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But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?

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Mark Shepherd
But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:41:04 pm

So the big question now is: Can money be made in this crazy market with the Panasonic HPX3700 Varicam? I have never known any one to use one in a production.. In the LA market all the cheap productions are using the small P2 VX200 cameras, the SOny EXI and the EX3 and the RED. I know of one feature shot with the Panasonic 2000 (the director loved the camera and chose it over the RED for its low light capabilities, mobility and P2 workflow) but isn't that camera about 20k? I just worked on the Michael Jackson death circus for the network and the only "full size" P2 camera that I saw working ( there were hundreds from all over the world) was the Panasonic 500 that was feeding SD analogue 16/9 into a sat truck for the BBC. Is Panasonic 3700 "shovel ready" for making money in this economy, of just another piece of expensive bling bling for financial ruin? Just wondering...


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Peter Corbett
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 17, 2009 at 1:35:01 am

What your guestimate of the numbers of types of formats used at the Jackson thing, Mark?

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


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Mark Shepherd
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 17, 2009 at 2:01:58 am

[Peter Corbett] "What your guestimate of the numbers of types of formats used at the Jackson thing, Mark?"

Betacam 4/3, Digibeta, PAL, Betacam 16/9 SD, Betacam SX, XDCAM, Sony HDV, DVCPro, DVCPRO HD, P2, DVCAM, DV. No RED cameras were observed. Australian TV was next to me with multi Sony 700 EDCAMs switching a live HD through a "briefcase" size switcher-- very cool…

I was feeding a SAT truck a SD 4/3 signal from a Betacam camera, never "rolling tape"


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Erich Roland
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 17, 2009 at 1:43:11 pm

I'd be happy to hear differently but my guess is very few people (free lance owner/ops) are doing well with P2 Varicams. Too few "2/3" camera" productions are working with this format. The last post was an example.

Ive worked as a free lance cameraman for many years and my clients still mostly ask for tape in 2/3" production. The current "flavor of the month" in mini camera's is leaning heavily toward the Sony 1/2" EX cameras. Next month who knows!

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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Gary Snyder
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 18, 2009 at 12:53:50 am

Interesting question on the 3700

We have an inventory of SDX-900's and HDX-900's and have
recently bought (2) of the HPX-3700 and (1) HPX-2000 .

I think for it to work, you will need to be pro-active with your
clients to understand the workflow. Which is actually quite easy.

We are very impressed with the 3700's AVC-Intra for green screen and
high end work. We may also be getting some codex digital recorders to take advantage of the 4:4:4 output of the camera...

We have used multiple SDX-900's and HDX-900 for 4 - camera shoots.
Our clients will be moving to the 3700's very shortly.

For data management, we're using the Wrangler Pro from 1-beyond.
http://www.1beyond.com

they also provide a very nice and compact 2-drive RAID 1 system that uses 320GB drives mounted in a shock mount shell. And only costing a little more than the off the shelf drives from Staples. With much
higher quality...

We are sold on the P-2's and will probably get more 3700's under the trade up system...

Having said that... we may also be looking at the Sony PDW-F800's

ah. the pleasures of running a rental company..

tnx... Gary



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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 18, 2009 at 1:57:42 am

I think the point about educating clients about workflow is an important one. As a small rental facility owner, I've had to tout the benefits of file based recording, whether using a FireStore or nNovia on-board hard drive, or P2 or SxS cards, a case for edit ready media needs to be made.

It's ironic that on the low end, HVX200's or EX1, tapeless recording has been embraced, yet on the higher end, clients are afraid of anything other than tape. High end P2 cameras have not achieved traction in my rental market, even though most of my clients use a FireStore in conjunction with my HDX900 while backing up with tape.
To my way of thinking, P2 is more reliable than a Firestore, more convenient and now offers AVC Intra in addition to DVCPRO HD.

Panasonic has diluted the Varicam name, however, by offering two models. The 3700 is not really a true Varicam due to its frame rate limitations. So the decision between a 2700 and 3700 is difficult, even if we can get over the P2 hurdle.

Right now, 2/3" cameras just aren't sexy in a world of RED ONE and Canon 5D large sensor cameras--even though the 2/3" cameras are so much more convenient and user friendly to shoot and edit with.

The bad economy, better and better palmcorder options and new, sexy seeming large sensor cameras makes investing in "old school" 2/3" cameras a difficult decision. I think the 3700 for $30K or a 2700 for a similar price point offer a lot of value and I believe in the P2 workflow--just a matter of getting clients to be on the same page.



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


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 18, 2009 at 4:30:05 pm

"It's ironic that on the low end, HVX200's or EX1, tapeless recording has been embraced, yet on the higher end, clients are afraid of anything other than tape."

They're not afraid. The big guys just have bigger fish to fry.

Waaaay back at the dawn of the HD era...some four or five years ago...many large program producers spent millions of dollars upgrading their infrastructure to HD equipment. All that equipment was tape-based. Racks and racks of it. Studio decks, feed decks, editing decks, mastering decks, logging decks. HDCams and Varicams were bought by the dozens. Avid suites by the dozens were upgraded or replaced. Entire facilites were re-wired. Money was tossed around like confetti. Where did that money come from? Debt.

Freelancers like me, who are in integral part of the production process, followed suit...in my case, the day after I got the call. And many, like me, eventually bought more than one flavor of HD camera. How did I pay for it? Debt. At that time, we all paid top dollar to be in on the leading wave. Thousands of hours of programming were shot and produced using this gear. It looked great. Still does. In fact, it's on the air right now.

"Workflow" is a trendy term these days. In reality, that overused and overblown term "workflow" simply means how you do your work in a way that makes economic sense for you. These large content producers have an established workflow that works for them. Whether you capture images on ss media, disc or tape, shots must still be recorded and sent, transferred or captured and logged, the stories written and produced. And in the end, programs must be delivered on something, and all that very expensive media (raw and finished) must be archived.

That's a nasty little problem, archiving. Most "High-end" clients can produce hours and hours of broadcast quality programming every week, and need a secure, safe and cost-effective way to protect that valuable content. It's simple. So far, nothing has come along that will do it better or or more cheaply than tape.

Any small efficiency gains in the process are always great and welcome, but in reality, and in many cases, the capital expenditures have already been made. These program producers might have taken on a tremendous amout of debt to get into the HD arena during the initial wave of transition. Many are sitting on mountains of HD tape gear that still works just fine but would be worth mere pennies on the dollar on the secondary market. Considering the cutthroat nature and razor-thin margins of this business, the tough economic climate right now and the extremely tight credit markets, who in their right mind would want to transition to what can only be called interim formats, even if they could find the capital to do it?

Not that I'm a luddite. If my main clients called me tomorrow and demanded P2 or XDCam, I'd change in a minute...the same way I got into HDCam several years ago. Yet I'm not convinced (and I don't think I'm alone)in thinking tapeless is all that more efficient or cost-effective. To me, it just shifts the work around and introduces another set of issues that must be dealt with. Certainly for many large companies, not enough reason to pitch millions of dollars of gear that may or may not be paid for or fully depreciated yet.

I'd love a shiny new camera. But curiously, that P2 call hasn't come yet. I'm waiting. As a businessman...and at the end of the day that's what I am...I'm not all that surprised...and yet not all that disappointed. Has anyone here tried to get an equipment loan lately?

Sorry for the ramble. I think the new Varicams are flawed as well. A compromise. They're a work in progress. I think many of us in my non-fiction niche in this business are keeping our hands off our wallets and waiting for the next big thing. I think this latest Panasonic promotion pretty much confirms that.

Personally, I hope that next big thing doesn't involve expensive, outdated and propietary recording media.












J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 18, 2009 at 5:57:33 pm

John,

Great perspective on established infrastructure, however I disagree that migrating to tapeless would cost much in the post realm. If a producer is already renting a camera, all they need to do is bring a couple of hard drives with them. Archiving can be an expense, but memory gets cheaper by the day.

The next wave has already come, it's RED ONE with somewhere around 5,000 cameras sold. So RED ONE is an example of tapeless workflow being embraced on a fairly large scale for and narrative and commercials, in addition to various XDCAM flavors for news, magazine and reality, and all the Panasonic palmcorders that started this in around 2004.

Let's not forget that all that realtime tape ingest is time consuming and labor intensive and the maintenance on those HDCAM and DVCAM tape transports can be expensive.

The editors I work with hate it when I bring them tapes instead of hard drives and the latter saves my clients money due to the fast ingest of footage. There's also a financial cost and environmental impact to producing all of those tapes, not all of which are archived, many are thrown away. The tapes take up a fair amount of storage space as well, sitting there for archival.

Yes, as a DP, I would really rather not have to sit around waiting for cards or on-board hard drives to transfer to external hard drives on set, and as a rental house owner, educating clients on tapeless workflow is time consuming, but to pretend that this isn't where all production is headed is delaying the inevitable.


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


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 18, 2009 at 7:55:11 pm

Oh I agree completely.

Tapeless is certainly the present for some and the future for the rest of us. I was just offering my perpective on why so many large content producers seem to be in no hurry to jump on the tapeless bandwagon. When they jump, I will, too. After all, archiving isn't my problem and I work by the hour in the field.

I do use an EX3 occasionally with a small production house. I like it well enough...especially on a tripod.

The Red is indeed a swell camera for narrative and commercial work. I dig the large imager for it's shallow depth of field. I would think editors love it not just for the look but also for the increased hours it involves in post. Unfortunately, it's a train wreck for the kind of work I do...run and gun reality and documentaries.

When Panasonic or Sony get off their fat duffs and offer a "Redlike" camera with real ergonomics, different lens mount options and a simpler post path, the world will beat a path to their doors and I'll be in the front of the line yelling gimme!

Until then, I'm just another curmudgeon tilting the windmills here on the Cow.

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 18, 2009 at 10:06:57 pm

John,

Yes, RED is the wrong camera for most of my clients as well. I get the shallow depth of field with my HDX900 by using my Letus Ultimate and B4 Pro 2/3" relay lens with Nikon, Canon or PL-mount Cine lenses.

I think Panasonic should have shown an empty box at NAB with their logo and a 35mm lens mounted to it, "Price to be Determined", "Delivery to be Determined", just to give potential RED camera buyers pause.


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


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Robin Probyn
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 19, 2009 at 7:26:46 am

So doesnt the Sony PDW800 now look to be the camera of choice for doc/run and gun/current affair/news.. and archive is already there ..DVD better than tape..
Iam an HDX900 owner and love the beast,wish I had bought it earlier.. ofcourse tape is on the way out but lets face it P2 just isnt any good for doc work... its not going to happen.. and RED even less so.
Maybe the markets will fracture.. but all the BBC/Natgeo/History channel/Discovery stuff that keeps shoes on my kids feet.will be fine with PDW800..

Iam not biased to Sony or Pana.. I have the HDX900 and trusty Digibeta 790... but for doc work the XDCAM 800 looks like a winner to me..



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Mark Shepherd
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 19, 2009 at 9:00:11 pm

Thanks for all the posts regarding my first post on this subject. If Sony would step up to the plate and offer a 30K trade in on their XDCAM PDW F800 for all their old Betacam cameras and Digibeta cameras, I would be the first in line to buy one. Could you just imagine all the cameras that would be sold and used that could be the next viable money making format for a few years. Lets rattle the cage at Sony and get their attention!! I'm ready to buy a new 2/3 inch camera that can make some money.


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Erich Roland
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 12:32:50 am

Wow John, you hit all the right points.... very well laid out.

Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 1:34:17 am

Thanks, Erich.
Of course, we've already bonded in earlier threads on many of the same issues. Love ya too, man.

I think this is funny, but I'm not sure how to read it:

"I think Panasonic should have shown an empty box at NAB with their logo and a 35mm lens mounted to it, "Price to be Determined", "Delivery to be Determined", just to give potential RED camera buyers pause."

I would think quite a few Red owners would have peed their pants a little had they seen something like that at NAB.

Am I the only one here that thinks Panasonic could wipe the convention floor with a product like that? Of course, there's still that P2 issue...

I dunno...for now, maybe I'll just hang a Nano on my HDX and spit.

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 2:23:17 am

I think all Panasonic has to do is use the same sensor as their GH1 SLR camera, combine it with AVC Intra, sell it for under $15K, and they'd have something.

Regarding P2 cameras not being good choices for documentary work, as long as their is a chance to do transfers at the end of a shoot day,
they can be viable. Five 64Gb P2 cards at 1080/24PN using AVC Intra 50 would record for over 13 hours. This would still provide quality as good or better than XDCAM 422 and a 500Gb hard drive costs less than 500Gb worth of XDCAM discs.

AVC Intra 100 is superior to any 8 bit codec, and would still yield over six hours of recording time at 1080/24PN. The new P2 E series card should allow for faster transfer speeds, if the computer hardware doesn't create a bottleneck. Other than the cost of hard drives, there is no extra post cost when using P2 cards, unlike XDCAM 422.

I do agree that discs are better for archival than tape or hard drives. Of course footage could still be transferred to disc in post for archival.

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


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Robin Probyn
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 2:34:00 am


Regarding P2 cameras not being good choices for documentary work, as long as their is a chance to do transfers at the end of a shoot day,

Yep thats the big sticking point..as far as I see it... down loading in the field is often impossible.. so its a back at the hotel thing.But few camera people want to do this at the the end of the ever increasing daily hrs! we also tried and prone to make mistakes.. and its not our job either. Iam all for having a cam asist but those days are also few and far between these days if it involves their rate ,extra airfares ,hotels etc.
One of the first things to go when video came in!

Until a P2 card can be treated as a tape or disc,meaning priced the same or close..I cant see it working?



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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 3:07:36 am

Yes, transferring 6, 8 or more hours of footage at the end of a long shoot day is not my idea of a good time either. Local PA? These young kids are good with computers!

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


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Robin Probyn
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 3:18:14 am

You must how some very laid back directors :) but most wouldnt trust their master piece to a local PA... !!! and the far flung destinations they dont exist anyway.

Its another hurdle... you can get people to help lump the box,s around etc.. but to be responsible for everything you,ve shot is another deal completely.You want someone you know and really trust.. as you would a loader on film.. where you,re only going to lose 10mins on an opened mag.,let alone hrs of stuff.

If Panasonic make a huge loss on the cards,then I think P2 would rule the world deservedly so.. as it is yes I agree ... drama/cheaper features/ad,s ... nice controlled environment P2 is great.



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gary adcock
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 12:46:35 pm

[Jeff Regan] "transferring 6, 8 or more hours of footage at the end of a long shoot day is not my idea of a good time either. Local PA? These young kids are good with computers! "

Not in my world.

IF you OK letting the lowest paid person on the set handle your digital master? I would never trust my my work to some intern or PA just because it was easier. How many posts have you seen here on the cow that demonstrate how poorly some people treat their content.



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows

Check out
http://www.aja.com/kiprotour/

Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 10:18:22 pm

I'm a fan of Shotput Pro, this ingest program is great for P2 and SxS and pretty fool proof for transferring footage to up to three external drives. I've never had any issues with loss of data using this program.

I normally either do the transfers myself, or one of my sound persons or engineers do it. I've also had my editor do it when on set and I've even had a couple of producers do it who were savvy with P2 transfer. Most of the technical people on my crew know FireStore FS-100's and P2 offloading. I don't clear the cards or FireStore until I've previewed some files off of the drives. I've had a twenty something camera assistant/data wrangler do it as well, but I knew that he was better with computers than I will ever be.



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


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 26, 2009 at 12:34:01 am

I just read that the PCD35 P2 reader is incredibly fast. Transfer times for a 32Gb E series card have been lowered from over 20 minutes to 5 minutes. Unfortunately, a desktop computer with a PCIe slot is required, but that could mean the ability to transfer 5 64Gb P2 cards in less than an hour!

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


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 3:38:47 am

"I think all Panasonic has to do is use the same sensor as their GH1 SLR camera, combine it with AVC Intra, sell it for under $15K, and they'd have something."

Exactly, Jeff.

And add in cinegamma and scene files, because in the little world I work in, I almost always have to do a look in-camera...most budgets don't allow for a colorist or grading after the fact. The files need to be ready-to-edit, with attached audio, right out of the camera. I would love to have a larger chip for use with primes, but still have the option to downrez in the camera, change lens mounts (ala Scarlet) and throw a 2/3" zoom on for run and gun work.
Imagine all that in a camera that goes from tripod to shoulder with a click...what a concept.

That would be a truly flexible system, and probably the only camera I would ever need. $15K sounds a tad optimistic, but I would gladly pay at least twice that for something that versatile. I might even deal with P2 for that...

Who could pull it off?

Canon would be the obvious choice to turn out a product like this, but it would be all plastic and look funky...and they'd screw it up with a bad viewfinder and weird dials, somehow.

Panasonic would be the best choice, but probably won't because their camera scientists don't seem to listen to anybody in the field, sales or marketing, especially here in the states.

Sony could easily do it, but they'd slap a gold cinealta badge on it and charge over a hundred grand for it.

It would be a wonderful opportunity for Ikegami to get back in the game...but sadly, like Elvis, they've left the building.

Maybe the Ray-Ban people are working on something...



J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 4:30:11 am

I hear Canon is going to be offering a large sensor based camcorder, maybe the 5D sensor? It will be prosumer level, codec will probably AVC HD, but it will be interesting to see what it looks like. If aimed at prosumers, it will need sophisticated auto focus with facial recognition--full frame 35mm can have pretty shallow DOF!

I agree that a large sensor camera with real camera type of processing such as gamma, knee, hard clip, matrix, detail circuits would be great vs. a post-production camera like RED ONE. 1920X1080 resolution is fine with me, 4K is an answer to a question I didn't ask. Ergonomics of an ENG camera would be great, and of course, good audio vs. needing double system sound.

Panasonic can and should build something like this and soon!

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


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Erich Roland
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 1:13:33 pm

Jeff, Your right somebody should build a camera with these features and somebody will eventually. If it’s a manufacturer with any credibility they will steal the show.

You can see the features and good idea's coming from different places, DSLR's, Red, P2, Nano flash, XD-cam we just need a smart, forward thinking (preferably Japanese) manufacturer to understand where we are, where we are probably headed and build a camera designed to last through the transition period we are within (flexibility is a key ingredient).

What needs to be built in to a professional camera system is the concept of a system that can last a few years i.e upgradable. It needs to attempt be adaptable to what’s coming next. The idea that we have to throw away these cam-corders every 2 years because the next model is better is a very serious problem that should be addressed before the masses will throw big bucks at a new camera system. Red is very smart to not only build modular system but also "trade up" programs. This is critical in these times of fast change.

The next company that "steps up" should build in flexible memory platform, to accommodate different memory and codec options like the "Nano flash", etc. This modular idea is where we should be going right now with "full form" camera's built to last more then 2-3 years.

The lack of sales in 2/3” P2 cameras is a sign of the transition we are in. If Panasonic built the camera your speaking of, they would take over the industry very quickly, but they are so “over invested” in P2 cameras and products (the industry is not buying) they are most likely stretched WAY too thin to pull it off any time soon (unfortunately). Maybe Canon, maybe Sony. Red of coarse is doing very good work but they have issues also (for the masses anyway). I think we may soon see a big battle coming in DSLR’s VS “Scarlet” for the full frame look everyone wants these days. Sony and Panasonic are certainly watching.

Sony is a stogy old company for sure but if you look at where they are relative to Panasonic, how much LESS they have invested in current technology. They have yet to make a big move away from tape in 2/3” cameras, which is where the money is traditionally. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them make a smarter move in this "full form" arena (smarter then XD-cam disc burning that is).

Interesting times... we shall see.

Save your money now, use what you have, or rent what you don’t have (my secret motivation), and lets see what happens in the next year or two. I’m guessing things are going to change fairly dramatically. I think the gold ring is hanging out there ready to be taken, because some smart company will soon lead us out of transition and into the 21 century! I don't think we are there with the current gear available right now (my opinion as always). Red is easily ahead of the pack, we just need the big boys to get on board.

Good conversation!


Erich Roland
http://www.dc-camera.com
HD camera rentals, Washington DC
(and Cameraman)


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 21, 2009 at 10:28:22 pm

Great insight Erich. I'm disappointed by what the HPX300 could have been instead of a 3)1/3" camera--if it had a single Academy size C-Mos sensor, it could have stopped EX1 and EX3 in its tracks and had a head start on Scarlett. I really think $15-20K could have been doable. No, it wouldn't have had the extensive menu flexibility of an HPX2700 or 3700, nor the refinement, but it would have done a lot more in camera than RED One and presumably Scarlett.

What an opportunity to get a jump on Sony and offer a RED option!

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


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:30:28 am

This is indeed a great conversation...and good therapy, too.

I wonder if the product reps read these harangues? If so, I wonder what they think?

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Robin Probyn
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:49:06 am

Yes splitting the varicam seems to be a mistake.I have the HDX900 now and think its a great camera and hope to get a few more yrs from it.
But as it stands now I would get the PDW800.. rather than P2.. as my work is mostly doc,s in the field,long hours,old hotels sometimes with bad/unreliable wiring etc.. seldom a cam assist.. so P2 I think just isnt going to work for me.. where as the 800 ..90 mins dual layer DVD is great for this type of work.



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Michael Shugrue
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Aug 2, 2009 at 3:50:18 pm

3700 ready ??? Yes we are using them to replace F-900's in the MOW market and green screen to replace reds. Not that the red has any issues just cheapier to rent and post is easier.


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Jennifer Isenhart
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:59:42 pm

I'd love a shiny new camera. But curiously, that P2 call hasn't come yet.

We own a AJHD27f Varicam. It's a great camera and has certainly proven itself with an excellent ROI in the five years we've owned it.

The P2 call hasn't come yet, but the 1080 call certainly has. We've messed around with upconverting our 720 60fps footage to 1080i, which can look decent. But try going 1080p and it's game over. The image just does not stand up.

For that reason, we are considering the most recent carrot from Panasonic, a $20,000 (with trade in) Varicam 2700 body. With a full size 1920 x 1080 chip set, solid CCDs (instead of judder prone CMOS sensors), and the ability to also acquire off speed 60fps footage at 720 (unlike the 3700)... it seems like a good choice.

We primarily shoot episodic television programming, long form corporate and marketing videos. But we also freelance quite a lot for crew booking agencies and national networks. Maybe we need to hang onto the 27f tape body for a while, too... just in case.

Or maybe we duck for a while and grab an AJA Ki Pro. Anyone tried upconverting 720p to 1080p with a Ki Pro?



Jennifer Isenhart
Wide Eye Productions


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 10:28:07 pm

"I'd love a shiny new camera. But curiously, that P2 call hasn't come yet."

It's not often I get to quote myself.
The P2 call finally came this week. I didn't get the gig.

I still want a shiny new camera, but it's probably going to be a Canon 5D Mk2, first. That camera is mind-blowingly good.

Don't know what to say about the new 2700 deal...just glad I didn't buy one a few months ago...

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jennifer Isenhart
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 10:43:50 pm

Yeah, we have been checking out the 5D MII and also the 7D. If you like that idea, check out what this guy has been doing with a 7D:

http://philipbloom.co.uk

It's pretty amazing. With a $1700 camera body.

But our DP's don't see a DSLR Video rig as a primary unit for most reality and documentary work, which is much of what we do, too. That's why we're still enticed by the 2700 deal (plus, the trade-in would make good use out of that old Sony 300A we have banging around here).

We're interested in other opinions on that.

Jennifer Isenhart
Wide Eye Productions


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John Cummings
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:39:19 pm

Jennifer-

Philip Bloom's stuff got me interested...but this one opening shot probably sealed the deal for me:

Canon EOS 5d markII from Florian Foest on Vimeo.



I agree, it's not for everyone.
But for the right client, the right budget and the right project, it's definitely a contender to a Varicam...or any other camera out there.

Edit- And I suspect the folks at Panasonic know this as well...

Cheers-

J Cummings
Cameralogic/Chicago
cameralogic.tv
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 10:52:20 pm

Jennifer,

The HPX2700 does not have a 1080X1920 full raster chip set, it is a native 720X1280 chip set, like the Varicam 27F/H, HDX900, HPX2000. To get a full raster CCD camera, you would need to buy an HPX3000 or 3700.

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


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Jennifer Isenhart
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 10:55:27 pm

Wow. I didn't know that. Thanks. We'd better look again at that spec sheet.

Jennifer Isenhart
Wide Eye Productions


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Jennifer Isenhart
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:09:38 pm

Jeff, here it is. Right from the Panasonic website. 1280x720 CCDs. That's crazy. Why wouldn't they put 1920x1080 chips in that camera?

Does anyone know what the deal is with 1080 23.98p being pulled down over 59.94i? It has P2 cards. Why can't it record native? Is that a DVCPro HD codec limitation?

SPECIFICATIONS

2/3" CCD: 1280x720 (1M pixels per CCD)

Recording Formats:
# 720/59.94p, 720/60p
# 720/50P, 29.97pN, 25pN, 24PN, 23.98pN
# 1080/59.94i, 50i, 29.97pN, 25pN,
# 1080/24PN, 23.98pN
Note: In DVCPRO HD 1080 23.98p is pulled down over 59.94i (native recording is not possible)

Standard Codecs: AVC-Intra 100, AVC-Intra 50, DVCPRO HD

Jennifer Isenhart
Wide Eye Productions


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Jeff Regan
Re: But is a HPX3700 Varicam "shovel ready?" for making money?
on Oct 10, 2009 at 12:35:00 am

3)2/3" 1080X1920 CCD's would reqire a lot of power and possibly overheat in a one-piece camcorder form factor at 720/60p. Were that not the case, Panasonic would have come out with a single P2 Varicam, not both a 2700 and 3700, the latter of which is limited to 1080/30p as its highest frame rate and no 720p.

I'm happy that native frame rates are available in 1080/24p and 30p with AVC Intra. I don't know why that's not the case with DVCPRO HD.



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


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