Recording HD signal and Edirol vs. Panasonic Mixer
I am about to setup a broadcast system, which will be in HD format. I will be using multiple Canon XH-A1 cameras with VariZoom remote pan/tilt controls. I am stuck between choosing the Edirol V-440HD and Panasonic's AVHS400 HD live mixers. I am looking for better quality, ease of use, and more functions. Also, need to minimize time delay, since the signal will not only be recorded, but will also be broadcasted to the same hall to projectors - Panasonics PT-D5600U(HD compatible). Audio system is separate, that is why I can't have 'noticable' video delay. One of the cameras is positioned about 250' away, signal is to be sent through component cables (any recommendation on cables(brand)?). Since we need to record the data, is there a recorder, which will record to a hard drive??, with MINIMUM or no compression(to match tape quality)The mixers don't have firewire out, like Videonics mixer has, so that needs to be figured out, unless the recorder will take component signal. Or do I still have to record to a tape? Once again, quality is in my top priority. To sum up, I need a recommendation on the mixer, recorder, and cables. Thank you!
My goodness, I have built systems with BOTH video switchers ! So maybe I can answer your question. I will reply below, but in quick summary, the Edirol is an analog component HD switcher, great for switching HDV Cameras, and the Panasonic is an SDI or HD-SDI switcher, for cameras with those outputs (like the Canon XL-H1). I will answer your questions below -
you write -
I will be using multiple Canon XH-A1 cameras with VariZoom remote pan/tilt controls. I am stuck between choosing the Edirol V-440HD and Panasonic's AVHS400 HD live mixers.
from the Canon site on this camera -
LANC terminal, BNC Video, Component Video, and Composite Video
It is not clear to me if this camera has HD-SDI output on it, like the Canon XL-H1. If it does not, then the analog component output will be HD, and you are are then better off with the Edirol. If I am wrong, and it DOES have HD-SDI, get the Panasonic.
you write -
I am looking for better quality, ease of use, and more functions. Also, need to minimize time delay, since the signal will not only be recorded, but will also be broadcasted to the same hall to projectors
REPLY - both easy to use (you MUST read the manual on both products - both have menus, and you MUST setup the switcher, it just doesn't "work" because there are too many choices. You MUST read the manual. No video delay.
One of the cameras is positioned about 250' away, signal is to be sent through component cables (any recommendation on cables(brand)?).
REPLY - you will suffer here. It is tough to send analog component HD 250', but it might work. I urge you to get cables made with Belden 1505A or Gepco VPM-2000. If you see cables that say "super duper monster cables works great for hi def signals" - these are the wrong cables. You need PROFESSIONAL cables. Companies like Belden, GEPCO, and Canare are the best choices. This is not a 50' run, and you will suffer with cheap cabling. And yes, THIS WILL COST A LOT OF MONEY. It costs me $289 for a bare roll of Belden 1505A wholesale (1000' unmade raw cable).
Since we need to record the data, is there a recorder, which will record to a hard drive??, with MINIMUM or no compression(to match tape quality)
REPLY - no, and there is no stand alone DVD-R or Blu Ray that will do this for you. The cheapest way to record an HD signal is to setup a NLE edit system with a capture card (like an AJA or Blackmagic) to capture live to hard drive.
The mixers don't have firewire out, like Videonics mixer has, so that needs to be figured out, unless the recorder will take component signal.
REPLY - you are dealing with a Hi Def signal. The output of the Edirol will be analog component HD - you can go into an AJA Kona LHe for example. Or the Output of the PAnasonic will be HD-SDI. You can go into the AJA Kona LHe, or Blackmagic Decklink HD product. There is no stand alone recorder that will do this for you. Forget firewire for this application.
Or do I still have to record to a tape? Once again, quality is in my top priority. To sum up, I need a recommendation on the mixer, recorder, and cables
REPLY - quality is not your top priority - cost is. A Sony HDW-1800 (the cheapest Sony HD recorder) is $32,000, and the cheapest Panasonic HD recorder is the AJ-HD1400 - $22,000. I know that you don't want to spend this type of money (but hey, if you want quality, do this). However, if you want to record the HD signal as cheap as possible, without sacrificing quality, build a simple NLE (like FCP or Premier) with an AJA or Blackmagic capture card, and record to drives.
If quality was your top priority, and money was not, you would have chosen a camera like the Canon XL-H1 that has HD-SDI output.
We will not be using the cameras to record, so a friend of mine said, "why pay for a camera with the tape mechanism, when you can get a better quality camera without tape for same money" So is there a camera with good low light sensitivity, LANC connection, better quality than Canon XH-A1 and that will cost around $3,000?
I think Canon has 2 and Sony has at least 1 HDV camera that outputs HDSDI straight off the chip before the HDV compression so they will be your cheapest options and for the cost of mini dv tapes you may as well record to tape in HDV for back up.
Most remote HD cameras require lenses and viewfinders too and from what I've seen they run $15,000.00 each so I think HDV is the cheapest option.
But wait! things are getting clearer... I see a trip in to Vegas in your future....
There are plenty of cable suppliers, camera dealers and switcher reps at NAB and the timing looks perfect for you.
Did you know videonics is making an HD switcher too. They also make some low cost HDSDI to Analog converters too. For-A has some in the price range too. I still agree with Bob on the Panasonic's AVHS400 HD, the multiscreen monitoring is a huge cost savings.
"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan
A problem that I have discovered after building up this system with Canon XH-G1 (includes HD-SDI outputs) cameras and vision switcher is the cameras have a HUGE problematic 1+ frame delay from optics to monitor and SDI output. And if you do not use the XH-G1 with SDI and genlock, but rather the XH-A1 with a HDMI->SDI converter (ie no genlock), than the switcher will add another frame delay to sync the inputs. This blows away live projected production if people can visually see the delayed projected output and the actual talent/set ie you'd need to delay the audio by 2 frames - yuck !!
I have tried to speak with Canon Asia, US and Japan to ask is there a way to reduce this delay, but they have not responded.
For me this means my next cameras can not be these Canon models ! Also, I have problems with certain detail blurring when the camera is switched to SD4:3 mode (workaround is an external quality down converter) and slow LANC zoom response with Canon's ZR2000 controller. Shame - the camera is GREAT for field HD shoots.
I trust this helps you achieve a better live system.