There were a few threads over in the Varicam area about this new offering, but couldn't find one here in HPX land. I thought I'd put myself out there for all the P2 clan to throw stones at!
This new deal is a telling move by Panasonic that these cameras are not selling. We have had the 2700 now for a few months and its also not working much.
when I heard of this deal first I thought "Wow, great deal..." as I ponder what camera to dump and where to pull 30k for a camera moments earlier I didn't want. Then 5 minutes later, I'm admitting they really got me going there for a few minutes.
But even at 30k (or about half the price of a new 3700) its still 30k sitting on the shelf. Very few clients in my part of the world want to use this expensive P2 varicam system. I'd much rather spend money on a pile of Ex-1's and Ex-3"s, because that's whats renting right now. Panasonic's stock is falling fast because of too much investment in P2. They moved away from tape too fast before the industry was ready, offered too many models to choose from, and at prices that were obviously way high given the expensive tape transport was now gone.
Tom (in the Varicam area) is right on the mark saying this feels like "transition time". This is one big reason why people don't want to plunk down 60k (or even 30k) into any of these systems, because these flash card camera/record systems are still relatively new and we can all clearly see how fast the technology is changing. The price drop on memory is an obvious huge elephant in the room waving a flag of "technology transition" caution. Most understand that the idea of paying 2k for a 32gb card these days will be looked at 2 years from now and laughed at. Clearly tape will be disappearing in the years to come, but there are a lot of tape systems (camera's and decks) still being depreciated on schedule "C's" in a tough economy. The next step up will be massive storage for very cheap and it wont be these little cards that cost a bundle that we can loose so easily. It will take a different form, and all these expensive P2 camcorders (and SxS) will be tossed, or sold off very cheap. The next advancement will also most likely solve the tranfer/archieve debacle in one fell swoop.
Panasonic has put too many eggs into the P2 basket, at a bad time in the economy and a transitionary period in the industry (and they are currently paying the price at the "bleeding edge").
We are buying only what there is actual demand for, and waiting this round out if possible. the 3700 is the flagship P2 camera that nobody wants, even at 30k "a dog is a dog" (I wouldn't buy it for 15k). Sorry Pany, love your tape products (and the HPX-170 is a petty good camera), but you have too many P2 models that are confusing your customer. It feels like the marketing department has taken over and there isn't enough raising of the "technology bar" like you used to do. I'm buying a lot of Sony gear these days because the demand is rising, and which camera to purchase is an easier choice. (Don't get me started on the "intra" codec)
Those new cheaper P2 cards are another odd move by this company (planned failure??) what a bizarre marketing ploy! Well I wouldn't load up on those slight cheaper cards because I predict that 3-5 years from now P2 is dying or possibly completely dead because of big advances in storage technology and this P2 card profile will look like child's play. But you have to toss a perfectly good camera at the same time....(hmmm).
Wait this one out, save your money. Use the gear that's already available to get your job done in this tough economy, things are changing fast in memory and storage. What SHOULD be coming is a way to modularize the camera from the recorder, or the storage (oh yea, Red has sorted this out), and we are already using outboard file based record systems on our older cameras.
Ding ding, ding, (bells ringing) HELLO Panasonic..... its already happening whether you design (and build) for this change or not.
When they design the system in a modular way we might be willing to spend 20-25k on a 2/3" (or larger sensor) camera, knowing that we wont have to throw the "camcorder" out in 2 years when the next record or storage advancement comes along. Equal opportunity slamming here... Sony's disc camera's are a step forward in some ways, but does anybody believe this will survive.... spinning disc's being burned in the field? No way, solid state must win in the end. The "End" is very far away, but the point is to be able to recognize the transition that we are in, and try to forecast how fast the next move forward will arrive. The big players probably already have the next record/storage solution in their RD department and its only a matter of when to draw a line in the sand and produce the next system (and not sell short the current model). Seeing the poor sales performance of the P2 (in 2/3") and the obvious flaw in Sony's disc's system makes we think the next advancement cant come fast enough for these 2 struggling companies.
Maybe Red's "Scarlet", and the huge interest in HD output DSLR's will wake these giants up to the new digital world we are in. The old juggernaut business model for Sony and Panasonic is dead and the little guys are picking up more market share every day. We will soon see if they can swing with the advances, or die a slow death not trying!
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
I’m sure a lot of P2 fans are here and think I’m off base, because they are very happy with the P2 cameras and workflow. I have a slightly different perspective running a rental operation, and can see that the happy users are the minority (at least in my experience). I’ve also spent 33 years behind the lens shooting so I have a user perspective. I wanted to speak a bit more about P2, how we got here, and raise the question about where we might be headed.
Feel free to turn it off, correct my assumptions (when you know different), or offer your take on where we are. I’m just sharing my view and opinions.
When this technology came out it was solving a data rate problem for mini cameras. Sony had HDV format converting an existing tape size (mini-dv), and compressing the 1080i HD signal into its limiting 25mp data stream rate. Most were amazed by the image from this pint-sized camera but were unhappy with the compression onto the dv tapes even though the 1/3” 1080 line camera section looked very good. Sony was the “first to market” with the Z1U mini Hd camcorder and enjoyed that market position.
Panasonic was a bit behind the 1/3” HD camera release and took the higher road with a bit rate needed to record to there own DVC-pro codec to flash media. Flash had been out for a while in consumer cameras but not yet in pro (or semi-pro) equipment. At that time the largest (and limiting factor) was that the largest capacity flash cards were 1(one) gb. This wasn’t enough space to record very long segment, (about 1 minute), so you might surmise that this was one of the big motivations behind the idea to package four 1gb SD memory cards into one 4gb “P2” assembly. This way they could also control the quality of the media P2 was born and the HVX-200 arrived.
Oddly (what might have been an omen) the very same point in time the new Macbook Pro’s arrived on scene and had taken the same card slot out of the new laptops that would have made P2 transfer’s much easier. On day one P2 was outdated (interesting). You mean Panasonic and Apple who seemed to be in communication with final cut etc, somehow were way out of sync with this memory format?
Very quickly the HVX was the mini HD camera to own because it was a better recording (dvc-pro) and also matched our Varicam’s format and “look” much better. We all were learning this new “flash media” dance of transferring to hard drives etc, in the fast growing mini-cam market segment.
Many thousands of these HVX cameras were sold, and it wasn’t long after that we started hearing the rumors of a P2 varicam. I’m guessing Panasonic was feeling pretty good about the sales of these 200’s and wanted to parley this fervor into more models, as I’m sure the Varicam sales had slowed (or stopped) because of the HDX-900.
Soon there after the hvx came out with only 4gb cards, the 8gb P2 cards arrived, and then 16’s. The advances in the technology and subsequent drop in price for consumer memory was coming very fast, this is only about 2 years ago, and already 32 gb cards are common, and 64’s are here. From one gb to 64gb in about 2 years, that’s double in capacity 6 times over. Consumer memory needs has been the driver and card capacity and data speeds have improved considerably. The memory prices have fallen to where it’s become a non-issue in the consumer world, yet it’s still a very big issue for Panasonics P2 memory (price gouging anybody?).
Both the P2 and SxS cards are small in capacity and speed relative to where, we need to go in the future. This is where huge advances have taken place in the last 2 years, and Id guess we are in for more big advances going forward, maybe even quantum leaps with Holographic, etc.
The demand for bigger sensors, higher frame rates, bit rates, and transfer speeds is out there but limited by these (already old) consumer “memory stick” platforms. Somehow Red has worked its way around some of these limitations with much bigger sensors, and higher frame rates, and… they were also smart to NOT build the memory receptor into the actual camera body. At Red they understand that this technology could change overnight and they are ready for anything new to come along.
Panasonic and Sony are currently missing this important concept and have produced systems stuck with the memory technology of today (or actually yesterday) built into the camera/recorders at a time of fast change. Sony and Panasonic both now sell outboard recorders, but are missing the obvious next step which is to design this idea into the system rather then an after thought.
When Red’s Scarlet comes out, and Canon or Nikon begins to solve some of the issues that these new High def DSLR’s have, the Pro world which used to be limited to Panasonic and Sony brands will loose more market to these new innovative digital solutions, market share they can ill afford in this bad economic environment. The big boys must innovate soon, or they may be in much more trouble gong forward. The Convergence Design and AJA both with very interesting offerings that bypass limitations in cam-recorder designs and give us options like the ability to record directly to Final Cut’s “Pro Res” format, bypassing what looks like were un-necessary (proprietary) format conversions in-between.
P2 memory (and SxS) cards “built in” is an advancement limiter, and Panasonic needs to break out of this already old technology (designed when 1gb was the top end) and jump to a storage platform that has upside develop-ability with much higher data rates and storage capacity. Sony (with the XD disk) is in a similar bad position where XD is maxed out on speed at 35-50mbs. But Sony is in the better position NOT having leapt into 2/3” stick memory camera’s, Sony has been more restrained, and therefore, possibly getting ready for a more innovative move going forward.
I’m guessing that the memory companies are working on the next generation of platforms that have more upside develop ability. That breaks out of the natural restrictions for speed and capacity of CF, or SD stick limitations. These were designed and built when 8mb was the card that camera with your new digital camera a decade ago. Do you think it would look different if designed today? If so what’s stopping the next design?
The next generation might have capacities starting at 50gb, and up to 500 gb or higher? What if they cost about what we are used to for spending on tape (or less) per minute of run time, and so we could easily justify leaving the material on these solid state memory sticks as our archival medium (like we are used to with tape)? At this point we will transcended the transfer/achieve issue (which is very real problem) and may arrive soon at the place where even the “old school” tape producers will be ready to bail at the next chance to upgrade their camera system and workflow.
I’ve been surprised to see Panasonic put so much stock into this P2 and as fast as they did, dropping tape support (to a degree) at the same time ….but just last year you sold us a bunch of tape products that will last for many years to come! (what’s with that?). The market coercion that has grown at the same time as P2 is plain to see. If anybody has needed a head replacement in a Dvc-pro deck will notice that the price has doubled in the same time all the new P2 products arrived (Hmmm,) that’s one way to try and coerce the industry out of tape usage. The marketers seem to be in control at Panasonic and they will pay the price for not being smarter (technically), then the next company rather then attempt to manipulate there way towards sales.
The digital world marches on. Even your basic hard drive that has been with us since the beginning of the digital revolution will soon be on the digital trash heap (along with floppies) as solid state takes center stage and advancements accelerate. In a few years the hard drive will look very “old school“ (and rightfully so).
These professional 2/3” cameras are built to last for many years. I had my first betacam for about 10 years. I still have my first varicam bought in 2004. My Varicam still works great, looks great and I expect if anybody still wants to use it will still work fine 5 years from now. Even the internal hours counter goes almost forever, but maybe Panasonic has other plans for the demise and shorter life span (trade-in 3700, etc). Does anybody think the P2 varicam will be viable 10 years from now? Will this odd P2 memory assembly born when one GB was the largest memory size available still live 10 years from now in this fast moving digital world?
The digital world is advancing very fast. Particularly in data speed, storage capacity and to be stuck with the same memory profile (P2) will likely hold back the advancements sure to be coming soon.
The camera section of these camcorders work very well, and you can see the advances in this “capture” part of the system are slowing relative to the recording. It’s the record/storage side of the equation that’s changing very fast and feels “transitionary”. Who wants to spend 30-40k on a camcorder only to have to trade in for pennies on the dollar to get the next new thing when it’s just the back half that has advanced, and the camera section is more or less the same? These P2 Varicams are an example, where our cameras work fine, and we are being asked to move up to p2, when the capture side is very similar in specs. It’s basically a workflow change, but we have to toss the front end along with the tape recorder because of the one-piece design (hmmm).
Red is on the cutting edge with its modular concept. Trade in the camera head for the newer version, and keep the accessories and data storage solutions. It makes us smarter consumers and more willing to spend on the next advancement when we aren’t wasting a bunch of technology that works fine (the camera section), and make an improvement in another part of the system. Its different with a mini cam when the whole set-up just costs 5-8k and getting your investment out is faster and smaller/lighter is the main driver. But when were being asked to spend 30-40-60 for a 2/3” camcorder to possibly be out dated in 2 years when they are built to last 10 –15 years… who wants to do that? Add a bad economic environment, and it should be no surprise the P2 Varicam’s are not selling. It’s a HUGE risk to take when we are in transition. We’ve all seen how fast the move from tape has come for this company and we inherently feel uncomfortable spending massive cash because we understand that it can change fast again and we will be left with an out dated camcorder that nobody wants anymore (anybody seen Varicam resale prices?)! We see how this company is cutting its tape products like a cancer, and it could happen again with P2 when the next thing comes along.
The professional industry doesn’t trust Panasonic anymore from the last few years of P2 card pricing ….marketing ploys, too many models, overpriced products, etc. It feels like they have made bad choices and they are making us pay for these questionable moves.
If Panasonic produced a modular system it would change everything towards moving forward rather then the sales department ruling the roost. The customer will feel more in control and comfortable with they’re huge investment possibly being worth something 3-5-7 years out because they could replace the section that has made the latest advancement (if they want) and not HAVE to replace the entire cam-recorder because a part of the system that has advanced.
It’s so obvious a problem and solution it seems too simple. I realize Panasonic would love to sell us a new 50k camcorder every 2 years, but nobody can afford it, and it won’t happen. I believe they thought they could force us all to get rid of perfectly good, working tape cameras and buy these P2 products, but they have miscalculated the customer and the industry. Whoever is in control at Pany is missing this important point. They just successfully sold us HDX-900’s and decks by the thousands (from the year previous) what do they expect us to do, dump this new expensive gear already?
The Panasonic’s current product line (in 2/3”) reminds me of the poker shows on TV where the guy in the hoody and mirror glasses pushes all his chips towards the middle and proclaims “all in”. That’s what Panasonic has done with they’re bet on P2. I think they made a huge bet, its not working out and they need to cut they’re losses (i.e., the 3700 deal).
This “Digital Revolution” is truly revolutionary but many people feel constrained by what they have to do t make the P2 work flow smooth for them (because its not ready). P2 is not an idea “who’s time has come”. Lets look towards what is next and I’ll bet then we will see a bigger movement out of tape in a NATURAL transition (not manipulated) because then the tape systems will be a bit older, and the digital storage solutions will be out there…. and it will all work together flawlessly as is required for an “idea who’s time has come”. The move from 35mm film to digital in the stills world happened so fast it was natural and obvious coarse change. So far we are not there with flash media in full size 2/3” digitalvideo for some of these reasons.
Modular is the way forward in professional camera/recorders (I believe) until we can safely conclude that advances have slowed or stopped and the options are few. These big companies need to understand we are in transition and design for this obvious fact. Design a slick system with interchangeable front (camera), and back (recorder/storage). Some would want the multi format variable frame camera head, others just 30 frame and can save money. On the back half, some would want all record formats, others just dvcpro, etc. As Red has done they could even offer the 35mm sensor option into a system of this front vs. rear-end concept approach.
The storage could be chosen also. P2 for those that have a big investment in this media, or the next advancement that’s about to come out in solid state. They could even hang a small 66m tape size tape deck for those that have an investment in decks in they’re edit suit and want to hang on to this way to record (don’t try and force feed your customers). All brought together with a nice, solid, contemporary locking system to mate the front to the rear.
I’m guessing many here remember the large, heavy, ugly 2 piece betacam Sony still sells today but a 21st century solution to a mating camera-recorder-storage system would be very slick and make the old 2 piece Sony (designed probably 25 years ago) look pretty sad.
Panasonic and Sony are both unfortunately a bit slow to change (or learn). Look to Red for what’s possible. Red seems to change specs, and designs every other week, and this speaks to how quickly the advancements are coming in the arena of these motion/digital capture tools we use. Seems we are just at the beginning of what’s to come going forward in this new digital world, and we should understand our position on the digital "time line". These 2 big companies need to recognize, understand this perspectve and how the customer needs security in these big investments they expect us to make. Whether its "trade up" deals like Red is doing, and/or investment protective modular designs. Panasonic and Sony have to solve this basic problem in this fast changing 21st century or suffer the consequences.
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
I'm glad I'm not in the rental business. The diversity of product, not just Panasonic, makes equipment choices for rental houses a nightmare.
As a producer, however, the diversity of choices is great. Two years ago we bought an HPX500. It totally eclipsed our older Beta camera package. We couldn't be happier with this choice. As I look at the Panasonic lineup I see choices for users at any level in the production business to make an excellent price-performance decision.
I agree a way to isolate the camera from the "recorder" is important. And there are already a few ways to do that - Flash XDR, AJA KiPro and even Panasonic has an off-camera recorder, the AG-HPG20. These three recording devices can be used with any camera with SDI output. If you have an older camera with component outputs, you can use a low cost converter that converts component into SDI (see AJA).
In the end, the market will determine the winners and losers. Right now I wouldn't write off Panasonic or Sony, both proven winners over the years.
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Hi John, I'm definitely not counting these companies out. But for the reasons above I believe they are both behind the curve right now. Doesn’t mean people won’t be happy with the products available, it seems you are happy with your camera and that’s great!
My motivation is not to convince people not to buy these products, or be unhappy with the choice they have made, but to encourage conversation and maybe some folks might become engaged by some part of what we are talking about and bring there own good idea’s… and just maybe….. a little tiny piece of logic will migrate its way into the collective consciousness of the digital community and who knows maybe…. Panasonic is listening somehow (even though it seems like they don’t pay attention).
Were not used to the idea of thinking about what a product should be, but rather we buy what’s available and trust the company has done diligence and knows best what to produce. I’d like to believe talking about the possibilities in a public forum (that all can read and contribute) could possibly help these companies make better design decisions going forward by listening to what people have to say. I don’t know who they listen to when its time to put pen to paper and spec the next camera design, have they ever asked you?
None of these ideas above are new. Red is on the cutting edge and I only point out the obvious difference between what these 2 big companies have produced v.s. what Red is doing. Red is un-constrained by much of the big company issues that plague Sony and Panasonic, and therefore they are more nimble, innovative, and forward thinking. In today tough economy and fast changing digital environment it seems nimble and forward thinking should be important. The lack of sales in the big 2’s high-end products are telling a story worth listening to.
I want to buy products for my customers that make sense, and there are too many cameras in Panasonics current line that don’t make sense. How do I know? The 3700 deal offered means lack of sales. My own 3000, and 2700 that are not renting... and many, many conversations with my customers has brought me to this place of questioning the logic of current features/designs and how we arrived here.
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
OK, we can start this again.
Last time it was about the 300:
You're right about Red, it's a very smart way to think about things, but there's still only the Red One to talk about as the truly modular 'brain' system isn't out yet, and still unproven. No doubt that will change in time, but it's silly to speculate on something that you can't use today especially in a production environment. I don't see Red's listed in your rental inventory. If you have one, is it renting?
You better believe Panasonic is listening. They would be silly not to look at Red and see what's going on over there. I also believe that Red and Panasonic have totally different market segments (celluloid film replacement vs TV), but what do I know.
The P2 system is a well thought out system. From first glance, it might seem crazy, the more you learn and know about what they have done, the system starts to look very very smart. Do you understand the MXF format, and further, do you understand Panasonic's implementation of MXF?
It is obvious that you don't have much experience in the post arena which is a huge consideration when thinking about the entire production pipe line. Working with Red files is a lot more time consuming and cumbersome than P2.
You mentioned about P2 camera being viable in 10-15 years. 10-15 years? Who cares? Gone are the days of one format that can last 10-15 years and also gone is the idea of future proofing. Things are still being shaken out and moving too fast to future proof anything, as the future quite literally means tomorrow. Tomorrow, something else will be invented and brought to market that will obsolete the latest and greatest. There are so many options and choices out there that it makes it hard to make smart decisions. The sheer amount of research that has been done in order to understand all these new formats is extremely daunting and next to impossible for some people. There's simply not enough time in the day to look around and also go make money. On the other hand, if there weren't options and choices and all we had were tape based HDV cameras, we'd all be complaining about why we are stuck with HDV when it's obvious there's better technology out there.
As far as Panasonic's price drop, yeah, it is a sign of the times. The market drives the price in this economy. Look around, everyone is slashing prices on bug ticket items. Good time to buy if you have the means. You have stated a lot of points as fact, do you really know Panasonic's camera sales figures? Do you know they aren't selling cameras? They might not be selling the high end 3700, but I don't think they intended to put those in the hands of every shooter worldwide. It's not that type of camera.
Also, in your experience, what is wrong with AVC-Intra? Just curious as you said "don't get me started" but I'd like to hear about your experience with it.
[Erich Roland] "and many, many conversations with my customers has brought me to this place of questioning the logic of current features/designs and how we arrived here"
What are they saying? Again, just curious.
Jeremy, (yes here we go again). Everybody comes from a different place. You bought into the P2 (was it the 2000?) and you have something at stake because you want your investment to grow. Your a regular here help people get through the issues they have, and that's great!
I have a seat at the table where the "rubber meets the road" you might say. Ive spent a fair amount of money getting ready for 2/3" P2 and its not happening. Small camera production is another story, a ton of HVX's have been sold and are used everyday, however Sony's EX cameras are quickly passing the Panasonic P2 products in the small camera category from my experience. I've sold off extra HVX inventory and currently buying more EX-3's in response to our client demands and trends. You might think my rental operation is an anomaly to the rest of the world, but I doubt it. In the coarse of doing rentals I talk to people from all over the country everyday, and this is my experience. You talk to P2 fan boys in this forum, and that's your experience.
Tape (2/3") is still very much alive in my corner of the world and we supply a lot of different kinds of productions for rentals. I still don't know anybody personally who has bought a P2 Varicam and mine go out all too rarely. These simple facts tell me a lot about the 2/3" P2 sales. Add the 3700 1/2 price deal... what else do I need to know to conclude that these cameras are not selling?
Jeremy from your response, the part you may not get, is... you make it sound like I care and have an axe to grind. But I could care less who makes a better product, I will buy what the customer wants and get rid of whats not working because that's good business practice.
I only post my thoughts on the subject to help folks consider whats wrong with where we are and where we should be headed. Maybe these companies will listen to logic (once in a while) and become smarter about the products they produce and this will rise all boats.
When the cameras aren't selling.... one should examine WHY, and that all I'm doing... so get over it!
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
[Erich Roland] ". You bought into the P2 (was it the 2000?)"
[Erich Roland] "and you have something at stake because you want your investment to grow."
Cameras are like cars: They are not investments until they are antiques, unless you're in the rental business.
We bought ours as it was the right camera (image quality) at the right price that we could compete with, and had the right post workflow. We didn't buy it so it will appreciate, we bought it to allow us to take nice pictures and edit comfortably. We looked and looked, and the Panasonic solution was what we chose. It was a decision we made and it turned out to be the right one at the time. IF we had to buy another camera right now (today), I bet I'd come to the same decision, except we'd probably get the 2700.
[Erich Roland] "I have a seat at the table where the "rubber meets the road" you might say. Ive spent a fair amount of money getting ready for 2/3" P2 and its not happening. "
Yes, these cameras are a bit of a different market than EX3s. The 2/3" P2 market perhaps is not in your area?
[Erich Roland] "I've sold off extra HVX inventory and currently buying more EX-3's in response to our client demands and trends."
Well there you go, follow your demands. This makes perfect sense. So why do you always come back here and complain about Panasonic? You should be praising Sony.
[Erich Roland] "You might think my rental operation is an anomaly to the rest of the world, but I doubt it. In the coarse of doing rentals I talk to people from all over the country everyday, and this is my experience."
The big rental house we use here in Chicago is selling it's stock of F900s at a steal of a price. What's left? Arri, Red, Panasonic and Phantom, with a Sony f23 s well. Every market is different. The other rental house we go to has mostly Panasonic cameras for rent in the 2/3" variety. Maybe that's what the market is telling them.
[Erich Roland] "You talk to P2 fan boys in this forum, and that's your experience. "
[Erich Roland] " Add the 3700 1/2 price deal... what else do I need to know to conclude that these cameras are not selling? "
Yeah, THAT camera, the 3700. You made some gross sweeping gestures that none of Panasonic's cameras were selling in your first post. I don't know anyone who has used a 3700, but I know a few 2700 owners. They love it. If we see a ubiquitous adaptation to 3D, the 3700 will have it's place with AVC-Ultra and 1080p60. Until then, it waits.
[Erich Roland] "I will buy what the customer wants and get rid of whats not working because that's good business practice. "
Sure is. Sounds like that's what you are doing with the Sony cameras. Why hang out here?
[Erich Roland] "I only post my thoughts on the subject to help folks consider whats wrong with where we are and where we should be headed"
...and that's Panasonic's fault or just the state of the industry?
[Erich Roland] "When the cameras aren't selling.... one should examine WHY, and that all I'm doing... so get over it! "
If the Red camera was $60,000, or the EX1 or EX3 $$25,000 they wouldn't be selling near as much as it has. Plain and simple.
Now, we still haven't talked about post or recording formats, but I don't think you care about that end of it. That's fine too and maybe you and you clients aren't concerned with that. One of the reasons I chose the 2000 was because of the post workflow. People who look at the Sony solution clearly have never picked up a copy of FCP or don't work on it day in and day out with XDCam material. I have edited a number of different EX1/EX3 shoots and they are constantly more work and effort and lower quality than the I frame CBR DVCpro HD or even better 10 bit AVC-I workfow, but maybe that's just me, I am concerned about that end of the production cycle.
Jeremy, I'm sure your well intentioned, but you seem to think the world revolves around Panasonic P2 products, but I'm fairly confident you are mistaken. I have a different experience and I come here to share it, that's one reason why these forums exist, no?
I speak with a lot of people about these issues everyday and many agree with the things I've been talking about. Many who have been around a long time, Pro's who can see beyond the end of their nose. I think you are young and don't have much perspective on the bigger picture of where we have come from and where we may be going.... that's what I've been speaking about.
(Jeremy Garchow says) You mentioned about P2 camera being viable in 10-15 years. 10-15 years? Who cares? Gone are the days of one format that can last 10-15 years and also gone is the idea of future proofing. Things are still being shaken out and moving too fast to future proof anything, as the future quite literally means tomorrow.
This statement shows your lack of appreciation for to what it means to invest large amounts of money into a system, and be confident in the investment years out. I believe this is one of the main reasons P2 is not selling, relative to the "all in" bet that Panasonic has made towards the P2 format.
(Jeremy) "Things are still being shaken out"
(maybe you do understand?)
Panasonic has bet heavily the world would follow into P2 and the world has not. Because many production entities have been around a while means they aren't running out to buy the latest trick because they also want to be around a few years longer.
You've said "gone are the days" of needing an investment to last 10 years, but this is where Panasonic has miss-judged its customer. Today even more then 5 years ago (before P2) consumers need to be smarter as the economy is tougher to negotiate a profit. Who can buy a 50k camera if it will only be worth 10 thousand in a few years as many Varicam owners have experienced? This is 101 Jeremy, and your failing to see this larger aspect because your intoxicated with proxy files, that most don't use or care about.
I've said this before... I'm not here to bash Panasonic Per-se, I own a lot of Panasonic equipment (although I think the've made bad moves), I'm here to try and help them be better gear manufacturers because I need them to be smarter then they have been and not make these kind of mistakes going forward. Its called "tough love".
I have no axe to grind. I only use my eyes and ears, speak to my clients and 34 years worth of associates and form opinions. I have shared what I believe to be true, just like you do.
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
[Erich Roland] "I have no axe to grind."
that is not the way your posts come across.
[Erich Roland] "You've said "gone are the days" of needing an investment to last 10 years, but this is where Panasonic has miss-judged its customer."
Sorry, but that is the nature of the world, so you have 34 years in the biz, great!
now get over it, the industry you started in does not exist anymore, there are no long term apprenticeships, anyone can and is a shooter now a days, and those that are more flexible with the systems in use will do better.
[Erich Roland] "shows your lack of appreciation for to what it means to invest large amounts of money into a system, and be confident in the investment years out. I believe this is one of the main reasons P2 is not selling, relative to the "all in" bet that Panasonic has made towards the P2 format. "
Look this is the part that has changed- big iron is not the norm anymore. I expect that lifespan on most of my gear now is about the same as my computers 2-3 years, since all of these tools have progressed from hardware marvels, to a computer with a lens on it.
That means that all of the tools have designed obsolescence, while you are lamenting about P2 what about Sony's XDcam Disc format? How many calls does any rental house get for xdcam disc cameras?
SxS is the new format right now and of course that's what everyone is asking for, but it will take a while for Sony to catch up to the 10 of thousands of HVX200's that have been shipped.
Even Apple could not kill P2 when they removed the PCMCIA slot.
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[Erich Roland] "but you seem to think the world revolves around Panasonic P2 products, "
Come on, Erich. Do you think I am that short sighted?
[Erich Roland] "I have a different experience and I come here to share it, that's one reason why these forums exist, no? "
Yes, but basically you have said that everyone needs to be more like Red, yet you haven't used one.
[Erich Roland] "This statement shows your lack of appreciation for to what it means to invest large amounts of money into a system, and be confident in the investment years out. "
If I was still editing on my G3 Powerbook, I'd be out of business. If I was still shooting on a Sony Betacam, I'd be laughed off the set. 10-15 years is way too long in today's environment. Also, I got an email advertisement the other day explain the price drop in the 3700, you have to trade in your current 2/3" camera to do so.
[Erich Roland] "I believe this is one of the main reasons P2 is not selling, relative to the "all in" bet that Panasonic has made towards the P2 format. "
First of all, your evidence that P2 isn't not selling, the flagship $60,000 camera aside? All this is is education. If you start to look at what MXF can bring to the table, you will see what the future entails. People look at MXF and see it as complicated, I look at it and think that it's one of the smartest and well thought out post systems out there, keeping in mind the vast amount of different computers, operating systems, and hard drive file formats out there, and we haven't even talked about metadata yet.
[Erich Roland] "Panasonic has bet heavily the world would follow into P2 and the world has not. "
The world? I doubt it. I don't think Panasonic is looking for world domination. Also, I don't think you have begun to appreciate AVC-I, in my opinion (and others) XDCam can't hold a candle to AVC-I.
ANd while we are on it and since you keep skirting around it, we need to talk about recording formats. Akin to what Gary said (computers with lenses) recording format has really what has driven camera sales forever. Some gross generalizations follow:
Let's go back to Betacam. There were many different cameras and some different manufacturers, but what did it record to? Betacam. Why? Because it was decent quality for the times and became ubiquitous. Then, have a look at dv. For the first time you didn't need expensive hardware to capture video, all you needed was a deck (or cheap $300 camera from best buy) a firewire cable and a computer that knew what to do with it. Why did this become popular? It was cheap, easy, ubiquitous and good enough quality for most people at the time. Now we move to HD. First it was Sony with 1035i, then 1080i. Why interlace? To match the interlace infrastructure that had been in place for the past half century. There's also 720p which grabbed the attention of filmic types due to the progressive nature and the ingenious VFR capability that was built right in to the system. Very smart, very versatile and also great quality. Even though it was a lower overall pixel count, some argued that since 1080 can only display 540 lines at a time and 720 displays, well, 720 that 720 might have an edge. Now, how do we capture all this? How do we record this on tape? How do we record this without tape as our computers get better and faster to be able to handle the highly compressed and processor intensive recording formats? That's when the splintering of the market really started, it wasn't just about tape formats anymore, it was about a multitude of formats and compression schemes. With hardware and tape based systems, you can play out a tape and capture to whatever codec your NLE required, now with tapeless digital formats, you have to work with camera native codecs. This is all new and all being worked on. There's going to be some growing pains.
Please forgive the self promotion, but I feel it's relevant. If you look at the article I wrote about why we choose the 2000, you will see that it really boiled down to the recording format (http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/avcintra-and-the-panasonic-ajhpx2000) . You will notice the article is entitled AVC-I and the 2000, and not the 2000 and AVC-I. I chose recording format first, before looking to a camera. Ask any editor that has truly worked with both XDcam/HDV or DVCPro HD/AVC-I and see which format they like the best? Ask shooters what camera they like the best? I would assume that people like the Sony's due to their low light performance, and it ends about there. If you work with and study the image after it's been recorded (not by looking at the essentially uncompressed video feed of the camera at the shoot) you will see big differences. Taking these images into post and manipulating them, you will see big difference. Encoding and transcoding these images, you will see differences. This is my point, but doesn't really speak to yours directly. I think the people that are shooting Sony, haven't really looked and worked with the material day in and day out or after the image has been recorded. In post production, I-frame makes a lot of sense.
Now, we can move to MXF. As I said before, at first glance, the P2 implementation of MXF seems a bit complex and perhaps daunting. The recording medium seems to be expensive (although this has recently changed with the e series P2 cards). Once you start to learn the format and what is going on, Panasonic has built an infrastructure to help organize, catalog and track and entire digital library of assets, both during and after the shoot. When you mention 10-15 years, I believe this P2 MXF container will be around at least that long (the specific cameras themselves, not so much, i.e. the 3700 will get replaced with something else) as it is a great way to begin a digital catalog. I am not saying this because we own a P2 camera, I am saying this from a practical users perspective. It's one of the reasons we chose the camera. It was a decision that we made based our needs and potential wants for the years to come at our production company. We didn't decide on a camera, we decided on a recording, archive and master format that we will have to deal with as long as we are employed. Is that still not seeing past my nose? I hardly think so. I decided on our future, not what is best for now. I think the P2 format is still being discovered by more users everyday. When you factor in metadata and cataloging, again, the XDCam format doesn't come close, and we aren't even talking about image quality anymore. See how that works?
If you want to also read about the HDV format, just take a look on Shane Ross's blog. He goes in to detail about the HDV format, and if you think XDCam is not HDV, then it's time to do more research.
http://lfhd.blogspot.com/ and search for HDV
[Erich Roland] "Who can buy a 50k camera if it will only be worth 10 thousand in a few years as many Varicam owners have experienced?"
Not many. People who are buying 50k cameras will plan to make their money back in 2-3 years (as Gary mentioned), not 10-15. I'm sure it's nice work if you can get it.
[Erich Roland] "This is 101 Jeremy, and your failing to see this larger aspect because your intoxicated with proxy files, that most don't use or care about."
Proxies? Don't shoot them or even have the capability to do so, why would I when I can use the real deal? Proxies can be handy for people that don't have fast machines (such as working with AVC-I material on a PPC, which speaks to the broad capability of P2. You don't need the latest greatest) I use a native MXF workflow with FCP. No need for proxies. Again, sorry to stick my humble ego in this anymore than I need to, but you can see that workflow here if you care:
[Erich Roland] "I'm here to try and help them be better gear manufacturers because I need them to be smarter then they have been and not make these kind of mistakes going forward."
I am still having trouble finding the mistakes.
[Erich Roland] "I think you are young "
And this is a bad thing? I started editing before FCP was around, in your mind, does that now make me qualified to post here?
Jeremy, I understand that you think the MXF file format works well. It could be the best thing since sliced bread, but that isn't what I'm talking about. You’re on another plane then my thread was, and is about.
It’s not about the codec or file system. Its about a number of things including how crazy it is for Panasonic to bet the farm on the P2 stick memory (built in) without regard to what makes sense for the industry, and their customer. I could care less about MXF files, and if its better or worse in organizing data (I care about what my client wants), and you know what.... most of my customers don't care about MXF files!
Most of my customer’s still use tape, and the hot mini camera right now are the Sony Ex.’s. So you can argue till your blue in the face about how much better MXF files are, and you would be right.... but if you haven’t noticed the bar keeps dropping everyday in the general market place for the level of production value (reality TV), and the people who care about getting the last ounce of quality out of an image, are fewer and fewer.
Now you can buy a camera for 5k and make a TV show, and if you put the camera in the hands of someone who really knows what they are doing (i.e. a great DP, director and editor) most will be sure it was done with a much more expensive full sized camera.
So the general bar of acceptable production value continues to drop while the quality of HD images (that anybody can afford) has risen substantially in the last few years to the point that few people care much anymore about dvc-pro vs. I frame vs. xd-cam. It’s for people in forums to argue over, and for the fewer and fewer high-end projects that care.
3 years ago all HD projects were on full size 2/3" camcorders, now the piece of the market pie being shot on mini cameras is probably (I'd guess) 25-30 percent (maybe more) and growing, and that's a major shift in this industry. These people using little cameras now have access to what wasn't available until very recently. Most of These people mostly don't care about what you’re en-trawled about with MXF file system. They care about price and cranking out television shows. By all means go tell them all what they are missing but you will be pissing in the wind. They care about the price of the card. They care about 1080 imager; they care about low light capability and ease of use. They look at the EX camera played back and it looks exactly like it did through the camera before it was recorded.
Everyday more of the industry goes in the direction of mini cameras. Sony made their big bet on xd-cam codec. You can bet your booty they did lots of research and decided the xd codec and system was GOOD enough for the general populace and if they need more in terms of quality recording for green screen etc then the HDcam is available to step up.
The popularity of the EX cameras right now suggest Sony's bet is a solid hit, while not betting the farm. I guess time will tell but I think the big P2 cameras are scary to camera buyers, because anyway you look at it its an investment, and needs to make business sense. If one thinks the technology will change in 2 years they will not spend 30-40k on a camera with technology that maybe outdated next year. Both yourself and Gary have talked about how fast things are changing, well you are agreeing then with one of my reasons why people are not buying the P2 Varicams. Sony has not made such a huge bet on stick media built into the camera, with only TWO models total. Panasonic must have 10-12 P2 cameras.... I can’t count them all. I say again... it’s a huge bet on P2, and I believe it was a bad bet. (I’m not knocking MXF files, I could care less).
Time will tell, but I would not be surprised to see less models next year and maybe a move out of P2 and towards standard memory cards or another medium altogether (and in MXF, who cares!). You need only open your eyes to see the after market products that will allow consumers to work around the expensive P2 cards and record to a Convergence deck or AJA recorder in high quality codec’s (including I-frame) but to CF cards they can buy for 60 bucks rather then 600.
The problem is so plain to see but you don’t seem to understand. There isn’t one person out there who hasn’t complained about P2 card prices, and now the public can work around this obvious problem. You guys are a bit too Panasonic sensitive but I’m an equal opportunity critic of both Pany and Sony. You need only read again and take off your hyper-sensitive Panasonic fan boy hats and try reading again. :) :)
(or not... its a bit painful how you guys miss the main points and harp on something that’s not important).
Isn’t this fun?
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
[Erich Roland] "I could care less about MXF files, and if its better or worse in organizing data (I care about what my client wants), and you know what.... most of my customers don't care about MXF files! "
What do most of your customers shoot for? If it's broadcast, they will care about MXF files, whether you know it yet or not. I see your point, I guess. What do your clients want?
[Erich Roland] "It’s not about the codec or file system."
I don't think you are paying enough attention to the whole production process.
[Erich Roland] "They care about price and cranking out television shows."
And it is my opinion that a Long GOP file structure will severely limit the speed of the cranking. For post, I Frame is the fastest and most predictable. But I know, you could care less.
[Erich Roland] "They care about price and cranking out television shows. By all means go tell them all what they are missing but you will be pissing in the wind. "
I see it as quite the opposite. Everyone is pissing in the wind, and MXF is a solid wall with no splash backs. If you yourself don't understand what MXF can deliver, then how are you supposed to educate your customers on the cameras that you own?
[Erich Roland] "They look at the EX camera played back and it looks exactly like it did through the camera before it was recorded. "
Playback is much different than editing and color correction.
[Erich Roland] "You can bet your booty they did lots of research and decided the xd codec and system was GOOD enough for the general populace and if they need more in terms of quality recording for green screen etc then the HDcam is available to step up. "
Hmm, so with Sony you need a less expensive and a really expensive camcorder to get things done. With Panasonic, you buy one camera and get it all done. Why? A better codec. 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0 of Sony. I frame vs Long GOP. 100 mb/sec vs 35 or 50 mb/sec. When using AVC-I is 10bit vs 8bit. These things make difference. You seem like you think I make my choices because am I a 'fan boy', that's cool. I make choices on practicality and ease of use. What is it that is going to make sure that I am covered for all of my production needs from shoot to edit to master? At some point I have to choose one or the other, not just on brand name, but on actual concrete reasons, and so do you.
[Erich Roland] "and I believe it was a bad bet. "
You are entitled to that opinion. BluRay as a recording device doesn't feel like something that's going to be around in 10-15 years either. Also, that laser? Not the best way to reliably record all facets of production. SSD is much more robust with no moving parts. SxS is much better than BluRay.
[Erich Roland] "Time will tell, but I would not be surprised to see less models next year and maybe a move out of P2 and towards standard memory cards or another medium altogether"
What do you mean by standard memory cards. Like SD cards? You can do that know with AVCCam, which is a better quality version of Long GOP XDCam, but still highly compressed. SD and SDHC cards are USB speeds at the most. This is not fast enough to sustain codecs that are 100 mb/sec. The cards will need to be of better quality, hence the prices.
It sounds to me, more and more, that you want to be able to go to Best Buy and get a camera to shoot your next production with $10 'memory sticks'. I still have faith in this industry that we aren't there yet. With the newer technology coming out today that is all data and all IT based, this opens up a huge new world of collaborative production. This is exciting to me, but maybe I am weird as most people perceive this as a threat.
[Erich Roland] "There isn’t one person out there who hasn’t complained about P2 card prices, and now the public can work around this obvious problem."
With the new e-series cards, this problem has seemed to have been alleviated. SxS isn't exactly cheap.
[Erich Roland] "You need only open your eyes to see the after market products that will allow consumers to work around the expensive P2 cards and record to a Convergence deck or AJA recorder in high quality codec’s (including I-frame)"
Believe me, Erich my eyes are wide open. I worked the AJA booth at NAB this year gabbing all day every day about the Ki Pro. Can't get that at best buy either.
[Erich Roland] "(or not... its a bit painful how you guys miss the main points and harp on something that’s not important). "
Its hard to discern what you think is important, except that somehow Panasonic is at fault because they have a created a system that you personally have not taken the time to understand or care to educate your clients about.
I have worked with Sony material, I have worked with Panasonic material. I like one better than the other. If this makes me a fan boy, then so be it. I am not ashamed. My personal choices that I make for our production needs make a lot of sense to our everyday workflow, peace of mind and sleep. I don't think we made the wrong decision, as a matter of fact as every day passes, I realized we made the exact right decision at the time. But this is for us, and that same decision might not be the right one for you. I admire Panasonic's confidence in going all P2. This says to me that they themselves stand behind the codecs and MXF implementation that they choose to create and use. When someone has been floundering between a few different recording mediums, I find that hesitation as a warning, meaning that company is still trying to figure out what is best. But maybe I am reading that incorrectly. I think the BluRay is an interim technology. People are begrudgingly buying it, but interestingly none of my younger friends are very far away from buying it (unless the own a PS3). They are receiving downloadable HD content that is available to a variety of devices including hand held smart phones. This is the future. And a full IT and data centric workflow is what is going to help bring this future to the present. But who cares...
Not to stir things up to much...
For the record... Erich is a respected member of the DC community that I have personally rented from a lot.
He is sharing a lot of what he sees (and he rents gear - and shoots - for some of the biggest networks).
Many of his points are valid... unfortunately the market is pretty dumb.
Richard M. Harrington, PMP
Author: Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and ATS:iWork
Thanks for bringing this up, Richard.
In no way shape or form am I trying to disrespect you, Erich. It's not what I intend, and not what I do. I am not a well respected member of any community, so perhaps I am talking out of line.
But what irks me is this, this is now the second time you have started a thread aimed at Panasonic when people are calling up your shop asking for tape and Sony. That is probably all your market needs, and that's all you need to buy. Panasonic isn't going back to tape, Sony is still holding on a bit, but eventually it will go all tapeless. New cameras being designed right now are not thinking about tape.
I am not a lawyer, but I do own a pit bull. His name is Remy and he's very good.
This is also a problem I have, Erich. You call me names because I made a smart decision for the business. I find this rather ironic.
[Erich Roland] "People cant see the future in a memory technology that has changed so dramaticly in just the last 2 years"
P2 has been around for way more than 2 years, and it's pretty much stayed the same. It's a very solid format. There are now 2 HD codecs and the card sizes keep getting larger. Other than that, a DV file on p2 from 8 years ago, looks like a dv file on a p2 card now.
[Erich Roland] "The E series is only slightly better price, but then they are made to Fail..."
More exaggeration. Everything that has a chip will fail someday, but that doesn't mean that they are made to fail. The E series cards are made to fill up to 100% everyday for 5 years. John Fishback did the math here:
[Erich Roland] " I want to have on my rental shelf what my customer wants to rent (period). There... Ive shared my deepest secret, you've driven me to it. "
And that's what I asked you in my first response. Go for what you know and what makes you money, just stop blaming Panasonic for it. If not, you can at least educate yourself about P2 so you can educate your clients.
[Erich Roland] "But you cant tell me my customers are wrong. They tend to be informed, and when they call me they almost always know what they have decided to shoot with, and its not P2 Varicams, or the 2000, or 3000. "
So stop buying them!
[Erich Roland] ". This leads me to believe that you are in the minority with your appreciation of MXF files, and that this feature does not carry the weight that you think it should in the general market place. "
I see it that people have not truly discovered the MXF format and all it entails. With time, it will make more sense. If opens up vast capabilities in multi-cam production (I presented a workflow at NAB about shooting a 5 P2 camera multi-cam, 8 channel separate sound and no time code, just a clap slate two hours before we started recording. With the help of some MXF tools, I was able to sync over 6 hours of footage in about two minutes), cataloging and metadata for both archive and play out. No, your customers aren't wrong, you can't be wrong about what you don't know.
[Erich Roland] "To invest in expensive cameras right now is not smart business. "
I don't think it ever has been, if you know it won't rent.
[Erich Roland] "Maybe starting next week the phone will ring of the hook for P2 products"
Maybe it will, but it sounds like it won't. If you have any questions, we are always here to help.
my god Jeremy, your like a pit bull and lawyer at the same time!
Here is the problem in a nut shell and you and Gary have both said the same thing. These cameras are like computers with lenses... and every 2 years there will be a faster one... Right?
My premise from the beginning of this thread is that nobody is buying P2 Varicams (not really nobody, but relative to lets say the HDX-900 sales when it first came out). Who is going to invest 45-60k on a computer with a lens that could be worth 7-10k in 2 years? And have to toss a perfectly good expensive camera because its attached to the P2 deck!
You see it has nothing to do with MXF files, but you don't get the basic economic problem here. People cant see the future in a memory technology that has changed so dramaticly in just the last 2 years, and they don't want to buy the short end of the "P2 stick" when it all changes again!
Its the crazy idea that this company bet the farm on (not on MXF files, its perfect) but this silly, too expensive memory platform called "P2"... thats what is crazy (my opinion but many agree). Now if P2 cost just a bit more then consumer memory then its a different story. The E series is only slightly better price, but then they are made to Fail... (more marketing stupidity).
And as Ive said before (this is important part, to get to my motivation here in case you missed it).... I want to have on my rental shelf what my customer wants to rent (period). There... Ive shared my deepest secret, you've driven me to it.
But when they DON'T want to rent these expensive P2 cameras I start to examine why this may be. I talk to customers, I look at the market and pricing and come here to share my thoughts. And you turn into Pittbull Garchow and let me know how I have know clue about editing (and you are correct).
But you cant tell me my customers are wrong. They tend to be informed, and when they call me they almost always know what they have decided to shoot with, and its not P2 Varicams, or the 2000, or 3000. This leads me to believe that you are in the minority with your appreciation of MXF files, and that this feature does not carry the weight that you think it should in the general market place.
I say again. We are in a transition period of fast change. Id guess that 5 years from now we may look at this thread and laugh at how we knew nothing about where we would be. To invest in expensive cameras right now is not smart business.
Id be more then pleased to be wrong with my premise and predictions because Ive already bought a bunch of these cameras! Maybe starting next week the phone will ring of the hook for P2 products, but right now the tape Varicams, HDX-900's and F900's are working steadily, and the the Ex's are busy and the 2/3" P2's are gathering dust.
I rest me case.
Peace to all, and to all a good night.
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
I know I am digging a thread thats been ended but I wanted to add a different perspective.
-In the DC market (and I am sure you get a lot of out of state customers) I have found people are very out of touch with the technology aspect of video production and post. They just really dont understand the impacts or advantages of most systems. But again you deal with these people a lot more so I'll trust your judgement on that.
-The other market that does not affect you is the government sales of P2 material. I know a lot of my colleagues who have furnished their entire facilities with P2. They have studios built around this, with 2700's, 3000's and more. For us (federal+DoD) it is a very smart investment because we will use these systems for 10+ years.
We are insulated from the up and downs of the commercial market and our clients are unaffected by what formats we choose to deliver on. For us all that matters is highest quality and durability for the best investment possible.
That probably might have a small impact in the decision making process of Panasonic and Sony.Who knows?
PS: If you are ever in the DC area and need any rentals make sure to look up Erich. He provides amazing service with great customer support. I have always had a great experience with him.