Comparing PDW-350 to HDX-900
Has anyone here done a comparison between these two? I happen to be particular to the look Panasonic cameras give me - I'm a big fan of the SDX-900 & Vari-Cam. But I'm presented with doing a docu-drama/real-life drama series in an area of the country that seems to have plethora of Sony XD-Cam & HVX-900s and have to admit that the workflow of the blu-ray sounds appealing - especially since our old HD deck doesn't read the tapes that come out of HDX-900s & sticking with Pansonic would mean dumping $22,000+ on a new deck.
I know all sorts of comparisons have been made between other Panasonic cameras, but those aren't exactly apples to apples, IMHO as far as price goes. I do find it funny though that despite the fact that the 2 cameras are similarly priced I can hire a PDW-350 crew much cheaper than an HDX-900 one...
So any side-by-sides or Panny converts out there? Also, I see B&H shows the PDW-U1 as not actually being in stock but they're 'Accepting Orders" - are these readily available or will I be in line for awhile? BTW, although $2600 is certainly pretty cheap for a pro-media "deck", the PDW-U1 seems awful pricy for being essentially a glorified blu-ray drive...
Anyway, thanks in advance!
You shouldn't put any more money into anymore tape decks; tape is dead, my friend. My understanding is, even Panasonic is coming out with a new Varicam which shoots to P2. If you go on their websites and check out their cameras, I think you'll see it's clear, both Sony and Panasonic are phasing out tape.
As I see it, there are three formats emerging: XDCAM, SxS, and P2. With each format, you're buying into an entire system. At this point, I'm not really sure one is better than the other; it really comes down to the specs of the camera [head] and what the technical requirments of the production are.
I've tried BOTH! I must say, that I like the fact that at the end of the day, if I use the F350, I have a TANGIBLE product! With the P2, I had to figure out what to do with the footage! I also like the "general" folder with XD Cam HD! In our post facility, we copy the editing/gfx/music project files and place them in that folder. This way, if we need to go back to that project, EVERYTHING associated with it is with the raw material. P2 just can't offer that. Finally, we had a VERY long interview... never stopped rolling... when finished a producer DROPPED a P2 card while running to feed the material... the card was "damaged" (although it didn't look like it physically!) and we lost the material on it an all the cards in the camera "after it..." (it was number 2). I had to send the card to Panasonic. When I got it back, it didn't hold as much data as before... 6.2GB instead of 8.
Well this is less of query of blu-ray vs. P2, I'm more interested in how the actual footage compares.
Thanks for replies...
G5 Quad 2.5| FCP HD | Kona LHe
I've actually had BOTH cameras on the same set of the same shoot. I had to match them. In doing so, I had to push the HDX900 to it's limit and bring the F350 down to be able to get them very close.
In the beginning, I was all about the HDX900. It was 2/3" chips v. 1/2" chip. That was until I actually shot footage on both, side by side. I dare anyone to be able to look at a monitor with BOTH cameras hooked up, in a blind viewing and say "that one is 2/3", and that one is 1/2"." I think the proof is in the pudding.
On that same shoot I was a bit worried. It was the first time I'd done green screen with the F350. I had shot green screen with the HDX and had decent results. The F350 blew the HDX away in color rendition; it was so much cleaner.
Yes the HDX900 puts out a nice image in 720. However, when it scales to the 1080 image it's not as good as the F350. I have yet to compare the F700 to the HDX900 in 720p, but since it's native image is 1080 and DOWNSCALES to 720, I don't think I will need to do so in order to understand the results.
Workflow has become huge for our company. Tapeless workflows are just awesome. I can bring the footage in, already in clip format, so much faster than tape. It's increasing our profit margins on EVERY job. I hope I never have to shoot tape again.
You also asked about the PDW-U1... I have serial number 0003! I think it's awesome now! They've upgraded the write back feature. It's fantastic! I know you say it's a little pricey for a "drive." HOWEVER, it's the ONLY Sony product currently capable of "all things XD." Meaning it will read/write XD Cam with the following codecs: DV Cam, IMX (30,40,50), XD HD (1080 in 18, 25, 35Mbps in all frame rates: 24,25,30,50,60)and XD HD 50 (720p & 1080p). The various decks, F70, F75, & 1500 can't do that. So it's really phenomenal in that respect.
In November, the structure of the discs will open in terms of architecture... Currently, the "general" folder has a limit of 500 Mb. Later this year that will open to the full capacity of the disc. This is great, you can store what ever you want in that folder. Currently, I copy our project files to that folder (time-lines; also I store graphics, After Effects files and music in that folder). Sometimes it's limiting because of the current limitations. It's great to store everything necessary to "build" a finished piece with the raw material on the same disc.
Band Pro may have them in stock. I'd check with Nir Reches in LA.