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Panasonic P2HD / DVCPRO HD Camcorders
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Old November 9th, 2005, 06:09 PM   #1
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Price for DVCPRO-HD deck and tapes?

hi there

DVCPRO-HD decks and tapes have been out for a while and Panasonic claims that tons of broadcasters are using them. It makes sense to use these as a way to archive what we shoot on a P2.

BUT, how much does the deck cost to 1)buy and 2) rent, does it operate as a stand alone and how much are tapes?
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Old November 9th, 2005, 09:22 PM   #2
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Currently there are two Panasonic DVCPRO HD decks available:

The AJ-HD1700 Studio VTR for $62,500, and

The AJ-HD1200A Compact VTR for $21,000.

Source: Link to Panasonic DVCPRO HD VTR page.

From what I could find right away, a typical rental price for the HD100A is about $400 per day or $1200 per week (source: http://www.hd-cinema.com/rates.htm). I'm not sure what you mean by "stand alone," but all you really need is a monitor to go with the deck. No computer required, if that's what you mean.

DVCPRO HD tape media comes in 23, 64, 92 and 126 minute lengths with prices ranging from $31 per each cassette for the short 23 minute tapes to $104 per each cassette for the longest 126 minute tapes (source: Express Video Supply).

Hope this helps,
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Old November 10th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Ng
It makes sense to use these as a way to archive what we shoot on a P2.
No, it doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Ng
BUT, how much does the deck cost to 1)buy and 2) rent, does it operate as a stand alone and how much are tapes?
I'm guessing by "stand alone" you're asking if the deck can be plugged directly into the camera and record the DVCPro stream directly to tape. Yeah, I guess they will do that, although I'm not sure on the interface (firewire? D4 or other? The HVX200 doesn't have SDI).

It's far more cost effective to use a format like DLT for backup. A very nice tape system can be had for around $1250 and tapes range in price from $20 to $180 depending on type and capacity. But there are 160GB tapes out there for a lot less than DVCPro tapes. And a 160GB tape (149GB actual storage capacity) would store 3.39 hours of DVCPro100 video. And with today's backup software, it's super-simple to index all your video back-ups and load the tape you need and just pull the video clip you need.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 12:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
I'm guessing by "stand alone" you're asking if the deck can be plugged directly into the camera and record the DVCPro stream directly to tape.
Yes it can, if you're talking about the HD1200A. You can plug in the firewire and stream directly to it.

Quote:
It's far more cost effective to use a format like DLT for backup.
Not only that, but it's also much, much better for your workflow. Backing up to DLT would mean that you get to keep the clip-based nature of your footage; archiving to DVCPROHD tape would turn all your individual clips into one big sequential video clip, so if you ever needed to access your footage you'd have to manually go in and set in and out points and digitize. Whereas with DLT, you'd restore the project and all your clips would be restored as individual files again, all frame-accurate etc. Also, DLT preserves all the metadata, proxies, memos, voice notes, etc; DVCPRO-HD tape would mean discarding all that.

So Jeff's exactly right, but for even more reasons than he mentioned. DLT is much more cost effective and it's just a better way to back up too.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 12:41 PM   #5
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More info about DLT, where to get it, how it saves data...???

thanx
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Old November 10th, 2005, 03:21 PM   #6
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I'm gonna try to put together an article on DLT archive options as soon as I can.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 10:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Ng
More info about DLT, where to get it, how it saves data...???

thanx
The short version of the story is:

Get a SCSI PCI card and a DLT Backup drive (VS160 would be a good example of a drive). You have to make sure the SCSI card has the proper interface to support your DLT drive (usually not a problem). If your SCSI card has an external connector, you can get an external DLT drive if you desire.

Install the SCSI card and DLT drive (Ok, you knew that).

Install your Backup software. If your drive didn't come with Backup software (a lot of drives ship "naked"), you can use the Windows Backup utility located in the 'Accessories/System Tools' folder.

You direct your Backup software to archive files of your choosing (video files in this case) to tape. Once the archive is complete, you label the tape and slide its copy protection tab into the lock position. Store it like a video tape (dry and cool).

To retrieve the footage off a tape, you use your Backup software to perform a restore. Various softwares handle this differently, but in the worst case scenario you tell your software to scan/catalog your tape, then choose the files you want to restore and provide a location to restore the files to.

I think that's about it in a nutshell. One important thing to note is that these drives always have 2 capacities listed: compressed and uncompressed. As an example, a VS160 drive lists Gigs of storage as 80/160. In video, only use the lower number as your reference. Obviously since video files are already compressed, there's not much the backup software can do to reduce the file sizes further. For those not familiar with this concept, a quick example is to create a text file (not Word, but Notepad text file) of pretty good size. Now get a JPEG image. Use winzip to compress both files seperately and you'll find that the text file gets compressed down to nothing and the JPEG file will be about the same.

The final caveat is that installing and configuring SCSI controllers and devices can be a bit more nerdy than some users are comfortable with. If someone has mastered an NLE and installed DVD burners, they're probably capable of installing a DLT drive (or at least making the attempt). If you can't get the drive to work properly, call your most capable nerd friend (everyone has one) and bribe them with a pizza/beer deal to install it for you. The whole thing is probably a 30-60 minute project. Knowing Chris, when his DLT article is posted it will contain enough details for the average grandmother to install a drive ;)

As a final note, DLT backups needn't be excessively expensive. Ebay is a good place to look. A quick browse revealed an ample supply of VS160 drives in the $500 range. Now if you know you'll typically be archiving shorter projects, an 80 Gig backup might be overkill and you could shop for a much more affordable 40 Gig tape drive (will be listed as a 40/80 of course).

Hope that helps.

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Old November 11th, 2005, 12:37 PM   #8
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You can find some speed, capacity and price comparison tables of a few backup options at:

http://www.cloakmedia.com/index.php?...id=42&Itemid=1
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