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Old April 6th, 2010, 07:55 PM   #1
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HVX/HPX Go National on PBS

HVX/HPX Go National on PBS:

I just wanted to let everyone know that I started shooting a doc almost three years ago with my HVX200. I finished editing last April and had it ready for broadcast by mid April of 2009. I sold my HVX200 before I completed the film and shot the remaining half dozen or so clips with my newly acquired HPX170.

You can find out more and download a trailer here: "Death of the Old West"

The doc aired on the Oklahoma PBS affiliate OETA a few times over the past year. Back in December of 2009 it was picked up for national release by PBS and slated for a four year run starting in April of 2010.

For those of you that want to see how an HVX200/HPX170 broadcast in 1080 HD looks you should check out the film when it airs. About 100 affiliates nation wide have committed to air the doc but at this point there have only been 10 that have scheduled an air date.

I think the HVX and HPX cut well together and looked fantastic coming off the PBS server. The folks at WBGH commented on how good the images looked. I shot with the stock cameras, no 35mm lens adapters, and graded with Magic Bullet Looks.

“Death of the Old West” is a historical tale about vigilante justice that ended what several scholars say is the American old west. The doc makes heavy use of old photos inter-cut with several interviews to tell the story. I hope everyone can catch it on their local PBS station.

Will Boggs
DustBowl Films
DustBowl Films
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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #2
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Hi Will:

Congratulations! The trailer looks great. Guess we actually can shoot good looking, broadcast quality footage with a 960x540 chip set, recording to an abbreviated raster outdated format like DVCPRO HD. It cracks me up at how many people on boards like this think that the camera is what creates the images and that everything that isn't full raster is substandard.

I will chime in here too with my AG-HPX170 kudos. I was the DP for "The Legendary Bing Crosby" last year for PBS national. It was a one hour doc about Bing's best musical performances with David Bowie, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and a whole load of other performers.

I shot interviews with Leonard Maltin, Andy Williams, Mary and Kathryn Crosby and several others. The program aired on 88 PBS affiliates nationwide during their last fund raising drive, mostly in February. The show looked great, all footage was shot in 1080 60i. Normally, I don't like shooting interlaced but I have to say that I like the look that I obtained on this show. All of the archival footage was interlaced NTSC and 1080 60i so it made more sense to shoot 1080 60i. Feedback from the affiliates and the production company that I worked with have been very positive, they love the look that the AG-HPX170 allowed me to create.

I am shooting another PBS special in a few weeks with the AG-HPX170 that will broadcast later this year. It is a truly great camera, I love it.

Cheers,

Dan
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Old April 7th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for the kind words Dan. I have to say that I used your article on the HPX170 as some of my research on the camera before I bought one - it really helped. 99% of my film was shot with the HVX200 and only a few short clips are from the 170. I had a few small issues with the 200 that, as you know, are addressed with the 170 so it was worth it to me to unload my 200 and replace it with the 170.

However, even shooting with the 200, which is a fantastic camera in its own right, I am a true believer that good programing can be produced with these cameras. At the time I started, the HVX200 was all I could afford and a national release was not in the gun sights.

Now that it has hit the national level with favorable comments, I just can't see shooting anything with a bigger, more expensive camera. I'd rather take that money and put it into some other area of a production.

I originally come from a 16mm background and the 170's look in 1080 24P reminds me a lot of 16mm - which really love. I also like editing with DVCProHD. It was very close to editing DV, I just didn't have a single issue with the format while editing.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 01:17 PM   #4
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I am right there with you Will. I rent and shoot with 2/3" cameras, RED One and the occasional film camera and I agree, I much prefer shooting with my AG-HPX170 most of the time. Sometimes I need a smoother or more dynamic look or shoot a subject that demands a better or longer lens and in those cases, I rent. But overall, I think that my AG-HPX170 is capable of shooting 90% of what I encounter.

I am doing a lot of traveling this month, shoots in Branson, Kansas, Rhode Island and Colorado and flying with a camera even as big as the HPX300 would be a major hassle. The 170 in my CineBags BP is a joy.

Cheers,

Dan
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Old April 7th, 2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I am doing a lot of traveling this month, shoots in Branson, Kansas, Rhode Island and Colorado and flying with a camera even as big as the HPX300 would be a major hassle. The 170 in my CineBags BP is a joy.
I'll guess the US airlines are more strict on carry on luggage... ;) HPX500, laptop bag and batteries are no problem for a one man crew to carry as hand luggage...(unless you fly ryan air).

But back to Hvx and Hpx's, even with relatively low rez chips I agree the images look very good. Panasonic has a very smooth and natural look to the standard settings from the factory. I from time to time get kind of tired of the constant nag; "it has to be native 1080 with full raster codec to look good". And Dvcprohd, despite it's age, still is a good HD codec(but not perfect, which nothing really is).

The Hvx200/Hpx171 performed very well on a job a few weeks ago, freeride skiing contest. I did the Helishooting with Hpx500 and the handheld ones covered the ground, all inter-cut very nice. The "low rez" hvx and hpx's don't have that Sony sterile EX1 sharpness, but a nice natural texture to it. The same natural texture also was one of the arguments I heard from NRK in Norway for doing a high end Drama on a Hpx2100, despite it being "only" a native 720p camera and they shoot 1080p25.


Btw. I usually tell anyone doubting dvcproHD because of it's age to turn on Discovery HD(not to many HD channels in Norway...), American Chopper or Ultimate Survival to mention two. Usually that shuts them up :)
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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #6
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With the laptop, drives, batteries, P2 cards, wireless mics and tons of accessories I put in my backpack, I would be hard pressed to bring a bigger camera, even with the 170, my backpack ends up tipping the scales at around 50-60lbs. On long hikes with this backpack, a couple of times I have had blood seep through my skin by the end of the day where the shoulder straps meet my shoulders. I want lighter, please!

I shot a DVD segment for a TV show a few weeks ago using the EX1. It is a nice looking camera and I shot some really pretty interviews in an office, right off of a Japanese garden. Natural window light as key, LED 600 with a Chimera as fill. But something was bugging me as I shot it, it did just look too darned clean and sterile. As much as I dig the EX1 and I do really like shooting with it, I am glad that I bought the AG-HPX170 instead. It suits my eye and my personality more.

The EX1 is like a junior F900, really clean, really dynamic but too "analytical" while the 170 is the digital version of my Arri SRII loaded with 7274. Just the right amount of grain and grit, beautiful colors and contrast and just a little soft. In a perfect world, I could afford to have them both because I really like them both.

Dan
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Old April 8th, 2010, 09:14 AM   #7
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Agreed, used the EX1 once shooting an event video two years ago. Nice, but to clean or sterile. I usually like clean/sharp images, but it gets to a point where it's to much...and at least the EX1(along with hdv and some xdcam's) tend to go a bit over the top. Never used Hdcam of any sort, partly me being relativly young....and the rental houses in Norway carry mostly Xdcam and P2(and some hdx900) when it's HD gear you want. As long as I get to use my own gear(hpx500), or rental Hpx3000/HDX900 I'm happy, ofcourse a different game than a small 170, but still the "pana mojo" :)
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Old April 8th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #8
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Like I said Dan - 16mm! Although it is more like Super 16.

I DP'd and directed an independent pilot this past summer for Travel Channel and shot with my HPX170. I was pretty amazed at how it looked after a colorist got a hold of it.

Years ago I remember looking at my footage from my PD150 and thinking how sharp and clear it was - like a junior Beta rig. Then, the DVX100 came out and I bought one of the first batch. I sold the PD150 a few months later.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 03:25 PM   #9
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will/dan/others-

with all of this talk about the hpx170, i wondered if in your traveling rig you use an external monitor for either framing or color fidelity.

i've used the original hvx200 and had the hardest time getting focus when using the flip out lcd.

is the hpx170's lcd that much better?

thanks in advance to those who care to share.

(and congrats to you both for getting your efforts appreciated.)

be well

rob
smalltalk productions
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Old April 29th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #10
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I did not use an external monitor, only the flip-out LCD. Furthermore I shot 99% of my film with the HVX200. The LCD on the HPX170 is better - not by leaps and bounds but is is better. After using the HVX200 on many projects I unloaded it because of the low-res LCD, sub-par low light capability and noise.

I was very close to going with an EX1 but I researched the HPX170 and figured it was cheaper and I already owned a few P2 cards and Panny batteries. Plus, I could just not get past the GOP used by the EX1. So, I went with the 170 and never looked back. Don't regret it at all.

Was my ability to focus and judge color compromised with the HVX200 LCD? Not really. I used the magnification feature all the time and it is very accurate. Color? I used a very neutral scene file I created and color corrected in post. The Panny is 4:2:2 in the camera so color was a non issue for me in the field.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #11
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Hi Rob:

I shoot about 60% of the time with only the camera's LCD and about 40% of the time, when I am shooting greenscreen or with my jib, I bring a 17" Sony LCD monitor. The more I shoot, the less I use the LCD or really any monitor for judging color, except in the broadest sense. Why? Because the on-camera LCDs on any camera are not that color accurate, although they are in the ball park and a color accurate field monitor costs a lot of money. I use the same scene file pretty much most of the time, which I developed with a lot of testing, trial and error and I can generally judge what the colors are going to look like. I often shoot a gray scale card for color correction.

These days, everything I deliver is color corrected so being able to tell exactly what colors are going to finally resolve to is not that important in most cases. I know that Navy blue is going to resolve as close to black, I know which patterns are going to moire' and I definitely use the waveform and vectorscope as well as zebras on just about everything.

The 170 LCD is physically the same as the 200 LCD, but they wisely boosted the peaking way up on the 170. The 170 is totally usable although not nearly as good as the EX1 or HPX370 LCD. The 200 LCD made me rely on and totally use the focus enhance all of the time whereas I can actually judge focus pretty well on the 170, at times without even using the focus enahance.

Dan
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Old April 29th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #12
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dan/will-

thank you both for your quick response in sharing your experiences.

i haven't shot w/the hpx170 but did sell my hvx200-i could not focus that darn camera while running & gunning.

have used the ex1 and have enjoyed-loved the lcd.

with all the hd work floating around, i still rely on dvx100b for corporate clients needing sd 16x9 (squeeze on dvx100b) distributing on dvd or the web. that said, would welcome a chance to use the hpx170 on a gig.

bottom line: there is something very pleasant about the "Pannie look".

be well

rob
smalltalk productions
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Old April 29th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #13
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Hi Rob:

To me, my HPX170 is more of an HD version of my DVX100A than my HVX200 ever was. The 200 was a great camera but was just missing a few important things that I really wanted, namely a quality component out connector, a metal headphone jack, a better LCD, and the waveform/vectorscope. The 170 is one of the best cameras I have ever used, I truly love mine, it has made me a lot of money and paid for itself several times over.

You should try renting a 170, just for a day. Not sure about NYC but here in LA, you can rent an HPX170 for as little as $120.00 per day including battery and a P2 card. Not sure if you have read my article but if you haven't, you might find some useful information about the 170 http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage..._brockett.html

Dan
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:18 PM   #14
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Hi Rob and Dan,
I just picked up a HPX-170 to go with my HPX-500 as I had a few jobs that the DVX-100 form factor in HD would be perfect. Rob if you want to check it out we are both in NY. You can come and check it out. Contact me offlist.
Given the market realities I have found I have to be fluent in Panasonic and Sony gear as well as Canon HDSLR's and others. I like the Panasonic ergonomics better than the others but that could be temporary.
I know of more than a few projects which are or have used 1/3 inch P2 cameras to be shown on national networks. Frankly the only reason I like 1/3 inch is when I want the form factor of the HPX-170 for smaller shoots, smaller locations or weight is a primary concern. If the sound was as easy on an HDSLR I would be happy with that for most of what I intend to use the 170 for but not everything. The new AF100 doesn't seem to have the lens options yet for run and gun video that the HPX-170 built in lens is great for.
Funny thing is when we budget multicamera shoots we found the rental price difference between the 500 and the 170 doesn't change the budget all that much but sometime it adds up enough so the accounts are happier so we are happy to offer it.
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