Codec and it was possible to use iMovie-captured media in Final Cut, but not vice-versa. I don't know about '08.

"2) When I look at Macworld review benchmarks, which numbers are most relevant to working with HD video? Cinema 4D Render? MPEG-2 Encode? iMovie Aged Effect?"

The only relevant benchmark is the amount of money in your wallet. More speed requires more money. Try to work with what you've got -- if it doesn't work, then upgrade. Be careful with your terminology. The HV20 shoots HDV, not HD. HDV is compressed enough that you can atually use it on regular computers. HD means monstrous bitrates, raids, fiber, tethered computers and weeks of rendering on custom-built machines that will cost 10X what your camera cost.

"3) What does FUD mean?"

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Is my camera choice good? Is this quality ok? Did I spend enough to be accepted into this fraternity?


Look, you're shooting with a very inexpensive consumer cam. It makes a picture that would put a $50,000 camera from a few years ago to shame. Be grateful.

All the uncompressed/hdmi stuff might be relevant if you're shooting chromakey work and billing many thousands of dollars -- but if you were doing that you wouldn't be using a $1,000 camera.

Go take some editing classes at your local college, shoot lots and lots of tape, and pretty soon you'll start to learn what you don't know....

It's kind of intimidating now, when everything's new, but you'll learn it -- but mostly by doing it, not by reading about it! If your Powerbook won't play back HDV, and you can't afford FCS2, then downconvert to SD and edit with what you've got.

Shooting with an HV20 is like any other image acquisition: it has strengths and weaknesses which you need to learn. You've got to make good choices on how to shoot, light, and mic your scenes.
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