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Old September 26th, 2005, 03:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Quayle

This is my big concern. I got back from a circumnavigation 4 years back and that environment is extremely hostile to electronics...heck, I was beginning to corrode! But having said that, I still like what the HVX200 offers from a quality standpoint, provided that it delivers.
Yeah, It's hard to think of a more damaging environment to subject a piece of electronic equipment to than one year of salt water spray. I'm sure that's not covered by any manufacturers warranty. I'd maybe worry about backing up my CAMERA, just as much as backing up my footage!

I think that you're most likely right about the HVX200 having a nice quality image. But I just can't see any easy way of keeping a years worth of material on hand, on any other medium than tape at this point. Hopefully by the time your shoot rolls around, someone will have solved this problem. Perhaps a portable blue-ray DVD recorder or some such thing?

I've only recorded short sailing trips and the King's Cup regatta in Phuket, but you do get some amazing footage. I envy your project!
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Old September 26th, 2005, 02:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Quayle
<snip>I've put out a call to DLT Solutions Inc. and am hoping that they will get back to me with an answer. I'll let you all know.
<snip>
Hi Bruce, interesting challenge you've got. Firstly DLT would probably be a good solution for your archiving needs. Obviously Hard Drives offer the best value, but DLT tapes are extremely robust. Generally you can drop them from several feet and they'll be fine. And that's without being in a plastic case. Maybe even consider wrapping them up in plastic wrap to really keep that moisture out.

Maybe I missread some of your post, but it sounds like you're going to be out on that boat for long durations. Being an IT person and having spent several years managing computer systems, I would like to mention redundency. Again, not sure about your exact scenario, but I doubt you'd want to be on the water with 2 months to go and have to sit around not shooting video because a cheap $100 hard drive broke down. To this end I'd recommend:
* A PC (or mac, whatever) with at least 2 hard drives configured in a hardware RAID.
* A spare hard drive that matches the ones in the computer.
* 2 External DLT drives. Yes, its expensive, but rarely they CAN fail early on. I've seen it, stuff happens. The good news is you keep the second one in the package and Ebay it off when you get home.
* A spare camcorder. Ok, you might not be able to cough up 6K for a second HVX, but maybe $1800 for a Sony HC1? I'm assuming some HDV footage would be better than no footage, should the HVX break down/drop in the ocean, etc.. Again, maybe even keep it in the box and sell it off when you're done.

Ok, I think I'll call it quits there. You still have some single points of failure there, but I think that would cover you pretty well. Remember, the cost of adding RAID and 2 drives will be pretty small and you'll recoup the majority of the money you spend on the extra DLT and camcorder.

Now if you're not going to be at sea for weeks or months at a time and can pick these things up easily, then of course most of this is overkill!

If budget simply doesn't permit the purchase of spare items, at the very least try to get a computer with a cheap on-board hardware RAID and the two drives. Its quite affordable and at least provides some protection against hard drive failure.

Good luck!

Philip Williams
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Old September 26th, 2005, 09:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams
Hi Bruce, interesting challenge you've got. Firstly DLT would probably be a good solution for your archiving needs. Obviously Hard Drives offer the best value, but DLT tapes are extremely robust. Generally you can drop them from several feet and they'll be fine. And that's without being in a plastic case. Maybe even consider wrapping them up in plastic wrap to really keep that moisture out.

Maybe I missread some of your post, but it sounds like you're going to be out on that boat for long durations. Being an IT person and having spent several years managing computer systems, I would like to mention redundency. Again, not sure about your exact scenario, but I doubt you'd want to be on the water with 2 months to go and have to sit around not shooting video because a cheap $100 hard drive broke down. To this end I'd recommend:
* A PC (or mac, whatever) with at least 2 hard drives configured in a hardware RAID.
* A spare hard drive that matches the ones in the computer.
* 2 External DLT drives. Yes, its expensive, but rarely they CAN fail early on. I've seen it, stuff happens. The good news is you keep the second one in the package and Ebay it off when you get home.
* A spare camcorder. Ok, you might not be able to cough up 6K for a second HVX, but maybe $1800 for a Sony HC1? I'm assuming some HDV footage would be better than no footage, should the HVX break down/drop in the ocean, etc.. Again, maybe even keep it in the box and sell it off when you're done.

Ok, I think I'll call it quits there. You still have some single points of failure there, but I think that would cover you pretty well. Remember, the cost of adding RAID and 2 drives will be pretty small and you'll recoup the majority of the money you spend on the extra DLT and camcorder.

Now if you're not going to be at sea for weeks or months at a time and can pick these things up easily, then of course most of this is overkill!

If budget simply doesn't permit the purchase of spare items, at the very least try to get a computer with a cheap on-board hardware RAID and the two drives. Its quite affordable and at least provides some protection against hard drive failure.

Good luck!

Philip Williams
www.philipwilliams.com
One of the best suggestions posts i've read- informative, toughtfull, and covering almost everything that can fail in the situation described by the original poster. This type of community sharing and help is what makes me coming here everyday.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 10:23 PM   #19
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i think philip gives really good advice, we did a job traveling through the panama canal and we backed everything up on dlt tapes and at every town we could we express mailed them back to nyc studio just in case the ship went down or our stuff was stolen...
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Old September 27th, 2005, 02:19 AM   #20
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How about another boat to put all this kit and editor on :)

Seriously I would consider HDV, possibly the Canon or JVC as it would simplify this particular workflow and in a years time Discovery and Nat Geo may not be so hostile to it as a format. The fact you're leaving in July will give you plenty of time to work this one out, but if it was me I would want the system with the fewest things to go wrong especially in the hostile conditions you may face.

Having said that, it would be worth trying a HDV camera on a boat first, some people have reported problems with HDV where every pixel in the frame is moving, this will certainly be happening on your trip, particularly in rough seas. I've shot with a Z1 on a boat to try and replicate this problem, although the sea wasn't too choppy I couldn't make the compression fail.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Connor
How about another boat to put all this kit and editor on :)
I forgot about that, the boat clearly represents a single point of failure :)

Ok, seriously, I did run across a post here or on dvxuser (I can't find the thread for the life of me now) where a guy posted direct frame grabs from an HD100. One of the frames had a fair amount of water and it definitely had serious MPEG2 blocking. I imagine the blocking would be mostly unnoticable during playback, but it might be bad enough for a picky Discovery Channel engineer to poo poo a project. If Bruce is thinking of going with HDV, I'd definitely recommend renting and testing to be 100% positive that it'll work under the circumstances of his project.

Just an FYI, I'm pretty neutral on this whole "HDV vs Other HD flavors" thing. I've liked all the HDV footage I downloaded. Given a choice I'd certainly prefer the HVX's discrete frames with 4:2:2 color, but I'll take decent HDV over standard DV any day. And there is something to be said for being able to record onto $5 tapes!

Philip Williams
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Old September 27th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #22
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Wow! What a great response. Thank you all for the great support.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Anderson
Because with 1/3" CCD's having native 1080 pixels, the result would be poor dynamic range and noise. Graeme Nattress has explained this much better than I ever could. In fact, if you want technical explanations, search for every post Graeme has ever made.
You're right. Very interesting stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John M Burkhart
Yeah, It's hard to think of a more damaging environment to subject a piece of electronic equipment...I'd maybe worry about backing up my CAMERA, just as much as backing up my footage!...I've only recorded short sailing trips and the King's Cup regatta in Phuket, but you do get some amazing footage. I envy your project!
No kidding John! I managed to protect my DV camera from most of the elements on my last voyage and it's still going fine, but this time my HD camera (whatever it may be) will be protected with a raincoat in fine weather and an underwater housing in tough situations. I also have gimbled mounting points at various key areas on the boat which can be protected from the worst of the spray/weather. I wasn't able to get to Phuket on my last voyage - very sorry I missed it - but have a friend who raced in the King's Cup. Must have been great fun to film!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams
Maybe I missread some of your post, but it sounds like you're going to be out on that boat for long durations. Being an IT person and having spent several years managing computer systems, I would like to mention redundency....I'd recommend:
* A PC (or mac, whatever) with at least 2 hard drives configured in a hardware RAID.
* A spare hard drive that matches the ones in the computer.
* 2 External DLT drives. Yes, its expensive, but rarely they CAN fail early on. I've seen it, stuff happens. The good news is you keep the second one in the package and Ebay it off when you get home.
* A spare camcorder. Ok, you might not be able to cough up 6K for a second HVX, but maybe $1800 for a Sony HC1? I'm assuming some HDV footage would be better than no footage, should the HVX break down/drop in the ocean, etc.. Again, maybe even keep it in the box and sell it off when you're done.
Yes Philip, I will be at sea/offshore for an extended period of a year or two, and thank you for the advice.
* I will certainly be having two laptops on board, but I question the need for a RAID array. If I'm going to be storing the material on DLT or on independent hard drives, what would the RAID protect? I will not be offlining on location so the computer will only be used to edit off unusable material and as an interface between the Firestore and the independent HDD.
* The computers will be matched.
* 2 DLT drives?...ouch! Okay...I'll check my budget. But it might end up cheaper to go the HDD method with matching HDD in a protected pelican as suggested by Scott earlier in this post.
* I've thought about the spare camera, but as I mentioned earlier, I was able to protect my DV camera quite well last time and I will be even more carefull this time. Also, there's no-where on this planet (well almost no-where) where you can't get stuff shipped into...and if it breaks...well the price might just have come down by then!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mann Z.
i think philip gives really good advice, we did a job traveling through the panama canal and we backed everything up on dlt tapes and at every town we could we express mailed them back to nyc studio just in case the ship went down or our stuff was stolen...
The Panama Canal trip was one of the highlights of my last voyage - hope you had a great shoot. Robert, could you tell me what DLT equipment you were using and if you have any suggestions for a workflow? The DLT company I contacted didn't feel their equipment was suited to the job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Connor
Seriously I would consider HDV, possibly the Canon or JVC as it would simplify this particular workflow and in a years time Discovery and Nat Geo may not be so hostile to it as a format.....Some people have reported problems with HDV where every pixel in the frame is moving, this will certainly be happening on your trip, particularly in rough seas.
Size IS important...and I reckon in this case the smaller the camera, the better so JVC is out. I also think that Canon might be on the heavy side, but I would be prepared to look at it. I'm in discussion with Discovery at the moment concerning format and other technical requirements, but you're right Steve, in a year or so when this project is ready for broadcast they might well have softened to HDV given the number of independents out there producing good stuff on HDV, but I'm not sure I can take that chance. The problem I'm worried about is exactly what you mention - the complex content within each frame. And btw, another boat??? Heck...I'd simply be happy with a BIGGER boat!!;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams
Given a choice I'd certainly prefer the HVX's discrete frames with 4:2:2 color, but I'll take decent HDV over standard DV any day. And there is something to be said for being able to record onto $5 tapes!
You know...I think that this is really what it comes down to, and it always seems to be the same in this industry: Better quality=more money! Sigh....
Thanks again for everyone's input!
Cheers,
Bruce
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Old September 27th, 2005, 10:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Quayle
Robert, could you tell me what DLT equipment you were using and if you have any suggestions for a workflow?
Quantum VS160...

shoot... capture...backup...mail...we were working with dv files, we shot 8 hours of footage a day for 4.5 days...

we had dv tapes, footage on hardrive, and a backup on dlt (which was mailed)...we did some logging at night but after a long day somone else did it back in ny, so when we got back a rought draft was ready to go in a few days...bring extra laptop batteries, we only brought one laptop, two would be smarter, foul weather gear for your cam and all that good redundant stuff, lighting for shooting inside the cabin and at night...

i think the p2/hd workflow would be better then tape in this scenario, with tape it was such a pain to spend one hour per tape to back it up onto the hard drive, when sleep or other things were in order, 8 tapes a day took us 4 hours every night, our capture software was canopus that allowed us to capture up to 3 streams at a time, our lap top could only handle 2

backing up off a p2/hd leaves more time for logging and sleep...and a good nights sleep is everything

Last edited by Robert Mann Z.; September 28th, 2005 at 08:16 AM.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 11:08 PM   #24
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I would consider reliability to be the primary issue. Properly used, any of the 1/3" chip camcorders will give you good footage. They are all 1/3" cameras, and the HDV will be a little bit better than the DV, and the DVCPRO HD should be a little bit better than the HDV, but they're all still going to be fairly close because they're all 1/3" chip cameras. What I've seen of the Sony HDV from two different Z1 cameras looks pretty good, better than equivalent DV footage from a PD170. I would stick with tapes for proven, reliable sturdy technology. If I were going to do it, I probably would go with a Z1 and an FX1 for backup in case the Z1 got damaged. I'd also get an underwater housing--not the kind you use for diving with a camera, but one of those flexible ones good to about 10 feet, which should allow you to shoot in bad weather and with waves crashing over the bow.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 11:21 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Quayle
* I will certainly be having two laptops on board, but I question the need for a RAID array. If I'm going to be storing the material on DLT or on independent hard drives, what would the RAID protect? I will not be offlining on location so the computer will only be used to edit off unusable material and as an interface between the Firestore and the independent HDD.
<snip>
Typically the most likely to fail component of a computer is the hard drive. A RAID array basically protects you from that failure. Obviously a hard drive failure in a single drive system = no computer. No computer = no working with video footage. For the little extra money that this adds to a PC (relative to 6K cameras and such), its well worth it for a critical application where replacement parts aren't readily available.

Now having said that, I guess its a mute point in your case since you'll be using laptops. If you're taking two laptops - and they're both capable of working with your HVX footage and offlining to external drives/tapes - then you're set. Forget redundent drives, you've got redundent computers! If you were traveling with one laptop I'd actually recommend removing the fully loaded hard drive (with OS, editing software, etc..) and then installing a second drive and loading the OS and software on that. Then if that drive fails you just drop it out and slip in the spare drive and boot up - instant work computer! A nice insurance policy for a couple bucks.

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Old September 28th, 2005, 04:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
They are all 1/3" cameras, and the HDV will be a little bit better than the DV, and the DVCPRO HD should be a little bit better than the HDV.
I would have thought HDV would have been *a whole lot* better than DV, but I guess the problem remains how the broadcasters view HDV in the context of HD...and I still don't have clarity from Discovery at this time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Williams
Typically the most likely to fail component of a computer is the hard drive. ....If you were traveling with one laptop I'd actually recommend removing the fully loaded hard drive (with OS, editing software, etc..) and then installing a second drive and loading the OS and software on that. Then if that drive fails you just drop it out and slip in the spare drive and boot up - instant work computer! A nice insurance policy for a couple bucks.
You know Philip, it might be a damn good idea even with two computers. And as you so rightly said, it's not big money in the greater scheme of things.
Cheers,
Bruce
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Old September 29th, 2005, 02:35 AM   #27
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The BBC sees HDV as a consumer format (listed as such in the draft BBC Guide to HD referenced earlier in this thread). At the London Video Forum, held earlier this year, the BBC HD man speaking there said that HDV was not accepted as HD for co-production with partners like Discovery, and it would not command the HD premium payment rate. HDV sounds like something you will need to negotiate if this view still prevails at the Discovery channel.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #28
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HDV seems to be at the same point DV was just a few years ago. Eventually lots of people will be shooting HDV and making HD dubs for TV and for festivals, just as they now shoot DV and make Betacam and Digibeta dubs (and sometimes HD) for festivals, local TV, etc. No 1/3" chip HDV camera is going to replace a 2/3" chip HD camera, just as a 1/3" chip DV camera doesn't replace a 2/3" chip DV or DV50 camera. But these cameras are already significantly better than their DV predecessors.

Having owned numerous sailboats (the last one being a 34-footer) I can attest to the difficulties of electronics and a sailing environment. I would not want to be burdened with computers and hard drives when trying to shoot video, and I wouldn't want to always have to transfer my original footage to a drive and then back it up and then delete what I shot on so I could reuse it. To my way of thinking, that's a studio environment type of workflow. And I wouldn't want to do a gig like that without a second camera.
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