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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old January 6th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #181
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Well if we need full raster 1920x1080 at 10bit 4:2:2 we can now get it from the HD/SDI output from the newly announced Sony NXCAM NX5U at about $5000 !!!! I know you guys may not think this is great but it will be wonderful replacement for my FX1 and the output will look a lot better than lots I see on TV!!!!

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Old January 6th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #182
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Easy does it, fellows. Thanks in advance,
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Old January 6th, 2010, 11:03 PM   #183
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David,

Varicamp had Suny Behar, a DP and Panasonic consultant, as well as a second instructor, Nick something Greek, a high-end DIT. Suny has written some of the Panasonic white papers. As a DP, he shoots with a lot of different cameras, including RED One. Obviously, he has professional ties to Panasonic so is pretty negative about HDV, but not about XDCAM flavors, although he's not a big fan of Long GOP frame structure. I work with an editor who everytime I mention XDCAM of any flavor, just says, "HDV". He's not a fan.

I have no connections to Panasonic other than as a paying customer, as I have been to Sony for three decades.

I have not attributed 10-bit as a big Panasonic hot button, I attributed that to an independent high-end DIT friend of mine, who dismisses 8-bit out of hand. But I agree, this is normally not a big deal in the $20-30K camera class, but doesn't mean it couldn't be in the future, or 12-bit for that matter.

I have already shown the cost difference in media, 32Gb P2 cards are $580-650, 32Gb SxS cards are $745-850 USD. Media versatility, not sure what this implies, are you referencing low cost non-SxS cards? They are forbidden by Sony, could cause warranty issues, can be problematic when overcranking or shooting at 720/60P. Weight, yes, three pounds difference, power difference is significant--not as much if you add a nanoFlash to the 350.

Again, funny how F900R was considered the gold standard until very recently, now it has to be full raster or nothing. All those beautiful images shot with Varicams are now not beautiful. But a CMOS, low bit rate, low color space, Long GOP camera with $1600 lens is the hot setup. Time will tell.

Chris,

This is all in good fun for me--Alister and David are very bright, articulate, knowledgeable chaps who I have learned from, even if I don't agree with everything they post. I would never attack them personally, as they have been gentlemen towards me. I hope some forum members have received some useful info from this long thread. I have.

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Old January 6th, 2010, 11:18 PM   #184
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Well if you are going to argue the merits of a 10 bit codec versus the typical 8 bit, one could also argue shooting totally uncompressed HD versus using any of these compression algorithms. The whole industry is full of tradeoffs, 4:4:4 HDCAM SR is going to look just a little nicer than 100mbps AVC-Intra. :)

Frankly I would prefer a 10 bit acquisition, BUT only at a higher bit rate such as 440mbps. Then look at the storage and computing situation, shooting the Nanoflash at the highest bitrates already tears through 32GB flash cards.

I guess that you could make the case for shooting 720p/10 bit versus true 1080p/8 bit. I will take the additional resolution any day, and if the situation permits shoot to a MacPro via SDI into a Kona3 if I need to shoot 1080p/10 bit ProRes 422HQ.

I guess that in the end if the story or show sucks, who really cares if it was shot with an F35 or a iPhone.
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Old January 6th, 2010, 11:21 PM   #185
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oh man I am in total agreement with you Jeff. I would bow out if it ever got ridiculous anyway, at that point the conversation doesn't help or advance anything.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 02:44 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
I have already shown the cost difference in media, 32Gb P2 cards are $580-650, 32Gb SxS cards are $745-850 USD. Media versatility, not sure what this implies, are you referencing low cost non-SxS cards? They are forbidden by Sony, could cause warranty issues, can be problematic when overcranking or shooting at 720/60P. Weight, yes, three pounds difference, power difference is significant--not as much if you add a nanoFlash to the 350.
Look around on the web. There are plenty of mainstream dealers selling the 32Gb SxS-1 cards for a less than $600.

Sony do not forbid the use of non-SxS cards. Sony now have the MEAD-MS01 adapter that allows the fully approved use of $190 32Gb HX memory sticks. This adapter may work with other cheaper sticks as well, but that's yet to be tested.

Media cost is a big deal, especially if working in remote locations for long periods. While there are some very good backup solutions such as the NextoDI etc this is often far from ideal. The ability to use cheap memory sticks will be a huge boon to wildlife film makers or expeditions. It will also be most welcome by owner-operators or those on a budget. IF the cheaper $30 8Gb HX cards can be used then this will be very good for news crews that need to hand off material. In addition the compact 35Mb/s codec means less storage is needed.

The weight difference is nearer 4 pounds when you remember to add in the viewfinders. Four pounds is a big weight saving on it's own. It means the 2700 is 35% heavier. Add in further savings with the smaller lighter batteries needed for the same shoot duration by the 350 and it's not an insignificant saving, the lighter batteries more than making up for a NanoFlash if you choose to use one.

Weight is a massive deal for me. I travel by air a lot. I can get a PMW-350 with lens and enough batteries for 8 hours of non-stop shooting plus a basic charger in a regulation size carry-on bag. That leaves my entire checked baggage allowance for tripods, clothes etc. It also means I can comply with the FCC regulations by taking my batteries as carry-on and I stay under all the lithium limits. If I take my PDW-700 then the camera, lens and one small battery go carry-on. The rest of the battery kit, 4 batts and a 4 way charger go in a flight case in the hold eating up a significant amount of my allowance and run the risk of delays or loss. This means that for some shoots, especially those involving small aircraft and high excess baggage charges I don't take the PDW-700, I take my EX1 or EX3 instead.

It has to be remembered that HDCAM is a 12 year old format now (gosh hadn't realized it's been around quite that long). Technology has moved forward massively since 1997. The F900 was introduced in 1999, while it has been upgraded several times since then it is still using less advance technology than is available in newer cameras. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect better pictures from more modern cameras.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #187
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Look around on the web. There are plenty of mainstream dealers selling the 32Gb SxS-1 cards for a less than $600.

Sony do not forbid the use of non-SxS cards. Sony now have the MEAD-MS01 adapter that allows the fully approved use of $190 32Gb HX memory sticks. This adapter may work with other cheaper sticks as well, but that's yet to be tested.
edit
It has to be remembered that HDCAM is a 12 year old format now (gosh hadn't realized it's been around quite that long). Technology has moved forward massively since 1997. The F900 was introduced in 1999, while it has been upgraded several times since then it is still using less advance technology than is available in newer cameras. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect better pictures from more modern cameras.
Alister,

I was just using pricing from the largest dealer in the world, BH Photo. I can get better P2 prices as well, no problem getting 32Gb P2 E series cards for under $600 all over the place, so comparing SxS to P2 E cards does not represent a media cost savings.

When people first started using an adapter with SD cards with the EX1, Sony told me that it would void the warranty on my EX1. That, plus the concern about overcranking or 720/60p being problematic, putting my company in a liability position if I rented the camera out that way, put a quick end to that idea, one that I don't intend to revisit. I haven't been in this business for 28 years by taking risks or shortcuts with my client's productions.

I agree, both HDCAM and DVCPRO HD are old formats, but I don't recall people then or now being up in arms over a lack of image quality due to watching sub-sampled horizontal resolution.

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Old January 7th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #188
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Hi Alister,
I know this is getting away from the topic, oh well.
When you carry onboard a flight with the PDW 700 what bag or bags do you use. I ask this as I fly a lot and would like the camera to travel with me and not in the cargo hold.

Thanks
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Old January 7th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #189
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Jeff I fully agree with your stance on the use of SD cards, which is why I don't use them... normally. I do however have 4x 32Gb SD cards and adapters in my kit purely as a standby.

The Memory Stick option is a different matter. It is all Sony hardware and fully supported and certified by Sony. It's limited to on-speed modes only, so no overcrank but at less than $200 for 32 Gb it's sure to be popular. It's nice to have alternatives.

Many HDCAM users are now using them with NanoFlashes to get around the sub-sampling. Sub-sampling with a tape format is a big deal as when you go through the edit chain you end up un-squeezing and re-squeezing the footage each time you dub or copy from the tape. This is just about the worst kind of concatenation you can have as it has the effect of enlarging any artifacts. Just dubbing from an HDCAM tape to an NLE and back again introduces 2 recompression/re-size steps as the HDSDi stream is 1920x1080. HDCAM, like all codecs was born out of compromises. Those being the maximum bit rate that could be squeezed onto the tape, the type of compression that could be done in realtime with available technology and cost. When it was launched nothing could beat it but now HDCAM is a poor match with todays non-linear workflows. HDCAM SR is very different to HDCAM. Similar tape shell but different codec, full frame, 4:2:2 or 4:4:4.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 02:05 PM   #190
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Simon: I picked up a hard shell wheeled case that is exactly the maximum permissible carry on size in a local department store. I lined it with foam. The camera then goes in a large heavy duty bubble wrap bag at the bottom of the case, the lens in another bag across the top and the VF and batts sit along side the camera. It's a snug fit but it will all go in. If I have to I can get a macbook-pro in there on top of the camera!
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Old January 7th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
I have not attributed 10-bit as a big Panasonic hot button, I attributed that to an independent high-end DIT friend of mine, who dismisses 8-bit out of hand.
Fair enough, but quoting individuals is risky - I could probably find at least one person to back up any view I wanted - whatever it was. As politicians manage all the time........ :-)

The formal EBU position is more significant, IMO.
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I have already shown the cost difference in media, 32Gb P2 cards are $580-650, 32Gb SxS cards are $745-850 USD.
There is a big difference depending where you go, but on average I'm finding SxS roughly similar to P2 on average *IN GB TERMS*. But I think the per minute comparison is more important to a user than per GB - and the same amount of money will buy you many more times more minutes with SxS than P2.
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Media versatility, not sure what this implies, are you referencing low cost non-SxS cards?
Yes - but see below.
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They are forbidden by Sony, could cause warranty issues, can be problematic when overcranking or shooting at 720/60P.
They are not "forbidden". Regarding SDHC, the strongest I've heard was "not supported" (ie. use them at your own discretion, and don't complain to us if you have a problem). My own experience is that a personal query got an answer strongly along the lines of "no comment" (though not those words!) and I've only ever seen one formal published response from Sony about their use - see pages 48-49 of this magazine - http://www.tv-bay.com/imag/issue_027/pageflip.htm . The response is far more interesting for what is NOT said, than for what is. They stress the merits of SxS, true, but don't even go anywhere close to formally recommending against the use of SDHC, let alone "forbidding" their use.

Rental is a separate issue. My own view is that in your position, I wouldn't be keen to rent out an EX plus SDHC/adaptor package as such - though I'm happy to use them in my own right. But if a renter wished to use their own card/adaptor in them, fine, over to them........

Regarding MemoryStick and an adaptor, then not only is their use not "forbidden", but Sony are selling the product and guaranteeing it if used according to their recommendations.

Yes, overcranking is not recommended on none SxS media, that's well known. But standard 720p/50(60) operation is no problem, it's the same 35Mbs data rate as the other modes. I think you're confusing this with S&Q mode - shooting at 50/60p for slo-mo playback at 720p/24(25)?

But by "media versatility" it's not just the other media in themselves, but the way they can be used. Another highly useful feature IMO is the ability to quickly copy clips between cards within the camera, which can now be done on a card by card basis as well as clip by clip. This opens up all sorts of possibilities. Shoot on SxS for overcranking, or maximum possibility reliability, then dump in camera to SDHC for medium term storage. Or make a second copy to hand to client, keeping the original as backup?

There are many possibilities - and all possible quickly, and with no equipment other than camera. This to me is media versatility that P2 can't equal.
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Again, funny how F900R was considered the gold standard until very recently, now it has to be full raster or nothing. ......... But a CMOS, low bit rate, low color space, Long GOP camera with $1600 lens is the hot setup. Time will tell.
The gold standard has always meant the best realistically available at the time, taking cost into account, and time has moved on. I wouldn't put either the 2700 or the 350 forward as present day gold standard, that belongs to such as the HDCAM-SR, Arri or other digital cinema offerings. What I do feel the 350 is is the BetaSP of it's day. The potential workhorse for cost-effective general broadcast HD acquisition - if not top-end drama.

I agree with you about "I don't recall people then or now being up in arms over a lack of image quality due to watching sub-sampled horizontal resolution." - but then neither were they up in arms with "this is only 8-bit!" on the banners. That was the reason I brought the subject up.
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This is all in good fun for me--Alister and David are very bright, articulate, knowledgeable chaps who I have learned from, even if I don't agree with everything they post. I would never attack them personally, as they have been gentlemen towards me.
Well - thank you! I can also assure Chris that I have no complaint about your own conduct or attitude in this thread, even if I disagree strongly with some of the things you have said.

Incidentally, this thread started partly due to concern that the price drop offer on the 2700 was due to end at the end of 2009. Does anyone know what's happened in that regard?
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Old January 7th, 2010, 06:17 PM   #192
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Well if we need full raster 1920x1080 at 10bit 4:2:2 we can now get it from the HD/SDI output from the newly announced Sony NXCAM NX5U at about $5000 !!!!
Regrettably no. Last I heard, that camera is due to have 1 megapixel chips, so although it may give a 1920x1080 raster output, the resolution is likely to be about 1440x810.

I think that's a good compromise for 1/3" chips, and underlines that mostly you get what you pay for.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 04:16 PM   #193
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There are many possibilities - and all possible quickly, and with no equipment other than camera. This to me is media versatility that P2 can't equal.
David,

I think what attracts me to the P2 memory media is the vast amount of resources Panasonic has put into the the work flow options, hardware, features, flexibility. This same memory card can be used with cameras that cost $5,000 t0 $60,000, SD, HD, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, AVC-Intra 50, AVC-Intra 100, soon AVC-Ultra for 4:4:4 and 3D applications. They offer a lot of free software to support the cards and codecs, a ton of other hardware, such as P2 Store, P2 Gear, P2 Portable, P2 Mobile, PCD20 and PCD35 5-card P2 readers. It's a very robust, well road-mapped platform that isn't limited to one pricing/production level. P2 has proven its reliability and quality since 2004, memory capacity has continually gone up while pricing has gone down, features and capabilities continue to improve. P2 is the back bone of Panasonic professional video.

Currently, XDCAM EX using SxS cards represents a very small part of Sony's professional product road map. XDCAM EX has been limited in its technical specification purposely to protect the XDCAM HD, XDCAM 422, HDCAM and HDCAM SR cameras and peripherals. Theoretically, the PMW-350K is at the top of the XDCAM EX product line with no way to move up without abandoning the media, hardware and accessories for XDCAM EX.

We both know that low bit rate, 8-bit, 4:2:0, Long GOP formats are not where the industry is headed, so an XDCAM EX user has to consider an outboard recorder or migrate to XDCAM 422 for a better format, which is completely different hardware, peripherals, media and work flow. Meanwhile, most Panasonic P2 hardware is compatible, no matter the camera or price point, with a clear upgrade path into the future using AVC-Ultra, theoretically.

We also know that there will never be another Betacam again, unfortunately. When it comes to a tapeless format, P2 is the closest to the Betacam ideal being fairly ubiquitous around the world with a huge array of features and hardware options.

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Old January 9th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #194
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Alister,

With the PMW-350, how long does it take to go from camera mode to thumbnail clip mode for playback? Is it similar to the EX1/EX3 or faster, more direct, easier?

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Old January 9th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #195
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Alister,

With the PMW-350, how long does it take to go from camera mode to thumbnail clip mode for playback? Is it similar to the EX1/EX3 or faster, more direct, easier?

Jeff Regan
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You press 1 button, the thumbnails appear in 4 seconds. There is also a last clip review button on the lens handgrip.
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