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Old May 11th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #1
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will 24p Panasonic HVX200 kill Sony Z1U?

Does anyone know if the much anticipated HD Panasonic HVX200 will feature the "shot transition" feature like Sony's FX1 or Z1U???

Also, does this camera shoot in true HD or HDV???

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Old May 11th, 2005, 03:16 PM   #2
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Haven't heard any mention of a shot-transition feature.

It shoots in DVCPRO-HD, not HDV. DVCPRO-HD is the format used by the $70,000 VariCam and the new $45,000 HDX400. However, with those cameras, you're also looking at $60,000 lenses and 2/3" chips, which are things that the HVX will not have. Just because it uses the same recording format doesn't mean that it will deliver comparable images. If all other things are equal (equal lenses, equal CCDs, equal DSPs, etc) then you will get better footage from DVCPRO-HD than you would from HDV. But all other things are not always equal. The ultimate test will be viewing the output of the actual cameras side-by-side, shooting the same subjects, to see what kind of difference you'll get in the actual delivered footage.

Calling HDV not "true HD" is a misuse of terms. HD is not a format, it's an image standard. HDV is a format, as is DVCPRO-HD, and HDCAM, and HDCAM-SR.

Saying HDV is not "HD" is like saying that VHS is not "SD". It is. Of course it is. But DigiBeta is also "SD", and obviously there's a gulf of difference between VHS and DigiBeta.

There are gulfs of difference between HDV and HDCAM-SR as well. But they're both HD.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 03:33 PM   #3
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If all other things are equal (equal lenses, equal CCDs, equal DSPs, etc) then you will get better footage from DVCPRO-HD than you would from HDV.
I would argue based on your tests posted at DVXuser that in a 720p mode or a 1080p mode, HDV will produce a superior image to DVCPRO-HD in terms of resolution and mosquito noise in locked-off tripoded shots without too much going on. It's a limited set of circumstances for sure, but I don't think it's accurate to state that DVCPRO-HD will always yield better footage. I expect that HDV at 24p and 30p in either 720 or 1080 mode will ultimately be quite competitive with DVCPRO-HD... but only time will tell.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #4
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But in those cases aren't you best to just use a stills camera? <joke> ;)

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Old May 11th, 2005, 04:10 PM   #5
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And let's not forget that the Panasonic HVX200 isn't really in the same pricing category as HDV, partly because of the outrageously expensive recording media it uses. With HDV you pay $3000 for a camera which can record an hour of 1080i video on a $3 miniDV tape; with the HVX200 it's $6000 for a camera which records 8 minutes of 720p footage on a memory card expected to cost $1700 at the time the camera ships! (You read right -- that's seventeen hundred dollars for eight minutes of video storage!!) At those prices no one will keep their HVX200 footage on the memory cards for very long, meaning you'll also need some way to offload the data and somewhere to store it, plus someone to do nothing but manage the memory cards while another person runs the camera.

So no, the HVX200 will not kill the Sony FX1/Z1U, it will merely make it clearer what a bargain HDV is. HDV yields amazing images for the price, with some limitations due to the high compression used. The HVX200 will get rave reviews and sell widely to people with deep pockets, but HDV will continue to spread and likely become the mainstream successor to DV.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven White
I would argue based on your tests posted at DVXuser that in a 720p mode or a 1080p mode, HDV will produce a superior image to DVCPRO-HD in terms of resolution and mosquito noise in locked-off tripoded shots without too much going on.
In terms of mosquito noise, I'd agree that the absolute-best-case 720p HDV footage was a little cleaner than the DVCPRO-HD. But resolution? Look at the color curves again -- DVCPRO-HD has twice the color resolution, easily outdistancing the HDV image. I guess one could argue the 33% luma gain vs. the 100% chroma gain, but just looking at the pictures, I thought the DVCPRO-HD was a much better quality shot overall.

And that's with HDV at its very, very, very best. Under average circumstances DVCPRO-HD would be much better.

However, like I keep trying to point out to people, what a codec does, and what a total camera does, are two different things. The lens, the chips, the DSP, everything has to work together as a system. You could strap an S-VHS recorder onto a Digital Betacam camera, or a DigiBeta deck onto a $299 Sharp DV ViewCam, and I'll bet the S-VHS/DigiBeta copy would look better than the ViewCam would.

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It's a limited set of circumstances for sure, but I don't think it's accurate to state that DVCPRO-HD will always yield better footage.
I think it's accurate to state that under almost any conceivable circumstances, other than shooting still shots, an equal signal will be recorded more accurately and more pleasingly by DVCPRO-HD than by HDV. The only circumstance where HDV looked competitive, in the tests I ran, was in 720p mode when shooting a still shot (an artificial circumstance which would artificially exaggerate the efficiency of long-GOP MPEG compression). And even then, it was still recording only half the color.

What you're discounting is the average and worst-case pictures. The average looks decidedly worse than the DVCPRO-HD test shot, and the average is much more likely to be what you're going to get. And the worst case, while admittedly a "worst case", was frighteningly inferior. And while it is unlikely to encounter the worst case, it is possible. Whereas with DVCPRO-HD, every shot is the same under all circumstances, so you know exactly what you're getting.

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I expect that HDV at 24p and 30p in either 720 or 1080 mode will ultimately be quite competitive with DVCPRO-HD... but only time will tell.
For the price, and for the price of a $3 tape, HDV is amazing, absolutely. But as a raw codec, as a compression format, it's not competitive to DVCPRO-HD. That doesn't mean the cameras won't be competitive, because like I said, it depends on the entire imaging chain. But just from the codec, not a chance. Not unless you artificially restrict your HDV shooting to unrealistically limited still shots, and even then, you'll gain only a small benefit in mosquito noise and still be sacrificing half the color resolution.

I'd like to devise an ultimate camera-free codec comparison, but none of the HDV cameras or decks offer any sort of analog or HD-SDI input. I'd like to take a CineAlta out in the field and record the same signal onto an HDV deck and also onto a DVCPRO-HD deck -- that way we could record an identical raw video signal equally onto both formats, which would give us an absolute way to compare just the recording formats, without confounding the issue with different cameras and lenses. But the HDV decks don't allow input yet.

As a substitute, I'm exploring getting some high-quality 3D-generated footage and using that as a test case. Unless anyone knows of a second of some uncompressed 4:4:4 HDCAM SR footage available for download? :)
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Old May 11th, 2005, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
.

I'd like to devise an ultimate camera-free codec comparison, but none of the HDV cameras or decks offer any sort of analog or HD-SDI input. I'd like to take a CineAlta out in the field and record the same signal onto an HDV deck and also onto a DVCPRO-HD deck -- that way we could record an identical raw video signal equally onto both formats, which would give us an absolute way to compare just the recording formats, without confounding the issue with different cameras and lenses. But the HDV decks don't allow input yet.

As a substitute, I'm exploring getting some high-quality 3D-generated footage and using that as a test case. Unless anyone knows of a second of some uncompressed 4:4:4 HDCAM SR footage available for download? :)
I did such a test some months back in After Effects - a simple animation exported as uncompressed and then Procoder to Avid DV100 and HDV 25mbs. In short watching the animation play back at real time shows little difference if any - however microscopic observation of individual frames did show the DVCPROHD to have less blocky artifacts. I can put the AEX file up if anyone interested.

4:2:2 is better for compositing and keying but the latter is no match for a live uncompressed source - lighting the BG and perspective matching is much easier to fix this way.

Applying a Gaussian blur of 1.0 simultaneously to the red and blue channels is a popular quick fix in post for chroma and other noise and the average Jo Public would not tell the difference - in fact they would say the footage looks a lot cleaner so again 4:2:2 is not much appreciated.


Having operated the FX1 since Dec last, the most irritating issue is one of Chromatic Aberration. I am looking toward Panasonic/Leica to deliver a decent lens , however stretching 1280 out to 1920 is going to require careful attention to this CA issue as it is really troublesome to fix in post. The other issue is a low noise progressive image - a SNR at least as good as the Sony's. For me these are the two key issues - I would even take some resolution hit to have them sufficiently addressed. If not then I do not see a convincing reason to buy into P2 as a more expensive way to store afflicted imagery then I already have.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #8
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Look at the color curves again -- DVCPRO-HD has twice the color resolution, easily outdistancing the HDV image.
And? Digibeta has twice the color resolution of DV, but that doesn't make it look twice as good... in reality most of the benefit comes from shooting on a $50k camera (with better lens, CCDs and adjustment options) rather than a $2k camera. Transfer Digibeta footage to DV, and unless you want to do greenscreen work or really push the colors in post, you'll see very little difference. Heck, DVDs are 4:2:0 as well, and few people complain about those when they're decently mastered.

As I see it, the Z1/FX1 is for people who want a $6k HD camera. The HVX200 is for people who want to pay $20k to shoot on a $6k HD camera... and, unlike Panasonic, I don't think there are many people in the latter category. If I wanted a better HD solution than HDV, I'd get a proper camera, not what's effectively a $20k Handycam that requires me to lug a laptop, tape backup system and several extra people around just to support the video format.

Also, I've heard rumors that it uses 720p CCDs and 'pixel shift' to scale up to 1080: if that's true, then there's a sizable chunk of your color resolution gone already. 'Pixel Shift' doesn't matter on the Z1 since the recorded color resolution is lower in the first place.

Either way, none of us is going to be shooting with a theoretical compression codec: the camera hardware will determine far more about the final image than the codec will.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 10:16 AM   #9
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Even if the HVX-200 uses pixel shift that isn't going to hurt the color resolution. When dealing with pixel shift there isn't a difference between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2. When you have pixel shift you are left with half the chroma detail which would give you about 4:2:2. Therefore no matter which camera you use with pixel shift they will start with 4:2:2. HDV however then pushes that down to 4:2:0.

Has anybody checked out the Cineform website where they compare HDV and DVCpro HD? Cineform feels that even with HDV having a lower chroma at 24p and 30p HDV is higher quality.

It is interesting how close the two actually are considering HDV uses 1/2 or 1/4 the bandwidth. It should be even more interesting when HDV50 comes out. This will build on HDV by adding 4:2:2 and a much higher bandwidth for quality.

If I went with the HVX-200 I might actually use the 1080 mode to give me 1280 x 1080. I would then edit in a 1280 x 720 project instead of using the 720 mode. This way I could get a full pixel count and a higher bandwidth for 720p. The only downside would be any effects or rendering would need to be either uncompressed HD or scaled down to 960 x 720 for DVCpro HD.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 10:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mark Grant
DVDs are 4:2:0 as well, and few people complain about those when they're decently mastered.
Decently mastered being the key... Take commercial DVD's for example... They start with a film (or HD) source and then do a shot by shot (if not frame by frame in some cases) encoding... It's no easy feat...

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As I see it, the Z1/FX1 is for people who want a $6k HD camera. The HVX200 is for people who want to pay $20k to shoot on a $6k HD camera...and, unlike Panasonic, I don't think there are many people in the latter category. If I wanted a better HD solution than HDV, I'd get a proper camera, not what's effectively a $20k Handycam that requires me to lug a laptop, tape backup system and several extra people around just to support the video format.
Ummm... $20k? I see an MSRP of $5995 for the camera, add in about $1500 for the new Firestore that Focus Enhancements is working on, plus at most $50.00 in parts to find a way to mount that to the camera... and we're talking $7550.00. Big difference from $20K...

Also, using a Firestore type device means you don't need all the extra people or to lug around a laptop (which even without DV rack I seem to have on location all the time anyway...).

But all that is only temporary... once p2 is cheap enough and big enough for just about anyone's taste... Then you have an amazing camera that now has an amazing work flow with some of the most stable recording media ever...

Quote:
Also, I've heard rumors that it uses 720p CCDs and 'pixel shift' to scale up to 1080: if that's true, then there's a sizable chunk of your color resolution gone already. 'Pixel Shift' doesn't matter on the Z1 since the recorded color resolution is lower in the first place.
My understanding on pixel shift, if it's done correctly, is that it adds latitude and light sensitivity at the expense of some color information... However, the raw 4:4:4 stream off the CCD's minus the color loss for pixel shift should give you 4:2:2, which is what the DVCPRO (50 or HD) codecs record. Thus, if you have a 1280x720 CCD (which isn't yet confirmed) you end up with navtive 720p (which is switched to an anamorphic 960x720 by the codec) and, with pixel shift, a 1280x1080 image which is what the codec records anyways--but now you have better latitude and light sensitivity and in reality, you're not losing any color information that the codec would have recorded.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #11
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what about the shot transition feature???

Thanks for your replies, but no one has yet answered a key question:

Does anyone know if Panasonic added the "shot transition" feature to the upcoming HVX200 that Sony has on the FX1 / Z1U???

It's a fantastic feature.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #12
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Also, using a Firestore type device means you don't need all the extra people or to lug around a laptop
A great idea if you're happy with losing all your footage in a hard disk crash... if you're not, then someone is going to have to plug that into a computer and make backups to tape as you're shooting.

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once p2 is cheap enough and big enough for just about anyone's taste
The HVX200 will be long obsolete.

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Does anyone know if Panasonic added the "shot transition" feature to the upcoming HVX200 that Sony has on the FX1 / Z1U???
Does the camera even exist outside of case mockups? I guess you could look for the transition buttons on the photos of the mockups.
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Old May 12th, 2005, 11:37 AM   #13
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A great idea if you're happy with losing all your footage in a hard disk crash... if you're not, then someone is going to have to plug that into a computer and make backups to tape as you're shooting.
Harddrives are far from perfect, but people keep having the same knee jerk reaction--You'll loose all your footage in the crash! Like HDD crashing is a daily occurence. I've been working on or building computers since I was old enough to mow lawns for cash, and the number of harddrives I have had crash I can just about count on one hand. It happens and it sucks, but the portable HDDs on the market are pretty darn tough. Not as tough as solid state, but pretty tough.

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The HVX200 will be long obsolete.
Wow, camera's are only useful for a couple of years then, huh? And here I am shooting on a 4 year old XL1s... wow... I am ancient... Funny how people still pay me money for the work I do...
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Old May 12th, 2005, 08:38 PM   #14
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Ummm... $20k? I see an MSRP of $5995 for the camera, add in about $1500 for the new Firestore that Focus Enhancements is working on, plus at most $50.00 in parts to find a way to mount that to the camera... and we're talking $7550.00. Big difference from $20K...
Something like Firestore will make a lot more sense than the P2 memory, but you'll need more than one if you want to shoot any significant amount of footage without pausing to download it somewhere. So let's say an 80GB drive for the HVX200 costs $1500 and holds ~80 minutes of 720p video, and you want the ability to record at least four hours without stopping: that's three drives at $1500 each = $4500. Now you need some way to store your footage when you get back to your studio, which means you'll either need a DVCProHD deck costing $15-20K or a big stack of hard drives costing roughly $30 per hour of raw footage (because this is your permanent archive for all your projects). So for your first 100 hours of shooting you'll be spending at least $6000 + $4500 + $3000 = $13,500, plus batteries and such for a total of at least $15K. If you do much event work you'll need even more Firestores, so let's say another three of those at $4500 = $19.5K. So yeah, the $20K figure was about right.
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Old May 13th, 2005, 03:06 AM   #15
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I think most people who get the HVX-200 do not intend to be shooting 4 hours worth of footage. DVCpro 50 and HD is more suited to the commercial/broadcast/film market. I'm not really sure if I see the point to having a higher chroma bandwidth with event video. It's not like you are going to be shooting a 4 hour interview in front of a blue screen for example. If you need the extra chroma bandwidth for extreme color correction then perhaps you should learn how to white balance first. DVCpro is a higher end format and we are getting a huge gift from Panasonic for making it so cheap for us to use that format. Don't expect to see a SONY HDCAM camera in this price range anytime soon. Higher quality does cost more money. I'm sure if we could many of us would love to shoot a wedding in HDCAM SR with a Cinealta 950 but it just isn't going to happen.

the $20,000.00 in just one of many ways to look at it. You know the camera could go out just as easy as the hard drives so you better go ahead and buy 2 more cameras just in case. What about your ediitng computer? Better get 2 more in case it goes down on you.

Many of us will not be going that route for the camera because we will not need to. I for one will be mainly using the camera for VFX, TV commercial, and music video work. All of this type of work only needs short segments of shooting so two small P2 cards would be fine. I actually plan on backing up all of my footage onto DVD RW disks. This may be slow at first but it is cheap and I can either choose to keep them for over 100 years or use the disks over again. At some point we "will" have a larger DVD format with faster burners so this will be even better. For now however I should be able to fit most of the raw footage from these types of projects onto 3 or 4 DVD RW's

If you do not like the DVD method well you know you will now be doing projects in high quality HD. I'm sure you could at least charge your clients an extra $100.00 to cover the cost of a cheap hard drive. Each project you get you buy a new hard drive just like you would if you were buying a HDCAM SR tape. Besides how much would you spend on HDV tapes for 4 hours of shooting? Then after that you would need a few more to record your final edit back to tape. If you get the new SONY tapes with less chance of dropout those tapes are not cheap. You could end up spending around $40.00-$80.00 just on your HDV tapes. Oh you better have some backup tapes with you as well just in case.

When the HDX-200 comes out I plan on getting

the camera ($6000)
1 small 2GB P2 card (around $900 I think)
cheap laptop.($600)

Most of my shots are never longer than 30 seconds so even if I shoot 1080 with the 2 GB card I could get a few shots in before I would have to dump the card.

So for about $7500.00 I will be able to use a high chroma detail format where it really matters. For cheap DV stuff I can still use tapes in the DV tape deck on the camera.

Instead of the $20,000.00 for the HDX-200 and all of that storage why not just get my method of the HDX-200 for $7,500.00 and then a SONY Z1 for anout $6000? For $13,500 you now get the best of both worlds and you save $6,500.00.
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