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Old March 9th, 2006, 08:28 PM   #1
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Why no new HD tape format?

I was wondering why camera manufactures donít just come up with a new HD tape format.

I know HDV is supposed to allow us to use the same workflow and bit rate as DV, but 25mbps is too low for HD. Early test have shown that the small jump from 25 to 35mbs on the XDCAM HD have made a huge improvement. Why canít we have a tape that records 35 or even 50mbps?

Panasonic is pushing DVCPRO HD on P2. Why not release a DVCPRO HD large tape based camcorder like the VariCam. The media is only $30-50 a tape. Not bad compared to P2.

Tape is still a viable medium. Itís good for archiving, and it is relatively cheep. Only downside is real-time transfer, but weíre all use to that. A camera similar to the HVX200 would be a steal at $5k if it used $30-50 tape as its media.

Whatís your opinion?
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Old March 9th, 2006, 08:43 PM   #2
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We had one once, some would say. Its the same tape used for Digital 8. Check this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=61933 See post 9
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Old March 9th, 2006, 08:52 PM   #3
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Thatís what Iíd like a 100mbs DV tape. 30 minutes would be amazing compared to what we get on the P2 cards.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 08:58 PM   #4
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Seems like you know the answer to your question but don't want to admit it. Sony and Panasonic still want to sell HDCAM and Varicam for the high end. Sony announced an updated F900. Panasonic announced a cheaper DVCPro 100 camcorder due in November. XDCAM is the new Sony format for the middle. It is just like a tape only different.
The reason Panasonic switched to P2 for the recording on HVX-200 was tape recording systems are too expensive (read difficult) for data rates higher than DV for the price they wanted to sell the camera at.
HDV is only on its first round of gear so how fast can they come out with something new. However don't be surprised if HDV grows out of its 1/3 inch optics. Sony's new HDV decks take a large cassette so can a camcorder be too far behind. JVC has been pretty quite about their 2/3 inch HDV camcorder but it was due out about now. Of course the price point was too high for a market with XDCAM and infinity at 20 to 25K
Also don't forget all these manufacturers are looking at direct to disc or harddrive systems where the tape is just a back up to the file which really gets used.
So why would they want to design a new tape system.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 08:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Galuska
Thatís what Iíd like a 100mbs DV tape. 30 minutes would be amazing compared to what we get on the P2 cards.
Gotta lot of money ?--- maybe you could buy Digital8 rights from Sony and develop a tape system. :) Its crazy the way "industry standards" agreements can crush technological development.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 09:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Epstein
So why would they want to design a new tape system.
Because a lot of people want their archive copy to come right out of camera. With all the tapeless HD cams, you have to load every thing you shoot to somewhere. With tape, you log the takes that you want transferred for editing, and the rest does not clog your hard drives. Seems simple to me.
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Old March 9th, 2006, 09:17 PM   #7
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Unfortunately, no, I do not have a lot of money (poor college student). If I did, I would just shoot on film.

Of the new formats, XDCAM is so far my favorite. We get cheep media, faster then real-time transfer, and decent achievability. However, I donít see a prosumer XDCAM in the near future. Hopefully Iím wrong.

I would even consider a 50mbps 30minute (rather then 60) MiniDv tape. Is there any reason why they couldnít just speed the tape up to get 50mbps? Imagine what 50mbps HDV would look like. They could use a shorter GOP or maybe use the same GOP but increase color resolution.

I donít know the technical inís and out's of tape. Does anyone know if this is even possible?
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Old March 10th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #8
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Kris,
Technically it is simple to describe speeding up the tape and recording more information. It is not so simple to make it happen and make money with it. Panasonic did push DV from 25 to 50 and then 100. Sony chose not to. Sony provided different tape sizes for different levels of quality. Also the pricing in increasing quality is almost logarithmic. 5000 for HDV 50000 for Varicam 90000 for HDCAM
The biggest issue for the manufacturers is what it would cost to make the mechanism and is there a market for it? This is the reason Panasonic didn't make the HVX-200 tape deck record DVCPRO 50. Too many heads to put in a 5000 dollar camera. HDV 50 would have similar technical mechanical issues.
On the editing side Computers and harddrives can currently handle the hdv codec fairly easily but are not ready for a doubling of the data rate. Professional solutions could deal with it but the manufacturers are already delivering professional solutions. Will Sony come up with a better quality Codec and put it on a tape which will rival XDCAM HD? Probably not , Sony has already made their choice and want to see some financial return on it. I guess Canon could come up with something but they just started delivering HDV three months ago. I don't think they are that bold.
Some times it seems the solution is obvious but you have to give the manufacturers a few years to make some money before they come out with an updated format. If HDV quality isn't good enough for consumers then the manufacturers might upgrade it but I think it will pass the consumer test for a while.
Given the current move away from tape I think higher quality HDV style recording is likely to be introduced on some other media besides tape regardless how good an idea it might be.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 09:01 AM   #9
 
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I can't imagine anyone dev'ing out a new tape format at this point anyway. Regardless of cost.
HDV is as inexpensive as it is because manufacturers can leverage the assembly tooling and manufacturing tooling they have in place for "pro-sumer" and consumer camcorders. When the consumer camcorder manufacturing begins to move away from tape en masse, then you'll see the next format, which will likely be non-tape. And then it won't be HDV anymore, because by definition, HDV is a tape format, just like DV is a tape-based format. Grass Valley has moved from tape with Infinity, which is likely going to be second in acquisition format to Sony BD, then for a while tape will reign as third in line, with P2 likely following up the crowd.
Tape will be with us for a while, especially as a storage medium, but to be designing a new tape shell, tape formula, heads, transports, codecs, etc to support it is far more costly than the possible financial return could be over say....7 years.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 02:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Galuska
I was wondering why camera manufactures donít just come up with a new HD tape format.

I know HDV is supposed to allow us to use the same workflow and bit rate as DV, but 25mbps is too low for HD. Early test have shown that the small jump from 25 to 35mbs on the XDCAM HD have made a huge improvement. Why canít we have a tape that records 35 or even 50mbps?

Panasonic is pushing DVCPRO HD on P2. Why not release a DVCPRO HD large tape based camcorder like the VariCam. The media is only $30-50 a tape. Not bad compared to P2.

Tape is still a viable medium. Itís good for archiving, and it is relatively cheep. Only downside is real-time transfer, but weíre all use to that. A camera similar to the HVX200 would be a steal at $5k if it used $30-50 tape as its media.

Whatís your opinion?

I hear what you are saying Kris, but I don't know if I agree with the logic, especially in regards to your wish for DVCproHD on tape in a prosummer cam. When shooting 24p for instance DVCproHD uses 40Mbps where as 720p HDV uses 19Mbps. We all know HDV holds a large advantage in compression, so really what are you gaining? Just compare the HVX200 footage to the HDV cams to see that the older tape format(recorded on P2) doesn't have any real advantage. The big advantage to shooting DVCproHD happens when you put a 2/3" chip cam with a pro lens in front of it. But the cost it would add to the 1/3" cams, I don't know.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 07:34 AM   #11
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fact is that developpers are lazy guys as consumer , as manufacturer, as everybody.
it is easier to think about a new compression scheme reusing an old mechanic, the rethink a new mechanic.
and it is easier to use tape production facilities than rebuilding a new one for a new format. (that is unfortunately not the case for DVD, else we would have HD-DVD since a long time)
for example they could just take DV tape, make it twice wider, put 2 heads side to side on a drum and record 2x25 mb/s.
that would be dead easy.
But who would accept a tape bigger than the previous one ? it stinks...
So the world is made that way. Frustration must pile up until you reach the sufficient level when somebody say "just let's move our ass and bring something new to the world even if we have to break some rules for that."
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Old March 11th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Galuska
25mbps is too low for HD.
Apparently it isn't too low for HD. Have you browsed our various HDV boards? And not even 8mbps is "too low for HD" -- I've seen H.264 encoded video on a huge screen at the Apple press conference at NAB last year, and it looked great. My opinion is that tape is dead.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 12:35 PM   #13
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Chris:

Assuming I go tapeless today, what am I going to store my raw footage on? Am I going to start stacking up hard drives in the drawer where I now keep my tapes. It seem like at some point you are back to tape at least in the form of a tape back up drive for long term storage.

I can certainly see that as the way to go for the full blown professional that the rest of us are blessed to mingle with on this board-- these are the pros working under pressure deadlines for commercial clients and in ENG.- But to someone on a budget, or the wedding pro, it seems to me starting out with an archival copy and transferring for editing purposes will continue for some time to be the way to go.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 02:14 PM   #14
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Giroud-"(that is unfortunately not the case for DVD, else we would have HD-DVD since a long time)"

Well we sort of did. There have been a few movies released on WM9 HD. I have watched Attack of the Clones and Shrek and T2 in this format. They only used 4.7gb and looked fantastic (they could have used double that on a double sided disk). The industry would have had to start to include such an encoder in the set top boxes, which they are now doing, but they are also changing the disk. I wonder if we can encode H.264 video burn it on a current double sided DVD and have it work on one of the new HD players? Just like we can encode DVD video and burn it on a CD now. That would certainly be a lot cheaper media wise while still having 1/2 to 2/3rds the space as the new formats. Hmmm?
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Old March 11th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #15
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Chris-"I can certainly see that as the way to go for the full blown professional that the rest of us are blessed to mingle with on this board-- these are the pros working under pressure deadlines for commercial clients and in ENG.- But to someone on a budget, or the wedding pro, it seems to me starting out with an archival copy and transferring for editing purposes will continue for some time to be the way to go."

As hard disk recording/P2 is becoming an increasingly popular and sought after option, possibly in the future it will be the reverse. Certain cams may feature "tape drives" or they will be offered as "add-on" options, just as the hard drives are today. The logical chain of events appears to be that as soon as P2 type storage hits the 1hr+ range and under $50, tape will truelly be dead. And that may only be a few years off. I hope!
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