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Old June 24th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #1
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New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi all,

I'm off on a 3 week holiday and want to buy a new Panasonic camcorder to record 3 to 4 hours of HD footage per day, in 1080P full HD.

I have a Panasonic full HD Plasma TV and figure that it will be an HD Camcorder to compliment it; and replace my ageing DV camcorder!

My choices are: -

1. HS900 with 220GB Hard Drive (around 1000:00 +/-)
2. TM900 with 32GB built in memory (around 780:00 +/-)

If anyone could recommend a reputable dealer with a good price I'd be grateful for the info, same for 16GB SDHC cards

I guess the DV footage from tapes is okay, but average by HD standards. I have a quad core Mac Pro (2008 model), with 6GB Ram for editing but no Bluray recorder to transfer it to and will use either iMovie, Final Cut X or the bundled software that comes with it, (on Windows 7 running in boot-camp).

I’m blown away with HD but not an expert on different options and codecs for editing HD footage. My plan for now would be to record and playback direct to my TV. When I have the money I’ll buy a Bluray recorder to archive it all, or could I buy a hard drive to store it all on and keeps it's 1080P quality?

I would also aim to buy SDHC cards in 16GB denominations so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket.

On the basis I can get 1 hour 20 minutes 1080P full HD on a 16GB SDHC card, the HS900 with 220GB drive will give me 17 hours of full 1080P footage. I was then going to buy 20 x 16GB SDHC cards [if I can get for a very good price], for another 27 hours (around 40-odd hours) which is 2 hours a day [so not quite enough :0(

What are the different HD options on these camcorders, i.e. 1080i, 1080P etc, is there a massive difference in quality – keeping in mind I’m used to DV footage. Was thinking maybe a different recording option will still give me HD but more of it?

Thanks & sorry for rambling!

Last edited by Barry Sampson; June 24th, 2011 at 04:49 PM.
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Old June 24th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #2
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi Barry - that's a HECK of a lot of footage in 3 weeks! Sounds like the HS900 was designed for you!!!

As you've probably found by reading around the 1080p50 at 28Mbps is superb quality, razor sharp etc. but the AVCHD compliant 1080p at 17Mbps is very acceptable (actually pretty good - just not as good as the 1080p50 for any pixel peepers). The lower data rate should help you maximise available memory usage (although I rarely use it myself) and should be much easier to deal with with the editing and delivery options you mention.

There are several options for even lower data rates available with 1080p AVCHD on the 900 series as well (but I've never tried them - maybe someone who has can comment). Just study the specs on the official Panasonic TM900/HS900/SD900 etc. website for details as to what they are and the bit rate and you can easily work out the memory capacity you might need. Link to the specification area and quick summary below:

http://panasonic.net/avc/camcorder/h...fications.html

1080 / 50p (28 Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080)
HA (17 Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080)
HG (13 Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080)
HX (9 Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080)
HE (5 Mbps / VBR), (1920 x 1080)
iFrame (28 Mbps / VBR), (960 x 540)

I've a TM900 and lots of 16GB SDHC cards and that should get me through my personal needs for 1080p50 at 28Mbps over a 3 + week period that I'm planning in the southern hemisphere this year - I obviously need more time to swim, drink, eat and sleep than you ;-)
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Old June 24th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Thanks Andy, that's useful info :)

Going to Florida with family & friends so want to have as many memories as possible as it isn't a cheap holiday; with that in mind I'd really like to get as much footage, (and in 1080P), as possible so just want to cover myself with storage really; I'd rather have too much storage than too little. Although maybe 4 hours per day is a bit optimistic; we'll have to see, hopefully I'll be too busy to be filming all the time, (but maybe not, I won't manage a lot of rides due to having had heart surgery and ongoing back issues; then again, looks like I will!).

I wanted to record in full HD as that is the whole purpose of buying it and it seems defeatist to do otherwise, maybe I'll get it and go for the 17Mbps option and save some cash in the process :D

I'll have many more questions so prepare for more explanations!

Out of interest, how many Mbps is DV footage equivalent to?

Just saw the edit to your post, thanks for the extra info :)

Thanks again

Barry
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Old June 24th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi again Barry,

Sorry for the delay but I just had to take some time out to watch all of U2s set live at Glastonbury...albeit via the BBC's iPlayer (but at least I didn't get wet/covered in the famous mud!)

Not sure what the bit rate of DV is (it's so long since I did anything in DV) but I'm sure someone will know and remind us. Certainly, when I started doing HDV 5+ years ago that was 25Mbps (and is a very much less efficient codec than AVCHD so the picture quality is nowhere near as good!)
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; June 25th, 2011 at 05:57 AM. Reason: typos
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Old July 19th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Ignore, addressed in new post!

Last edited by Barry Sampson; July 19th, 2011 at 03:05 PM.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #6
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi Barry, 16gig class 10 Transcend cards are now less than 1 a gig on Amazon. You don't list the SD900 but it's a better deal than the TM900 as far as storage costs go. Panasonic are charging about 3/gig for the internal memory, although it's good in that the camera will seamlessly switch from card to internal memory if you're shooting very long takes. The HS is not solid state memory, so I'd avoid it. Maybe not you though.

The 900 series has a 1080 50p mode and it's gorgeous, but remember that Blu-ray doesn't support it, so you might as well shoot at 50i and get more on each card.

Forget DV's bit rate - in that system every frame was compressed, whereas AVCHD is a far more efficient use of space and is Hi-Def too.

tom.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Thanks Tom,

I actually bought the HS900 and a VBN 260E battery, it was only 919:00 and the battery 90, (ouch)!

I understand what you say about the internal memory not being flash but I'll be treating it with great care! I also bought some 16GB SDHC cards (x 8) to go with it. I would have bought the SD900 but for needing the extra storage and wasn't too keen on having so many SDHC cards, a friend will have some of them off me later but I didn't want to not have enough storage.

Guess I could have bought the SD900 and 20 x 16GB SDHC cards; you've got me wondering now; should I return it and get the SD900 :0(

So AVCHD is the way to shoot then, and how is that in comparison to 1080P? Is Blu ray not 1080P then; I bought the 900 model for the full HD, shame if I'm not able to utilise it?

Thanks

Barry

Last edited by Barry Sampson; July 27th, 2011 at 04:56 PM.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 03:11 AM   #8
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi Barry,

You say. 'So AVCHD is the way to shoot then, and how is that in comparison to 1080P? Is Blu ray not 1080P then; I bought the 900 model for the full HD, shame if I'm not able to utilise it?;

Well AVCHD is simply a set (list) of compression standards from which manufacturers can pick and choose. It's highly efficient and as such has taken camcorders by storm. AVCHD (High Definition) means anything better than 720 x 576, so it encompasses 1080i and p and all sorts of 720 flavours too.

Blu-ray is only 1080i, but that doesn't stop you shooting in 1080p and saving your films to HDD in that mode. Lots of these stand-alone HDDs have HDMI connections so you can see your films in the very highest quality. Mind you, it'll take some pixel-peeping expert to tell if it's 1080i or p is the story's good enough.

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Old July 30th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #9
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Sampson View Post
Thanks Tom,

I actually bought the HS900 and a VBN 260E battery, it was only 919:00 and the battery 90, (ouch)!

I understand what you say about the internal memory not being flash but I'll be treating it with great care! I also bought some 16GB SDHC cards (x 8) to go with it. I would have bought the SD900 but for needing the extra storage and wasn't too keen on having so many SDHC cards, a friend will have some of them off me later but I didn't want to not have enough storage.

Guess I could have bought the SD900 and 20 x 16GB SDHC cards; you've got me wondering now; should I return it and get the SD900 :0(

So AVCHD is the way to shoot then, and how is that in comparison to 1080P? Is Blu ray not 1080P then; I bought the 900 model for the full HD, shame if I'm not able to utilise it?

Thanks

Barry
Blu-ray can do 1080p but only at 24/25 frames per second. Full HD in the context of the Panasonic camcorders is 1080p but at 50 frames per second. Its being progressive at the higher frame rate 28Mbits/sec that makes it look so good.

Basically interlacing is a very lossy and crude form of compression system throwing away half the resolution that dates back decades. You'd be better off capturing at Full HD (1080/50p) and if necessary convert it to interlaced for Blu-ray until such a time it is better supported for playback.

Other options are capture at 1080/50p and then put it on Blu-ray at 720/50p, this looks stunning and in real world resolution terms isn't much different than 1080i as the numbers might suggest and you get none of the artefacts and negatives of interlacing. You could also convert to 1080/25p for Blu-ray which drops every other frame so it's similar to a normal film transfer to Blu-ray. The problem though is it will look very jittery when watched back due to the low frame rate. You need to film carefully for lower frame rates by using slower shutter speeds and avoiding fast camera pans etc and even adding extra blurring on movement in post. My vote would be 720/50p on Blu-ray.

With 1080/50p you have plenty of choices for final delivery, although some extra work will be involved. 1080i will be easier, but you'll never get the detail back that is lost.

Best bet is to try some sample footage and watch it back using the two options and see what you think.

Regards

Phil
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Old August 1st, 2011, 02:36 PM   #10
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Thanks Phil,

It makes sense to capture at 1080/50P. What I plan to do is buy a media player and store the HD footage on it so I can just play it back through my TV.

I have done some sample recordings and played them back yesterday; I must say the picture is glorious; bright, colourful & sharp as anything!

I have a 2.66GHz dual core Mac Pro with 6GB ram and iMovie/Final Cut X to edit so I could back up the footage and edit it by exporting at AVCHD. 720/50P sounds like a great idea for now too.

What is a good media player for my purposes, I was looking at the Sumvision Cyclone Primus 2TB Media Player, (around 100:00 or less)

Thanks to everyone for all the advice :0)
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Old August 1st, 2011, 06:05 PM   #11
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hi Barry.
Check out the WDTV HD Media Player. Amazing bit of kit. I think the Sumvision only replays 1080 footage at 30fps
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 10:30 AM   #12
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Thanks Colin,

Do I need to get a separate hard drive then, the Sumvision was priced well for 2TB which is where the interest was along with the price but if it only plays back HD at 30fps then I guess it will be jittery; which I don't want. Just something simple that does the job

I was also going to buy a 2TB internal drive for my Mac to practice editing the footage on [and also to archive it]

Going away soon so will sort this out when I get back:0)
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

You will need an external drive Barry. 500gb portable drives are about 50 at the moment,
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 05:10 AM   #14
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Thanks,

I'll have to get shopping then :)

Would these do... Western Digital 2TB Elements Desktop USB (WDBAAU0020HBK-UESN) (WDBAAU0020HBK-UESN) - dabs.com

or LaCie Hard Disk 2TB USB 2.0, Design by Neil Poulton (Includes 10GB Wuala online storage) (301871EK) - dabs.com

or LaCie 2TB LaCinema Classic HD High Definition Network Media Player (301865EK) - dabs.com Good reviews & good price, also combines the two rather than media player and hard drive - and looks great too

Regarding the WDTV HD Media Player, are there any benefits to getting the live version?


Thanks


Barry

Last edited by Barry Sampson; August 3rd, 2011 at 07:43 AM.
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Old August 3rd, 2011, 08:52 PM   #15
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Re: New camcorder, HS900 or TM900 + questions!

Hey Barry

A media player may be the way to go, as you suggest. a couple of other options:

If you happen to have a PS3, that will take just about anything you can throw at it - including the lovely 50P footage from the 900. That's what I'm using.

Also, the 50P standard was originally outside the standards established for AVCHD. That's why so many NLE's and hardware can't handle it. As of 1st July, the standards were expanded to Version 2 AVCHD, to include 3D and 50P. Now all the good folk who make NLEs and bluray players etc have a new set of standards to build to. I would hold off on getting anything like a bluray player/burner for some months yet - wait for the next generation to come out.

The encouraging thing is that you WILL be able to play all this nice video :)
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