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Old March 1st, 2006, 10:09 PM   #1
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More on HVX-200 Audio?

Been lots of talk on the video, which is great, but not much on the audio. Apparently you can't set tracks 3 & 4, or at least that's what I thought I gleamed from a previously post. The hope was for audio as good or hopefully better than the dvx100, but with 4 channels.
How close are we to this? What if you actually had a mixer (definitely a bummer, but for pro work a good idea anyway). WOuld this change anything? Thanks ahead of time for any insight!
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Old March 1st, 2006, 10:28 PM   #2
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HVX-200 audio so far

Hi:

I have been shooting with the HVX-200 a lot, I have done about 18 days of shooting on various different types of shoots, landscape plates, b-roll, sit down interviews, tabletop, etc.

The audio quality on the HVX-200 is better than the DVX-100A, it is very clear, uncompressed 48k16bit goodness and sounds like it with the exception that IMHO, the ALC circuit is too sensitive, make sure you have it off when plugging mics straight into the camera. I had it on for a while and I got some nasty pumping and rumble from HVAC. The ALC on the DVX is superior, it works better but as we all know, we really shouldn't be using ALC anyway, except under special circumstances. My sound guy likes to use it to better calibrate the metering from the HVX with the PSC M4 MKII he uses but for direct mic into the camera, turn it off. I did another interview after turning it off and it sounded perfect.

I was surprised when the Ch 3 and 4 audio showed up from the camera mic, all of the snide and smartass comments I was making while shooting, as we are all wont to do, showed up loud and clear for our editor to hear, pretty funny;-)

Other than as a notation device for the crew behind the camera, which does come in handy at times, I can't see a really useful way to use Ch 3 and 4 yet. Having a mixer would not change things, it only has external audio inputs for Ch 1 and 2.

All the best,

Dan
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Old March 1st, 2006, 11:09 PM   #3
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Gosh, Dan, that was fast! Thank you! I'm glad to hear you've had a good experinece with the audio so far. But, it seems like the hvx200 is basically an improved version of the dvx100, ie 2 good channels of audio. Though I like to think of myself as a writer and director, the only skill position I ever get paid for is production audio. So, audio is always high on my camera list and this news definitely bums me out. 4 channels of good audio would be a major step up from 2.
I don't understand. Is there any reason why Panasonic would set things up this way when they could have had a much better set up?
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 10:49 PM   #4
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I am not sure where they would have had real estate to locate another set of XLR connectors on the camera. Pretty much every square inch is used already in one way or another.

It would have been nice, but there are other cheaper, higher quality ways to record four channels of PCM 48Khz 16 bit audio than a $6,000.00 camcorder.

I am pretty content so far with the audio. Perhaps we can petition Panasonic to include two extra inputs, even via an outboard small XLR box for the HVX-200A, when it comes out?

Best,

Dan
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Old March 4th, 2006, 02:32 AM   #5
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Okay, only 2 XLR inputs-that's where I made my mistake. Sometimes I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Something that we often do though on one man audio setups into a pd150 or dvx100 is set one audio channel as best we can on one channel and leave the 2nd one on automatic. Sometimes we set the automatic to a manual lower or higher setting than the first channel, depending on the setup, but basically we just try to set 1 input 2 ways to try to cover our a**es just in case. Is it possible to do the same kind of thing with the HVX200? By this I mean to have say a lav and a boom using the 2 XLR inputs on the camera, but setting the audio so the boom would be set for 2 channels, and the lav for 2 channels. Is this kind of thing possible?
Thanks again!
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Old March 4th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #6
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No, not really.

There are four channels, and four inputs: xlr1, xlr2, onboard stereo mic left, and onboard stereo mic right.

No matter how you set the switches, that's pretty much what you're going to get. The one exception is that you can set channels 1 and 2 to both draw their signal from XLR 2. But other than that, it's xlr1 on one channel, xlr2 on a second channel, and then onboard stereo mic on the other two channels.

No auto-level control of any type on the HVX. There's a limiter (called ALC), but no auto-level control.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 05:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help, Barry! But, don't you consider that a waste? I think most of us agree that the onboard mics are useless. So, that makes it basically a 2 audio channel cam when it could have 4. Bummer.
I know most people aren't buying this cam for audio, but I think it's actually a really compelling reason to go with the HVX over an HDV cam. It still is good, but it could be knock out.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 09:06 PM   #8
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Could be, and someday soon will be. I know of at least one company that's planning a modification that will allow one to use four XLR's.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 02:07 AM   #9
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Really? That is great news! I was going to ask if that was something that might be a candidate for a Greg Winter-esque mod to make this possible, but I figured that was out of the question for a number of reasons-chief amongst them being voiding your warranty. But, if this works and isn't too expensive then I think it could really open up some possibilities.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 02:40 AM   #10
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I imagine it will probably void the warranty, but I would expect it to be a quite popular modification.

Ideally I'd like to see it developed such that the onboard mic could be unplugged and a two-XLR bay (with audio pots attached) could be snapped into its place, so if there was some reason you wanted/needed the onboard mic, you could always just put it back on.

Or, even better, maybe they could develop it as an additional XLR module that attaches to the curved mic support arm, leaving the onboard mic in place, and they could tie in internally and you could switch between onboard or external XLR module with a simple switch. That would be a very nice implementation...

As far as the warranty goes, I'm hoping to void my warranty as soon as possible -- I've been nagging Juan Pertierra at reel-stream to Andromedize the HVX. I think full uncompressed 1920x1080 at 4:2:2 with variable frame rates would be simply spectacular and well worth the price and the voided warranty! :D
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Old March 5th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
As far as the warranty goes, I'm hoping to void my warranty as soon as possible -- I've been nagging Juan Pertierra at reel-stream to Andromedize the HVX. I think full uncompressed 1920x1080 at 4:2:2 with variable frame rates would be simply spectacular and well worth the price and the voided warranty! :D
That does sound interesting. But since we're on the subject, would you still have to go USB2 out to a laptop? My problem with that is you go from a 1 man setup free of wires to a 2 man setup with wires. What would be great would be a way to Andromedize the cam but still use the Cineporter or something similar (preferably with removable hard drives!).
It was my understanding though that the HVX couldn't really be Andromedized b/c of the nature of the chips and pixel shifting. That is, b/c reel stream is basically pixel shifting uncompressed material and the HVX already does pixel shifting and doesn't output full 4:2:2 even from its analog outputs, that wouldn't be getting the full benefit as you do from the dvx100. I kind of came to the conclusion that the HVX was a dvx with slightly better chips and the reel stream concept already applied (except for with the dvc pro compression schemes applied).
But while we're on the subject, my dream of a fully hot-rodded hvx would have the audio mod, something like a reel stream mod (but w/o the need for a laptop), and possibly even a hack to remove the stock lens and add a way to use PL 35mm lenses. One can dream, right?
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