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Documentary Techniques
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Old April 17th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #16
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Tzaneen South Africa
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Originally Posted by Chris Brooke View Post
The subject did not fall out with the producer.

That said can anyone recommend a model(s) which we should be considering?

While much of the shoot will be single camera we will require multi-cam (2 or 3) recording days.

I am very unfamiliar with XDCAM as I have always worked on tape.
Hi Chris

I'm in a similar boat at the moment where I need to acquire HD equipment for a new series that needs to be broadcast ready for HD channels. I'm currently working with my trusted Canon XLH1 camera which is fine for SD but it does not quite make the grade when it comes to HD requirements for most of the channels in Europe and the Americas.

The cameras that I've been looking at is from Panasonic and they all record in DVCPRO HD (100mb) which is an HD format accepted by all stations. If I'm not mistaken it's the same format that is referred to as Vericam, although Vericam has more to do with a Panasonic camera feature that allows some of their cameras to record in various frame rates that gives you instantaneous fast or slow motion very much in the same manner that a film camera would that can capture 60 or a 100 frames per second when the footage is played back at 24.

For a Main Camera I'm looking at the Panasonic HPX 3000 ($48,000 excl. lens, batteries and accessories) with the P2 Flash memory recording slots... the footage can be transfered directly to hard drives and backed up on Blue Ray DVD's which saves on production time (no digitizing) and expensive tape stock, (I think about $100 per 60-min HD tape)

Alternatively I'm looking at the Panasonic AJ-HDC 27H ($45 000 excl. lens and accessories) which is the infamous Varicam model of Panasonic that offers you the variable frame rate offer. The downside of this camera is the fact that it still records on expensive tape but on the other hand you have a trusted back up medium...

The main reason that Panasonic looks like a viable option is the inexpensive secondary camera option which comes in the form of a HVX 200 that costs about ($6 000). The beauty of this little camera is that it records in DVCPRO HD. It doesn't have the same size CCD chips as the big boys mentioned above but the quality is still acceptable for a B-Roll. As with the HPX 3000 it records onto P2 cards that can be transfered to Hard drives without any hassles and backed up onto Blue Ray Data disks.

From an editing perspective, I've been using Apples Final Cut Studio which handles HD without any problems and it's an affordable editing solution.

I would like to know what other members opinions are on these cameras as I've not had any filming experience with them. I've talked to a couple of production companies that use them in wildlife documentaries for Animal Planet and Discovery Channel and they seem very happy with them.


Didi Schoeman
Didi Schoeman
Television & Video Productions
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