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Old July 23rd, 2008, 03:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
I think where we tend to disagree is that pros already see solid state as "dirt cheap". It's those coming from $2 miniDV that see solid state as expensive.
And someone who's apparently used to miniDV prices asked whether P2 or SxS will ever be competitive with that, which isn't likely to be the case. But today's good SD cards can sustain enough bandwidth to record XDCAM EX footage for ~$90 per hour or DVCProHD for ~$360/hour, compared to $900/hour using SxS or $3600/hour using P2 cards. Now extrapolate forward another 3-4 years with memory prices dropping 50% per year, and it would be easy enough to build an EX1-class camera using memory cards so cheap you could save them in a drawer indefinitely. That's when solid state recording fully replaces tape no matter what your criteria are, including workflow considerations and low cost recording.

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The other thing that you seem to be conveniently overlooking is that solid state is renewable. Tape is not. If I shoot onto tape, it's a consumable. So if I buy a $70 HDCam tape or a $160 HDCamSR tape, that is money lost.
Yes, but unless you plan to erase your master footage at the end of a project you have to save your footage somewhere on something which costs money, so the cost comparison to tape bogs down there. That's why having memory cards be dirt cheap is the ultimate solution to this discussion, because once that happens there's no reason left to use tape even for the most budget-conscious users. This will happen soon enough, but not with proprietary memory cards.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 03:46 PM   #32
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Yes, but unless you plan to erase your master footage at the end of a project you have to save your footage somewhere on something which costs money, so the cost comparison to tape bogs down there.
No, really it doesn't. Look at the true HD alternatives:

1. Record 1080p 4:2:2 to tape, archive to Optical

Costs:

Deck ~$100k
Recording Media ~$150/hr non-renewable
Archive ~$40/hr


2. Record 1080p 4:2:0 to SxS, archive to optical

Costs:

Deck ~$0
Recording Media ~$1600/hr (one time cost)
Archive ~$13/hr

3. Record 1080p 4:2:0 to tape, archive to tape

N/A


The comparison to low-cost tape doesn't bog down because there IS no low-cost tape way to do this. It doesn't exist.


But in looking at the numbers, archiving master footage from SxS costs ~$14 per hour (based on current bluray pricing). But your originating media gets reused. In an all tape workflow, you're originating tape does not get reused, and if you master to a different tape, you've now burned 2 tapes per hour. If we were actually working with HDV or DVCPro level tapes at ~$10 each, that's $20/hr. The tape workflow is actually more expensive. It will take longer to amortize the initial price of the cards though, and that's the problem.

P2 is still fighting this battle to a degree. At the outset, the media to do a 2hr shoot cost more than the camera. I think Sony walked around that problem very nicely only a couple of years down the road. Not only that, but they gave away about an hour's worth of recordable media for free.

Your point about solid state media being so cheap, people can treat it like tape sounds great, but I don't think we'll get there any time in the foreseeable future. As the media gets cheap enough, camera manufacturers will raise standards and perhaps 5 years from now when 16GB CompactFlash cards are $15, we'll need to be saving 4k 4:4:4 files on them, and 64GB cards will be the only thing that makes any kind of sense. Nothing will sit still. Look to digital SLR cameras for an easy example. When people were clamoring for 512Mb cards, cameras were shooting 2 megapixels. Now, cameras shoot 12 megapixels, and they are clamoring for the same 32GB cards we want.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 05:00 PM   #33
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The comparison to low-cost tape doesn't bog down because there IS no low-cost tape way to do this. It doesn't exist.
One could say that the Canon XH-A1 records 1080p 4:2:0 on miniDV tapes with no special deck required, but we're digressing. In Steve's situation for shooting five hours of footage out in the field using solid state recording, he'd either need a lot of expensive memory cards or a few of them plus a laptop and some hard drives. No matter how you massage the cost calculations, thousands of dollars is a lot to pay for media for a $5-6K camera.

The Panasonic HMC150 looks promising as a good compromise between HDV and expensive solid state recording, subject to some caveats for transcoding and editing the footage. And it points the way to affordable solid state cameras of the future, recording a variety of HD formats on memory cards costing a few bucks per hour of capacity. Would anyone here not appreciate being able to save their master footage on the original media at negligible cost, with no archiving time required? C'mon, admit it... ;-)
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 05:30 PM   #34
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One could say that the Canon XH-A1 records 1080p 4:2:0 on miniDV tapes with no special deck required, but we're digressing.
Except that it write 1440x1080 just like every other HDV camera...

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In Steve's situation for shooting five hours of footage out in the field using solid state recording, he'd either need a lot of expensive memory cards or a few of them plus a laptop and some hard drives. No matter how you massage the cost calculations, thousands of dollars is a lot to pay for media for a $5-6K camera.
Right, Steve's situation is the impossible scenario. Compact flash isn't big enough even though it's fairly cheap. Hard Drive to record 5 hours doesn't come cheaply enough in anything but HDV flavor. And going to tape to record 1920x1080 is going to cost a fortune. So in his shoes, I'd hot-swap SxS or P2 cards and dump them onto a laptop/raid. Best, fastest way. With the EX1 and SxS, he could get this for no additional costs because the media to do it comes free. Hard to beat that.


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The Panasonic HMC150 looks promising as a good compromise between HDV and expensive solid state recording, subject to some caveats for transcoding and editing the footage. And it points the way to affordable solid state cameras of the future, recording a variety of HD formats on memory cards costing a few bucks per hour of capacity. Would anyone here not appreciate being able to save their master footage on the original media at negligible cost, with no archiving time required? C'mon, admit it... ;-)
I think a LOT of hopes ride on the HMC150. I was excited as anything to see it coming. I would LOVE to get compact flash recording on these new crops of cameras we are seeing, but Panasonic has a lot riding on the P2, and Sony eschewed it for SxS. If the HMC150 can get it done with AVCHD in ~25mbps, I think a lot of people are going to be happy.

But I am going to be really honest with you. I really would not care to store my stuff long term on CF or SDHC. The form factor is too small. I can't write notes on it, and I am really scared I could drop one or two and not notice! I've had to hunt down miniDV tapes on long outdoor shoots. The klutz in me can just imagine dropping one down a crack in the elevator shaft, or a drainhole, or some other such thing! My keys are on a massive carabiner because I once did some far too stupid with a small set of keys.

I think being able to treat CF or SDHC like tape will be great for many shooters though, and I certainly won't deny that. I like the DVD form factor best of all. Big enough to seem substantial, small enough to fit HUNDREDS on a bookshelf.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 05:34 PM   #35
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I have the unit sitting on the corner of my desk right now. About 2ft from me. And I can't hear it. At all.

I definitely think you had either a faulty unit, or one in need of some attention.
Have you tried leaving it on for 1/2hour though, especially in a warm room? The fan seems to come on via a heat sensor, at different levels, and believe me you'd hear mine 2 ft away.........

As for a faulty unit, we had several within the department, and all the ones I came into contact with behaved similarly with regard to fan noise. I don't want to worry you, but could yours be a faulty unit, a faulty fan or heat sensor? Nice and quiet, but......

As far as all the solid state versus tape and cost etc, then well, lots of good points all round, but Kevin has particularly good thoughts with remarks like "....camera using memory cards so cheap you could save them in a drawer indefinitely. That's when solid state recording fully replaces tape no matter what your criteria are"

In view of the title of this thread it may be worth mentioning XDCAM HD disc, which seems to be around $25 for a 23GB disc, and which most people would consider "consumable". Lets round down, call it $1/GB, and say this "defines" consumable.

One US retailer is listing 16GB SxS cards as $899, and 133x CF 16GB cards at $185.95. Rounding down again for ease of numbers, lets call the SxS figures $50/GB, the CF $10/GB. If we now assume a year on year halving of cost, and look forward only 3 years, that will make the SxS cost per GB $6.25, and only $1.25/GB for CF!

Suddenly Kevins thoughts about treating solid state like tape, putting in a drawer indefinately, start to make a lot of sense, and in the not too distant future. Downloading and backing up equates to time, which can equate to money, which can skew the argument even further in favour of the desire to simply put the original media in a drawer.

Those figures above predict parity between XDCAM disc and CF in about 3 years, but longer for SxS. Wouldn't it be nice if Sony brought out two tiers of SxS - the current one, and "SxS lite"? The latter with the characteristics and costs of 133x CF, say. And if anybody doesn't think that would be fast enough, I think it would actually be faster than XDCAM disc.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 06:00 PM   #36
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Have you tried leaving it on for 1/2hour though, especially in a warm room? The fan seems to come on via a heat sensor, at different levels, and believe me you'd hear mine 2 ft away.........
I regularly shoot conference meetings. From 90 minutes to 6 hours. And I mount my Firestore on top of the DVX in the hotshoe mount. I've never had an issue since the day I've owned it.

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As for a faulty unit, we had several within the department, and all the ones I came into contact with behaved similarly with regard to fan noise. I don't want to worry you, but could yours be a faulty unit, a faulty fan or heat sensor? Nice and quiet, but......
LOL! Very well could be. But I record nearly all my stuff in air conditioned rooms. Can you see the temperature reading on these early units? I know the new ones can tell you when they are running hot.

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In view of the title of this thread it may be worth mentioning XDCAM HD disc, which seems to be around $25 for a 23GB disc, and which most people would consider "consumable". Lets round down, call it $1/GB, and say this "defines" consumable.
I agree with you there, and it's essentially where I was getting my cheap costs for archival purposes. Writing to BluRay 25GB disks as masters to material from SxS is about as cheap as it gets right now. Hoping to see BluRay disks reach $1 each anytime soon is folly.

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One US retailer is listing 16GB SxS cards as $899, and 133x CF 16GB cards at $185.95. Rounding down again for ease of numbers, lets call the SxS figures $50/GB, the CF $10/GB. If we now assume a year on year halving of cost, and look forward only 3 years, that will make the SxS cost per GB $6.25, and only $1.25/GB for CF!
Are you SURE that's a 16GB SxS? $899 is the going rate for 8GB cards. SxS and P2 are the most expensive ways to record ANYTHING right now, IF you don't quality them as temporary storage media. Look at the Firestores. About $25-$30 per GB. I see the cards as much the same. Except the firestores won't get you XDCam. They can get you DVCProHD though. Over 2 hours of it.


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Suddenly Kevins thoughts about treating solid state like tape, putting in a drawer indefinately, start to make a lot of sense, and in the not too distant future. Downloading and backing up equates to time, which can equate to money, which can skew the argument even further in favour of the desire to simply put the original media in a drawer.
Well, if I am working for myself, I'm not losing money on backup time. And if I am working on spec, I am charging for that time. So I consider it a wash.

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Those figures above predict parity between XDCAM disc and CF in about 3 years, but longer for SxS. Wouldn't it be nice if Sony brought out two tiers of SxS - the current one, and "SxS lite"? The latter with the characteristics and costs of 133x CF, say. And if anybody doesn't think that would be fast enough, I think it would actually be faster than XDCAM disc.
Tests have shown that the EX1 is recording at over 70mbps when required. Writing 1920x1080 4:2:0 at 70mbps is going to put some serious demands on the media. I don't know that the 133x is fast enough. Convergent is asking for much more than that with their unit, though they are writing 4:2:2 and 100mbps.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 06:46 PM   #37
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Except that it write 1440x1080 just like every other HDV camera...
Unlike the HVX200, which writes 1280x1080 footage? ;-)

And what's the difference really when few consumers own 1080p displays, plus can't see the difference between 720p and 1080p at normal viewing differences?

Quote:
Steve's situation is the impossible scenario. Compact flash isn't big enough even though it's fairly cheap. Hard Drive to record 5 hours doesn't come cheaply enough in anything but HDV flavor...With the EX1 and SxS, he could get this for no additional costs because the media to do it comes free. Hard to beat that.
Okay, two free SxS cards is a good start if you're comfortable with that solution for continuous recording, but then you need a laptop with a portable hard drive and extra batteries to store the footage. Granted, you can get a 250 GB portable drive for ~$100-150 now, but the laptop setup will likely run you at least $1500-2000 or so. So that's still ~$9K for an EX1 with a reliable long-form recording setup, compared to $3500 for a Canon XH-A1 with a box full of miniDV tapes. Price favors the HDV solution for long-form work.

As far as CF cards are concerned, good 16 GB ones are readily available and 32 GB ones are starting to come to market, both at prices just a fraction of P2 or SxS. This is what will define the future of solid state recording for most folks, once camera manufacturers make more cameras which work with standard memory.

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But I am going to be really honest with you. I really would not care to store my stuff long term on CF or SDHC. The form factor is too small. I can't write notes on it, and I am really scared I could drop one or two and not notice!
Can't argue with that - but in some situations it's nice to be able to shoot several hours of footage and drop it in a drawer without having to worry about it for a few days or weeks. If SxS cards cost $50 each wouldn't you buy more of them?
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 06:54 PM   #38
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Are you SURE that's a 16GB SxS? $899 is the going rate for 8GB cards. SxS and P2 are the most expensive ways to record ANYTHING right now,....
Yes, 16GB, Sandisk, AND from one of the site sponsors listed. The CF (Sandisk Extreme III) and XDCAM disc prices I used are also from them. I'm happy to post the link if it's allowed?
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Tests have shown that the EX1 is recording at over 70mbps when required. Writing 1920x1080 4:2:0 at 70mbps is going to put some serious demands on the media. I don't know that the 133x is fast enough. Convergent is asking for much more than that with their unit, though they are writing 4:2:2 and 100mbps.
Extreme III is rated at 160Mbs, and I believe Convergent reckon it's OK for their 100Mbs mode (tested cards anyway). But OK, "SxS lite" could rate at 200, 250Mbs say and be a bit more expensive. Still be nice to get the choice of price/performance with SxS, as you do with CF, SD etc.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 07:05 PM   #39
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Unlike the HVX200, which writes 1280x1080 footage? ;-)
Only for DVCProHD. Otherwise it's doing someting else.

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And what's the difference really when few consumers own 1080p displays, plus can't see the difference between 720p and 1080p at normal viewing differences?
Differencce today? Not much. Difference in 5 years, could mean something. Difference to a client could be the difference between getting the job, and not.


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Okay, two free SxS cards is a good start if you're comfortable with that solution for continuous recording, but then you need a laptop with a portable hard drive and extra batteries to store the footage. Granted, you can get a 250 GB portable drive for ~$100-150 now, but the laptop setup will likely run you at least $1500-2000 or so. So that's still ~$9K for an EX1 with a reliable long-form recording setup, compared to $3500 for a Canon XH-A1 with a box full of miniDV tapes. Price favors the HDV solution for long-form work.
Well, I was in Office Depot last month. Laptops from HP and others were about $600 with 15.4" screens. Add a $200 300GB hard drive to that and for the price of an 8GB SxS card, you've got an portable logging and editing machine. If HDV is all we're after, you can get nearly 6 seamless hours onto a Firestore.

http://www.officedepot.com/a/product...ith-Processor/


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If SxS cards cost $50 each wouldn't you buy more of them?
I know many people would, but they don't really help me. Generally, I need 1 of 2 things:

1. LONG form recording times that are going on the internet or SD-DVD. In this case I need something like the firestore.

2. Short recording times at the best resolution possible, which is why I am working on the Flash XDR.

The SxS cards are really just of little use to me. I know that won't be the case with the majority of buyers, but they just don't fall within my needed parameters. One of the major reasons I didn't buy the HVX200A was because I couldn't use our current firestore to record with it. I would have never used any P2 cards.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 09:24 PM   #40
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Your point about solid state media being so cheap, people can treat it like tape sounds great...
Well, that was indeed the idea, and sooner rather than later, re:
May 2007: Finally, a replacement of tape as an archival medium?

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but I don't think we'll get there any time in the foreseeable future.
And maybe they won't turn out to be as cheap as we had
thought, either. Re: July 2008: SanDisk introduces WORM Cards
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Old July 24th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #41
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That's interesting about the WORM cards, but unless the cost is reasonable few people would use them for video recording. We'll see how that progresses over time.

After thinking about recording and archiving costs more I can see how solid state is becoming competitive with miniDV tape prices, depending on how you run the numbers. But we still need something cheaper than $800 memory cards to make solid state fully practical for a wide range of users. For the fellow who wants to record for five hours out in the field without buying five hours' worth of SxS or P2 cards, the Sony Z7U offers another option using CF cards and the HMC150 will use SD. Figure five hours worth of those cards costs ~$750, and your payback compared to using DV tape is a modest 150-250 hours of shooting. Even for those of us used to DV tape costs this makes solid state start to look pretty good, so I guess we don't need another 3-4 years of price cuts - we just need more cameras which run on standard flash memory. (And for those who want higher performance, P2 and SxS are both functional solutions.)
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Old July 24th, 2008, 11:41 AM   #42
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That's exactly the thing Kevin. And why the HMC150 and similar cameras are so compelling right now. With Sony's XDCAM Optical and SxS and Panny's P2, it's going to be a slow adoption of CF cards I think. On the consumer end, I think the uptake will be much faster. The manufacturers can get the products in the hands of shooters and not worry about media. On the pro end, there is legacy inertia built into the older standards. It's those of us in the middle who are in limbo. Does Sony and Panny push us into the legacy world, or push us down toward consumers. With The EX1 coming from CineAlta and not Sony Electronics, I think that choice has been made clear. Not so much with the Panasonic HPX170 and other cameras.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #43
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P2 vs. SxS editing differences

I've believe the Sony SxS XDCAM format compresses a group of frames together in order to get the lower bitrate and increase the amount of footage you can get on a card. I've heard this can slow things down significantly when you do a lot of editing with this format. When you scrub the timeline to get the right edit point, the computer has to decode the entire group of frames in order to display a single frame on the time line.

By contrast, P2 DVCPRO-HD compresses each frame individually. That's why you only get 1/4 as much footage on a single card. For example, a 16GB P2 card only stores about 17 minutes of 1080p video, where the 16GB SxS card will store around an hour. If you're shooting a feature, news segment, or something like that, most clips only last around 30 seconds or so, and you need a lot of time to set up the next shot, so 17 minutes of actual footage might be a couple of hours on location. In this type of environment, swapping and downloading P2 cards isn't that hard to do.

So for features, short films, news, etc., the P2 format is probably better because it's faster to do lot's of editing. Keep in mind that with these types of projects, edit points usually occur every few seconds.

But for videography and other types of projects that have less edit points, having 4 times as much footage with the SxS format has obvious advantages.

In a perfect world, both Sony and Panasonic would have a menu selection to compress frames either individually (for faster editing), or as a group (for more footage), depending on the type of project you're working on. But as it is, you have to choose the format that's most appropriate up front.

As a point of reference, there's a table on the Wikipedia site that shows all the various digital video formats and their attributes. The table is about 1/3 of the way down here:
Digital cinematography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old August 21st, 2008, 08:29 AM   #44
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Any video can be converted to an I-frame intermediary for editing purposes, so that's a negligible issue other than the time required to do the conversion. But if you need to shoot several hours of footage out in the field without pausing to clear off your memory cards, SxS is more viable than P2 and neither is very practical compared to CF or SD.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 09:09 AM   #45
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Any video can be converted to an I-frame intermediary for editing purposes, so that's a negligible issue other than the time required to do the conversion.
In addition to conversion time, I believe there is also an issue with image quality. If you de-compress a group of pictures (GOP) and then re-compress to new format that compresses each frame individually, then you've gone through another compression cycle. This will add to mosquito noise and blocking artifacts. Two compression cycles (one for capture, and another for authoring edited output) is already too much, and it usually shows. The only case where it doesn't show is if the capture format is wavelet (i.e. Red 1, SI-2K), or the DCT capture compression is really light (i.e. higher bit rate formats).

You could de-compress a GOP based format like SxS and then create uncompressed files for editing, but the data size on the hard drive would be huge and this would slow down the editing as well.

From what I understand, it's generally best to edit in the format you use to capture, otherwise you will lose quality or speed.
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