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Old May 26th, 2005, 12:25 PM   #1
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Need some sage advice - HD100 vs. SDX900 and other things

And I'm sure if anybody can provide it, it's the knowledgable experts on these boards. I greatly appreciate any help you guys might be able to give me on these questions.

Quick Background:

We're shooting a feature film in July. I own an Arri Super-16 Camera, as well as a 2.4 Zeiss Zoom and a set of 1.3 Zeiss Super-speed Primes, along with some other stuff.

However, I had been planning on shooting this project on Panasonic's SDX900. I am still toying with the idea of film, but the economics aren't as good, and some other factors make me lean to the SDX900, which I shot with last year on a project in which I was DP. I was impressed with the results then, and, though certainly not film, it did compare pretty well to Super-16mm.

But I don't live anywhere near anybody that has an SDX900, and will have to rent and ship in the equipment.

The Questions:

A local house has set up shop and they are getting two of the new JVC HD100s, along with some other goodies. They are offering to let me rent these deferred, which will allow me to put more money into my movie upfront, and the rental rates will be cheaper than the SDX900 as well(which this shop isn't carrying). Also, the camera is local, and there are two of them, which is nice.

But I don't want "nice" to be a serious detriment to my film. So I have a few questions about this possibility:

1. How does this JVC HDV compare to SDX900 footage? The SDX900 is standard definition, but it also has 2/3 inch chips and 4:2:2 color sampling at DVCPRO50. Does the extra resolution of the JVC make up for these deficiences? Do they effectively "cancel each other out", and allow for a comparably good image?

Or more simply, how will the JVC HDV image compare with the SDX900 image?

2. I know the JVC has a nice HD lens with it, but I don't want to have 1/3 inch chip depth of field on this project, which is a horror/drama. So I will only use this camera if I can use it with a P + S Technik adaptor.

Is there a P + S Technik that will fit on this new camera? Since it's interchangable lenses can I just use the one you would use for an XL1/XL2?

Also, how much will the image suffer by using non-HD 35mm lenses via a P + S Technik? Will it substantially lower it over the SDX900 image?

One more thing on this point - I've never used a P + S Technik. I know they are supposed to be used with 35mm lenses, but I already have a very nice Super-16mm lens package. Can I use these with the PL mount which the P + S Technik says it has? Since you have to "zoom in" on the cameras anyway, I thought it might be a possibility, but then again, I guess there's no "zooming in" with the JVC because the lens would be off(interchangable) while the adaptor is on. I also would be getting Super-16mm DOF there instead of 35mm, even if that worked. But I was just curious - I will probably still choose to rent 35mm lenses either way.

Basically, how feasible is it to use a P + S Technik with this setup in every respect?

3. Workflow and HD. I currently have a nice dual processor G5 with lots of Ram and Final Cut Pro HD, which I will be upgrading to the newest Final Cut Pro 5 version soon. I plan to have an editor deliver a rough cut right after we finish shooting, so he'll be editing dailies. I'd rather he be editing with the native HD, or it's not as worth it to have him do that, because I'll have to re-edit the whole thing in native HD anyway.

Can I edit this native HD signal on the new version of Final Cut Pro? If so, how do I get it in there? Can I do it via firewire from the camera, will I need a deck, etc?

And if I can edit native HDV in 24p, how do I then get it out? Does FCP have a downconverting system so I can output and make normal DVDs and/or Mini-DV tapes for showing the film on standard TVs? What about showing the film on HD TVs?

I believe that's all the major question I have for now. I have tried to find this information online but so much about this camera is very vague.

I would prefer to shoot Super-16mm, but it's not as economical for this project. Then the choice is between the SDX900 and this new JVC. Is there a clear choice? The SDX900 has a larger chip and better color sampling, but the JVC has higher HDV resolution and I may be able to use the P + S Technik adaptor with it, if that works(not sure if they even make one for the SDX900, and even if they did, renting that camera package would cost so much I couldn't afford to rent the P + S Technik with it.) So I'll get better resoution and, if it is possible with this camera, 35mm depth of field and Angle of view. Would this image be comparable to that of an SDX900 in terms of quality?

Sorry for the length of this post, but I'm in a real quandry here and really want to figure out which way is the best way to go with this film.

Thank you,

Teddy

Last edited by Teddy Todd; May 26th, 2005 at 01:33 PM.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 02:41 PM   #2
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I can take a stab at only a couple of these questions.

Please be advised that we have a dedicated P+S Technik Mini35 forum here at DV Info Net, in fact it's the largest one in the world, so you really should browse through it in order to learn more about the Mini35.

Quote:
Is there a P + S Technik that will fit on this new camera?
Yes. One was shown with the HD100 last month at NAB.


Quote:
Since it's interchangable lenses can I just use the one you would use for an XL1/XL2?
No. The XL lens mount is entirely different, and therefore not at all compatible with the HD100. A Mini35 made for the Canon XL will not attach to an HD100.


Quote:
Also, how much will the image suffer by using non-HD 35mm lenses via a P + S Technik?
Most 35mm motion picture lenses typically resolve higher than HD, so this is a non-issue.


Quote:
P + S Technik. I know they are supposed to be used with 35mm lenses, but I already have a very nice Super-16mm lens package. Can I use these with the PL mount which the P + S Technik says it has?
No. The Mini35 is compatible only with 35mm lenses. A 16mm lens will not make an image circle large enough to fill the 35mm image plane on the Mini35.


Quote:
P + S Technik adaptor... not sure if they even make one for the SDX900
Yes, P+S Technik makes a converter for 2/3rd-inch cameras such as the SDX900. It's called the Pro35. Please direct any further P+S Technik discussions to our Mini35 / Pro35 forum located at http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=58 -- hope this helps,
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Old May 26th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #3
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Thanks, Chris.

That clears up many of my questions regarding this camera and the P + S adaptor. Very big help and I really appreciate it. I will direct any further specific adaptor questions to that forum.

Now, does anybody else have any suggestions regarding my other questions, such as the HD workflow in Final Cut Pro and the image comparison between an SDX900 and the new JVC with a P + S adaptor attached?

Teddy
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:04 AM   #4
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As for the workflow, it is the same as DV. FCP5 now works with native HDV... there is no intermediate format to play with. You can export to tape just like DV. If you want to watch it realtime on a standard monitor, I think you have to convert it to SD. I'm not sure if the camera can feed downsized HD to SD from the composite (or the component) output. Many suggest using a computer LCD connected to your edit station or a converter (HD to DVI) for that matter.

Note: on a 400Gb drive, you can store approximately 36 hours of HDV.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 10:29 AM   #5
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How does the footage compare to a SDX900?

For that you'd really need both side by side, but this is what I can
share.

We had a SDX900 w/ a $30K HD lens in 'my' studio as the main camera.
The 2nd camera was a XL2 with the stock 20X lens. In the background
I hooked up one of our DVX100a.

The DP remarked at how nice the SDX looked in his 14" sony monitor,
so I ran a composite cable from the XL2 into the b channel of his monitor.
We switched over to the XL2 and though slightly different, the color,
resolution, and image were VERY CLOSE. So close that 995 out of a 1000
would not be able to see a difference. We were SHOCKED.

The subject was a talking head, so I would expect the
SDX to do better on wide shots with lots of detail. However, for the
$45,000 difference, the DP told me to keep the XL2 OFF his monitor and
not to let the client see it. (Why? Because they spent a lot of money
on rentals when they did not have to?)

The DVX100a had much more red in its image and even when corrected
did not look quite as good as the XL2 (or SDX) IMO.

SO, the JVC. I would say that just because it is HD (and it looked great at NAB),
you have so much more clarity, with good lighting the HD100e should be
able to SMOKE either NTSC cam. And as we know, if a PS tecknik
adaptor is around $8K, and the HD100 is about $5K, that leaves a lot of money left over for buying lens and/or lens rentals.

Last I heard, the SDX900 is about $20K without lens.

Remember, the HD100 is still vaporware and I don't expect to see anything until August or
September at the earliest. I *really really* hope to see JVC bring to market
the 100'e' model which will have both uncompressed 259M NTSC and
uncompressed SMPTE 292M.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 10:17 PM   #6
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Guys, your knowledge and advice has been invaluable. Thank you so much for the replies. I am now in a much better position to make these decisions.

Any other opinions will be equally appreciated, of course, as they come. But this thread has already been a great help.

Thank you.

Teddy
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Old May 30th, 2005, 06:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy Todd
3. Workflow and HD. I currently have a nice dual processor G5 with lots of Ram and Final Cut Pro HD, which I will be upgrading to the newest Final Cut Pro 5 version soon. I plan to have an editor deliver a rough cut right after we finish shooting, so he'll be editing dailies. I'd rather he be editing with the native HD, or it's not as worth it to have him do that, because I'll have to re-edit the whole thing in native HD anyway.

Can I edit this native HD signal on the new version of Final Cut Pro? If so, how do I get it in there? Can I do it via firewire from the camera, will I need a deck, etc?
Version 5.0 of Final Cut Pro should support the HD100 natively for 720p30.

For 24p (23.976fps) and 25p you will need to use Lumiere HD (http://lumierehd.com/).

Using Lumiere HD you import over Firewire from the Camera or deck, then you transcode to something better than HDV to edit with, this can be any QuickTime codec supported by FCP.

I usually bump straight to uncompressed 4:2:2 HD. If need to offline I use DVCPRO-HD for the RT and to save space, then finish as uncompressed for output.

Now the clever part - if you Editor works offline you can create an online project and via the magic of XML Lumiere HD will create the online from the original camera MPEG-2 files.

Keep in mind this will be within the limitations of Media Manager so do any time remapping or fancy stuff in the online!

Jonathan Smiles
CEO/Managing Director
www.digitalsafari.co.uk

Last edited by Jonathan Smiles; May 30th, 2005 at 06:05 AM. Reason: correct URL - grrr
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Old May 30th, 2005, 08:55 AM   #8
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Many of your editing questions can be answered here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=63

So investigate and post!

As for some of your other questions, I always say the same thing: test before you jump in! I REALLY wish I had tested my HD10 more before purchasing. I like the little camera, but my good friend loves it better.

heath
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