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Old June 6th, 2003, 02:03 AM   #1
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HD10 -- What Is It Good For?

I read some of the posts here. Here's my opinion.

30p for cinema production -- of course. As there will soon be nearly 200 screens with digital projection in major US markets in the Landmark Theaters chain and the company that does the conversion accepts 720/30p, and since Landmark caters to indie, art and foreign film, this is a perfect start for your distribution. If the film is successful and you'll need wider distribution, you can slow it down digitally to 24p for about $20K (a lot less than transfer to film). The only problem is the weak color. So the film may have a certain specific look to it.

The quality of the MPEG2 processors is lower than on a properly decoded HDTV program. The bandwidth (transfer rate) is the same. So if HD-ready consumer set is good for HDTV broadcast, it is good for this camcorder also. It was reported in couple of places that the resolution of this camcorder is only some 960x659 pixels. I think that one of the reports was by Steve Mullen. So the horizontal resolution falls somewhere between 480p and 720p. The 659 vertical pixels do get converted to 720 lines so the monitor should preferably have 720 pixels vertically.

I think that Panasonic and Samsung may be good sources for HD monitors/sets. Panasonic because they are pushing 720p and Samsung because their sets are good and inexpensive -- they even OEM for Sony, probably for Panasonic too.

I may be wrong but I think that I've seen 17" LCD HDTV monitor with wide aspect screen with possibly better than XGA resolution for around $1K and 1280x720 LCD rear projection wide screen sets for around $2K. 960 horizontal pixels is the minimum you should have -- as far as I remember, a lot of sets resolve 1024 horizontal pixels. Do not use tube-based projection sets because of convergence problem.

You don't need $15K pro monitors. The camcorder is no miracle and the consumer sets will have a better performance than the camcorder on playback when it gets encoded with a cheap MPEG2 encoder and then decoded by MPEG2 decoder of the same brand.

The camcorder definitely has the resolution to allow good size theater screen projection. It may be a great tool for low-end indie filmmakers. So if you are shooting film and your budget is very limited, the HD10 is your best choice. The problem is the weak color.

When you do DVD transfers, or want to have NTSC TV broadcast, a good Mini DV camera (PD150, DVX100, GL2) shot material would look much better because the colors would be a lot better.

So what is this camera good for? To shoot low cost HD material and low-end indie cinema, since there is no other high resolution camera anywhere near this price range. NTSC transfer will be with poor color. PAL transfer will be OK since PAL is 50i and the new sets are 100i, however the color will again be poor
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Old June 6th, 2003, 02:22 AM   #2
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Old June 6th, 2003, 06:05 AM   #3
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>>As there will soon be nearly 200 screens in major US markets in the Landmark Theaters chain and the company that does the conversion accepts 720/30p, and since Landmark caters to indie, art and foreign film, this is a perfect start for your distribution.<<

Joseph, I wish I could agree with you, but I ďkindaĒ donít. I mean, what if youíre distributor canít get a deal with Landmark?

>>If the film is successful and you'll need wider distribution, you can slow it down digitally to 24p for about $20K (a lot less than transfer to film). The only problem is the weak color.<<

Like I said, turning 30p into 24p presents unique motion problems that are not there with 50i and 60i.

>>The camcorder definitely has the resolution to allow good size theater screen projection. It may be a great tool for low-end indie filmmakers. So if you are shooting film and your budget is very limited, the HD10 is your best choice. The problem is the weak color.<<

Iím tempted to agree with you, but DV to 35mm transfer houses have told me otherwise. From what I have read, and from I have seen with my OWN eyes, the DVX 100 is the King of the Hill for ďDv-toFilmĒ hopefuls if they are looking for a prosumer cam (the SDX900 will probably be next in line.)
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Old June 6th, 2003, 06:39 AM   #4
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Hmmm, I was looking at the locations of Landmark Theaters, and they all happen to have them in the markets that I want to be in. I may give this JVC cam a chance...
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Old June 6th, 2003, 11:07 AM   #5
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Landmark caters to the indie industry and there is no problem using the Landmark chain. Read Microsoft press release on use of their software (WMP) in the Landmark chain.

If there is no Landmark, there is probably no real audience for your movie anyway. No reason to market art movie in Yang Wen's territory where the audience may not be sophisticated enough.

Once the flick proves successful, you can widen the distribution by transferring to film. The digital slowdown to 24p takes a lot of manual adjustments on fast moving objects and complex motion; that's why it will cost you some $20K, unless you'll do it yourself. The result is excellent. You'll only do that when you decide to go optical. You'll get the same result and film-type motion artifacts as if you'd shot in 24p.

The camcorder has higher resolution than DVX100 or SDX900; the compression artifacts will naturally be a lot worse on the JVC. It should project to about the same size screen as the SDX and to a larger one than the DVX. Of course the SDX would be preferable, but with a lens, etc. you're looking at at least 8 times higher price. If the DVX had 16:9 chipset, it would be a competition in this area; the anamorphic adaptor would degrade the image and would have problem focusing sharply at short distances. Anamorphic lenses are OK; adapters are not.
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Old June 6th, 2003, 11:18 AM   #6
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Hmmm, well, Iíll wait for Adam Wilt to review it...Iím not actually budgeting for a camera till September anyway.
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Old June 8th, 2003, 10:22 AM   #7
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P+S Mini 35 for the JVC:

I talked to the P+S guys here during a Cinegear Expo in Studio City.

Panasonic worked hard with P+S on developing a unit for the DVX. JVC has no interest on developing one for the HD1/10. But P+S will make one regardless, unless there are some problems with the JVC lens, etc. They'll attempt to make one on the same principle as the SD unit, which would mean about $8K.

What that means: $4K camcorder, $8K Mini 35, $3K for 35 mm still camera lenses; total $15K -- or you could rent the Mini 35 when needed.

This $15K may give you overall images that would be equal to the Varicam without the adaptor. Why? Because the shallow depth of the field is as important for filmic artistic images as good color, etc. Large DOF makes the image flat / video-like.


Monitor Quality:

This camera does not have the highest image quality. Most HD sets will have about the same or better image quality. You can hook it up to a set in Circuit City or Best Buys. Who cares if the image will not be true to what is coming out from the unit, that it will be adjusted in the set. The way the image was described so far, it will have to be color corrected in post anyway. My suggestion is t play with it in a store on any good consumer monitor and adjust it as much as you can to get the best picture. Just make sure that you're playing with an image on playback -- recorded on tape. That is most important.

Went to Sony Outlet Store -- saw nice Sony Plasma 32" set, wide aspect ratio, resolution something like 1024H, 760V. Better H+V resolution than the JVC. Cost? $3.2K. Very nice picture.
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Old June 8th, 2003, 10:24 AM   #8
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Went to Best Buy. They'll cary the HD1 soon @$2,999. The image should be the same as on HD10.

You can order the HD10's in L.A. for $3.6K to $3.9K (prices vary among sellers) for mid June delivery.
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