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HDX 900 vs HPX2000


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#1 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 02:33 PM

I am given the opportunity to shoot a short on either one of these two cameras. I have never used the 2000, but have used the 900 quite a bit.

I like the 900 in that it has the Cine Gamma software and it records on tape. I recently was seriously bitten by P2 card (live music) footage that was captured to FCP without playing the hour long clip ALL THE WAY, just spot checking it. There were spots that sped up at the end of the reel for not good reason, throwing the rest of the footage out of sync with the audio. The card was reformatted for later use and so the clip is messed up and NOTHING can be done to salvage the sped up parts of the clip, besides making the sync hard to get right as it happened several times. It was a new 32 gig card with the latest firmware of course, otherwise it wouldn't even work at all.

I have never used the 2000, but it apparently records 1080p 24p, unlike the 900 which according to the link below only does 1080i 24p pulldown recording, despite both having a 720 chip as imager, unlike the 3000. This camera has the liability of recording to P2 and not having cine gamma software.

http://catalog2.pana...odel=AJ-HPX2000

So I am torn between the two cameras, but I am leaning towards using the 900 in 720 24p. This short is never going to be output to 2k film out so I should be OK there. The Cine Gamma software is great though, and it is what the Varicam and the HPX 500 use as well . . .

Anyone with experience on this cameras care to comment?

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 09 May 2008 - 02:34 PM.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 07:59 PM

I haven't used the 2000 yet, but according to the product data the 2000 records 1080 24p with pulldown just like the 900. Which only makes sense, since it's the same chipset and processor and DVCPRO HD doesn't support 1080 24p Native. The 2000 does give you the option of the AVC-I codec though.

I'm gaffing a feature with the 900 right now and we're shooting in the 1080 24pA mode, recording both to tape and Firestore.
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#3 Frank Barrera

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 08:09 PM

The 2000 does give you the option of the AVC-I codec though.

Indeed. What does this mean? what is the relationship between this codec and 1080p capture? can this camera in fact capture 1080p?

anyone?

f
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 09:41 PM

Both cameras capture 1080 resolution in 24p. But they both lay down the information in an interlaced fashion, because that is the video standard. Functionally there is no difference as the information is true progressive no matter how it is stored. The effect in viewing is identical.

The AVC-i codec is a marked improvement over DVCPROHD, and it takes up the same amount of space. Panasonic claims that it is essentially D5 quality. It makes for an excellent image. One could capture this out of the HDX900 by sending the HD-SDI 10-bit signal to a P2 Mobile and recording in ACV-i there. Ten-bit is a sizeable improvement over DVCPROHD's 8-bit.

The two cameras are really nearly identical. Neither has FILM REC (aka CINE REC) recording mode, but both have the gamma adjustments. The available menu controls let you get essentially identical images from both. The AVC-i pushes the 2000 over the top.
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 10:42 PM

I haven't used the 2000 yet, but according to the product data the 2000 records 1080 24p with pulldown just like the 900. Which only makes sense, since it's the same chipset and processor and DVCPRO HD doesn't support 1080 24p Native. The 2000 does give you the option of the AVC-I codec though.


Right, DVCPRO HD doesn't support 1080p 24p. What about recording AVC-Intra 100 at 1080 24p full raster 10 bit 4:2:2, wouldn't that give you enough bandwith to go 1080p without pulldown, even with the 720 chipset? Isn't that what this camera should achieve easily being a step up from the 900? According to what Mitch says, it is all recorded interlaced, even if it was acquired progressively and it ultimately doesn't matter to the viewer. I don't know yet if the camera that it is available to me has the option AVC board option on it yet, though . . .

I'm gaffing a feature with the 900 right now and we're shooting in the 1080 24pA mode, recording both to tape and Firestore.


That is smart, I should think about doing that myself, although I don't know if the Firestore can handle the AVC Intra codec should I go with the 2000.
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 10:52 PM

Both cameras capture 1080 resolution in 24p. But they both lay down the information in an interlaced fashion, because that is the video standard. Functionally there is no difference as the information is true progressive no matter how it is stored. The effect in viewing is identical.


I have never understood this right then. If it really ultimately doesn't matter to the viewer if it is recorded interlaced and acquired progressively, why are there two different settings: 1080p 24p and 1080i 24p? Is it that the imager is true progressive in the former case and interlaced in the latter? Or how it was stored digitally?
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#7 Mitch Gross

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:47 PM

It is about how the information is stored. If the imager is clocking as progressive then the image is progressive.

Rather than record an HDX900 to a Firestore, I would much rather reccomend recording to a P2 Gear. These days the record time on P2 cards is long enough with 32G to not be an impediment with constant reloads, and the P2 Gear means solid state instead of a hard drive swinging around on your camera. We rent out this combination on occassion and it works great.
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#8 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 12:34 AM

It is about how the information is stored. If the imager is clocking as progressive then the image is progressive.

Rather than record an HDX900 to a Firestore, I would much rather reccomend recording to a P2 Gear. These days the record time on P2 cards is long enough with 32G to not be an impediment with constant reloads, and the P2 Gear means solid state instead of a hard drive swinging around on your camera. We rent out this combination on occassion and it works great.


See my original (top) post for the reason why I don't like P2 cards . . .

I am still reeling from that one, and the client is NOT happy. Cannot afford to have that happen to me ever again.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 01:03 AM

See my original (top) post for the reason why I don't like P2 cards . . .

I am still reeling from that one, and the client is NOT happy. Cannot afford to have that happen to me ever again.


The whole point is to make redundant copies at the time of recording (tape and external drive). If one fails you still have a backup.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 01:10 AM

I have never understood this right then. If it really ultimately doesn't matter to the viewer if it is recorded interlaced and acquired progressively, why are there two different settings: 1080p 24p and 1080i 24p?


There aren't two different settings. 1080 in DVCPRO HD is always recorded 60i (24p gets either 3-2 or "advanced" pulldown). AVC-i supports 1080 24p.
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#11 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 10:32 AM

There aren't two different settings. 1080 in DVCPRO HD is always recorded 60i (24p gets either 3-2 or "advanced" pulldown). AVC-i supports 1080 24p.



Anyone knows how much 24p footage will go onto a 32 gig card if recorded at AVC100?

At this point I don't trust P2's even as redundant back up, and I am really torn cause I do want the extra picutre quality the 2000 with AVC I would give me. A hard drive kicking around the camera is also not ideal either. But if I go with the 2000, there is no other way.


Thanks for your help.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 10 May 2008 - 10:33 AM.

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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:10 AM

Our webpage for the camera (I'm the one who wrote the content) states 400 minutes of HD recording. That's probably AVC-i/50 instead of /100, so make it 200 minutes on 5 cards. Can't remember if I was calculating for 16G or 32G cards, but either way you get a LOT. Panasonic literature has the info, but you can look that up yourself. Here's our webpage.

http://www.abelcine....?...at=0&page=1
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#13 Matt Workman

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 09:46 PM

If I may add:

I've shot with the HPX2000, HVX200, etc. and the P2 workflow is A LOT better than a tape workflow.

- tapes cost money...one to buy and to transfer.
- tapes are bulky and you have to label them and are messy, IMO.
- 5x 16GB/32GB will last you more than all day. Maybe not for live concert/but for most things
- P2 you hit record and instantly you are at speed
- You can watch off speed footage back instantly
- In editing there is not logging capturing, its broken up by clips already
- I could go on...

If you have at least one AC who understands the workflow it should be fine. I've never had an issue with the workflow. The only thing is you need to know who is editing etc. because there are lots of software/driver issues that need to be addressed. Especially AVCIntra...I shoot DVCPROHD unless we have an editor that knows what they are doign with transcodes to ProRES etc.

On set back up is really easy. Mac Book Pro with a Raided HD is how we usually work. I wouldn't recommend the P2 Store and NEVER use the Firestore.

Film might never die but tape probably will...even though the D20/F23 still use HDCAM. RED/PHANTOM/SONY/PANASONIC are already there. IMO the tape decks on the back of the F23 looks really stupid...like really really stupid. The CineMags are a good option...but still ugly.

Matt

Edited by Matt Workman, 13 May 2008 - 09:47 PM.

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#14 Mitch Gross

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 11:20 PM

Hey Matt -- CineMags are the trademarked name for the Phantom flash memory cartridges. It's a different name and creation for other systems. Otherwise, love your post! ;-)


Btw, checked at the office. AVC-i 100 eats just under a gig per minute. So 32g card lasts about 40 minutes. Five cards gives you 200 minutes.
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#15 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 11:31 PM

- tapes cost money...one to buy and to transfer.
- tapes are bulky and you have to label them and are messy, IMO.
- 5x 16GB/32GB will last you more than all day. Maybe not for live concert/but for most things
- P2 you hit record and instantly you are at speed
- You can watch off speed footage back instantly
- In editing there is not logging capturing, its broken up by clips already
- I could go on...

Matt


I used to say the exact same things until I had the problem I outined in the previous posts. One could argue that tape is less convenient than card aquisition all day long, but when the card craps out on you (or the info on it), then you are up the creek.

True, the tape or negative stock could get mangled up, but they are proven formats that have been around for a really long time. There is got to be a reason for that. My fear is that now that aquisition and storage are moving squarely into the realm of finicky cards and hard drives ONLY, eventually we could find ourselves wondering: what have we done? And then it could be too late. But that is where the world is moving to, so that is where we are going, want it or not . . .

Still, I can't help to feel as the saying goes: "once bitten, twice shy."
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#16 Matt Workman

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 11:46 AM

I agree, and most people who came from tape/film are still nervous about it. I've never experienced a faulty card but that would be a bummer. Hopefully testing the cards at the checkout would be a good failsafe, but I suppose on a long project something could go wrong.

Yeah, I've been shooting P2 not by choice but becuase of the price point, so producers are quick to choose a HPX3000/2000 over the Varicam. Its a amazing how inexpensive rental houses let the 500/2000 out the door for. Tape stock and transfers add about $1000 even to a simple shoot.

Still photography has sucessfully made the switch to digital aquisition, although they have semi-standardized.

All and all I agree that digital "backup" is scary. I try to get at least two copies of the footage in different places. Big budget shoots have been doing LTO transfers. But at this point you just have to just be cautious and roll with the punches. I'm about to do a Red shoot and man do I have to roll with the punchs, there are so many little caveots to get that thing to work..IMO

Best of luck.

Matt

Mitch: hah, thanks. Yeah its like the Cine-Mag for the D20 right? I almost did a shoot with that and I didn't want to be tethered.
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#17 Matt Workman

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:30 PM

I meant flash-mag..but I'm just making up names. The hard drive recording option, forget the names, thats what ACs and rental houses are for :-)

Edited by Matt Workman, 14 May 2008 - 01:30 PM.

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#18 Seth Melnick

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 03:22 PM

I have shot nearly 2000 p2 cards worth of footage and never lost a clip - create a solid workflow and there wont be issues.

To me it sounds like the original posted had an issue with importing the clips to FCP - not with the card itself - this is a workflow issue. The cards are rock solid - they "never" error out. (99.99999) - workflows however can have errors.

Edited by Seth Melnick, 14 May 2008 - 03:23 PM.

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#19 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:40 PM

I have shot nearly 2000 p2 cards worth of footage and never lost a clip - create a solid workflow and there wont be issues.

To me it sounds like the original posted had an issue with importing the clips to FCP - not with the card itself - this is a workflow issue. The cards are rock solid - they "never" error out. (99.99999) - workflows however can have errors.


Yeah, it was a problem importing into FCP. I spot checked it upon backing it up tp hard drive and reformatted it for future use. Which was what got me in troubl. But that is what you do with P2 cards by design. I never imagined I had to play the captured clip all the way through to find an error. I guess I was wrong.

And I have also shot countless hours on P2 and never gotten bit. SO I assumed it was OK and reformatted the card. I would have never done that with tape. With tape one usually keeps the original media for a while. Whereas the P2 technology is supposed to be pretty turn around intensive, and that is the problem: unless you can afford ten or fifteen 16/32 gig cards, the idea is to erase the few that you have to continue shooting sometimes right after you backed them up to hard drive.

I am not saying it is the worse technology ever, or the workflow is wrong. All I am saying is that is not as dependable as tape or film. And now, I rather not use it if I can help it.
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#20 Seth Melnick

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 09:55 PM

well it is a problem with your workflow - your masters should NEVER be an import into FCP - they should be simple file copies that you verify - import into you editing system later
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