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Old August 13th, 2011, 08:18 AM   #1
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Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

I have a good tendency towards visual effects, motion graphics, 3D effects, etc. along with video shots. Do you think that Panasonic AG-HPX370 would be a good choice for a such user? Do you think it works effectively for chroma key if I were to use it for graphical applications ? Please keep in mind that I am very much limited to $10000 only.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

Any reply?
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Old August 13th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #3
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Re: Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

Its an ok option in so far as it has HD SDI out, and has good monitoring components like bult in Wave form etc which helps with green screen work. Its codec is a bit old but is 4:2:2 so can key ok, but better if you can turn of processing settings like detail and capture off the SDI (tested this myself).

I am not a fan of P2 cards because of their cost, and the chipset achieves hd resolution through pixel shifting from three 960x540 chips so you have to be aware of issues that to understand ow to get best quality when shooting for effects purposes. Overall it can do an ok job, mostly if target delivery is 720p (not so much for 1080 delivery if comping.) and the in camera waveform and vector scopes pushes it up a notch.

Being CCD it doesn't suffer from jello or skew, so when shooting in progressive modes you should be able to pull a good track very easily.

Its lightweight which makes it a flexible run and gun camera. Its ok in low light but DVCPRO-HD gets pretty noisey if pushed to far.

Offloading from the camera is too slow to be painless because its limited to firewire 400, and separate P2 card readers are expensive if on a Mac platform. On PC if you have and older PCMCIA slot you can get around this I believe with the right drivers.



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Old August 14th, 2011, 04:18 AM   #4
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Re: Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

Umm... you know, he was asking about the 370, not it's bigger cousin the 500.
The 370 is full-raster 1080p, AVC-intra, CMOS sensors.
The 500 is 960x540 pixel-shift, DVCPRO HD, CCD sensors.

The 370 is definitely a robust camera, but it's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed as far as outright visual fidelity goes. I certainly like the soft, organic look it produces, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

As far as my opinion goes, you might be better off trying out a Sony EX series with a 4:2:2 recorder attached, if you can find someone selling an EX3 with a NanoFlash for cheap it would be a very nice bang for the buck.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 06:25 PM   #5
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Re: Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

Apologies - I was thinking the 170 for some reason!
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Old August 17th, 2011, 04:02 AM   #6
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Re: Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

Ah, so the 170 also has CCDs and dvcpro as the 500? Didn't know that.

But yeah, a long while ago one user ran into quite a few hurdles concerning green-screen/FX work on the 370, so one may really want to try the camera out before putting it to use. And it's important that you look at the footage on a big hdtv or monitor to make judgements because the LCD and VF on this camera very much like to lie about what's really going on. But if blue/green screen work isn't going to be the primary focus of this camera, it should do very well in post, the codec is just about indestructible if you get the settings and exposure right.

Another thing I should mention is that there's a "dip" in focus on the stock 370 lens the occurs around the z50 mark that makes the image soft if you zoom in to focus and then pull back, this happens if you set the back-focus from the wide end of the lens, as you technically should. I've started to set back-focus from the mid-way point because due to the 1/3" chips, everything is in focus on the wide end anyway, so at the very least the focus between max and mid zoom should be precise. If only good lenses weren't quite so expensive.
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Old August 19th, 2011, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: Panasonic AG-HPX370 for Visual Effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haitham Lawati View Post
Do you think that Panasonic AG-HPX370 would be a good choice for a such user? Do you think it works effectively for chroma key if I were to use it for graphical applications ? Please keep in mind that I am very much limited to $10000 only.
The 370 is based on the 300, which introduced full 1920x1080 with 1/3" chips to the Panasonic range. The problem then became that individual photosite size becomes very small, and hence low light and/or noise performance suffers.

The 370 claimed to solve the problem - but it soon became evident that it was using quite aggressive electronic noise reduction to make the picture look better - most of the time. The drawback is that is relies on averaging over several frames, so is less effective with movement. The effect is noticeable as noisy trails after moving objects.

It's not too noticeable on "normal" pictures - but can cause a big problem when you start to do post processing, and it was on a chromakey test that I saw a demonstration of just how such work can magnify an effect. The "fix" seems to have just been to reduce the noise processing - so less trailing, but a noisier camera, effectively back to a 300. In short, no, I don't think it would be a good choice for what you want.
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