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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #16
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The 500 is cleared by Discovery Channel for Silver Level acquisition.

There is nothing "sub level HD" from this camera.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #17
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I have been using this camera since last Oct. with a Flash XDR.

This is the best setup for this camera imho.

The XDR gives you full raster recording and high bitrates for the cost of some P2 cards (nano flash). I think the DVCPro HD codec actually has a negative impact in terms of detail for this camera.

As far as sharpness, I have the in-camera detail turned down (to avoid edge fringing) and sharpen in post.

720p60 is the framerate & resolution I shoot a lot of stuff at and when I intercut with the EX-1, my eyes always slightly prefer the HPX-500 cam. - Better color and overall image.

Although the EX-1 is used for the wider shots as it will pull more detail at a distance.

I don't believe this would happen in 1080p, but in 720p the HPX-500 has plenty of detail.

The original Varicam was a 720p camera and I think of the HPX-500 in the same way.

I purchased this camera with the $2000 rebate and sold some of the gear in the package, so for $7,250 this camera was a good deal for me.

I have not seen the HPX-300 but I can not spend close to $10,000 for a 1/3" camera.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #18
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A quick note on this lens and sorry to swerve the thread. This is an amazing lens but is pretty unwieldy, for less $$$ new the 25x16.5 gives the same range and can be image stabilized with the separate unit,granted the wide end is gone but you gain massively in portability. I'm using the Fujinon on a job right now and its marvelous.

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Last edited by James Ewen; June 18th, 2009 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Added text
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Old June 19th, 2009, 07:21 AM   #19
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Agreed, even better I think is the Canon HJ18x28, my current lens of choice by far.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #20
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I've been reading all the HPX500 bashing since I bought mine two years ago, one of the first in California... As an experienced filmmaker who shot super16 exclusively for 30 years, I can only say that I am very pleased with the 500, and have no intention of switching anytime soon (I have the Fujonon lens, high rez finder - and I also have a 200 as a BU camera).

It's funny, for many years the goal for video was to come as close as possible to replicating film, which, whatever you may think, is not inherently a high resolution medium (unless you have access to a Panaflex Platinum, Zeiss primes and shoot ASA 100 stock with no glass). Panasonic has done a great job creating gamma and matrix menus that come very close, I think better than any of the other manufacturers... And I've owned many, a Sony DSR300, Canon XL-2 and XL H1 - and while I was happy with those (I shoot documentaries BTW) I was very excited when the 500 became available.

Now the quest, fueled by these boards, seems to be for maximum resolution. When I compare the footage from my 500 side-by-side with footage I've shot with my Aaton super16 camera and Cooke 10.4-52mm lens, the Panasonic is noticeably sharper. True, it doesn't offer the dynamic range of film, but the color and resolution are more than comparable. Maybe not with 35, but then I've always preferred the tactile look of 16 anyway.

With other affordable cameras the increase in resolution comes with the price of skew, which has been much discussed on these forums. Personally, I find it way more distracting than the "mushiness" (I don't agree with that evaluation) of the 500, especially for handheld work. Also, I often use a light SoftFX or ProMist to take the edginess off of HD anyway.

I've said it before, camera are tools used to tell stories. The camera should support that approach... I wouldn't want to shoot a big budget western with the 500, but for what I do, it's an excellent camera.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #21
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All fair points. I've said the same in the past about getting an HD and the first thing we're asked to do is make it look softer by lowering detail settings, using filters etc.!

I think a good deal of the reason for chasing hi-res images is that's what a lot of the broadcasters will demand. A lot of them are frowning on even full res 720 cameras let alone something that has to use pixel shifting to get there.

Steve

ps I'd rather have a 500 than an EX3 as well.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #22
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I think in the BBC review of the HPX500, they said something to the effect that this camera looks better than it has a right to. Keep in mind the spatial offset does give iut resolution that is equivalent to a 1.1M imager. I think that many broadcasters look at content and quality with content first and as long as the quality doesn't distract, it is okay. I have seen a good number of things out there accepted from an HVX200 that was totally done on that camera and the guidelines for the channel involved was that the 1/3" cameras could only be used for 20% of the content. Content is king.

One of the films in our IFP/Digital Filmmakers Grant program debuted at Tribecca. Yes you can make some very nice images. And some of the nicest images we had in out NAB video wall came from the Vancouver Aquarium.

Thanks,

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Old June 19th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #23
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BBC don't like it much. I spoke to an engineer in regional BBC and he said he didn't think it was up to their standards for HD by quite a margin.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about it, and I love Panny gear, but there's no getting away from the 600,000 pixel chips.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 01:31 AM   #24
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With both BBC's engineers and many other high end broadcasters looking at their scopes and grade I monitors to judge this, of course the 500 will fall short of the more expensive cameras. The 500 are a budget 2/3" HD camera, not a 1080p high end camera as say the hpx3000.

There will always be compromises, even the high end hpx's compromise in their own ways.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
BBC don't like it much. I spoke to an engineer in regional BBC and he said he didn't think it was up to their standards for HD by quite a margin.
The BBC doesn't like the EX3's recording format either, classifying it as "standard def" because it's interframe at under 50mbps.

Quote:
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about it, and I love Panny gear, but there's no getting away from the 600,000 pixel chips.
Yeah, but -- again, Discovery HD rates it at Silver. As an HD camera. So you can count pixels, or you can make images. According to Discovery HD, you can make all the images you want on an HPX500 and they'll be glad to air them, in HD, as it's cleared for unlimited acquisition.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 01:54 PM   #26
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Yeah, but -- again, Discovery HD rates it at Silver. As an HD camera. So you can count pixels, or you can make images. According to Discovery HD, you can make all the images you want on an HPX500 and they'll be glad to air them, in HD, as it's cleared for unlimited acquisition.
I don't get commissions myself, I just shoot the pictures, but I assume that there will be discussions at commissioning stage re equipment to be used, and I get the feeling that for high end projects they'd say no to the 500. A lot of BBC wildlife series are Discovery co pros and I know that the 500 would not be acceptable (Planet Earth, Galapagos, Yellowstone, Wild China etc.) except in special circumstances.

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Old June 20th, 2009, 02:20 PM   #27
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I read somewhere that BBC doesn't accept super16 anymore either, what a shame... I've been watching re-mastered Hercule Poirot mysteries recently that were shot with the 80s Panavision super16 cameras (basically an Aaton) and they look fantastic on my HD screen...

In the early 70s I shot a documentary feature (ACAPULCO GOLD) with a Bolex and Cine Effects in Hollywood said they wouldn't blow it up to 35 because they didn't approve of that camera. We jumped to a lot of hoops and they finally agreed. Even they admitted afterwards that it looked terrific.

"Broadcast Standards" and "Producer Guidelines" can often be used to eliminate the poor independent filmmaker, that's an even bigger shame.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #28
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The reason they don't accept S16 is not due to the quality of the material as shot but how it performs when compressed on broadcast. The grain causes the compression systems all sorts of problems and results in a very yucky image. It is a shame, I shot my last S16 about 3 years ago now and sold my kit, haven't been asked for it since.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 06:53 PM   #29
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All valid points but I think the times are changing and broadcasters will have to compete with internet delivery that can outstrip their codec problems through airwave TX

That will open up a new way of working that will allow new interesting programmes to be made again and delivered in HD in more efficient ways with lower cost equipment.
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Old June 21st, 2009, 02:09 PM   #30
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The grain causes the compression systems all sorts of problems and results in a very yucky image. It is a shame, I shot my last S16 about 3 years ago now and sold my kit, haven't been asked for it since.
Steve
So that would mean that all of the excellent films, both documentary and a narrative, that have been shot in 16 and super16 over the past 5 decades will not end up being televised because of compression issues? That includes many Bergman films (made for TV), French films, BBC productions, and, personally, most of my resume.

Okay, so if that is true, then I would think an affordable camera, like the HPX500, that delivers excellent images would be a God-send.

I realize that nature broadcasters want the "through a window" clarity that they tout, but many dramatic films and personal documentaries suffer (in my opinion) when they are too crisp.. there is a lack of tactile grittiness that supports the visual need of the story. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA was intentionally shot with old studio lenses that weren't color corrected in order to give an impression of looking through the heat of the desert. That is only one example (and one with wide vistas, I might add) of a story demanding something other than maximum resolution.

The 500 has a place in this kind of story-telling. Scopes be damned, it just looks good to me (and I prefer 720/24pn by the way).
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