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Old February 4th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #1
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To buy or not to buy? What the best 24p cam? (EVS just called)

Got in after being out of town and EVS left a message - my HVX preorder is up in the next few days. My number is up soon and I'm still on the fence between H1, HD100 and HVX. I have no access to a dealer to see ANY of the cams, much less compare.

My issues:

(1) Rez at 24p

As best as I understand the results including Adam Wilt's, the HVX and H1 shooting 24f both only resolve 540 lines in 24p while the HD100 resolve 25% more TV lines. That sounds like a dramatic difference but there is little footage, none in full rez motion I've seen to see the impact on this. If so, this is big advantage for the HD100

(2) 4:2:0 vs 4:2:2

Again, on paper 4:2:2 should be visually better but all things are not equal. Again, not much footage to judge A/B testing of this.

(3) Latitude & Sensitivity

I've grown attached to my DVX100a sensitivity and latitude. I'm concerned that the HVX is a horizontal step or even a small step back with a loss of 1 stop of sensitivity. But none of the sub $10k cams seem to offer real progress over miniDV cams. Proves that CCD size is still more important that DSP or processing bit-depth.

(4) P2

Yes, it's a revolution, but my budget is tight and I have both long form and short form projects to shoot. I'm worried about always having to have a crew person devoted to dumping P2 cards on every shoot (and maybe a copy before I'm ready to erase the P2 card. 4-5 8 GB cards would be nice, but I just can't swing the $$$ for that many.

I guess hauling a laptop and drive (as I do now with my DVX) is the best option or cheapskates.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
Got in after being out of town and EVS left a message - my HVX preorder is up in the next few days. My number is up soon and I'm still on the fence between H1, HD100 and HVX. I have no access to a dealer to see ANY of the cams, much less compare.
Simplify your life... Let me have your place on the EVS list! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
As best as I understand the results including Adam Wilt's, the HVX and H1 shooting 24f both only resolve 540 lines in 24p while the HD100 resolve 25% more TV lines. That sounds like a dramatic difference but there is little footage, none in full rez motion I've seen to see the impact on this. If so, this is big advantage for the HD100
Actually, the resolving capability of the HVX is still to be determined. It seems that there are far too many inconsistencies in current tests and results. However, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that the HVX resolves fewer lines in 24p or other progressive modes. The CCD in the HVX is a progressive scanning sensor. The Canon can lose a little resolution in 24F mode when shooting fast motion because it is an interlaced scanning sensor and fields must be interpolated into frames within the camera. But the Canon still produces some fine results with 24F.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
Again, on paper 4:2:2 should be visually better but all things are not equal. Again, not much footage to judge A/B testing of this.
You're right... Not much out there to do A/B comparisons. :( Where I have seen DVCPROHD show its "superiority" vs. HDV is in fast motion. When it comes to comparisons between the XLH1 and the HVX200 for the purpose of chroma keying or other compositing tasks, you have to wonder which is better... The less compressed 1280x1080 or 960x720 DVCPROHD video of the HVX or the more compressed, but higher detail 1440x1080 feed from the XLH1. Do the extra 160 pixels of horizontal resolution of the XLH1 make up for its 4:2:0 color space in comparison to the HVX? Hmmm... I think a lot depends on what is being shot. In a studio environment, either camera can be captured uncompressed at 4:2:2. In this environment, I'd go with the XLH1... It has digital SDI right on the camera and that extra horizontal resolution with interchangeable lenses. The HVX200 has analog component output, which means your video goes from digital to analog and back to digital to get into your computer via the uncompressed output. Hmmmm...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
I've grown attached to my DVX100a sensitivity and latitude. I'm concerned that the HVX is a horizontal step or even a small step back with a loss of 1 stop of sensitivity. But none of the sub $10k cams seem to offer real progress over miniDV cams. Proves that CCD size is still more important that DSP or processing bit-depth.
It's about 1/2 to 1 full stop difference depending on conditions... But just accept it because you will have this with any of the new 1/3" High Def cameras in comparison to their SD predecessors. It's an issue of how CCDs work and the relative size of the sensor photosites (pixels). They're smaller, they capture less light, but there's a lot more of them for a higher resolution image. FWIW, if you're still primarily an SD workflow and don't need HD just yet, the HVX shoots beautiful DVCPRO50. IMO, it's every bit as good as what comes out of the 2/3" DVCPRO camcorders, just confined by the fixed lens and capabilities of the shorter focal length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
Yes, it's a revolution, but my budget is tight and I have both long form and short form projects to shoot. I'm worried about always having to have a crew person devoted to dumping P2 cards on every shoot (and maybe a copy before I'm ready to erase the P2 card. 4-5 8 GB cards would be nice, but I just can't swing the $$$ for that many.
Yep, this is a big issue... Probably the biggest. Run the numbers and think through possible workflow scenarios. To justify this camera, P2 will need to work for you. Or hold off purchasing until you can supplement it with a Firestore or Cineporter type device. The HVX200 or whatever comes next in this line of tapeless cameras won't work for everyone until 128GB P2 cards are commonplace and cost less than $1K. Right now, the HVX works for some, but not for others... It's a natural fit for shooting features where it's a no-brainer to swap cards and/or offload between takes. For ENG, it's nice too when combined with a P2 store or similar device. For documentary work or long-form/live event recording, the current P2 situation would be a nightmare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
I guess hauling a laptop and drive (as I do now with my DVX) is the best option or cheapskates.
Hardly an option for only us cheapskates... Until we see larger capacity P2 cards that can store 1 hour or more of 100Mbps HD, or at least a device like the FireStore, this hauling a laptop will be reality for many of us... There's just no other option. I don't think anyone can justify purchasing tons of P2 cards and P2 isn't supposed to work that way.

But seriously, I'll gladly take your place in line at EVS if you decide to wait. :)
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Old February 4th, 2006, 07:26 PM   #3
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Nice response Jeff.

It's refreshing to see some objective advice.

For many people, the Panny is the second coming sliced bread.

We have one on back order, but long form workflow presents issues for me. There's a post here reflecting a real world experience with it.

But I appreciate your comments.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 09:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
Simplify your life... Let me have your place on the EVS list! :)
I tried to get Rush to auction off my place on the list to raise funds for my current film, but no go.

Thanks for the reply. I'm leaning to passing though and seeing what NAB brings as far as NLE support, RED's price (do I have a shot or not), P2 prices plus a chance to see more footage and tests, especially 35mm blowup on all the cams.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
I tried to get Rush to auction off my place on the list to raise funds for my current film, but no go.
With so many people on the EVS list I think Rush will just let the HVX slide to the next person in line. Over on dvxuser, I've seen people reporting they're #220 and other such rediculous things! I'm at #102 and I thought that was bad...

Quote:
Thanks for the reply. I'm leaning to passing though and seeing what NAB brings as far as NLE support, RED's price (do I have a shot or not), P2 prices plus a chance to see more footage and tests, especially 35mm blowup on all the cams.
Don't get your hopes up waiting for RED. It's still a ways off... It will also be priced in the $180,000.00+ range. Price hasn't officially been announced, but there's been enough statements about competitive pricing with competing products (and what those products are) to establish that it's will be $175K to $225K for a basic RED setup. Camera, a decent lens or two, a fiber channel RAID unit and a couple hundred feet of optical cable. RED is also being designed and will be marketed as a camera you rent, not own. ...Unless you're George Lucas. Kina like the Panavision modified F950Us that Lucas used for Episode III. You can buy one through Panavison for about $130K for the camera body alone. :)
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:08 PM   #6
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Jeff, that's not true, Jim Janard himself said that the camera won't cost nearly as much.

You CAN make a 100K cam of RED if you want it too, but if you don't need all that, and want less (NO shooting at 4K) you should be able to buy it for much less.
For how much is still unknown and I agree it would be more then the HD(V) cameres at the discussion here, and you are right too that if you need one now, buy one now, because Jim said he hoped to have working models at the end of this year...
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
Jeff, that's not true, Jim Janard himself said that the camera won't cost nearly as much.
Jeff, you may be right, but as was just Mathieu pointed on Jim, including his most recent interview on HD for Indies, is pretty clear that a RED, FlashRED and single lens setup is to priced for those who are not "high budget professionals".

So unless Jim is misleading us, he appear to be aiming for a $20k basic setup. That's my guess. They may miss or it may not be a practical solution, but supposedly, pricing, models and all the details to be announced at NAB, which is not that far away.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:28 PM   #8
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I think it's safe to assume that RED ain't gonna be no $180,000. But it won't be $4,000 either.

For Stephen, have you considered that the camera's form factor and ergonomics are going to impact your shooting far greater than any subtle differences in the way they implement 24p? For example, if you weren't comfortable with the XL2, the XL H1 will not be any better (exact same size and shape; same front-heaviness; H1 is about a pound more than the XL2). Or another example, if you prefer the size and shape of the DVX100, the HVX200 is pretty much the same style, but bigger all around by a couple of inches in every direction. My experience has been that the form factor and ergonomics of a camera have much more to do with the quality of results that you get from it, than any minor variations in technical specifications. All of them do 24 frames per second, but if you choose the one that isn't comfortable for you to use, then you're just not going to like it and shoot less with it... not a good thing.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #9
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For Stephen, have you considered that the camera's form factor and ergonomics are going to impact your shooting far greater than any subtle differences in the way they implement 24p?
I actually completely agree - I've owned a Super 8mm, XL1 and a couple of DVXs as well as shot with variety of shoulder mount video cams as well as a 16mm.

The DVX form factor works well but I shoot often with DVRigPro set with the camera in front of me or on tripod. So I could compromise since the HD100 or H1 should work okay on the DV Rig, but I do like the more compact size of the DVX/HVX.

I think the issue is all the cams have critical issues for me. The HVX is primarily the revamping of my NLE system (I tried Raylight, but not sure that's workable) and dealing with P2 long-form workflow on a limited budget.

I'm still leaning towards the HVX but not sure I'm ready to order on Monday when my slot is up. I would like to see the landscape more clearly on NLE, 35mm film outs on all cams under controlled testing, RED, 1080 rez on the HVX, again especially for film out.

The HVX not only requires me to buy the cam and P2 setup, but also completely revamp my NLE and post process. I'm not sure I'm ready just yet to do that. I'm currently busy with a 1080p uncompressed (two thirds created in AE, one third composited from dual DVX images) and HD workflow is humbling, shall we say.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 01:00 PM   #10
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Good points all. If I were you though, I would not consider RED at this time. It's still about a year away, far too long to be waiting (shoot now -- make money -- buy RED later!). You could always go ahead with the HVX for now, and a month later sell it for what you paid for it. That's the impression I get anyway.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 12:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Good points all. If I were you though, I would not consider RED at this time. It's still about a year away, far too long to be waiting (shoot now -- make money -- buy RED later!). You could always go ahead with the HVX for now, and a month later sell it for what you paid for it. That's the impression I get anyway.
...I must have missed something somewhere about RED being in the $20K range for a basic setup. Cool. If they can sell it for that price, I'll take a look. And for now, no use considering it, like you say. :)
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Old February 6th, 2006, 01:30 AM   #12
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Hi Stephen, can I have your spot? : )
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