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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:27 PM   #46
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David,

I ran your color space vs. luma sample response by Adam Wilt. Here is his response:

"DVCPROHD will allow more extreme grading / color correction without artifacts becoming too prominent. I prefer the added detail from the EX1, even with 4:2:0 recording, for green screen work--but I shoot progressive. If shooting interlace, I'd probably go with the HPX500."

His response would seem to validate both 4:2:2 of DVCPRO HD and full raster detail of EX1, and presumably PMW-350.

There is no question that the human eye is much better with seeing luminance detail vs. chroma detail, most of us couldn't discern4:2:0 vs. 4:2:2 vs. 4:4:4, however, computers can tell.

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Old March 1st, 2010, 06:52 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Regan
.....the human eye is much better with seeing luminance detail vs. chroma detail, most of us couldn't discern 4:2:0 vs. 4:2:2 vs. 4:4:4, however, computers can tell.
Yes, and computers can not just tell, but when they manipulate the video (such as chromakey) the chroma resolution gets mapped into luminance detail - so then the human eye can tell. There is no debate that *IF ALL ELSE IS EQUAL*, it's better to have 4:2:2 recording than 4:2:0 - especially if you wish to do something like chromakey. I've made no secret that I'd prefer to see the 350 with the 422 50Mbs codec. (At least you can add a nanoFlash if neccessary.)

But here all else is not equal. DVCProHD and XDCAM EX don't record the same number of luminance pixels, and the chip resolutions of the two cameras are different.

I don't agree with Adam that I'd prefer the HPX500 over a PMW350 in interlace for the following logic. The advantages of 4:2:2 over 4:2:0 are certainly more pronounced in interlace mode than progressive (*all else equal*!), but the chips of the HPX500 mean that the camera can't really exploit it in the way that a camera with full R,G,B 1080 chip resolution vertically could. The limiting factor will not be the way the chroma is recorded, but the way the chips initially resolve it.

If we assume that the chromakey background is blue, the maximum resolution of blue that an HPX500 can resolve is 540 lines vertically. Pixel shifting is of no help - this is the whole point, that pixel shifting only improves LUMINANCE resolution. The chrominance resolution can't get any better than 540 lines. In the case of the PMW350, the chip produces a lot more chroma res - but the sub-sampling knocks it down to 540.

So similar chrominance resolution in both cases - but for the PMW350 the luminance resolution is far higher than the 500, which will make a big real world difference.

The above all applies to the vertical direction. Horizontally, there's no comparison - all the figures are well in the favour of the PMW350.

But forget all the theory. After seeing the BSC trials, and split screens of the HVX201 against the EX3 under controlled real world conditions, there is just no doubt that 1920x1080 chips recorded full raster, substantially outperform 960x540 chips recorded to a sub-sampled format like DVCProHD. I'd expect to see a comparable difference with an HPX500 and a PMW350.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:28 PM   #48
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David,

I agree with your points, especially as they pertain to luminance samples being recorded. Adam has always told me that XDCAM EX really shows it limitations in interlace mode and he avoids using EX1's in interlace.

I also agree that the HVX200/200A/HPX170/500 are interchangeable in regards to luma and chroma samples, ditto EX1/3/PMW350.

When you say the Sony full sample cameras outperform the Panasonic pixel shifted cameras, clearly that's true with luminance, but Adam believes that even a pixel-shifted, 3/4 sampled DVCPRO HD is superior in terms of more extreme grading and color correction. And, of course, my contention regarding AVC-Intra 100, being a 10-bit, full sample, 4:2:2 codec, is above and beyond XDCAM EX and DVCPRO HD, and certainly at least as good as XDCAM 422 by virtue of having 4X the shades of gray as any 8-bit format.

I think we're back to any prospective buyer needing to do real world tests, from shooting through work flow. My editors don't like XDCAM EX, one just corrects me by saying, "you mean HDV", but there are some people who don't think the pixel shifted cameras are adequate in resolving power. This is why Panasonic offers the HPX300, 3000 and 3700, and for many(me), the HDX900, HPX2000, 2700 resolve enough detail.

And of course, up until recently, there were NO full raster one-piece cameras as far as on-board codecs. The F900 and original Varicam seemed to please most people, despite not having full raster chips or codecs.

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Old March 2nd, 2010, 06:19 PM   #49
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But numbers aside, again. I still think it's not completely right or fair to compare a EX1/3 to a Hvx200/hpx171, or a PMW350 to the Hpx500.

HPX170, around 4100$ vs. EX1, around 6200$

PMW350 w/lens around 19000$ or PMW350 wo/lens around 17000$

Hpx500, around 9900$
Hpx500 kits available for around 18000$ w/ lens, P2 cards and tripod plate.

Ofcourse there might be rebates available for all cameras, or kits...i got my Hpx500 kit for about 18k last spring, HD lens, batteries, P2 cards, tripod plate and a backpack.

The 350 will be a lot better in the resolution department, and I'm aware of the 4:2:0 vs. 4:2:2 being relative. The 500 will deliver a bit softer image, but with 100mbit codec and a better "out the box" color. That the 350 will be sharper for the extra cost isn't surprising...
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:57 PM   #50
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QUOTE "... The 500 will deliver a bit softer image, but with 100mbit codec and a better "out the box" color. That the 350 will be sharper for the extra cost isn't surprising..."

But extreme sharpness isn't always becoming nor desirable, if it were, filter manufacturers would not be producing softening filters and portrait and other still photographers would not be purchasing them. Sure, it's nice to have the option but if it doesn't fulfill your needs in regards to the type of work that you do and you prefer the Panasonic Mojo to that of what I assume is the alternative (Sony), then the choice is obvious.

I understand that there are those whose primary concern appears to be the acceptibility of their content by the BBC but there is an entire population—imagine that—of videographers on the other side of the continent for whom the BBC's requirements or those of NatGeo have no bearing. With the U.S. economy in the dumpster, it appears that many of the local newsies and network subsidiaries are doing their own recording with cameras that would not meet the requirements of the purists nor the followers of the BBC white papers. So, as always, content is king and being on scene with whatever you have available to document the action seems to carry the greatest level of importance. On the other hand, if your bent is to film a feature length production, then you probably would not be using any of the cameras mentioned in this topic's various posts and my diatribe becomes less valid.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:44 AM   #51
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I personally dislike extremely sharp images, there is no romance or mystery to a razor sharp, sterile, clean image. I interviewed a well known director last week who just finished his latest feature with the RED One. He told me that this is the main fault he finds in all of the modern digital cinema cameras like the Genesis, Viper, RED One. The image is too clean and sterile. He told me, "why would I want to a shoot a beautiful woman's face in close up with a digital camera, it looks terrible". He wants to go back to shooting S35.

I think that this is the reason that some of us are fine with abbreviated raster cameras, they have a softer, more impressionistic quality that many of us find more appealing than the antiseptic look of some of the full raster cameras.

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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:49 AM   #52
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Dan you raise a good point, but I think that has to be held in context.

For cinema style productions there is an acceptable range.

If you are shooting a football game for FOX, then there is no range, it needs to be sharp as a tack to meet with industry standards.

The application can dictate how important detail level can be to the overall success of the project.

Along the lines of what David is saying, I would rather have the detail and be able to turn it down than only have the lowered minimum. Because with video cameras, edge fringing starts to appear when you search for more detail than the camera can give...and that look is not accepted in any circles.

The HPX-500 does make a very pleasing image, it is just a bit soft in 1080p in my experience. If you shoot in 720p it is great, given you black balance before every shoot to reduce the noise in the shadow areas.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 10:15 AM   #53
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Tim,

You mentioned FOX and sharp images for sports. It's worth noting that all Fox networks are 720/60P. David and Alister Chapman, in another thread, HPX2700 vs. PMW-350, chose the latter because of the 720P native CCD's in the 2700. There are those who think only 4K cameras are worth considering and of course, those who think only 35mm Cine cameras are worth using. Of course, DP's and directors often put diffusion filters in front of these tack sharp cameras/Cine prime lenses.

It's obviously an aesthetic choice. I find 720P native cameras to be kinder to talent than full raster 1080 cameras. For broadcast, I definitely prefer 720/60P over 1080/60i from a temporal resolution standpoint and not having interlace artifacts. 720P native cameras are the sweet spot for me.

Also, per Adam Wilt, 1080/60i is problematic with low bit rate, 4:2:0 Long GOP codecs, such as XDCAM EX. This is why US broadcast networks broadcasting in 1080/60i shoot shows like 60 Minutes with XDCAM 422 rather than XDCAM EX.

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Old March 3rd, 2010, 11:55 AM   #54
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Jeff, While my sympathies lie with most of your points you should know that 60 minutes uses XDCAM EX and XDCAM Disc and just about anything else they can find at points. A close friend of mine is an editor there and we are always talking about a mish mash of formats for the pieces he is working on. Yes they prefer XDCAM Disc for the main cameras but are often using the XDCAM EX smaller units as well. There is some workflow which gets the EX footage to disc which has been discussed elsewhere on the site. Plus they like to shoot 30P not 60i. When they went HD they originally wanted to go 24P but they went with Sony before the XDCAM 700 was capable of it so they settled for 30P. 2/3 inch was more important to them than frame rate at the time.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:30 PM   #55
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Jeff,

I think you are taking my post a bit too literally. I was referencing FOX sports or any type live broadcast where detail and sharpness are preferred over softness.

If you show up with a "percieved" soft camera, it would not be looked upon as favorably compared to a cine type shoot.

Some of the images from NFL games are incredibly tack sharp with detail. That is the look they are going for. That's all I was stating.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:50 PM   #56
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Daniel,

Thanks for the clarification, I didn't know 60 minutes used EX1/EX3. I figured they'd use regular XDCAM disc at times. It certainly makes sense they would shoot progressive vs. interlace.

Tim,

I understand, your point was that sports would put an emphasis on live looking, sharp HD vs. Cine, where that's not such a priority. My point was that 720/60p certainly falls under the live, sharp HD category, not just 1080/60i, for broadcast.

In regards to NFL Films, I prefer their 16mm footage over video footage, the 16mm gave it a grittier, bigger than life look.

There is a documentary feature called, "It Might Get Loud" about three guitar players. The location footage was shot on Super 16, the studio footage on Sony F23's. The difference between them is jarring. The Super 16 was warm and organic(and grainy), the HDCAM SR was cold and clinical. I much preferred the Super 16 look, especially in a documentary context. Panasonic cameras look more like the Super 16 footage--albeit not as grainy.

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Old March 3rd, 2010, 01:20 PM   #57
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I agree that 720p60 is a sweet spot. I tend to shoot a lot with this framerate.

Many times, 1080p leaves a lot of pixels on the table when most common delivery methods are used especially if you are not shooting in 24p.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 03:23 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Wilk View Post
QUOTE "... The 500 will deliver a bit softer image, but with 100mbit codec and a better "out the box" color. That the 350 will be sharper for the extra cost isn't surprising..."

But extreme sharpness isn't always becoming nor desirable, if it were, filter manufacturers would not be producing softening filters and portrait and other still photographers would not be purchasing them. Sure, it's nice to have the option but if it doesn't fulfill your needs in regards to the type of work that you do and you prefer the Panasonic Mojo to that of what I assume is the alternative (Sony), then the choice is obvious.
To clarify, I don't prefer sterile sharp in any sort just that on the Sony you get 1080p and it will be a lot sharper than a 500. I own a Hpx500 myself and it works just fine, a tad soft in 1080p, but for broadcast at least so far all HD i have done is 720p.

Also I got kind of a shock when I asked a local dealer what's the retail on a PMW350 was...list price w/ lens is around 30k and without is around 23k with today's NOK/USD exchange rate. Realistically we probably look at 25K w/ lens....! Seems like I live in the wrong country for buying gear...
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 06:06 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Magnussen View Post
But numbers aside, again. I still think it's not completely right or fair to compare a EX1/3 to a Hvx200/hpx171, or a PMW350 to the Hpx500.

HPX170, around 4100$ vs. EX1, around 6200$

PMW350 w/lens around 19000$ or PMW350 wo/lens around 17000$

Hpx500, around 9900$
Hpx500 kits available for around 18000$ w/ lens, P2 cards and tripod plate.

Of course there might be rebates available for all cameras, or kits.....
I can't comment directly on the dollar pricing (and all the figures vary according to dealer etc as you say) but I gave the UKŁ pricing earlier on.

And according to your figures above, the all-in prices of PMW350 and HPX500 only vary by about $1,000 - about 5% - I'd say that shows that they are pretty comparable. It's about as fair a comparison as you'll ever get. (And I'll accept that there may be roughly a 5% premium for the PMW350 - it's not a lot. It will also vary widely depending how much memory you need, for example - I doubt the $9,900 price for the 500 includes any P2 cards?)

As far as HPX170 v EX1, what does the prices you quote include? I suspect not a lot of memory, and by the time you include a working amount for each camera (at least 2 hours?) I suspect the difference will not be as much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett
I personally dislike extremely sharp images, .....

I think that this is the reason that some of us are fine with abbreviated raster cameras, they have a softer, more impressionistic quality that many of us find more appealing than the antiseptic look of some of the full raster cameras.
I have to go back to the BSC trials, and can only strongly, strongly recommend that you try to see a copy of the Blu-Ray that now exists from them. In a previous post I said that "It wasn't just being sharper, it was being EFFORTLESSLY sharper, more natural..... and I can't do better than restate that. The HVX200 picture wasn't just less detailed, it showed the effects of artificial detail enhancement noticeably, whereas the EX3 picture had not only the resolution but also the "smoothness" - the "non-electronic" look - that I suspect is what you actually like. The far higher native resolution of the EX allows the electronic enhancement to be turned down with the picture still looking sharp. The HVX200 doesn't allow that - it turns into a contest of "do I want more because it's too soft, or do I want less because it's too edgy?" From specs I'd expected the EX to outperform the HVX200 - I hadn't expected the difference to be so big. And we haven't even mentioned the noise yet......

For anybody in the UK, there's a whole day devoted to this coming up next Friday, see Public BAFTA Event - The BAFTA site which also gives registration details. I'll be extremely interested to hear what anybody else thinks who does manage to go along - please don't just take my word for any of this. The tests were mostly concerning top end cameras, and done to the highest standards.

I actually feel that all this will become academic come NAB. I can't believe there won't be a new Panasonic model in this price range out to compete with the EX, and I'm pretty sure it's likely to have 1920x1080 chips. (And likely a better than DVCProHD codec.) If there isn't, the position of the HVX200 is just going to look more and more tenuous.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 06:43 PM   #60
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"I actually feel that all this will become academic come NAB. I can't believe there won't be a new Panasonic model in this price range out to compete with the EX, and I'm pretty sure it's likely to have 1920x1080 chips. (And likely a better than DVCProHD codec.) If there isn't, the position of the HVX200 is just going to look more and more tenuous."

David,

I think Panasonic would point to the HPX300, even though it's 1/3" vs. 1/2" CMOS sensors.
Full raster, 10-bit, 4:2:2, I-Frame, ENG form factor, detachable lens, built-in waveform, viewfinder and LCD display.

I have been able to reduce detail on my EX1 and get natural looking images, although the fleshtones and overall colorimetry doesn't look like my Panasonic cameras. But, it's clean and fast compared to my HPX170, and even a bit cleaner than my 2700.

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