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Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!

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john sharafDark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Jan 31, 2006 at 6:41:12 pm

Here's a good one! Many of you are familiar with the "flaw" in the new VTR Menu/Function/Compression/Dark setting that it "resets" to the "normal" default upon power cycle (camera power off-on or battery reload) effectively making the setting too difficult and/or unreliable to use.

Yesterday however I was able to make this setting work as one would expect; staying in the "dark" setting through a power cycle. This was on a rental camera that fiffered from mine only in that the CAMERA SOFT (OUT) version ended in a "B" rather than in "C".

Anyone out there with another "B"? Can you confirm that "Dark" stays "Dark" through a power cycle?

I've spoken with Steve Mahrer at Panasonic and am awaiting a reply. It seems odd that the "older" version works correctly and the "update" doesn't!

Stay tuned...


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leaknoilRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Jan 31, 2006 at 10:14:39 pm

If you ever hear back I will be surprised. This seems to be an issue nobody at Panasonic will discuss. Probably because it would require lots of free updates they don't want to do. If you add features you can charge but, repairing a broken feature people already payed for makes it harder.


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john sharafRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Jan 31, 2006 at 10:20:24 pm

Leakin',

I generally tend to agree with your cynicism about Panasonic's responsiveness, except when I deal with Mr. Steven Mahrer there, who always answers his phone, returns his messages, replies to his email, lurks on the Cow and actually knows sometrhing about the products and the user's actual needs!

I agree however that we probably won't get the fix we're looking for, especially for free!

JS


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leaknoilRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Feb 1, 2006 at 8:14:53 am

That's one of the things that makes me think this issue is not going to be addressed. The people from Panasonic that post here from time to time have ignored every post that has mentioned the dark compression setting issue. There have been a few too.

Emails to them about this seem to never get any response. Personally I think Panasonic is doing everything in its power to just avoid this and hope it goes away till the Varicam 2 comes out at which point they will say, "Sorry, Varicam 1 firmware is no longer being updated".

I'm pretty much ready to say at this point that it will never be fixed, we will never see another firmware update for the F model, and F model owners have been EOL'd already and don't even know it.

Again, big fan of the camera just not of the support model.


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gary adcockRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Feb 1, 2006 at 12:43:53 am


[leaknoil] ". If you add features you can charge but, repairing a broken feature people already payed for makes it harder."

funny that sounds like fcp doesn't it?

Gary Adcock
Studio37
HD and Film Consultation
Chicago, IL USA


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Steve MahrerRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Feb 1, 2006 at 9:32:51 pm

John et al:

We added the Dark Compression bit attribution mode some time back to reduce compression artifacts in "dark scenic content", typicaly below 10IRE. At that time the function would reset to OFF when the power was cycled... this was intentional as to avoid "surprises...."

I'm relieved to be able to advise our VariCam users that the most recent SW update for the 27F cameras has improved that feature, Dark Compression will now stay On or OFF (user choice) after power cycling. This feature is in the most recent SW, (SYSCON revision) V1.66

So check your cameras, if it's earlier it can be upgraded to V1.66.

Cheers,

Steve Mahrer (Panasonic Broadcast)


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john sharafRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Feb 2, 2006 at 1:08:11 am

Steve,

That's great news, but how were going to find out about the new upgrades? Is there a website with service bulletins we can frequent? Did the notice get lost in the mail to me? Did I fail to see the posting at the factory reapir shop when I was there a few weeks ago?

And BTW, will it cist $260 to get the upgrade, so the feature that;s supposed to work will work?

Enquiring minds want to know.

JS


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Steve MahrerRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Feb 2, 2006 at 2:21:32 am

Hi "Enquiring Minds....."

John, the new SW is a few days old, literally just arrived on our Service server. Our Panasonic policy for SW upgrades is basically the following:

If your camera is under warrenty, it's a freebie, call to ask the local service center for an upgrade.
If the camera comes into the service shop for some work, it will get the latest SW as a matter of course.
If a user would like the latest SW and the camera is out of warrenty, there is a nominal charge of the equivalent of a few hours labour. Loading the SW into the cameras requires some time, some equipment, and ascertaining that the camera is working correctly before the upgrade... that takes a while.

Similarly, responding to users requests for new features, or "simple" changes requires long hours of software investigation, the writing of new code, then the arduous process of the all important software QC.... Imagine testing for dumb stuff like switching to Film Rec, holding the Eject Button and C/BARs at the same time as you power up the camera, just to ensure that nothing "silly" happens, then multiply that by the huge matrix of camera operational features. That process takes many, many weeks.

Panasonic does listen, we value your input and comments on workflow and operation of the camera. We have added numerous features based upon user requests, User Settable frame rates, Dark Compression, CineGama, VFR, etc etc... Some things are possible, somethings are 'reltivly' easy, most are hard, all changes however take time to implememnt and all require testing.

VariCam will continue to grow and evolve, but rest assured it will be around for many years to come, as will our support for the cameras and you, our users.


Shoot good stuff!

Steve Mahrer (Panasonic Broadcast)
mahrers@us.panasonic.com (comments and suggestions always welcome)





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john sharafRe: Dark Compression resets to Normal with power cycle!
by on Feb 2, 2006 at 3:15:58 am

Steve,

Thanks for all that good intel!

Am I to conclude then that based on my discovery of the working dark compression feature (that it stays on through power cycle) that the new SW ends with the suffix "B" rather than "C"? Please state the version name of this newest revised software, and could you elucidate to us what else is in it other than the dark compress "fix".

JS


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Ray PalmerRe: Dark Compression Question on a Non-upgraded 2700F
by on Feb 2, 2006 at 4:25:44 pm

You have us scratching our heads. Goodman's guide does not mention this and we have an original 2700F. Does this reduce noise in the dark areas and is it only on the 2700H and upgraded 2700Fs?
I just got back from Varicamp and it was never mentioned there either.
All the best,
Ray Palmer


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john sharafRe: Dark Compression Question on a Non-upgraded 2700F
by on Feb 2, 2006 at 4:43:01 pm

Ray,

This dark compression feature became available with the much heralded software upgrade from this past summer. Unfortuneately, until this recent fix announced by Steve Mahrer here just yesterday the use of the feature was quite limited operationally because it would revert to the "normal" default on power cycle, thus making it something of a booby trap for inconsistant application.

You'll find it, if you have the upgrade, in the VTR/FUNCTION menu.

It postdates the Goodman book, but I'm sure he'll add it to any "revisions" he makes in the future.

JS


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john chaterRe: Dark Compression Question on a Non-upgraded 2700F
by on Feb 2, 2006 at 5:59:53 pm

Hi Steve
I had my cameras upgraded last summer. Other than the 'Dark Compression' lock, what else gets upgraded with this very latest software update?
This really should be documented somewhere for us to see. Also why cant your resellers or independent repair engineers have the ability to do these upgrades. For those of us not in LA the price of shipping and the consequences of equipment downtime makes it very difficult to keep up.
Best
John



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Steve MahrerRe: Dark Compression updates...
by on Feb 3, 2006 at 2:30:38 am

Hi Folks:

We added


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tony salgadoRe: Dark Compression updates...
by on Feb 3, 2006 at 3:39:16 am

Steve,

With all due respect if GMAC or Ford can figure out how to contact their customers during a recall or vehicle advisory I sincerely believe Panasonic can figure out how to contact the buyers (via email or snail mail) of the Varicam or SDX 900 to update them about critical software updates.

Software updates which increase the functionality of any camera are essential to the end users as well as owners in a constantly changing marketplace.

It is a win win scenario when everyone can stay ahead of the game instead of being left behind with outdated software.


Just my two cents,


Tony Salgado


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Bruce Alan GreeneRe: Dark Compression updates...and a software request
by on Feb 3, 2006 at 4:53:34 am

Thanks Steve for the info on the dark compression mode.

I purchased a model H in November. Is there a software update for this model to keep the dark compression on when powering off?


And a wish list request: It seems that there is a way to load custom gamma curves in a Sony f-900 via special software through the memory stick.

I would desperately love to be able to do the same when shooting in the Film Rec mode. The idea is to be able to take advantage of as much dymanic range as needed, and maximize the use of the limited 8 bits by normalizing the Film Rec gamma in the camera for wysiwyg style recording. I have found that the Knee/Gamma/Black Stretch in the Video Rec mode is a not the ideal way of handling this.

What would be way cool would be to have a little software program that lets one choose the dynamic level setting and apply a custom curve (like an "s" curve) to the dynamic level selected. This could then be downloaded to an SD card and loaded into the camera as a scene file. Perhaps one could just draw the curve as one does in photoshop.

Of course a remote paint box that allows one to draw the curve on a little screen and see the effect on the image instantly would even better, but also a more expensive solution.

So waddya think?

-bruce



Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Ray PalmerRe: Dark Compression Question on a Non-upgraded 2700F
by on Feb 3, 2006 at 2:05:57 pm

John.
Thanks for the reply to my post. We have a shoot in a cavern the middle of February with an original 2700F and I just booked time with Panasonic in Burbank to have our camera upgraded prior to our shoot date.
Our biggest complaint with our 2700F has always been noise in the blacks during a dark studio shoot. Outside in the Arizona sun, the camera looks great!

Thanks again to you and the Cow for letting me know about this.
All the best,
Ray


Ray Palmer, Engineer
Salt River Project
Phoenix, AZ
602-236-8224 office
There are three types of people in this world, those that can count and those that can't.


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