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Old July 11th, 2005, 03:57 PM   #1
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Total cost of upgrading to HVX

OK, for the standard definition guys among us who see this camera as an opportunity to switch to the higher level...

Let's take a regular guy who has been using the DVX100. Let's give him (almost) everything that he needs to use this particular camera.

OK, so he has FCP5, Decklink Pro (SD), a good CRT monitor (but also SD) and the camera, obviously. He can shoot, edit, monitor, color correct, distribute. That's more than decent for the average guy on this site (like me).

He wants to move to HD. He sells the DVX100, puts some more money on top of that and buys the HVX.

NOW, to do precisely the same things in the chain as he was able to do before, how much money does he need to spend? What other things does he needs to buy, in addition to the camera?

I am only posting this because a lot of DVX owners are hoping to make that transition, but don't realize that you need to upgrade their system in many other areas to get back to the same control level they had in the world of SD. To accurately monitor or color correct, for example. And all this means money. I am only talking about the minimum you need to be able to make that move, and I think a realistic view at that would help a lot of readers.

And to think that only the two P2 cards will add 3000-4000 to your budget.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #2
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Well, if you want to do the same things you used to do, your additional budget would be: $0.

I mean, that presumes you're planning on shooting standard-def DV, just like you used to, and you would be using the HVX instead because of its additional capabilities (such as native 16:9 mode, longer zoom range, better focus & zoom, better lens feedback, etc). It is essentially a 16:9 DVX with a miniDV tape drive, so it could serve as a direct replacement for the DVX.

If you want to take advantage of its high-def capabilities, well, that may require a little bit of additional gear. Presumably you'd want a high-def monitor, and presumably one that supports 1080 resolution. You can get that with the Dell 2405FPW for around $900.

You'll need an editing station that supports DVCPRO-HD. Right now if you're using FCP-HD or Avid Express HD, that means no additional cost because you've already got it. If you're not using one of those, you may need to upgrade. It is expected that Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere Pro should add support, but they may not, so that's something to watch for. Canopus and Pinnacle also support DVCPRO-HD, although I don't know exactly which products or what upgrades would be necessary.

As far as editing computers, if you're using a reasonably current system, you won't have to upgrade. You may want to upgrade to the latest-and-greatest, but you should be able to get adequate performance on current computers. DVCPRO-HD is a lot easier to handle (computation-wise) than HDV is, as HDV requires decompressing groups of frames whereas DVCPRO-HD is frame-discrete. You may want to get some more hard disk storage though, as DVCPRO-HD does take up 4x as much hard-disk space as DV does.

No extra expense for a deck, because P2 cards and hard disks are directly readable by computers today. You may want a $30 PCMCIA reader device for your desktop computer, but that beats shelling out $4,000 for an HDV deck. And you won't necessarily need that either, because you can plug the camera in via firewire and read the contents of the P2 cards straight from it. Whereas that workflow was shied away from with tape-based cameras (i.e., you didn't want to put additional wear and tear on your $4,000 camera by using it as a capture deck), with the HVX/P2 situation that's a non-issue because there is *no* wear and tear when copying files off the P2 cards, whether through the camera or through a PCMCIA slot on the computer.

So that leaves recording medium. To record HD on the HVX you'll either need P2 cards or a DVCPRO-HD-capable FireStore (or comparable product) or a direct firewire connection to a laptop or desktop. If you're using a studio setup where you can direct-connect, then there's no additional cost -- you can stream high-def straight to the computer and capture it there to hard disk. If you want to use P2 cards, best to get the bundle and get two 8gb cards with the camera ($9995 MSRP for the camera and two cards, we will have to wait to see what the actual "street price" is; might be $8500 or less). If you want to use the FireStore, well, we have to wait to see what they produce before we know what that solution will cost.

If you decide to go with P2, the P2 cards can be dumped directly to USB2 external hard disks connected to the camera. Considering that there's probably 4-5 months before the camera comes out, and considering how hard drive prices keep plummeting, it's reasonable to assume that an external 300gb USB2 hard disk will cost under $150 by then. That would give you five hours of storage at about $30/hr. That's cheaper than DVCPRO-HD tape stock -- about half the price of tape, actually. And drive prices will continue to drop.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #3
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Wow.

An amazing, as detailed as always response from Mr. Barry Green! Thanks!

While this has been illuminating for me, I am sure lots of other people who are considering the same "jump" will look at this!

About continuing using a CRT monitor, would a decklink hd card help in any way? Downconvert to SD? In that case, can color correction be performed with any degree of accuracy? Especially since probably lots of HD material shot with the HVX will be mainly presented in the SD medium. At least at first.

Thanks again!
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Old July 11th, 2005, 10:31 PM   #4
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Well, that's a tricky subject.

Broadcast CRT monitors have been the standard for color correction, etc., for standard-def for decades, and the reason has always been: because the end user will be viewing their footage on a CRT. The extremely highly vast majority of installed base of SD televisions is a CRT.

But with HD, it's a whole different ballgame. There are CRT, LCD, Plasma, DLP, and soon SED screens (did I forget any?) There really isn't any one definitive standard. What will your client or end-user be watching your footage on?

As such, I believe that an SD CRT will still continue to be a necessary component of the editing suite, for projects that are to be mastered to SD (DVD, etc). But an SD monitor, and a CRT at that, will have limited applicability for HD footage.

With HD, we're supposed to be able to rely on much more consistent color reproduction/etc between screens. Digital HD should theoretically mean that any type of HD display should be able to serve for monitoring/color correction purposes.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 06:06 AM   #5
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This is the way I see, if you want have half decent work flow in normal ENG/EFP production. Prices in USD:

10K camera, basic cards, extra batteries, mic, etc.
10K additional cards
1K monitor
2K Firestore, additional hard discs. Need store footage and have it backed up on hard drives.
1K W/A conversion lens, filters, etc.
1K misc.
_____________
25K total, less cost of your SD system.

Now, you can do less efficiently for less, use offline editing, not back up footage, not buy additional cards, etc., but what I presented here is what pro would spend on minimum system.

Radek
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Old July 12th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #6
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What do you need the additional Cards for? 2 should be plently. Also this camera is 16:9 so no need for a wide angle conversion lens.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 02:11 PM   #7
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Radek,

Ahhh man, be fair. Now that's just not true. $25 grand??

The average joe indie shooter who wants to get an HVX200, will need about $10,000 (december) bucks. thats it. That gives them the camera, about 24 mins of HD recording and a nice carrying bag.

Where do you get $1,000 in misc costs and $1,000 in Wide Angle conversion lenses and $2,000 in a firestore. What do they need a firestore for if they have P2 cards?? And since when do hard drives for backup storage cost $2 grand?? *smile* Be fair Radek. They will only need about $10 to $12,000 grand invested.

And then...if they sell their DVX100a on eBay, they'll get about $2300 (december) bucks for it, so they can subtract that.

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Old July 12th, 2005, 02:19 PM   #8
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Agreed; $10K for "additional cards" is completely unrealistic. The two P2 cards that come with the camera are all you need; especially if you're shooting with the FireStore that's indicated on that list. In fact if you're shooting with a FireStore, you won't need the P2 cards at all, which drops the package price from the $25K figure down to about $11K or so, which is far more realistic.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #9
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I agree with Radek 100%.... I am not sure that someone would want to do bargain basement HD. 24 minutes is not even remotely close enough footage for anyone doing professional work. I would say 120 is the bare minimum.

I personally will NOT be upgrading until the price/workflow/storage/etc. all shakes out...



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Old July 12th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #10
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Why would you be limited to 24 minutes?

If you're talking about long-form event work such as recitals and the like, then I can understand the concern; I wouldn't want to hot-swap cards in that situation. However, just about any other form of videography where the single takes, that is, individual shot lengths, are shorter than 15 minutes or so (and that's most all other applications in videography); then I don't see how it's an issue.

Compared to your other DVCPROHD (not HDV) options, the HVX200 *is* bargain-basement HD.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #11
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Barry,

If you are still following the thread... back to the CRT monitoring option...

Yes, probably the majority of the high-def IS mastered to SD - for example, shorts shot on HD for the quality of it but ending up on digibeta (still a very good format) for festivals, etc.

My (last) questions: do you really need in this case a decklink hd card? If you do, do you need the most basic one (just to downconvert HD to SD so you could monitor it on a CRT monitor on the fly)? I think the basic one does SD as well as HD.

The work flow I got from you is: shoot HD, monitor it on a LCD screen like the Dell you mentioned. If you want to master it to SD, take the HD project to a facility to transfer it to digibeta and continue to use your decklink sd card + CRT monitor to finish the color correction maybe on digibeta.

I am trying to think what to do with my Decklink Pro SD card, keep it or upgrade the card to a HD one - especially since I am going to keep my CRT monitor, while considering buying the LCD Dell monitor in addition.

Thanks Barry!
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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:30 PM   #12
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I think $10k to $15k is a very reasonable figure to expect.

Between the camera, the media, the necessary software upgrades and any accessories you might want - this ought to get you there. I'm really thinking though, unless the P2 card capacity goes up dramatically per buck when the camera comes out, it will be a bust. People will certainly go the Fireston/hard disk route first.

Furthermore, if the holographic technologies live up to their promises... solid state memory will have a hard time trying to keep up.

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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #13
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Radek, there are folks (like myself) who only want to purchase the camera without the P2 card package. The camera alone is $5995. I can purchase 4 250GB hard drives from the computer shows for $150 a piece for a total of $600 for a terrabyte. I can set them up in a RAID configuration if warranted. Being that I shoot shorts and features, I have no problem going firewire out to my Mac G5 with those 4 drives buzzing internal/external. If I have a tracking shot all I need is a PA holding the long cord to the computer. Same goes for Crane shots. The P2 cards IMHO is too expensive right now to purchase. When the price drops is when I will get in the game to purchase them. Most rental houses will rent P2 cards, which may be the route I take if I need them. I think the P2 workflow is mandatory in Steadicam shots, ENG work or run and gun doc style shooting. Even so, two 4 gig P2 card may be all you need to execute a shot.

Okay, here we go, sell the DVX100 ($2500), sell your Sony monitor (ouch), get FCP HD if you don't have it already and basically you are ready to shoot that short that will get you to Sundance. Also keep in mind that you can stream HD footage using either Windows Media 9 and 10 or the preferred Quicktime utilizing the H.264 codec. So shoot the film, edit, color correct, mixdown, stream and distribute. DONE!
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Old July 12th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogdan Apetri
My (last) questions: do you really need in this case a decklink hd card? If you do, do you need the most basic one (just to downconvert HD to SD so you could monitor it on a CRT monitor on the fly)? I think the basic one does SD as well as HD.
I use Vegas, and there's no need for a DeckLink at all, presuming you're happy with previewing at DV/firewire resolution. Vegas can on-the-fly convert any format to DV and output it via firewire, where my deck turns it into s-video or component for viewing on the CRT monitor. The camera could serve the same purpose in a budget setup.

(of course, Vegas remains a viable option only if they include DVCPRO-HD support natively).

Quote:
The work flow I got from you is: shoot HD, monitor it on a LCD screen like the Dell you mentioned. If you want to master it to SD, take the HD project to a facility to transfer it to digibeta and continue to use your decklink sd card + CRT monitor to finish the color correction maybe on digibeta.
Not at all. I'd down-res in the editor and finish there; for SD I'd use DVCPRO50 to retain the 4:2:2 color. No reason to involve digibeta and all its associated costs. You could, if you wanted to, but I certainly wouldn't think it's necessary.

I guess it's all up to your editor and how you want to work. If you want to use the Decklink and take advantage of its features, there's nothing wrong with that, I just would stop short of saying that it's necessary to do so; I think someone could set up a fully functional personal post studio without needing such items. The workflow I'd see for DVD would be to finish the edit in HD, then render out a best-quality DVCPRO50 version for SD. Check it for color on a properly-calibrated CRT, and make any corrections necessary, and render to DVD from there.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 04:54 PM   #15
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Recording JUST to HD is playing with fire. HDs fail and die all the time. Solid state memory is much more, err.. solid. It is going to be a few years before there is a solid, professional workflow that includes back-up to solid-state media (new DLT format or Blueray, etc.)


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