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Old May 25th, 2012, 10:34 PM   #691
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I am wondering if anyone has used the Lexar 128 gig SDXC card for recording video on the TM900, and if so, what your experience was, Pro or Con?
Thanks,
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Old June 4th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #692
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Has anyone done a hands on comparison between the TM900 and the new X900? I bought my first TM900 when they first came out. I bought my second TM900 when they were on sale at B&H for $699. I am now thinking about getting a third cam to match the other two. For many of the performances that I shoot it is best to have at least 3 primary cameras. I am currently shooting with the two TM900's and a Canon HV30. I sometimes add two PD-170's (shooting in 16x9 mode) on more complicated environments. The TM900's shoot far better video than any of the other cams. The intelligent contrast on the TM900s is a godsend. When filming groups of people onstage under various lighting conditions it is usually difficult to properly expose the darker faces while keeping the brighter faces from turning into lightbulbs. The HV-30 and PD's don't deal with this situation well at all. The TM-900s almost completely eliminate this as an issue. You can zoom in and out on unevenly lit groups of people and maintain a pretty good exposure on all the faces. Hooray for the TM900's!

I am now finding that I don't want to use any more of the HV-30 footage than I have to because the TM900 footage is so much nicer. And of course the PD footage is a step lower yet. So now I'm considering another TM-900 to match my other two. This would give me 3 cams of identical color and quality. Of course the TM900's are pretty scarce these days, and the few places that still have them are pretty expensive. So I'm trying to decide whether to go with an HS900 (the hard disk model that is still available), or go with one of the new X900's.

I'm a little concerned with the 20% shorter battery life with the HS unit as some of the performances run for 90 minutes. I'm also intrigued that the X900 might produce even better video in some circumstances (less outdoor overexposure?). But I have only seen a few customer reviews on the new model and they weren't from folks who appeared to have experience with the earlier models. I did see one review that suggested that the LCD was blurry. I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has any experience comparing the two. Anyone have any information to share in this regard?
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Old June 4th, 2012, 04:15 PM   #693
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Allen,
Go to camcorderinfo.com. There is a full review of the new 900 as well as comparisons to the older models.

Hope this helps,
Denny
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Old June 4th, 2012, 05:58 PM   #694
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Re: TM900 (Diamond Jubilee - Thames River Pageant)

I've been busy with work so have not contributed to this thread for a while. However, yesterday I used the TM900 to capture the amazing Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in central London.

Filmed from a spectacular, elevated position in St George's Wharf high above Vauxhall Bridge with commanding views from Battersea Power Station upstream to The London Eye downstream. Although a dull and damp day, the atmosphere was truly electric. Luckily, the rain held off until most of the 1000 boats had passed this point of the Thames. I got a few fabulous shots!

Shot in Full HD in 1080p50 on my TM900 as I needed a highly portable but capable cam to get through the crowds into/out of central London with. Camera was on 1/50th second, auto focus and auto exposure most of the time. Picture adjust was set at -2 for exposure, everything else at -1. All hand held and a Rode VMP was used for sound. Then it was a quick edit today in Adobe CS 5.5 Production Premium on a Mac Pro into a <10 minute highlights type film before suitable encoding for YouTube uploading tonight (it's still encoding some of the resolutions). When I get time I'll do more work on selected shots, warp stabilise some and a more slick edit.

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Old June 4th, 2012, 07:26 PM   #695
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy,
It is a shame that the event couldn't have happened on a sunny day. It would have looked even more spectacular than it does.
Nice work,
Denny
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Old June 5th, 2012, 12:06 AM   #696
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I was doing some testing with the 24p setting using the cinema color and was pretty amazed at how that looked. This camera keeps amazing me.

Loved the Jubilee River Pageant. Personally I think overcast does pretty well to diffuse the light it looked great!
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Old June 5th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #697
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Alan, I also have two TM900's but the footage does not exactly match with regard to auto white balance so I would not assume that you would achieve matching footage if you were to add a third. This was tested using identical shooting conditions both inside and outside with both cams attached to a bar on a tripod. I also added a TM700 :- )

Not a direct match but not far out. Usable most of the time without colour correction when cutting between cams in Vegas Pro multicam mode.

I would now avoid the use of internal hard drives as they are going to be a pain if data recovery is required. I now have 32gb SD cards in each of my 3 cams. I bought these Sandisk 45mb/s ones on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004Q3C98S/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00
The length of your shoots wouldn't be an issue if you use the larger batteries. I have the Panny high capacity batteries for one TM900 and one TM700 but baulked at the cost of getting more. However recently I bougght this aftermarket battery for the TM900 on amazon for a fraction of the Panny price and its duration is only slightly lower than the real thing. It also gives an accurate capacity readout on the cam:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B006YP5LR2/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i01
I also got one of their chargers and that works fine as well:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005OZYT9Y/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00
The charger works for both the aftermarket and the Panny batteries.

There doesn't seem to be much point in paying over the odds for the X900. Unlike with the TM700 where I found that the newer TM900 is far easier to operate partly by virtue of its larger touch screen.

Pete
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Old June 6th, 2012, 04:32 AM   #698
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thanks for the nice comments on my Jubilee River Pageant film. There were a couple of shots where the YouTube encoding fell apart a bit (e.g. on a couple of panning shots) but on the whole I was pretty pleased with what I managed to capture in poor weather conditions and how it came out. The 20x digital zoom got used a lot - I never go above that - and the excellent image stabilisation on the TM900 worked well, even on that long a reach (most of the time). Sure, in ideal situations I would have taken the EX3/Rode NTG3 and my new, excellent Vinten Vision 3AS Tripod for the main shots and had the TM900 locked down on a little Gorilla pod tripod for some of the wide shots - but that just was not possible on Sunday. As well as taking my older daughter to the flat I also had to carry quite a lot of booze(!), food and several birthday presents for family. My wife had to stay home and miss it all too, in order to care for my younger daughter who currently has chicken pox - so that was 4 pairs of gear carrying hands I lost for the shoot!

When I get more time I'll definitely try and edit a much more polished film using the hour or so of recorded footage and excellent sounds that I now have.

As an aside, I've had two friends tell me that they got more of the atmosphere, sounds and saw more of the scale of the event from my little 10 minute film than from watching 3 hours of the live BBC coverage on the day! I did n't see the live BBC TV coverage (obviously) but I gather there has been some moanings in the press about just how poor it was.

Back on topic, I agonised for a few minutes about what Exposure adjustment to make in the Picture Settings menu. For those that don't know, when in Manual it's accessed via Menu>Record Setup>Picture Adjust (Page 8 of 9). As other owners of the TM900 will know, and as discussed in this thread some time ago, the TM900 will blow out/clip bright parts of the image very easily.

In strong sunlight I find -3 or even at times -4 adjustment on Exposure is needed (and I always use 1/100th sec shutter in good light too as the cam handles things much better that way). We had no strong sunlight on Sunday! This was all shot at -2. I toyed with the idea of -1 but you can't really tell from the just the LCD image - other than the excellent Histogram (which I have on screen all the time and watch like a hawk). I thought that shooting wet boats on a river (i.e. reflective surface, potential boat wash situations etc.) might risk clipping on the whites - and once things are blown you can't get them back in post. Anyway, with this set within the Picture Adjust, I then run it in Manual but with Auto Exposure. Then, if needed for a particular shot, I manually adjust the exposure (using the quick menu options, taking care to keep the shutter speed under control by how this is done). I find that the TM900 does a pretty good job 95% of the time with exposure when set up and operated like this. It all came out fine as you've seen. Auto focus nails it most of the time too, but again, can be quickly put into manual focus when needed via the quick menu (and when in manual focus I have it set to show the blue peaking by default). I'm so familar with this little cam that capturing good images can be done almost by instinct - and very quickly! Just the way it needs to be with any cam used in event recording, especially one off events like this where so much was going on in front of us and you have to work fast to try and capture a good range of both wide shots for scale and detail shots for interest.

If I was doing it again I might have been tempted to put the Colour adjustment within the Picture Adjust settings at 0 or maybe even +1 (rather than the -1 that I usually have it at) just to lift the colours a little more in such dull conditions - especially for the last few shots when it was raining.

Now some comments about the X900 versus older TM900. I think the main thing that would tempt me would be the ability to shoot wider. Often I find the 35mm widest setting on the TM900 is a bit limiting (especially indoors). The iris having more blades would also be a nice feature - OOF areas can look a bit ugly with the diamond/criss-cross pattern that the TM900 displays.
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; June 6th, 2012 at 12:12 PM. Reason: Typos/Adding info
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Old June 7th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #699
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Guys, I hate to be off-topic, but I would really need your words of wisdom for a gig tomorrow. It's about setting up the VideoMic Pro on the TM900. I filmed a concert last night with the mic on the 0db setting and the TM900 on auto microphone volume setting (AGC off). The display showed me that most of the time the level reached the first red bar, which I thought was fine (the 2nd red bar I thought to be the problem).

After a few hours of filming when I got home and reviewed my footage... utter disaster, the sound was heavily distorted :( I was filming right near the stage, a few meters from the subwoofers, maybe I should have lowered the bass volume? Or kept the camera on auto mic volume but set the VMP on -10db? Or just set a value for input in the TM900's menu that would be close-ish to the first red bar in the level meter and stick to that throughout the entire gig? Not sure which would have been the best way to go. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much!
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Old June 7th, 2012, 09:21 AM   #700
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Christensen View Post
Has anyone done a hands on comparison between the TM900 and the new X900? I bought my first TM900 when they first came out. I bought my second TM900 when they were on sale at B&H for $699. I am now thinking about getting a third cam to match the other two. For many of the performances that I shoot it is best to have at least 3 primary cameras. I am currently shooting with the two TM900's and a Canon HV30. I sometimes add two PD-170's (shooting in 16x9 mode) on more complicated environments. The TM900's shoot far better video than any of the other cams. The intelligent contrast on the TM900s is a godsend. When filming groups of people onstage under various lighting conditions it is usually difficult to properly expose the darker faces while keeping the brighter faces from turning into lightbulbs. The HV-30 and PD's don't deal with this situation well at all. The TM-900s almost completely eliminate this as an issue. You can zoom in and out on unevenly lit groups of people and maintain a pretty good exposure on all the faces. Hooray for the TM900's!

I am now finding that I don't want to use any more of the HV-30 footage than I have to because the TM900 footage is so much nicer. And of course the PD footage is a step lower yet. So now I'm considering another TM-900 to match my other two. This would give me 3 cams of identical color and quality. Of course the TM900's are pretty scarce these days, and the few places that still have them are pretty expensive. So I'm trying to decide whether to go with an HS900 (the hard disk model that is still available), or go with one of the new X900's.

I'm a little concerned with the 20% shorter battery life with the HS unit as some of the performances run for 90 minutes. I'm also intrigued that the X900 might produce even better video in some circumstances (less outdoor overexposure?). But I have only seen a few customer reviews on the new model and they weren't from folks who appeared to have experience with the earlier models. I did see one review that suggested that the LCD was blurry. I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has any experience comparing the two. Anyone have any information to share in this regard?
The physical stop/start recording and zoom buttons on the bezel of the TM900's LCD screen are absent on the X900. I use these while rotating the lens with my right hand to manually focus, the TM900 is in manual mode and I display the standard icon set that allows quick selection of manual/auto focus and manual/auto iris. The X900 doesn't have these real buttons, they are replaced with more on screen icons, unfortunately they can't be displayed at the same time as the icon set I use, it's one or the other, so no way to make a scene adjustment without changing the whole menu display, a real slow down, this was a MAJOR problem for me while doing close up filming work. I hated it...

The wider angle lens was nice to have but both X900's I tried (and gave up on) did not give me the same image quality as my 1 year plus TM900. Had the image been as good then this wider lens and addition of very nice roll correction to the OIS would have swayed me on their own since these two features were the reasons I desired this model. I am still wondering if both the X900's I tried had faulty lenses, they were rather early models.

BTW the claimed higher resolution LCD screen on the X900 was not something I noticed, perhaps the screen is not large enough to benefit from all those extra pixels but I did find it a bit weird to view, occasional artifacts when fine detail was in the scene, like a badly downscaled image with cross hatching, I have never see that on my TM900 screen but then it's not a 3D display and I wonder if that has something to do with it.

So I am in two minds about this newer model, some strong points but then.... ???
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Old June 7th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #701
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Luc,

Loud environment with a Rode VMP on the TM900 I would tend to go for AGC and set the mic to the -10dB setting as there will be no issues with the AGC pumping up quiet background noises and giving you hiss etc. Only use manual mic settings if you're good at knowing where you need to be on the meters (TEST, TEST...) and are ACTIVELY monitoring the result through headphones. Anything important, always have a second device recording sound (I use Fostex and/or Zooms). Also, make sure you use a good pair of monitoring headphones (i.e. ones with reasonable sound isolation) to check what you're getting (as best you can in a loud environment where the noise will bleed into the earphone cups).

Claire,

Interesting and very informative (if somewhat disappointing!) info on the X900. I forgot about the loss of those useful side LCD buttons. The LCD sounds like a step backwards as indeed does the Menu system. However, the killer sounds like the image quality is not the same with this re-jigged lens. What a shame. Can anyone else with a X900 comment on image quality?

OK back to Warp stabilising my project (I'm working on a much improved, highlights version of the Jubilee River Pageant film posted a couple of days ago!)
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Old June 7th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #702
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy, so what you're saying is that the problem was that I had to change the mic setting to -10. Therefore I should still keep the microphone in AUTO, AND enable AGC? I thought everyone stayed away from AGC. The camera likes to keep the sound level very close to the first red bar, no matter if i'm filming a concert or just people talking.

Also, do you ever change the bass level in the TM900's menu? I'm still suspecting that the powerful bass was somewhat responsible for what happened.
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Old June 7th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #703
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Luc, generally, yes keep away from AGC. However, in certain situations (such as when the sound pressure level is more or less constant) a sound recording with AGC is MUCH preferable to one that is full of distortion. If you are skilled and able to record reliably without AGC, then sure, that's a better option. It's all down to your skill level as a combined camera and sound man in an evolving live event/fast moving type situation.

Regarding the -10 dB cut. Yes, use it when you think it's needed. Only you can make a judgement on that depending on the situation you're dealing with. I've never needed it on my TM900 but I don't shoot live, loud music (much) or next to sub-woofers. Rode provided this useful feature, I imagine for the exact scenario you now need it for (and also perhaps to better match with some camcorders pre-amps) so test it out with your TM900 (preferably before the shoot!) and decide if it is the way to go or not.

Good Luck. Hope this helps!
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Old June 7th, 2012, 11:05 AM   #704
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thank you sir, I do appreciate it and I'm sure this won't happen again :)
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Old June 8th, 2012, 02:08 AM   #705
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thanks to those of you who replied on the differences between the X900 and TM900. I noticed the same issue with manually white balancing my two TM900's. They don't come out identical. However, I do get pretty good results when I use one of the white balance presets. I now usually use a preset rather than manual white balance when I can find one that seems pretty close to the correct colors. I can make tweaks in post if it is only slightly off, and apply the same tweak to the footage from both cameras. This seems to work pretty well at matching the two cameras I currently have.

With respect to getting the disk based version of the TM900 before they also become unavailable, I'd like to point out that one can record to SD card on them instead of using the disk. So one can have the reliability/convenience of an SD card even when using the disk model. The issues that I would perceive with the disk model would be the shorter battery life (the specs say battery life is shorter even when not using the disk to record) and potential disk rotation noise creeping into the audio. Does anyone have one of the HS900's? Is the disk audible?

Here's a question for Andy. What is the difference between "auto" audio and AGC audio on the TM900? I have been assuming that auto is equivalent to one of the AGC settings (probably=set AGC 0dB), as I don't see how a useful auto setting could be accomplished without incorporating AGC circuitry. I also have yet to figure out what exactly is accomplished by setting AGC to a different level than 0dB. A possible theory is that you can force the ceiling point of the AGC to be a lower level than 0dB, which would give you a bit more headroom for sudden changes in volume where the AGC can't keep up. Is that what is happening/intended? Some experiments that I performed a while back suggest that this is the case but I'm not sure. If you have figured out what is really going on with these audio settings then please instruct me as the manual is pretty confusing from my perspective.
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