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Old January 15th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #16
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What's frustrating in all this is that good stock flash cards have offered plenty of bandwidth for years, and yet we're still being limited to highly compressed recording with most solid-state cameras. With adequate buffering any decent SDHC card should be able to sustain a 50 Mbps I-frame HD codec like AVC-intra, but so far no affordable video cameras take advantage of that fact.
Yes, exactly. The very fact that the EX can sustain up to about 40fps overcrank *PROVES* that these cards are capable of recording at about 60Mbs sustained. And that's even with the USB interface which is known to be the bottleneck. These cards should be able to go quite a bit higher if directly supported.

And that's before we even start thinking of Compact Flash. The XDR *PROVES* that 100Mbs can be recorded to fairly cheap CF, and RED *PROVES* that a lot higher can be recorded to higher spec CF.

As far as the history goes, I think Panasonic made two bad strategic decisions in the history of P2. The first was initially trying to market it as SD 2/3" P2 only cameras. There was a lot of comment at the time that a P2/tape hybrid would have been more generally useful - use P2 when you wanted the advantages of solid state, tape when you needed to give media away or couldn't easily download.

The HVX200 was indeed hybrid, at least for SD, and that was a big benefit for many at the time, but by now HD use had become much more common. The choice became between the codec benefits of DVCProHD, and the cheap media and long record times of HDV, and especially the Z1. Why on earth didn't Panasonic make the HVX200 a triple hybrid? SD DV to tape, HDV to tape, AND both those codecs PLUS DVCProHD to P2? It would have kept all it's own advantages, and matched those of the Z1 without any sacrifice, and of the two surely would have been the obvious camera to get? But they didn't - the choice was an HDV tape camera or a P2 DVCProHD camera.

As it was, it suited a few people well, but the majority seem to have concluded that the Z1 and HDV was the least bad compromise.

Roll on to now, and I'm left wondering why they didn't just bring out a single tapeless camera combining the benefits of the 171 and the 151. Two P2 slots and two SDHC slots. The former able to record DVCProHD and handle overcrank etc, and the latter able to record AVC-HD on cheap cards. Use as appropiate, just as can be done with the EX, albeit in spite of Sony.....!
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Old January 16th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #17
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Yes, I-Frame is easier to edit, but I-Frame, depending on it's native format will take up GOBS or room, so we're back to the issue of recording media size.
AVC-intra at 50 Mbps only requires twice the storage of HDV or AVCHD, and that's before accounting for the fact that many HDV and AVCHD users transcode to I-frame codecs for editing purposes. At 50 Mbps you should be able to fit at least 30 minutes of footage on a 16GB SDHC card costing under $50, compared to over $800 for a 16GB P2 card. So clearly this is a desirable option from a user perspective and would be an ideal compromise in terms of workflow, assuming that AVC-intra is more readily editable than native AVCHD footage.

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P2 is not a $20k workflow. Most users simply moved down to 720p, and bought two 8GB cards.
P2 was developed for TV stations and such with deep pockets, not budget-conscious independent videographers. The fact that Panasonic was able to sell it to the latter is an impressive achievement, but it's not a particularly good solution for this market segment.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a $5K camera recording 50 Mbps I-frame footage on $50 memory cards, and have that footage be directly editable without time-consuming transcoding? This is such an obviously desirable solution it's frustrating no one's doing it, even though today's good SDHC cards should easily support it.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #18
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Wouldn't it be nice to have a $5K camera recording 50 Mbps I-frame footage on $50 memory cards, and have that footage be directly editable without time-consuming transcoding? This is such an obviously desirable solution it's frustrating no one's doing it, even though today's good SDHC cards should easily support it.
I'd rather have a camera recording 50Mbs onto $50 memory cards but using long GOP MPEG2. That should be still directly editable (unlike AVC-HD), but be significantly higher quality than I-frame only at the same bitrate.

It's effectively XDCAM-HD422 (as used by the PDW700) and got recent general approval from the EBU for general acquisition, as did AVC-Intra 100 (though not AVC-Intra 50).

Ordinary SDHC cards shouldn't have much problem with 50Mbs streams, but I doubt they'd manage 100Mbs. But fairly cheap Compact Flash should manage AVC-Intra100 without too many problems - you don't need P2.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 10:43 PM   #19
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I'd rather have a camera recording 50Mbs onto $50 memory cards but using long GOP MPEG2.
That would be fine too, and I'd love to see Sony do that instead of limiting bandwidth to 35 Mbps on the EX1. Heck, that camera uses expensive high-end memory with a peak bandwidth of 800 Mbps, why the blue blazes did they limit recording to 35?!?

As far as what's possible on today's stock memory cards, a Panasonic engineer said in 2005 that they need 20 MB/sec (160 Mbps) sustained to record DVCProHD reliably at 100 Mbps, which sounds reasonable. Sandisk had CompactFlash cards which could do that back in 2004, and that level of performance today is both commonplace and affordable. 40 MB/sec cards are also readily available if some additional overhead is needed, and could be brand-marketed by camera manufacturers if necessary to ensure users they're getting what they need. We don't need P2 or SxS today for medium-bandwidth HD recording, except to get fancy features like over/undercranking. And since we already have the over/undercranking cameras, let's see some which skip that in favor of a good, steady 50 Mbps recording data rate. This is an obvious thing to do, and yet no one's doing it...
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Old January 16th, 2009, 11:14 PM   #20
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AVC-intra at 50 Mbps only requires twice the storage of HDV or AVCHD
AVC-Intra is 4:2:0. And if we're going to go intra-frame, give me the 4:2:2 like DVCProHD. That's why AVC-Intra 100 is the way to go.

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Wouldn't it be nice to have a $5K camera recording 50 Mbps I-frame footage on $50 memory cards, and have that footage be directly editable without time-consuming transcoding? This is such an obviously desirable solution it's frustrating no one's doing it, even though today's good SDHC cards should easily support it.
Well, I have a $6500 camera recording long-GOP on $30 memory cards and the footage is directly editable. That's close enough for me. If I need something better, I just attach a cable and game over.

Yes, it's frustrating that no one is giving us the goods, but honestly, if we had sub $10k cameras recording 100Mbps i-frame 4:2:2, it would be a TOUGH sell to push the $30k cameras that had....better glass?
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Old January 16th, 2009, 11:15 PM   #21
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That would be fine too, and I'd love to see Sony do that instead of limiting bandwidth to 35 Mbps on the EX1. Heck, that camera uses expensive high-end memory with a peak bandwidth of 800 Mbps, why the blue blazes did they limit recording to 35?!
Because the people who really need more are hooking to the camera with SDI, not writing to memory cards.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #22
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Yes, it's frustrating that no one is giving us the goods, but honestly, if we had sub $10k cameras recording 100Mbps i-frame 4:2:2, it would be a TOUGH sell to push the $30k cameras that had....better glass?
Yes, that was part of my premise why memory card technology isn't the limiting factor here. And Panasonic does sell a $5K camera which records 100 Mbps I-frame 4:2:2, but they maintain some of their profit margin by restricting it to P2 memory.

Seems to me someone could make money by selling an affordable 50-100 Mbps HD camera using SDHC or CompactFlash cards, and still maintain market segmentation from higher-end cameras with bigger sensors, better lenses, and more flexible recording options (using more expensive memory). The first company to do this could sell a lot of cameras to independent videographers who don't want to be limited to lower bit rates, which would probably include most of us on these forums.

Last edited by Kevin Shaw; January 17th, 2009 at 11:11 AM. Reason: elaboration of second paragraph
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Old January 19th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #23
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the whole picture is about to change. here enters the market SDXC card. Up to 2 TB of storage and fast writing speed. Panny, JVC, canon or sony should look at the idea behind RED camera- minimum compression. These cards are the answer.Of course the technology is new, but if it works to the degree it is hyped up the whole compression business should be a thing of the past. Imagine a camcorder with a compression like ProRes 422 HQ, which boils down to 0.82 Gig/minute! This will make SxS or P2 just vanish.
of course the editing systems will have to catch up to this new situation as well.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 10:57 PM   #24
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And that is exactly my point. Joe Blow is going to come back from his kid's HS soccer game with 90GB of ProRes or Cineform, or DNxHD encoded files. What's he do with them? Take up 1/10 of his hard driive for the source files. Then render to what? DVD with Mpeg2? BluRay? You ever try compressing 90GB of video on a common home PC to mpeg4? I've done it on my older editing machine and it is NOT pretty.

The fact is, compression and consumer/prosumer recordinng is following the trends of common PCs. HDV was a bit taxing for home PCs when it came out. Prosumer users upgraded to handle it, now common PCs edit it like we used to edit DV. AVCHD is out, and hard core home users can edit it, but the majority struggle.

At the higher end, the pros are working with 4k RAW, 2K intermmediate, etc. They have machines that cost a year's worth of our mortgages. In 5 years, home PCs will be able to do the same. And they'll be working with 8k RAW.

We'll get there in time, but until dual quadcores become common, manufacturers really don't need to be selling RAW output or lightly compressed output for home users. We have pros here wondering about how to save their mpeg2 HD files now. What would we do when acquiring in better formats than most of us finish in?
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Old January 20th, 2009, 12:15 AM   #25
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Robert and Perrone's comments both dance around what I've been saying for some time now: we already have the technology to make a "pretty awesome" HD camera using SDHC memory, and the camera manufacturers are refusing to offer that to us. So improvements in memory technology won't make any difference unless/until someone decides to break the current price/performance barrier, which would be clearly desirable for shooting anything more important than home videos. The Panasonic HVX200 was a big success using uber-expensive memory, and we could have the same camera today (except for over/under cranking) using SDHC. MEMORY TECHNOLOGY IS NOT THE LIMITING FACTOR HERE.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 01:06 AM   #26
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No, the limiting factor here is that we're already swimming in an embarrassment of riches as far as the affordability and capability of existing camera choices is concerned. We already have pretty awesome HD cameras, and the notion that manufacturers in a crowded and competitive marketplace are "refusing" to produce anything but the best they can deliver at any given price point is just ridiculous nonsense.

There's absolutely nothing at all limiting about the current crop of gear, except the extent of the creative impulse of the person who's holding it.

Higher bit rates, better formats, less expensive long-form media, SDHC, SDXC and all that stuff will be here probably before we now it, but meanwhile, to my eye, the ones who complain the loudest about the perceived "limitations" of what we have right now are either unaware of what this stuff used to cost just to get a quarter of the quality, or are unable due to their own creative limitations to effectively utilize existing tools.

Either way, I have a very short tolerance for conspiracy theories.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 05:18 PM   #27
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SDHC comes in classes. Class 6 can do 6MB/s sustained. Class 4 can do 4MB/s sustained.

So, a class 6 SDHC card should be able to handle 48Mbps sustained video, though probably specing at 40Mbsps would be better.

SDXC is supposed to support 100 MB/s in 2009 and up to 300MB/s in the future. We'll see how it works in the marketplace, how fast it is adopted, etc.

But it does seem reasonable to say that SxS and P2 are deliberately proprietary and expensive as they provide a good revenue stream. For instance, looking at the sony proprietary memory stick format, it costs about twice as much as equivilent SDHC cards do right now. I don't think that SxS or P2 will come down in price nearly as fast as a mass market format -- but I wouldn't be surprised to find adapters in that formfactor that take SDHC or SDXC cards in the future.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:25 AM   #28
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"There's absolutely nothing at all limiting about the current crop of gear, except the extent of the creative impulse of the person who's holding it."

Amen to that.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Canon come up with next, since they haven't made a major upgrade since the XHA(L)1 which i already own. Also, they don't make 30K cameras, and have no reason to "protect" the pricier models.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #29
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What keeps me using P2 is the incredibly beautiful color, presumably from the 4:2:2 DVCPRO HD codec. The other factor I find important is the ability to examine frame-by-frame video from sports or other high-motion activities. Long GOP just isn't the same when looking at frames. For TV production, none of this is probably important, as they compress everything as much as they can anyway.
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