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Old June 20th, 2006, 07:45 PM   #31
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We were ready to purchase the HVX.

However after we saw the JVC and the images from it, we made the switch.

What really sold us were all the similarities that the JVC had to a film camera. (We are old film guys)

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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:20 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
FWIW I think P2 is an excellent basic idea but - like so many good ideas - it's great in theory and lousy in practice. [...] And where are all the DVX/HVX evangelists? I'd have thought they'd be all over this thread by now...
I'm not an evangelist for any one camera, but I'll come to the defense of the HVX200 here. To argue that one camera is better than the other is to fail to understand each was designed with a different design points and attempting to solve a different set of problems. I've shot with BOTH the JVC H100 and the Panasonic HVX200 and I think that each camera is perfect for a specific set of needs.

Shooting a narrative and want a small, self-contained camera that offers variable frame rates? The HVX is perfect. Long event? Of course the HDV tape format wins. On the other hand, I don't see anyone getting very excited about doing green screen with the bit-starved MPEG-2 HDV format, while pulling clean mattes from DVCPRO HD video is a snap. And what about variable frame rates? 60p? The small form-factor of the HVX? The convenience of quick ingest in terms of news and commercials? The folks at NY1 are using the HVX and love it as a news camera. I've used it in both narrative and documentary situations and I love it too.

I spent the weekend before last shooting for 12 hours straight (not rolling for 12 hours but catching B-roll of events and some short interviews, a total of 2 hours of footage) with the JVC H100, and the HVX would not have worked in that situation. Let's see, that would have been 6 8GB cards at 720p/Native (20 minutes of recording capacity per card, less than 8 minutes to download each), hmmm, come to think of it, those cards can be amortized over one or two years of work and for the quick-turnaround stuff that I was shooting, faster than real-time ingest might have been nice... so it all depends on the context of the sutation whether one tool or the other shines.

I've noticed owners have a tendency to be very biased and find it hard to see the other side of the story, regardless if they are JVC H100 fans or Panasonic HVX200 fans... I'm glad I own niether and I'm free to choose the tool that's right for each job, there are so many GOOD cameras out there....

Sony 1/2" XDCAM HD camcorder (great look, cheap media, variable frame rates),

JVC 1/3" H100/HDV (great image quality and performance, limted HDV media),

Panasonic 1/3" HVX200/DVCPRO HD (small, variable frame-rates, good image quality, P2 controversial media),

Panasonic 2/3" Varicam/DVCPRO HD (real HD camera, a joy to shoot with, real DVCPRO HD tape media),

Sony HVR-A1 (tiny little thing handy for doc, HDV media)..,

etc.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:47 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tames
I'm not an evangelist for any one camera, but I'll come to the defense of the HVX200 here. To argue that one camera is better than the other is to fail to understand each was designed with a different design points and attempting to solve a different set of problems.
David, I agree with you but if you look at the original post, and title of this thread, I'm specifically addressing the P2 storage system and not the camera.

Peace :)
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Old June 21st, 2006, 03:32 AM   #34
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At last - a spirited defence of the HVX!

David, I completely agree with you. But - like Paolo - I was attacking the P2 workflow in practice as it stands with the current cost/capacity problem. This alone is the major problem with the HVX - and other P2 cameras for that matter. It's not the camera per se but the P2 workflow it depends on that is the problem. The cost/workflow has no sensible relation to the cost of the camera. I definitely see the advantage of the far superior codec (I mentioned this in my first post) and of the form factor and variable frame rates. The problem is purely that all these great things are severely limited in practice by P2 as it stands. The real-world useability of the HVX (and other P2 cameras) is not good. I think that P2 is particularly bad for the HVX because most people who want a palmcorder style camera at the HVX price point are not trying to shoot feature films or commercials and they need a long record time without spending a fortune and needing an assistant and a laptop. These people are buying Z1s at the moment in great big batches and I'm sure Panasonic could have had a share of that pie. In fact, I'm very happy with our HD100 but the HVX would make much more sense for us all-round IF we could record HD for longer periods. Of course, an external HDD device is one option but my experience of these is thoroughly negative so far.

Of course, the only reason Panasonic was able to offer the HVX at a low price is by limiting form factor, lens, sophistication of the CCD block and not including a higher end tape mechanism. These limitations decrease production cost and mean there is little or no adverse effect on sales of their more sophisticated units. JVC does not have this 'problem' and can offer us all sorts of pro features with impunity. It's just a shame we have to put up with such a lousy codec.

I never even mentioned the HD100 in my first post. Of course the JVC has its fair share of issues, which we all know and hate, I'm sure, not least of which is its own specific workflow problem that few decent NLEs acually support HDV1 at 24/25/50 fps!
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Old June 21st, 2006, 08:01 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Ciccone
David, I agree with you but if you look at the original post, and title of this thread, I'm specifically addressing the P2 storage system and not the camera
I understand. Antony Michael Wilson asked where the HVX evangelists were so I had to chime in (though I'm not an HVX evangelist, I can play one here).

It's so hard to divorce completely the issue of medium and camera. Can I use P2 with the H100? Not without some clever hacking. Can I use HDV with the HVX200? I guess I could use a transcoder and an HDV tape deck just to prove a point. Each has to be thought of as a system, in a speicific production context. My point was simply to chime in for P2 and HVX and suggest that no camera/medium combination is ideal for every situation and it's unfair to make broad-brush pronoucements, especially when it comes to P2 which is an evolving medium.

I still remember the tube vs. CCD and 16mm film vs. video arguments that used to rage on and on, just as we are now discussing HDV vs. P2, and it's good for some fun, thought provoking, conversation. It helps me understand each of the tools better, I strive to understand the nuances of each, why people like them, why they don't. It rarely turns out to be an either/or thing.

If I had to spend months shooting in a far away place, tape is certaily the way to go. P2 excels when fast turn-around is required and you're shooting very low shooting ratios, while tape excels when high shooting ratios and longer ingest times are acceptable. P2 is far from ridiculous, if you look at Panasonic's roadmap for P2, at the end of the year we'll have 16 GB cards (40 minutes of 720pN) and a year later it's reasonable to expect 32 GB cards (80 minutes of 720pN), plus there's evidence this pace may accelerate.

Does anyone remember those huge 1" Tube HD cameras from Sony? I remember seeing that at NAB, people thought shooting HD was a crock, but then Zbigniew Rybczynski made some unique videos that could not have been made with any other medium. He found the sweet spot of this ridiculous new technology. Most people waited, as they should. My point: each medium has some uses for which it's well suited.

Today we carry HD cameras on our shoulders (CineAlta and Varicam, etc). That's how to look at P2: it's a new technology that's evolving. Tape is tried and true but on a decline. Remember DAT tape? Once upon a time it was the cats meow for digital audio recording. Compact Flash? Hard Drive? Today they are serious recording tool for digital audio recording (I'm thinking of the Sound Devices 744 on the high end and the M-Audio Microtrack on the low end). Audio is the bellweather of what will happen in video.

Is P2 right for everything? No. Is HDV the answer to all of our dreams? No way with MPEG2 encoding. Which one should we use? It depends on the context. I've used both HDV and P2, I'm not going to take sides, I'll sit here in the swiss alps of medialand and enjoy the view of both worlds. I've been thinking of making a short film about P2 workflow shot on HDV and a short film on HDV workflow shot on P2. Now that would be fun.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 08:13 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
At last - a spirited defence of the HVX [...]
Someone's got to do it (grin).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
[...] David, I completely agree with you. But - like Paolo - I was attacking the P2 workflow in practice as it stands with the current cost/capacity problem [...]
Yes, I agree, by the way, with many of the lances that have been thrown at P2. Today P2 workflow is a HUGE PROBLEM to deal with, but I see problems as challenges to be overcome. The challenge is WE HAVE TO DESIGN THE WORKFLOW FROM SCRATCH essentially, we're evolving the workflow as we go, that's the problem, right now you have figure things out, with so many options, challenges, kinks, and opportunities to shoot youself in the foot. No doubt about it, it's a thorny, problematic, dangerous world. Tape is safe and well understood.

But I see the future of MXF file based workflows and I like it. Right now where I'm working we have 20,000 videotapes that we rarely use as B-roll because of the access issue. Videotapes on the shelf do not make an archive. P2 points to a new MXF file based workflow from capture to ingest to editorial to archiving to reuse. And there's value in reuse, especially when you're cutting documentary and news magazine stuff. P2 is only a tiny little sparrow in a huge evolving ecosystem that is the digital studio of the future. We have to see it as component in a much larger machine. Out of context P2 looks like a silly thing that makes no sense compared to the paradigms we're using today.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 08:27 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
[...] limitations decrease production cost and mean there is little or no adverse effect on sales of [Panasonic's] more sophisticated units. JVC does not have this 'problem' and can offer us all sorts of pro features with impunity. It's just a shame we have to put up with such a lousy codec [...]
This point is not lost on me as I'm sure we all understand that every design is a trade-off between market demand, cost, manufacturability, imagination of the designers, internal politics, engineering processes, corporate agendas, etc.

Don't take me for a "real" HVX fanatic, after doing some real world shooting with the JVC H100 I'm very impressed with the camera. With good composition, lighting, and sound, the slight image problems of MPEG2 are insignificant compared to everything else, so "being stuck with a bad codec" is not really all that bad, it just means we have to work a little harder (just like P2 makes us work a little harder in terms of workflow, or to be fair, a lot harder). There, we're back to Tape/P2 issues.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 09:06 AM   #38
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Getting back to the original discussion...

One other problem I found whilst thinking about the HVX is camera sync. I do a lot of the 30-60 minute interviews with three cams, and the though of swapping cards every few minutes on each camera in a staggered way makes the idea of syncing up the footage to do a multi-cam switch in post very nasty.

With tape (or, more often, DVRack), I can sync once at the beginning, and then I'm ready to do a mult-switch all the way through. I'm sure I could line things up with timecode with the HVX, but I can't imagine it'd be nearly as easy as with tape.

Of course, I own an Z1, so perhaps I'm mistaken here...

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Old June 21st, 2006, 09:35 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
In fact, I'm very happy with our HD100 but the HVX would make much more sense for us all-round IF we could record HD for longer periods. Of course, an external HDD device is one option but my experience of these is thoroughly negative so far.
David is saying much more thoroughly and clearly what I only alluded to in my post in rather vague terms. Each of the two systems is best suited to different shooting domains.

But your comment here Anthony raises a question for me. I had imagined that the availability of HDD devices for the cameras in question might shift the balance of overall utility and ease of use. But from the way the give and take is going so far apparently that is not the case. (And I recognize that this was originally a reaction to the P2 card specifically, so maybe other devices are off topic.) But since I just ordered the DR-HD100 your comment really caught my attention. You have a negative impression of HDDs and others have ignored them in this discussion. What seems to be the problem? I'm a newbie at this and don't understand.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 10:06 AM   #40
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Isn't the argument about P2 media on the HVX one that can be overcome with hard disk recorders (Focus, Citidisk, plus that proprietary jobbie I've seen)? Don't get me wrong, I prefer the image quality of the HD100. Also HDV may not be the perfect codec but in most cases it does a similar job to DVCProHD (although with less colour precision).
David is dead right in that each camera has it's place in the food chain, and they are all a lot better than anything available 3 years ago, but which one do you buy if you can only afford one? Not everyone has the luxury of owning a bunch of different cameras for different roles. I think that may be the real test.
Personally I would always buy the HD100 with as many bells and whistles as I could afford as the ENG factor lends itself to a wider variety of roles (but then I do a lot of different things). You can rent a Wafian for green screen shoots, you can rent/buy a superior wide angle lens, you can shoot for 4 hours in hdv with DR-HD100-80. If I could afford a Varicam/F900/XDCamHD then that might be my choice.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 12:22 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tames
I don't see anyone getting very excited about doing green screen with the bit-starved MPEG-2 HDV format, while pulling clean mattes from DVCPRO HD video is a snap.

I've never seen a side by side greenscreen comparison that showed the HVX was any easier to get a good comp out of even if the HD-100 was going straight to tape.

In the only "sorta test" I've seen the HD-100 shows more hair detail:
http://www.bluesky-web.com/HDVHVX.htm

Walter writes:
"One thing I learned here is that as an acquisition format, HDV does not seem to suffer from some of the problems I keep reading about. It seems to key well, as good as any other format I have used. Had I used Keylight or any of the more sophisticated keying software, I would have not had any problems whatsoever so as I always say, a good key is about how it's shot and what you use to cut the key. ...I would not want to edit in native HDV... I don't capture it as native HDV but rather up sample it to a 4:2:2 color space and keep it as a 10 bit uncompressed Quick Time file using the software HDVxDV. Tape is cheap and when used in a proper workflow, as my testing shows it rivals what others claim is a more robust format. While I wouldn't doubt a camera with a bigger CCD and more electronics behind that CCD would do a better key, all these 1/3 inch prosumer cameras are very similar in size and electronics so they are more on a level playing ground regardless of specs that might sound more robust."

--------

I've owned both cameras and I would recommend the HD-100 over the HVX for keying and compositing due to the true 1280x720 resolution and it's MUCH better lower midtone noise. I'm assuming the conversion to Cineform's codec.

Try comping a dramatically lit HVX greenscreen shot. All that colored noise in the lower mids becomes a much bigger issue all of a sudden. Additionally, if you were really doing a lot a greenscreen you could capture the HD-100 via a AJA card at 4:2:2 at 1280x720 in either uncompressed or Cineform. You get HD-100 at 60P then also. The HVX simply can't compete with that.

The myth that the HVX is better for effects (other than 60P) is a just a myth. On paper it seems like it should be better, but that's where it ends.

I think the killer camera will be the HD-250. And then there's Red. (I'm saving my penny's). Add all that up and I see a bleak future for Panasonic's proprietary P2. Investing in it now and banking on future price reductions in P2 as if the rest of the camera world won't be innovating seems risky.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 02:38 PM   #42
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I own and use an HVX but P2 is not for everybody. My biggest issue with the workflow is the lack of a true master. You can get away with swapping cards, it is not that big a deal. The problem is that the workflow is expensive and despite what the fanboys say, it is risky to have footage stored on moving platters and there are still bugs with many workflows.


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Old June 21st, 2006, 08:45 PM   #43
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it is risky to have footage stored on moving platters
That's true and that's what RED will be doing too as I understand it. I'm not sure what the solution is.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 10:08 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
[...] despite what the fanboys say, it is risky to have footage stored on moving platters and there are still bugs with many workflows [...]
there are bugs in the workflow, yes, but I'd say rotating storage is not so risky when you're storing the media on XServe RAIDs and backing that up with LTO-3 tapes, the blinking lights are so much cooler than tapes on a shelf :-)

Of course, that's out of the budget range of indie-filmmakers, and the energy usage is high, yet tapes also need a little bit of air conditioning and controlled humidity, but there's also a cheaper alternative to the hardware RAID-5 solutions: You can use RAID-1 mirrored sets of three drives with the third drive in each kept off site after the mirror set is built.

Tape is tried and true, I have to admit, compared to P2. Someday, however, we'll look back on this discussion fondly when we're shooting with 128 GB cards, editing with 12 TB disk arrays, and archiving off to holographic storage.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 10:29 PM   #45
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[...] the lack of a true master [...]
A friend shared this story with me once... he was digitizing for the purpose of archiving some of his old video footage that had been shot about fifteen years ago and some of the 3/4" tapes he tried to play had nothing on them... the magnetic patterns had vanished. Some of the other tapes barely played once and the oxide literally fell off the tape. This is what I think about when producers say, "I have an archive of my materials on videotape." The archive problem exists for both the videotape workflow and tapeless workflow. Besides recording things out to 35mm intermediate film stock, I don't know any motion picture archival medium which stands a chance to outlast the person who created the images.
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Last edited by David Tamés; June 21st, 2006 at 11:15 PM.
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