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Old September 20th, 2010, 08:15 AM   #1
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How good is the HDC-TM700 (for professional use)

How well will this camera be suited for this professional shooting? I looked at some raw native footage and it looked pretty good to my eyes. I put it into Premiere Pro CS5 and it played back without problems. However, I would like to see how the codec holds when it is really put to the test (and in Low Light).

I currently own a Canon XL-H1 with an Audio Technica wireless system, videolight and Rode NTG-2 / NT3 microphones. However, I notice that the size of the whole kit is large and bulky, so there are a lot of things I cannot shoot. I also have a Panasonic traveller cam with AVCHD lite movie mode and it beats my Canon XL-H1 in low-light. It simply sees where my Canon XL-H1 cannot see anymore.

So I have been thinking lately and I am considering smaller and cheaper cams because technology simply moves to fast and I don't want to invest $7,000 and upwards in a new cam all the time. I shoot documentaries about people's lives that end up on DVD and the web, not in the cinema. I do a lot of interviews, and I like the idea to have two or more camera's setup so I have more editing options and can focus more on the interview. And to be honest, the quality of these consumer cams is really impressive nowadays. And I like these small cams more and more because you can get into small spaces, mount them on your bike etcetera... all things you can't do easily with a Canon XL-H1 size camera.

My main questions are:
- How well do the manual controls work
- Is it easy to convert 1080p50 footage to 1080p25 (because the customer can't view 1080p50 and I have read that the vertical resolution and motion is superior in the p50 mode.
- How good is the cinema mode; do you lose manual controls in this mode?
- How good is the LCD for focussing? What options assist focus?
- Is the footage easy to grade and mix with the footage of other cams?
- How good is the sensivity in low-light?
- Rolling Shutter?
- Can you create in camera custom presets / profiles with settings like sharpening/color/saturation etc.)?

I am also looking at DSLR camera's but there are some things I dislike about them (4GB file size limit, focussing, artifacts, rolling shutter).

All feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old September 20th, 2010, 04:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
How well will this camera be suited for this professional shooting?
Better than any other consumer video camera. I use the HS700 to film long format medical/university lectures, and the image quality and low-light ability is excellent for a consumer camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
How well do the manual controls work
Not bad. My only real complaints are:

1- You cannot use the GAIN unless the lens aperture is wide-open, which means that the exposure will change when you zoom when GAIN is active. ( so limited low-light zooms )

2- Aperture changes a little abruptly when I am trying to finesse the exact exposure of a shot. I did one shoot on a sunny-cloudy day and had to keep riding the aperture during the shoot, and my aperture corrections were not very subtle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Is it easy to convert 1080p50 footage to 1080p25 (because the customer can't view 1080p50 and I have read that the vertical resolution and motion is superior in the p50 mode.
The superior performance comes from watching a HD video at 50P ( or 60P ), so converting the footage back to 25P ( or 24P ) offers no advantage, you might as well just shoot at 25P / 24P.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
How good is the cinema mode; do you lose manual controls in this mode?
This is what Panasonic calls 24P / 25P, and it works really well provided that you have software to extract the 24P / 25P video stream from the 50i / 60i wrapper. I use the CineForm NEO SCENE software to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
How good is the LCD for focussing? What options assist focus?
Same as any other small LCD. The focus-assist definitely helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Is the footage easy to grade and mix with the footage of other cams?
Panasonic has a very recognizable look, so mixing with other Panasonic cameras works best. ( to my eye, Panasonic has more saturated colour, but requires that you manually set the colour balance as the auto-balance is not that good )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
How good is the sensivity in low-light?
Excellent. Better than any other consumer camera in it's class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Rolling Shutter?
Not a problem. Fast moving footage looks good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Can you create in camera custom presets / profiles with settings like sharpening/color/saturation etc.)?
I've never tried, so I'm not even sure if it's possible to save presets that can be loaded like Panasonic's prosumer cameras. ( I have my doubts on this one )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
I am also looking at DSLR camera's but there are some things I dislike about them (4GB file size limit, focussing, artifacts, rolling shutter).
DLSR video looks very nice, but it is a lot more work than shooting with a camera designed mainly for video work. Panasonic will be revealing the new GH-2 DSLR tomorrow at Photokina 2010, and this may turn out to be the best DSLR for video work yet. But keep in mind that DSLR cameras are great for high-end shorter shoots, where you can take the time to get things right. They are not the kind of camera that you can just run out the door with, and expect to get great footage with.

...Right now I use the Panasonic HS700 for long-format event shoots, and a Panasonic HMC-150 for higher quality ( better paid ) shoots. I will probably buy the Panasonic GH-2 DSLR camera when it comes out next month, to use for short documentary / indy / corporate film shoots. And then in late Spring 2011 I will buy the Panasonic AF100 to replace the GH-2. ( the same lenses should work on both cameras )
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Old September 24th, 2010, 08:01 AM   #3
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I bought the Panasonic TM700 to replace my Canon HV30, I decided to stop using tape. I also bought the Canon 7D last year, so have been shooting with that for nearly 12 months. My main use is stock video and I use the camcorder for run and gun and also stealth shooting.

The Panasonic is a great replacement to the HV30, I'm only shooting 60p and the image quality is much better than the HV30. Low light is much better and the camera is faster to use.

I like the feature that the TM700 is almost instant on, you open the LCD door and the camcorder switches on and is instantly available to shoot. It is small on this last trip I had the camera in my cargo pants pocket, so had the camera for interior plane shots, the stabilizer works great. The camera is light enough to mount on a clamp with a ball head (cheap plastic Ebay item), so I was able to clamp the camera to railings etc, without the need for a tripod sometimes.

Everything I shoot is manual the focusing is good because of the size of sensor and lens, everything is in focus pretty much, it won't do that shallow depth of field which is why I have the Canon 7D.

I had an auxiliary wide lens with my HV30 which I have kept and use on the TM700 as it is wide but not by much, I use the Raynox 0.66X with a step ring.

Spare battery is a must and the third party ones wont work because Panasonic has a chip inside their batteries to communicate with the camera.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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Norman do you ever intercut your 7D footage with the TM700? If so how does it look?

What NLE do you use? I have FCP7 and I'm wondering how you encode the TM700. I use MPEG Streamclip to encode the 7D footage and it would be great if I could use the same workflow.

How good is the audio and do you use the audio from the TM700 for your production audio? Since you have a 7D you know why I'm asking that question. I was thinking about getting the Zoom H4N, but I know I'll forget to roll audio so I don't really like the idea of separate audio.

Is the only difference between the TM700 and the HS700 the 240GB hard drive? The specs state that the video format is MPEG AVC/H.264, is that AVCHD or H.264? And is it selectable?

Thanks
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Old September 24th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #5
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Hi Chuck,

Sound is no good, you do need an external for productions, the other model of 700 is a internal HD. I don't intercut my footage as I only sell clips. I use Sony Vegas 8 and I use Cineform Neoscene for both the 7D and TM700, you can get it for $99 at Videoguys. I like the codec they use and it makes a 4.2.2 .avi file which looks great. I tried Streamclip, but that program only uses codecs that are already on your computer, whereas Neo has it's own codec and works like a charm.

The TM700 does have a limited internal HD as well and it does timelapse.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #6
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Thanks Norman.

I'm on a Mac so if I can encode the TM700 footage using StreamClip to ProRes that would be great.

I didn't know about the timelapse, that will also be very useful for this project.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 02:25 PM   #7
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Can you set manual audio levels for the external microphone? I have a XLR to 3,5 adapter cable which I would like to use to record audio of my microphones (phantom + battery powered option)?
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 03:48 AM   #8
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I believe so, from the manual notes on the page discussing setting audio level i.e. the level meters referred to below
Quote:
When [MIC SETUP] is set to [STEREO MIC] or external microphone input is used, the sound is stereo (2 ch) and only the front-left and front-right input level meters function.
What I am curious about is the 1080i25 mode is 17Mbps whereas say Canon has 24Mbps. So for interlace DVD production, if I forego the 1080p50 mode as suggested above, there is a bit of sacrifice. I'm looking at best possible compact cam to augment Sony XDCAM EX as outlined here

EDIT: I edit on FCP, so Panasonic not much use - the 1080p50 is not part of the AVCHD spec supported, so the 17Mbps 1080i is a limiting factor potentially worse than all its 24Mbps competitors.

Last edited by Mark Joseph; October 2nd, 2010 at 07:58 AM.
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Old October 6th, 2010, 08:39 PM   #9
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Mark Joseph,
It can be workable on Final Cut with the right software.
HDC-TM700 and FCP
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Old October 7th, 2010, 02:53 AM   #10
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I believe so, from the manual notes on the page discussing setting audio level i.e. the level meters referred to below


What I am curious about is the 1080i25 mode is 17Mbps whereas say Canon has 24Mbps. So for interlace DVD production, if I forego the 1080p50 mode as suggested above, there is a bit of sacrifice. I'm looking at best possible compact cam to augment Sony XDCAM EX as outlined here

EDIT: I edit on FCP, so Panasonic not much use - the 1080p50 is not part of the AVCHD spec supported, so the 17Mbps 1080i is a limiting factor potentially worse than all its 24Mbps competitors.
I'm not sure I understand what your saying. I use FCP and I was able to import footage from the TM700 using Log and transfer and it encoded it directly into ProRes LT. It was interlaced, are you saying it is not possible to get 24P out of the camera?
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Old October 11th, 2010, 03:38 AM   #11
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HDC-TM700 with Sony EX3 and Canon 7D?

This TM700 has now caught my eye because of it's 1080p50 capability - came in under my radar - but I'm starting to look for an eventual replacement for my trusty (and still fully working Sony HC1) for B Cam stuff to my Sony EX3 and and Canon 7D. Mostly corporate and business web video work - but some family stuff - for those times when I want a small highly portable run-n-gun "prosumer" camera. Much as I love my 7D one thing a DSLR is no good at is run-n-gun!

It must shoot 1080p.

Starting to look at the options. No rush to buy yet but I just hate capturing tape nowadays so that really rules out the otherwise well acclaimed (but now looking a little dated) Canon HV30 and HV40. The Sony CX550V looked promising, good in low light, some good manual controls, until I realised it will only do 50i. The "pro" version of this cam (HXR-MC50E) just looks like a rip-off as all you get is a hood, bigger battery and 2 years warranty - but the same basic cam underneath, i.e still no true 25p, for many 100s more. The Canon HF S21 looked promising too - except for the interlaced artifacts exhibited in it's 25p progressive output that I've just read about on another thread.

This little Panny caught my eye as it seems a highly capable little cam for around 800 UK price (reputable dealers). I'm amazed it's not getting more notice on here - unless I missed a fatal flaw?

Workflow for me is mostly FCP6 on 2009 8-Core Mac Pro (but I also do stuff in Vegas 9E on a 2010 i7 Windows box too). It sounds like it's a pain dealing with 1080p50 but I'm already well used to transcoding 7D footage to ProRes. Just how easy is it to get those razor sharp 1080p50 clips I'm reading about incorporated into a 1080p25 timeline (with my XDCAM and 7D footage) as I'm still entirely not clear on this aspect?

I've never owned a Panny cam before so one more question. How well will it's "look" cut with Sony EX3 and/or Canon 7D (with a lot of the 7D's settings "dialed back") regarding colour saturation etc.

Sorry it's a bit of a ramble but I'm more confused than informed right now about this little Panny. Thanks in advance!
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Old October 11th, 2010, 08:28 PM   #12
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>> The Canon HF S21 looked promising too - except for the interlaced artifacts exhibited in it's 25p progressive output that I've just read about on another thread

Not to derail the thread, but are you sure about that? 24P in the US version of the HFS21 is true progressive so I would be surprised if 25P wasn't also. With earlier versions of of the Canons, like my own HF10, many folk complained about interlacing artifacts, but those were primarily a product of improper avchd decoding, not the raw footage.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #13
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Hi Graham. It was from post 3 in this thread (which I now realise was about the Canon HF11, not a HFS21, exhibiting problems in it's progressive mode). Sorry for the mistake.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-vi...onal-work.html
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Old October 11th, 2010, 10:09 PM   #14
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Not to dash anyone's hopes, but the TM700 does not shoot 24p. It shoots 1080/60p or in HA/HG/HX/HE 1080/60i. Sorry, no 30p or 24p. With these exceptions it is a very powerful device. I'm sorry to say my HMC40 has rarely been used since I purchased the TM700.

After six months use, my favorite features are its size and lighter .98lb weight (it can fit in your pocket), 35mm f1.5 lens (wider and faster than HMC40), instant on/off, and larger much brighter in sunlight LCD.

Using Window 7, Vegas Pro 9, Vegas Movie Studio HD 10, and even Windows Live Movie Maker, the TM700 clips can be edited natively.

For those with needs that fit this camera's abilities, it will produce great images.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #15
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From Camcorderinfo: The HDC-TM700 also has a Digital Cinema 24p mode, which was featured on all of Panasonic's HD camcorders from last year. This mode produces a film-like aesthetic, but we don't think it works as well as the 24p modes offered on the Canon HF S21.
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