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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 11th, 2008, 12:14 PM   #1
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AG-HMC150 for weddings?

Not a Panasonic user but this thing is due to hit the market next month. 24p, XLR, uses SDHC memory cards for tapeless workflow... somebody read the specs and help me find something wrong with it for weddings (other than AVCHD which I don't like)

http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp...odel=AG-HMC150

1/3" chips ought to put it at least in the ballpark with the FX1 with regard to low-light.

What's surprising is the expected cost of it when first announced was about $6k. B&H has it ready to go for $3500 in September:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...AVCHD_24P.html

This tapeless opportunity is in reach for people like me who are dumping their SD gear but don't want to pay $15-20k for a 3 camera replacement suite. The cost of cameras aside, a big stumbling block with tapeless workflow has been the price of those freaking P2 cards. SDHC brings this closer to "reasonable". Of course you're not gaining any time savings if you need to transcode the AVCHD footage to something your NLE can handle "fluidly" due to the enormous compression of this format.

Still, it's tempting to "wait and see".
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Old August 12th, 2008, 03:02 AM   #2
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1/3" chips ought to put it at least in the ballpark with the FX1 with regard to low-light.
By all accounts it's going to be considerably better than the FX1, with similar performance to the EX1. Also it's got CCDs rather than CMOS chips so no rolling shutter. I'm keeping a very close eye on this camera!
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Old August 12th, 2008, 03:31 AM   #3
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somebody read the specs and help me find something wrong with it for weddings (other than AVCHD which I don't like)
Any camera in it's class will do just fine for weddings, why would it not? The only thing you need to worry about now is it's format which needs a really up to date pc or requires converting to another format but then you loose one major benefit tapeless workflow has.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 10:11 AM   #4
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The only thing you need to worry about now is it's format which needs a really up to date pc or requires converting to another format but then you loose one major benefit tapeless workflow has..
Yeah, I know - that's why I mentioned it. Not too keen on this but if you want to avoid pricey P2 cards...

AVCHD has been around awhile and is supposedly a consumer format that is trying to get legs in the pro market. A few NLE's support it but native editing is sluggish because of the high compression levels. Never tried myself - I'm hoping to find some clips to see how it does using Vegas on a 6600 quad.

Transcoding to HD is an option but I can't find any info on how long these transcoders take to convert say, 1 minute of footage. Regardless, I tend to keep my cams a very long time - maybe NLE's will catch up to this format eventually but I tend to think hardware will always be the answer. And I can't picture doing an SDE if one needs to jump through these hoops to get one done in 2 hours.

I can't help but wonder why Panasonic is introducing AVCHD into a pro rig. Consumer palmcorders are one thing but it'll surely flop in the prosumer arena if editing this crap is still as troublesome as they say it is 1 year from now.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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I can't help but wonder why Panasonic is introducing AVCHD into a pro rig. Consumer palmcorders are one thing but it'll surely flop in the prosumer arena if editing this crap is still as troublesome as they say it is 1 year from now.
Might be that this codec can still grow and outperform mpeg2 in terms of image quality? I bought a xh-a1 some weeks ago and at first wanted to wait for the AG-HMC150 but canon was having this cashback action and the amount returned was considerable. Reason why I preferred the pana was because I have a dvx100b as well and love it in terms of operating it.
The canon on the other hand is more difficult to master and has some weird limitations in regard to the info it shows in the viewfinder. But reg image quality it's great and it's format gives no problems on my quad pc with premiere cs3, almost like editing plain dv.

I never liked to jump on new technology because it's safer to just wait until it matures and all hard- and software has adapted, in the meantime for me it's better to work with prooven technology. We still need to wait and see what the AG-HMC150 is all about, I gladly let this testing period over to others and jump in when all problems are solved. :)
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Old August 12th, 2008, 11:41 AM   #6
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Might be that this codec can still grow and outperform mpeg2 in terms of image quality?
At 21mbps it should. Not the 100mbps that AVCintra yeilds but I do weddings - not broadcast productions. :)

But again, if one has to transcode this stuff to HD just to get it to work in their NLE I'm not sure what's lost in the process - has to be some trade off you'd think.


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The canon on the other hand is more difficult to master and has some weird limitations in regard to the info it shows in the viewfinder. But reg image quality it's great and it's format gives no problems on my quad pc with premiere cs3, almost like editing plain dv.
I'm actually considering the A1. A very satisfied user base but the intricate manual control needed for this thing is a big concern. No so much for me, but the 2nd shooters I use from time to time who don't have the time or experience to adapt.

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I never liked to jump on new technology because it's safer to just wait until it matures and all hard- and software has adapted
I'm always at least 2 generations behind new things. I'll be unloading my SD gear but need to be ready to go with 3 different cams by March so I've got "some" time but not a lot. I figure this thing might get enough buzz so there should be plenty of early adopters. The low light performance should be interesting. Of course most of the sample footage we'll see will be outdoors in full sunlight. :)

I hadn't even considered tapeless cams until I saw this HMC-150 and it's roughly the same price as the A1. The AVCHD codec aside... no motors to deal with, no clogged heads, no rewind/fast forward, no dropouts, no "delayed" start like the FX1... this is really appealing and given the media it uses, puts it within reach.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #7
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I hadn't even considered tapeless cams until I saw this HMC-150 and it's roughly the same price as the A1. The AVCHD codec aside... no motors to deal with, no clogged heads, no rewind/fast forward, no dropouts, no "delayed" start like the FX1... this is really appealing and given the media it uses, puts it within reach.
With my dv cams I also had dropouts on tapes but they are hardly a problem, with long gop hd on the other hand...
I'm considering a firestore or something similar to bypass the tapeproblem, I have read so much about which type of tape to buy to eliminate any dropouts but their are even more opinions on it. Some report no problem, other have several dropouts, one swears by pana tapes, the other says they switched to Sony because of the dropouts. Actually buying an external recording disk would give me a bit more peace of mind when shooting important stuff.

Last edited by Noa Put; August 12th, 2008 at 03:31 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old August 12th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #8
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By all accounts it's going to be considerably better than the FX1, with similar performance to the EX1.
Ummm, how is a 1/3" chip camera with smaller glass going to be similar to the EX1?
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Old August 12th, 2008, 04:02 PM   #9
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Ummm, how is a 1/3" chip camera with smaller glass going to be similar to the EX1?
Use bigger lights. :)

Yeah, I certainly have no false expectations from 1/3" chips and I drool over the half-inchers in the EX1 which is really what a dark reception needs. Way out of my price range though, especially for 2 or 3 of them on top of the media costs.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 04:10 PM   #10
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I'm considering a firestore or something similar to bypass the tapeproblem,
But now you're getting into a high dollar solution. I suppose if what I shot was "mission critical" I'd consider this but they're only weddings. Of course my solution to drop outs is having more cameras to pick a replacement scene from. :)

No HD for me yet but I'm prepared for the rolling shutter/dropout anomalies I've read about. If I do get tape based cameras I certainly won't be using the pricey HDV tapes though... I've heard just as many complaints about these.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #11
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I've been keeping a close eye in this camera too.

For those who are worried about AVCHD, they bumped the bitrate up to 24mbps max 21mbps average. The first consumer cams on the market with AVCHD maxed out at 13mbps (or so) and didn't look so good. Now AVCHD has been saddled with the "it doesn't look good" tag. I really think the higher bitrates will fix that problem.

1/3" CCD's are a good thing to have for wedding work as well. I've gotten use to my half frame CMOS flashes, but it would be nice to live without them again.

As far as editing problems with AVCHD, don't forget your not so distant history. Remember when HDV came out & we had a hard time editing that. Everyone was moaning about long gop editing and how long it took to render. When was the last time you heard that one? The processors and programs will catch up.

They tout this camera as the replacement for the DVX100 and we all know how good that camera was at producing images way above it's price point. I'm very curious to see how this camera does. Maybe I should continue making money with the cameras I have paid for before jumping on something new though... darn it, I hate when logic kicks in.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #12
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Transcoding

Just an FYI -

I currently transcode AVCHD footage on my 2.2Ghz macbook pro laptop, and it averages 15 minutes of transcoding for each 1 minute of footage.

When running on my mac pro tower quadcore, it averages 13 minutes of transcoding for each 1 minute of footage.

Transcoding is painfully slow. I think of it akin to developing a roll of film. That makes me feel better about it.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 06:45 PM   #13
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Just an FYI - When running on my mac pro tower quadcore, it averages 13 minutes of transcoding for each 1 minute of footage.
Ouch. I don't know what NLE you're using but I thought FCS could edit AVC natively? (I don't know - I'm on a PC). If Sony Vegas can't handle it any better on a quad PC then this is a deal breaker for me. There's no way I'm going to spend that much time with a transcoder.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 07:01 PM   #14
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Mac seems to be more problematic than PC, they will find it necessary to catch up, AVCHD is not just the future, it's NOW with the popularity of the small Canons and Sonys.

No need to transcode AVCHD with a dual core and Vegas Pro - worked just fine for me native, I've upgraded to a Quad core, and it feels zippier, still have to render something on it, but expect a huge improvement there.

AVCHD isn't as scary as it sometimes is being portrayed - HDV was a PITA in the beginning, till all the workflow, hardware and software got ironed out... now you don't hear about problems from anyone but rank newbies or people with long memories of things no longer true...

Personally, I'm interested to see what this Panasonic has to offer, shot with Pannys in the past, and found them quite likeable, this one looks pretty well thought out with some nice features - the key question for me is will it improve over an FX7 and have comparable features to that cam? Things like focus assist and dual view of both LCD and VF keep me holding onto the FX7, but I won't shed a tear if I can go 100% tapeless someday - already spoiled by the SR11's and CX7, which see FAR MORE USE. I've been hoping for a surprise announcement from Sony of an FX7 replacement in a similar vein to the Panasonic, but will definitely be looking at the reviews and reports on this one!
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Old August 12th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #15
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When running on my mac pro tower quadcore, it averages 13 minutes of transcoding for each 1 minute of footage.
That does seem like a long time for a quad. What program are you using to transcode the footage?

My hope is that with the next release of Final Cut Studio they have native AVCHD editing and for the love of all that is good and holy, please give us Blu Ray.
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