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Panasonic P2HD / DVCPRO HD Camcorders
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Old December 30th, 2005, 11:12 AM   #1
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Strictly operation matters (including other shooting aspects)

So far, I did almost two days of shooting with HVX200.

Yes, it is fat, yes, it is heavier than I thought. But I love this camera a lot better than anything I tried and owned recently. Let's talk about how easy this thing operates aside from how good it is on the video quality.

First of all, I was concerned about how P2 cards would work out as far as shooting in the field. I wanted to shoot mostly bike actions with DVCPRO HD 720/60p because I wanted to get the special effect on fast movements riders pull out, which normally happens in less than one second and format with interlace does not provide me enough frames nor crisp frames. Anyway, 720/60p takes the same bandwith as this cam's 1080/60i, having two P2 cards give me only 8 minutes of recording. Then by finding out that at InterBEE, HVX200 could be connected to PowerBook G4 via firewire to do data transferring, I though it is wonderful because I purposely had chosen Power Book G4 12inch for the portability. Our company, Musetex owns 17 inch G4 PowerBook with the slot, but it is way too big. So, I though I have few good Kata bags to fit my VHX200, PowerBook G4 and other stuff then I would be cooking going around to shoot some video.

First day, I was getting ready to pack up the rigs and tried to figure out which Kata bag I was going to use. I have HB-207, Teddy-2 and MC60, but I was going to take my Manfrotto tripod with 507 video head and ride my bike to travel around, so I chose HB-207 for the first shoot.

HB-207 is good, you can fit many things in there and tie up the tripod outside. But actually shooting video around in town, any kind of backpack is little cumbersome that you have to first take off the backpack, the tripod always get in the way of putting down to the floor or ground, then take off the tripod from the bag and open the bag and take out the cam......it is too much things to do and I get discouraged to take out the cam often. For the first shoot, I did take my PowerBook G4 with me in the HB-207, but i ended up backing up the data in P2 cards on to iPod via firewire connection. I spent most of the time at my friend's bike shop, so I didn't have to do so much packing and unpacking, but as little packing and unpacking I did from the first session, I thought I have to go more direct and light to go around for city shooting.

So, for the next day, I wanted to carry the cam and just forget about tripod this time, trying to figure out how I can carry the cam and start shooting right away. I was thinking about Boblbee backpack or other things, but when you shooting, the bags gets in the way all the time, but I can't hold the cam bare that gets in the way of riding my bike. I thought I could use the Manfrott clamp on my bike, but that would look too kinky, that Police my stop me or something. Then I thought I would just put the shoulder strap comes with HVX200 then carry like the shoulder bag (shoulder bag might be a good idea anyway). So I get my foxracing enduro jacket with a lot of pockets then I can carry extra batteries, iPod and other belongings.
I also put the Manfrotto clamp on my bike and went for shooting.

This worked out great. Yes, there's no protection, but I can start shooting right away. I should think of some kind of camera jacket and better shoulder strap for more security and ease of taking off and on. Ah, also, shoe compatible iPod mount.

I did mixture of mounting the cam on Manfrotto clamp and hand held, did many onboard type shooting in short period of time in various video format. Actually the cam is little heavy, so the clamp is not rigid enough then it shakes a little. While I was shooting, I was holding the cam to eliminate the shake. You folks tell me how the video look after I upload them to FTP here.

Camera operation matters.

I'm feeling very comfortable using this cam. Everything is pretty much right there.various speed on the rocker zoom is right next to it, gain toggle, white balance toggle, ND filter, focus mode, iris dial and all. Manual zoom is more direct than DVC30, it feels more responsive but DVC30 had the nice effect that it felt like when you use the counter balanced video head, that it gave me smooth stop start and stop. However, zoom on HVX200 is fine with me. It feels better than HVR-FX1 for sure.
Audio switches are good. All the necessary switches are there, line, mic level swtich, independent settings for each channels, phantom power for each channels. Didn't fool around too much, but I can see more than enough control when I need it. Only one request I have is the mount for the external condensor microphone. The mount has to be screwed in with phillips scews. They should be thumb screws, because depending on how I'm shooting, I would take off and on all the time. The Design is little too cluttered to use thumb screw, maybe that is the reason why they had to use phillips screws.

While I'm shooting, I'm chaging the video format all the time now, having a piece of mind that I would not have any problem what so ever to bring the multiple of formats into Final Cut Pro 5 becaue they are all files on the P2 cards. It would be very cumbersome if I swtich the modes on one tape to capture, but on P2, that is history. Nice.

I also switch very often to play back the footage while I'm in the field. By pressing the mode switche located underneath the P2 card slots, you can change from cam mode to playback mode. When in the playback mode, the LCD display shows the thumbnails. I first thought, oh god, they are small, how can I tell what is what. But after getting used to it, even little differences are quite recognizible and when you are playing the clips using the rubber control buttons (like the control on game pads), it controls with no lags unlike trying to control the playback on a tape. You know how frustrating and scary that is with a tape. It plays, fast forward and pause AND frame advance and backwards with no fear!! I found out by just operating that while you are posing the clip and press fast forward or fast backward, it would advance or go back to next clip. This is very helpful.
After filling up the P2 cards, you can easily download the data to iPod or something similar, then erace the clips on P2 card and start shooting again. When you have 2 4GB P2 cards then it would take about 12 minutes to do the back up to iPod. Iím okay with this now because I would be doing more planed, purpose oriented shooting, but folks with documentary oriented shooting, that could be a problem. But you can probably follow around the cast with DV and use P2 card recordings for more expression oriented shooting, you can expand your expressions a big deal.
Each time you do a back up on iPod or similar, HVX200 make an image of P2 card, so when you connect your iPod to your Mac, it would appear as each volume images on the desktop or show up in the P2 import window of FCP5 as volumes.

For the tripod, my Manfrotto 507 video head is working perfectly as far as the counter balance goes.

I love it!!
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Old December 30th, 2005, 01:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaku Ito
but i ended up backing up the data in P2 cards on to iPod via firewire connection.
Kaku: How long did it take to transfer the 4GB card to the iPOD?
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Old December 30th, 2005, 01:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Edwin Hernandez
Kaku: How long did it take to transfer the 4GB card to the iPOD?
That's about six minute.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 03:17 PM   #4
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It's cool to know that you can have a portable solution.
So, with the ability to use an iPOD, a non-intelligent hard disk, a Cineporter, a Firestore, a PCMCIA slot on a laptop, or USB2/FIREWIRE connection to a laptop or desktop, all the issues about P2 being costly and having a troublesome workflow is demystified.

-EDWIN
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Old December 30th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaku Ito
That's about six minute.
Kaku,
I'm gonna guess you have an older IPOD that still has a firewire connector and not one of the new ones that is USB2 Only but with a converter.

Is that accurate?

Thanks,
Marty
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Old December 30th, 2005, 06:04 PM   #6
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thanks for the update, very good news.

I also like the fact you can use an ipod in a pinch.. not the best solution, but nice to know it works as Barry tested earlier. 6 minutes isnt as bad as i thought it would be.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 08:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarred Land
thanks for the update, very good news.

I also like the fact you can use an ipod in a pinch.. not the best solution, but nice to know it works as Barry tested earlier. 6 minutes isnt as bad as i thought it would be.
After using the iPod for HVX200, when I connect the same iPod, it is recognized as iPod, but when I tried to copy some song and nothing happened I think. I will check this further.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 08:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Marty Hudzik
Kaku,
I'm gonna guess you have an older IPOD that still has a firewire connector and not one of the new ones that is USB2 Only but with a converter.

Is that accurate?

Thanks,
Marty
Yes, one generation older 60GB iPod that Apple Japan gave me.
I have a iPod video, too. Do you folks want me to try USB connection?
(this sounds like I get everything, but my business is VAR of apple)

CORRECTION
Didn't realize that the iPod video was normal USB. Well....

Last edited by Kaku Ito; December 30th, 2005 at 09:16 PM. Reason: correction
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 08:05 PM   #9
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Usb

It'd be nice to know if USB works as well.

What exactly is the process of backing up to an iPod/drive? Is it something in the menu of VTR mode, or ? How do you command the camera to back up the contents of the current P2 card(s) to a drive?
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:21 PM   #10
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It has a special "PC" mode that you can put the camera in. When you specify that the camera should act as a 1394 host device, then it will control an external 1394 drive. The menu gives you the option to format the drive, copy slot 1, or copy slot 2, with or without verify. And also to view the stats on the drive as it currently exists.

You have to dedicate a drive to the the task of being your P2 offload device; you can't just use any drive. The camera must first format the drive, and that will remove all data and all partitions. So if you want to use an ipod, recognize that you will not be able to use your ipod as an ipod anymore, because the operating system and the programs and all the data will be formatted and eliminated.

If you back up your ipod on your PC and then later restore it, you could regain ipod functionality. But while using the ipod as an HVX offloading device, it must be dedicated solely to that purpose.

You can also do some offloading a lot cheaper if you use a USB On-The-Go drive; battery-powered USB2 enclosures with a host mode (one-press copy button) are available relatively inexpensively; I found one for $35 at mwave.com. It's not too fast though; even with a fast drive installed it still takes around 9 minutes to offload a 4gb card. The firewire disk is a much better option; we just have to find a battery-powered firewire drive. Right now that's the job the older ipod is serving, but it could be done much much better by a dedicated unit -- the ipod was never designed to do the massive amounts of data transfer that P2 offloading asks of it.
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 03:33 PM   #11
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On workflow for HVX200

I'm extremely eager to get a definitively proven, flexible, fast, and affordable workflow for this camera.

Is there any way of using a firestore/cineporter to record to and then making a copy to an external hard drive without a laptop?

What's the fastest the transfer will occur? And will the copied drive mount exactly as a P2 card?

I work as a freelance shooter for production companies and news stations. How do I go into the field with enough storage to shoot for a full day(4 1/2 hours lets say totaled up) and give my clients media for editing that day?

looks like top speed is 1 gig a minute of transfer speed... which is actually real time for the capture of the Highest quality HD formats with the HVX.

It seems like I would need at a minimum two 100gig smart hard drives that capture in lew of P2 cards and then at least a realtime(1gig/1min) transfer procedure to some sort of one button firewire or USB2 external hard drive that doesn't need a computer to transfer. The ipod is an interesting idea becasue of size but I'm intrigued that the posts are suggested that there are products out there that will accomplish all this for much cheaper and faster.

I have no idea of which slew of products will accomplish this and I'd love to pool our resources and come up with a list to do so.

Thanks!!
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