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Panasonic AG-HVX200 vs. Varicam, CineAlta


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#1 Roman

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:25 AM

This new Panasonic AG-HVX200 is soon out. The price tag - $5,995.00 vs. Varicam's $65,000.00 or CineAlta's + $100,000.00. It has so many recording options including 24p aquistion. And then, it features that P2 card that could replace expensive decks...

It looks like one might shoot her or his movie on this toy, transfer all this to the monster laptop and edit it there, on the location? The (only) real expense would be HD 24p tranfer to the 35mm?

What I am missing in this picture??
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#2 David Cox

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 08:16 AM

This new Panasonic AG-HVX200 is soon out. The price tag - $5,995.00 vs. Varicam's $65,000.00 or CineAlta's + $100,000.00. It has so many recording options including 24p aquistion. And then, it features that P2 card that could replace expensive decks...

It looks like one might shoot her or his movie on this toy, transfer all this to the monster laptop and edit it there, on the location? The (only) real expense would be HD 24p tranfer to the 35mm?

What I am missing in this picture??

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You're assuming that a camera at sub $6K can record images to the same quality as one that costs $100K. (HDV camera images fall a long way short of Viper images). Also that lens manufacturers will be making cheap lenses to the same quality with all the same R&D to keep the cheap cameras cheap (for example, putting a $30k lens on a $6k camera would appear to upset the cheap deal). Or indeed that the service level will be the same in the event of a problem (imagine stuck with crew and expensive talent all around whilst you're on hold to the consumer "customer support" line at Sony!)

Whilst cost doesn't necessarily mean quality, in this case i would strongly suggest it does. But then again, in the budget of a film, how much of it is down to actual equipment costs? In order for these prices to make much of a difference to a film budget, all the crew and talent will have to work for a tenth as much too, and I can't see that happening!

So it comes down to two things. 1 in terms of quality and service you probably get what you pay for. 2. Cameras don't make good films; good people do - and they are the expensive bits.

However, these do lower the "entry level" for film makers and although that will inevitably lead to lots of dross being created, it might also give an opportunity to the next genius to show his/her stuff that they might not have had the chance to before.
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#3 Roman

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:24 AM

2. Cameras don't make good films; good people do - and they are the expensive bits.

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I used to say that big budgets don't make good films; big passion does...

However, from Canon XL-1S (mini DV 1/3 CCDs) to 24p HD Panasonic AG-HVX200 it is a big jump if you wish to have your film latter projected in 35mm.

I wonder what would happen with the audience once when it gets accustomed to the crisp, crystal clear HDTV images at home (in the USA there are 18 million HDTV now; this number will triple in two, three years...)!? They very well might start to complain when seeing some 35mm ?grainy? projection instead!?
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#4 David Cox

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:45 AM

I used to say that big budgets don't make good films; big passion does...

However, from Canon XL-1S (mini DV 1/3 CCDs) to 24p HD Panasonic AG-HVX200 it is a big jump if you wish to have your film latter projected in 35mm. 

I wonder what would happen with the audience once when it gets accustomed to the crisp, crystal clear HDTV images at home (in the USA there are 18 million HDTV now; this number will triple in two, three years...)!? They very well might start to complain when seeing some 35mm ?grainy? projection instead!?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Indeed that might be how things go.

You're right that for a big screen presentation, there's a big jump between a Canon XL-1S and a Panasonic AG-HVX200. I've not yet come across picures from the latter in the real world, but there's also a very big jump from a Sony HDV camera's images to those of a Viper, Genesis etc. So it's still important to recognise that this level of camera does do something more than the cheaper ones.

I guess this is not a new idea though - in so far as 16 / Super 16 / 35 and Super 35 have existed side by side for years, each offering different benefits to the next. Each new project has a new set of reasons to make the choice.

But yes, I agree that over time the view of today (yesterday even) that digitally projected digitially shot stuff is uncomfortably sharp, may slowly become the normal look, with everything else being seen as inferior. Again, not a new thing. Look at the colour and texture of films from the 60's against films of today. The audience's interpretation of film in all of its forms is an ever evolving beast.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 11:51 AM

Compared to the Varicam, the HVX200 would have a typical 1/3" CCD DV camera's depth of field characteristics, plus you'd have the limitations of the consumer lens they stick on it.
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#6 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 12:27 PM

But yes, I agree that over time the view of today (yesterday even) that digitally projected digitially shot stuff is uncomfortably sharp, may slowly become the normal look, with everything else being seen as inferior.

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Remember that alot of that "sharpness" is really just edge enhancement. How does a long shot or crowd scene look on a big screen? It's as though Kodak designed its films to have an MTF of 200% in the range of 10 to 30 cycles per millimeter, and then drop like a rock just before 40 cycles per millimeter. frequency.

Fortunately, film's MTF is much more natural, with a gradual "roll off" to 80 cycles per millimeter or more:

http://www.kodak.com...ve/5212_mtf.gif
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#7 David Cox

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:04 PM

Remember that alot of that "sharpness" is really just edge enhancement. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


hmmm - no it isn't. But at least it isn't covered in random noise (grain) which is the biggest killer of detail in a film frame.

Does Kodak seriously think distribution on film will go on forever? You have to roll it up awfully small to get it through the internet?
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#8 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:38 PM

Does Kodak seriously think distribution on film will go on forever? You have to roll it up awfully small to get it through the internet?

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Several 2K Kodak Digital Cinema Systems are already in use for feature presentation and about 1000 in use for pre-show entertainment:

http://www.kodak.com/go/dcinema

Yet even after six years of Digital Cinema in theatres, less than 1% of theatre screens use Digital Cinema.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:40 PM

But at least it isn't covered in random noise (grain) which is the biggest killer of detail in a film frame.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It's also one of the biggest killers of aliasing...
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#10 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 01:47 AM

Quite apart from the very significant raw quality difference, there is a huge usability deficit in mass-market equipment made for stupid people. Consumer gear does everything unless you tell it otherwise. Pro gear does nothing but what you tell it to.
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#11 David Cox

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 05:47 AM

It's also one of the biggest killers of aliasing...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes exactly right. In the digital domain dithering can be used for the same effect, but at the expense of detail. As the original post proposed, it is a question of how the audiences view changes over time as to which "look" they get used to, and that (as John P touched on) is going to be partially down to the number of digital projection installations.

I think it's inevitable that digital projection will take over from film projection, its just a matter of the politics. While cinemas have the expense of installing but distributors get the savings from digital distribution, there's not really a clear reason for cinimas to install. But if it gets to the point (and we are really close) that consumers choose digital projection over film because of the lack of dirt build up and variable print quality, then there becomes a commercial reason for other cinemas to upgrade.

I viewed a film we had worked on at BAFTA a few weeks ago. It was shot on 35mm film and projected digitally. It looked great, without any notable losses in lattitude or sharpness. The lattitude issues associated with "HD" are to do with the cameras, whereas the distribution formats would appear to be able to deliver a perfectly honest rendition of the film.
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#12 Roman

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 07:58 AM

I think it's inevitable that digital projection will take over from film projection, its just a matter of the politics.

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There is another issue that very well might favor all digital world(s) in the future and that is the growing speed of how we live our lives! Too much information, not enough time; people's attention span of less than a minute etc?

This ridiculous hysteria (at least in the US) of opening weekend gross box office?s ?do or die? for movies would flourish if one will be able to distribute digital films using satellite secure links directly to the movie theatre (or latter, to our laptops) in a ?real time?, NOW! The public will gobble up for such a spectacle, I am sure!

No more need for digital or optical transfers to print, no more 9.000 or so prints for the ?Star Wars? sequels or pre prequels, no more UPS, FedEx shipping fees, no more shipping insurance(s), handling etc., and all this translates in the $$$ in savings for the studios and distributors. And, unfortunately, the money is (almost) the only thing that (really) counts.

I would not be surprised to see the all digital world with a few IMAX-es left for all of us that still love the celluloid and even fewer art cinemas when one would go to see b/w or silent movies of a long forgotten era?
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 10:34 AM

On the other hand, "Attack of the Clones" played at a 120 theaters digitally and by the time of "Revenge of the Sith" three years later, they could only find 80 theaters to screen it digitally.
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#14 Roman

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 11:08 AM

On the other hand, "Attack of the Clones" played at a 120 theaters digitally and by the time of "Revenge of the Sith" three years later, they could only find 80 theaters to screen it digitally.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I could only wish if they would kept the same ratio for the "conventional" theaters also :D
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#15 Josh Bass

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 11:42 AM

Hey guys, you can trash the HVX200 all you want, but please note that it is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT an HDV camera. It shoots DVCProHD (as well as DVCPro 50, 25, and plain old DV).
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#16 Rik Andino

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 02:36 AM

Hey guys, you can trash the HVX200 all you want, but please note that it is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT an HDV camera. It shoots DVCProHD (as well as DVCPro 50, 25, and plain old DV).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I don't think anyone is trashing the HVX200
People are just stating the logic of economics...
Something that cost 6grand isn't going to perform better
Than something that cous ten times more than that...no possible way.

However I'm sure the HVX200 will be the darling of indie filmmakers...
Just like the DVX100...although to state a fact...
Not many movies shot on the DVX100 have made it to the big screen.

Eitherways I'm waiting anxiously to see any test footage from the HVX200...
hopefully it'll be impressive.
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#17 Roman

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 07:19 AM

People are just stating the logic of economics... Something that cost 6grand isn't going to perform better

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


This ?economic logic? is, IMHO, not necessarily the best point of view for this discussion. We all know what has happened with the prices of the processors, memory chips, DVD burners, hard discs etc. in computer industry. First DVD burner cost $21,000.00!! My PC today is more powerful than any NASA?s computer in 1969 when they landed Neil Armstrong on the Moon?

Important is the quality of that (and any other) camera i.e. "1/3?? CCD typical DV camera?s depth", lenses etc.! What matters is, of course, who is behind the camera. I am unable to send anyone across the street no matter how "powerful" my PC opposed to the NASA's is...

I am afraid what may happen is the overall loss of quality in the enormous quantity of the material that is going to be produced ? just look the TV programs!

At the other hand you still cannot just ?make a film? as opposed to ?make a music? or ?write a book? or ?paint a paintings? ? for many artists the (lack of) money had been insurmountable barrier from the very beginning of filmmaking ? so I really hope all this digital development may finally establish the filmmaking as a pure art form! Enable people to paint the screen, to experiment, be crazy and creative - opening weekend's numbers would never interfere with their vision.

Then, this quote reminds me of the reality...

Quite apart from the very significant raw quality difference, there is a huge usability deficit in mass-market equipment made for stupid people. Consumer gear does everything unless you tell it otherwise. Pro gear does nothing but what you tell it to.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


However, it will be interesting to see how the motion pictures are going to evolve...
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