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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).

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Old June 13th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #16
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The main drawbacks of P2 are high cost and limited capacity; one drawback of XDCAM is that it requires mechanical parts to operate. Both could get overtaken by standard flash memory recording, which is what's used for digital photography. And then there's the new "AVCHD" format proposed by Sony and Panasonic, so factor that into your discussion. There's also hard-drive based recording and good old videotape, so focusing on just two recording options seems a bit limiting for such an article. It's also limited by the available camera selection: if there was a $6K HD camera using XDCAM discs this might be a very different discussion. Things are too much in flux to say much about P2 versus XDCAM without talking about the cameras they go in.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 09:09 AM   #17
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I don't see any real need for an article comparing the two because they are different types of workflows. XDCAM, whether SD or HD, is like tape in that the media is cheap so you can store it indefinitely as you do tapes. It has an advantage over tape in that you can access files just as if they are coming off a hard drive, rather than playing them linearly into your system, though you can do it that way too if you want.

P2 cards have the advantage of no moving parts and they're smaller; and in terms of editing the work flow would be the same as XDCAM. Their disadvantage, however, is cost and capacity. So while editing workflow is the same, location workflow would be different and require a person to download the cards and check data, delete the files, and return the cards to the cameraman. This would not be an issue in a studio or controlled situation but would not be a lot of fun on a documentary shoot where you need longer run times and want to save your original tapes.

The shorter run times on P2 are not an issue if you have the professional 2/3" chip camera rather than the prosumer one, because the bigger one holds 4 or 5 cards. So if you're looking at a professional P2 camera, the run time problem disappears. However, you still would have to download your footage at the end of the shoot and reuse the cards. So your original footage would then reside on a hard drive, which is not very secure. Can you drag those files to a set of DVDs for archiving, or would you have to capture the footage into your NLE first? If you can just copy the files to DVDs, then you have a cheap, but time consuming, archival system, and the DVDs would then become like your original filed tapes or discs.

Those are the kinds of things I've been thinking about in relation to any new system. I'm fairly convinced that in the future we probably will go with a tapeless system, unless we move to a higher end HD package like the Varicam or HDCAM, which is unlikely because we don't need that much quality. When you add the cost of the decks, the cost-benefit ratio doesn't work in our case. Which is why XDCAM and P2 are kind of attractive.
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