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Re: Sony HVR V1U vs Panasonic AG-HVX200

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JohnRe: Sony HVR V1U vs Panasonic AG-HVX200
by on Mar 4, 2007 at 10:08:50 pm

Solid state recording is not necessarily the future, however, some form of random access recording probably is. The bestl, at the moment, is probably XDCAM. Why? because it is an archival format (rather than a 'temporary storage' format like P2) and it's relatively cheap ($30 per disk).

I think Panasonic got it wrong with P2: they should have made the P2 cartridge a simple, sata laptop hard drive. In other words, put the HD in the camera rather than on your hip. You can buy a 120GB HD for under $200. This provides random access recording and lots of it. Then.. for recording high-bandwidth material (i.e. 4:2:2 uncompressed HD) in very small spurts, thats when you pop out the HD and put in a very expensive, solid state P2 card (call it P2+ ??). In this way, solid state cards are OPTIONAL $1200 frills that you use to record small bursts of high-bandwidth material. Presumably you would also use a solid state card when you need shock resistance -- like when you want to strap your camera to an aerobatic biplane or an Indy race car. Shock resistance is nice, but totally unnecessary for most users. People have been recording video onto hard drives (i.e. FireStores, Sony's, etc) for years, so there is no major problem there.

Long term, if the industry does move to formats that provide random access recording (and I think it will because of the advantages), we all have some difficult problems to work out. What do you do with all that digital media? Just keep slapping it on hard drives and then throwing those on the shelf? What happens when you pop in a drive after four years and it won't mount? Ok.. so now I need to copy everything to two drives and store one of them off-site just in case the office burns down. Ok.. but now how do I keep track of what material is on what drives and where they are? Media management, of course. Ok.. so now just because I have the flexibility to move any content onto any one of my storage devices (hard drives), I now put far more importance on maintaining an accurate, up-to-date media management database. Whereas, with tape, because there is no easy way to move the material from tape to tape, I at least always know what's on a tape -- just look at the label. You can't do that with an HD. And.. I can always go back to the first generation tape to get the best possible quality of what was captured.

As hard disks get bigger and bigger and I/O interfaces chance (i.e. ATA -> SATA -> Serial SCSI -> whatever...) we will presumably over the years transfer our digital files from older hard drives to a newer drives. But what if something went wrong in the middle of a 2TB file transfer (i.e. a file got corrupted)? You won't every know until you need it. And by that time (years later) you won't be able to go back to the 'original' because there is no 'original'. That's the basica problem with P2: it's not a storage format; it is a TEMPORARY storage format. Tape is a storage format. It can be archived and creates a MASTER copy by default.

Don't get me wrong: I too want random access. But I think something like XDCAM is probably the future -- although it needs to be small enough to go into a Z1.

John Christensen
cdesign@airmail.net


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