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Old July 22nd, 2005, 05:32 PM   #1
Obstreperous Rex
 
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Remote Focus Control: YES! Remote Iris: YES!

Howdy from Texas,

Well I learned something exciting at DV Expo East. This may not be news to everybody, but it certainly is news to me. I sat through Jan's fourth and last P2 / HVX presentation Thursday afternoon and was pleased to hear her say that the HVX200 will support not only remote focus control but also remote iris control. Very cool!

On the right side of the HVX body, just below the SD card slot and behind the rec/pause button, under a rubberized connection cover there will be *two* aux remote jacks. One will be familiar to all Panasonic DVX / DVC series owners as the remote record / remote zoom control jack. The other will be a separate jack for remote focus control and remote iris control!

In the past, DVX / DVC owners have lamented not having remote focus control on their camcorders... unlike the LANC protocol found on all Sonys and some Canons, the standard Panasonic auxiliary remote jack has allowed only for rec/pause and zoom control. Jan told me at the preso that after hearing numerous complaints about the lack of remote focus on the DVX series, she insisted that the feature be included in the HVX200. For all those shooters who have wanted to control focus remotely with the camera on a jib or otherwise out of reach, the HVX will easily allow that.

Additionally, having remote iris control on the HVX200 puts it at a huge advantage over any Sony or Canon camcorder, because the LANC protocol owned by Sony (and licensed to Canon on their three-chip camcorders) does not support remote iris. As far as the JVC three-chip HDV camcorder (GY-HD100) is concerned, support for remote focus control is an optionally available and somewhat expensive feature of the Fujinon lenses. Remote iris control on the HD100 is possible through a traditional "control room" rack-mounted CCU, or even mechanically linked, similar to focus; but the cost of these options are in an entirely different class and price structure relative to the Panasonic HVX200. Outside of the studio-style remotes that are available to the HD100, the Panasonic HVX will be the *only* camcorder you can buy in the that will support remote iris control. Nothing else in its class will have it!

There has always been the potential for any camcorder to be remotely controlled via FireWire, but it hasn't happened yet and I don't foresee it happening anytime soon. Bravo to Panasonic for creating a serious competitive edge with this sort of remote control capability!
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 06:23 PM   #2
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Great news :)


... But i still can't wait to see it in real
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 06:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Howdy from Texas,

the LANC protocol owned by Sony (and licensed to Canon on their three-chip camcorders) does not support remote iris. ....

Hmm,

this is factually incorrect, for a complete list of supported functions check this link

http://www.boehmel.de/lanc.htm

where under 'Sub-Command in Byte 0:' you will find a host of CCU functions. eg shutter, exposure, WB, focus , zoom etc

not all cameras support the CCU functions and not all cameras are advertised to support the CCU functions - check your service manual for compatability.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 06:55 PM   #4
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Thanks John,

That's a very helpful link which I don't think I've seen before. But suffice to say, *to date* nobody has produced a LANC controller for remote iris operation. Also, in reviewing that entire page, I can see only one command entry each for exposure and shutter. Were these parameters controllable throughout a range, surely there would be range commands such as "exposure open" and "exposure close," just like there are entries for "focus manual near" and "focus manual far." And yet there are none. I would love to be proven wrong, but I'll stand by my assertion that we won't see this in a LANC controller, because let's face it, if it was possible then it would have been done by now.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:06 PM   #5
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Yep

The LANC is the most underated useful thing ever. For like about ten years I have been badgering software people and Sony to produce a LANC sequencer to run from a Laptop/Handheld whatever.

Tricky camera moves can be edited and repeated for perfect results - a bit like midi with sound - whereby musos can clean up fluffed chords etc.

I guess I need a POV gun :)



PS there can be up to eight bytes in a LANC signal, subsequent bytes after 0 can carry iris data etc - GO 8 :)
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:35 PM   #6
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Hmm. I wonder if shutter ramps would be possible. Wouldn't that be swell?
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 07:38 PM   #7
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Brian, I think the appeal of a programmable shutter speed ramp would have to depend on how discretely the HVX can change shutter speeds. That would be a pretty cool effect though! We should be happy that we're getting focus and iris!
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 08:43 PM   #8
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How discretely? Considering the Synchro-Scan function lets you change exposure in 1/1000-second increments (i.e., 1/24.1, 1/24.2, 1/24.3 etc), I'm pretty sure it'll be plenty discrete! :)

As to whether they'll implement it, I guess that remains to be seen. We also don't know how finely the iris is calibrated; on the DVX it's in 1/6-stop increments which makes for very fine adjustment. I'd expect the HVX to be comparable but there's no factual info to base that on, other than assuming that it should be at least as good as the DVX (and that is, after all, only an assumption).
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 11:02 AM   #9
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More reason the HVX200 promises to be an incredible camera.

Now if we could just take off the lens :)
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Old July 24th, 2005, 06:25 PM   #10
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I just have some thoughts here. The MIDI standard contains controller messages that can be custom built. Isn't there any MIDI to LANC/controller interface available? I know that lighting in some theatres uses midi enabled light mixers and runs them automatically by a sequencer. MIDI was originally built for Musicians but happened to be versatile and adopted in other areas. There is MMC (Midi Machine Control), but that might also be just for sound and studio devices.

If there isn't any, what do you think about the market (no of potential customers) for "camera shoot sequencers" for LANC (and other remote control protocols) is? 10, 100 or more? And what would a reasonable price be? The reason is that I run my own software company and I am always on the lookout for interesting opportunities. And this is something I also might need on some of my own movies.
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Old July 24th, 2005, 06:46 PM   #11
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I believe the MIDI lighting connection is called DMX.

I'd be very interested, but unluckily my camera has no LANC, so I'm out in the cold here.
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Old July 24th, 2005, 08:32 PM   #12
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Chris,

Can you want to tell us more about the presentation? Did they have a working cam there? What else did you learn?
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Old July 24th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #13
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No working cam. I did take some notes, I'll put 'em together for you tomorrow morning.
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