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Old April 25th, 2008, 12:19 AM   #1
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HVX+DVX together

I have a couple of questions as I go through researching a variety of cameras. I've been very interested in the HVX for sometime but I'm leery due to the cost of the P2 cards and such. So my first question is, does anybody have experience using HVX and DVX footage together? How does it flow together? Is the transition between the two noticeable or, despite the differences in the cameras, does the footage blend reasonably well?

My second question is, how many P2 cards would you suggest an event videographer have on hand? I plan on doing a variety of work with this including event videography, a documentary, and some short films among other smaller things. Is it rather quick and easy to get the footage off the P2 card - since it's already in digital format can it be connected to the computer and just copied to your hard drive rather than capturing the footage the traditional way?

Thanks guys, I appreciate the input... I may return with more questions. :)
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Old April 25th, 2008, 12:51 AM   #2
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I actually want to add, does the host feature on the HVX transfer quickly? If so, how fast. I'm going to be doing the same kind of work with a HVX and was wondering if just connecting a HDD and doing a transfer could be done in a couple of minutes. The P2 store, P2 cards, and the FS-100 are all ridiculously expensive for what they are. After all a 16GB iPhone is 499 (although they are mass produced making them less expensive per unit etc). I know there are some programers out there that can turn my iPhone into a DVCPRO HD capture device.... make it happen... haha.

I think 2 16GB cards would be good, 40 min per with 720p 24. Most weddings I use about 3, 1 hour tapes per camera for HDV (xh-A1). If your going 1080p then you might need 2 32 GB cards.... or 2 16 GB and do a transfer somewhere in the downtime.... which is why I ask about the host mode.

Thanks!!!!
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Old April 25th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #3
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Funny you ask about P2. I just posted the following a day or so ago in the wedding sub forum. Please remember that the figures I come up with are based on our shooting style. We usually run through 9-10 tapes per wedding.

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The P2 price per GB situation has vastly improved in the last 2 years, but it's still kinda pricey for an event shooting 2 cameras. Let's say you were shooting 720p @ 24fps (native). Their 32BG card retails for $1,550 and holds around 80 minutes of footage. For me, I'd not feel comfortable going into battle without at least 5 hours of shooting time available per camera. That's 4 32GB cards at $1550 a pop per camera so he'd be looking at $12,400 just in P2 card cost if he went this route.

I know some will say you can offload cards in the field which is true given you lug around a laptop with you, and this might be feasible to a degree. You could most likely have your assistant offload the prep footage while manning the rear camera at the ceremony leaving those cards free for the reception, but even if you're comfortable doing this, you're still looking at 2 32GB cards per camera costing you $6200 plus the cost of a laptop.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #4
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Great stuff Ethan, thank you! I didn't even know there was a wedding subforum on here :)

What's your opinion on those P2 Store Portable Hard Drive devices for offloading data in the field? Seems like it'd cut down on how often you'd transfer data off of a P2 card cause it holds ~60GB. So if you're talking about having an assistant put the footage onto a laptop they'd be doing about 1/2 as often if they only have to transfer what's on the P2 Store...

Anyways, thanks for your reply man!
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Old April 26th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #5
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The P2 store was a nice little guy to have around when card capacities were only 8GB, but now that you can buy a 32GB card, you can only fit one card's worth of data in the thing since it's limited to 60GB and Panasonic never saw fit to increase that.
The good thing about using a laptop in the field is that you can make a redundant backup on the spot. All you need is plenty of space on the internal drive and an external that can power from whatever port you're using. It's not like you can re-shoot the event if your footage is lost, so I'd think a redundant backup for weddings would be essential. That's kinda why I would lean toward having enough cards for the whole day, so I could offload and backup the cards in the comfort of my office but most of us don't have the funds to have a workflow like that.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Slankard View Post
So my first question is, does anybody have experience using HVX and DVX footage together?
Yes, extensive; we've got a three-hour training DVD coming out at the end of this week that was shot mostly on the HVX and a significant portion on the DVX.

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How does it flow together? Is the transition between the two noticeable or, despite the differences in the cameras, does the footage blend reasonably well?
Well, depends on what aspect ratio you shoot in. For 16:9 24p, the HVX is embarrassingly sharper. We struggled with how to make the transition to the DVX footage, because the transition is jarring. For 4:3 footage they're much more comparable. But we authored this DVD in 16:9, and -- I wouldn't try it if I were you. Stick with 4:3 and you can make them match well, but the HVX will still be sharper. But when you go to 16:9, the HVX is just crazily sharper.

With a little tweaking in the menus you can get the colors and gamma to match very, very well.

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My second question is, how many P2 cards would you suggest an event videographer have on hand?
Depends on capacity. If you're talking about 64GB cards, you'd only need two and that'll get you through any event, in 720/24pN mode you'd have almost six hours of recording time in-camera. If you're talking about 4GB cards, well, let's just say you'd need a lot more!

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Is it rather quick and easy to get the footage off the P2 card - since it's already in digital format can it be connected to the computer and just copied to your hard drive rather than capturing the footage the traditional way?
Yes, it's dramatically faster and easier to get the footage off the cards than it ever was working with tape. You can copy a 16GB card onto a modern laptop in about 7 minutes, so that's about 6x faster than realtime (42 minutes of source footage copied over in 7 minutes).
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Moss View Post
I actually want to add, does the host feature on the HVX transfer quickly?
Well, "quick" is a relative term; it transfers SD DV footage very quickly, it transfers 1080 HD footage at about realtime.
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If so, how fast.
About 1GB per minute. So 720/24pN footage transfers 2.5 minutes of source footage in one minute of realtime; 1080p footage takes about 1 minute to transfer 1 minute.

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and was wondering if just connecting a HDD and doing a transfer could be done in a couple of minutes.
A couple of minutes? You're talking about moving tens of gigabytes of data! Try copying 16GB from one hard disk onto another hard disk on your computer, and you'll find that it takes about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the speed of your system. Hard disks aren't instantaneous, it takes time to move that much data.

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The P2 store, P2 cards, and the FS-100 are all ridiculously expensive for what they are.
No, they're not. They're solutions that do what nothing else on the market does. How do you put a price on that? The only thing that does the same basic job as a P2 card, is an SxS card. And that's priced identically to the P2 cards. There are four different manufacturers now (Sony, SanDisk, Panasonic, and Fuji) who are making professional video recording cards (either P2 or SxS) and every one of them is charging basically identical prices.

And, prices keep coming down. When P2 was introduced, it was about $900 per gigabyte. Today, it's about $50 per gigabyte, and about due for a price drop as well. Should be maybe $25 per gigabyte by the end of the year, is my guess.

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After all a 16GB iPhone is 499 (although they are mass produced making them less expensive per unit etc).
You can't record professional video on a 16GB iPhone. And you can't make phone calls on a P2 card.

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I know there are some programers out there that can turn my iPhone into a DVCPRO HD capture device.... make it happen... haha.
Simply not possible. But even if they did, by the time they got it done, the 16GB P2 card will cost less than the iPhone.

People don't seem to understand what makes a P2 card different. It's not just some cheap memory stick. First of all, it's made from the premium memory components in existence, "zero defect" memory. Shop around with SD cards and you'll find wildly different price points for varying brands; just like with anything, there's cheap junk and there's premium stuff.

Second, the P2 card has a microcomputer inside it to RAID the chips together to make it much faster -- you can stream six streams of HD video off a P2 card (I don't think the iPhone would quite keep up!)

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the P2 card has extensive error prevention circuitry in it. Every single byte that gets written to a P2 card gets read back and verified to make sure that it's absolutely fault-free. The card can re-try writing up to six times to make sure that everything gets recorded perfectly. If there's any issue, the card has intelligence in its controller to mark those sectors as unusable and move on. The P2 card is designed around bulletproof ultimate reliability. You're not gonna find that in a cheapo Transcend SD card selling at Wal-Mart.

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or 2 16 GB and do a transfer somewhere in the downtime.... which is why I ask about the host mode.
A 16GB card should transfer in about 16 minutes.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
That's kinda why I would lean toward having enough cards for the whole day, so I could offload and backup the cards in the comfort of my office but most of us don't have the funds to have a workflow like that.
P2's not really the solution you want for something like this though. Look instead to AVC-HD on the HMC150. Same basic camera as the HPX170 (which is the newer, updated model of the HVX200) but it records to SD memory instead of P2. You can get a 32GB SD memory card and record over 12 hours of HD footage continuously to that one card. No need to have four or five or six cards and offload them, just record the whole event at once and then manage the media when you get back to the office.

Now, this would mean going to a different media (SD instead of P2) and a different format (AVC-HD instead of DVCPRO-HD) but the cost of recording per minute is dramatically lower. AVC-HD might be the more practical tapeless event shooting scenario.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #9
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Very true Barry, errr, Mr Green. That's why I have my eye on the 150. Can't wait to hear reports when it hits the streets. I love love love the HVX, but found that P2 (price and size of the cards at the time) just wasn't practical for my style. I have high hopes for the 150. Does the 150 do overcranking?
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 04:34 PM   #10
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Thanks for the response Barry, I was joking about the iphone though. =)

I'll have to check but using an external Firewire HDD it really only takes a couple minutes to transfer 16Gb's to my computer. I think like 7 or 8min. I could be wrong though.

I remember someone actually making one of those medical tablets into a Firestore like device. Of course he knew how to program, but it cost him like $400 or somthing. As reliable as the Firestore, probably not. It depends on your needs. Regardless, I'm probably getting both a HVX200a and the Firestore becasue the cost per GB is the lowest. $17 per GB with the 100Gb version. Still, they could put bigger HDD's in it. I'm not saying anything about Panasonic because I don't know, but I work in the computer industry and I know about the shenanigans that surround chip manufacturing. Its usually just hype. There's only two or three companies that make chips and then everybody else just rebrands them and puts their "certification" on it and charge a premium.

Thanks
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Old May 7th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #11
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Does the 150 do overcranking?
Not as such, no. No variable frame rates. But it does have 720/60P mode, so you can just use that directly for 2.5:1 slow-mo on a 24p timeline.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 03:58 PM   #12
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Regardless, I'm probably getting both a HVX200a and the Firestore becasue the cost per GB is the lowest.
Yes the cost per GB is the lowest, but I'd heartily recommend you evaluate the decision on factors other than just the cost per GB. There are many other differences.

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$17 per GB with the 100Gb version. Still, they could put bigger HDD's in it.
They have, there's a new 160GB version out. I think it runs like $2500 or so.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:53 PM   #13
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Not as such, no. No variable frame rates. But it does have 720/60P mode, so you can just use that directly for 2.5:1 slow-mo on a 24p timeline.
Ah poo. Oh well, it would have been nice, but I guess they decided to leave that exclusive to the 170 and 200a.
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