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Is the HDX900 history?

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Ernie Santella
Is the HDX900 history?
on May 8, 2008 at 11:03:25 pm

Just received this months 'Studio Monthly' magazine. There's a special, big Panasonic insert in the mag.

There's NO mention of the HDX900!!! Nothing, Nada, Zilch. Is it officially discontinued or just not loved anymore by the company?

Do I need to start hording replacement parts?

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Ernie Santella
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 8, 2008 at 11:08:51 pm

As I read the Panny insert more, it's just promoting Solid-state and P2, no tape. So, I'm sure that's the reason for the missing HDX-900.

Sorry for my Paranoia!

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 8, 2008 at 11:28:18 pm

Hi Ernie,

Please be assured that we have no intention of abandoning our tape based customers. The HDX will be around for a long time.

Best,

Jan

Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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George Griswold
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 11, 2008 at 9:41:22 am

Dear Jan,

I don't think Ernie is alone in his fears. The full court press that Panasonic is putting behind the P2 product line is giving lots of us a bit of concern. For some folks the P2 is a great solution, but some of us need/ want tape for very good reasons. As more and more content producers decide on format choices DVCPRO 100 tape may be less appealing because of the big elephant P2 push. As a courtesy and to provide clarity for all of its customers Panasonic should make a stated, overt commitment to DVCPRO 100
tape based solutions for a stated time period going forward. This may be a lost cause since the new Varicam models are P2.

To be honest I have put off the purchase of a AJ-1400 deck because almost all of the marketing push is towards P2 technology. Although not as good a compression technology I am holding off to see how the XDCAM 2/3" cameras take hold and may adopt that since at least for news CBS and CNN have adopted it (and ABC looks like it will). I know for higher end production DVCPRO 100 is superior, but for a shoot and ship freelancer this may be where the market migrates. As far as shooting and editing HD projects in house I digitize out of my HDX-900 via SDI to ioHD for now. HD is less than 20% of my work right now and I have 2000 hours left on my HDX heads so this seems like a great solution until this whole matter sorts itself out.

I have no regrets buying the HDX-900 because of its 720/1080 flexibility and every freelance shoot request I get is for that or a Varicam (and after a brief discussion the HDX fits the bill).
What should Panasonic do?

1. Clearly state support and ongoing production of DVCPRO 100 tape technology so others will not be fearful of investing in the HDX-900/ AJ-1400. A parallel marketing campaign for the tape based system does not have to undermine P2.

2. Reduce the price of the 1400 or roll out a "work horse" DVCPRO HD tape machine. Most edit systems can do all of the down/cross and up conversions so what smaller shops need is a deck in the "spirit" of the Betacam SP 1800 -- affordable and practical. I hate to say this, but maybe a player NLE deck since lots of projects will be output to Blu-Ray or some file type. I think most broadcast and cable shows require a HDCAM SR tape print anyways.

3. Keep an eye on new product opportunities in the tape work flow space. A lower cost tape camera built in the chassis of the HPX-500 is one that comes to mind. Having different levels of product cost helps a format thrive.

4. Explore Disk technology and maybe (gasp!) license the XDCAM format because of its random access strengths and proxy file creation. I don't think I will live to see this happen, but disks have the benefits of producing instantly deliverable shooting product with the benefits of P2's random access.

5. Make a P2 recorder like a Firestore drive that us HDX-900 owners could attach to the camera and record P2 files. If we have lost the battle, this would let us preserve out $30K investment in the tape based camera. I would bet that there are schematics for such a device in a file cabinet somewhere. If P2 is the future for Panasonic I see this as a moral imperative for its HDX-900 tape customers (Varicam has no Firewire). I envision a flat pack style (2X2) case powered from the camera and using the 1394 port for data. Those who want to archive to tape and have instantly available P2 media can have it both ways. Panasonic can still champion P2 and give us an option to boot.

I want to say how happy I am with the HDX-900 (and SDX-900) cameras that I own. Customers keep calling for them, the menus (especially PAINT) are clear and powerful. They look great, are reliable, and have paid for themselves quickly. As we move ahead in acquisition technology every manufacturer needs to see the continuing need for a recording medium that we an pop out of a camera and hand to a producer, uplink facility or the FedEx guy.

Those are my thoughts and would be interested in the thoughts of others.

Sincerely,
George

George Griswold
http://www.videonow.info
New Orleans, Louisiana


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 11, 2008 at 11:41:05 am

[George Griswold] "5. 1. Clearly state support and ongoing production of DVCPRO 100 tape technology so others will not be fearful of investing in the HDX-900/ AJ-1400. A parallel marketing campaign for the tape based system does not have to undermine P2. ."

There is not an endless supply of money for advertising. The HDX900 is a well established product and any manufacturer will show that there is a null benefit in putting adverting out on an established product. I have another product in the line that has not seen an ad in 2 years, that would be the DVX100B. It isn't going away soon either. I could point to the DVCAM product line, I haven't see an ad for that or how about the DigiBeta product. The point is the HDX900 is not going away, and will continue to be sold for the very reasons that caused you to buy it over its P2 brother.

[George Griswold] "5. 4. Explore Disk technology and maybe (gasp!) license the XDCAM format because of its random access strengths and proxy file creation. I don't think I will live to see this happen, but disks have the benefits of producing instantly deliverable shooting product with the benefits of P2's random access. ."

Well we did explore the disk technolgies and we felt that there was not sufficient gain in reliability, flexibility or capacity to warrant the investment of time and R & D to make it viable. And the fact that the S company is now pursuing a solid state solution is an underwritng of that same conclusion. And for even thinking of using the XDCAM algorithm, that certainly isn't an acceptable idea as if we had done that we would have mired ourselves into a very dated compression scheme in MPEG2 and would not have had opportunity to develop AVC-Intra which is a far superior algorithm that comes close to D5HD and it can record to P2 as well.


[George Griswold] "5. Make a P2 recorder like a Firestore drive that us HDX-900 owners could attach to the camera and record P2 files. ."

Why wouldn't you just use the Firestore? It certainly would work just as you say and you certainly can attach it using the AWBMK-HD100 from Anton Bauer.

[George Griswold] "5. If we have lost the battle, this would let us preserve out $30K investment in the tape based camera. ."

You have not lost the battle, the 900 is here to stay.

[George Griswold] "5. I would bet that there are schematics for such a device in a file cabinet somewhere. If P2 is the future for Panasonic I see this as a moral imperative for its HDX-900 tape customers (Varicam has no Firewire). I envision a flat pack style (2X2) case powered from the camera and using the 1394 port for data. ."


This device is called the P2 Gear, model number AJ-HPG10

[George Griswold] "5. Those who want to archive to tape and have instantly available P2 media can have it both ways. Panasonic can still champion P2 and give us an option to boot. ."

The option is there now if you want it.


[George Griswold] "5. I want to say how happy I am with the HDX-900 (and SDX-900) cameras that I own. Customers keep calling for them, the menus (especially PAINT) are clear and powerful. They look great, are reliable, and have paid for themselves quickly. As we move ahead in acquisition technology every manufacturer needs to see the continuing need for a recording medium that we an pop out of a camera and hand to a producer, uplink facility or the FedEx guy."

And all of this is why the HDX is staying in the product line.

Best regards,

Jan



Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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George Griswold
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 11, 2008 at 12:41:33 pm

Jan,
Thank you for your thorough reply on this Sunday AM. You answered many of my questions about the future of DVCPRO HD tape and other issues. You bring up a good point about Sony adopting a card based recording scheme despite having the XD disks.

My dream of Panasonic saying "we will support tape through 20XX" is unrealistic I admit. When the storage cost limitation is finally removed many of us will adopt the cards too. I am sure you have heard many times "if the P2 cards cost less we would gladly use them". That is only a matter of time-- every sector of information technology is searching for card based inexpensive storage. Someone will come up with a 64gig card made with a new technology that costs $100... someday.

Hats off to Panasonic for giving us more transparency than Sony ever did or ever will. Allowing Jan and others the latitude to comment on these forums is really amazing. No manufacturer will ever announce actual or projected product life cycles (that they themselves may not know), and getting information directly from a Product Manager is what customer support truly is.

For now I may try the Firestore 160 DVCPRO HD drive and see how that works out for projects I edit myself in HD. For SD projects I (try to) convert every call for Betacam SP to DVCPRO 50 using a SDX-900 that I bought just last October-- it has paid for itself more than twice over already. Thanks Panasonic!

Thank you,
George

George Griswold
http://www.videonow.info
New Orleans, Louisiana


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John Cummings
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 11, 2008 at 2:44:56 pm

George-

I suspect most of us HDX owners will have fully realized our ROI (and much more) with these cameras by the time Panasonic finally pulls the plug on tape and HDX support. That little firewire plug alone should help prolong the HDX's viability by a couple of years.

By the time we're done with these cameras, we should see dramatically longer runtimes as well as much, much lower prices on solid state media.

With all the drama and angst among other freelancers over what format to buy, I actually feel pretty smart and satisfied about my HDX purchase.

I also agree Jan is a wonderful asset to her company and a valuable resource for all of us here on the cow...even when she tells us things we don't want to hear...

J Cummings
DP/Chicago
http://www.cameralogic.tv


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Ernie Santella
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 12, 2008 at 2:46:38 am

I 2nd the request for a cheaper, less featured DVCProHD playback deck. I'm exactly in the same boat as George. I have held off on buying a 1400 deck because they're too expensive and have too many features we don't need. Price it around $11K list, $8K street and you'll have a winner.

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Peter Corbett
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 15, 2008 at 3:05:51 am

Jan,

Panasonic must relase a low-cost DVCPRO100 player to keep the format viable. Let's face it, most programs like TVC's and corporates never have to go to tape-out once they are ingested. There should be a Sony J3-style player available with basic RS-422 control and HD-SDI outputs. I myself won't buy a HDX900 becasue of the high-cost playback device needed to output video.

"Yes" you might say, that's what P2 is there for. But I shoot a lot of long-form material and don't necessarily want to back up every day after (or during) a shoot. Last week on a doco shoot I shot five hours of interviews a day for five days (on a SDX900). If I can't go for a HDX900/cheaper player combo, then I will seriously look at the Sony 700 XDCAMHD.

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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George Griswold
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 15, 2008 at 12:13:28 pm

Peter,

I think you are thinking what many other people are thinking-- an affordable system with media that an be handed off and archived with no intermediate steps and pitfalls. Tape may be dead (or threatened), but its benefits are not forgotten; for some tape is still the best storage medium bar none.

The XDCAM with its instantly deliverable media is looking attractive to lots of folks. Despite its so-so compression it may become a widely used standard if for no other reason that you can buy an affordable NLE ingest deck. Added benefits: store field tapes right from camera to a shelf and field recordings can be safely handed to a client with your invoice. If the infrastructure develops to deliver file based content safely and easily the cards would work great. Producers may start traveling with hard drives and intake gear for P2?

I am glad to see I am not the only person who thinks that a sub $10K deck would be a winner. The sentiments here reflect what I was thinking to myself--- that the $20,000 AJ-1400 only serves to marginalize DVCPRO HD tape and sadly the HDX-900 camera. The 1394 connector will fortunately make the camera useful for years regardless of any present or future storage methods.

I was put off by the problems that people seemed to have with the FireStore drives, but I think they have worked out the bugs. May have to give that a try soon.

Thank you,
George

George Griswold
http://www.videonow.info
New Orleans, Louisiana


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Bill Cassara
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:28:23 pm

Jan,
In my efforts to please my main client and keep my hdx 900 in service, I'm trying to figure out a way to record proxy files in the field. Any thoughts on a hardware solution?
Thanks, Bill C


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Nick Teti
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 15, 2008 at 3:37:29 pm

I don't think the HDX900 is in peril. The beauty of tape is having a permanent backup, and not spending time stopping on a shoot download MXF files and burning files onto DVD, (as a full day becomes a full day + half day to do that if your shooting by yourself) archiving etc. As freelance camera operator, I'd rather spend time shooting, not doing the job of the editor + I can always Fed Ex the tapes insured. A Fire Store drive also acts as a big P2 card, plus a backup if the cameras tape mechanism were to fail (run tape and the Fire Store at the same time, or just the Fire Store with the HDX 900). Many of us good old fashioned people like tape and it’s tangible benefits, just like the Sony HDCAM people do, and Fed Ex tapes to people across the globe, so P2 is added time to us.

Panasonic HDX900 could be the next BetaCam in camera popularity as long as Panasonic puts out a Desk, affordably priced which plays VariCam tapes in all frame rates, and of coarse the tapes from the HDX 900. Nick, HDX 900 owner, Colorado, contact@misterphoton.com
– 1-720-299-2084




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John Cummings
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 15, 2008 at 10:14:35 pm

"As freelance camera operator, I'd rather spend time shooting, not doing the job of the editor..."

Nicely put, Nick.

Ok, I'll pile on...how about a more affordable playback-only deck?

From what I can gather here, on other boards, and by talking with fellow freelancers, it appears Panasonic is selling A TON of these HDX's. If Panasonic is indeed committed to supporting their tape-based buyers, offering an affordble playback deck does seem like a slam dunk for sales...especially since it seems most deliverables ultimately need to be on some flavor of HDCam...not DVCPro HD.

J Cummings
DP/Chicago
http://www.cameralogic.tv


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 15, 2008 at 10:39:51 pm

[John Cummings] "
From what I can gather here, on other boards, and by talking with fellow freelancers, it appears Panasonic is selling A TON of these HDX's. If Panasonic is indeed committed to supporting their tape-based buyers, offering an affordble playback deck does seem like a slam dunk for sales...especially since it seems most deliverables ultimately need to be on some flavor of HDCam...not DVCPro HD."


Unfortunately what it costs to make a playback deck versus a record deck, is so minimal. We did this in DVCPRO back in 1998, it was called the AJ-D220. It was about $400 less than the recorder. It wasn't a big seller because most people though heck for $400, I'll get the recorder. So I am not saying that the difference would only be $00 on an HD machine, but it wouldn't be $5000 less, it might be only $2000 less. The stuff that is expensive still has to be in there.

So be assured the 900 is not going anywhere, and that tape continues to be a format at Panasonic. I did send your suggestions along to Meryl Altman the product manager.

Best regards,

Jan



Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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Ernie Santella
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 16, 2008 at 5:15:27 pm

Jan,

Thanks for listening to us. Many of us are holding off on buying a 1400 deck because of price. Sure, there are still some large production companies and broadcast stations that have no problem with the cost. But, there are more likely way more small shops that just can't justify it. (Thus, the popularity of HDV and other cheap formats) We are in the middle. Have to have high quality, but are very cost conscious. I have to rent on a job-by-job basis right now for digitizing. And then take my files to another house to lay-off to tape. I'm dying here for a cost-effective deck for in-house.

With the demise of many of the bigger high-end shops, I think us mid-size shops are in the majority now. Help us out and we will be loyal to you too!

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Jeff Regan
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 17, 2008 at 3:08:29 pm

My solution for an inexpensive version of a 1400 deck is a Firestore. It's a $1700 solution that makes capture so much
faster and easier. The workflow of Quicktime Native mode is
so convenient that my editors don't want to deal with tape anymore. It offers around 4 hours of record time in 720/24P or
30p Native with a 100Gb FS-100 for a couple of hundred dollars
more than a single 32Gb P2 card. A 160Gb FS-100 is good for
around 6.5 hours for $400 more than a 100Gb. It's not a perfect
solution, that's why it's important to use tape as a backup, but
I don't miss not having a studio deck for ingest.

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



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Peter Corbett
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 16, 2008 at 10:17:02 pm

Jan,

I would have thought that there could be significant costs savings in a very basic DVCPRO100 player. The technology has moved quite a way since the 1200/1400 development with reductions in IC size and cost-savings. Sony's economical J-series is way, way, way cheaper than their cheapest recorder VTR. If they can do it, surely Panasonic can.

Anyway, thanks for passing the suggestions onto the Department. Something may come of it.

Peter

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 16, 2008 at 10:39:16 pm

[Peter Corbett] "I would have thought that there could be significant costs savings in a very basic DVCPRO100 player. The technology has moved quite a way since the 1200/1400 development with reductions in IC size and cost-savings. Sony's economical J-series is way, way, way cheaper than their cheapest recorder VTR. If they can do it, surely Panasonic can."

How Sony does it? Well look inside the machines and compare it to the more expensive machine. This is not Panasonic style. When they can make a cheap tape drive machine it will look just like the expensive ones on the inside. Its the only way to get the long term performance out of the machine.
We just do things differently than the other guys.

Best,

Jan



Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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Ernie Santella
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 17, 2008 at 3:15:24 pm

Jan,

That may be Panasonics's way to build everything to near-military specs, but that's not realistic. We need a low cost deck that doesn't get daily 24/7 use. Us small companies don't need that. We need more of an entry-level deck that we use once or twice a week. P2 is out as many of us don't have either the time or staff to copy and store footage for client archiving.

I guess Panny really isn't listening to us. .

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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john sharaf
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 17, 2008 at 3:47:11 pm

Ernie,

It has never been, nor never will be, the manufacturer's "policy" to listen to individual end users. In the past design criteria from network broadcasters often influenced product development and really that can be attributed to the development of the P2 and XDCAM file based video, but in reality, product design and technologgy is more often driven by the marketing guru's who can demonstrate to the top managers how many thousands (or millions in consumer electronics) of units at what price can predictably be sold. If changes to the products (usually by software) can be accomplished after the fact to accommodate real user issue can be done, all the better.

In this case, where you and others seek a cheap feeder deck, I'd have to say that it's a little late in the game, although as I recall, at last NAB (2007) there was some talk from Panasonic about just such a product, but it's obvious that in the fervor of promoting the P2 line, the marketeers prevailed in killing such a product as it would have confussed or delayed tape based users from considering transition to solid state.

To Panasonic's credit however, the P2 Mobile is a "killer product" which for a $12K street price offers 21st century technology and a significant improvement in quality (10 bit recording, AVC-I codec and no horizontal down res). At NAB, they rightly so, demonstrated this product as a way to leverage the aging Varicams into continued usefulness.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 18, 2008 at 6:43:19 pm

[Ernie Santella] "I guess Panny really isn't listening to us. ."

For a company the size of Panasonic they listen very, very well. Jan is here all the time and participating in a lot of forums openly and honestly. I certainly don't see Steve Jobs or Jan's equivalent from Sony doing anything of the sort. So give her some credit and a break.

The company listens to everyone and takes the aggregate. If enough people request the same thing it will generally happen. But your take is not fair to the efforts Jan has made for many years and certainly doesn't speak for most of Panasonic's customers.

Noah

My FCP Blog. Unlock the secrets of the DVX100, HVX200 and Apple Color. Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook
http://www.callboxlive.com



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George Griswold
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 19, 2008 at 9:47:06 am

Noah,

I agree with your sentiments. Many company reps try and then leave participating in forums because they or their companies can't please everyone and they end up taking the heat. It is the old shoot the messenger syndrome.
I don't think Panasonic releases production figures so we won't know how many 1200's, and 1400's they have sold to date. Also we don't know how many units they need to sell for them to decide to bring a new product to market. The desire for a "utility" deck has been expressed and the only thing that can help now is for more posts asking for the same.
Panasonic Broadcast is a vastly more accessible and end user friendly organization than Sony, Avid and many others. When it comes to broadcast parts they lead the pack in my opinion.

George

George Griswold
http://www.videonow.info
New Orleans, Louisiana


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Peter Corbett
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on May 19, 2008 at 10:48:21 am

Yes I really back up these sentiments about Jan. Who else does this? Sony? No. Grass Valley? No. JVC? No. Red? Yes ;-) well, sort of.

All said and done, a simple yet Panasonic-reliable feeder player is what we need. So if anyone besides Jan is listening... guys, we need it.

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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Lee Dashiell
Re: Is the HDX900 history?
on Jul 12, 2008 at 12:19:44 am

I've found that the HDX900 is becoming the most requested camera for us. We are still shooting on the SDX900 at times but the HDX has taken over. I think that it has become more the "standard" for many of our clients.

http://www.HDX900crew.com
Providing Broadcast HD Camera Crews in SC
South Carolina HDX900 Varicam Crew
DP/CamMate Crane Owner/Operator
RED ONE.....on the way
803-743-7680


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