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Old October 15th, 2005, 06:33 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

As we all anticipate this little camera, there is one part of me that says, there is a lot to learn once it is owned. I guess I would say that for any new HD camera but because this one does two flavors of HD, variable frame rates and SD, along with working in P2 and a tapeless work flow, it seems that there might be a need for a Mini-VariCamp.

Some of you have even attended a VariCamp where the HDExpo Folks bring together some of the best talent to talk about aspects of the camera, like working with the variable frame rates, colorimetry and things of that nature. Currently the cost of this 2-3 day class is $1200. That is about right considering the cost of the VariCam.

But I am wondering if there couldn't be a scaled down version of this and have it cost like $400. So let's put on the thinking hat here, and please I am looking for suggestions and concepts that you feel you will want or need to learn in order to be successful with the HVX200.

What do you all think?


Jan Crittenden Livingston
Panasonic Solutions Company, Product Manager for 3D and Handheld Cameras
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Old October 15th, 2005, 11:55 AM   #2
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(I posted this same response to your Mini-VariCamp post on DVX User)

I think the idea of a Mini-VariCamp is an excellent idea!

Every camera has a learning curve. To maximize the footage potential of any camera, the user needs to: 1) understand all the camera's features and what they do 2) perform hands-on experimentation to see what works for their style of production 3) match the camera to productions that is it suitable for 4) continue to push the limits of the camera so you know it's "point of diminishing returns".

Anything that can speed up the time frame for achieving step 1 above will simply get you on to the other steps quicker. In a busy professional world there is only so much free time for learning curves. IMO $400 spent for a Mini-Varicamp, and an additional outlay for Barry Green's book/DVD, is money well spent because it buys you a quantum leap towards your end goal - to utilize the camera in real-world productions that generate capital for you, and/or help you to realize your professional and creative goals. Time is money, and wasted time is wasted money. You can lose more money trying to save money - IE, not buying instructional materials.

Though I've used a Varicam and SDX900 extensively, I would spend the money on a Mini-Varicamp and Barry's guide to accelerate my learning curve with the HVX I am buying. The nature of true knowledge is: the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know! Rather then be a "know it all", the keenest professional choice is to be a knowledge sponge and absorb info wherever you can get it - online, trade mags, boot camps, guide books, etc. Then put it into practical application.

Anyone who reads the various forums of DVX User and DVInfo knows by now that I am manufacturer agnostic - I regularly use cameras from all manufacturers. I'm no shill for Panasonic - but I do believe that when you get a new piece of equipment from any manufacturer, a "boot camp", or in this case a Mini-Varicamp and Barry's guide, are the smartest and quickest avenue to mastering the camera - even if you're a seasoned professional user. I have 27 years of national experience as a producer, director, editor, and camera operator - and I'll still buy these materials to go along with my HVX. Why? Because they will save me time and get me on the streets doing real world production with the camera much faster than the trial and error approach. I may know a lot about cameras, but there are always new uses and techniques to learn. Good cinematographers and videographers have a ravenous appetite for progress in equipment and techniques. To truly progress you must be teachable, adaptable, intuitive, and artistic.
Steve Gibby, RED One SN 0008, 2 others. Epic M SN 0008, 2 others, Canon 5D. Linked In - Steve Gibby Instagram -
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Old October 15th, 2005, 04:25 PM   #3
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Barry, are you planning on repeating the guide/dvd/book on the HVX as well?
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Old October 15th, 2005, 09:43 PM   #4
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Yes indeed! :)
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Old October 16th, 2005, 09:56 AM   #5
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I know I would attend one, especially if it's in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, Florida.

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Old October 17th, 2005, 12:59 AM   #6
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Sounds great, but...

For me, it might actually be easier to convince my employer to send me on a $1200 workshop over a $400 mini workshop because most of the cost would be in travel and lodging from Europe. In any case, pairing up a HVX200 camp back-to-back with a Varicam camp would help us as we're making plans to purchase both.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 05:01 AM   #7
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I think that is a brilliant idea. I know of several shooters in the Seattle area alone that would be very interested in such a Mini-varicamp.

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Old October 17th, 2005, 12:00 PM   #8
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I think the best thing that one could learn (be it through a one day or three day camp) for this camera will be workflow solutions. Show the advantages of simultaneous recording to HD and tape (for editing on-line... does this camera allow for simultaneous recording? sorry I've been lost in other areas recently). The advantages and disadvantages of a firestore vs a p2 card and what challenges those will bring about.

I'm pretty certain that everyone will be able to figure out how to change frame rates, but it would be good to let people know WHEN they should change frame rates or HD formats for that matter. In addition, I think it's always good to explain to users how the matrix is set up as that will save them hours and hours in post or potential cost them days more for poor decisions. If there are any other funky things people should know about the camera or user tricks, those of course would be useful as well.
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Old October 19th, 2005, 11:37 AM   #9
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I'd ask my boss, and he'd probably send me and another fellow or two.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 01:37 PM   #10
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I'd be in for the Mini-camp, as would several others at my office.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 10:23 PM   #11
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sounds good.

count me in. That's a cool little camera.

I missed the Varicamp when it came to Dallas.

I've never shot Panasonic Varicam, but i'd like to learn more about it.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 06:32 PM   #12
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I'd be interested in such a workshop, especially if one is planned for here in Hawaii.

I'm certain there are several filmmakers who would be interested in applying this camera to their projects. And a few of these filmmakers have projects that were screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 10:44 PM   #13
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Miami would be just great!!!

Actually, it must be a nationwide tour on major cities.
I would suggest one for Latin America too!

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Old November 4th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #14
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If I decide to buy the HVX200 and if it was somewhere in Texas I would pay to attend the camp.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 10:58 AM   #15
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While this would be great for folks in LA, New York, Chicago, and Dallas, many of us in the flyover states get passed by these rolling tours.

The one event I always travel to, no matter what, is NAB. How about holding a 1-day HVX-Camp in Vegas? If I am an HVX owner by that time, I would gladly give up a Tuesday, or Wednesday show floor for such a Camp.

The only caveat I would place on a NAB is to limit registration to a reasonable number of attendees. You might need to hold multiple camps over several days to meet the demand, but that would be so much better than a camp with several hundred attendees. The sheer crush of attendees is one of the main reasons I've given up on NAB educational sessions and spend the bulk of my time on the show floor.

Let's say the scope of the Camp included: 1. Comprehensive overview of all camera features. 2. Real-world production examples illustrating different settings and options. 3. Undocumented tricks and tips. 4. Workflow options and walkthroughs. 5. Available accessories, including third-party products.

Number 5 is important. You could possibly realize significant sponsorship opportunities from the variety of vendors that will be producing products for this camera. By April, many products will be ready to be introduced at NAB. This could not only help Panasonic to offset the cost of the Camp, but to my way of thinking is an essential part of my HVX ownership.

You could even run concurrent Camps on Sunday, offering sneak peaks at new HVX accessories and workflows from various vendors, then I could walk away with a shopping list printed out or loaded onto my PDA, ready to hit the show floor Monday.

Hopefully, by April the HVX will have also been used on a slew of projects, allowing you to invite cinematographers and editors to present case studies and examples of using the HVX in production environments.

Do you think with the scope that I've just described, it could be done in one day? Would it be an 8 hour Camp? 10 hours? 14 plus lunch? What do you think the demand would be? How much of the cost could be offset by sponsorship?

/done thinking out loud
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