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Old December 11th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #1
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Advice request - Tapeless recording dilemma

Please forgive me if I'm not posting in the right place. I'm new to this forum.

I like to get everyone's opinion. I've done tons of research on the Sony Z1 and the upcoming Panasonic VX200, but I just can't decide.

What's holding me back is the P2 cards. I want to record HD (that's kind of the whole point), but from what I've been reading, you can only record HD to the P2 cards or to a hard drive. No tape option whatsoever.

Now, I'm a video producer with a number of clients. I currently have hundreds of tapes from various shoots over the last couple of years. Most of my projects (like documentaries) are ongoing, others are raw footage archived for the client (special events, AGMs, etc).

If I want to shoot HD with the Panasonic, I'm assuming this would mean that I:

1. Have a separate, removable hardrive for each project and each client.

2. Have a DVCPRO HD Recorder to output the footage to tape. Current cost: $25,000 Canadian.

Am I correct? This does seem like a real negative. Though I know the there are issues with Sony (no 24p for instance), being able to record HDV straight to tape seems like a real plus.

Any thoughts you could offer would be most appreciated. Again, other than having a hundred hard drives, how do I manage footage from multiple clients day-to-day?

Thanks.

Peter Reynolds
www.fortherecordproductions.com
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Old December 11th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #2
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What about burning to DVD? Won't standard def do for now until HD DVDs come out?

LTO tape storage?
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Old December 11th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #3
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Tape more straightforward

HD DVD does sound like a good option to archive footage.

The problem for me is more in the field. To give you an example, I'll repost a message I left in another string...

---------------------------------------------------------

I just got back from a 1-week shoot in Belize. We shot about 10 hours worth of footage on an Canon XL2.

Am I right in assumng that recording in DVCPRO HD is using about 1 gig per minute? If so, I'd need about 600 gigs to store the raw footage I shot.

If so, this would have been totally impractical. This was not a studio setting (we shot mostly in the rainforest), so I guess I'd be using a portable 30 gig in the field and then dumping to a series of hard drives at the hotel. Seems unwieldly.

Any other suggestions? I really like the new Panasonic, but I can't get my head around the "no HD tape option." I think I may have to forget 24p and go with the Z1.

---------------------------------------------------------

Also, though I know the DV option is there. What's the point of upgrading to HD if you're just going to use DV? Unless, for example, using "DV" in the Panasonic is significantly better than using "DV" in say an Canon XL2.

I'm hoping someone can convince me that the Panasonic is the dream camera I've been waiting for. As it stands, it fits the bill for the studio, but not for the field.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #4
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It's important to realize that the HVX200 offers the least expensive way to record in the DVCPRO HD format. If you wanted to record DVCPRO HD to tape, you do have that option with other Panasonic tape-based equipment, most notably the VariCam. But the idea behind the new HVX200 is that by recording to flash memory instead of tape, you know have a camera that costs around $6,000 instead of least triple that amount if it had been a tape-based camera.

If shooting DVCPRO HD format to flash memory is not practical for your specific application, then you may want to consider the less expensive HDV tape-based format on one hand, or the more expensive Sony XDCAM HD disc-based format on the other.

Finally, consider also that with the HVX200 you could shoot in DVCPRO 50 in the 16:9 aspect ratio, and cleave the amount of required recording space in half compared to DVCPRO HD while still using a "much better than plain DV" video format.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:48 PM   #5
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Good advice

Thanks Chris.

So I can record DVCPRO 50 to tape? That's something to think about.

Also. Do we know the "ratio" of HD recording to hard drive space? Is it 1 minute for 1 gig? Please advise.

Thanks.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 09:27 PM   #6
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No, you can't record DVCPRO 50 to tape. Only P2 or hard drive.

The ratio is 1 gig per minute of full 100mbs DVCPRO HD, either 720p60 FPS or 1080i. It's 80 mbs if it's 1080p24 to P2. 40 mbs for 720p24. So a little more than 2min a GB for 720p24, and a little more than a min per GB of 1080p24.

P2 recording just isn't practical for a lot of typical video shoots.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 03:08 AM   #7
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Peter, it sounds like for what you do, current P2 card capacities wouldn't be the right choice. Would the FireStore work for you? There you'd be getting 90 minutes of footage, and offload it at lunch or at night, etc.

Large hard disks are becoming surprisingly cheap, a 300gb is under $200 nowadays. A couple of those would cover your 10-hour footage requirements.

Someday they'll have larger-capacity cards; in April NAB they'll probably be announcing the 16gb cards, and sometime in early 2007 we may see the 128gb cards (which would give you five hours of 720/24p per card, so you could have 10 hours of footage in-camera). I'm sure they'll be preposterously expensive when first introduced, but it's just something to keep your eye on.

An HVX may not be the ideal choice for all shooting circumstances. But if it's what you want to use, there's probably a way to make it work.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 06:22 AM   #8
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Don't forget the upcoming Cineporter. It looks like you can connect two cineporters at the same time to the HVX, which means 500gb of constant recording! This equals 500 minutes of full 1080 60i or 24P recording!

As for editing and archiving, a 500gb firewire drive with a 7200 rpm drive costs about 200 dollars, so, buy three or Four of those (800dollars) two Cineporters (about 3000 dollars) and a decent non-linear editor (mac or pc, which I believe you already have), and you have the perfect documentary, Feature, short film and TV production guerrila camera on the market!

If the Cineporter ships at a similar price to the firestore, which is below 2000 dollars, than a Panasonic HVX + two cineporters would equal the two 8 gigabytes P2 card bundle. Now if they can come out with this product when the camera launches in PAL...
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Old December 13th, 2005, 11:23 AM   #9
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"500gb firewire drive with a 7200 rpm drive costs about 200 dollars"

please tell me where ?
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Old December 13th, 2005, 12:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
Don't forget the upcoming Cineporter. It looks like you can connect two cineporters at the same time to the HVX, which means 500gb of constant recording! This equals 500 minutes of full 1080 60i or 24P recording!
Well, considering the Cineporter will support up to a 240GB HDD, that translates into 223GB of usable formatted space. If you connect two Cineporter drives to the HVX, each with a "240" GB drive, you would obviously have 446GB at your disposal. At 100Mbps for full 1080 HD or 720p60 with the HVX200, that translates to 610 minutes of storage across the two drives or 10 hours of continuous recording. :)

Quote:
As for editing and archiving, a 500gb firewire drive with a 7200 rpm drive costs about 200 dollars, so, buy three or Four of those (800dollars) two Cineporters (about 3000 dollars) and a decent non-linear editor (mac or pc, which I believe you already have), and you have the perfect documentary, Feature, short film and TV production guerrila camera on the market!
I would never attempt to do any serious editing on an external firewire drive. They just don't have the speed. There are firewire connectable RAID boxes, which are a bit better, but I would only consider those for mobile/semi-portable solutions. Anything that's going to go in a studio or a editing station type setup, should be a SATA or SCSI array. Won't cost you much (if any) more money and will be a LOT faster and more reliable than the current crop of firewire solutions. Firewire drives are meant to be portable and while they do use the same actual drive units, the implementation is not ideal for video editing on this level.

Quote:
If the Cineporter ships at a similar price to the firestore, which is below 2000 dollars, than a Panasonic HVX + two cineporters would equal the two 8 gigabytes P2 card bundle. Now if they can come out with this product when the camera launches in PAL...
Don't count on the 8GB cards being as expensive as they're currently listed. In actuality, the 8GB cards are *NOT* currently available and will not be available until sometime in February as an estimate. Panasonic has not updated the pricing for the 8GB cards as they have done with the 4GB ones and probably will not do so until they're ready to ship. I will bet that the 8GB cards will sell for less than $950 MSRP. After all, the 4GB cards have now been re-priced for the HVX200 launch and they much more accurately reflect the costs of SD memory which they are based on. Yes, they're still a bit high, but considering they're a single-supplier item right now and stamped with the Panasonic brand, you know that you'll be paying a premium and in this case it's about 15% over what the market indicates that 4 of these zero-defect 1GB SD chips should cost with a decent memory controller and PCMCIA packaging. Once third-party vendors get in on the P2 game, we'll see the prices come down a bit more. But they're not that bad now...
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Old December 13th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Donatello
"500gb firewire drive with a 7200 rpm drive costs about 200 dollars"

please tell me where ?
Prices have been falling like crazy lately and a lot of retaillers haven't caught up, especially with the holiday shopping season and the fact that people are still buying them at outdated high prices.

Newegg.com has a 300GB USB2 drive today for $139 after rebates. The 500GB version is $249. They have the Lacie 500GB for $339, if you want to pay the extra money for the name and the Firewire 800 interface that the drive can't utilize.

If I waste my time and shop around for good deals on HDDs and enclosures, I bet I could assemble a 500GB unit in an external USB2 and Firewire enclosure for about $200 plus shipping.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 10:55 PM   #12
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Jeff, 10 hours of continuous Full DVcpro HD Resolution recording!!

As for the firewire drives, how much does it cost to array 4 300 gb sata 7200rpm drives? Not very expensive, I presume. i think this should be enough for DVCPRO HD editing, don't you think?

I live in Asia, so computer equipment is relatively cheap. I don't know how much it costs overseas, tough.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 11:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
As for the firewire drives, how much does it cost to array 4 300 gb sata 7200rpm drives? Not very expensive, I presume. i think this should be enough for DVCPRO HD editing, don't you think?
4x300GB will be just great. My edit system at home has 4 * 320GB SATA HDDs in a RAID-0 stripe array. Way fast, I edit my 3D animation at uncompressed 1080p24, but it still chokes on multiple streams a bit. But be warned if you place these drives in an external firewire box. Firewire IEEE1394 is only 50MB/s (400Mbps). It's fast enough to manipulate 3 streams of DVCPROHD100 in real time, but 4 would saturate the bus and would probably stutter somewhat. Firewire800 gives 100MB/s and should give you enough drive speed to handle 7 streams in realtime. Obviously, you'll get fewer if you work with any uncompressed video. You will get the best performance (150MB/s for SATA, 300MB/s for SATAII, 320MB/s for UWSCSI) if you maintain the drives connection to your computer via the SATA or SCSI bus and not connect via firewire. USB2 also works just as good as firewire, but it's limited to 480Mbps or 60MB/s. My 4x320GB HDD array can sustain just about the full 150MB/s of the SATA bus, which is pretty cool. The uncompressed 1080p stream I referred to above takes 143MB/s of bandwidth, whereas 1080i/p and 720p60 from the HVX200 is only 100Mbps or 12.5MB/s. So I theoretically could run 11 streams of DVCPROHD100 simultaneously from my drive array. However, that's a lot of overhead and its doubtful the rest of the system could process it that fast, let alone account for the various file locations and whatnot of the data on the HDDs... 5 to 7 streams max would probably be about it for this 2.4GHz AMD64 system.

I should also add that 4 * 300GB drives will give you 1,117 GB of usable formatted space. That translates into 25.43 hours of DVCPRO100 storage. Or if you shoot only 720pn at 24fps, then you will have over 63 hours of storage! :)
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Old December 16th, 2005, 04:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
4x300GB will be just great. My edit system at home has 4 * 320GB SATA HDDs in a RAID-0 stripe array. Way fast, I edit my 3D animation at uncompressed 1080p24, but it still chokes on multiple streams a bit. But be warned if you place these drives in an external firewire box. Firewire IEEE1394 is only 50MB/s (400Mbps). It's fast enough to manipulate 3 streams of DVCPROHD100 in real time, but 4 would saturate the bus and would probably stutter somewhat. Firewire800 gives 100MB/s and should give you enough drive speed to handle 7 streams in realtime. Obviously, you'll get fewer if you work with any uncompressed video. You will get the best performance (150MB/s for SATA, 300MB/s for SATAII, 320MB/s for UWSCSI) if you maintain the drives connection to your computer via the SATA or SCSI bus and not connect via firewire. USB2 also works just as good as firewire, but it's limited to 480Mbps or 60MB/s. My 4x320GB HDD array can sustain just about the full 150MB/s of the SATA bus, which is pretty cool. The uncompressed 1080p stream I referred to above takes 143MB/s of bandwidth, whereas 1080i/p and 720p60 from the HVX200 is only 100Mbps or 12.5MB/s. So I theoretically could run 11 streams of DVCPROHD100 simultaneously from my drive array. However, that's a lot of overhead and its doubtful the rest of the system could process it that fast, let alone account for the various file locations and whatnot of the data on the HDDs... 5 to 7 streams max would probably be about it for this 2.4GHz AMD64 system.

I should also add that 4 * 300GB drives will give you 1,117 GB of usable formatted space. That translates into 25.43 hours of DVCPRO100 storage. Or if you shoot only 720pn at 24fps, then you will have over 63 hours of storage! :)

Just Heard about the possible availability of a 320 GB cineporter!! With two at the same time equals something like 630 Min of NonStop DVCPRO HD capture ! Recording time is definetly a non-issue now! (Still no price for this option, though, but will definetly be a lot more affordable than 80 x 8gb P2 Cards! :) )
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Old December 16th, 2005, 04:59 AM   #15
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I think what this really amounts to is that the HVX200 is a multiformat camera that gives you the option to work with DVCPRO 50/HD. While most of us see this as the only use of the camera it does record to miniDV at the plain jane dv codec.

Panasonic makes money from tape, and moving to their own flash based format ensures they still have a market their, only a slightly different one with higher initial cost. So because of this they have tried hard to solve your workflow problems. I would suggest reading their P2 workflow whitepaper. It explains how they suggest you work with P2 with a limited number of cards.

As was pointed out, your best option for long recording times is some sort of hard drive recording device. I'm not sure, but from the sounds of cineported I would guess it uses a 3.5" hard drive. And from the fact you've already mentioned the word "rainforest". I would suggest that cineporter or any other 3.5" drive based device would not be suitable. 3.5" drives have 4 times the power consumption, 4 times the size, 4 times the storage, and 2 times the speed of 2.5" mobile drives. Sounds good like a reasonable compromise, but the disks that spin are larger and faster and more suceptible to acceleration forces caused by moving the device which could cause damage. If you are low movement a 3.5" based device should be fine, but from the sounds of what you do I suggest you look more into a 2.5" based device. The drives are much more rugged.
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