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Old September 16th, 2005, 01:22 PM   #1
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Wanted: HVX with REV option

A few months ago, on another board, I posted a thread about the use of Iomega REV drives for digital video acquisition use, and expressed that it wouldn't be long before a manufacturer released a camcorder integrating the REV drives. Last week Grass Valley made such an announcement, with it's Infinity: http://www.thomsongrassvalley.com/pr...ity/camcorder/

What if Panasonic, for the HVX200, would have cut (or perhaps they still can?) a deal with Iomega for the same thing Grass Valley did with the Infinity. Picture the HVX without a tape drive, and in it's place a REV drive. REV disks store about 2 hours of SD video and about 45 minutes of HD video. They are 35 gig, and currently cost $199.95 for a FOUR PACK on the Iomega web site. That's about $50 for 45 minutes of DVCProHD storage, a rate of just over $1 per minute of DVCProHD storage. REV drive data transfer rate easily fast enough for DVCProHD. External REV drives only cost $400, so it wouldn't have cost Panasonic very much to incorporate the REV drives into the HVX. Infact, the REV drives probably wouldn't have cosy Panasonic any more than the tape drives they put in the HVX. The GV Infinity also uses inexpensive standard Compact Flash cards, not proprietary P2 cards. Sure, the Infinity is a full-sized, 2/3" camera positioned above the HVX, but it's increased price is obviously because of the camera head, CCD's, etc., not because it incorporates REV drives and generic Compact Flash.

I'll be buying an HVX, but most of what I do is mobile production, where lugging a laptop is not feasible. The new Firestore is external, thus not as attractive an option as an intergated REV drive would be for mobile production. I have no connection whatsoever with Iomega - I'm just someone who connects the dots for tech utility.

Pansonic: if it's too late to offer an integrated REV option in the HVX, how about an HVX200A with that option as a quick follow-up release?
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Old September 16th, 2005, 01:32 PM   #2
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Please excuse the typos in my original post - I had a long video editing session last night!
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Old September 16th, 2005, 05:04 PM   #3
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Here's a closer look at the possibilities:

The REV drives have a good reputation for being rugged, reliable, and quiet. Being internal, it would be much more appropriate for "run and gun" work than an external Firestore drive. Solid state is great, and has many benefits. To me, the ideal HVX would have no tape drive, but would have a REV drive and also use generic Compact Flash cards. If you check the specs for the new GV Infinity camera, it will record simultaneously to the REV drive and the Compact Flash. Backup and editing media made at the same time. If a REV drive is dependable enough for a camera that costs three times what an HVX costs, shouldn't it be dependable enough for an HVX?

Price per GB of storage?

Current *dependable* retail outlets list the FireStore FS-4 80GB for $1,500, a REV drive (as a feeder for your NLE) with four 35 gig drives at $600, P2 8GB cards at $2,200, and SanDisk 8GB Compact Flash cards at $725.

Dividing the number of gigs of storage into the price for each of those storage solutions above here is the cost per gig for each:

8GB P2 = $275 per GB
8GB Compact Flash = $90 per GB
80GB Firestore FS-4 = $18.75 per GB
170GB (4 disks) + deck REV drive = $4.28 per GB

For storage cost per GB and ruggedness for mobile applications, my ideal HVX integrated REV drive - and the storage per GB would be roughly one fourth of what it would be for the FireStore.

For solid state storage, my ideal HVX would use generic Compact Flash cards, which have the same storage as the proprietary P2 cards - and cost me only one third of what the P2 cards cost per GB of storage.

If a tech company with an excellent history in television tech such as Grass Valley can integrate REV drives and inexpensive generic Compact Flash into what will undoubtedly be an excellent professional camcorder (Infinity), why can't Panasonic do the same with the HVX200? The REV drives would cost Panasonic roughly the same as a tape drive. And why does Panasonic use proprietary P2, as opposed to the generic Compact Flash that the GV Infinity will use? Can you spell PROFIT MARGIN?
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Old September 16th, 2005, 05:46 PM   #4
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perhaps an XL-H1 with a REV deck

Thompson GV has announced a Rev based deck sort of like other manufacturer's clamshell stlyes with integrated LCD monitor for in the $10K range.

Another possibility is the Cannon XL-H1 via HDSDI to the Rev deck.

Or the HVX200 through an analog to HDSDI converter to the Rev deck.

But, we're back to beign tethered to a deck like the 3/4" days.

But, with some folks need for longer recording times on affordable media with the HVX - we're going to have to be tethered to something for the long record time shoots.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 06:07 PM   #5
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Iomega themselves have a terrible reputation though through their zip drives and disks which had the infamous click of death problem. I remember one day at work we lost 10 drives and more disks due to click of death..... Although Iomega replaced our drives, data was lost.

However, the concept for the Infinity camera is awesome. I'd just prefer it to use a different companies removable drive....

Graeme
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Old September 16th, 2005, 06:21 PM   #6
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Yeah, I didn't have great luck with the Zip drives either, but several associates I've spoken with that have been using the REV drives have told me that the REV drives seem to be "bullet proof".

With a camera like the Infinity, which can record simultaneously to REV and Compact Flash, and once the CF media gets up to the capacity of the REV drives (35GB and up), I would always simultaneously record to the REV and CF, thus having backup redundancy for the footage. Once the footage was safely backed up somewhere else both the REV and the CF could be emptied for re-use.

I have a feeling I may get an Infinity for my higher end HD work. I'm also getting an HVX. For media cost purposes it would be awesome if REV drives and CF worked in both...
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Old September 16th, 2005, 06:28 PM   #7
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Any word on FCP / Mac compatibility Steve?

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Old September 16th, 2005, 06:43 PM   #8
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The REV drives are compatible with Mac or PC. An external "feeder" deck for use with your NLE costs just $400, available with Firewire 400 or USB 2.0. I've found no reference to Final Cut Pro being supported yet, though it couldn't be far off. With the GV Infinity now using REV, I'd be surprised if Iomega didn't leverage that quickly into support by other camera manufacturers and support by Apple, Avid, Adobe, and the rest...
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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:09 AM   #9
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REV's use their own file system on Windows though (REV UFS), and it's not compatable for use on a Mac (i.e. you can't mount a REV drive formatted for Windows on a Mac since it's not FAT32). The Mac-based REV uses HFS+ like the "normal" Mac OS drives, but again, without a special driver, the Mac won't read the REV UFS file system.

Also looking at the list of Iomega media that has come and gone, I think the REV is too late for the mass-market to stick around for long. In a year it will be replaced by low-cost BR-DVD (Blue Ray) media that can store up to 50GB. In other words, the same fate of the Jazz drive when recordable DVD's hit the market will be met on the REV. For the major market that the REV is targetting, i.e., storage back-up, I'd take a BR-DVD any day of the week, and the price per GB will be astronomically lower for the BR-DVD's.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 07:24 AM   #10
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Why would they deliberately use their own file system on, what is, essentially a big Jazz drive, a HD in a caddy I guess.

As Jason points out, Iomega have always been on the too little too late edge of computing :-)

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Old September 17th, 2005, 11:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Rodriguez
REV's use their own file system on Windows though (REV UFS), and it's not compatable for use on a Mac (i.e. you can't mount a REV drive formatted for Windows on a Mac since it's not FAT32). The Mac-based REV uses HFS+ like the "normal" Mac OS drives, but again, without a special driver, the Mac won't read the REV UFS file system.

Also looking at the list of Iomega media that has come and gone, I think the REV is too late for the mass-market to stick around for long. In a year it will be replaced by low-cost BR-DVD (Blue Ray) media that can store up to 50GB. In other words, the same fate of the Jazz drive when recordable DVD's hit the market will be met on the REV. For the major market that the REV is targetting, i.e., storage back-up, I'd take a BR-DVD any day of the week, and the price per GB will be astronomically lower for the BR-DVD's.
In checking through the REV PFD files on the Iomega web site (www.iomega.com), REV disks come with a software package that provides for REV use on both PC & MAC:

REV System Software
Iomega® Automatic Backup Pro software. PC only. Compatible with Microsoft® Windows® 2000 / XP
HTML User Manual and Help Files

Mac

REV System Software
Dantz® Retrospect® Express for Mac
HTML User Manual and Help Files

Quick Install Guide
One-year warranty on drive. Five-year warranty on disks.
Software provided under license

After reading your post, I called a web designer associate of mine in San Diego who uses REV. He has both PC (Windows XP Pro) and MAC (OS X) systems in his edit bay. I asked him if he had any trouble using the REV drive on his MAC. His response: "No, they give you software, you load it, and it works fine on my MAC".

Thomson Grass Valley has a good reputation for creating quality professional products. I find it hard to believe that Thomson, knowing that the media editing world uses both PC and MAC systems heavily, would not ensure that the REV drive media was easily compatible with both platforms, or for that matter, that Thomson wouldn't satisfy themselves that REV disks and drives were reliable before putting them in a $20,000 camera body sold to professional users. Would Thomson design and market a $10k DMR that uses REV disks if they weren't convinced of the reliability of the disks?

No doubt BR-DVD will be used heavily in the media production world. Read the PDF files on the Iomega and Thomson GV web sites. They claim some ruggedness and features that they say lends REV disks and drives to effective field production:

"Based on standard laptop hard drive components it is engineered for much greater reliability by placing only the magnetic media and motor within the removable cartridge. This unique design increases durability while keeping media costs down. Data rates up to 110 Mb/s allow for real time record/play capability directly from the media. REV media is perfect for true HD acquisition and is well suited for high-speed data transfers over networks. A single 35 GB disk, stores more than 2 hours of SD video, or about 45 minutes of true contribution-quality HD. The REV drive and removable media are robust and extremely durable. The disk can survive repeated 48-inch (1.2 meter) drops, its long-term archival rating is specified to over 30 years, and it can perform more than one million record/erase cycles without failure. REV media is widely available, is low-cost, and makes an ideal media choice for everyday video recording. But when it comes to the more demanding needs of ENG and EFP field use, we also offer REV PRO. REV PRO™ technology is based on the same media and drives as standard REV products, but is designed to handle the rigorous needs of day-to-day field use. It offers greater temperature ranges, can be used at higher altitudes, offers increased number of cartridge insertions, and improves vibration handling. Its enhanced caching delivers greater multi-stream performance. REV PRO technology gives professionals the reliable performance they expect. REV PRO media also comes with added features to make your job easier in the field and in the studio. Each REV PRO media cartridge has built-in applications such as a browser, logging tool, and a software-based VTR emulation program, giving you machine control over the disk. Both standard REV and REV PRO media are interchangeable within the Infinity Series products." Link: http://www.thomsongrassvalley.com/pr...ity/camcorder/ (Click on “Brochure”)

No BR-DVD drives are even shipping for several months, let alone BR-DVD drives designed for rugged field use on a camcorder.

Thomson is also marketing a Digital Media Recorder for use with the REV and Compact Flash media. It's around $10k, but If Panasonic manufactured an HVX with REV and CF, perhaps they could also make an affordable DMR ($3,000) that has some of the same features. Here's the features of the Thomson GV DMR:

"The Infinity Digital Media Recorder works like a tape machine but accepts removable IT-based media instead. It is a truly functional, low-cost VTR replacement that can be used anywhere a traditional VTR is used: as a field recorder, preview station, play out machine, or ingesting into editing environments. It eliminates all the disadvantages of tape while offering all the benefits of true nonlinear, instantaneous access. It even provides simultaneous read and write from the media. IT connectivity makes it a plug-and-play addition to your existing network. Operators of the Infinity Digital Media Recorder use traditional VTR controls such as play, search, and record buttons or a jog/shuttle knob to quickly search for clips. A front-panel LCD offers greater control over the deck, including video monitoring, clip management, audio metering, output and compression configuration, metadata editing, and more." Link: http://www.thomsongrassvalley.com/pr...ity/camcorder/ (Click on “Brochure”)

Iomega reportedly has a 70GB REV disk in development. If the price was reasonable, and the durability and utility of the REV systems in the Infinity camera proved to be solid, it could be a logical alternative to BR-DVD, especially if it took a long time for rugged, field-use, internal BR-DVD drives to be developed and shipped.

Before judging REV drives too harshly, I think we should wait until the Thomson GV Infinity ships and test out the use and dependability of the units in actual field acquisition.

Until then, here's some links to the PDF files and white papers on the REV drive:

REV Overview page - http://www.iomega.com/direct/product...=1126965103631

REV PDF files:
http://www.iomega.com/direct/product...67498375#white

Again, I have absolutely no connection to Iomega or Thomson. I have used Thomson cameras in the past and been impressed with their design and the footage results.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 11:44 PM   #12
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Okay man, no problem.

Frankly I'm staying away from any formats that require me to "load software" to see the disk. Of course P2 is included in that category, but I'm more willing to trust Panasonic than I am Iomega, especially with their track record of having formats that are as Graeme put it, "too little, too late."

Face the music. For the "mass market" Blue-Ray/HD-DVD is coming, and TDK was showing off 100GB BR disks at IFA this past week. People are not going to be purchasing REV drives for back-up; they're going to purchase next-gen blue laser DVD's en-masse. That means no money for Iomega, which means in 5 years you're going to have an aweful hard time finding a place to read that REV drive.

At least the P2 card can read in any PCMCIA slot. I think you're going to be hard-pressed to find REV drives around, just as you are going to be hard-pressed to find Jazz drives (that are actually being used) or Zip drives now (probably more likely than the Jazz drive). It used to be everybody send everybody else their zip disk. Now it's a CD-R or DVD-R. Next it's going to be Blue-Ray. It's not going to be REV.

I'm glad that Thomson had to foresight to enable ANY recording device via the USB/Firewire/Gig-e connections, and also have on-board compact flash recording. If they only had a REV drive, that camera would be dead before it hit the show floor IMHO from instant format obsolecense.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 12:32 AM   #13
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Jason,

Suit yourself.

Even though the tech specs for the Infinity camera are exceptional, you evidently feel the R&D department at Thomson somehow didn't do their homework when it came to which integrated HDD to use. If REV drives are being integrated into a $20,000 per body professional HD camera from a manufacturer with the solid reputation of Thomson Grass Valley, they should also be a reasonable solution, in tandem with P2, for a $6,000 camera, the HVX200 - which was the point of my original post.

You're welcome to your opinion. I don't know you, your background, or experience, but I have had excellent service from previous Thomson cameras, so I'll respect their decision to use the REV drives until that decision is proven to be a bad one.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 01:20 AM   #14
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I think the issue, if reliability can be assumed, is that Rev is proprietary, and probably (very probably) won't take off in the computer world to even the extent that zip drives were popular. As pointed out, P2 is a standard form factor readable (give or take the odd OS X bug) on practically every laptop ever made, whereas besides the specific Thompson hardware, will we find a Rev drive anywhere else?

Reading the two companies' pdf's, GV claim 110Mb/s for the Rev, whereas Iomega claim 200Mb/s. Which is it?

Reading the GV literature, I'm amazed that they claim non-proprietaryness for their Infinity, but include a very proprietary removable hard drive format for it. I don't want to harp on about it, but claiming other camera recording systems as proprietary (I guess most companies like to have their own tape formats etc.) but to say that their's is not, doesn't sound to me anything other than the kettle calling the pot black.

However, I will re-iterate that I find the whole concept that GV has come up with very forwards thinking. I know of no other removable hard drive cartridge company than Iomega, so I guess if you want that kind of technology you're kind of stuck with them, Syquest having packed up long ago.

Graeme
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Old September 18th, 2005, 12:03 PM   #15
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I will say just a couple of things.

If we wanted moving parts, we would have gone with some sort of disk thing, but memory recording is vastly more reliable. We had one customer put the camera out on the tarmack on a 102 degree day and it stayed in record long after the disk and tape base solutions quit. In fact they finally stopped it.

Second, I have a number of Zip Drives and Jaz drives and none of them spin up at this point. I was looking for an old power point presentation that I did back in '98 that would have been useful for my presentation at ResFest, none of them worked. I got to recreate the slide.

The idea reinforces the concept of moving video to the IT domain, but maintains the idea of tape based work flow. The REV drives are expensive if you are thinkng to use them as the archive. When you can archive data vastly cheaper.

Point is, it isn't a solution that we would look at as a sound engineering choice, when compared to memory based. In memory recording the recording can start now, not wait for the spinup, but it will be interesting to see how it delivers on performance in the long run.

Best,

Jan
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