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Panasonic P2HD / DVCPRO HD Camcorders
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Old April 29th, 2005, 10:40 AM   #1
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New Portable HDD for HDV/DV25/DVCPro50

Check out this new portable HDD unit that should work with an HVX200 (DV, DVCPro, DVCPro50), Z1 (HDV, DV), and HD100 (HDV, DV).

Link: http://www.shining.com/products/tota.../citidisk_hdv/
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Old April 29th, 2005, 12:16 PM   #2
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Seems like a pretty good deal. Anyone have any experience with one of their DV models?
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Old May 1st, 2005, 08:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Gibby
Check out this new portable HDD unit that should work with an HVX200 (DV, DVCPro, DVCPro50), Z1 (HDV, DV), and HD100 (HDV, DV).

Link: http://www.shining.com/products/tota.../citidisk_hdv/

Hi Steve,

Looks like it will do the DVCPRO50 but not HD.

Best,

Jan
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Old May 1st, 2005, 03:01 PM   #4
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Hi Jan,

Yeah, this looks like a possible HDD solution for the SDX900, SPC700, or SPX800 - and a partial solution for the HVX. Hopefully by the time the HVX ships someone will develop a portable HDD with a big hard drive that will handle all of the formats, resolutions, and frame rates that the HVX shoots. I'm excited about the possibilities with the HVX for the broad range of television and video projects I do. I'm just hoping the accessories will be available to maximize the potential of the camera.

Thanks,
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Old May 1st, 2005, 04:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Crittenden Livingston
Hi Steve,

Looks like it will do the DVCPRO50 but not HD.

Best,

Jan
Jan:

What do you think is the bottleneck -- FireWire or the hard-disk speed? I'm guessing the hard drive -- laptop drives, which is what CitiDISK uses, tend to have slower rotational speeds to reduce heat build-up.

As a side note, I for one wish to apologize for being so hard on Panasonic for its P2 pricing. Although I am still convinced that it's overpriced, I think we should all gain some perspective. Grass Valley recently unveiled Venom FlashPak, a solid-state storage "film magazine" solution for the Viper FilmStream (PDF fact sheet here). What the brochure doesn't mention is price -- $59,000. So I guess expensive is a relative term.

Last edited by Lawrence Bansbach; May 2nd, 2005 at 07:41 AM.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 08:52 PM   #6
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citidisk looks good

Hi folks. Clicked on the link and it looks good but I couldn't find a price. Anybody know where to get one and at what cost? I googled and could only find reviews and MSRP for the DV version. They said it was cheaper than the Firestore but couldn't find out how much cheaper or where to get one. Anybody?
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #7
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Price

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron J.H. Walker
Hi folks. Clicked on the link and it looks good but I couldn't find a price. Anybody know where to get one and at what cost? I googled and could only find reviews and MSRP for the DV version. They said it was cheaper than the Firestore but couldn't find out how much cheaper or where to get one. Anybody?
The site had a listed price of

$679.00 - 40gig
$729.00 - 60gig
$779.00 - 80gig
$849.00 - 100gig

Here's my question however? Keep in mind I'm not as technically astute as some people.

The HVX's p2 technology holds at the most, 8gig's. for about 2000 dollars.
Why the exceptionally high price? Is it because citidisk's storgage drives can't handle as much bumping etc...

I'm still not sure why P2 is the way of the future?
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #8
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Hi Trevor,

Simply put, it's a question of the relatively high cost of solid state memory (no moving parts in a P2 card) vs. the relatively lower cost of hard disk recording (that is, somewhat delicate and fragile moving parts).

The advantages of P2 cards over hard drives are that solid state memory requires much less power to operate, has a tremendously high tolerance for g-shock, and is exceptionally quiet; all because there are no moving parts. Also, the internal array of SD flash memory cards that make up P2 memory are made with zero-fault tolerance, which means that they're 100% perfect. These are the primary reasons for the seemingly high cost, which is dropping all the time, of course.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #9
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Ok, that explains some things.

On to my next question.

P2 cards are much like a mini harddrive. There's no compression, correct?

If so, cameras like the Thomson Viper filmstream produce image quality at 4:4:4. which is a direct transfer to the harddrive from the CCD's.

If that's the case wouldn't the HVX 200 be able to produce the same 4:4:4 image quality on the P2 cards. Although at this time I doubt 8 gigs is hardly enough storage space to hold something with that much information.

What's the skinny on this?
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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By definition, all digital video is compressed. Compression is a function of the video format, not the P2 card. The card itself is format-agnostic. It doesn't care what the video format is; it'll write what the camera tells it to write (as long as it's an H-series P2 card which can handle the throughput of high definition video).

The video formats which the HVX200 uses are DV and DVCPro, compressed at a 5:1 ratio and writing at 25 megabits per second; DVCPro 50, compressed at a 3.3:1 ratio and writing at 50 megabits per second; and DVCPro HD, compressed at a 6.7:1 ratio and writing at 100 megabits per second. The P2 cards bundled with the HVX can write any of these formats, but it's important to understand that yes, they are in fact compressed, otherwise it wouldn't be digital video.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:52 PM   #11
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Hmmmm, that says a lot.

So when exactly does the camera do the compression? After the image has passed through the CCD's it can either be compressed to the DV, DVPRO, DVC pro 50, or the dvc pro HD formats?

So that means the viper Film stream. Or even the reel-stream andromeda. doesn't even go through the cameras compression functions? It skips the DV, DVPRO, DVPRO50, DVPRO HD formats and just gives you a raw 4:4:4 image?
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Old May 5th, 2005, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Trombley
Hmmmm, that says a lot.

So when exactly does the camera do the compression? After the image has passed through the CCD's it can either be compressed to the DV, DVPRO, DVC pro 50, or the dvc pro HD formats?
Yep, the camera acquires the image via the CCD sensors and then processes it with internal firmware for specific enhancements: gain, edge enhancement, color correction, etc.. And then compresses it with the appropriate codec as it sends it on to the stream of video output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Trombley
So that means the viper Film stream. Or even the reel-stream andromeda. doesn't even go through the cameras compression functions? It skips the DV, DVPRO, DVPRO50, DVPRO HD formats and just gives you a raw 4:4:4 image?
Cameras like the Viper are a different type of animal. The viper acquires the image data and packages each frame into an uncompressed / raw image file and it continuously sends out individual raw frames. All processing of the Viper data is done in post. Other camera systems provide uncompressed image capture, like the Reel Stream Andromeda modification for the DVX100, which has it's own add-on firmware placed into the DVX that takes raw CCD data and streams it out over a USB2 port to be interpreted by a capture application on a host PC. The CCD in the DVX samples images at 4:4:4, but internal processing degrades the resolution and color information down by a great deal and then it is encoded in 25Mbps DV format, which is almost a total insult to the capabilities of the DVX100. Hence the reason the Reel Stream Andromeda project took off... It's an aftermarket hack job of an add-on that allows DVX100 owners the chance to grab that raw 4:4:4 CCD data before it's butchered by the DVX100's internal processing.

There are various levels of compression and types or formats of compression and not all of the top-of-the-line camera systems are uncompressed. Sony's HDCAM SR can be set to various compression levels and color space levels (up to 4:4:4) or uncompressed images up to a maximum output bandwidth of 800Mbps.

The HVX200 will almost definitely capture raw data at 4:4:4 and with the full pixel count of the internal CCD block (whatever that my actually be). However, it will be processed internally and sampled to the correct output resolution and color space for the selected format. DVCPro formats are 4:2:2 color vs. the 4:1:1 of DV or the 4:2:0 of HDV.

As Chris Hurd already said, P2 cards are format agnostic. If you plug one into a PCMCIA slot on your computer, it just looks like a standard PCMCIA storage device and you can put any type of file on it you wish.... The HVX camera won't understand what an excel spreadsheet or an MP3 file is, but you can put them there. You will be able to record DVCPro50 and DVCProHD-100 (as well as any other format you have access to) clips to the same card and access them from any computer that is equipped with a PC card slot. Technically, the maximum bandwidth for a P2 card is about 640Mbps (80 megabytes) per second. This is actually a limitation of the 32bit PCMCIA Type II Cardbus interface and not the RAM itself. It would actually be possible to construct a Type III P2 card which is a tandem Type II slot and interleave the data I/O and achive nearly double the throughput. However, don't hold your breath for that... Right now, there isn't any reason to do such a thing and 32bit PC cards will probably be obsolete by the time that reason does present itself. And don't get too excited over P2 bandwidth just yet, solid state SD memory (on which the P2 cards are based) is much slower to write to than it is to read from. So even if you can dub video off the card at 80MB/sec, chances are you can only write to the card at 15 to 25 MB/sec, which is still plenty fast enough for recording live DVCProHD streams, it's going to be a while before P2 or similar technology is ready to record HDCAM SR or similar types of data. I think we'll also have some grumpy HVX200 owners initially who will find that copying video back to a P2 card won't be much (if at all) faster than 1X speed for DVCProHD100.

Anyway, P2 is a huge leap forward and a chance to finally move away from tape (for certain types of productions). It won't be for everyone initially, but as capacities increase and prices drop, more and more people will convert and not just to P2 but other solid state alternatives and just like records, cassette tapes and soon movies on VHS, DV tape will become a thing of the past with only a select few using it. Panasonic's advertised prices on P2 cards are shocking, but they have several partners already licensed up so we can expect to see cheaper alternatives from common memory card makers to help bring those prices down. The third-party alternatives may not show up until next year, so early P2 adopters who buy with the HVX will probably have to pay through the nose, but it may be worth it. I know that if the HVX lives up to most of the hype and delivers decent HD image quality, I can probably pay for it and 2 or 3 P2 cards in just a few months, possibly with just one good paying gig, which may not be too hard if I'm the first one on the block in my town to own his own HD camera.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #13
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Wow, you certainly know your stuff Jeff.

To think that in ten years time we'll probably have consumer priced camcorders that can produce the same results as the Thomson Viper.

The possibilities will be endless.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Trombley
To think that in ten years time we'll probably have consumer priced camcorders that can produce the same results as the Thomson Viper.
That would be nice. :) I think the underlying electronics, sensors, etc... will all be there. A camera on the level of the Viper will probably be in reach of the "prosumer" or the moderatel budget indie filmmaker in the next 2 years or so in some form or another -- probably home-built solutions at first. However, there still remains the issue of quality lenses and accessories. Look at the Drake camera right now, it's one of the first that can qalify as something like this. Home-built, but still far from cheap. In 10 years, who knows... I have been in the high tech industry long enough to know it's foolish to speculate about such a far off time. But I can say for sure that when the time comes and cameras that rival the CineAlta or Viper are within reach of the savvy consumer or prosumer, just think of what may be available on the high-end. All things keep improving and camera companies aren't going to cut their throat and kill the high end... The high end just keeps improving along with everything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Trombley
The possibilities will be endless.
Aren't they always? :)
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Old May 7th, 2005, 03:57 PM   #15
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thanks trevor

Thanks for the reply to my post about the citidisk. Those prices are only slightly lower than the Focus but my question still remains, anybody seen the the street prices or where to get one? The reviews I found sure trumpeted the thing as a lower cost alternative to the Focus drives but if nobody has them for sale ... I couldn't even find them on B&H last I checked.

I am interested because moving to a tapeless acquisition would be fabulous but, although I am a very proud and happy Panny DVC 80 owner, I am still not convinced about this P2 "miracle" due to the high cost, proprietary and, at least at this time, limited capacity nature of the medium. And, as nice as Panny can be in terms of listening to their users, I can't see them offering a P2 camera that let you output to a third party's storage device since they would loss money on their proprietary system.

Now, however, if there was a way to marry a P2 to a firewire cable then kick out to a third party hard drive/storage device similar to the Focus or other makers, I would stand in line with everyone else for the new camera. But doesn't something like that already exist where you can plug in a PCMIA card into a notebook and then plug a firewire cable?
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