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Varicam2700 vs H

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chris magid
Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 11, 2011 at 2:27:07 am

Considering upgrading to a 2700 from a H model.

Hoping it solves a few problems for me.

The biggest being noisy shadows and noisy gray values. Hoping that the AVC-Intra improves this along with the better DSPs and such in the 2700.

My other concern relates to some experiences I have had with 1080p model, the 3700. Was not too impressed. The image did not seem as filmic or polished as that coming from my H. It was certainly higher resolution and much cleaner...but it seemed harsh and very video like by comparison, even with low detail and film gamma setting.

Hoping the 720p 2700 is closer to my 720p H in some ways. Which I use with settings akin the popular peter gray values.

Just searching for the Varicam look I love, improved with cleaner shadows, less noise and etc.

Chris Magid
RTVF

chris magid
chris@gortvf,com
Renaissance Television & Film
http://www.gortvf.com


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Chris Bell
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 11, 2011 at 3:21:34 am

The Varicam H is a better looking camera. (I've owned both an H and 2700.)

Christopher Bell
Cinematography
http://www.christopher-bell.com


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chris magid
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 11, 2011 at 5:12:38 pm

Wow. That was my suspicion based on some disappointing experiences with the 3700.

Can you describe your feelings? What parameters, behaviors or image qualities do you think the 2700 does not do as well as the H at?

It is a shame because the H can be very noisy in shadow or muted low luma values. Otherwise it is awesome. Best rig I have ever used.

Was hoping AVC Intra 100 10 bit would help me with some banding and noise issues. We are doing a lot of work on new projects which have some very subtle gradient gray backgrounds. The H, probably due to 8 bit DVC PRO HD has tough time. It happens at other times too. We are having to be a little too careful with lighting.

The H also gets a little clip-ish with highlights and was hoping the expanded published dynamic range of the 2700 and the 14 bit DSPs would help out.

We also were hoping to get into file based workflows.

Suppose we could investigate the P2 docking recorders. Anyone know if the HDSDI out of the H is 10 bit and if the P2 docks can now handle slow motion (48fps) properly?

Says a lot about the H, that I can't find a replacement camera short of a Sony SRW900 or an Alexa. They are not great fits for the majority of our work.

Cameras like the Sony F3 are not an option because of the 4:2:0 limitation. And I have worked with a lot of F800 XDCAM footage and was extremely underwhelmed at that camera's performance.

Chris Magid
RTVF

chris magid
chris@gortvf,com
Renaissance Television & Film
http://www.gortvf.com


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Bruce Greene
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 16, 2011 at 4:31:47 pm

Hi Chris,

Do you shoot in FilmRec mode?

I've found that the (H) camera produces much cleaner images in FilmRec mode. So much so that I never shoot in VidRec mode anymore.

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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chris magid
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 16, 2011 at 8:24:58 pm

Bruce,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes. we do shoot in film rec mode, almost exclusively.

Are you suggesting the H is cleaner than the 2700 in that regard? Or that I should try film-rec on the H to lower our noise issues?

What are your thoughts on dark compression mode?

Our H is being pushed to the limit on shoots that are using a lot of lighting tricks to deliver subtle gradations of gray and in my opinion the blacks and shadows have always been on the noisy side. So we are getting some banding and lots of noise which limits our color correction range.

We use settings pretty similar to the popular Peter Gray film look settings. Just a low contrast, high dynamic range, flat, film look ready for color corrections.

The other issue we get is clipped or blown highlights, which is to be expected.

I was hoping the 2700 due to the newer DSPs, 600% dynamic range and most importantly 10 bit AVC INTRA would help.

With the exception of the flaws I listed, our H has been phenomenal. We sometimes put a PRO35 on the front with primes and get really nice organic stuff.

My experience with the upmarket 3700 was too clean, too sharp, very electronic and not pleasing. Think I prefer the 720p look.

Any further information you share regarding your opinions on the 2700 vs H would be greatly valued.

Even though I signed the order today.

Want to buy a used low mileage H?

Chris Magid
RTVF

chris magid
chris@gortvf,com
Renaissance Television & Film
http://www.gortvf.com


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Jeff Regan
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 18, 2011 at 5:46:14 am

I don't have experience with the 27H, but I was amazed at how big a step my 2700 was over my HDX900. 32 bit DSP, Film Rec 600%, AVC-Intra 100 is full raster, 10-bit, which offers an extra stop of latitude due to a lower noise floor.

I have shot a lot with a 3700 and you can turn down the detail more than a 2700, but I prefer the 720P native look as well--kinder to talent.

The P2 work flow has a lot of advantages of course, like Native frame rate recording, bullet proof reliability, and superior codec with AVC- Intra.

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


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Robin Probyn
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 18, 2011 at 6:13:41 am

Hi Jeff

Can I ask how you deal with the downloading,esp when on the road.. eg what card reader,laptop,nexto?

Thanks for your time.



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Jeff Regan
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 19, 2011 at 2:34:54 am

Robin, I have a PCD20 and PCD2, MacBook Pro's with ShotPut Pro and lots of ext. drives. I recently added a Panasonic MSU10 transfer unit, which is great for the road, and PA proof!

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


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Robin Probyn
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 19, 2011 at 3:22:20 am

Thanks Jeff.

What sort of download times are you getting..any particular reason for going for the MSU 10 instead of latest nexto with the P2 slot..?

Thanks



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Jeff Regan
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 22, 2011 at 1:55:10 am

Robin,

I got 5x transfer speed with data verification off on a 16 minute test. Please see the NexTo thread above. Obviously, the NexTo has more media flexibility than a P2 only solution, but the MSU10 is more of a rental customer friendly device, I think.

I like being able to slide the HDD tray out of the unit and connect it directly to a computer via dual USB or eSata. Of course, one could have multiple trays with HDD's or SSD's to work with on long form projects.

One issue that I have run into, besides not being able to playback clips, is when connecting to an external HDD, my Mac OS formatted drive was not recognized by the MSU10, so it looks like PC formatted drives are necessary, unless using a laptop in between MSU10 and external HDD's. More testing is needed.

Again, what I would buy for myself is often different than what is best for rental clientele. If there is a problem with data transfer, at least I was using a Panasonic solution, much like always using Sony tape with Sony camcorders--a way to cover oneself.

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


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chris magid
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 18, 2011 at 3:08:35 pm

Excellent report. Thanks Jeff.

Our H has been a workhorse.

All the reasons you stated are the reasons we decided to take advantage of the Panasonic trade in offer on the 2700. I had an old BetaSP rig collecting dust. Great deal.

Just hoping to dial in the same look on the 2700 as we had on the H. A good film look or flat film response for grading in post. Any suggestions?

And is there a way to prevent clip spanning over 2 P2 cards. Would like to turn that off and just jump to the next card. Seems like an odd thing to do. Suppose I could just keep one card unlocked at a time.

Any experience with the best Letus 35mm adapter on the 2700? We use a PS Technic Pro35 at the moment. But lots of folks say the Letus is better now.

Definitely agree that on most faces 720p is still the way to go and has a lot life in it.

Matter of fact, when the new cameras come out at NAB I hope there still is a 720p version. Doubt it though. Think 35mm sensor and 1080p is going to be it. Hopefully we get enough control to dumb it down when needed.

Oh. Anyone want an H in good shape?

Chris Magid
RTVF

chris magid
chris@gortvf,com
Renaissance Television & Film
http://www.gortvf.com


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Jeff Regan
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:08:03 am

Chris, I have two Letus Ultimate 35mm adapters and a Letus B4 Pro 2/3" relay lens. I don't think they're better than the Pro35, but quite similar and much less money when new.

The whole "Full HD" or "Full Raster" thing is just marketing, 720P using AVC-Intra 100 IS full raster. In the days of DVCPRO HD, 720P was limited to 960 horizontal. Now it's 1280 horizontal, so one could argue that if 720P was considered good in the tape Varicam days, it's now really good, especially when combined with 10-bit color depth and the efficiency of MPEG4.

As far as spanned clips, I can't remember if that can be defeated. I have never had an issue with spanned clips in post, at least none that a client has called me about.

The 2700 has more latitude, true Native frame rate recording, a much more sophisticated studio quality codec, Film Rec 600%, more variable frame rates, 32 bit DSP, additional gammas, chroma control, hi-color(not to be used with Film-Rec), color correction in addition to matrix controls, five P2 cards are like carrying a case of tape in the camera, no more cueing of takes, much faster data transfer, meta data, proxy option, CAC--really a big, big step over a legacy tape Varicam.

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


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Bruce Greene
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 18, 2011 at 4:38:49 pm

Hi Chris,

I don't have experience with the 2700 so I can't comment on that.

I do however shoot filmrec at the lowest dynamic level I can get away with so that the least correction is necessary in color grading to minimize banding from the 8 bit recording. I do allow clipping in the original photography when I feel it's something that will probably be clipped in color grading anyway.

Another approach, that I haven't yet tried, would be to shoot with the gamma setting at .35 instead of .45 (normal gamma). This should theoretically allow more bits recording the meat of your image instead of clustering them all in the highlights. In color grading, reverse the gamma to make the image look normal. The disadvantage is that unless you have a monitor LUT to correct on set, you'll be looking at images that seem too light on the monitor while shooting.

Does the 2700 have a "log" mode of recording while monitoring without the washed out image? If so it might improve the image quality a bit. This is essentially the same approach as I've mentioned above :)

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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chris magid
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 18, 2011 at 5:48:23 pm

Bruce,

We have gotten into the habit of running with dynamic level set to maximum 500%. Do you think this is introducing noise into the image compared to a 300% dynamic level?

I think you are on to the same general idea we have. That it is possible to set the H (and other cameras) in way that may produce nice looking noise free results when monitored uncompressed on the set but in reality challenge the codec and pushes it too resulting in noise in the recorded image and certainly after grading.

The 2700 does not have a log mode that I am aware of but moving to full 1280x720 recording versus the H's kludge to get there should help along with the 10 bit AVC-INTRA at 100 Mb/s. My understanding is that even though taped based DVC PRO HD records at 100 Mb/s the payload of 720p recorded via Varicam is really around 40 Mb/s. So it the 2700 may be a big improvement.

Not to diminish the H. It really is a great camera. Just has been getting a little noisy in some of the situations we put it in and now that we are finishing to 1080i / 1080p rather than SD we see a little more of it.

So we will test out some of your advice including the gamma adjustment once we get our 2700 in house.

Chris Magid
RTVF

chris magid
chris@gortvf,com
Renaissance Television & Film
http://www.gortvf.com


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Jeff Regan
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:12:08 am

2700 has a gamma correction setting for Film-Rec for the viewfinder and three HD-SDI outputs, if wanted, similar to the Varicam gamma in a Panasonic 1700 monitor.

Most DP's that I know(including myself) use Film-Rec in WYSIWYG mode, unless the director isn't used to looking at flat film gammas of any kind.

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


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chris magid
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 25, 2011 at 1:08:38 am

Well. Shot a few days on the new 2700 rig. Very nice.

The combination of AVC-Intra 100 and the other updates definitely result in a lower noise image which can pushed a little further in color correction. A big improvement.

Now a question.

There are some subtle differences and additions to the settings comparable to my H. My goodman's guide was great to help me through the H.

Is there anything like a goodman's guide addendum or resource which would detail the new wrinkles and maybe advise.

The camera is great, the manual however BLOWS.

Chris Magid
RTVF

chris magid
chris@gortvf,com
Renaissance Television & Film
http://www.gortvf.com


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Jeff Regan
Re: Varicam2700 vs H
on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:21:19 am

Varicamp was an invaluable training class that I did in '09. The 2700 and 3700 definitely have new/more menu options to consider:

DRS 1, 2, 3(which supercedes whatever gamma you set)
Chroma
Hi-Color(don't use with Film-Rec)
Film-Rec up to 600%
Color correction in addition to matrix
CAC
Pre-Record
Gamma compensation for Film-Rec for VF and HD-SDI outputs

I put VFR with one frame rate on a user switch and a second frame rate on another user switch. You can paint the camera with the menu wheel.

Lot of power in these cameras.

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


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