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JVC Everio GZ-HD and GZ-HM Series
JVC's Everio Series 3CCD High Definition MPEG2 camcorders.


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Old May 23rd, 2008, 01:33 AM   #1
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Talk me out of tape

Hi, I'm the new guy here.

I have been drooling over the HD7 for a couple of weeks now - most of all, over the manual possibilities with that rig.
The other camera I'm looking into is the Sony A1U. I simply love the simplicity of tape. Therefore, I am a bit skeptical about the HD7, though the price is hot (even with an XLR adaptor and a "real" mic it is still cheaper than the A1U)
There's a lot of ruckus about importing the footage into Final Cut. If I shoot in CBR, is the capture process as simple as connecting my Firewire and start capturing the stream? Is there any deck control via Firewire?
How much disk space do you need for archiving (another thing that makes me cling to tapes), let's say, 1 hour of footage?
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 02:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Claus Bier View Post
Hi, I'm the new guy here.

I have been drooling over the HD7 for a couple of weeks now - most of all, over the manual possibilities with that rig.
The other camera I'm looking into is the Sony A1U. I simply love the simplicity of tape. Therefore, I am a bit skeptical about the HD7, though the price is hot (even with an XLR adaptor and a "real" mic it is still cheaper than the A1U)
There's a lot of ruckus about importing the footage into Final Cut. If I shoot in CBR, is the capture process as simple as connecting my Firewire and start capturing the stream? Is there any deck control via Firewire?
How much disk space do you need for archiving (another thing that makes me cling to tapes), let's say, 1 hour of footage?
Archiving footage is pretty simple...drag/drop. 60GB = 5 hours when recorded in CBR. As for the tape vs hard drive... Well, for me I simply find more pros with the hard drive. Easy as pie to make multiple archives of it. When starting fresh with a 60GB hard drive, I can go 5 straight hours recording, uninterrupted. Tape heads can get dirty effecting your end result and tapes can get eaten. Mind you, hard drives can fail/crash. The only pro I can see for tape is that dropping it won't result in possibly damaged/lost material like in a hard drive. Oh, another pro is that you can possibly go shoot at a higher altitude with tape.

For me the real tape killer is in the archiving of the raw footage. 1 hour of footage archived to tape takes, well, 1 hour. No way to record to tape faster than real time!
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 04:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Claus Bier View Post
Tape?
If I had to choose between tape and SD cards -- AT THIS TIME -- I would choose tape.

If I had to choose between tape and a HDD stuck on my camcorder -- AT THIS TIME -- I would choose tape.

But, a built-in HDD is sweet.

Please tell us which NLE you will be using.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 06:40 AM   #4
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tape vs HDD

I still like tape. But my use is to go out for two weeks and shoot lots of video (10-15 tapes). I'd fill up a HDD then have to drag along more gear to dump the vidoe off if I went to HDD.

Another knock is HDD's are mechanical and will likely at some point go bad. My experience (LAN Admin) is we get one about every other week on a fleet of 800 pc's. Never seen anyone question regarding replacement policy and cost of replacement/repair of camcorder. While sure tape mechanism can go bad too, My experience is tape is pretty mature and is proven reliable. Who knows, maybe a wash. I guess I am a bit put off as every PC HDD that has crashed on me has been at point of maximum inconvenience, like there's a sensor for that. :-(

Final point, HDV is still considered by many to be nbetter quality, as AVCHD doesn't use the full spec bit rate vs HDV.

PS Most don't know that flash cards can fade if left out of the camera over time -- long time, like a year or so, but not good for long term storage.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 09:23 AM   #5
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I originally wanted the Sony A1 as a friend of mine uses it and I used one on a film making course recently, but I find I'm happier with the hard drive system and of course not having to dip down into menus on the A1 by pressing the touchscreen all the time. I find that pretty painful.

I use the 1440CBR and capture into FCP almost every time as it's easier than converting .TOD files of 1920 VBR into MPEG2 or whatever then dropping them into FCP. I just archive the TOD files onto DVD and also (belt AND braces) backup the timeline onto tape on a borrowed tape machine when the edit is done.

Backing up onto tape really feels clunky and old fashioned now, reminds me of my DAT machine.

Steve explains in his ace book about dropping the clips into a playlist on camera then capturing via firewire into FCP. The only thing to remember is to let the camera roll for a few seconds before you shout action and a few seconds after too.

On camera, the HD7 breaks up long recordings into 3.64 Gb lengths which when draged and dropped into the computer become separate files, but when you capture into FCP as 1440 CBR via firewire, it captures them as one long file, which is handy.

Also on an operational point, I find having the external controls for Aperture priority and so on, on the outside of the body is much quicker and easier to get a short depth of field look than on an A1. I know, we tried the other week with my mate's camera. What a pain.

Also, mic wise, I've just got hold of the Rode Stereo Video Mic and it sounds great. Get it up close to your subject as you should with any mic, and I defy you to tell the different between that and a similarly priced XLR. I was pleased and surprised when I heard the results.

well, there's my two penneth of opinion.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 03:33 AM   #6
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Thank you very much for your effort to answer my questions that detailed.
Steve - I work with Final Cut Express 4

The main fear I have with the HDD is that when (in my experience, it is not a question if a drive fails, but when) the drive goes to heaven, the whole footage is gone. BTW, is the HDD user replaceable?

Wayne, the touchscreen is what puts me off on the Sony. I have one of their Handycams, and changing exposure is a pain.
Capturing the files via Firewire doesn't break up the footage into clips? I thought that was the case with HDV.

Questions over questions - I hope I'm not too much of a bother
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Old May 24th, 2008, 04:38 AM   #7
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As far as I know by 2010 the cost of solid state storage in the 100GB range will be about $500 USD. With something will survive a plane crash. Hard disks are becoming so cheap they are disposable. There is no reason to have one hard disk and hope it doesnt crash. I think I saw 1000GB going for $210 USD. Thats supposed to be worth 120 Hours in a JVC HD Everio. There is no reason not to buy 3 and have 3 copies.

Take a look at this Drobo storage technology. It takes the geek-ness out of data redundancy.

http://www.drobo.com/ DROBO STORAGE



Personally I am looking into SDD replacements for the camera. Making the camera fail safe in the data storage.

http://www.driveyourlaptop.com/ SANDISK SSD



I am also looking at making same-time backups onto a media bank.

http://www.nextodi.com/en/support/do...Brochure_1.jpg
http://www.nextodi.com/en/support/do...Brochure_2.jpg

NEXT M1 EXTREME backs up the Everio without the need for a computer.




So long as you have the correct tools. I cant see what difference one makes over the other.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #8
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Barry, thanks for those links. However, I am not too fanatic over Solid State devices. I had already that many CF cards crashing that I was thinking to go back to film for my photography ;-)
With HDD storage, I have made bad experiences also. For me, it is not as much a question of price, but security, and if I want to add storage space for tape, I just get some wood for 5 bucks from the hardware store (tongue deeply in cheek).

Some more thoughts: My client is still SD-based, and I oftentimes have to shoot workshops. If I interpreted the specs of the HD7 correctly, I can shoot about 7 hrs. of SD on the drive. Nailing it down on a tripod and just let it roll, while moving around with a B-roll cam, sounds tempting. Has anybody ever have let the HD7 roll for hours? How does it stand up against that?
Is SD with the HD7 a simple DV25 stream or is it also some specific JVC thingie?

For those workshops, I'd want an XLR adaptor, so I can get my audio directly from the mixer. Saves the need for headphone monitoring.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #9
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Sd

The GZ-HD7 will NOT shoot SD. It will shoot FHD 1920X1080 and HD 1440X1080 CBR and VBR. For my SD work I just pull the files off the camera change the file extensions and throw them on an SD 16:9 timeline (Avid Liquid).
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Old May 24th, 2008, 04:57 PM   #10
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Hi Claus, I didn't explain myself properly about the breaking up of clips.

The HD7 will put breaks in where YOU put breaks in. If you captured 20 clips, you will get them all separate when you capture via firewire 1440CBR as you would expect.

If you leave the camera rolling for ages (I have need to do that for clients sometimes and it works fine) it automatically makes breaks in the files - presumably for file management purposes on the camera - of 3.43Gb (not 3.64 as I said earlier), but it joins them back together when capturing via firewire.

It doesn't join them together if you drag and drop the files to your computer using USB you have to rejoin them in FCP.

You must be pretty unlucky to have CF cards go bust on you… I have never had that, or even heard of it before. I kind of hope the HD7 will take the newer larger SD cards when the prices come down as I would like to be able to record to SD card in the future, it might make the batteries last longer. Currently, I just use the SD card for stills and the HDD for video.

And yeah, having all the most used features of manual filming to hand without having to scroll through menus every time is a real plus for the HD7, especially if you're having to work quick for a client. For instance, just working in Av priority mode and dropping the exposure a stop mid shot is a handy thing indeed. Or setting up a quick change of shutter speed and so on.

On another point, I find the low light capability of the HD7 much better than my experiences with the A1.
The only thing is, the HD7 tends to oversaturate a little to my eye, and I always like to tone it down a bit in editing.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 06:41 PM   #11
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Thanks for the clarification about the files.

The low light capabilities of the cam don't bother me. I photograph with Olympus equipment that, according to reviews, is next to useless in low light too ... I never had a problem. There seems to be a lot of FUD going on with light. The night shots Master Pamar has posted on vimeo look good to me.

Some years ago, I had the joy to shoot with Canon XL1s. That spoiled me for the rest of my life in regards to manual settings on a camera....
BTW: The Canon tape drives survive some 400 hours before they have to be refurbished. At least that happened to the cam we have at the college.

The blowing CF cards were a bummer, but I'm shooting documentaries for agricultural research, and plants grow slow enough to be reshot, so nothing really was lost. I got the cards replaced from Lexar with no questions asked.

Is the HD7 on its way out? Besides B&H, I haven't found an online store selling them (I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific, so I have to rely on internet shopping).
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Old May 24th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wayne Avanson View Post
And yeah, having all the most used features of manual filming to hand without having to scroll through menus every time is a real plus for the HD7, especially if you're having to work quick for a client. For instance, just working in Av priority mode and dropping the exposure a stop mid shot is a handy thing indeed. Or setting up a quick change of shutter speed and so on.

On another point, I find the low light capability of the HD7 much better than my experiences with the A1.
The only thing is, the HD7 tends to oversaturate a little to my eye, and I always like to tone it down a bit in editing.
Wayne Avanson,

You are absolutely right, the best part of HD7 is it's manual controls buttons which are placed out side nicely, you can set everything directly, no need to go in Menu, indeed it is very helpful while we shoot in manual mode.

Now I learned with HD7 why manual controls are most important in any kind of camera whether it is still camera or video camera.

You said HD7 tends to oversaturated little to your eye, some time I also feels but I can tell you HD7 is producing stunning colors no doubt about it. I have Canon HV20 also with me, I found HV20 produce little dull color than HD7, when I compare HD7 and HV20, and I like much HD7! HV20 has little edge on resolution part, otherwise HD7 rules in every part!

I am not sure maybe be you have gone through my posted videos on vimeo, yet if you would like to see them here is my profile on vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/user318721/videos

Would appreciate your comments on my videos.

Thanks,
Kaushik
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Old May 25th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #13
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Hi Kaushik,

the clips you posted look great and I think the saturation level suits your stuff, especially the stuff in India which is a great country for colour! When you film here in England with its mostly grey skies and dull weather, the saturation on the camera looks a little forced and unreal. It depends on what you want to film I guess.

Claus, I know the HD7 is discontinued in certain chains of shops here in the UK but I don't know if a replacement of a similar quality is on the cards. I think there's another model (The HD3? was it?) that came out recently but doesn't seem to feature some of the HD7s fine attributes. There's a thread or two on it somewhere on the forum here.

I would still go for the HD7 personally, since you can pick them up at bargain prices now. The low light on the HD7 is quite good, I only mention it because we had problems last year with low light on a Sony A1, damn near ruined the shoot.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #14
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I looked at that new model - briefly. IIRC, it lacks a viewfinder. This is a big no no for me.
The saturation doesn't bother me. Master Kaushik's clips look great. As I have to shoot mostly fruits and vegetables, the more color, the better. IMHO it is easier to deal with higher saturation in editing than having to push bland footage. The result of pushing saturation looks to plasticky to me.
However, I think JVC left the high saturation because of the HD7's placement in the consumer market.

British and gray? I enjoyed the British crime shows of the 50's and 60's. The B&W footage matched the cliche of a foggy, rainy island perfectly, and the story telling was oftentimes more colorful than the modern "millions of colors" Hollywood stuff ... but I digress.....
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Old May 25th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #15
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Hi Kaushik,

the clips you posted look great and I think the saturation level suits your stuff, especially the stuff in India which is a great country for colour! When you film here in England with its mostly grey skies and dull weather, the saturation on the camera looks a little forced and unreal. It depends on what you want to film I guess.

Claus, I know the HD7 is discontinued in certain chains of shops here in the UK but I don't know if a replacement of a similar quality is on the cards. I think there's another model (The HD3? was it?) that came out recently but doesn't seem to feature some of the HD7s fine attributes. There's a thread or two on it somewhere on the forum here.

I would still go for the HD7 personally, since you can pick them up at bargain prices now. The low light on the HD7 is quite good, I only mention it because we had problems last year with low light on a Sony A1, damn near ruined the shoot.
Dear Wayne & Claus,

I am glad you both like my posted videos, HD7 is still there since JVC have not declared its successor, its still premium model. JVC has launched some new models HD5 & HD6 but they are not as good as HD7, they lack some interesting features, I guess right now HD7 is the best model available in the HD camera market. If you guys see the features of HD7 you will agree that HD7 really rules, just think of focusing ring, all manual controls are placed outside well, Fujinon lens and etc.

It is unfortunate that people here talk negative about HD7 from the very first day when it was launched last year! Some people give wrong statement about HD7 without using it, its actually not faire and justice to the any product!

I have with me HV20 also but I am more using HD7, I am more comfortable with HD7, indeed it is fantastic camera, I now understand what HD7 means!

Kaushik
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