Buy Mike Recommended
edit systems & gear
from Silverado Systems
Buy Books, Software, & More
at HD for Indies Amazon Store
Buy New Movies from
HD for Indies Amazon Store
Or, you can also support
HD4NDs by contributing
to the tip jar...
Help Support HD for Indies
Great HD Links
- HD For Indies Home Page
- HD For Indies FAQ
- HD 24
- Bare Feats
- 24p Entertainment
- Light Illusion (was Digital Praxis)
- OneRiver Codec Resource
- HighDef.org Info
- Understanding RAID
- Video Systems (Reviews)
- DV Film (DV=>Film)
- Plus 8 Digital (vendor)
- Digital Cinema Society
- Texas High Def (local F900 guy)
- Creative Cow (news & forums)
- Philadelphia FCP User Group
- Los Angeles FCP User Group
- Cinema Tech
- DV Info's forums
- HVX User
- Pro App Tips
- Bluesky Media - Instruction
- little frog in high def
- VideoMaker Learning Section
- Stu Maschwitz's ProLost
- March 2004
- April 2004
- May 2004
- June 2004
- July 2004
- August 2004
- September 2004
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- August 2008
- September 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- January 2009
- March 2009
High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers
A How To Guide for Digital Filmmakers
Welcome all! This is my blog to share my latest research,
thoughts, etc. on utilizing HD for independent filmmaking.
YES, I am available for consulting
Contact me at email@example.com
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Here's the schpoop on the camera:
-uses AVC-Intra codec - half the datarate of DVCPRO HD
-ALSO records to DVCPRO HD/50/25 & DV - so MANY options to shoot with!
-holds up to 5 P2 cards
-2 data rates for AVC-Intra - 100mbit (same as DVCPRO HD) but is 10 bit, and also 50 mbit as well
-since not stated, is 50mbit is 8 bit?
-thanks to reader Glensser for finding out the deal - 100mbit is full raster 1920x1080, 10 bit, 4;2:2, and 50 megabit is 1440x1080, 4:2:0, 10 bit
-they are comparing 100mbit to D-5 quality - therefore is it full raster like D-5?
-both Apple & Avid promised support for the format in FUTURE versions of their NLE products - whether that is by or at NAB '07 is of critical interest
-shoulder mount camera
-1080p, 1080i, 720p, PAL/NTSC capable
-can continuously record seamlessly, just keep rotating out full P2 cards
-3.5" LCD monitor onboard
-ready to shoot in 2 seconds
-15 second pre-record buffer function
-14 bit A/D processor
-sensitivity of F11 at 2000 lux, min illumination of 0.007 lux (at +74db gain, and who is going to use that?)
-DSP allws gamma and color adjustments
-has "Dynamic Range Stretching" to adjust aperture automatically
-I/O includes USB 2.0, FireWire (IEEE 1394), and HD-SDI, genlock, SMPTE timecode, composite video
-optional boards for other stuff - " A 10-pin RCU terminal connects the optional AJ-RC10G remote control unit. GPS mapping connection is also available."
-48/16 4 channel sound
-4x digital zoom
-formats supported: "1080/59.94i, 1080/50i, 1080/29.97p, 1080/25p, 1080/23.98p, 720/59.94p, 720/50p, 720/29.97p, 720/25p 720/23.98p and more"
-12-color correction matix
-16GB P2 cards expected as well, price/avail TBD
Mike's Comments: for fans of P2, this is DEFINITELY the bigger, more serious brother of the HVX200. Curiously, it does NOT have the variable frame rate options that the HVX200 does - perhaps Panasonic is reserving that for the Varicam's successor?
This seems very much like the P2 version of the HVX900 camera recently discussed.
As for the AVC-Intra codec, I stand corrected - at one point I said that the AVC stuff wouldn't be used for pro caliber cameras...oops, guess I was wrong on that one. This is the least expensive 10 bit onboard recording format capable HD 24p camera I'm aware of from a traditional/established manufacturer. Still dunno about full raster, but I can say with some confidence that this will take a pretty good bit of horsepower to edit - that's seemingly always the trade-off - more efficient compression requires more computing horsepower to decode or encode. So when the NLEs do support this natively in time, expect the hardware requirements to be higher than DVCPRO HD, and probably even higher than HDV. Look at the class of machine that is reqiured to even play back 1080p or 1080i H.264 movie trailers...that should be the MINIMAL BASELINE AT BEST for editing with this format at similar resolutions I'm guessing. Even though this is intra not inter frame compression (each frame stands alone instead of relying on parts of neighboring frames to render the full frame), the math involved is pretty brutal. Decoding interframe for playback is a much simpler proposition than the random read and reconstruction requirements of an editing environment. Eh, that's opening a big techie discussion - suffice it to say, you'll need a box with some huevos to edit this format, and the very very latest NLEs that aren't going to ship until sometime well into next year at BEST.
UPDATE: Well maybe not - somebody reported the 50mbit playing back well/smoothly on a $1000 laptop. And somebody else reminded me that AVCHD is the consumer long GOP format, but AVC-Intra is the pro format, and I mixed them up in my head a bit. If it is all I-frames, then maybe it DOESN'T need a mongo machine to edit, and that's actually good news.
(Yeah yeah yeah, Silicon Imaging and Red do/will have 10 or better bit depth recording systems onboard, but the intended audience for this camera is less likely to look to new market entrants.)
From what I've heard through the grapevine (and anybody feel free to correct me if I'm off base here), it is the same imaging CCDs as the Varicam uses, just different DSPs and stuff involved. For $27K, this is a lot of camera for Panasonic, and the lack of Varicam-style frame rates or PN modes (a la 24PN/25PN/30PN from HVX200) are my only complaints in the omissions category. So while the camera does record in 1080p or 1080i, it is upscaled from a natively 720p image (right?).
I can't help but thinking, however, as these new cameras get announced, that with Red purportedly just a few months away from shipping, that this will be a good choice for the typical HD4NDs reader (or at least the mythical reader in my head, the indie looking to make docs & features). For ENG/EFP and other applications I can see this making good sense, and integrating well with established P2 workflows etc.
The AVC-Intra codec will help make P2 more cost effective by effectively doubling the recording capacity of the P2 cards, or increasing the quality to 10 bits per channel rather than merely 8. This gives 1024 possible gradations of color/luma rather than just 256. But is it full raster? Panasonic's PR material compares AVC-Intra to D-5 quality, and D-5 is full raster. Somebody report back - is AVC-Intra full raster (1920 pixels wide recorded) or is it subsampled like DVCPRO HD is (to 1280 or 1440 pixels wide recorded)? I don't know, and I'd really like to. Similarly, is the 50 megabit codec 8 or 10 bit? Subsampled or not? I haven't found a chart yet to illustrate all this, and I think it is important. If you find out, please email me or post the info (or a link if you have one) in the Comments using the link at the end of this article. Doing some digging on the H.264 standard, I see full raster and subsampled profiles are both possible, I want to know what THIS camera does - which should be indicative of what Panasonic plans for all their pro-level AVC-Intra camcorders.
With an expected January ship date, and native format support expected from Avid and Apple at time unknown, NAB '07 is the first likely demo of native support in those companies' NLE packages...but isn't a guarantee - it could well take them longer. I've heard that Avid regrets missing the bus on DVCPRO HD, and are keen to be more aggressive on supporting new formats natively faster than they have in the past. This bodes well (but promises nothing).
DO beware shooting on AVC-Intra until you have a KNOWN post plan - with no decks out as yet supporting this new format (the $12K little P2 thingy won't have a AVC-Intra board until next July). Having faced the dilemna of working with formats that can only be recorded straight off the camera, it can be a REAL hassle. Keep in mind that while some cameras do send SMPTE timecode down the HD-SDI, your NLE is NOT NOT NOT set up to handle it that way. When I've had to record straight off an HD-SDI or worse, off the analog component output, it has typically had various limitations - 3:2 pulldown added to the 24p stuff, and I've yet to deal with a high end camera that had a 9 pin deck control cable on it. I managed to get tricky with the XDCAM HD camera and use FireWire for timecode, audio capture and deck control and HD-SDI for picture capture, but you can't count on always being so lucky - the JVC HD-100U refused to be recognized in any fashion connected over FireWire when dealing with 24p footage.
All this is to say, don't count on editing anything other than "wild" (no timecode) uncompressed from AVC-Intra shot footage for a while - and you might rather just deal with recording in DVCPRO HD for the meantime with this camera, or have a VERY carefully verified workflow for dealing with posting footage from this camera.
(edit - of course, you could capture and convert on the fly to a compressed format like DVCPRO HD in Final Cut Pro...but why didn't you just shoot that format in the first place?!?!? PPro users, 10 bit Cineform could be a very interesting single use (offline AND online from same capture) workflow until natively NLE support comes along. And since Adobe wasn't standing cheek and jowl with Apple and Apple up on that stage, will they support it? And if so, HIGH likelihood they won't even be demoing it at NAB 2007 - if they were gonna, they'd likely have been up on stage with Apple & Avid at the announcement.)
...and that leads me to this - as much as I try to give due credit to all the other cameras on the market or coming to market, with Red scheduled to ship right around the corner from this camera's expected January ship date, and costing less and doing more than this camera is supposed to....with the exception of the X # of months (2? 3? 5-6 ugly scenario?) between Panasonic's and Red's launch....would this be the right camera for your project shooting narrative/docs? The again, horses for courses - one of the Red team pointed out there is no image stabilization for Red as it will currently ship (future motion sensors to record metadata for post stabilization is one possible mentioned fix), that right there may be a deal killer for some kinds of projects and some kinds of shooting.
I hate to be Johnnie (Red) One Note, but the window where this is "The Right Move" may be fairly narrrow.
That aside, this sounds like a very interesting indie viable camera for medium budget HD projects - 10 bit capable, 24p, 2/3" CCDs, replaceable lenses, etc. If the image quality is what we've come to expect of Panasonic's 2/3" HD camcorders, that's all very good news indeed.
Stories I used as source material:
Studio Daily | Say Hello to Panasonic's 24P AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD Camcorder
Panasonic Announces Shoulder-Mount AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking
Learn about Panasonic's AJ-HPX2000 - 2/3" 3-CCD 16:9 P2 HD Camcorder - (this is Panasonic's own page on the camera, look to this for "horse's mouth" answers)
There have been reports around the net that the 1080 from these cameras is soft which seems logical since they are still using a 960X720 pixel ccd. That's a lot of upsampling in both directions to get 1920X1080.
Still the more interesting thing on this camera development is where are Panasonic heading with Varicam replacement? How much more camera do you get for another 30K?
BTW - Panasonic rep at LA DV Expo intimated that they'd announce a 16gig P2 at NAB and maybe even a 32gig card.
Keep in mind, Panasonic does NOT include a lens nor a EVF at this price point.
Red EVF? No clues, what - $3-$5K, if keeping in line with price point of camera? I dunno AT ALL - what does a "normal" EVF cost for an HD camera from Sony or Panasonic?
We're just little guys here. But this just kills me, because for us this would have been a perfect upgrade from our HVX200 and kept us totally in the Panasonic camp.
There is no excuse and NO spin for not putting Varicam and native frame rates on this camera. The varicam and native frame ability of the HVX is a big part of our success in business this year.
I so very much hope that Panasonic comes out with something in the next 12 months to make up for this kind of poor decision making. I really don't want to leave.
Otherwise we'll be forced put future spending in Red. It could be "toodle-oo" for P2 at our company.
As for the minimum price of the RED I don't really think there is one. People can make it as cheap or as expensive as they want to using still lens, cheaper/est battery, drive and LCD. In other words I don't think the three other necessities (drive, battery, viewfinder/lcd (lens can be still lens or high priced primo depending on budget/preference)) will double the RED body price. That is, of course, my own opinion.
Either way I don't think this Panasonic camera is for filmmakers, unfortunately.
The Panasonic COULD be used for moviemaking, it just isn't ideal. Hell - friend of mine made a decent looking feature with a Z1U in 50i mode, conformed to 24p and deinterlaced with Nattress plug-ins - it is all doable!
Interesting that Panasonic doesn't include the viewfinder cause Sony's XDCAM HD does include the viewfinder in the body price.
Either way, I find it interesting (It's always good news when new cameras pop up).
Keep up the good work Mike.
and Grass Valley's JPEG2000/CF push out MPEG-2 in 2007?
Or, how fast will JPEG2000 and AVC replace MPEG-2 and HDV?
Analysis, speculations and opinions by Nordahl
Links to this post: