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Old March 2nd, 2006, 12:45 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois
this discussion is showing exactly what i was saying about the sad thing that happens to the HDV camera world.
You can take any CCD or CMOS of any resolution (after all any old CCD would fit), add a mumbo jumbo trick to magically multiply pixels, add a converter that will stretch to 1920x1080 and claim you have an HDV camera.
And then users will spend their time on forum to compare oranges and apples.
the good old time when a pixel was a pixel is gone....
Not exactly, Giroud. JVC gambled on the pixel for pixel CCD block that has two registers. Their implementation is 1280x720, so a pixel is still a pixel where ProHD is concerned. I do agree with your sentiment though, with interpolation any camera can be any resolution.

That aside, the math of Panasonics 1080p still baffles me.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 03:05 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
With pixel shift there is no way ever even with an analog signal that the luma pixels can be the same as the chroma pixels in the vertical direction. This is why I actually think it would have been better to just do an upscale of the 960x540 instead of using pixel shift. Yes the luma would have been a little bit softer than it is now but at least the chroma and luma would be a perfect match.
But is their matching perfectly a good thing? The physiology of the eye is such that it detects luminance resolution more acutely than chrominance, so Panasonics approach and pixel shifting could be said to more accurately suit the human eye. Same with 4:2:0 - halving of chrom res equally in both directions, if bandwidth is limited. For keying work etc higher chroma resolution is obviously desirable, but then surely 4:4:4 is what's needed? Why equalise their resolutions on one axis but not the other, as with 4:2:2? (At least if we assume progressive scan.)

Having therefore said I have no issue with the implementation, then is there anything to complain about? I earlier said "What nobody should do is quote and make a big deal over the specs that suit them, but downplay the ones that don't". A quote from Tosh Bilowski has been pointed out to me. "Back to DVCPRO HD, another advantage is the 4:2:2 color space versus 4:2:0 found on HDV. That means richer detail, better handling of color changes and better color rendering. This is huge, if you like color."

Strictly, there's nothing wrong there - he talks of "Back to DVCPRO HD....", not the HVX200 - but surely given the context most people will believe him to be referring to the HVX? And given what we know now about the chroma res of the front end, is this not somewhat misleading, a case of "make a big deal over the specs that suit them, but downplay the ones that don't"?
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 03:22 PM   #63
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that is the big problem when cheating with hardware.
You can claim any specs you want like "look ma, 1920x1080 at 4:2:2" when
you get a ccd that is a quarter of this resolution.
Do you think this will push camera maker to look for improvement, giving us ccd/cmos with more resolution ? No, now they can cut the corners, getting back the old CCD (after all a 720x540 should fit) and trying to imaginate any new tricks they can think to get an HD signal out of that.
Ok , you will say less pixel but bigger sensor, but what happens usually with sensors ? they shrink. 2/3 then 1/6 then 1/8 of inch because it cost less.
Tomorrow they will say, Mpeg2-HD is dead. Look ! we can fit the same resolution on mpeg4 or h264 on half bandwith.
We already get ridiculous product like the sanyo HD1.
3 years ago, JVC was able to produce a camera with 1280x720 pixels.
Today the Pana is just 960x540 and the sony is not very far with 960x1080 (for the FX1, but look what happens with the HC1, smaller sensor , less resolution, and the latest HC3, even smaller sensor and again less pixel)
Only Canon and JVC are serious guys with sensor counting over 1000 pixels wide.

On the other side, screen maker have started a race about who will get the pixel record.
see the new DELL 30" at 2500 pixels x1600.
or the new philips 50" at 1920x1080.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 05:42 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath
Strictly, there's nothing wrong there - he talks of "Back to DVCPRO HD....", not the HVX200 - but surely given the context most people will believe him to be referring to the HVX? And given what we know now about the chroma res of the front end, is this not somewhat misleading, a case of "make a big deal over the specs that suit them, but downplay the ones that don't"?
And, that's exactly why I started this long thread. Selective use of numbers that imply something and then use this implication to claim your camera is more advanced/better than another one.

This message then gets picked up by reviewers who do zero research and simply repeat back a company's PR. There is no better (or worse) example of that than the HVX200 "review" in Video Systems.

Moreover, relatively few folks can really be trusted to accurately see image quality. They read the marketing material long before the "see" the video. That's why marketing pumps up some numbers (1080 and 4:2:2) and attempts to hide others (960x540). Think of all the expensive audio cable that is sold because after readng the PR, and SPENDING THEIR MONEY, folks report how much better their new cables sound.

For example, I was looking at a set of speakers. Many claimed that when the replaced these speakers with another brand, the sound become much "clearer." So I looked at the response curve for these speakers and sure enough there was a huge peak from 4kHz to 10kHz. What these folks called clarity, I would call excessive brightness. But this is more than terminology difference. It relects the fact the younger generation has never heard unamplified music -- that has often been puched-up for more impact. Today many have never heard a live orchestra in a great concert hall. Thus, they have no experience with which to judge sound quality.

When it comes to HD it is safe to say that most who are buying these low-cost camcorders have zero experience with HD. They may not even have an HDTV at home. And, even if they do -- is it a good one? Has it been ISF calibrated? And, what sources do they have? And, how long have they been watching? A month? Several years? In fact, what are they using to make their judgements about "quality."
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 08:56 PM   #65
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I think 3 chip SD cameras should now be made with CCDs at 360x240 pixels. Imagine how cheap those would be. Lets all forget HD and start shooting our web and IPOD based movies with cameras that cost $45.95.

Or better yet Panasonic can make a consumer HD camera with 480x360 pixels to pixel shift to 960x720 DVCPROHD.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 09:24 PM   #66
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Concerning the 4:2:2 issue, I would like to add my 2 cents based on what I saw at a professional studio that's experimenting with the ntsc hvx:

720p looks better in color richness and detail than sony z1 footage (shown side to side).

1080P footage loses colour richness and detail, but is bigger and sharper. Image is quite similar in therms of color "feeling" to Z1. I'm not talking based on any charts or technical evaluation, but how the images felt when looking at the monitor.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 10:38 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
...better in color richness and detail than sony z1 footage (shown side to side).
Sergio,

You nailed the reason why (I think) people like Panasonic. With Panasonic, you pull the camera out of the box, turn it on, and "bang" the colors are rich and saturated right out of the box. Rez be damned as long as that color is rich! Panasonic does put together some nice colors. JVC trumped them with the HD-100's color matrix control though.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 11:17 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
Panasonic does put together some nice colors.
For the last 20 years Panasonic has designed camcorders with wonderful color. When I lived in Japan (late 180s) I read Japanese video magazines which had dozens of screenshots of video cameras.

I'm very familiar with the WHITE tile used in Japan. In fact, the Sony building in Ginza is built with. They are WHITE.

Photos from Sony's show bluish tiles. Panasonic photos show white tiles. I could always tell which were which.

Puzzle -- although I and others love the Panasonic colors. However, often when I compared Sony images to what I actually saw -- I would have to admit the Sony was in some ways more accurate.

So, I would have to agree that great color is a powerful motivator.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 11:47 PM   #69
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the Sony Z1U is visibly sharper

The Sony Z1u does create a sharper image than the HVX-200. I have a Z1u and a friend has an HVX-200. We did the side by side the sony was percievably sharper in 60i. Dialed both cameras to where the edge enhancement was not jumping out. I love them both, I was hoping for more resolution and a bit cleaner image out of the HVX but they are both great. I can't tell you how incredably angry I was when Dennis at sony told me on the phone that the 24p on the Z1u was going to be better than the cineframe 24 on the fx1, I was absolutly mislead, but it was all that was available at the time and I would have bought it anyway. So I use DVfilmmaker when it needs to look right, and shoot 25p mode and conform to 23.98 in cinema tools, when it needs to be done quickly. We will always find a way to tell our stories or get the job done.

IMHO, The big issue is, the HVX does not live up to the legacy of the diffrence the DVX created in the DV camera market. The HVX would have to be nearly twice the camera it is for all of us who fell in love with the DVX-100a,b to be happy with the HVX.

It is too bad it isn't a little cleaner and a little "sharper", that is all it would have taken for panasonic to have run off with the market again. In a year or so when the hvx-200a comes out it will have a better S/N ratio as did the DVX100a, and a few other desireable upgrades, not to mention P2 will be much closer to an affordable solution, which will make the workflow aswsome, especially when at that time, FCP and others will likely handle the MXF nativley.

Buy or rent what you want, but electronics always get better with time in our field.

End rant,
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 12:14 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
Barry,

This is just a curiosity but...

Why is the while balance in the HVX sample so much cooler than the others which are showing a more neutral response? Did they not balance white before doing the resolution test? I don't remember seeing this cool-white response from our HVX using the GMB color checker. I think.

You guys want to debate something that actually has real-world value? Figure out this color response thing in the resolution chart. Now THAT's something to ponder.
one of the lesser discussed effects of PS is that the resolution is dependent on the white balance or hue with minimal resolution when biased toward green and maximal resolution when biased toward magenta or at least some mix of red/blue
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Old March 7th, 2006, 04:26 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
All the talk of specs may be interesting for the technogeeks among us, but don't forget that the images are what count.
Images certainly count, but when you read the review at http://digitaljournalist.org/issue06...eracorner.html and count the sheer number of technical errors you realize why camera companies -- at least until the HVX200 -- published specifications.

The review is clear, honest, and very well written -- until he starts to describe HVX200 technology. He then falls pray to Panasonic's PR.

1) He claims the camera is "optimized for 720-line progressive scan video recorded to DVCPRO HD." TRUE -- perhaps more than he realized given its CCD resolution. Interestingly, he does conclude "If you find, like me, that 720p looks at least as good as 1080i ... ." One has to wonder WHY he didn't comment on what that says about the HVX200.

2) He notes clearly that "My shooting mode with this camera is to stick with 720/24PN recording mode going to the P2 cards." But, he claims the 720p optimized "HVX records at 100 mbits/second as opposed to 25 mbits/second for HDV." Sorry, 720p HDV is 19Mbps not 25Mbps.

But more importantly, at 720p24 the actual HDV compression has a data rate of 47Mbps while at 24PN the HVX records a data rate of 40Mbps. Therefore, HDV 24p is almost 25% less compressed than 24PN DVCPRO HD.

So his comments about the "satellite TV" effect are true ONLY of 1080i HDV and NEVER true of 720p24 or 720p30 HDV! If you're going to compare 720p DVCPRO HD with HDV -- at least compare it to 720p HDV not 1080i HDV.

3) He also claims "Another advantage of the HVX recording method is that it records 4-2-2 color rather than 4-2-0 color sampling as HDV does." True, the HVX200 recording uses a 4:2:2 format, but we know its effective vertical chroma resolution can only be 540 samples--which is far less than the 720 and 1080 samples required for true 4:2:2 color sampling.

4) Then he claims "the HVX operates natively in 1080p mode, meaning that it is capturing 1080 horizontal lines sequentially (not interlaced)." We now know this to be false and had Panasonic CLEARLY described the HVX200's operation every reviewer and customer would understand this to be false.

5) Lastly, he states "I also believe that the horizontal resolution is as good or better than any other 1/3" CCD camcorder and most 2/3" camcorder." Here is key to understanding why I don't trust the "it's how it looks that's important" theory and WHY I started this thread.

Clearly had Panasonic provided CCD specs and resolution tests no reviewer could make such a bizarre statement. Alternately, we have the explanation of why Panasonic tried so hard to hide the CCD specs.

The problem is that once the mind reads "1080 capture" it is very likely to "see" what it "knows" to be true. We've known the mind controls perception for many decades. That's why objective tests must be performed to evaluate any camera.

I'll bet we read the same technical BS in most every HVX200 "review." It's already appeared in the Video Systems "review."

++++++++++++

On the postive side, ALL his statements about HVX200 operation ring true of all my experiences with Panasonic cameras. They alone seem to get every operation detail PERFECT. The DVX100 was the perfect DV camcorder.

Which makes me wonder how great the HVX200 would have been if it offered both 720p and 1080i HDV with 1280x720 CCDs with H and V pixel shift. Rather than endless arguments on HOW the CCDs work and more endless arguments about HOW P2 can be used -- they would have one really hot HDV camcorder. And, contrary to the claims they chose P2 DVCPRO because, compared to HDV, it is well supported by NLEs -- they would have editing solutions from everyone on both PCs and Macs.

+++++++++++++

I strongly suspect the HVX200 will have a very short life. It looks put together from existing parts. The next camcorder will use 35Mbps to 70Mbps MPEG-2 and will have real HD CCDs. Now P2 will make economic sense! This was Panasonic's original public (NAB 2004) plan after HDV was announced. I think they then paniced and asked their engineers to very quickly design a camera which would use existing CCDs and a DVCPRO codec chip.

These parts could then be easily replaced and the rest retained. The magic DSP that NOW inputs 960x540 will later input 1280x720.

The reason for the switch and delay is to allow MPEG-2 to appear in the Varicam product line before prosumers get a "better" product. Will the new Varicam appear in 2006? It all depends on a low-power 60Hz MPEG-2 encoder that does 4:2:2 video. I also believe the Varicam will continue to have a DVCPRO HD codec. It's only data to P2!

My only question is will the prosumer get only 4:2:0? Given HDCAM HD only supports 4:2:0 -- I'll bet it will. Which means the the prosumer camcorder may continue to offer DVCPRO. However, if that gets too near a real Varicam, then Panasonic will find a face saving way to accept 4:2:0.
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; March 7th, 2006 at 05:49 AM.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 05:00 AM   #72
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The review is clear, honest, and very well written -- until he starts to describe HVX200 technology. He then falls pray to Panasonic's erroneous PR.
By and large I also think it was clear and honest, though indeed the technology bits seemed regurgitated.

Where I would disagree is with his comments is regarding the ergonomics of the camera - at least the ease with which it may be handheld, rather than the operational controls. He says "I am not a steady camera handler by nature. I use sticks as much as I can and I use a Fig Rig coupled with an attached monopod for most of my "handheld" shooting. This works for me. Although I find the HVX easier to hold and better balanced than the XL2, ........."

A Fig Rig with attached monopod would be totally impractical for much true handheld work. A better comparison would be the HD100 - in the case of that JVC seem to have DESIGNED the fundamental style to be easily used without any extra hardware. Why should it be necessary to attach lots of extra bits to a camera to facilitate handholding - which could get in the way in a confined space?

And when you admit you have to add all these extra bits and pieces for "handheld" shooting, does " it feels bigger than the other cameras I've used but also seems much better balanced" really add up?
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Old March 7th, 2006, 07:16 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
I strongly suspect the HVX200 will have a very short life. It looks put together from existing parts. The next camcorder will use 35Mbps to 70Mbps MPEG-2 and will have real HD CCDs. Now P2 will make economic sense! This was Panasonic's original public (NAB 2004) plan after HDV was announced. I think they then paniced and asked their engineers to very quickly design a camera which would use existing CCDs and a DVCPRO codec chip.

These parts could then be easily replaced and the rest retained. The magic DSP that NOW inputs 960x540 will later input 1280x720.

The reason for the switch and delay is to allow MPEG-2 to appear in the Varicam product line before prosumers get a "better" product. Will the new Varicam appear in 2006? It all depends on a low-power 60Hz MPEG-2 encoder that does 4:2:2 video. I also believe the Varicam will continue to have a DVCPRO HD codec. It's only data to P2!

My only question is will the prosumer get only 4:2:0? Given HDCAM HD only supports 4:2:0 -- I'll bet it will. Which means the the prosumer camcorder may continue to offer DVCPRO. However, if that gets too near a real Varicam, then Panasonic will find a face saving way to accept 4:2:0.
I find it hard to accept the line of reasoning that goes: 'they'll not do this for fear of hurting another part of their product line'. I hear this said about just about every camera manufacturer but truly I don't think they're that silly. After all we have companies like Grass Valley and Canon who'd be happy to steal market from Sony or Panasonic by just building a camera with xyz or whatever. One spurious argument is they don't have interchangeable glass because that'd hurt sales of something and then Canon build a HDV camera with interchangeable glass and everyone bitches about the cost of the glass, well duh, good glass cost good money and the mounts to hold it add quite a bit to that cost, even more so with HD lenses.

None of this is in defence of the HVX 200, just think it's crazy speak no matter what's being discussed.

I agree though, the camera looks like a camel. I think the Z1 caught Panasonic napping, lets face it, that camera is Sony's tribute to the DVX 100. Sony got hurt bad by the DVX 100 but they learned a lesson and built something even better. I'm not talking about image quality , I'm talking about user features and ergonomics.

Panasonic should have stuck to that formula, the one they started with the DVX 100, that Sony built on, and done better. Instead they went off at a tangent and left it upto Canon to do the job.

My other really big gripe (sorry nothing to do with CCD specs) is this thing about it being 'early days for P2', hogwash, P2 has been around for a long time, well before Sony entered the HDV game and years before Panny even dreamed of building the HVX 200.

I think Panasonic have made a very dumb move overall, saying stop worrying about the numbers and look at the image wouldn't have been necessary if they'd released this information upfront. Then people might be going, wow, what an amazing image from so few pixels. Now everyones looking for problems with the image simply because Panasonic acted like it was something to be ashamed of.

And they should have done more to hose down the hype, letting your customers think you're going to deliver the second coming means you've got to deliver the second coming. Promise a little and deliver a lot produces a very positive feeling, do it the other way around and you're in trouble no matter what you're selling.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 07:47 AM   #74
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I find it hard to accept the line of reasoning that goes: 'they'll not do this for fear of hurting another part of their product line'. I hear this said about just about every camera manufacturer but truly I don't think they're that silly.
I have always said exactly what you said! But, this particular reasoning came via Japan from someone I trust.

Maybe a better way to say it is that there may have been a concern expressed by the Varicam folks that a "too good" an HVX200 could lead to a repeat of what the VX1000 did to Sony Beta SP.

This concern, plus the unavailability of a 60Hz MPEG-2 encoder, could have combined to create the clever idea to design stage 1 now and use a powerful DSP as the magic that makes it works. At stage 2, you release the HD "DVX100" many were expecting.

In fairness to USA Pana folks -- they may not have known about the CCDs until way after they had been promoting the "DVX100 HD succesor." They may have been blindsided by Pana Japan.

My guts tell me Panasonic must answer Sony/JVC HDV and HDCAM HD. They are also facing a challange from HDCAM SR. Plus we know P2 camcorders are not selling well compared to HDCAM. Another year of Varicam and DVCPRO will make NAB 2006 not very exciting for Panasonic. They must do something that makes P2 fly -- either MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC, or JPEG2000. Something with a low data rate. They can't simply wait for P2 prices to drop. They are all way too smart to be passive for the next 2-3 years.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 07:56 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen
2) He notes clearly that "My shooting mode with this camera is to stick with 720/24PN recording mode going to the P2 cards." But, he claims the 720p optimized "HVX records at 100 mbits/second as opposed to 25 mbits/second for HDV." Sorry, 720p HDV is 19Mbps not 25Mbps..
Furthermore on this subject, DVCProHD shot at 720/24p is 40Mbps not 100Mbps.
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