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Old April 20th, 2005, 12:32 AM   #1
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HVX200 & P2 - it is THE revolution

I've been wading through much of the HVX200 info/threads here, plus the Jarred's and Barry's nice reports and other stuff around the web and from my view, the conclusion is clear. This is design grand slam, a wunderkind, possibly the most revolutionary moving image camera since Pathe 9.5 or 16mm or even Super 8mm.

Of course, they have to actually manufacture a camera that executes this design, but given the DVX100 series and Varicam track record, that's a reasonable safe bet.

PART 1

First, P2 = solid state memory record for motion picture storage. I don't really think people appreciate how big a deal this is. Of course the cost is high to start, but that will change.

People are too hung up on hard disk drive recording. I've been around camera and disk drives for many years. The reason moving parts disk drives are nothing but a niche solution (barring a forthcoming revolution there) is simple. The record head and medium must be in motion to each other.

Need hard example? Take an iPod or laptop or portable hard drive including a firestore. Get a solid stream of data, even just DV stream, writing steadily to the disk. While it's writing, shake, rattle, drop, leave in 100F degree sun, 0F cold, drop it a few times.

Now examine your date (assuming you did not kill your drive). Hard Disc recording is not the future of motion picture camera storage. I'm typing this on a Thinkpad t41p with shock protection. How does that work? It pauses the drive. Great for protecting a laptop drive, bad for writing a stream of data as the drive will pause as long as the shock continues, so a "record buffer" would not guarantee successful stream recording.

Unless someone design a drive that can reliably write data as solid state, solid state is the revolution.


PART 2

The HVX200 promises a 1080 line full progressive image affordable to the non-professional. This what the 35mm still camera did for photography. DV is no where near the resolution or color fidelity of 35mm film.

HDV involves some really painful compromises in resolution (due to compression of moving images) and provide poor quality color space and audio. HDV-Pro may help a little, but it still looks to me like a consumer format only.

As long as HVX200 does not cheat to much to provide 1080p images, will we all suddenly have the same image resolution that Hollywood has (sure, real 35mm negative has more, but by the time it ends up in your average cineplex or DVD, only 1% of the world (namely us camera geeks) can tell a difference or any.

The only real "advantage" is short DOF but I think that's more aesthetic trend than "advantage".

NON-ISSUES

(1) Interchangeable lenses. This is just Canon (and now JVC) marketing gimmick. As a former XL1 owner of XL1 and all lenses, I quickly realized this was nothing like the real world of my Canon SLR and EF lenses. The simple fact is that no spectrum of lenses exist. The HD100U looks even more ungainly than the XL2 system given the staggering price of the wide angle lens.

Panasonic simply realizes that fact. It would be wonderful if there were 50-100 1/3" lenses around, but I don't think it will ever happen. The 13X range of this lens cover 95% of the lens needs. Only nature shooters needing extreme telephoto really benefit by Canon's XL system

(2) P2 Cost

What price is reliable field recording? That sums it all for me. If i miss a shot, I miss a shot. There is no way to make reliable moving disk mechanisms and solid state seems to alway be way ahead of moving recording mediums. Cost will always be somewhat higher, but then again, the difference between getting a shot and losing it is everything.

But it is much cheaper than DVCProHD or HDCAM tape decks (and you really need two of those to edit). That's the real revolution. P2 needs to be compared against HD decks, not miniDV decks and storage (like the current firestore etc.)

(3) XL3, ZR2 et al.

This camera is bigger deal than the DVX series. Panasonic has spent years working on DVC-Pro/HD, P2, 24p, Variable frame rates and it all pays off here. I don't expect Sony or Canon or anyone else to be able to compete here for some time unless they license Panny's tech. Despite the speed tech is moving today, it still takes years to develop new platforms. Panny has done that and the HVX200 is their (and our) reward.

BONUSES

(1) Slow-Motion. Even in pro HD, this is still the holy grail. To think of having access to this before many other pros get it, that rocks

(2) 4 tracks uncompressed audio. What a wonderful addition for narrative and doc shoots.

(3) A ton of user driven design changes (the 4:3 LCD moving status off the image being my favorite)

BOTTOM LINE

This is the camera I've been waiting for. Sure, I still find my current DVX100a an excellent tool for SD video, but it's not the holy grail.

If Panasonic does execute this design, I think it marks a whole new chapter in motion image recording.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 03:15 AM   #2
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Well-said Stephen. I couldn't agree with you more.

And I think HD is closer than many think. There are a lot of cable and satellite HD channels starving for programming. I have glorious HD delivery via Time Warner cable for the SAME PRICE of regular SD cable. A lot of great HD shows, but also a lot of repetition.

And I just bought a Mitsubishi 42-in HDTV for only $600!!! OK, OK, it was a one-of-a-kind open box model. But prior to this the cheapest I had ever seen one was $1,200. As soon as these HDTVs get below $1,000, sales will take off. The computer manufacturers learned this years ago.

So bring it on! I can't wait. :-)
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Old April 20th, 2005, 06:20 AM   #3
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The slow mo has been around on the Varicam for a long time.

This will be a nice camera. But it is only that. A camera. Its not the holy grail. We will see if the video world changes greatly as a result of it when it is released. And that won't be until the end of the year.

The world won't just stop until this camera is released. Please just keep making cool stuff with your current cameras. If, when the HVX is released, it is affordable for you and P2 cards are a viable cost, then buy it. Until then the world keeps on revolving.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 07:46 AM   #4
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I must say, I agree with you both...

Yes, as Simon says, (no pun intended) we can keep creating the same great content we have been on our current cameras. And that won't change.

But what is about to change is absolutely incredible. MiniDV changed video production, but it did so by giving us 4:1:1 color space and 25mbs data stream that were technically inferior to professional broadcast equipment at the time. HDV is trying to do it again. With Panasonic's new camera, we're still in that prosumer price range, and thus imager size and lenses fall into a certain quality range, but the camera records to established professional grade codecs, for both SD and HD. Yes, I know for the ultra high end HD, there's a lot less compression on HDCAM and HDCAM SR, but it's not like the Varicam with it's DVCPRO HD is some slouch's camera that is the joke of professional HD. It's widely popular because of the features it offers.

So for the first time a camera manufacturer is saying to us, "Look, we could give you some lower format rife with even more compromises in image quality than our 'professsional format' already has, but we know that we can give you our 'professional format' in this smaller camera at this price point. So we will." Well kudos for us. And kudos for Panasonic, who is going to make a killing on this camera.

So yeah, other cameras and formats aren't dead. But we know now that we don't have to settle for a lesser format...
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Old April 20th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #5
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There is one issue that has just come up in my mind regarding programme delivery. Nope, I'm not going to go on about how HDDVD isn't here yet. Instead I'm going to talk about broadcast.

Havinf DVCpro50 and HD means that broadcasters will no longer have the ability to restrict the little guys submission of footage to the same degree anymore. We won't generally have to try and fool engineers by copying our master to Digibeta for example.

However there's a little spanner in the works. P2 eliminates the cost of a deck. But ONLY for the person performing the editing. However one would still need a DVDproHD deck to deliver a final master copy on. The P2 cards would be too small (and valuable) to hand over to a broadcaster.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 09:18 AM   #6
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Well here's the rub...

I don't think that acquisition and editing will be the only ones going tapeless... Who's to say that we won't be delivering files on some kind of optical disk. The equipment is certainly there... and maybe it won't be optical disks, who knows. In the interim, when sending something to broadcast, I suppose one could always rent a deck... unless of course you're sending something weekly, but then, if you're doing some kind of regular broadcast spot, you can presumably afford the deck...

But I think in the long run, as everything goes truly digital, so will broadcast...
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Old April 20th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #7
 
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The camera is a god send for filmmakers

Nuff said.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 09:46 AM   #8
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The real revolution has already occurred, and that has been putting out-of-the-box technologies into the hands of the sole practitioner. One person capable of generating images, editing, motion graphics, sound, outputting to a marketable format. It's a miracle. Like the desktop publishing revolution which geared up in the 1980s--we now take for granted that we can sit at home generating our own high-end publications, if we wish. But when I was working in publishing in the 80s, it was all about the vertical camera, the linotype typesetter, the light table, etc. This took many years to play out, and many, many expensive technologies became roadkill along the way, and now we don't have a dominant player, but instead have many new pathways to achieve similar effects.

We are living in a multi-format age, but somehow we still inhabit a mind-set where there is a clear "winner." By the virtues of my own little production studio, with FCP, a GL2, and an Apple superdrive to output, the major battle has already been won. The revolution is not located in the format itself but in the choices it affords the end user and in the choices which that end user decides to make. It will be fascinating to see where all of this lands ten years from now, when the revolution matures.

Just some thoughts....
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Old April 20th, 2005, 10:08 AM   #9
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I agree that this camera looks incredible. This is "professional" technology being brought down to "prosumers". Which of course signals that "professional" technology is about to take another big step forward, otherwise Panasonic wouldn't just hand this over to a much lower price bracket, thus embarrassing, at least in part, the people that invested in their much more expensive camera's.

I think the comparison to 16mm is pretty apt. Which contradicts some of the other things that have been said. The difference between HD video and 35mm is still pretty noticeable, and can be identified by a lot more than just "those in the know". Take "Collateral" for example, which looks pretty great, but still a little "off" (I don't mean this in a bad way), even if the average person couldn't figure out what was different about it. Which is in many ways like 16mm, which is an inferior format, with less detail, but which the average person might mistake for an "off" 35mm if they saw it projected in a nice print. What I am meaning to say is that I think it is counter-productive to blur lines between mediums and formats, and to say that they are "pretty much" comparable, because that's exactly what companies like Panasonic and the like want us to feel and think about their camera's (just as DVD manufacturers want us to think that watching a DVD at home is the same as watching the film projected in the theater), and it isn't responsible in terms of considering formats and camera's and mediums to blur those lines as a consumer and say that something is the "holy grail". This camera isn't going to give us the resolution that Hollywood has. It will give us great resolution, probably wonderful pictures, and I agree that this is a big step forward. But Hollywood will have 35mm film, and better HD camera's with higher resolutions soon enough. But we will be a bit closer And then this will happen again with another camera, and we will be even closer, until hopefully there is nowhere left to go, and the gap (at least in picture quality and resolution) will disappear. This camera, however, is not going to do that alone.

I agree that it is part of the revolution (which has been going on for decades, or arguably, since film's invention) but it is not "THE" revolution.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 10:21 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Joel Guy]This camera, however, is not going to do that alone.QUOTE]

what??!! but this is the "holy grail" camera, this makes the best movies. you dont need good storylines or great lighting anymore cos the HVX is so great it dont need any of the other things which make good viewing....

another guy on an internet forum also told me that now the HVX is coming out, he'll never need to upgrade his camera anymore, that he'll be "set for life" cos it records HD 24p... apparently Sony/Panasonic/JVC/Canon have all mades agreements that once HD 24p camera are released they'll quit making any new technologies, cameras or video formats as they're tired of making heaps of money through making cameras outdated & obsolete... :)
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Old April 20th, 2005, 10:59 AM   #11
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Well said James.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:07 AM   #12
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I understand the points about the other revolutions (desktop production etc.) and that you can do good work with your current cams etc. Good points, but the title of this thread is "HVX200 & P2, it is THE revolution".

That's my point - P2 or this cam alone is not a revolution, just evolution. But add them together:

HVX200 + P2 = The Revolution

The sum of allows reliable, affordable projection of a true, quality 1080p image to the prosumer guy. That's a big ass revolution.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:43 AM   #13
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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

While I appreciate your excitement about a truly innovative new camera concept, there are some sweeping and not on the money statements here.

Just for one, the idea that longer lenses than what the DVX provides are only used by nature shooters is just not so.

For virtually any shoot that is not totally based on scripts, sets and /or scouted prepped locations, a long lens - specifically the revolutiionary (while we're using the term) 20X Flourite programmable IS Canon glass is incalcuably valuable.

In other words every thing that people shoot professionally that's not on a set (which is the vast majority of what all cameras are usd for) can benefit enormously from as much reach as a lens can provide.

Anyone who does documetary work for instance is faced on most locations with a myriad of unplanned challenges and great oppurtunities that only longer focal lengths can handle. I just finished such a film that I could never have gotten so many of the "wow" shots and scenes that looked like multi camera setups with out it.

Likewise sweeping and narrow in it's view is the comment on DOF. Depth of field is hardly an "aesthetic trend" unless you consider most of the film making to date a trend.

That said, it looks like a great breakthrough in it's mock-up stage and if it's as good as promised, I'll add one to the toll box when it's released.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:59 AM   #14
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>>Just for one, the idea that longer lenses than what the DVX provides are >>only used by nature shooters is just not so.

>>For virtually any shoot that is not totally based on scripts, sets and /or >>scouted prepped locations, a long lens - specifically the revolutiionary (while we're using the term) 20X Flourite programmable IS Canon glass is >>incalcuably valuable.

That's not exactly what I said/meant. I was referring to the lens choices on the XL series. The 20X Flourite lens reach on the XL2 is available on GL series, well before, so it's use on the XL2 is not even evolutionary, much less revolutionary. Other cams can use an telephoto adapter. The 13X reach of the HVX200 is pretty good in my book.

I was referring to the EF adaptor for super telephoto. Because you lose certain functions with the EF adaptor, I don't see it a flexible, general purpose tool.

20X is a useful lens, but it's not wide and most cinematographers I talk to, including myself :), prefer wide over telephoto if given the choice. The Canon 3X is okay, but I consider the Leica on the DVX100 series is superior glass in every way (quality, range, sharpness, color rendition, focus and zoom controls).

>Likewise sweeping and narrow in it's view is the comment on DOF. Depth of >field is hardly an "aesthetic trend" unless you consider most of the film >making to date a trend.

I respectfully disagree and have posted here about this in the past. Short DOF is used by 1/3" video shooters to mimic the look of 35mm. By using long telephoto with short DOF, the limitations of DV SD are disguised somewhat. Wide shot with lots of detail just fall apart on DV, especially on larger screens.

With 1080p, 4.2.2 or 4.4.4 color space, short DOF is not an obsesssion (that's why HDCAM shooter don't spend hours discussing it either, even though HDCAM cams also, to a lesser extent, have the same issue with DOF that DV shooters do. Wide shots with detail look much, much, much better.

Also, if you've ever shot anamorphic lenses on 35mm or 65mm, your obsession is trying to get more DOF, not less.

That said, it looks like a great breakthrough in it's mock-up stage and if it's as good as promised, I'll add one to the toll box when it's released.[/QUOTE]
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Old April 20th, 2005, 12:16 PM   #15
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Stephen,
I meant no offense to anyone by "amening" James' statement. I was simply agreeing with the sarcastic humor; not making light of your initial post. As a technology teacher and amatuer videographer I couldn't agree more with you and share your excitement about this camera and P2 technology. I think the advances made in prosumer video cameras and editing software (within the past couple of years) has been incredible. Less than 6 months ago I purchased the FCPHD production suite and should I decide to go HDV I'll need to upgrade to FCP5. Oh well.............
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