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Panasonic P2HD / DVCPRO HD Camcorders
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Old July 4th, 2007, 04:03 AM   #1
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(HPX500) P2 / DVCPRO HD vs HDV

Hi to everybody,

Like with the most event filmers I cant afford a whole bunch of P2 cards if IŽd purchase a P2 camcorder (like HPX500).

I am not sure if I would always need the full dvcproHD quality when doing "simple" events, HDV compression would be sufficient for these jobs as well.

What wonders me is that Panasonic implemented different formats (dvcpro50 AND dvcpro DV std) regarding SD shooting, but no HDV codec to use longer recording times at "lower" compression quality.
If there would be a 4:2:0 25mbit/s compression (HDV) 4 16Gig P2 cards would allow a HD recording of ~250 Minutes (same data rate as SD dvcproDV) - THAT would help me using the HPX for general shooting.

Probably this is a licensing thing, but after the HPX500 seems to have a very good head and delivers very vibrant pictures, I would love to see a "less hungry" HD coded for longer recordings...

AND if I need more quality - well , then I have to buy more P2 cards or FS100 or...

Any comments on that?

ULI
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Old July 4th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what you're referring to by "hungry" but HDV and DVCPRO are comletely different types of codecs.

HDV is what's called a "long-GOP" codec where there are no individual frames but instead frames are bundled together as a "group of pictures" (where the GOP term comes from). Sony's version of long-GOP is 15 frames, Canon and JVC use a shorter version between 10-13 frames. Long-GOP is more efficient at moving large chunks of data through an IT network and is how the networks send signals up to satellites for example, but is highly taxing in an editing system requiring up to 5 times more computing resources to edit which is why many complain about extra-ordinary long render times when editing in HDV.

A direct example of how "hungry" HDV is in editing: one of my clients had a 4-minute HDV segment with 7 layers of filters and effects; it took over 2 hours to render that sequence. We did a test and converted that same content into DVCPRO-HD re-applied the exact filters and effects in the same 4-minute sequence and it only took about 20 minutes to render on the same machine. On aquisition and playback HDV and DVCPRO are *fairly similar* in image quality with DVCPRO having superior color information (4:2:2) however it's in editing that HDV rears it's ugly head in requiring so much more horsepower from edit systems.

DVCPRO, HDCAM and a few other codecs are "independent frame" type or "i-frame" as it's commonly referred to. Each frame of video stands on it's own and is not directly tied to adjacent frames.

See www.adamwilt.com for a detailed explanation of the differences between codecs/formats.

Panasonic will not ever adopt any flavor of HDV since DVCPRO is the compression technology they have developed. Going forward AVC-Intra will surpass DVCPRO in image quality at similar bitrates.

Interestingly enough, Panasonic and Sony co-developed the next generation of HD compression codecs for the consumer market, AVCHD which is also a long-GOP type of codec but more efficient still than HDV. AVCHD however will not be implemented in the professional line of camcorders for Panny, only DVCPRO and AVC-Intra will be available.
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Old July 4th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #3
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I think this is the most succinct summary of HD codecs I've ever read. Thanks.
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Old July 4th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
AVCHD however will not be implemented in the professional line of camcorders for Panny, only DVCPRO and AVC-Intra will be available.
Technically the AVC-HD format is already in the professional line; the AG-HSC1U is from the broadcast division and uses AVC-HD. I expect that we'll see a lot more adoption of AVC-HD as soon as someone makes a camera worthy of the format.
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Old July 4th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #5
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Barry,

Have you got to see the AVCHD DVD cam by Canon? HR10 was it?
It's not professional, but it's probably better optics and processor than AG-HSC1U and also do 24fps. Just wondering if you did, how is your impression on it?

Uli, from my experiences from both cam, something like XHG1 could be handy for your shooting. Too bad HVX200 is not as good in dark environment and HPX500 would be little too large?

Last edited by Kaku Ito; July 4th, 2007 at 09:42 PM.
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Old July 4th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #6
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@Robert: thanks for the detailed explanation.

I guess you got me wrong: I appreciate 100% the dvcpro HD codec.

What I tried to explain was I´d love to see another less-memory-consuming HD codec as an alternative option - imagine dvcproHD (100mbit/s) as "HD HQ" and a (longgop mpg, whatever xy) lower bitrate compression for longer HD recordings.

At the moment I do a lot of 3-4 hrs event filming (for example company anniversaries) where I dont see a chance to copy the P2s.
On the other hand I dont want to spend thousands of dollars for lets say 16 P2 16GB card (that would sum up to 30.000 $ - P2 cards only).

With THESE events I (and probably some other users) could live with a lower datarate (= higher compression) - again said: AS AN OPTION.

Panasonic has implemented these thoughts in SD resolution, where you can choose the codec vs recording time.

Ok, these are MY thoughts only - but at the moment this is the only point that frightens me from purchasing - and I am not sure if I could rely on a FS100 only... (that´d mean 2hrs recording - still not enough rec time...)

ULi
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Old July 5th, 2007, 12:53 AM   #7
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No, I haven't seen the Canon; I've got an HV20 but I haven't seen the AVC-HD version.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 07:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Uli Mors View Post
IŽd love to see another less-memory-consuming HD codec as an alternative option
Hi Uli,

I hear you. But we will never see HDV from Panasonic, as they are not a member of the HDV consortium. However Panasonic is a member of the AVCHD consortium, so that option is much more likely to happen.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #9
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Yes - youŽre right...

hmpf... purchasing a HPX500 would mean to me:

a) record to fs100 (with all pros and cons)
b) how mount the fs100 "professionally" to the cam?
c) find a workflow to edit dvcproHD in Vegas (I am a VEGAS fan!)
d) or change to another NLE?
e) look for 4x Harddrive space...

uh man, that are a lot of thrills AT THE SAME TIME...
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Old July 5th, 2007, 11:40 AM   #10
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a) & b) You could use the FireStore, but why? Don't the European packages include the four 16GB cards? That'd give you more space than the FireStore anyway.

c) Get Raylight. P2 footage works *fantastic* with Vegas when using Raylight. It's perfect integration, true drag 'n' drop right to the timeline.

d) No need, Vegas works great with P2 and Raylight.

e) Yes, but it's not like that extra space isn't getting you something. You're getting 4:2:2 color sampling, frame-discrete compression, 1080 & 720, variable frame rates, absolute insurance from any type of motion artifacting, etc. But yes, it does take up more space. (and, hey, hard drives are getting really cheap; I saw a 500GB for $139...)
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Old July 5th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #11
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Hi Barry,

reading the manual I see (am I wrong) that 4 x 16GIG are ~64 Minutes DVCPRO HD... that seems less than the Firestore?

I have a lot of 3-4hrs shootings (not completely continuus) so I guess I cannot copy the data from the P2s to a harddrive while the event.

I am too afraid that I run out of memory and cant swap in time...

But anyway , I have to see a HPX under lowlight , I am really looking forward to a detailed review!

Thanks

ULi
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Old July 5th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Uli Mors View Post
I see... that 4 x 16GIG are ~64 Minutes DVCPRO HD... that seems less than the Firestore?
True if you're shooting in 1080i60 or 720p60.

However if you choose 720p30, you'll get 128 minutes on the cards, or 160 minutes on the cards if you're shooting 720p24. See my P2 Card Capacities chart at http://www.p2info.net/articles/misc/p2cardcaps.php.

Oops -- you're located in DE, so I should have used the terms i50 and p25, but you get the idea...
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Old July 5th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #13
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Uli: I echo what Kaku said above. Get a good HDV camera.. I made many documentaries (several were broadcast) in the last year and a half with an XL H1 and an A1 and was very impressed - although it's true that the render time is horrendous if you want to output to tape, it's not bad within the work environment - if you use FCP6 (so much is RT) and a card like a Black Magic DeckLink card (so you can use an external monitor)...

Since 90% of output these days is DVD anyway, the problem of going to tape only comes up occasionally... And the quality of 1080i from the Canons is remarkable (the files size is actually slightly smaller than Mini-DV)... Edit in HDV so you can always go back when HD DVD or Blue Ray is needed - and for now just crunch it in Compressor to make your DVD and it will look fantastic to all but those few people in the world that love to scan frozen images and pick out compression artifacts...

I'm using the HPX500 now for reasons that have to do with broadcast acceptance and film-out options, requested by a funder.. It sounds like for your needs, DVCPRP HD wouldn't offer many advantages...
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Old July 5th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Uli Mors View Post
reading the manual I see (am I wrong) that 4 x 16GIG are ~64 Minutes DVCPRO HD... that seems less than the Firestore?
Yep, sorry, brain freeze. The 32gb cards are due at the end of this year, and four of THOSE would give you more recording time than the FireStore. Sorry, got ahead of the schedule there...
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Old July 6th, 2007, 01:46 AM   #15
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Well, I do not only events (most last year) but also some corporate...

Anyway, the decision must not be made today, but I see the HPX (I want definitely a full sized shoulder cam again) is a serious choice.

Chris, I didnt think of shooting pN , thats a good thought!
Is it possible to mix different formats on a card (if there is some fast action to shoot simply switch to 50/60P?)?

Hey, please send me two of the AJ-P2C128H, asap ;-)

Uli
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