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Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders
AVCHD for pro applications: AG-AC160, AC130 and other AVCCAM gear.


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Old April 23rd, 2008, 01:26 PM   #31
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I'm perfectly ok with an all HD camera, even if Apple can't seem to ever bring a bluray burner and updated DVDSP to market.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:46 PM   #32
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All Digital Photo Cams can do from (more or less) 640x480 pixels to 8 or 10 or more pixel, with intermediate sizes.
An 8 megapíxels digicam doesn't have 6 or 8 megapixles option only. It's digital and don't record to tape.
Why quit SD option when you are recording on a SD card (it is not a joke ;))? Or less, something like 320x240 for DIRECT Internet. It's a firmware adding, the software of the machine.
SD is good for fast editing on a laptop or, why not, on future and every day more powerful PDAs. Insert the SD card in the PDA, simple video editor, upload to Internet by Wifi.
Work done.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 10:55 PM   #33
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For those interested, I've posted photos & known specifications on my WEB Page of the HMC-150:

http://web.mac.com/bobdiaz/Site/HMC150.html


Also, I have Podcasts of Jan (from Panasonic) and Barry Green talking about the new Panasonic cameras (including the HMC-150). The root to the Podcasts is here:

http://web.mac.com/bobdiaz/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html


I was also able to shoot a short video about the camera at NAB. You can find it on You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Y45vjYlA8



Sincerely,

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Old April 23rd, 2008, 11:52 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Bob Diaz View Post
Also, I have Podcasts of Jan (from Panasonic) and Barry Green talking about the new Panasonic cameras (including the HMC-150). The root to the Podcasts is here:



Bob Diaz
Mr. Diaz

You don't know me from adams house cat but i happened across your pod-cast and have very much enjoyed them. I'm kind of a bigger tecno-geek than most videographers/Producers i know.

i especialy liked
sex, lies and video specs and the stuff with Jan and Barry green.

If i may be so bold i would love to hear your thoughts on a few additional topics.

pixel shifting vs true pixel for pixel scanning (especially as it relates to Panasonic's products)
and
how to preserve picture quality throughout the workflow from acquisition( in DVCproHD or AVCHD) to delivery (dvd or bluray) use intermediate codecs or suck it up and edit native.

anyway
thanks again and keep them podcast coming

Oh... one more thing, did you look at the HMC70? i know its not the "PRO" camera Panasonic makes it out to be but it may fit into the budget weddings and theater work that i do. (my high end folks can get the good stuff) and if so what did you think?

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Old April 24th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #35
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Hi John,

While I went to NAB and was in the Panasonic Booth, I didn't spend any time with the HMC-70. Sorry about that, but with limited time (only 2 days), I wanted to spend the most time with the HMC-150 and the HPX-170. The images from the HMC-70 did look good, but I just didn't take the time to study them over carefully. Maybe someone else did get a chance to check out the HMC-70 and can comment on it.


I've added your topic to the list I keep of future topics to cover. I've switched to a once a week addition, because of the time it takes to produce each Podcast. You can expect an update somewhere around Friday night --> Sunday night. It will take 3 Podcasts to cover your questions and it should be up to 2 months before I can get to these topics.


Best Wishes,

Bob Diaz
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Old May 1st, 2008, 01:24 AM   #36
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Some here seem to think AVCHD will outperform MPEG2 but in general the admittedly budget entrants into the market have been plagued with quality problems. Because of the amount of processing power required to encode AVCHD the attraction of what could be a great aquisition format is being destroyed by cheap encoders that just can't handle fast motion or in some cases any motion at all - we are talking motion trails etc. I trust with the price point of this camera and those further up the Pansonic range that these issues will be addressed, but will it actually outperform MPEG2 Long GOP? Remember that codec has been implemented in cameras at higher data rates (than the 21Mb/s) and with more mature codec chips.

Because it's hard to encode AVCHD also uses a great deal of resources being decoded as well. Prepare to use an intermediate codec like ProRes or DnxHD or Cineform to edit your footage or buy that super beefy computer you've always wanted. Of course long GOP MPEG2 is challenging as well, but a little easier to decode. In this case I think Panasonic are at the bleeding edge and they should be congratulated on at least giving it a go.

However, and this is just my viewpoint, I just don't think pixel shifting is the way of the future. Sooner or later I think Panasonic will join other manufacturers in adopting full HD sensors in cameras with form factors like the DVX and maybe even smaller, especially now that technology is beginning to mature.

As far as the pricepoint goes it seems reasonable without being revolutionary, given that this camera will shoot squarely at event coverage and budget corporate work and some newsgathering. BTW does anyone know if this cam will sport an HD-SDI out?
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Old May 1st, 2008, 07:50 PM   #37
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Hi John,

IF we are talking about good quality CODECs, MPEG-4 AVC H.264 (AVCHD) will out perform MPEG-2. AVCHD has a lot more "tricks" to use to better compress the data. The extra processing power required to AVCHD is to be able to use as many of the extra "tricks" to compress the data.

On the other hand, if the AVCHD CODEC is done poorly, it won't stand a chance against MPEG-2.

At the highest data rate, the HMC-150 reaches 21 Mbps average and 24 Mbps maximum. Thus for the easy stuff with almost no movement, the data rate will be less than 21 Mbps, but if the movement becomes VERY complex, it can reach up to 24 Mbps.

The 24 Mbps of AVCHD maximum comes to about 96% of HDV's 25 Mbps data rate and the 21 Mbps average comes to 84% of HDV's 25 Mbps data rate. So, it doesn't take too much for Panasonic to generate a CODEC that will do far better than HDV.

Because there's more than one way to do AVCHD encoding, it's hard to say what the compressed file from the HMC-150 will be like. If they chose, CABAC, the compression is better, but it takes more processing power to play back. On the other hand, CAVLC doesn't work as well, but it takes less processing power to play back.

Quote:
# Context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding (CABAC), an algorithm to losslessly compress syntax elements in the video stream knowing the probabilities of syntax elements in a given context. CABAC compresses data more efficiently than CAVLC but requires considerably more processing to decode.

# Context-adaptive variable-length coding (CAVLC), which is a lower-complexity alternative to CABAC for the coding of quantized transform coefficient values. Although lower complexity than CABAC, CAVLC is more elaborate and more efficient than the methods typically used to code coefficients in other prior designs.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

Once the camera comes out around September --> November 2008, we'll be able to really test the CODEC and see if there are any real problems or not. My feeling is that Panasonic is NOT stupid and will make sure that only the worst of the worst will cause compression artifacts or at least MPEG-2 is going to break long before the the HMC-150 does.

I expect that the forums will have a lively debate over using using an intermediate CODEC vs. Native Mode Editing. I'll save my comments for a future Podcast, but I will say that the answer is not a simple one. there's a bit of give and take here as each solution is not perfect.

As for HD-SDI output, it a word, no, not for the HMC-150. You can see the photos I took at NAB of the HMC-150. If you want HD-SDI output, the 170 does offer it.

http://web.mac.com/bobdiaz/Site/HMC150.html


Sincerely,

Bob Diaz


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http://web.mac.com/bobdiaz/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html
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Old May 1st, 2008, 11:12 PM   #38
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Hi John,

IF we are talking about good quality CODECs, MPEG-4 AVC H.264 (AVCHD) will out perform MPEG-2. AVCHD has a lot more "tricks" to use to better compress the data. The extra processing power required to AVCHD is to be able to use as many of the extra "tricks" to compress the data.

On the other hand, if the AVCHD CODEC is done poorly, it won't stand a chance against MPEG-2.

At the highest data rate, the HMC-150 reaches 21 Mbps average and 24 Mbps maximum. Thus for the easy stuff with almost no movement, the data rate will be less than 21 Mbps, but if the movement becomes VERY complex, it can reach up to 24 Mbps.

The 24 Mbps of AVCHD maximum comes to about 96% of HDV's 25 Mbps data rate and the 21 Mbps average comes to 84% of HDV's 25 Mbps data rate. So, it doesn't take too much for Panasonic to generate a CODEC that will do far better than HDV.
Thanks for all the info Bob, much appreciated - my fear is that so far every implementation to date at the bottom end of the market has failed (and some of them use data rates between 14Mb/S-19Mb/s which is not too dissimilar), therefore Panasonic will have to implement a MUCH better quality hardware codec. That's why I'm adopting a wait and see attitude as well. I'm hoping Panasonic will make a killer codec chip for acquisition.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 08:07 AM   #39
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Thanks for all the info Bob, much appreciated - my fear is that so far every implementation to date at the bottom end of the market has failed (and some of them use data rates between 14Mb/S-19Mb/s which is not too dissimilar), therefore Panasonic will have to implement a MUCH better quality hardware codec. That's why I'm adopting a wait and see attitude as well. I'm hoping Panasonic will make a killer codec chip for acquisition.
I agree 100% with those sentiments. When AVCHD was first anounced there was this big proclamation that HDV/MPEG2 had been handed its hat and would be phased out fairly quickly, leaving HDV as more or less a short lived stepping stone in the transition from SD to HD. Sony's own literature stated that AVCHD at 9mbps was roughly equivalent to 25mbps MPEG2. Expectations were high.

Of course here we are quite some time later and I still don't see it. For comparison's sake the new Canon HF10/100 vs the HV30 is the closest horse race I can think of off hand and in this case the 17mbps AVCHD *still* doesn't equal the 25mbps MPEG2. And the AVCHD coming off the HF is the nicest I've seen.

And Sony - one of the AVCHD designers (with Pana) - was more or less expected by many to drop HDV and start delivering AVCHD very quickly. While they've pushed AVCHD in the consumer market, they'd done the *exact opposite* with their professional tools. Basically every pro HD cam they make now from $3,000 to $13,000 records MPEG2.


I'm also looking forward to seeing what Panasonic delivers with their new AVC encoder hitting 24mbps. My guess is we'll see the elimination of the mosquito noise inherent to MPEG2 and less breakup and/or softening during fast motion. Beyond that I'm not sure how much more to expect at these bandwidths. I looked at some of the Sony EX1** footage from DVInfo members and its absolutely amazing what 35mbps MPEG2 can deliver. I really think (and Sony seems to be applying this) that the lens, sensors and processing electronics are far, FAR more important than the codec being used.




** I would give up a vital organ to own one of these!
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:38 AM   #40
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No question it remains the big unknown as to will the HMC-150 AVCHD CODEC really meet Low End Professional Standards or not.

Panasonic has a few things going for it:


(1) Improved CCD and not a single chip image sensor. The image coming into the CODEC is far better than other AVCHD Cameras, so right out of the starting gate, it starts off better quality. I tried to find the link to the video where I grabbed the frames to these still images, but I can't find the link. In the still images, you will see a reduction in the noise with the new CCDs that are found in the 200a, 170, and 150 cameras.

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f1...CD_Noise_1.png

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f1...CD_Noise_2.png

The images were designed to make the noise stand out, but even at maximum noise, the new CCD holds up so much better than the older CCD.


(2) Panasonic's bit rate is 24 Mbps vs. 25 Mbps of HDV (96% of HDV). With other AVCHD cameras 17 Mbps is 68% of HDV. It truth, it's a bit more complex than that, but I get into that issue later on. (I have a lot to do right now and I can't take the time to write it out.)


Bob Diaz

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http://web.mac.com/bobdiaz/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 02:31 AM   #41
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(2) Panasonic's bit rate is 24 Mbps vs. 25 Mbps of HDV (96% of HDV). With other AVCHD cameras 17 Mbps is 68% of HDV.
25mb/s is only with HDV 2. HDV 1 standard is 19mb/s. Plus you cannot just go by bit rate as the AVCHD codec is more effecient than HDV. I like to see comparative video between this camera and HDV cameras.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 12:05 PM   #42
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25mb/s is only with HDV 2. HDV 1 standard is 19mb/s. Plus you cannot just go by bit rate as the AVCHD codec is more effecient than HDV. I like to see comparative video between this camera and HDV cameras.
Hi John,

I would like to see the footage from the HMC-150, but the comparison will need to wait until the HMC-150 comes out. That should be around September ---> November 2008.

For now we are limited to a "paper comparison". In terms of AVCHD vs. HDV, AVCHD doesn't have to be a whole lot better to beat HDV.

Assuming 1080/60i mode for both:

The 25Mbps of HDV is 1.04x higher in bit rate than the HMC-150's 24Mbps maximum. Add to that the increase of the horizontal resolution from 1440 of HDV to 1920 of AVCHD, an increase of about 1920/1440 = 1.33...x. That comes to a total of: 1.04 x 1.33... = about 1.39x increase; let's say 1.4 increase.

Can AVCHD show an improvement of 1.4x over MPEG-2? Well, given that it can show a 2x - 3x improvement over MPEG-2, 1.4x does not seem like a big reach.


As for 720/30p, I don't know for sure if the 24Mbps of the HMC-150's camera holds true for that mode. IF yes, 24Mbps / 19Mbps = about 1.26x higher for AVCHD. Assuming a good quality CODEC for the HMC-150, I'd say that it will be far better than 720/HDV, but without additional information and the all important side by side comparison, I can't be sure.


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Old May 3rd, 2008, 01:41 PM   #43
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Last year I bought a Sony SR7 ( which my daughter now has) and have recently got a SR11. The improvement in one year is very significant. In good light it is easily as good as my FX1 in HDV and a lot more convenient. I have yet to do a comparison with the SR11 set to 9mbps the only mode for 1440x1080 as the higher 17mbps is only 1920 x1080. The FX1 cost 4 times as much and so will the 150 when it comes out so they had better be a little better in performance!!!! I will do some more comparisons in the future but I am happy with the results so far certainly as a family cam. The main issue at the moment is editing. Converting to Edius HQ or any of the intermediates takes a long time on my AMD x2 4200 so am looking forward to my new computer!!! I am looking forward to the pro/prosumer cams like the 150 I am sure Sony will not want to leave this market open to Panasonic either.

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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:09 AM   #44
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The 25Mbps of HDV is 1.04x higher in bit rate than the HMC-150's 24Mbps maximum. Add to that the increase of the horizontal resolution from 1440 of HDV to 1920 of AVCHD, an increase of about 1920/1440 = 1.33...x. That comes to a total of: 1.04 x 1.33... = about 1.39x increase; let's say 1.4 increase.
That all sounds good on paper, but it won't mean much until we see actual production footage from the camera. My guess is that the codec will work fine but the sensors will produce soft images compared to some HDV cameras, so that will remain a topic of discussion in making comparisons. And editing AVCHD footage is still a bit iffy, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out in the next year or two.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #45
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In good light it is easily as good as my FX1 in HDV and a lot more convenient. I have yet to do a comparison with the SR11 set to 9mbps the only mode for 1440x1080 as the higher 17mbps is only 1920 x1080. The FX1 cost 4 times as much and so will the 150 when it comes out so they had better be a little better in performance!!!!
Be careful making comparisons of cameras in good light these days. Most of the small sub $1,500 cameras will look wonderful in bright daylight. My tiny HV20 looks as good or better than any $3,000+ camera on the market today in good light. The true test is how a camera performs when not shooting in optimal conditions. How far can you push it till it breaks? The answer on the little cameras is, not far.
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