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JVC 4K Pro Handheld Camcorders
GY-LS300, GY-HM200, HM170 and HM-Q10 recording 4K Ultra-High Definition video.


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Old April 22nd, 2015, 11:22 AM   #1
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HM200 Questions

Really leaning to this cam over the Sony PXW-X70. Just kinda waiting for the reviews to trickle in on low light capabilities and overall performance. A couple specific questions if anyone can answer, thanks:

1. I currently use Varizoom VZ-Rock controller. I can't tell if this will work with this cam, can it?

2. I'm looking at the Lexar 128g UHS-II SDXC Memory Card (Class 10, UHS Speed Class 3). Available at B&H for $165 2 pack. Would these be sufficient for all the recording options, including highest quality 4K?

3. I currently use Premiere CS6, not CC. Don't wanna pay more for the upgrade if I don't have to. Will CS6 be able to import all recording options without having to convert or re-encode (like on the X70)?
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 12:02 PM   #2
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Re: HM200 Questions

This camera is a big mystery Rick. I too am interested in it, and like you, would love to know how it stacks up against the Sony PXWX70. There was some footage and initial thoughts on the camera here
, but other than that it is as though the HM200 doesn't even exist.
Think about all the buzz the Sony PXW X70 got--and is still getting, and this camera is the perfect counterpart and is getting no press. Very strange. It has been available for quite some time but there is no evidence that anyone has bought it. JVC, where are you??
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 01:30 PM   #3
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Re: HM200 Questions

Exactly - been available at B&H for two or three weeks and ZERO reviews, strange. I really like all the specs for this cam, but I shoot a lot of run n gun and events that are dark and do not allow external lights. That's why the low light quality is important. These low light events don't require 4K, so hoping the standard HD settings result in positive results. I still use my Sony FX-1 because of the low light capabilities, hoping it is comparable.

I also love the fact it has built in Live Streaming. Was gonna buy a Teredek Cube for another $1500, but a major plus included with this camera.
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 01:36 PM   #4
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Re: HM200 Questions

One thing going against this cam from the outset is the lack of what the x-70 has: A mountain of vetting, reviews, fixes and adaptations. It helps when there is an active community giving constant feedback.

I would like to see more on this cam as well, but why should I be the guy to take the risk?
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: HM200 Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Miller View Post
1. I currently use Varizoom VZ-Rock controller. I can't tell if this will work with this cam, can it?

2. I'm looking at the Lexar 128g UHS-II SDXC Memory Card (Class 10, UHS Speed Class 3). Available at B&H for $165 2 pack. Would these be sufficient for all the recording options, including highest quality 4K?

3. I currently use Premiere CS6, not CC. Don't wanna pay more for the upgrade if I don't have to. Will CS6 be able to import all recording options without having to convert or re-encode (like on the X70)?
1. The HZ-HM600VZR is the remote that is designed for use with the GY-HM200. While there may be similar products in the marketplace, the HZ-HM600VZR has been co-developed between JVC and VariZoom to ensure the operation signal protocol is in sync.

2. UHS-1 Speed Class 3 is the media needed to record 4K with the GY-LS300.

3. You can download a sample file of the 4K 150Mbp/s H.264 file and test it on your existing NLE system for editing compatibility. The link to the zip file containing the sample file is as follows: JVC Pro Video Clips

- Craig
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Old May 1st, 2015, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: HM200 Questions

Craig,
Thanks for the 4K download link. I can report back that the 4K .mp4 file does import perfectly into Premiere version 6.0.5, which is good to know. I let premiere pick the sequence settings, and it chose:

RED Cinema
3840x2160

Looks really good. I take it this clip was shot on the RED camera? Are there any HM200 or LS300 4K clips anywhere we can download?
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 04:21 AM   #7
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Re: HM200 Questions

I did my first gig with the HM200 and I am impressed. It was a conference indoors with interviews in a park (outdoors, night, with lights only lighting the trees) Very dark!. The hall was poorly lit (to create some soft ambient, not because they didn't have lights) and the camera was kinda struggling but once I adjusted the white balance it did OK in 1080 @12DB f/2.

The white balance plays an important role in luminosity and the camera gets a cold reading by default. (too much blues in my opinion). The HM200 can adjust the WB in both full auto and manual, so no problem there: set a warmer tone and the scene will light up!

4K would've been difficult indoors. Didn't even try. Noticed some hesitation focusing on full (optical) zoom (so careful with close-ups @ full zoom, in case just a small pull back will do). I had a small LED with an orange gel and the interviews came out stunning in 4K. Used the face recognition and it did a fantastic job! well behind my best expectations. I was even using the main face in the rule of thirds position with no problem whatsoever. By far one of the best performing tracking for interviews in AF that I had the pleasure to work with (even better than the X70 because once the HM200 "locks" then it stays!). (AF speed set on slow). Interviews shot @ 3.5 (with the light ON) 6 DB (I wanted to get some backkground as well): perfect skin tone, perfect sharpness and contrast, perfect everything. Used XLR1 for shotgun on phantom and XLR2 for a sennheiser g3 with handheld. shotgun in auto and radio mic in manual. Didn't notice any problem with the audio from the shotgun (in auto usually gets some noise when they don't talk but on HM200 it went so clean.. no idea how they did it but it works!) so the next time I'll use auto for both. I knew that the HD422 didn't import correctly in vegas so I did the "regular" 50Mbps in HD, in MOV. No problem with the files, either Vegas or any player (I use KMP that is a little more fluid than VLC, 4K in particular). No problem with 4K in both vegas and KMP. For me (coming from X70) this portability of the footage was a big relief.

the little things : the FULL Auto button is difficult to find and really small. I wish I had the choice to assign it to some other custom button)

The WB adjustments are (simply put) perfect! If I had to design it myself I would've done it exactly as the JVC designers did.
The Remote Lanc works fine. I was using a vivitar that gives also 8 speeds for the zoom (constant) and it worked like a charm.
Did use few shots in MF that night (in the hall for close-ups, shooting 50-60ft away) and I was able to control the focus from the remote. Great!

Rolling Shutter and blur panning is fine in HD, a little more evident in 4K but still good enough (in 4K) for fast pans. Means the the sensor read-out is fast enough. Good.

If you use an external monitor (sdi or hdmi) remember to put it in the settings, by default it won't output anything if you don't select it. It goes out on both sdi and hdmi at the same time in case)

yes this is a good and honest camera. It will get the job done and beautifully.

So there, after complaining so much I have to hand it to the guys with JVC: well done. (so I'll shut up about the lens now)
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: HM200 Questions

Thanks for the very interesting and informative report. Will any of this footage be viewable on-line in the near future? If not, don't worry.

I am currently leaning towards buying this cam (rather than the Sony X70 or more expensive JVC LS300) as a "dip a toe into the 4K water without breaking the bank type experiment." The idea of having a small and very affordable 4K cam in my kit bag (but one that can still use all my XLR mics etc.) appeals enormously for some B-roll scenarios…That and the decent bit rate, Mac NLE friendly codec - nice one JVC! The debacle over the Sony X70's XAVC 4K codec incompatibilty thing with most NLEs (and its lowly 60Mbps) is becoming almost embarrassing....

One other question Anthony. How good in practice are the focus assist tools (when using full manual focus) on this JVC HM-200? The face detection stuff appeals but (up until now) I have tended to be a full manual operation type of guy, including with focussing (apart from occasional use of the DPAF feature on my C100 in very fast run-n-gun situations where making sure something is in the can is the primary concern). I have never used AF on my PMW-300 or the EX3 I had for 5.5 years before that.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 03:43 PM   #9
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Re: HM200 Questions

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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post

The debacle over the Sony X70's XAVC 4K codec incompatibilty thing with most NLEs (and its lowly 60Mbps) is becoming almost embarrassing....
the X70 is a good 28Mbps HD camera , cheap . The XAVC-L didn't work and will never work (in my opinion) maybe because there is no 10bit 422 in the X70 at all. In any case we compete against cell phones today and there is no time for the marketing departments pushing proprietary stuff (that don't even work). Today if the footage is useable then fine, and if it's not then we go to the next camera (like I did)

Quote:
One other question Anthony. How good in practice are the focus assist tools
It's fine, goes in black and white. But the ONLY reason why I buy camcorders instead of a DSLR is because I need zoom and AF. If not then a GH4 would be the better option (in my opinion). cheap, 4K, high quality and you get to change lenses easily.

HM200 now : 4K is (obviously) impressive but nowadays there are cellphones giving that, so it's not something "magical" and difficult to produce (anymore).

The Achilles' heel is without a doubt the lens. You should consider that you have a limited range of apertures in there, f/2 to 5.6. and that's it. 12DB is clean, 15DB is watchable , 18DB is risky.
so you do the math :)

The use of a LED light is a big help, for my interviews was night and day compared to the high ISO alternative.

Once again to the friends using the HM200 : guys adjust the WB , get it warmer and it will light up the whole thing. don't use the auto readings, it will get darker and cold.In a camera that needs any possible help in low light the WB alone makes a difference.

Andy : you come from EX3 and C100 in manual , sorry but why don't you try a GH4? that's the natural step to go 4K in my opinion. (and HD as well)
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 10:52 PM   #10
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getting the camera ready do work

that miniscule full auto and MF/AF switch ! I had to do something because I was sick and tired of having to turn to the side to locate those switches. SO I took a thinkpad red track-mouse thing (any other will do, I had that one on hand). A little gaffer's tape (yes I did a fast and lousy job with the tape, but I'll fix it, someday...). Now I can locate the switch without looking. Finally.

http://i1234.photobucket.com/albums/...psgvidudbc.jpg

I need to explain the other stuff in the pic: on the base I put a focusing rail , works well when on a tripod to move the camera to get the to the center without going crazy with the counterweight.

On the rail I attached a little bar for the grip. It works as it is in the pic (up) but most importantly can be reversed and attached down. It gives a tremendous help hand holding in mid air, thanks also to the other point of contact of the viewfinder on the eye.

The viewfinder cushion is the wrong size (extra large, blue star): I had it for the X70 but I'll get the small oval soon. In any case the extra large works as well (a little big).

On top I put a vertical (I mean almost vertical) mount for the sennheiser receiver. I like to have the antenna looking up and leaves the handle to actually handle the camera. Can't attach it on the front shoe because I have a led light there (and I hate those bars for multi shoes because give a bad balance making the camera too much front heavy).

The shotgun is a sony (same mic as the audio technica 875R - I had both and they are exactly the same)

The ergonomics of the HM200 are first class, too bad for that full auto and MF switch. But with a little work we can fix that.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 04:08 AM   #11
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Re: HM200 Questions

Hi Anthony,

Thanks again for more info (...pity about that lens) and the GH4 suggestion. I've looked hard at the GH4 and sure, for some, it would be the right way to go but:

1. I don't have any MTF glass - just lots of Canon EF and EF-S glass
2. I want a simple XLR on-board solution/really don't like the bolt-on/under approach to getting that on the GH4
3. I don't generally like "DSLR form factor" cameras - my 7D taught me just how hard it is to use, whilst the C100 has taught me how, when adapted specifically for video shooting, things can be dramatically easier (whilst still not perfect) ergonomically.
4. Relating to point 1, I'm not keen on the reliability/ruggedness of using MTF to Canon EF mount adapters (Metabones etc.) in a professional environment - plenty of reports of issues on this forum about that (and this is what's keeping me a bit shy of the JVC LS300 and the FS7 too).

Right now (and this could change again!) I'm thinking mid-term I'll probably get a C300 MkII (say start of 2016) - I very, VERY, nearly pre-ordered one on launch day. However, I have decided I don't want to commit THAT much money (plus the huge extra on-cost of the camera media for it/storage costs of huge 4K file formats) until I KNOW my corporate clients are going to pay for that increase in my workflow costs. By the way, I still think it will be some time before I need to DELIVER 4K in a distribution format to my (typical) multinational corporate client base. My clients don't care what cameras I shoot with, only about the end result looking good in HD.

Plus, I'm nervous about spending over 10K on a camera body when things seem to be moving so fast in 4K camera development. Don't get me wrong, I could afford to buy a C100 MkII or FS7 tomorrow, no problem, as my business is doing well/they would be paid off fairly quickly. It's down to what's the best business decision for my specific client needs over the next 18-24 months more than anything else. Hence the idea to try a low cost "test the 4K water" approach with a 1,500 to 2,000 cam (ex VAT) that uses cheap media and a moderate file size that's easy to edit on my Mac Pros before I jump in with both feet. I'm sure I'm not alone with struggling with that aspect!

To complicate matters further, I've also got a keen eye on the Panasonic DVX-200 as that might be a VERY good middle ground (in terms of cost) 4K cam for me that seems to tick almost all the boxes needed for my kind of work. I await the opportunity to view images from it when they become available this summer!
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 05:30 AM   #12
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Re: HM200 Questions

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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post

To complicate matters further, I've also got a keen eye on the Panasonic DVX-200 as that might be a VERY good middle ground (in terms of cost) 4K cam for me that seems to tick almost all the boxes needed for my kind of work. I await the opportunity to view images from it when they become available this summer!
I hear you, Andy. Loud and clear!

I'd like to say it again (please don't get upset now!): the tool to get now is the GH4. XLR Audio? Ok. true, but the GH4 needs a rig, or at least a shoulder mount, and by then finding a little room for a juicedlink won't be the end of the world.

I shoot sports for a living (soccer), twice a week and for me a servo zoom , SDI and a working lanc is mandatory. XLR for interviews on the sidelines, but I use a sennheiser handheld so I could easily attach the receiver to the lesser 3.5mm stereo, the signal is clean enough even for that. So we have different needs and I can't get a GH4.

The future is 4K on SD cards , no questions. For now we use it like we did HD few years ago: to put it in a 1080 timeline and it looks great (same as HD on DVD instead of SD, remember?). But 4K is here to stay, and I have the feeling that once we find a proper media to distribute 4K TVsets will be already there and sooner that we expect (in my opinion)

There is a marketing battle going on right now, prices are shot to the sky just to see what happens. blackmagic, the panasonic (the red face one), sony with all the proprietary things (boy they are obsessed with those things, aren't they?).

but what strikes me is that all need to distance the offers from the GH4 and again the ONLY reason why the GH4 stays with enthusiasts and very few working pros is because there are no servo zoom lenses (and they know that, of course they know!).

will that be enough to price the cameras with a servo zoom 5-10times more? hmmm ... don't think so.

the HM200 is a decent and honest camera. but the GH4 is better in any way sans XLR and servo zoom. (the XLR attachment for the GH4 is by far the most ridiculous and expensive -for no reason- piece of equipment in the history of video cameras!).

The Panasonic you mentioned (the red face one) should do it. it will be 4 times the price of a GH4 and in the end the only difference could be (again!) the servo zoom and XLR, because the pictures won't be that much better in my opinion. And I say GH4 because of the price, of course.

I believe that you do events and corporate , so the cost of the equipment is not THAT important but we can't spend 5-10 times more for basically the same pictures. The other reason to go 4K now is to compete , and let's remember that cellphones do 4K too. if you know what I mean. They go on youtube too (the clients). They see things.

by the way: I saw Cinderella and those 35mm pana millennium look as good as the reds or arri digital! LOL it used to be the other way around and it feels like yesterday .... see what digital did to us?

good luck , Andy
let's stay in touch please, I'd like to know what you decide to get!
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 07:29 AM   #13
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Re: HM200 Questions

Anthony,
Thanks for the informative writeup. Just about to pull the trigger. First cam purchased since my sony fx1 6-7 years ago! Can u compare the low light capabilities to any existing cams? Also, when u say "warmer white balance", what do u mean? I simply let my cam balance by aiming at a white card. Do u use a color other than white when balancing?
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 04:43 PM   #14
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Re: HM200 Questions

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Anthony,
Thanks for the informative writeup. Just about to pull the trigger. First cam purchased since my sony fx1 6-7 years ago! Can u compare the low light capabilities to any existing cams? Also, when u say "warmer white balance", what do u mean? I simply let my cam balance by aiming at a white card. Do u use a color other than white when balancing?
the readings are cold.

OK on "paper" you carry a white card (I find a 18% grey better in digital, the best should be a 12% grey but that's not easy to find and I had to make one myself). In reality what you do is to find something white, zoom in and put the camera in manual an do the reading. Still cold after that. Now the HM200 has this clever function , different between manual and full auto (the camera I mean).
in manual you assign a preset for example, then open up the temperatures and choose the temperature manually judging by the colors on the screen (which is accurate by the way, not like the sony's that give "spectacular" colors but different than what you actually shoot)
in full auto (and where it gets interesting) you adjust the white balance selecting the levels of reds and blue manually. it's called "paint" and that's exactly what it does: literally painting your colors. Perfect. Seriously

For that I had to assign a custom button (the custom7) to white balance. So 1 button goes straight to one of the best WB controls I remember in years.

lemme recap: when you shoot in full manual the WB will be automatic , but you can change the red and blue freely.
when in manual then you do a reading, and after that you can change the temperature (Kvalue) freely.

fast and easy for both manual and full auto!

I had the FX1 too! decent camera, but the periodic cleaning of the heads and that firewire port... for interviews was a MF only camera.LOL the AF ALWAYS wanted to go to the background
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 04:58 PM   #15
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Re: HM200 Questions

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Anthony,
Thanks for the informative writeup. Just about to pull the trigger. First cam purchased since my sony fx1 6-7 years ago! Can u compare the low light capabilities to any existing cams? Also, when u say "warmer white balance", what do u mean? I simply let my cam balance by aiming at a white card. Do u use a color other than white when balancing?
sorry, forgot the low light question.

first I must say that I love the HM200 very much, every new day I like it more.

that said here's the problem in low light:

THE LENS

if I could use 1.2 then would've been fine. But since 1.2 looks like the XL1 in SD then I can't.

it is that simple.

so you don't have 1.2, 1.6, 1.8 at all.
pretend that you have a f/2 max lens. and on that 1/2.33 sensor F/2 is a little dark

compared to the X70? well, with the X70 you don't have to work THAT hard to shoot in low light. With the HM200 you need to pay attention.
it is useable in low light? absolutely. But you have to set the WB warmer first, then shoot at F/2 up to 15DB and you'll like the footage.

again for interviews you carry a light , THEN if you go 4K prepare yourself for some breathtaking footage!

The other thing is 4K actually, that crops a little (obviously) but east more light. So in the end F/2 in 4K may not be enough @15DB .
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