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Old April 2nd, 2011, 01:07 PM   #76
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Panasonic TM900 & Steadicam Merlin - Best Settings (So Far)

I took a break from all the corporate editing that I've been doing to work out some better settings for the Panasonic TM900 on my Steadicam Merlin.

One of my video tests is linked below (and see the notes on the YouTube page for more info/other relevant Steadicam tests I've been doing). Steadicam Merlin settings are at the end of the video along with a couple of quick snaps of the rig - on a bike stand!

YouTube - Panasonic TM900 & Steadicam Merlin (1080p50 2nd Test)

The key this time was using a Manfrotto MN577 Quick Release Plate directly under the TM900 to give it more weight. Mind you, it's still pretty light - you could use it for hours, unlike when I fly my Canon 7D and a wide angle! However, it is still a little lacking in the self inertia/smoothness that I get with the 7D but I think (with practice) I will definitely get a lot better results than this quick test shows.

As soon as we get another spell of good weather I'll be out and about practising with this new set-up in a much more interesting envionment than my back garden!
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Old April 5th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #77
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Panasonic TM900 - External Microphone (Rode VM Pro or Nikon ME-1?)

As I've mentioned before, the mics on the TM900 are very susceptible to any wind when shooting outside - even just a light breeze renders the audio pretty useless. I've been considering getting a new Rode Videomic Pro (I have the original VM and the SVM but these would totally dwarf such a tiny camcorder in weight - especially the SVM - and size). I fully understand that any mic on a camera is almost always in the least perfect place to get good audio but sometimes I'm out and about and just need the best I can get with run-n-gun.

Well, the new Nikon (stereo) mic ME-1 has just surfaced and that looks like it's even smaller than the Rode Videomic Pro so could be a good candidate. It's said to be about 120 and will be available from 21st April.

It seems to have a over-long lead (not sure why they did this as the new Nikon camera it was announced with does not require such a length!) so I guess I'd have to put a loop in the cable. There are lots of pictures of this mic and that new Nikon camera on engadget and some information in this link on DVinfo.

D5100: does Nikon finally have a contender?

Just posting this as it LOOKs like a good little mic for small cams like the TM900. Of course, we've yet to HEAR it.

UPDATE: Just learnt on another website that the ME-1 apparently draws its power from the D5100's battery via the stereo plug/lead. I have no idea if any power can be supplied via the TM900's mic jack.
UPDATE 2: I just checked in the TM900's handbook and all I can see is this on page 163 where it mentions the Mic Input, " -70dBV (Mic sensitivity -50dB equivalent, 0dB=1 V/Pa, 1 kHz)". On page 13 it states, "A compatible plug-in powered microphone can be used as an external microphone".

I guess it'll have to be the Rode VMP then.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #78
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi, Andy....I'm curious to know what you use for video editing software? I'm no pro but the only app I've paid for is Corel Video Studio X2 and X3. I've tried (trial versions) all of these: Magix (both consumer and pro X3), Pinnacle Studio, Avid Studio, CyberDirector 9 Adobe Premier and several others. All have problems of one sort or another.

So what does a pro like you use?

TIA,
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Old April 7th, 2011, 12:29 AM   #79
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Walt and welcome to DVInfo.

Its mostly in my signature but basically I use 2 platforms and 3 computers...there are some shots of me in my studio on my showreel for the ultra curious!

(1) Vegas 9E on a 2010 Dell Studio XPS box - Windows 7 64 Bit Intel i7 2.8Ghz with 8GB RAM, 2TB RAID 0 internal drives and numerous external hard drives.

(2) FCS2 on a mid-2008 Mac Book Pro - 2.5Ghz 4GB RAM 15inch Matt screen version - with the all important Expresscard 34 slot for SxS, KxS and expansion (dirty word for Jobs) but essential for on the road editing and easy and fast ingestion of my XDCAM EX3 clips.

(3) However, my main editing tool is running FCS2 on a 2009 Mac Pro - Nehalem 8 Core (16 virtual) 2.66GHz with 4 TB internal drive (3TB in a RAID 0) and numerous 2 TB RAID 0 GRAID3s and 4s. I'm awaiting the imminent news from Apple at NAB about the new FCS - in the hope that soon I'll be able to see all those cores in use as I'm zipping along during my then ultra fast editing...note to self, I need an even faster brain...

I mainly use two Dell 24 inch 2408WFP Ultrasharps (1920x1200) for display which are excellent (I can't stand overpriced glossy screens - the only thing I tolerate this reflective finish on is my 4th Gen iPod Touch).

In truth (because of a very busy period with my corporate work at the moment) I've not really had any "play time" on the Macs with any TM900 1080p50 editing, just in Vegas. There is no perfect NLE or platform. All have strengths and weaknesses, things I love and hate. At least with my flexible approach (not cheap!) I have several ways of doing things depending on mood, client need or speed (I can even edit and/or render to a huge variety of output formats independently on two NLEs at the same time). NLEs are just some of the tools I need to allow me to be creative, have fun doing it and make money.

I don't want this thread about the TM900 going to far off track but hope that's useful - Back to all things TM900 series specific!
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Old April 7th, 2011, 07:56 AM   #80
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Nuff said....thanks Andy!
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Old April 7th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #81
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I 'm using Edius 6 myself, but it's little brother Edius Neo 3 has the same excellent support for the 1080p50/60 footage from the TM900. I think Edius is the only NLE that with a decent computer can edit this stuff in real time while showing a full quality preview.

If you haven't tried it there is a fully working trial version available here,

EDIUS Neo 3 | Grass Valley

I only ever use the highest quality mode on the TM900, 50P PAL (or 60P if you are NTSC) and find that an Edius 50P project will let me save my edited movie out as 1920 x 1080/50P MPEG2 progressive. This is perfect for playing on the computer, over a network to a TV, from a USB drive media player to a TV, or for storage.

If I want to put it on Blu-ray disk I use an Edius interlaced project (1080 50i/60i) where each progressive frame becomes a field, so 50P becomes 50i... resolution not as good as original 50/60P but still pretty good and the excellent fluid motion one gets from this camera when recording at it's highest quality mode is preserved.

I suggest you download the trial of Edius Neo, I think you will be surprised...
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:29 PM   #82
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I'll check it out. Thanks for the info. This is one I've not tried.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:32 PM   #83
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Regarding mics, I've had a Rode STEREO videomic for several years. I use it to record my band. I first used it on a Pana PV-DV953 and now on the TM700. Since the TM900 has the same mount, it would work identically. Cam is so small that the mic makes it topheavy.
I use it on a tripod so that's not an issue for me.

Something physically smaller would be nice to match the size of the cam but I'm not willing to compromise on the sound quality, especially the bass response.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 12:14 AM   #84
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Panasonic TM900 & Rode Mics

I have the Rode Stereo Videomic and the original Videomic too amongst my "collection". I think the SVM is incredible for it's price point, built like a tank (metal, not plastic) but, as you point out, it totally dwarfs the TM700/900 in both size and weight and I would not be comfortable carrying around such a top heavy affair for casual run-n-gun as it's always a bit of a handful on my bigger, heavier Sony HC1. On a tripod or on a rig would be different. Like you, I'll use the SVM in some situations with the TM900 as I love its open sound. [My next stereo mic up is a Sennheisser AT825 (XLR mix) which is also lovely and "open", by the way, but of course is not a mic I can use plugged into a TM900...but works great with my Fostex FR2-LE though.]

So, for a good small mic for the TM900, I've just bought the Rode Videomic Pro, in the hope that its the best match size/weight/performance for such a small, light cam. Sure, the VMP is mono but that's often all I need or want. I often have a Zoom H2 in my pocket for any ambient sound capture when travelling "light".

This thread covers the Rode VMP in detail for those that want more info/sound samples/pictures and tips:

RODE Videomic Pro

It may even arrive today (with luck) so if it does I'll let you all know what I think!
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Old April 8th, 2011, 07:32 AM   #85
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I've emailed Rode to see if there's a stereo version of the VMP in the works. If there is, I'm guessing it will have a $349 price tag....similar to what they did with the SVM.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #86
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Panasonic TM900 & Rode Videomic Pro (Pictures & Comments)

Well the VMP arrived at my studio this morning but I've been working all day (with a client present) on some corporate web demo edits so I have only now had a spare hour to look at the new VMP before I head down the pub.

They were not kidding when someone said "you double the weight of the Rode VMP when you put a battery in it" - it really is VERY light and you immediately wonder if it'll withstand the rigors of professional use that the name implies. Worry not I thought, it has a 10 year guarantee (and I already know from personal experience with Rode that they are truly superb at sorting out any rare problems that might occur).

The VMP is almost exactly the same length as the TM900 and the fact that its so light means it should be a perfect match for such a tiny cam.

Next, getting the battery in (and yes I did read the excellent instructions first!). I have to say it was not easy, very fiddly and I thought, who the hell thought this was a good way to design a battery compartment! But once you've done it once, its obvious. It really is. I then re-tried it about 3 or 4 times, just to prove to myself that I could replace a battery in front of a client in a hurry, if I needed to, without looking stupid!!! Should not be necessary as the battery last very long time according to the specs. Some clients might still think I look stupid ;-)

Next those rubber suspension bands - yes they seem to come off all too easily. My oh my - I'll be Supergluing them in place (as I've described I did with my original Rode Videomic on this forum before). That will prevent what will become an annoying frustration for sure!

Then I came to put the Rode Videomic Pro on the TM900s accessory microphone shoe attachment. This is where I was a little surprised (actually disappointed). It would not fit!!!!....not without CONSIDERABLE force (and yes I had fully retracted the shoe tightening screw before I attempted this). So much force that I decide to give up before I had a load of broken plastic in my hands that was once a microphone.

Now I'm a very practical type so the solution was easy. It was obvious from inspection that the Rode VMPs metal shoe was a fraction (and I mean maybe less than 1 mm) too wide to fit into the TM900's metal shoe.

So, I took my brand new 149 Rode Videomic Pro and ran a fine file over both outer side edge surfaces of the Rode VMPs metal shoe to shave off the anodized black covering (and a tiny amount of the metal beneath). All is now well - it fits without any problems, like a dream. Like it should have done out of the box...Now, I have no idea if this is a manufacturing tolerance error with the Rode Videomic Pro's shoe being too wide or the TM900s shoe attachment being too narrow but its a simple solution that took me 1 minute to execute. However, if this is not just a one off, I'm sure it will probably annoy someone (somewhere) that they effectively have to alter a brand new, just out of the box VMP using tools just to be able to use it as intended.

Just had time to switch it on, check it works and take a few snaps of the set-up when I got home - and yes the VMP is still out of shot even on full wide. Phew! When I eventually get my free deadcat that may not be the case but for now all looks good. TM900 displays audio levels nicely in iAuto or Manual so it all looks promising. Sure, as feared, the cable is a bit long so I'll be sorting out the best way to deal with that when I have more play time.

No time for sound tests as it's a lovely evening here and just I'm off down the pub to see some mates!

Pics below to keep you going. More info soon. Cheers!
Attached Thumbnails
The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread-tm900rodevmp1.jpg   The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread-tm900rodevmp2.jpg  

The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread-tm900rodevmp3.jpg  
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Old April 10th, 2011, 05:17 AM   #87
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Panasonic TM900 - Mic Accessory Shoe (Tip to Remove "Rattle")

Another tip for you all.

I noticed that the TM900 accessory shoe rattles a bit when it's got a mic like the Rode VMP or SVM on it. It's almost as if the metal shoe fitting that it slips down into (on the side of the camera, under the cover) is very slightly too big - and we are talking fractions of a mm here again. It's a beautifully engineered thing but obviously any unnecessary play or noise is not desired so, again, it was a very simple and (at least to me) obvious solution.

I cut a small piece of electricians insulation tape (15mm x 8mm) and stuck it onto the shiny silver metal surface of the accessory shoe. That worked a treat, much reducing the play but it still had a tiny amount. I tried doubling the thickness by placing a second identical piece of tape firmly over the first one but that was obviously way too tight to even slip down into the accessory slot on the TM900's side. Don't force it! So, by trial and error, I found that all I needed was a tiny extra peice of tape (4mm x 8mm) stuck on top of the first piece at the upper end (nearest end to the part that takes the microphone above it). Obviously, tapes come in many different thicknesses but you get the idea.

Now it slips in nice and snuggly, just slightly tightening up as you push it the last few mm into the slot to lock it.

Simple, no more rattle! I'll post a pic shortly. Maybe my TM900 is an odd ball and other Panasonic TM900, TM700 etc. don't have this play with the accessory shoe - but if they do you now know a simple solution!

I'd actually recommend you put the smaller piece of tape UNDER the second longer piece as its more likely to stay in place with much use but I've deliberately pictured it the other way round just so you can see what I'm up to here.

Pic now attached - should be self explanatory.

UPDATE: Been trying out the Rode VMP today (with some family stuff) and I did some "with and without VMP" shots so I could directly compare cam audio to Rode audio on my computer tonight. The difference in audio quality is striking. I suspect I'll rarely use the TM900 without the VMP on it in future!
Attached Thumbnails
The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread-tm900micshoetapetip.jpg  
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; April 10th, 2011 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Adding Pic/typos/updated info
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Old April 10th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #88
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Three more videos

Videos from one day in London. Got to use my circular polarizer, which was needed to video the exhibits at the British museum, almost all of which are behind glass. Tricky indoor lighting as well, with mixtures of sunlight and artificial light of different kinds; a workout for manual WB.

Together they have bagpipes, political protests, a soprano, jugglers, videophotographers doing interviews (with quite different equipment); tourists on boats, buses and lions; champagne, a string quintet, mummies, indoor lighting, balloons, living statues in silver and gold, filming a music video.



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Old April 10th, 2011, 06:14 PM   #89
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Mark,

Thanks alot for posting those clips, and making the mts files available for download on Vimeo. I've been looking for some decent and varied raw footage to scrutinize and it doesnt come any better than these. I'll have a closer look at them later.

Out of interest, did you have the circ polarizer on the camcorder all the time you were inside the British Museum or just when you were shooting objects behind glass.....bearing in mind that you would likely be losing a stop or two even when the polarizer is not 'set up' ? Just trying to get some sense of the 'low-ish light' capability.

Cheers.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 10th, 2011 at 09:56 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 06:34 AM   #90
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

On all the time inside.
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