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JVC goes XDCAM EX

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Craig Seeman
JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 12:24:53 am

JVC goes XDCAM EX

GY-HM100U
Announced oddly enough at CES although it is three 1/4" chips.

Those who know their recent video announcement history may remember the Sony JVC XDCAM EX alliance announced at IBC with JVC announcing KA-MR100G Media Recorder which uses SxS cards.

The above camera info on JVC doesn't explicitly say XDCAM EX but it does say 35mbps MPEG-2 Long GOP. It is recording to SDHC just as the EX now does with the MxR adaptor. It is recording to MOV rather than MP4. Although the camera isn't Sony CineAlta I thought it was significant to post here given it means an expansion of the use of XDCAM and into the "prosumer" market.



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Noah Kadner
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 3:15:58 am

Hmm an XDCAM EX camera more than a year after Sony's? One can't help thinking if you go JVC as a brand you get evolutionary rather than revolutionary product.

Noah

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Craig Seeman
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 4:42:31 am

I remember hearing a talk a couple of years ago from several of the major camera manufacturers about where they were with going tapeless. Sony and Panasonic were already on their way. JVC and Canon seemed like they were in a quandary. It'll be interesting to see Canon's move.

JVC's camera almost seems to be what one might imagine would be Sony's replacement for the V1. JVC hit that market before Sony did which is quite interesting. Sony's still HDV in that area whereas JVC goes XDCAM.

There's some other odd history here too. Wasn't it JVC's VHS that beat Sony's Betamax. Betacam and derivatives ruled a good portion of the pro market for a very long time. So maybe Sony moves to make XDCAM the replacement for both HDV and Beta and JVC is the first to adapt it. I know not a direct parallel but certainly interesting to ponder.

There are some more pieces in the puzzle. A few months back at a trade show I saw the JVC SxS recorder and asked for a demo. He pulled a JVC SxS card out and that caught my attention (it wasn't on display, it just happened to be in the recorder which was attached to a JVC 200). I asked and he said the card was just a prototype.

More recently Sony pulls out of the "third party" card certification for low cost cards they promised the EX would work with. Sony updates the firmware for a USB based SxS compatible hard drive but the same firmware opens the door to SDHC being used in USB Express card adaptors in the EX cameras. JVC, although their recorder can handle SxS and supposedly had a prototype card, comes out with a camera that uses XDCAM EX but on SDHC. Sandisk, one of the Ss in SxS seems to be a beneficiary (and Transcend?). Note you can get 2 Sandisk Ultra 32GB cards (64GB) for a combined $300 that fit in the EX compared to nearly $1000 for Sony's 60GB hard drive. Sony doesn't go to a higher capacity hard drive even though many asked when they first saw it.

Meanwhile Panasonic has both P2/DVCProHD and AVC. P2 seems locked into high price and short record times with DVCPro HD. AVC doesn't have that ball and chain though.

. . . and Canon is silent. I don't think they're going to go a "third way." I think they're going to move to either AVC or XDCAM EX.

I think Sony wants XDCAM EX to be the next Beta. This time JVC took their side. Somehow Sony's choice of MP4 over MXF may be part of it. I'd bet Sony's going to move XDCAM EX further down (and up) the product line so their "Beta" will try rule both prosumer and professional. Sony and Panasonic are probably both courting Canon. Maybe NAB will be interesting. Maybe JVC chose CES to market what they seem to claiming is a low cost PROFESSIONAL camera for a reason. Note the JVC camera marketing page displays FCP and the camera's ability to record to MOV (and this announced at CES I must repeat). So Sony's MP4 can go to MXF or MOV, hows that for covering the bases.

I think we're seeing a very heavy chess game and a battle between AVC and XDCAM EX. Maybe NAB will be interesting after all even without RED, Scarlet, Chartreuse, Oranges, Apples, Avids.

What a puzzle (!!!) but it sure looks like Sony's been making all sorts of maneuvers. It certainly looks like Sony learned from the Betamax mistake (and XDCAM disc is base on Blu-ray but I'm not sure yet how that's playing into all this).



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Nick Righton
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 6:04:12 am

I got to hold this camera and get a demo of it at the world premier during the Final Cut Pro Super meet in San Francisco. They were able to pull the SD card from the camera plug it into a reader and edit multiple clips with dissolves / effects and real time playback directly from the card in final cut pro. The camera seems pretty sweet. It is only 3 pounds and very balanced. The 3 chip ccd beats the A1U's single cmos as well. They are looking for an April release for under 4 grand. Besides the various 35Mb/s XDCAM EX formats the camera will also record in both 1080i HDV 60 (25Mb/s) and 720p HDV (19Mb/s). AVCHD better look out, XDCAM EX is alive and well and so is HDV !!

I wish I was good at one thing rather than average at many, but oh well.


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Craig Seeman
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 12:49:23 pm

[Nick Righton] "They were able to pull the SD card from the camera plug it into a reader and edit multiple clips with dissolves / effects and real time playback directly from the card in final cut pro"

Just like you can do with EX1, EX3 which also can use SD cards now. I believe Sony knew exactly what it was doing when it opened those cameras to SDHC. Again the Sandisk part of SxS also benefits from sales of their SDHC Ultra II cards.

[Nick Righton] "The 3 chip ccd beats the A1U's single cmos as well."
And one will now be able to choose between using CCD or CMOS with XDCAM EX. It may be that the JVC HM700 is the start of the replacement for the JVC 100, 200, 250 line.

[Nick Righton] "Besides the various 35Mb/s XDCAM EX formats the camera will also record in both 1080i HDV 60 (25Mb/s) and 720p HDV (19Mb/s). AVCHD better look out, XDCAM EX is alive and well and so is HDV !!"

My bet is that HDV as a tape format is coming to an end. I'd almost guess that HDV itself may die given the significant improvement 35mbps VBR has over 25mbps CBR with only a small increase in file size. The HDV codec just maintains backward compatibility as the transition is made IMHO.

Yes this is going to be an XDCAM EX vs AVCHD war. Sony and JVC are on one side. Panasonic is on the other. Canon is the next prize. I wonder if they'll be XH "replacements" at NAB?

Interesting to look at SxS vs P2 also.
Sony puts the XDCAM EX codec on SDHC now.
Panasonic does NOT put DVCProHD on SDHC. They've been moving to AVCHD.
SDHC doesn't overcrank but SxS does. That's easy to surmount though if Sony is willing.
P2 is exorbitantly expensive compared to SDHC.
With SDHC card prices approaching the cost of XDCAM disc it'll be interesting to see where that goes as the "archive and hand to client" issue resolves for XDCAM EX.
It'll be interesting to see what Sony does (with HDV 25mbps CBR 4:2:0, XDCAM EX/HD 35mbps VBR 4:2:0, XDCAM HD 50mbps VBR 4:2:2) with that 50mbps variant. Get that on SDHC (Sandisk Extreme III?)

All this is going to have significant impact on Sony CineAlta and XDCAM. And I'll bet you thought it was simply "cute" that JVC was introducing a prosumer camera at CES.

BTW Canon is using MPEG4 (H.264) to MOV in the EOS 5D Mark II camera to record video. Does that lead them to AVC? Does Sony say we have MP4 and you can record that to MOV too? I'm just throwing this out there. I don't have an answer and it's all speculation until Canon makes an announcement.



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Nick Righton
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 7:35:07 pm

I wonder if DVCPRO HD's 100Mb/s bitrate is a limiting factror for use with the SDHC cards. I know that there are many that can handle a reported 20MB/s (160Mb/s) but that is the top speed of the card and cards generally do not sustain their top speed.

I wish I was good at one thing rather than average at many, but oh well.


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Michael Slowe
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 12:13:22 pm

Good summary Craig. It really does look right now, that with the Sony EX system now installed with the readers of this forum, we are in the vanguard of the developments in tapeless production. The JVC has smaller chips than the EX1 so we are not being upstaged. One advantage that I envisaged with the appearance of JVC was cheaper S X S cards. Are they using the identical ones to us or not? Personally I am now going to download the camera files to a small portable drive as I go so really have no need for more than 32 gigs (approx 2 hours) but this may not be enough for some units.

Anyone who has seen the JVC, does it have a proper viewfinder, something like the EX3? I still find that this is the one area where the EX1 falls down seriously.

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 1:33:50 pm

[Michael Slowe] "One advantage that I envisaged with the appearance of JVC was cheaper S X S cards."

Except for overcrank, SDHC handles the same thing a magnitude cheaper. At $25-$35 for 16GB SDHC, it's moving close to XDCAM disc price range. While I saw SxS card with JVC label (prototype) last year, JVC has not announced such a card. Actually we may have to see what Sony does with 50mbps 4:2:2 XDCAM. Either that'll use SxS or it'll go to SDHC or . . . that'll be left to XDCAM disc.

I don't think SxS will get much less expensive. It may die altogether. It may be that Sony has decided that codec is what they want to "win" with rather than media. As it stands both Sony and JVC are in alliance and both now allow SDHC recording. Remember Juan Martinez saying something to about it "taking too long" when it came to 3rd party card certification and their reason for finally not pursuing it. I think Sony felt leaving it "to the market" and simply making it accessible to the EX with firmware upgrade would accelerate the acceptance of the codec itself and a move to SDHC.


[Michael Slowe] "Personally I am now going to download the camera files to a small portable drive as I go so really have no need for more than 32 gigs (approx 2 hours) but this may not be enough for some units. "

I think the "market" will feel that way too. Hence why Sony didn't bother with larger capacity drive than the 60GB. It was DOA out the door. The firmware that made the drive work also made USB adaptor for SDHC work.

[Michael Slowe] "Anyone who has seen the JVC, does it have a proper viewfinder, something like the EX3? I still find that this is the one area where the EX1 falls down seriously. "

But Sony has that killer high resolution LCD. This may be one of the areas where Sony and JVC differentiate themselves for the time being. I don't think Sony will eschew viewfinders despite the EX3 (which is similar in form to Canon XL H). Heck the EX5 might end up looking like the JVC HD250 (tangential speculation) but with a good viewfinder and LCD.

BTW if you look at JVC HM100 marketing video note the Sandisk Extreme III product placement.
http://pro.jvc.com/pro/attributes/CAMERA/clips/itspossible.html
and FCP as well but that's tangential.




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Michael Slowe
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 10, 2009 at 8:17:08 pm

Great Craig, no worries then but I thought that Sony wanted the S X S to become an industry standard. Are the SDHC virtually the same thing and only the overcranking feature the difference?

By the way, I agree the EX1 screen is good but only when you can see it! In bright daylight (never mind sun) precise focus is tricky and impossible without a very deep hood indeed. There is an ingenious "Hood - Pro' device with a glass in the top which, whilst not quite EX3, helps a good deal.

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: JVC goes XDCAM EX
on Jan 11, 2009 at 7:36:28 pm

[Michael Slowe] "I thought that Sony wanted the S X S to become an industry standard."
Never that I know of. Sony was talking about 3rd party card support even before the EX came out. I went to one of those events months before the camera came out and they were talking 3rd party support.

I think they want the XDCAM EX codec to be the industry standard though. I think that's the motive for the alliance with JVC. As I mention before, it's no longer media but codec. Media technology changes too quickly for there to be an "standard" for more than a few short years. Sony is battling AVC variants. I understand that given the nature of the MPEG2 standard, there's significant latitude to improve encode/decode so I suspect Sony believes that'll have life for many years. We're already seeing 50mbps 4:2:2.

I'd love to see the MPEG2 vs AVC arguments somewhere. I know AVC Intra supporters say that as long as you have GOP you can have "predictive" issues and the supporters of MPEG2 will say file efficiency will always be critical yet MPEG2 can expand as more quality is needed (hence 50mbps 4:2:2).





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Rafael Amador
OT: VHS/Betamax
on Jan 10, 2009 at 1:15:33 pm

[Craig Seeman] "What a puzzle (!!!) but it sure looks like Sony's been making all sorts of maneuvers. It certainly looks like Sony learned from the Betamax mistake"
From the three original domestic video formats, V-2000 (Philips), Betamax(SONY) and VHS (JVC), the one that success in the end, was the worst of the tree: VHS.
Video 2000, the best one with difference, was the first in disappear.
One of the reasons why Betamax failed in front of VHS was because people preferred VHS just because took less time to start to play the movie and the REW and FFW was faster. When the VHS started be ahead
the people of the video-renting shops decided that for them was a complication to keep stock of the same films in two different formats.
About the bet of JVC with the new camera, I hope they do well. I think that JVC is a very honest company but the people have a "second row' image of them. They make good products at good prices but some times that's not enough.
Cheers,
Rafael


http://www.nagavideo.com


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Bruce Rawlings
Re: OT: VHS/Betamax
on Jan 10, 2009 at 1:33:28 pm

I hope Canon go with the flow - SxS. I have always fancied their cameras but they always do something silly. Compatible playback on standard decks was the deal breaker for me. As for Panasonic's P2 the costs now seem absolutely ridiculous compared to SxS or XDR solutions.



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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: VHS/Betamax
on Jan 10, 2009 at 1:39:41 pm

It'll be interesting to see where Canon goes. Just as I think this JVC camera is actually a MAJOR comment on the state of codecs, Canon will determine where this codec war is headed.

Interesting that that Canon EOS 5D Mark II uses H.264 MPEG4 to MOV. Will that be an indicator of where Canon goes with codec?

It's possible Canon could go with AVCHD to SDHC card.

It may well be that both SxS and P2 are dead and in time XDCAM Disc too.
Flash cards are inexpensive. The war will be the codec.




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Craig Seeman
Re: OT: VHS/Betamax
on Jan 10, 2009 at 2:14:07 pm

[Rafael Amador] "rom the three original domestic video formats, V-2000 (Philips), Betamax(SONY) and VHS (JVC), the one that success in the end, was the worst of the tree: VHS. "

I'm sure Panasonic will argue that AVC HD is better than XDCAM EX just as they argued DVCProHD was better. It's usually convenience that wins. Keep in mind that while Betamax failed Betacam became the standard in pro circles.

[Rafael Amador] "One of the reasons why Betamax failed in front of VHS was because people preferred VHS just because took less time to start to play the movie and the REW and FFW was faster. When the VHS started be ahead the people of the video-renting shops decided that for them was a complication to keep stock of the same films in two different formats. "

VHS had longer record/playback times if I remember. 2 hour standard vs 1 hour. I believe the porn industry was actually a big player in the market decision although that's often not admitted.

Note that it's not going to be about the media (SxS vs P2) so keeping stock won't be an issue. It'll be about XDCAM EX and AVCHD and the common media will be SD, SDHC and future derivatives. We are mixing apples and oranges between consumer and pro though.

As far as RECORDING media it'll be SD cards and variants for both consumers and pros. The codec battle will be interesting and JVC becomes the first "wild card" to make a choice.

I'd note that as far as video renting shops, Blu-ray discs can handle both MPEG2 Long GOP as well as AVC. Since Download is now a player in that market, that's clearly AVC/H.264 as far as that goes. With Flash and Silverlight supporting H.264 it seems we have a winner in that battle but I don't want to get too far afield.

It IS relevant that this all a codec war playing out in different arenas between MPEG2 Long GOP and AVC. JVC really touts the MPEG-2 Long GOP codec in the marketing stuff for their camera.

Your comments about the worst format winning may be apropos since there may be similar sentiments about MPEG-2 Long GOP and AVCHD. I don't want to make a judgement here. I'm writing all this because I don't think anyone has laid out all the puzzle pieces yet and, to me at least, JVC's camera announcement was a key piece in the not yet completed puzzle.

In short, JVC's announcement will be significant to Sony and the CineAlta line and the codec it uses. In the long run it may have implications for HDCAM too although I can't even begin to speculate about that (yet).

It also means that with Sony, Panasonic, now JVC, tape is about dead. Canon HAS to decide "something". As I say, NAB might actually be a big indicator of the future.

BTW this probably means SD (flash card) recording is about to kill hard drive recording (from cameras) too for the most part. Convergent Design is probably pointing to the future too in this regard.





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Rafael Amador
Re: OT: VHS/Betamax
on Jan 11, 2009 at 2:41:56 am

As you say Craig, a puzzle. In this business you never know. The VHS won but the Betacam became the world standard. When PANASONIC launched the M-II, at least in Europe, couldn't go to far away.
For the big companies must be really difficult to decide to put a new format in the market when they know they are already cooking something better.
"This is a time of miracles and wanders.." so many things coming. We will end up recording raw RGB and PCM audio in our mobile phones.
Cheers,
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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