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John D Foundas
hpx 300 help!
on Dec 6, 2009 at 1:05:48 am

Just purchased HPX 300.
Picture is lousy even with the firmware 9.30 upload.
The video doesnt "pop" at all. Even in daylight it looks murky.I have tried to uplodad the different scene files from PAN and the camera wont/cant read them from the SD card.
I saw some exterior JVC 700 video, and my jaw dropped. Stunning.
Please can some one guide me on this one for setings etc...
I'm very frustrated and grumpy over this. I have seen "Box Store"
HD cameras that have more snap than this HPX300.


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Michael Sacci
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 6, 2009 at 5:41:24 am

Why not post a clip and your settings.

what level of shoot are you?



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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 6, 2009 at 4:00:23 pm

You might try raising chroma level, using HD Gamma vs. Filmlike Gamma,
and lowering Master Ped as a starting point to see if you're headed in the right direction. These things are more often done in post vs. in camera these days. Filmlike Gamma would be preferable for high contrast exteriors, capturing more highlight detail, but will look flat compared to a normal video gamma.

A more complex set of adjustments would be Matrix settings, best done with a MacBeth color chart or DSC Labs Chroma Du Monde chart with HD vectorscope. Matrix and Color Correction(don't know if the HPX300 has either circuit) really allows one to specifically attain their preferred look for color primaries and secondaries, both for hue and saturation. It would be much easier to successfully download the Panasonic scene files, find one that is closer to what you like and tweak from there.

Panasonic cameras are known for great colorimetry and skin tones, but, at least for the high end cameras, the matrix settings are deficient in green and cyan.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Steve Eisen
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 6, 2009 at 11:31:34 pm

Lousy picture is due to operator error. Adjust your scene settings. Lighting your scene will also help.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Dan Brockett
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 1:01:06 am

I tend to agree with Steve. The three shoots I have done with HPX300, the footage has been outstanding quality, much better than I ever thought possible from a 1/3" chip set.

You must have something setup wrong or must have a defective camera.

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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cow
John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 2:54:26 am

Thanks Dan,
Allowing me the possibility of having a defective camera was quite nice of you.
LOL. Enjoy your evening.


John


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Dan Brockett
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 7:28:28 pm

Hi John:

Since I am as sarcastic as you are, I salute your answer, pretty good. I wrote what I wrote because I have used three different 300s and unless the camera is defective or really setup wrong, it couldn't look as terrible as you describe.

Rock on. BTW, if you are a news guy, JVC? Really? JVCs break, the only news operations I have ever seen them are in super low budget local stations. No rental companies stock JVC for a reason. You will have down time. They can make nice looking pictures though but if they are always in the shop, what's the point?

Good luck,

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 11:13:10 pm

Dan,
Thanks for the thoughts.
I work in news yes...however the camera(s) in question are for Corporate client work. I would never use the 300/HM700/EX3 for any news application. The skewing and low light limitations are deal breakers in that regard. That being said, the JVC product line has come a long way and a straight out of the box comparison, the JVC has a superior picture to the hpx300. The 300 I have does not produce a clear,crisp,cracking picture.


John


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cow
John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 2:47:56 am

Ummm Steve...I did check and download various scene files and used a full pepper kit as a test.
It's just a bad camera out of the box.
BTW I have 7 Emmy's, 4 Murrows and 3 White House Press Photographer awards.
Being an engineering techno geek doesn't make YOU a good Photojournalist.

Warmly,
John Foundas
FOX NEWS


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 6:07:20 am

John,

This isn't making sense to me(I've only tested the HPX300 once, so I'm making some recommendations based on ownership of HPX170, HDX900 and HPX2700), first you said the scene files weren't loading properly from the SD card, then you said you loaded them.

If you loaded multiple scene files, surely you saw some differences between them? A digital camera is just hardware looking for the right software and firmware to provide the final image.

The fact that you are a news shooter tells me potentially a couple of things(please correct me if I'm off base):

You want a contrasty image-try HD Gamma or B Press if the 300 has it

You want lots of detail-raise the detail level

You want a bright image-raise the gamma point

I saw that you complained about noise with the 300-raise coring to +2

There may also be black stretch and/or mid gamma options to try out.

While the HPX300 doesn't have as many menu options as an HPX2700, there should still be enough scope for getting a look that you like out of the camera. We are in the range of the subjective here, that's why there are so many menu line items for image control.

To say that the HPX300 "is bad out of the box" either means you don't like the factory setup or the camera is defective. Not seeing differences between scene files, or seeing differences, but not liking any of them seems odd.


Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 7, 2009 at 4:38:00 pm

Jeff,
Thank you for the advise.
I'm sorry if didn't lay out my efforts chronologically.
The SD card was bad...anyways.I did see differences in the various scene files.
However, one thing remains constant...The camera does not produce a crisp image.
Noticeable on ext footage, but indoor, even under quality, soft lighting...it looks cruddy and noisy ( yes I added firmware).
Unusable and would never let a client see this. A bench tech seems to think the cam has lost its "Set Up".
NO CAMERA should look like this out of the box. tweaking is one thing, but there has to be a quality control level
at somepoint. I'm sending it back to BH and considering getting the JVC HM700.


Thanks for your input,
John


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 1:40:20 am

John,

It sounds like you've already made up your mind to return the camera and go with the JVC instead--certainly your call. Just odd that you asked for help, but I see no attempt on you part to try any of the settings I've recommended. You keep referring to "out of the box", but what does that really mean with a digital camera? Once you load a preset scene file into the camera, it should have a different look than "out of the box".

Recommend you try a factory reset. Your terms like "pop", "crispness", "murky", "cruddy", aren't easy to translate into technical camera setup changes. Noisy I get, crispness I assume is the detail circuit needing to be raised.

Again, your camera could be defective, it would be worthwhile to put next to another HPX300. Might also be interesting to put side by side with a JVC as well.

Panasonic has some great people that could try to help, but only if you really want to find out what's going on. You could contact Jan Crittendon, the product manager or Barry Russo, an engineer.

I'm just thinking that IF the camera were defective or could be made to look like what your taste desires, you would have the advantage of the AVC-Intra 100 codec. Even DVCPRO HD is superior to the codecs available with the JVC. The CCD's with the 700 use pixel offset to get HD pixel count, the 300 uses three native full raster sensors. The five year warranty is nice as well.

The JVC may be the right camera for you and your clients, but it would be interesting to get to the bottom of what is going on with the HPX300--defective or just not your preference in image quality.

Best of luck!

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 3:41:12 am

I did make some adjustments and I stayed away from 1080 60i.
Shot some test footage @ 720/24p 60f It looks ok, but again it doesnt jump at me the way an HD image should. Have a look.
http://www.vimeo.com/wvm
There is some JVC test footage as well. I think you'll be surprised at how nice the HM700 looks in the lighting test.
Thank you for trying to help as I am beyond frustrated.
I have lost confidence in this camera right from the start. That is a shame because I love other Pan products. I shoot with a 2000a @ FOX in DC (in SD...lol) That being said, I cannot put my livelyhood on the line with gear I dont trust.

The JVC image screams over the hpx300.
John


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:01:02 am

John,

I only found one HPX300 clip, which looked similar to the JVC exterior clip. The main difference that I saw was chromatic aberration error with the JVC, due to no having CAC, which the Panasonic has.

The lit interior looked very nice, assume that was the JVC. The low light test was horrid, typical 1/3" video noise from the JVC, and I'm pretty sure the Panasonic would look bad as well in the same conditions.

I don't like to make judgments from highly compressed files on the web, but the 300 looked fine on the exterior footage that I saw.

I assume you meant HVX200A that you shoot with for FOX, being that the HPX2000 doesn't shoot SD.

Anyway, having run a rental house for 27 years, JVC is not a brand I would have on my shelf based upon previous experience up to the HD100. I have not, however, seen the 700, but I am very familiar with the XDCAM EX codec. The best part about Sony XDCAM EX cameras are the 1/2" full raster sensors, which the JVC does not have.

I do like the fact that the 700 offers Quicktime files natively, that is a nice convenience, if far short of AVC-Intra 100 quality.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:20:26 am

It's the AJ HPC2000a
The golf course clip was shot with that camera in HD. No color or grading BTW...just some spectacular light!
Agreed on the horrid lighting. The Panasonic was far worse in that light than the JVC...which is odd considering the 700 is CCD. Which makes me believe there is someing wrong with the block etc..
Most of my client work is going to be for the web, so I think the JVC will serve me fine for now. I wish the new Sony EX350 2/3 cmos was a little cheaper. I considered the EX3 but could not get past the form factor and after market shoulder systems.

Thanks for all your input,
Happy Holidays
John


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 5:02:03 am

Yes, I'm surprised at how quiet the EX1/3 are. Part of it is the 1/2" vs. 1/3" sensor size, but Sony seems to have a very clean camera that is pretty close in sensitivity to Panasonic 2/3" cameras in 720P. It slower in 1080.

I think the Sony 350 is priced a bit high, although the stock lens is very cheap. I just can't help thinking that the HPX2700 can be had for the same price--except for viewfinder and lens and P2 cards, which add up quickly.

I really hope you get a chance to see a 700 and 300 side by side somehow. The exterior footage you posted on Vimeo looks more similar than different to me. I'm a big fan of AVC-Intra, and having to step down to 8-bit, 4:2:0, Long GOP at a low bit rate would be depressing to me.

I have an HPX170 and it's slower than an EX1, while still being noisier. With my 2/3" Panasonic cameras, I always shoot at -3db if possible to keep noise low.



Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Phil Yunker
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:03:13 am

John,
Have you tried a place like Macie Video in MA? ( I do not work for Macie or have any connection with them) They "set up" cameras there and can create the proper scene files that you desire. Like Dan Brocket said "JVC really?!" nothing but bad news there (Junk Video Company) As for "out of the box" look, I don't think the new HD cameras have a out of a box look, I know that the VariCams that I have used look absolutely horrible without a scene file or being set up properly, I know the sony ex3's are sent from the factory as looking "flat" so the user can set up the camera for their needs, even the Panasonic 200A's need set up / scene files for them to look good if not they are dark, have a lot of noise and muddy, sound familiar. Take Jeff Regan's advice and try to contact the folks at Panasonic to see what they can help you with.


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:17:56 am

Phil,

Agreed, Roger Macie is a good resource for camera setup. Many network shooters have used him for years. I've sent my cameras to him in the past--he maintained my 2)Sony D600 Betacams.

I have a Sony EX1 in my rental inventory and hated the way it looked in its standard factory default picture profiles. Once I put in some scene files, it transformed the camera.

My HDX900 and HPX2700 came from the factory setup to look good with Asian skin tones, but are deficient in green and cyan saturation. Wonderful when I'm shooting Asians, not so good for other setups. I wish every manufacturer would setup their cameras with a Chroma Du Monde chart as a factory reference.

I remember way back, many people waxed poetically about Ikegami cameras vs. Sony cameras, colorimetry wise. It wasn't a big deal to match the Sony to the Ikegami by using the matrix, working on the detail circuit. The funniest thing was that when matrix was turned off on both brands, they were actually very close, although the Ikegami cameras used a different IR filter cut which affected red response.

Anyway, anytime I hear somebody doesn't like the "look" of a digital camera, I just chuckle because I know I can make most any camera look like any other--that's the point of a digital camera vs. an analog camera.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:30:14 am

Thanks Phil,
There is a shop in MD that is famous for handling Panasonic products very well (setup etc..)
My problem at this point is that I am up against the return window with BH in NYC. If I hold onto the cam to get it looked at further and it is defective...I'm out of luck on the return. I do realize its under warranty, but thats not the point. I need confidence in the equipment. I'll keep you posted.


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Phil Yunker
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:52:52 am

John
I totally understand the return dilemma / situation you are up against.
Since most of your client work will be web based, have you looked at the Panasonic HPX-170?
However, I understand that you are a news shooter and that you would probably hate shooting with a "little" camera, I don't blame you I don't like them either.
What about a exchange with B&H for another HPX-300? if it's still dark, muddy, with a lot of noise then you know it's the camera and how it looks.
I had to suffer through 6 half-hour episodes of editing footage from JVC cameras, yes they were older ones, not the 700, but the footage was horrible, the crew constantly had problems with them, it was a bad deal.
Please let us know what happens.


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Dale West
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:26:33 pm

Just wanted to toss out a couple of things then go back to cleaning the office......
Box houses. I've talked about them in the past. I buy some stuff from them but I would have to think twice about buying a camera from B&H or others like them. Saving a few bucks on the purchase price isn't always saving money. Service after the sale is so important. Over the years I've found that companies like Able Cine, ProSource, Trew Audio and many others may be a few bucks more than B&H and Custom Supply but the big gain is customer service after the sale. When I bought my VariCam from ProSource they brought me to the office for a 1 on 1 session on the camera. When I had a problem with the camera and it was at Panasonic for service they made sure I had a loaner for a shoot. The box houses by design can't do that. They bring it in and ship it out. If it doesn't work, ship it back and get a replacement or refund. They don't have service departments and they don't have, for the most part, any expertise with the equipment. For my money and there is less of it today than in years past but for my money I'll pay a few dollars more for the service after the sale.

John, I think your mind is made up about the 300 but perhaps you might want to send the camera back to B&H and get a demo from someone in DC. I have been very happy with the look of my 300.
Good luck



Dale West Video
North Miami, FL
305-892-1201


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:09:29 am

Thank You


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:08:36 am

Phil,
I shot with the new JVC HM700 this am.
Say what you will, but it has a wonderful picture.
It leaps over the HPX300 in my opinion.
It's a little dinky, but menu functions were very easy to nav. Its basically a Sony EX on the inside.
JVC has really got their stuff together on this model. Check out the vimeo link to see some of the HPX300 test footage that I was unhappy about. It actually looks like the cam isn't shooting HD. Anyways, I'm still on the fence about exhanging for another 300 or moving over to the HM700. Thanks again!


John
http://www.vimeo.com/wvm


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:45:34 am

John,

I have watched both the interior and exterior tests of both cameras. The HPX300 looks like HD to me, not dissimilar to the 700. The 700 has so much chromatic aberration that it's distracting--the stock Canon lens looks like crap on the exteriors.

As far as a 700 being like an EX1 on the inside, how do you figure?
The EX1 uses 1/2" CMOS full raster imagers, the 700 uses 1/3" lower resolution CCD's that are pixel shifted to derive an HD image.

The 700 XDCAM EX recorder is an optional separate unit. I don't see much similarity except for the MPEG2 based codecs. The 300 and EX1 are much more similar at the front end due to both having full raster CMOS sensors, albeit the EX1 has the 1/2" advantage. Once you get to the codecs, the 300 leaves the 700 and EX1 for dead due to its AVC-Intra 100 format.

Again, if the 700 looks right to you, go for it, I'm just perplexed because I don't see what you're seeing, but I try to not make judgments from highly compressed net streams. Although, the CA error with that Canon lens on the 700 is distressing. Didn't see a bit of CA with the 300, probably due to the CAC circuit.



Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Ronald Wilk
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:30:05 pm

I hate to add fuel to the fire, but I have had my HPX 300 for approximately one month and have not encountered a single disappointing moment that wasn't self inflicted. The images, with the stock lens, are extremely sharp and depending upon which of the stock scene files are chosen, they generally stand out in terms of punchy color and "crispness," whatever that is. I actually sold an Ex3 and replaced it with this camera and I can truthfully say, that IMO and to my eyes and 24" HD monitor, that the images are much more pleasing and striking than the apparent hyper-sharpened files produced by the EX3. With this in mind, I would have to assume that the original poster's camera was defective, given his stated credentials, or...



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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 10, 2009 at 12:18:26 am

We have an EX1 in our rental inventory and I didn't like the standard picture profile look at all, it just looked like a hyper sharp video camera to me, not filmic. Once I did some scene files it looks much better to me. Also, shooting in 1080/60i really reveals the shortcomings of the 4:2:0 Long GOP low bit rate XDCAM EX codec.

AVC-Intra, being a 10-bit codec has 4X the shades of gray(1024) vs. any 8-bit codec(256). Much more tonality and room for grading and color correction.

The look of any camera is very subjective and there are so many image control parameters that can be addressed in digital video cameras that it should not be too difficult to find a pleasing look or looks.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Dan Brockett
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 10, 2009 at 3:27:36 pm

I concur Jeff, I have been shooting the EX1 since it came out, I have a client with three of them and when I shoot for them, I shoot with the EX1. The camera can produce really nice pictures, but I find overall, even with tweaks, the picture seems to have that Discovery Channel 60i look. Not bad, just different. It is that razor sharp, antiseptic look. That appeals to a lot of people, it seems especially in Europe and Australia for some reason.

I find the 300 to have a more pleasing colorimetry to my eye. Yes, definitely more noise than the EX1/EX3 but that doesn't bother me at all. When I go back and look at a lot of my S16 footage, the 300 footage in comparison looks leagues cleaner and then the EX1 looks cleaner yet. It all just depends on what appeals to you. For tabletop, I love the EX1 as to my eye, tabletop looks great super clean. But for people and nature, I much prefer the look of the 300.

YMMV and I would never buy either camera without trying them out in the real world. It is worth a one day rental to evaluate either.

Dan



Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:00:05 pm

I agree Dan. I think most DP's would agree that Panasonic is the standard bearer for colorimetry, good skin tones, and great tonality with the higher end cameras that have 14-bit A-D's.

Whether an HVX200 or an original Varicam, this is what Panasonic is known for. I am continually blown away from the look of our new HPX2700 P2 Varicam, especially with Intra. We're getting one more stop of usable latitude due to lower noise with Intra and the camera has 10-11 stops of latitude with Film-Rec 600. But it's the color that clients comment on most. It's funny how many clients look at the monitor for the first time at the start of a shoot day and say, "Wow!"

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Phil Yunker
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:28:30 pm

This might be somewhat off topic to John's original post and I hope that John is still reading and will let us know what he finally decided to do with his camera situation..It seems like there are two different expectations out there from people (whether one is a professional in the video industry or a general viewer) The first expectation, I think, in HD is the very razor sharp antiseptic look that Dan has spoke of, that 60i Disco. look, I think most general viewers think that this is what HD is suppose to be, and for the most part it should be very sharp but with the exceptional colorimetry that Dan and Jeff speak of with the Panasonics, which would be the second expectation of HD.
My question, for Jeff or Dan or anyone else (and maybe this should be another thread, sorry) is how to achieve both? The razor sharp or very sharp picture and the full colorimetry?

Thanks.



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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 10, 2009 at 6:00:43 pm

Phil,

I don't think saturated colorimetry and sharpness are mutually exclusive. The HD news and sports look that you and Dan referenced, or Discovery 1080/60i look is more likely due to detail circuit settings and frame rate, plus possibly lower saturation, higher gamma and blacks.

I prefer lower detail levels, less contrasty images(although that is often changed in post). The 60p or 60i frame rates, combined with lots of use of edge enhancement(which I believe has little place on an HD camera) is what many viewers and producers think of HD as being, vs. the more subtle, organic film look, much of which is also affected by depth of field and lighting.

I have some clients who want 60i, 60p or 30p, none of which is a filmic look.

Sony cameras from way back had too much enhancement in the blacks. They have improved this over the years, especially with HD cameras, but I like Panasonic's detail settings better--although, like colorimetry, that can be changed to a large extent, depending on the menu items available in the camera.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Jason Smith
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:46:53 am

Good evening all,

The camera that John and I use is the HPX2000p. Our current setup has us shooting SD at 480i 16:9 DV25.

The opinions on JVC are ones that I too have shared. Shared right up until I saw video shot with the hm700.

It looks fantastic. Apparently JVC is making a concerted effort to improve their products and professional image. I applaud their efforts.

Yes, we are news guys so we spend a lot of time doing "meat grinder" shooting. We sometimes, accidentally make pretty pictures even if we can't recite scene file settings and gamma curves for all cameras made since last Tuesday. :grin:

I looked at his camera, I shot with it, I examined the settings. Everything looked setup to Panny defaults. As unlikely as it sounds, it looks to me to be a bad imager.

Thanks for the helpful commentary all. Steve, your post, if meant as I took it, clearly comes from a position of ignorance.

Jason Smith




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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:36:05 am

Defective camera is most likely. Standard def. DV25? What a waste of an HPX2000!

I received the December issue of ICG magazine today. It has a very informal review by two indie filmmakers of the HPX300, EX3, GY-HM700 and Canon 5D Mark II. They didn't get into codec quality.

They liked the ergonomics of the HPX300 and viewfinder best of the cameras. Said it had good resolution and latitude, refined color space, but not as good in low light as the other cameras.

EX3 had poor ergonomics, didn't like the viewfinder, low light very good, sensor clean and sharp, good color, fairly good latitude. Not crazy about the lens. Image wise very good camera.

GY-HM700 they stated that they struggled to find a lot of positives about. It had the most controlled skew, which makes sense, being a CCD camera, not CMOS. Lens is mediocre low-end model with lots of breathing and barrel distortion. Low light was noisy, latitude mediocre.

5D Mark II had very shallow DOF, good and bad. 30P a problem, if looking for 24P film look. Bad audio, ergonomics, monitoring. Image skew, resolution good, latitude fair, aliasing on vertical and horizontal lines, best camera for low light.

Just interesting to see a real world comparison of these inexpensive cameras, albeit not very technical.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 3:24:35 am

Posted interior video shot with the new JVC HM700.
Regardless of whether my HPX300 was defective or not, the JVC produces a much sharper, crisp image.
I am very happy with this camera and will post exterior video tommorow.
http://www.vimeo.com/wvm


John


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 4:57:16 am

John,

I'm glad you are happy with the look of the JVC camera. Here's what I see on the latest interior test:

A very sharp, over enhanced, videoish image--not filmic at all.

Every light to dark transition and highlight has color fringing from that lousy Canon lens. The low to high frequency transitions that don't have color fringing(chromatic aberration) have detail circuit ringing and overshoot with thick black edges.

I'm sure this is the preferred look for news, but it is as far from filmic as I can imagine.

Having said that, the camera looked clean, I didn't see obvious noise, color looked good.

Just not my cup of tea. I wish you would have reported on tweaks to detail circuit, gamma, chroma, black level and matrix that I recommended for the HPX300, which looked nice on the exterior test, if a bit videoish/overly sharp.

I'm guessing you're one of those camera people that just wants to turn on the camera and shoot vs. developing scene files for different styles of shooting. Nothing wrong with that, you're just not getting the most out of the capabilities of whatever camera you end up choosing.

God, that lens is pitiful. Really horrid. JVC needs a CAC type of circuit badly if they're going to put that junk glass on their cameras.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Phil Yunker
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 5:22:17 am

"A very sharp, over enhanced, videoish image"
This is what I was trying to refer to in a early post. I think a lot of people expect this very sharp, very detailed, over enhanced videoish image when viewing HD (i.e news, disco., travel ch, speed, espn sports.)
I had a client that was "stoked" that a shooter was going to shoot a few pick up shots with and EX1, the footage was overly detailed and almost to videoishly sharp.
I like the "filmic" look that Jeff refers to.
John, good luck and good shooting with your new camera in the coming new year.

PHIL YUNKER
Yunker Video Production Services
http://www.philyunker.com


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 6:14:33 am

Agreed. This is all subjective. The JVC clip was 1080/60i, so the detail level is appropriate for the high temporal resolution. I avoid 60i as much as possible, but I have clients that request it from time to time, ditto 720/60P. Both have that "live" look that screams video.

The great thing is that most digital HD cameras can be made to look whichever way is preferred for the style of shoot on a given day.

At Varicamp I learned that choosing a gamma curve is akin to choosing a film stock, selected on the basis of the look and style. The same can be said of resolution, frame rate, detail level, matrix settings, etc.

I find that 720P is kinder to talent vs. 1080i or P, as far as not showing as much skin flaws, ditto detail level. Too much detail is very unflattering to talent.

If it were up to me, I'd rather shoot with detail off on higher end HD cameras. It is redundant, just as 35mm motion picture cameras don't depend on artificial enhancement due to real resolution.

As a rental facility, I can't turn off the detail unless requested.
Anyway, it's cool that these camera offer so many image options, even if many don't know how to use them.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Phil Yunker
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 12:59:11 pm

Anyway, it's cool that these camera offer so many image options, even if many don't know how to use them.

Besides for VariCamp, where can one learn how to use the various settings or learn what each does?


PHIL YUNKER
Yunker Video Production Services
http://www.philyunker.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 1:51:02 pm

LOL I know how to use them, I choose not to obsess over them...and If factory settings get my bills paid... well thats the cam for me. I'd rather spend my time shooting and editing than drilling down into a camera to get that specific look that most clients cant even tell or care about...


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Jason Smith
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 2:49:43 pm

This has turned out to be an enlighting discussion. I had no idea the really crisp "videolike" images discussed were considered gauché. It is surprising and maybe that is the disconnect here; different expectations.

Jason Smith


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 4:48:36 pm

Yes, all this is subjective. Different projects/types of productions require different looks. News and sports require 60i or 60p temporal resolution, very sharp, good saturation, neutral color balance for the most part.

Docs, commercials, shorts, corporate, features often have lower frame rates, reduced detail, stylized color, shallow depth of field when possible.

The OP started a thread stating that he needed "help" with a camera that he didn't like the look of. Rather than take any suggestions on camera setup, and for some reason couldn't tell the difference between different downloaded scene files, he chose a different brand camera that he liked the out of the box look better. Nothing wrong with that, it's his hard earned dollars. Most camera people don't know, don't want to know how to be camera engineers.

However, a high-end DP can communicate to their DIT how they want the image to look in terms that a DIT can understand.

Bottom line is the HPX300 is capable of looking like whatever the client, DP/owner wants. One hour with a DIT/engineer could have transformed the 300 into the wanted look and the OP would have had the advantage of the best resolution due to full raster CMOS sensors vs. pixel shifted CCD's, best ergonomics, viewfinder, color and codec options available at the price point. That doesn't mean that the camera wouldn't have some disadvantages(CMOS artifacts) over the other brand/s. No perfect cameras exist.

There are some great books written for a few Panasonic cameras by Robert Goodman-"Goodman Guide"(Varicam, HDX900) and Barry Green(HVX200, 200A, HPX170) that offer a good understanding of what each menu item does in terms that are understandable by non-engineers.

I happen to believe that a DP should know what his or her camera is capable of, even if it's just providing a neutral setup that can be manipulated in post. Obviously, news production doesn't allow the time for this, so an in-camera look is essential. Many DP's want to "bake in" the look on-set, but that doesn't mean images aren't tweaked in post. All approaches are valid--as long as the client is happy!



Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:28:20 pm

---"Rather than take any suggestions on camera setup, and for some reason couldn't tell the difference between different downloaded scene files, he chose a different brand camera that he liked the out of the box look better"------

THE CAMERA WAS DEFECTIVE AND I ULTIMATELY HAD NO CONFIDENCE IN THE PRODUCT...PERIOD. SCENE FILES MY A**
GOOD LUCK TO YOU


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:42:56 pm

That's great John. I'd love to hear what Panasonic's diagnosis is. I thought the exterior test clip with the 300 looked good(as well as can be ascertained by a highly compressed file on the net).

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Wolfgang Isenhart
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:57:26 pm

Hello all,

I just spent the last two weeks shooting with the HPX300. I did some messing around with 720p and DVCProHD but then switched over to 1080 30p and the AVC Intra codec.

The outdoor shots look like a painting. So beautiful and sharp but they have the color that really makes it look like a window. So far when I show them to people they say wow that looks nice. Then, I roll the video and they say "that is video!???" They can't believe it's actually moving.

I am ready to go buy one, I hope your problem was just a bad sensor. It must be something like that because the one I have here rocks.

My experience with the varicam and various sony HD cameras keeps me away from the small cameras. I need a full size pro camera.

Wolf in Seattle

Seattle DP/Editor. Varicam Pkg; Final Cut Studio; Kona 2; Dual 2.5 G5; Lacie SATA RAID; Tascam FW-1884


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 3, 2010 at 2:58:06 pm

Glad your happy with the cam. Mine was defective. Ultimately, I lost confidence with the product and moved on.
I am very happy with the JVC HM700. The images are razor sharp (which is what I was looking for). I opted for the Canon Lens and slapped a Red Rock Matte box on it. Having the ability to shoot on a QT file for certain clients and the Sony SxS card for others was very attractive. I do realize that the AVC-Intra codec is superior, but my work is not meant for the big screen and you need an absolute flamethrower of a edit system to move that much information around effectively.
The JVC HM700 and the new Apple (quad) i7 w/ Final Cut Studio is hard to argue with.

Happy Shooting


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:36:27 pm

John,

I'm glad the 700 is delivering the image you were looking for. Did you get any feedback as to what was defective with your 300?

Interesting that pixel shifted SD CCD sensors(700) look sharper than native full raster CMOS sensors(300, EX1/EX3). I have to think this is due to detail circuit settings vs. real resolution. My HPX170 pixel shifted CCD camera doesn't have the real resolving power of my EX1 CMOS camera.

Regarding AVC-Intra and computer processing requirements, Intra 100 needs about twice the processing power as XDCAM EX. A MacBook Pro laptop has no trouble with Intra 100 editing, so not a big deal. The easiest HD codec I've worked with is DVCPRO HD.

Intra was not designed for the big screen, it was designed to be more robust for grading and color correction in post.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:28:52 pm

Thanks
I am happy with it.
Shot some raw video and posted on Vimeo

http://www.vimeo.com/wvm

Looking forward to setting up some nice interview lighting soon.

Good Luck


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:00:15 pm

John,

The clip highlights lovely subject matter--I used to live in Northern Virginia, so love the colonial architecture and wooded areas--however, this subject matter, vertical columns, tree branches, highlights two artifacts that ruins the footage for me, namely; horrendous chromatic aberration like I've never seen with my EX1 or HPX170 and a detail circuit that is set like a news/sports camera. So you end up with red and blue fringing on edges, and what doesn't show that color fringing has black overshoot outlines on edges from the detail circuit.

This is as far from film like imagery as I can imagine, but that's what you're looking for and the camera does look sharp. JVC needs to catch up with Panasonic and Sony, who have chromatic aberration correction circuits in many of their cameras these days, which is even more important with low end, supposedly "HD" lenses.

The advantage, in my mind, of a full raster native sensor like the CMOS sensors found in the 300 and EX1, EX3, is the ability to be able to turn down(or off) the detail circuit and still have real resolution, much like what a film camera provides. A pixel shifted SD CCD camera like a 700 or HVX200, HPX170, relies on a detail circuit more to make up for a lack of natural resolution.

Any camera can be made to look sharp with detail cranked up, but it doesn't mean that it's natural resolution or can resolve very fine detail. The true test of a camera is turning the detail circuit off completely.

In any case, I'm sure your clients will be happy with the images that camera makes, but I do believe the lens is letting the camera down. It would be cool if you could demo a higher end lens to see if it made a difference.

I love the convenience of the QT .mov recording, this is the mode I used most with my FireStores with DVCPRO HD. Great having the choice of QT or XDCAM EX with the JVC.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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Phil Yunker
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:21:57 pm

Jeff,
from your experience with these cameras (minus the JVC) EX1, EX3 or HPX300 which one would you choose if this was your only camera?



PHIL


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Jeff Regan
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:42:09 pm

Phil,

I haven't spent enough time with the HPX300 to answer that question. I like the 1/2" sensor size of the EX cameras, prefer the 300 ergonomics and codec. When I shoot with 1/3" cameras, the first thing I want to add is a 35mm DOF adapter. Of course I often use a 35mm adapter on my EX1 as well, but there is a shallower DOF and better light sensitivity with the 1/2" sensor.

I generally prefer the tonality and colorimetry of Panasonic cameras, but with a manually tweaked scene file, the EX1 can look very nice. The EX1 is very impressive for light sensitivity and low noise. I've never seen the codec break up in challenging motion situations, I do have CMOS artifact concerns about both cameras. The EX1 is unusable hand held without shouldermount/rods/handles. XDCAM EX codec looks pretty bad in 1080/60i due to 4:2:0, but good in progressive modes.

I like the fact that Panasonic allows its best codec, AVC-Intra 100, to be used with the 300, whereas the Sony and JVC price point competitors are constrained by low bit rate, Long GOP, 8-bit, 4:2:0 to protect the more expensive cameras(in the case of Sony). Even Sony's new 350 XDCAM EX 2/3" camera for $20K is XDCAM EX only vs. the HPX300 at $8K with 10-bit, higher bit rate, I-Frame, 10-bit codec, same as the HPX2700 and 3700 high end P2 Varicams.

The 300 can use other Panasonic high end accessories, such as the RC10 and EC4 paint boxes(just got the new EC4 today), studio config. CCU's, same P2 cards, readers, etc. The EX3 does allow the use of a Sony RMB-150 paint box, unlike the EX1. Not sure about the JVC, I know they had a CCU for the HD250, but it was SD out only.


Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video
http://www.ssv.com


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John D Foundas
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 5, 2010 at 4:11:07 am

Thanks


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Larry Grimes
Re: hpx 300 help!
on Jan 14, 2010 at 4:34:26 pm

Maybe it was a defective camera, maybe not. At the end of the day, it's the OP's money, and he can buy whatever he likes best for his business.

That being said, I will say that when we were buying three new cameras for our facility back in July 2009, we tested practically everything in the $6k - $12k range. The HPX-300 won in just about every category that we needed fulfilled by a camera. The HM-700 just had too few options, was awkward on the shoulder, had a weak viewfinder ("high-res" viewfinder = NOT HD Viewfinder = hard to check "HD" focus on the fly), and overall picture quality was quite bland. The image that it produced was sharp, however it seemed like it was geared towards people needed less chroma, possibly for tweaking in post, which I found odd because as far as I know, the HM700 records in 4:2:0 color, and only outputs 4:2:2 for live applications via HD-SDI.

The HPX-300 met every one of our needs, even with P2 media being as pricey as it is. We ordered from our regular local place, and the cameras came straight from Japan at a time when nobody else in Dallas could even find the camera. "Out of the box" the HPX-300 (all three of them) produced sharp, colorful, contrasty, beautiful images (even under awful fluorescent light). Had we encountered any problems, our local company would have replaced the product immediately.

I get such shallow depth of field with this camera, that you'd never know it has 1/3" sensor. The greatest thing is that I have options for shooting. I can make the image look super video-like, or make it look really darn close to film. I can strip out tons of chroma in camera, or completely saturate the image with a simple scene file change. Plus, go figure, it's an HD camera with an actual HD viewfinder (though I do wish it was detachable)! Overall, it's a workhorse, and seems built to last for a good while, at least I hope! We shoot a lot of AVC-Intra50 on most everyday projects, and AVC-Intra100 for more important projects, and both produce a remarkable image. We tend to stay away from the DVC-PRO codecs, which was a hard thing to grasp having used lots of Panny gear in the past. We shoot primarily 720 at 30p, with the occaisional 1080i project popping up. Like I said, virtually everything we shoot looks great, including an SD project that came about, which was one of the only times we've used a DVC-Pro Codec on the camera.

Anyway, I probably just took up entirely too much space and time, but I wanted to chime in on the subject. For the record, we also have 3 JVC-HD250's that we use for some live event work, and honestly, I wish I'd been in on the decision to buy those cameras. I'm just not a big fan. Although the image quality is fair, I just find the cameras awkward, and the "high-res" viewfinder and LCD are just plain inadequate for an HD camera. Plus, after 2 shoots, we had to send one of the cameras in for repair when the fan in the back ceased to function, with only around 12 hours of use on it!


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steve phillipps
jvc hm700
on May 3, 2010 at 11:11:29 pm

As far as I know the JVC HM700 is not a "pixel shifted SD" camera. From the specs I've seen it's got native full raster 1280x720 chips (ie 1 million pixels). The then use shifting to make a 1920x1080 image just as the Varicam 2700 does.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Steve


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chance norris
Re: hpx 300 image problems!
on Dec 11, 2010 at 1:57:16 am

My HPX300 is acting the same way can anyone help me figure this out?


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