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Help! Which HDV Camera?


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#1 Dan Paola

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 06:30 AM

I'm in the early pre-production stages of a v.low budget documentary feature (music documentary, initially for retail dvd release, but potentially other commerical outlets also inc blow-up to 35mm for festivals etc) & to save costs, I will self-shoot a lot of the footage as well as directing.

I am quite keen to originate on the HDV format, but am undecided on what camera to go for.

So far I think the Sony HVR Z1 seems like a good option for a number of reasons (One of the main reasons is its' native 16:9 DVCAM option), I'd really welcome some opinions of this camera

I have also looked at the JVC GY-HD101, although reviews seem less favouable about the versatility of this 720p camera - any comments?

The other choice would be the Panasonic HVX200, but I'm told this only records HDV onto a P2 card & that these hold 8 mins of footage & are around £1,000 a go. That seems like an expensive option - any comments?

I hope that someone could give me some advice on this purchase, because its a bit of a HD quagmire out there with so many conflicting viewpoints!

Take care

Dan (",)
:blink:
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#2 Michael Most

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 11:59 AM

The other choice would be the Panasonic HVX200, but I'm told this only records HDV onto a P2 card & that these hold 8 mins of footage & are around £1,000 a go. That seems like an expensive option - any comments?


The Panasonic is not a choice because at the moment it doesn't exist. When it does exist, it won't record HDV onto anything, because it's not an HDV format device. It uses DVCPro HD, a much better format in almost every way. It also won't be limited to P2 cards only, it will be capable of recording to external disk recorders, such as the Firestore, in real time. You also need to understand that unlike tape, P2 cards are intended as temporary storage only - you record to them, you dump the data to either a hard drive or some other more long term storage medium, and then you put them back and re-use them. The P2 workflow and a tape workflow are completely different approaches and should not be directly compared in terms of media cost.
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#3 Dan Paola

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 02:37 PM

The Panasonic is not a choice because at the moment it doesn't exist. When it does exist, it won't record HDV onto anything, because it's not an HDV format device. It uses DVCPro HD, a much better format in almost every way. It also won't be limited to P2 cards only, it will be capable of recording to external disk recorders, such as the Firestore, in real time. You also need to understand that unlike tape, P2 cards are intended as temporary storage only - you record to them, you dump the data to either a hard drive or some other more long term storage medium, and then you put them back and re-use them. The P2 workflow and a tape workflow are completely different approaches and should not be directly compared in terms of media cost.


Thanks for the info on the Panasonic camera - very helpful. I don't think this camera is going to be the right choice for simple financial reasons though. I wont be able to afford to hire firestore this time (although I will definitely investigate this option for future projects) & I cant realistically shoot this documentary with only 8 mins storage - even with multiple cards & even if the media is re-usable. I was originally going to shoot super16 (Arri SR3) but decided against it simply because the nature of this project would prevent me from being able to continually change mags. A lot of the project is going to be shot guerilla style so mobility, versatility & lengthy record time are all major factors that I have to take into consideration. Thank you for your help on this one - really appreciated :)
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#4 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 02:45 PM

The other choice would be the Panasonic HVX200, but I'm told this only records HDV onto a P2 card

In fact, the DVCPRO HD is the same compression and format used by the $60,000.00 Panasonic Varicam. This camera has a lot of features no other camera has also, but it come with a price tag of around $10,000 with 2, 8GB P2 cards (which will allow you to record 40 minutes of DVCPRO HD footage in 720 24p mode.

This camera also does 1080p, which before was only an option on the $100,000.00 Sony HDW-F900... with this camera, you can in fact shoot native 1080 24p footage (or so I have collected from reading about it, correct me if I'm wrong)?

so, at the moment you have 3 viable output option on this camera, the HD-SDI output (to link to an external Recorder), A Firewire connection, for use on a Firestore Type Device or Direct to computer footage, the Internal MiniDV tape drive (Records MiniDV ONLY!) or the most obviouse way, 2 x P2 card slots.

The camera combins a native 16:9 x 3 CCD's, HD Zoom Lense, Ability to output full-resolution DVCPRO HD 720p and 1080p footage (No, HDV cameras CAN NOT do this. HDV still records to 25Mbps DV tapes, DVCPRO HD records 100mbps... A huge improvment (in my opinion).

Frame Rates are as follows for this camera in the following modes:
1080/60i, 1080/24p, 1080 30p, 720/60p, 720/24p, 720/30p, 480/60i (NTSC DV), 480/24p, 480/30p with SOME vairiable frame rates in 720p mode (Similare to the Varicam).

In turn, this camera is a very powerful one, and is not to be confused with a prosummer to high level consumer cameras like the HDV crap... But, it comes with a price tag!

But in the end, as they say "you get what you pay for, but some people cant afford to pay for it!" > like me!

Good Luck!
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 03:05 PM

so, at the moment you have 3 viable output option on this camera, the HD-SDI output (to link to an external Recorder), A Firewire connection, for use on a Firestore Type Device or Direct to computer footage, the Internal MiniDV tape drive (Records MiniDV ONLY!) or the most obviouse way, 2 x P2 card slots.


Landon,

At the moment you have no viable output options for the HCX200 as it is not yet available for sale.

Stephen
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#6 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 03:14 PM

Stephen, I was speaking of course, when the camera COMES OUT :huh: in a few months...
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 03:37 PM

Stephen, I was speaking of course, when the camera COMES OUT :huh: in a few months...


Landon,

Hopefully Panasonic has been taking notice of Phil Rhodes comments who recently tested the camera. My understanding is Geoff Boyle of CML was asked to review the camera and he felt Phil was the man for the job!
Manufactures do take note of the views of CML. (except mabe Panavision)

Stephen
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#8 Dan Paola

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 04:05 PM

Hmm - that's really got me thinking.

Looks like I'd probably be better off putting my purchase on hold for a bit. 100mbps - that's unbelievable at that price & 1080p - if that proves to be the case then I'm sold!!!!

I guess firestore will be bringing out a larger capacity DTE recorder for this camera that can also cope with the data transfer. I think I would go that route rather than P2 cards. Are there any drawbacks about using such a setup, has anyone encountered any using similar technolgies?

I've got to get this purchase right & the whole firestore thing could well swing it. If anyone knows anything about either DVC ProHD firestore / DVC ProHD DTE, or indeed can verify the camera info (I know it's all guess work until the camera is actually released for sale) I'd really appreciate it.

From the advice so far I would definitely consider the HVX200 (minus the P2 cards with a DVC PRO HD firestore instead).


Really appreciate your responses!!
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#9 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 12:15 PM

Good Choice.

Simple Answer - Stick the money in a savings account and keep your eye on the market! Bear in mind that most technology is moving at such a rate that almost any consumer product you buy today will be worth 35% of that in two years time. Read Websites, forums, magazines and attend the major shows and conferences. Ask the same question a hundred times. A lot of people will tell you that HDV is a flash in the pan.

Personally, I believe that unless you're looking for a consumer/TV/ENG product you need a camera with a decent lens mount, although it depends entirely on your situation and way of making films. If its for a one-off project have you considered hiring an HDW-F900? The rental prices are really starting to drop however, as always, the lenses still cost a bomb.

I was originally going to shoot super16 (Arri SR3) but decided against it simply because the nature of this project would prevent me from being able to continually change mags.


Don't forget that Aaton have an 800 foot mag option on their XTR prod, allowing ~ 22mins of shooting time, although that may not be long enough eh?

Good luck to you, I'm sure whatever choice you make will, if it's thoroughly researched, be the right one

Edited by djdumpy, 09 October 2005 - 12:16 PM.

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#10 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 07:19 PM

if that proves to be the case then I'm sold!!!!

Even though the camera is not out yet, it is the case.... It will record DVC PRO HD (100Mbps) and have a 1080p mode.. At least thats what the Official Panasonic Site says.

I have heard that Firestore is working on an HD version of there Device, although I have two questions on that: #1, can you fit a 100Mbps data stream through a Firewire? and #2, What codec will the device use (HDCAM, DVCPRO HD, HDV and at what compression rates, etc...

right now, P2 looks like the good choice for me, No being teathered to Hard Drives or computers...

one question though: Can you connect the camera to a HDCAM, D5, DVCPRO HD deck and record it that way to tape instead of a the P2 cards? I hear the camera will have an HDSDI port, which should connect to some recorders, but will it deliver the full 100mbps, etc without affecting the image?

Hopefully Panasonic has been taking notice of Phil Rhodes comments who recently tested the camera.

what makes Phil Rodes such a camera specialist that he should be the determining factor in a company the size of Panasonic to redseign there recording format? not only could this takes, months, but would also cost the company a HUGE amount of money... You have ask yourself, at what point is Panasonic gonna draw the line? there are much more people more experianced than Phil Rodes who I'm sure Panasonic is gonna rely more on... and after Phils rude comments to the company in his other thread, I cant blame them if they did ignore him.

Edited by Landon D. Parks, 09 October 2005 - 07:25 PM.

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#11 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 07:32 PM

so far, Phil is the only one to complain about the recoring format of the P2 Cards... does anyone else wanna pitch in? Or is Phil alone in his argument?

Its time to face the facts: the HVX200 is NOT aimed at NBC, Bloomberg, etc.... They use expensive cameras, not $10,000 deals... Second of all, this IS a prosumer camera, sure in the "high end" of what can be called "Prosumer", but still, with 1/3" CCDs and fixed lense, you cant well call it "Pro" camera. It is aimed at Indie filmmakers and very small Television studios (think Small town PBS studios, Community Access TV studio's, etc)... AND panasonic is not gonna relase something into the general public that is not usable, or even easy.

I have full trust in Panasonic... Too bad some dont.

I guess if you have a huge production with hours of footage each day, it may be harder to do with the current format, but most single camera indie films will be lucky to fill the 2 P2 cards in a single day, more less have hours of footage to find and sort out. Again, which shows who the camera is aimed for.

Edited by Landon D. Parks, 09 October 2005 - 07:34 PM.

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#12 Robert Sanders

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 10:57 AM

Interesting that Panasonic has not released to resolution of the CCDs. Sure they say it "records" 1080P. But is that an uprezzed 1080 from a 1280x720 chip? Or worse, a 960x720 chip? Nobody knows.

The Canon XL-H1 is at least a 1440x1080 chip. What we don't know is whether that camera's funky interlaced CCD and 24F mode ultimately produces an acceptable progressive image.
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#13 Alvin Pingol

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 03:52 PM

can you fit a 100Mbps data stream through a Firewire?


FireWire's peak data transfer rate is 400Mbit/sec (although actually achieving this can prove rather difficult due to a multitude of factors).

Posted Image

This image shows the average data rate between my external HDD via 1394. About 29Mbyte/sec, essentially, ~232Mbit/sec. 100Mbit/sec should not be a problem.
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