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Old October 22nd, 2005, 05:40 AM   #1
 
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Direct Questions for Jan Critten Livingston

I've seen Jan from thread to thread and am not always sure if the questions I want to ask her are on topic. So I figured I'd start a thread that has questions to be asked only for Jan, if that's okay.

For me, I'm a filmmaker looking to do features and amleaning toward the HVX-200, but am considering the possibility of the HL-X1 (like many of us here I think). So what I'd like to do, if it's not putting Jan on the spot too much, is to get her best sales pitch as to why we should take the HVX-200 as the camera of choice.

So far my Pros for the HVX-200 are:

1. Body style condusive for guerilla filmmaking

2. Flip-out monitor for ease of movement while shooting.

3. Several flavors of SD/HD from mini-dv up.

4. Ease of shooting on digital p2 or firestore for DVCProHD

5. Component out for uncompressed 4:2:2

6. Panasonic in bed with apple, so compatability issues will be little and support will be good when in use with FCP HD.



Pros I see for the Canon are this:


1. Uncompressed out via HD-SDI, but only if you have a pain in the butt set-up to record with.

2. Interchangeable lenses

3. HDV tape on the canon beats out mini-dv tape on the Panasonic

4. I'm not sure? Does the recording to HDCAM and DVCProHD on this work only if you are recording to a deck, or can you record that out like the HVX-200 via firewire to a portable drive like firestore? Could be good or bad.


Some questions for me are, how do see the lens on the panasonic comparing to the canon? And how would it look if I used a cheaper 35mm slr adapter for slr lenses (like redrock micro 35).

How about the cineswitch/cinegamma as opposed to the canon's version of this.

How about the 24p vs. this 24f from canon?

How about the f/stops on each? Does one have a better dynamic range?

If you have the time, could you please give us your 2 cents on the basic differences between the 2 cameras that you can see and help push over the edge in your favor? For me, it's pretty much Panasonic anyway, but since I'm spending a pretty penny to do this, it would be nice to be as informed as possible before I make my decision.

THANKS SO MUCH JAN!
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 02:33 PM   #2
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I won't pretend to speak for Jan, but you need to look at this as a question of whether you want to adopt a P2 workflow vs. tape. If you are not in a position to rent an HD deck for recording with the XL H1, then for your purposes it's an HDV tape camcorder.

It's P2 vs. tape, and then copnsidering ergonomics and price. That's what should be guiding your decision.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 09:48 PM   #3
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I agree that it is definitely a workflow question - as well as an archiving problem.
I have also been leaning towards the HVX-200 because of the quality of DVCPro HD vs HDV...but alas there seems to be no cost effective solution to archiving the hours of material I will be shooting on a documentary next year. (For details see "Documentary Archive solution needed" - I would have appreciated your input here Jan.)
So unless Jan and Panasonic have a brilliantly concieved (and concealed) solution of how to manage hours of original material, I will have to settle for HDV ... and a choice between Sony or Canon.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #4
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I don't intend to speak for Jan, but here's my opinion on a few of these things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Maher
Pros I see for the Canon are this:

1. Uncompressed out via HD-SDI, but only if you have a pain in the butt set-up to record with.
Funny you comment about the painin the butt set-up for recording from the Canon. Actually, capturing the direct output from the XLH1 would be the same as (or a bit easier) than recording from the HVX200's component outputs. Most HD capture cards have SDI interfaces and Canon has gone far enough to accommodate this and negate the need for a component to SDI converter mixed into the workflow.

Quote:
3. HDV tape on the canon beats out mini-dv tape on the Panasonic
Does it? The base XLH1 is about the same price as what we're anticipating the HVX200 will cost bundled with two P2 cards. HDV has plenty of shortcomings and depending on what you intend to do with your video, HDV may actually be a step backward from miniDV. Just because it has more resolution, it isn't necessarily better. I'm probably in the minority, but HDV doesn't work for me... DV really doesn't either. But I guess what I'm getting at is that for the same price of the stock XLH1, you can get the HVX200 with DV tape functionality, plus enough P2 capacity to capture over 25 minutes of DVCProHD 720p before you need to offload. It also records DVCPro and DVCPro50 too.

Quote:
4. I'm not sure? Does the recording to HDCAM and DVCProHD on this work only if you are recording to a deck, or can you record that out like the HVX-200 via firewire to a portable drive like firestore? Could be good or bad.
Yes, only to a deck. The internal tape transport is just a miniDV tape mechanism and can only record DV or HDV streams. Canon likes being vague about it, but what they're saying is that with the onboard SDI interface and uncompressed 4:2:2 1.4Gbps output, the XLH1 can be conneced to a deck for recording to HDCAM, DVCPro, or whatever.

Quote:
Some questions for me are, how do see the lens on the panasonic comparing to the canon? And how would it look if I used a cheaper 35mm slr adapter for slr lenses (like redrock micro 35).
This is hard to say. Not to mention that we haven't seen this camera or its lens... Yet. I'm going to bet the lens on the HVX200 is going to be a very nice one and will serve most jobs very well. Much like the DVX100 lens did. However, depending on your needs, the interchangeable lenses of the XLH1 may be the reason to buy from Canon. I could see the XLH1 being a better tool for the job for shooting events like football games or wildlife as there's some nice telephoto lenses out there. Hopefully the stock lens on the XLH1 is better than what was included with the XL2 (the purple fringe nightmare). IMO, if I knew for a fact that the HVX200's lens wouldn't work for me, I would probably buy the XLH1 body and then buy the specific lens I need for the job.

Quote:
How about the cineswitch/cinegamma as opposed to the canon's version of this.
I don't know, but I do know that the cinema settings in the XL2 weren't as appealing to me as the Cinegamma in the DVX100.

Quote:
How about the 24p vs. this 24f from canon?
We don't know the full specs on the HVX200's CCD block just yet. But we do know that it will be a progressive-scan sensor array capable of various frame rates. Canon is using a 1080 line, interlaced sensor in the XLH1. In order to do 24fps (or the 24F mode as Canon calls it), the sensor has to be clocked at 48Hz and then the two interlaced fields must be combined into a single frame. So far, the sample video I have seen of 24F mode (kudos to Kaku Ito for his clips), hasn't really impressed me that much. It's way better than Sony's mock 24P mode on the FX1/Z1, but it's not true 24P and it shows.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 01:09 AM   #5
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Bruce, regarding your archiving dilemma for your doc, if you check out Panasonic's white paper for the HVX200 (it's on the webpage for the camera) you will see that Panasonic's recommended archive solution for the cam is DLT. I think if Jan chimes in on this thread that is what she's likely to recommend as well. Panasonic actually argues in the paper that backing up to DLT can be cheaper than shooting tape b/c you're only saving the stuff you want...but of course this doesn't apply in your situation because you are saving everything. Anyway, sounds like you have made a decision on your format, but thought this might help.

Peter
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Old October 24th, 2005, 08:59 AM   #6
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Yes indeed, Panasonic is saying that DLT is the easiest way to archive P2. Makes perfect sense too.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 02:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Quayle
I agree that it is definitely a workflow question - as well as an archiving problem.
I have also been leaning towards the HVX-200 because of the quality of DVCPro HD vs HDV...but alas there seems to be no cost effective solution to archiving the hours of material I will be shooting on a documentary next year. (For details see "Documentary Archive solution needed" - I would have appreciated your input here Jan.)
So unless Jan and Panasonic have a brilliantly concieved (and concealed) solution of how to manage hours of original material, I will have to settle for HDV ... and a choice between Sony or Canon.
Bruce:

I currently shoot with DVX100a but plan on getting 2 HD cameras (most likely HVX200 pending release success) but I've solved the archiving problem for myself.

I shoot either to tape or to external USB laptop 2.5 drives (need no external power, run off laptop battery). With the HVX, i would just transfer the P2 straight to laptop drive and copy to external USB. I would not reuse the P2 until I have two copies. I build the 2.5 USB drives myself to keep 'em dirt cheap.

Then, the USB drives get copied onto my desktop editing system where the files sit on RAID 0 array (right now two drive but will boost to 4 drive when editing HD for speed) for editing. To safeguard in house:

I took an old P4 box, stacked it full of 1.3 TB of various old 160 and 200 GB drives I had lying around (10 to be exact), loaded a server OS and RAID 5 the setup. Cost me about $1500 (if you included the drive price) and I have nearly 1 TB available.

This server is connected to my editing desktop on a gigabit switch. I then use a file compare utility to mirror (usually daily but varies depending on need) my RAID 0 array to the RAID 5 server. Thus I have nice - in house archive of everything I capture. Adding drives is easy - I can easily go to 2, 3 or 4 TB with cheap IDE or SATA drives at my leisure. And the beauty is a drive failure on my desktop and server and I lose nothing (unless I don't sync).

But that's just the short term archive. On the server, I installed a used VXA2 tape drive I found off eBay with 1 TB of tapes, all for about $700. I get about 70 GB on tape and the tape are virtually indestructible - survive heat, water, immersion in hot coffee. I add tapes as needed and store those off-site.

P2 would fit is easily and although it's more to store, DVCProHD will compress a little in backup, though not down to HDV storage.

But I think a staggered approach is best - keep your in-house archive very current, almost like a RAID 1 mirror and then off-site your permanent as possible.

I will replace the VXA2 tape with VXA3 (VXA is more robust and cheaper per gig than DLT, though a tad slower), Blu-Ray or other once available and affordable.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 07:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Yes indeed, Panasonic is saying that DLT is the easiest way to archive P2. Makes perfect sense too.
The higher capacities of BluRay or HD/DVD coming out may also be a viable option. 50GB already and 100GB soon - larger capacities slated, drive'll fit into a standard 5 1/4" bay and media and drives will probably wind up cheaper than DLT.

Oops - Stephen beat me to it...
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Old October 25th, 2005, 08:09 AM   #9
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Agreed, and I'm diggin' Stephen's proposed workflow.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 09:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Agreed, and I'm diggin' Stephen's proposed workflow.
I built it after the pain of a couple of drive deaths right before deadlines. Yes, you can recapture from tape, but not a few hours (or minutes) before a deadline :)
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