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Old January 2nd, 2006, 02:14 AM   #1
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Who dropped the ball???

This is somewhat of a long-winded rant, but I'd like to see what other PC users have to say on the matter. After taking a good look at all the current options, all I can say is "Wo dropped the ball???"

...That's the question I have regarding PC support of the HVX200. I'm seriously confused and a little frustrated too. I've been a bit scarce around here for the past couple days since Kaku made the raw MXF archive available (thanks, Kaku!!!). Anyway, I've worked with it on my systems and have taken it to a local vendor who has all the current Avid, Canopus and other tools available. Kudos to these local guys working with me on a holiday weekend too. All I can say is that current PC support is a flat out joke.

Seriously, what (if any) PC based solution is available to fully support the HVX200 and/or Varicam right now????

Edius Broadcast (or Edius HD, NX w/HD, etc..) don't support all the available frame rates with 720p, only 24, 30 & 60 fps. 1080 is only supported as interlace and at 59.94, 60i or 50i. WTF? So much for their "complete" support. If Edius can support the Varicam (as they claim), then it's a mystery as to how it works... We couldn't get Edius to transition to any arbitrary rates other than the ones I listed and no options for pull down from 1080i for any of the footage acquired online (and converted to other formats on a Mac first so we could work with it on a PC). While I realise the Varicam is only 720p and DVCPROHD @ 1080 doesn't support 24p, it must be implemented the same way 24p was done in DV for the DVX. So I can understand a lack of support from these packages in this regard. However, Varicam has been out for a while and supports variable frame rates... What software supports this feature?

Avid Xpress Pro is even worse. Sure, it's a much more flexible (in terms of current features) software, but I think Edius is a more stable and more efficeint program. Edius' performance and ability to mix SD and HD of different formats on the timeline is great. Xpress would sometimes let us use the Mac-created QT files, but it would sometimes give us a white screen or crash out to the desktop on playback. (same results on 2 systems). Either way, performance was abysmal. Frame rate support was just as bad as with Edius. Moving up to a MC Adrenaline system, we could load the raw MXF data fine (Xpress didn't want to pull it in, kept thinking it was XDCAM). We could also go to 1080p or higher resolutions and create the necessary pull-down to extract 24p from the QT files and convert to QNxHD. Performance with QNxHD was much better, but still not as good as the native DVCPROHD performance in Edius.

So, as a PC user considering his options, here's what I come up with....

Going to Adrenaline isn't going to happen... Too expensive. The NLE setup would be nearly $40K plus monitor(s) and some other things.

Xpress Pro HD isn't going to happen unless Avid fixes the MXF support and adds support for all the proper frame rates. They need to seriously study the performance issues. Their DVCPROHD performance on Adrenaline is no better (same codec, just more options within the NLE software). Also no way to monitor HD from within XPress... We can get a crappy down-res'd version to output through Mojo in SD or we can dump SD out of the secondary monitor connector (NTSC/PAL or VGA or DVI) on the system, but this is pretty worthless.

Edius... May be a cheap interim solution if I think I can live with 720p and 1080i for a while and no special frame rates. But I'm not willing to do that... The frame rate options are one of my top reasons for ordering an HVX. 1080p isn't available in Edius yet. It's great for quick cuts and simple stuff... However, for anything with multiple blends or masking operations complex transitions, etc.. Edius just isn't mature enough yet. It also lacks the industry support that Avid and Vegas have from third-party tools. The NX w/HD or Edius HD package includes hardware with HD I/O options and monitoring of HD is a reality here. Edius Broadcast has an MSRP of $999 so that isn't bad, but it just doesn't do everything I want or need.

OK, now we consider the unthinkable... Making the "switch"... Crossing over to the <cough> Mac world. I don't like the MacOS... It is soooo restrictive compared to what can be done on a PC in a lot of underlying technical ways. I currently own a dual CPU G4 and it serves as a system for general Photoshop/Illustrator work and some desktop publishing tasks... I don't own FCP or any other Apple video software. I wouldn't load FCP and try to edit on this thing... Not really worth it to me. But as of right now, it seems my best bet is to buy a G5 Quad with Final Cut Studio and Shake, probably throw in a Kona card too. ...Just move all my editing and DVD authoring, etc... over to Mac.

There are other solutions such as converting the MXF to a usable format with DV Film Maker, but I'm not having much luck with that either and Vegas (what I'm using now) doesn't support all the resolutions right and there's just a lot more time and effort involved, which really negates any benefits that are supposed to be there with this tapeless workflow.

As of right now, I'll wait until my HVX200 is ready to ship (when EVS gives me the call) and then I'll jump on a new edit solution. If I were to buy tomorrow, I'd go with the Mac option... ;-(

So what do all you other PC guys think about this?
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Last edited by Jeff Kilgroe; January 2nd, 2006 at 02:44 AM.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 02:23 AM   #2
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Hmmm....

My title probably wasn't the best... It should be something more like "Who didn't drop the ball? Anyone?". It's not like it wasn't obvious that people were going to want this camera and many would want to use it with a PC editing solution. Is obtaining licensing and info for DVCPRO that big of a deal? Or did these various PC NLE companies just not show any interest (like Sony/Vegas)?

It's late, I'm going to bed... I'm frustrated, but it's nothing that $7K on a new Mac/FCPS/AJA setup won't cure. I'll throw a 30" display on there too, but I won't include that in the budget as an extra since I was already planning to order one of the new Dell ones next week anyway.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 02:41 AM   #3
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*Holding my Balls* (hoping not to drop them)

It's a CONSIPIRACY JEFF!
It's a New World Order to get us to use their Weapons of Mass Destruction ---> APPLE. *smile*

They want us to switch to MACS and be forced to use FINAL CUT PRO.

(not a bad idea when you think about it)

By January 2007 all this should be worked out. Until then I'll shoot some gorgeous movies with Canon XL-H1 cameras I suppose.
(unless Vegas does something colossal!)

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Old January 2nd, 2006, 02:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Rawls
It's a CONSIPIRACY JEFF!
It's a New World Order to get us to use their Weapons of Mass Destruction ---> APPLE. *smile*

They want us to switch to MACS and be forced to use FINAL CUT PRO.
Joking or not, I think you're right. ;)

Quote:
(not a bad idea when you think about it)

By January 2007 all this should be worked out. Until then I'll shoot some gorgeous movies with Canon XL-H1 cameras I suppose.
(unless Vegas does something colossal!)
Yeah, the Mac option is looking somewhat appealing.... Although, that XLH1 is looking a lot better too. The HVX200 is no longer the more cost effective solution (for us PC guys, anyway) now that all the editing issues are out in the open. I don't mind coughing up the cash for the Mac solution... I'm just frustrated that it looks like I may have to. Ironically, the cheaper interim solution may be to go with the XLH1 until the DVCPROHD on PC issues are sorted out. January '07 may not be that unrealistic given the current state of things....

I guess it's time to go demo the XLH1 and see if it will do what I want. Heh.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 03:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
I guess it's time to go demo the XLH1 and see if it will do what I want. Heh.
It wont!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
frame rate options are one of my top reasons for ordering an HVX.
and that's why!
So you may be better off getting the HVX-200. For me, I can do decent slow-motion at 30p or 60i.
____________________________________________

You asked "Seriously, what (if any) PC based solution is available to fully support the HVX200 and/or Varicam right now????....... Varicam has been out for a while and supports variable frame rates... What software supports this feature?

But thats the whole point my furry friend. There never really has been any....ever! People who shoot with that camera either...
1. uses MAC & Final Cut Pro (and even it has limitations regarding DVCPRO-HD) or
2. they cut using a downconverted DV proxy and finishes in HDCAM never going back to DVCPRO-HD.
3. or they cut in UNCOMPRESSED and finishes in HDCAM never going back to DVCPRO-HD.

There you have it.

Allot of people don't understand this. It's like the blind leading the blind right now in prosumer HD land, because lots of people will do whatever Panasonic tells them following them like a mesiah because of the highly successful DVX100a. No education or investigation on their own. And will club you over the head if you suggest HDV as an alternative.

Ofcourse, then we have smart people like you on the flipside. *smile*

See, when you have VARICAM MONEY....you usually have UNCOMPRESSED EDITING MONEY as well. So PC support of DVCPRO-HD was never really an issue or a demand. However, mark my words...that's soon to change! But then again, we'll soon be living on Mars.

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Old January 2nd, 2006, 03:23 AM   #6
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Shannon, you truely are one of a kind. I love your take on things, rants and all. Keep fighting the good fight.

Jipsi K.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 05:28 AM   #7
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Hi guys,

If you want to use the Variable frame rates from the HVX200 in the PC domain, shoot in the Native frame rates modes and then import it into your NLE. There are no frames to extract, only the native frames exist and thus all of the systems that support DVCPRO HD on the PC side support the variable frame rates.

I would say that you do want to pay close attention to the time base of your variable frame rate so that when you pop it into the timeline, you have the expected results.

Best regards,

Jan
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 07:03 AM   #8
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Yes it's frustrating.

My guess is that in 6 months all these editors will support DVCPROHD and P2 in some form. Im in the UK, so dont get the HVX until March. Maybe by then we will have had a few announcements. If PPRO do not offer support for this in version 2, then I will probably buy a mac too.

What's really frustrating is that there no way for us PC users to view these files on a basic PC. Im told that Avid have a codec, but you have to have the editor installed to view them. Surely there is a basic DVCPROHD codec out there that could play within meida player. Who's responsible for this? Panasonic? Microsoft?

I can understand that Panasonic need to work with someone like Adobe or Sony to implement support for an NLE - but surely its in Panasonic's interest to get a standalone viewer out there. No-one else is going to write that for them.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:00 AM   #9
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I was a little surprised that Panasonic didn't release some very basic software with the HVX. I seem to recall that JVC at least offered some extremely simple capture and edit software when the HD1/10 came out since it was a new format and there wasn't good NLE support for it at the time.

Now I know Panasonic is probably rather protective of the DVCPRO codecs, but I think the time to keep that locked up may be past. When DVCPROHD was limited to a $65,000 camera this wasn't a big deal, but if they're going to go toe to toe with 5-9K HDV cameras they'd probably benefit from opening this thing up. And if the PC user base can't work with the HVX, they'll probably turn to HDV before they spring for a new Mac and Final Cut. This is a $6,000 camcorder and the market is just going to be WAY different than Varicam. It would be great to have a freely available codec that could be ingested by any NLE. You know, I'm not a total tech head when it comes to codecs and the underlying software technology, so maybe that's just not possible. But I do remember first getting started with video on classic pentiums and MJPEG compression boards and if you had the correct MJPEG codec you could pull your video into Premiere or whatever and begin editing. I must be missing something, sounds too simple now.

Anyway, I'm certain there will be solutions forthcoming. I'm pretty positive that Adobe will want to support this and its just about time for a new version. In the meantime I've tried using Avid 5.2.1 and I must say, I'm not impressed (flame suit on, nothing personal to the Avid guys).

Oh well, I suppose these are growing pains and part of early adopter woes. Still can't help thinking that this would be a non issue with a simple capture program and a codec pack though. Perhaps someone more technical than I can explain why that wouldn't work. Or has Panasonic mentioned anything about distributing the DVCPROHD codec?
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:16 AM   #10
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Thanks Jeff !

You're "preaching to the choir" man!

I'm using AVID 5.2.1 now (PC) and I'm not impressed with it's DVCPRO support, or should I say NO support.

The only files I have got to play so far are the 720P raw files.

Not being able to preview HD is also one heck of a disapointment.

This is REALLY making me nervous!
I don't understand WHY Panasonic doesn't offer at least a codec that will work globally with programs such as Vegas and PP?

You would also think they would at least include simple software to view their files on the PC?

Steve
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:33 AM   #11
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"OK, now we consider the unthinkable... Making the "switch"... Crossing over to the <cough> Mac world. I don't like the MacOS... It is soooo restrictive compared to what can be done on a PC in a lot of underlying technical ways. "

I used to make ignorant statements like that when I was diehard PC user but now that I have switched to Mac, I realized just how bad Windows is. I really got a taste of that again yesterday fixing some software issues with a PC. Wow are you folks in the dark! Try something before you condemn it. You might just be surprised. I know it changed my productivity 100 fold.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:33 AM   #12
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It also strikes me as odd that even if you buy a Blackmagic video editing card - you can only edit in DVCPROHD on a mac. They dont support it for the PC. I dont know what the deal is but I hope someone starts to make some radical changes.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:36 AM   #13
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Many moons ago I was a Premiere user. Then Avid. Later made the switch to Media 100. Now I'm on FCP.

My point? Use what works. FCP is not perfect. Feature-this, or feature-that, one program or another will be better. But as a complete system, as a complete ecosystem, the Mac/FCP combo is overall the most integrated and productive.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:42 AM   #14
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Look, this is just a natural consequence of the release timings. No NLE maker is going to integrate code into their system until the cameras features are codefied (that is, until the final production version is released). The same thing has happened with every new camera: The DXV100's 24p mode took months to support in most NLE's, and so did the every version of HDV. The only reason Apple is ahead of the game is that they jumped on Varicam and DVCProHD over firewire 2 years ago. It would be nice to think that as soon as a new format is released, NLEs would have a simple patch available by the time the camera ships, but recent history tells us that's just not the way it happens. It takes a lot of time and effort to integrate support for a "new" format into an NLE, and the manufacturers need the camera in hand to do extensive beta testing. Or, in this case, at least a bevy of MXF files from the finished camera to work with. Scratch that, because they'll all want to advertise live firewire capture and firewire transfer from P2, so they will need the camera.

Don't worry about it too much, though. With the huge buzz over this camera, rest assured that every major NLE maker is working hard to support it. Also, the release of new feature sets for NLEs tend to be grouped around NAB. Either they'll have it ready to ship by April, or they will announce support with a working beta version to demonstrate and announce it as a free download later in 2006. My gut instinct is that Adobe and Sony will have working solutions by NAB, with Avid, Edius and others following in 2006. No one can simply afford not to support this camera. BTW, the same goes for the JVC, to a lesser extent.

Nobody's dropping the ball, it's just rolling glacially slowly, as ever.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:52 AM   #15
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As far as I know from observing the development of how Apple implemented the DVCPRO HD, was long way to come. With FCP5, it was already implemented with software based codecs and since Apple does not have to sell any extra hardware, they always spent more time for developing the software support for DVCPRO HD, HDV. They had even some problems to implement mpeg based codecs like HDV in the beginning, but over all sucess of the company must have attracted many geniuses to work at Apple.

Apple concentrated on native power based software, and third party like AJA and Blackmagic did their work in using the software codec to implement with the extra hardware they make, not needing to really work so hard (not saying that they don't work hard) on creating something independantly. That is the beauty of Apple, but since it is freeform, freestyle, whatever you call it, it is hard to understand what the whole environment can do.

My company is enjoying the success fo furnishing the whole system based on Macintosh with FCP, and hardware like AJA Kona series with Huge raid system, Xsan system, providing certain level of performance and promissing the customer in what degree the system we provide can work, then customers can feel comfortable purchasing the system.

One of the reasons why I purchased HVX200 is that we knew HVX200 was giong to work with system we sell and use for sure. Apple's been stepping forward to implement such environment from long time ago, people laughed at them at NAB while back when Apple said they are doing everything with FCP and CPU, but we knew it was going to be true because we were already experiencing the paradime shift on CPU based audio recording environment. While Apple was not only making the CPU fast, software to do the functions, they were making the whole computer work faster, puttting something like altivec work for media creation. People who use Windows might not realize all of these series of development by Apple, but that is the reason why Apple useres believe Apple. My company sells WindowsXP based system, too, but simply comparing the weight on setting up, supporting the customers, flexibility of the system, we prefer selling macs to the customers.

You can point out some codec verity and other stuff, but you can see how easily I can come up with the clips for the new cams every time (gotta thank Frederic Haubrich for HDV tho), it is backed up on the Macintosh system I've been using. And I'm not even displaying power in the other side of my business at all, the audio and music side, is even more complete and nothing to pick on. I'm not trying to convince anyone or talking bad about Windows based systems, but these are the reason why i prefer Apple based system.
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