Trying to decide - looking for input.. at

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Panasonic P2HD / DVCPRO HD Camcorders
All AG-HPX and AJ-PX Series camcorders and P2 / P2HD hardware.

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Old January 23rd, 2006, 04:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Trying to decide - looking for input..

I'm a new user to this forum but have been following it with interest for a few months now.

I'm an amatuer film producer of outdoor DVDs and TV shows. I have produced and sold my own DVD start to finish and I have filmed several segments for TV shows.

To date, I have been using a Canon GL2, and a Sony VX2100 cam. They have worked OK, but I've had problems in cold weather with drop-outs.

I am having trouble deciding on my next camera. I have it narrowed down to the HVX200, FX1, or the DVX100b.

I like progressive scan cameras better than interlaced. I also like the film look.

Given that, the DVX100b should be a slam dunk. But, I often film in brutal conditions. For instance, I have an arctic expedition planned where temps will get down to -40 to +10. So the tapeless solution offered by the HVX200 is very appealing to me. Unfortunately, I am on a limited budget and I also need to do all of my editing on a laptop in the field. In addition to that, I am sometimes limited to what I can fit into a backpack. That pretty much rules out DVCPROHD and P2 cards.

My question is, can I still use my laptop using the P2 cards shooting SD on the HVX200? And will my Premiere PRO work with that camera when using SD?

I also like the Sony FX1 as I've had far less dropout problems with my VX than I have with my GL1. I also like the HDV format at first blush since it appears to be a workable solution for what I use it for. But the lack of progressive scan is a downside for me. I am considering it as an interim camera since the price and media is very reasonable - until the PC support and P2 card pricing comes down.

Any info would be appreciated.

Pat Lefemine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 24th, 2006, 01:00 PM   #2
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If dropout is an issue you could also consider using a Firestore or similar Hard drive device with a HDV camcorder. P2 may be the way to go, but you will also need some form of long term storage, maybe firewire drives so you end up having to take a lot more kit on location.
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser My XDCAM site and blog.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 09:49 PM   #3
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Hi Pat,

One thing I've learned about any film or video production is that it's just like my initial career path of shooting stills: Equipment choices are determined by your final output - it's a reverse process.

For example: Where do the majority of your projects end up? Broadcast, x-fer'd to film or DVD? What will the majority of your viewers be seeing your content on, on a cinematic widescreen, HDTV (16:9) widescreen or standard 4:3 SD television (which are still in 90% of all US households).

If you're outputting to DVD chances are most of your viewers are in the 90% bracket, so using any 16:9 camera would mean either letterboxing the content or having it down-rezzed to the 4:3 aspect - which is never pretty. In that case, the DVX-100B would be king since it is arguably the best 4:3 progressive DV camera out there - period. Here's a webpage with a 3 cameara shootout that specifically deals with this scenario - and others you're considering:

I've just given you one example of many possibilities, but only you know what is going to fit your specific needs the best. I could write several pages in this response, but trust me, read that article (more than once, it's long) and you'll come away with some solid and timely advice.

One thing I can say, is that your arctic trip is going to require very specialized camera enclosures/warmers to keep the body at it's optimal operating temp, no matter which body/format you choose.

It's worth noting that in that same scenario, the producers/crew of the film, "March of the Penguins" specifically chose to shoot 16mm film because the film cameras were less sensitive to temperature changes than the digital bodies and the film itself doesn't care about being cold (not frozen, of course). In fact, the cold temps actually helped in preserving the exposed film (it's always good to process film as soon as possible after exposure so the colors don't shift on you). I wish I could remember which webpage I read that on, it was a great article.

Best wishes,
Robert Lane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 24th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #4
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But, to answer your question.... yes, you can shoot SD to P2. I can't answer about premiere, but I see no reason why it wouldn't be possible to use the footage there.... it would be, in that case, DV...
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Old January 25th, 2006, 01:24 AM   #5
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You can record DV (16:9 or 4:3) or DVCPRO or DVCPRO50 to the P2 cards. Those are all SD formats.

As to how to get them to work with Premiere Pro -- well... you can, and you can't, but hopefully you will.

The problem is that Premiere Pro currently has no support for the cards. So until someone comes along with a file conversion program that converts MXF files (on the cards) to DV (or DVCPRO50) AVI files (on the hard disk), you can't use the cards with Premiere Pro. (unless shooting HD, in which case you could use RayLight).

So -- what you can do is shoot DV to the cards, and then Premiere could capture the footage over firewire in a tape-like workflow. Seems silly to capture footage to disk, when it's already on disk/P2, but hey, it would work.

Doesn't help with DVCPRO50 though, as Premiere Pro doesn't have a DVCPRO50 capture application (does it?) and RayLight doesn't support DVCPRO50 (I think). So I don't know how you could take advantage of DV50 with Premiere Pro at the current time. When a file converter utility comes out, you could use that in conjunction with the Matrox DV50 codec and could use DV50 in Premiere Pro at that time.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 06:05 AM   #6
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I have been trying to choose between the same cameras.

But I've finally decided to wait another year before getting into HDV. By then, hopefully, there will be more models with better (larger) solid state memory systems.

So I'm going with the HDV100b. Lower cost, smaller and less conspicuous, wider angle lens than most, film-like image, and lead-free manufacturing!

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