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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old April 1st, 2006, 09:20 PM   #1
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Which one for this gig...

I'm about to embark on a summer of creating video podcasts from most (maybe all) MLB parks across the country and Canada. I'm at the stage where I'm working with the sponsors to get some equipment. I am an owner operator of an XL-2. The main sponsor is thinking they want HD (I think for the cool factor) so that takes the XL-2 out of the equation. I am also going to be lugging it around and running around outside all day for a couple months so a lighter cam that's a little more ergonomical is also appealing. Here's the question and I know I'll get a lot of answers but this forum is so damn good I had to ask.

Is the Panasonic the HD cam to get in the sub $5000 price range? Keep in mind that these will be video podcast (read: not meant for broadcast) and I need good audio. The audio is why I'm thinking the Panasonic is the winner. I'd love to hear from others.

Thanks,

Jamie
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Old April 1st, 2006, 09:50 PM   #2
 
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Given that the HVX has PCM audio, you'll have marginally better audio in most situations. Are you comfortable giving up picture quality for better audio? If you think you'll ever be in low light, you definitely would want the Sony vs the HVX. Same if you're dealing with broad latitude shots. If you think you'll be in always controlled lighting, I'd probably choose the XLH1/Canon. Since we have 6 various HD cams in the sub 10K category, the HVX would be my second to last choice in almost all instances, especially low light.
The JVC has an advantage if you're going to web, it's progressive already, and progressive scan will compress somewhat better than interlaced, but since you'll be starting with a high-rez source, it's a slim advantage when it comes to web delivery. It's a manual control camera, so if you're doing sound, lighting, and cam op, that's not optimal either.
All of the cams have one advantage over the other, and I'm an audio geek. But picture quality would be as important as audio to me, and that's where the HVX fails in our experiences here. Well lit, bright images, it's gonna be fine, so that's a consideration.
I'm sure you'll be seeing other opinions shortly.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 02:25 PM   #3
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You need HD for a Pod cast?

Douglas "If you think you'll ever be in low light, you definitely would want the Sony vs the HVX. Same if you're dealing with broad latitude shots."

Your the first I've heard make these statements. I was under the impression that the HVX, despite its faults, was good in low light. I thought that is what the DV.com article stated. Was this in 1080i or 720p mode? The Sony having better latitude is also puzzling?
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 03:34 PM   #4
 
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Ken, seems like you always find me being the "only one to say" something pr other, so I'd recommend you go rent an HVX or buy one as we did.
Go into a dark room. Swing a Maglite or other flashlight at the lenses of all HD cams that you have available. Capture it. Compare them. Then you're not having to read my words, but can make your own distinction. Or, when my newest book on HD comes out at NAB, get a hold of the DVD and you can compare 720 and 1080 modes on the camera. The book comes with footage from all of the cameras in identical shooting conditions.
The Sony is well known to have the least noise when in-camera gain is added.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 04:05 PM   #5
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Ya, no I don't think I will rent every cam to shoot myself swinging a mag light around. Not a real shooting condition, nor one you will find at a baseball park.

You didn't state, best picture with gain added, you just stated if you are ever in low light you deffinately want Sony. It was just a broad staement that you didn't back up. You still haven't answered if your comparison of the HVX was with it in 720 or 1080 and how that affected light. If at all.

As I stated, in the DV.com article the HVX had the best low light performance. Explaning that the Sony, when gain is added, has less noise to your eye, is a fair statement. Wish you said it from the begining.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 04:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
The Sony is well known to have the least noise when in-camera gain is added.
Well known to the point where I had assumed it was common knowledge by now. Example: Barry Green's report from his camera tests back in January: "In noise performance, the Sony was easily the winner."

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=42955
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 04:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hodson
Ya, no I don't think I will rent every cam to shoot myself swinging a mag light around. Not a real shooting condition, nor one you will find at a baseball park.
If you're not willing to do that and test these things for yourself, then it looks like you'll have to accept as legitimate the feedback you're getting from someone who actually has made that effort (that person in this case being Douglas).

Quote:
You didn't state, best picture with gain added, you just stated if you are ever in low light you deffinately want Sony. It was just a broad staement that you didn't back up.
He doesn't need to "back it up" for you when it's already been verified by plenty of other sources... I quoted one in my previous reply. Some simple research on your part will reveal this to be so.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 07:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Baughman
Is the Panasonic the HD cam to get in the sub $5000 price range? Keep in mind that these will be video podcast (read: not meant for broadcast) and I need good audio.
your biggest problem by far is the misconception that any kind of hd video source is needed for web footage, because standard 640x480 sd is already the max size you can feed out on the web... in fact, most web video is no bigger than 320x240 frame size.

hd is not necessary for this application, and worse than that, sd cameras are probably a better choice in a low budget, low light application anyway, as jan ozer proved in a recent fx1 review in dv magazine... he printed out pics of an off-the-cuff test in the mag, and the xl2 pic was brighter.

on top of all that, the xl2 you already have is a great choice for shooting huge ballparks, because of the big 20x lens... so i would say that somebody needs to clarify the goals that the sponsor has for this shoot.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 11:13 PM   #9
 
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Given that the sponsor has indicated that they'd like HD, it's probably a question for the sponsor (why they want HD). That said, footage on the web can certainly be larger than 640 x 480.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 07:41 AM   #10
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Jamie, you tossed out "sub $5000 price range".

If you plan on shooting HD with the HVX200, you can easily double this number. You need to consider the cost of P2.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 04:21 PM   #11
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since video podcasting has been specified as the delivery format, let's review the podcast spec:

Creating Video Podcasts
Although iTunes can play a variety of .mp4, .m4v, and .mov video formats, video iPods require more specific formats. By following the steps in the Creating Video for iPod tutorial, QuickTime 7 Pro will automatically create an .m4v file containing H.264 video and AAC audio that is optimized for iPod. iPod can play the following video formats:

H.264 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4, and .mov
Video: Up to 768 kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per second (fps), Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3
Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio

MPEG-4 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4, and .mov
Video: Up to 2.5 mbps, 480 x 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile
Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio
http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/techspecs.html

so it's not a question of whether or not you can get away with putting 640x480 video on the web, the point is that 640x480 is not what the customer wants.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 04:24 PM   #12
 
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Dan, thanks for the catch. I completely forgot the target is ipod or Sony PSP, and of course, you're right regarding the resolution.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 10:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
since video podcasting has been specified as the delivery format, let's review the podcast spec:

Creating Video Podcasts
Although iTunes can play a variety of .mp4, .m4v, and .mov video formats, video iPods require more specific formats. By following the steps in the Creating Video for iPod tutorial, QuickTime 7 Pro will automatically create an .m4v file containing H.264 video and AAC audio that is optimized for iPod. iPod can play the following video formats:

H.264 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4, and .mov
Video: Up to 768 kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per second (fps), Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3
Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio

MPEG-4 video
File formats: .m4v, .mp4, and .mov
Video: Up to 2.5 mbps, 480 x 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile
Audio: AAC-LC up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio
http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/techspecs.html

so it's not a question of whether or not you can get away with putting 640x480 video on the web, the point is that 640x480 is not what the customer wants.
Dan,

This is what Apple says but I routinely make iPod compatible videos as .mp4s that are 624x352 and 23.98 fps. As long as the total pixel count is under 230,400 for .mp4 and audio is AAC-LC up to 160 kbps, 48 Khz, the iPod will play it back.

As for using HD for podcasts, it's not totally unreasonable. The higher quality source you start with, the better the podcast will end up. Granted, Jamie's sponsor is more than likely star struck by those two simple letters, "H" and "D".

We recently purchased an XLH1 and our first shoot with it is a local TV pilot. We originally weere going to shoot it on Beta SP but figured there's no time like the present to start developing an HD workflow so decide to use it with this project. When the director found out it was being shot in "HD", she flipped out. She just couldn't believe that her show was going to be in
"HD". Never mind the fact that at this point in time, none of the local stations actually can broadcast original HD content, it's all network HD content, or the fact that we are actually shooting it in HDV. Doesn't matter to her though. Those two little letters are very powerful in marketing.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 04:55 PM   #14
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Just wanted to thank all for your responses. With the information given (esp. the additional cost of the P2 cards), I'm going to try and go with an SD cam. This even though I just used a Sony Z1 to shoot and loved it. But for the podcast, I feel like the arguement for the SD cam is a valid one.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #15
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good luck educating the sponsor, jamie! btw, fwiw, isn't the ipod still a 4:3 screen ratio?

thanks very much for the feedback on that total pixel count, dave... i wonder what the implications are for creating a widescreen format that's playable on the ipod... i think that the ipod video output can be hooked up into a tv???

i'm thinking wide screen hdv-sourced video from the ipod.
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