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Old March 26th, 2010, 02:19 PM   #1
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GY-HD Series is Dying. GY-HM Replace It? I Don't think so...

So, here I am cruising the JVC ProHD forums and it finally sank in that the GY-HD product line is dying. That happens as technologies change. I get that. But I started to wonder what JVC has up their collective sleeve and where I will go next as a consumer.

Iím shooting a new feature on my HD250u this spring, this time from the HD-SDI capturing directly to computer and Cineformís intermediate. Iím still happy with the image quality, but Iím also fully aware that this may well be my last big project with this rig as my main camera. Things are changing and to stay competitive in the indy film world Iíll have to take a major leap forward soon. Will it be another JVC? Iím not sure...

Honestly, I have doubts when it comes to JVCís current roadmap. Iíve been using JVC pro gear for the last decade and have become a bit of a JVC zealot. But with the release of their GY-HM line of cameras, my faith has been tested. The alliance JVC has undertaken with Apple and Sony bothers me. In my gut it feels a bit unholy.

Iíve always liked the little-bit-of-rebel that JVC has shown with their camera design/form-factor and codec/format implementation. Iíve taken pleasure watching the jaws drop in awe when I tell a Panasonic or Sony cool-aid drinker, ďI shot it on my JVC,ď and hearing them say, ďJVC makes gear that good? Really?..Ē Well, they never say that, but you can see it on their faces.

The worst part of the next 18 months, and Iím almost embarrassed to admit it, is the serious consideration Iíll have to give Canon and the other manufacturers that up to this time have been major players in the digital still photo market. Rumor has it that Canon has merged its still and video divisions into one big digital imaging department. And what will Nikon and Pentax do? Things are about to get crazy up in here!

The major players in pro video are due for a serious wake up call. Sony and Panasonic seem stuck in a rut. RED is floundering, unable to bring the Scarlet to market. JVC seems to be spending less energy in their image acquisition division and more in image display technologies. The door is wide open for Canon, Nikon and the too often overlooked company of Silicon Imaging. The next two years will be truly fascinating....

So, am I alone here? Does anyone else feel just a bit betrayed?

If any JVC reps have a sliver of info that might help me through this time of reflection and doubt, I'd love to hear it.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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I think JVC feel that they'd be unwise to try to compete directly with Sony and Panasonic. This is why they are going for niche markets and trying something different - in the case of the HM700 using CCD instead of the ubiquitous CMOS in this sector of the market. This gives lower spec, but certain benefits and I think they hope to get devotees that can't live with CMOS (like me!)
The 35 mb/s codec and full raster chips make it a good and serious camera in my eyes.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 02:42 PM   #3
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I too was invested heavily in the prohd line. I have the hd100 and hd200. I made a custom 35 and mid format lens adapter for them.

Then last november I picked up the 7D. Pushed it really hard. I then realized what a heavy yoke has been lifted off my, and my grips shoulders, literally.

I still had the cam on stand by "just in case" the DSLR wasnt up to the job.

Then, after finishing several high end projects for high end clients, (hi speed sea transport company, real estate corporate materials, gov't tourism promotional)

-AND not having to pick up the JVCs from their cases in each project, I realized it was time to trickle down those JVC cams to my consumer/events division.

It was game over for the heavy JVCs in my high end corporate and advertising department. Their image was fantastic. Alas, the pros of going DSLRs was simply overwhelming against the cons.

When we tested the D90 and D5000 from Nikon, we werent convinced with their video and used them only for stills. The game changed with the 7D.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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I certainly don't feel "betrayed" but I think more and more every day that I will continue to use my HD200ub's for everyday stuff and will likely invest next in an HD-video ready dSLR for "beauty" shots. The buy in is ridiculously cheap compared to what the video guys want for large sensors (Don't misunderstand me, I GET it...) but while I wait for "the next big thing", I need to get out there and do MY thing, which puts food on MY table.

I've had two hard drives containing non-mission critical media FAIL in the past 6 months and another in the past 18 months so solid state EXCLUSIVELY isn't in my game plan yet. I can put tapes on the shelf and with some care, they still work ten years later so the JVC's have a very valid market segment for me. It's only my CLIENTS that scoff at 720P - I shoot at 60P for motion characteristics so until 1080P60 becomes a workable solution, I don't mind my JVCs.

And consider yourself "lucky" that you bought into the 250 with HD-SDI - I HAVE no upgrade of image readily available to me - I'm locked into 25mbps HDV. I will EVENTUALLY add a 700 to the stable, just to have HD-SDI and 1080P in the same form factor as my existing 200's but not in the next 2 or so months.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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Steve:

I get the whole competing directly with Sony and Panasonic thing. Iíd go so far as to say that JVC never really has. Their rigs have always been just a little quirky, a bit different, which is what pulled me to them in the first place. But now theyíve niched so hard to Final Cut editors and Sony-centric broadcast houses that people like me have to step back and take another look.

Iíll give you the CCD vs CMOS thing, too. Iíve shot some CMOS rigs in my days and there are certainly things to think about when using them. Iím not in the least dogging on JVCís quality. I love my cameras. Theyíve done me well.

Ted:

I canít say that Iím sold on the current incarnation of the HDSLRs. Their images can be truly beautiful and the lens options nearly endless, but I have issues with form factor and other things that exist mostly because they were never intended to become full-on replacements for pro video gear. I will say that Iím excited to see how they will effect the new lines of pro video cameras that emerge in the coming years. That kind of technology in a form factor designed for video will change things.

Shaun:

True that, my man. True that...

I chose the HD250 because it has HD-SDI knowing full well that Iíd someday what to bypass the HDV. I also liked the idea of JVCís PL adapter. What a great concept. Unfortunately the cost never came down as I had hoped. At least I have the HD-SDI. Iím still recording tape as a backup, too. Never trust a hard drive.

All:

I knew using the word ďbetrayedĒ would raise some eyebrows, but donít miss understand my point. I'm not saying the HM's are bad cameras. I do feel like JVC has forgotten me as a type of customer. I make low-budget movies. Iím fiercely independent, doing things my way. I edit on PC. Iím a nonconformist in the nonconformist world of content creation. And Iím cheap. I have to be. Itís the world I work in. The GY-HD series was thinking about me and my kind. I liked that and still do. I think the GY-HM series isnít thinking about me. That series is thinking about someone else, and that makes me sad... Sure I could use the HMís .mov or XDCAM EX .mp4 files, but I donít want to. Thatís on me, not on JVC. Theyíre doing what they need to do. And so will I...

I love my HD250 just like I loved my DV5000 and my DV500. And the HM700 (or whatever incarnation is available when Iím ready to buy) will make it on my short list by default. But the competition is steep. The SI-2K mini is my camera crush of 2010 so far. If Iím willing to tether my HD250 for 60p/720 4:2:2 with 24p flagging, why not tether for 2K 24p 4:2:2 to Cineform raw? I canít afford it, thatís why...
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Old March 26th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Haufschild View Post
I also liked the idea of JVCís PL adapter. What a great concept. Unfortunately the cost never came down as I had hoped.
I own one and STILL haven't put it into use! What a waste... Been looking to pick up "bargain" PL lenses but between moving 2600 kms west and the downturn in the economy, I just haven't had the disposable cash... even for rentals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Haufschild View Post
Iím a nonconformist in the nonconformist world of content creation. And Iím cheap. I have to be. Itís the world I work in. The GY-HD series was thinking about me and my kind. I liked that and still do.
JVC FIRST piqued my interest 10 or so years ago when the Digital-S camcorder AND lens AND batteries came out at under $10k. I was fresh out of media college and used to shooting BetaSP on aging 507 head units and wanted the form factor but not the price... I chickened out (due to lack of local support) and bought into a PD150 after using the VX-1000 and DSR200A owned by my mentor for years.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I own one and STILL haven't put it into use! What a waste... Been looking to pick up "bargain" PL lenses but between moving 2600 kms west and the downturn in the economy, I just haven't had the disposable cash... even for rentals.
Yeah, exactly. I held off buying the adapter hoping it would drop but it didn't. When you start looking at lenses and the adapter, you're looking at spending as much as another camera! I'm all for paying for the image I want, but it's out of my reach especially after dropping the cash for the HD250. I'm glad I did, but another $7000 on the adapter and lenses just isn't gonna happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
JVC FIRST piqued my interest 10 or so years ago when the Digital-S camcorder AND lens AND batteries came out at under $10k. I was fresh out of media college and used to shooting BetaSP on aging 507 head units and wanted the form factor but not the price... I chickened out (due to lack of local support) and bought into a PD150 after using the VX-1000 and DSR200A owned by my mentor for years.
I was looking at the PD150 when JVC dropped the DV500 into the market. I shot so much stuff with that rig that I wore out the tape drive. Picked up the DV5000 and did the same. Ran both those rigs with a Firestore for another year or so before picking up the HD250. JVC has been good to me...
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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:06 AM   #8
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When recently visiting the Broadcast Forum / Production Show in London my overall feeling is that I am still very satisfied with my GYHD201 camera and there was very little latest kit to tempt me, despite my 201 now being three years old. The five key reasons being...

1. Unlike the DSLRs nothing can beat a professional shoulder mounted camera for stability and options, especially on ENG shoots.
2.If I turned up with what looked like a glorified stills camera a lot of my corporate clients would laugh me out the door.
3. The tapeless workflow we have established in which we shoot simultaneous to both harddrive (100GB) and also to tape provides both security of mind during the shoot, and flexible archival options -we can archive the master tapes, and the resulting project files edited straight off the harddrive end up on Blu-Ray data discs.
4. 35mm look.... when required we have the option of using our SGPro adapter and set of Minolta primes, as used to shoot our recent feature film (which incidentally has just picked up Best Feature Film at the British Independent Film Festival 2010).
5. JVC support has been great -we recently had it serviced by them and they also updated some of the hardware for free.

Our equipment has already paid for itself and turns out some great images, so have been and continue to be a happy user!
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Last edited by Dan Parkes; March 27th, 2010 at 11:07 AM. Reason: there are actually five key reasons, not four!
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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #9
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JVC's ProHD product line is alive and well. What is happening is very simple; it's the transition from tape-based recording to file-based (tapeless) recording. And that transition is by no means complete yet. NAB is just around the corner...
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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #10
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Chris -Am glad that the ProHD product line is alive and well!.... but being able to shoot to both tape and harddrive/solid state has significant advantages in my opinion (notably archival) than going completely tapeless, so to me the GY-HD series is still a favourite, unless they are introducing dual technology in the new models....?
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Old March 28th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #11
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I have a JVC 111E and the brochure makes repeated statements about how great it is for a 16mm or 35mm film transfer. After shooting a short and one feature on it, I agree. It's also the most beautiful HDV camera ever produced. It was made for one purpose only - for independent filmmaking.

I hope the particular bunch of guys at JVC who championed this model still works there, and I wait for their next superstar.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #12
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Thank you for the thread and dialog

We really appreciate that there's consideration towards the line as much as we at JVC are putting into it. As Chris mentioned, we're not done by any means. But to first touch upon some discussion points:

HZCA13U Cine Optical PL-Mount lens Adapter - The product concept is to enable the use of existing 16mm primes in the market, in particular those lying dormant with Aaton's, or a lens that a photog has kept since cutting their teeth with it. There's no comparison to the "organic" look that a prime lens has when seen through optics. Speaking of which, there's 11 elements in the HZCA13U with less than 1 f-stop of light loss. A similar device made for 2/3" mounts costs $30k, and the cost of manufacturing is high for this piece. Having said that, we didn't compromise on the quality of the image. We even implemented image rotation from the 200 Series specifically so that this adapter can be used without fixing the image in post. The HM700 carries on this capability.

XDCAM EX codec - This is an extremely robust codec, and at the same time the data mass payload is very efficient. We've been told by many ProHD users of their desire for 1080/24p as well as minimal digital artifacting. This codec does both, and is supported by all major NLE's, making the files recorded by the HM series ubiquitous (apologies for the big word). JVC developed the 19Mbp/s platform within the XDCAM EX codec so that material created with our 720p format can be brought in and can continue to be used.

.mov native file recording - We found that an overwhelming majority of our users preferred FCP, and we have a very strong relationship with Apple from our HD100/HD110 development. The HM series has the fastest, most efficient workflow in the market, bar none. The implementation of this workflow was made possible by a great deal of work by people who had our mutual customers in mind.

File based recording solutions - There's a number of IT-based solutions in the marketplace for those who need redundancy or a file based solution for their 100 and 200 series camcorders, both by JVC and other partners. We work with Aja, Convergent Design, Edirol, Fast Forward Video to name a few, and we offer our MR-HD100 as a solution as well.

The GY-HD250 continues to be a major product for us, especially in studio production. Being a camcorder it provides the flexibility of being used in the field, and it offers the capability of recording on tape.

What's most significant is the growth of 1/3" bayonet mount lensing options, and models being introduced by companies other than JVC. And the lensing options continue to grow.

The HM series are producting HD 24p file-based pieces on a weekly basis on shows like NCIS LA, America's Most Wanted, and of course "24". Film Institutions have embraced the new technology in a major way, and it has empowered instructors to focus on key elements of filmmaking, like lighting and framing, without worrying if the material will have issues ingesting into their NLE's. News and government customers are using our equipment 24/7, and our extremely positive cost/performance ratio has been recognized industry-wide.

All of these advancements have been made with our ProHD users in mind, including independents, stringers and photogs, so that they can be empowered to focus on the creative and not on the technology. It is our ongoing endeavor to empower our customers to work smarter, and at the same time be able to tell their story in the way they envision, whether is drama or news.

JVC ProHD has a strong list of major partners in signal processing, lensing, storage, power supply, and on. And our partner's list continues to grow every year, and this year's no exception...

Thank you all for your ongoing support, and we hope to see you all at NAB.

Sincerely,
Craig
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input Craig.

Also, when it comes to the HZCA13U Cine Optical PL-Mount lens Adapter, it should be noted that by increasing the image target size internally within the adaptor, compared to ENG/EFP styled zoom lenses there is actually a 1.5 f-stop GAIN in sensitivity. I look forward to actually lensing something with mine some day.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #14
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Thanks, everybody, for jumping into the conversation. This is great stuff.

Dan:
I agree when it comes to form factor and DSLRs. And showing up with one on a client shoot does raises eyebrows and concerns. A shooter I know lost a contract for that very reason.

As for the SGPro, did you use it to shoot the entire feature or just bits and pieces? People Iíve spoken with about similar adapters have commented how they use them only in certain situations as they can be difficult and time consuming to deal with.

Chris:
The ProHD line IS alive and well, no doubt. The GY-HM series makes sense in so many ways as a move to a completely digital workflow and thatís a good thing. With NAB in a few weeks, Iím just curious how the market leaders are going to respond to whatís happening with the DSLRs. Thatís fair, right?

Sareesh:
Amen, brotha! The GY-HD line was totally directed at indy film folk like us. Thank you, JVC! You guys made a camera just for me!

I, too, am waiting for that next awesome superstar. Iíll get to what we want when I address Craigís excellent comments...

Craig:
Thanks so much for joining the conversation. Itís truly awesome that JVC takes value in what their customers are talking about. Thatís one of the many reasons I love your products so much.

Youíre points about the HZCA13U are well taken. It is the best possible adapter out there. PERIOD. No one would argue that point. But it is expensive. I realize when compared to other similar devices made for the big boys, you could say itís a steal, but itís out of my reach and the reach of many ultra-low budget creators. It makes perfect sense for bigger budget stuff, and someday I hope to get there. I want it desperately but on my set the money goes further feeding/paying my cast and crew (I canít pay much so I feed them well).

As I said, I am a nonconformist in a world of nonconformists. Iím not a FCP user. Thatís my choice. I realize that most are, and Iím fine with that. XDCAM EX of course is a proven codec and would work just fine in my current workflow, but it doesnít do much to improve the quality of my projects over what the HD250 already provides me. The difference between 720 and 1080 isnít that big a leap (seriously, yes I just said that), not enough for me to justify the cost of the HM700.

Question: Has the noise level in the HM700 CCDs improved? Thatís the only issue I have with the HD250. A little more noise than I expected.

Okay, so, what do I want? What would help me justify the cost of a new camera? Build me a ProHD rig that shoots to a 4:2:2 codec at 24p720 or better that records to an inexpensive media like SD cards or solid state drives. Thatís it. Thatís really all I want as an improvement to my HD250 (and the CCD noise). Thatís why Iím tethering to a computer for my latest project.

Iíll say it again, guys. Iím NOT saying that JVC has made a poor product. EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. I think the GY-HD250 is a camera that was designed specifically with me in mind, like they kidnapped me in my sleep and extracted all the information they needed then put me back in my bed with a camera in my arms. I just wanted more from the HM series. I wanted the next line to be made for me, too.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 02:41 AM   #15
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As for the SGPro, did you use it to shoot the entire feature or just bits and pieces? People Iíve spoken with about similar adapters have commented how they use them only in certain situations as they can be difficult and time consuming to deal with
We shot the majority of the feature (about 80%) using the SGPro adapter and created a workflow that was fast and efficient and most importantly turned out some great images. But there are pros and cons. Rather than hijack your most interesting thread I will post a separate thread with some technical details and also an interview with the camera operator who explains how it worked along with some photographs etc of it in action. I still believe 35mm is a completely viable option with these cameras and have even operated the set-up completely myself (i.e. focus pulling, operating and directing at the same time!) but wouldn't particularly recommend that....
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