JVC GY-HM700L17 ProHD Solid-State Camcorder?
I shoot video outside mostly on the run, doing hunting tv shows more or less documentary style stuff.
Currently im shooting w the GY-110 which shoots to mini dv tape and has been very good for what we do since it is small light and durable for climbing and packing around. Is this JVC solid state camera (GY-HM700) going to be my next step in buying a new camera? It seems too good to be true. i am most curious about the quality of an HD motion picture on a standard SD card. Does anyone have much experience with this JVC camera? How does it compare to a P2 quality?
Larry Ray Causey II
My company owns two GY-HM700's and we're quite happy with the image quality. I don't have a camera that shoots on P2, but given the massive difference in the cost of media, that could be a consideration too.
thanks lou. Does the footage from the camera drop into FCP as easy as it says. Have you editted much of your footage w FCP (Final Cut Pro) if so what's the specs on your MAC? RAM, Video card, etc. I have a G5 but i am pretty sure I'll need to upgrade some things to get an efficient work flow going while i edit the HD footage from this JVC HM700. Thanks for your time.
I've got (2) 700's and have been using them since June and I can't be happier. The thought of shooting onto tape now makes me cringe. (I previously used Canon XL2s)
I bought the new cameras while I had FCP 4 and I couldn't get the JVC files to be recognized by FCP. After much searching (mostly at these forums), it turned out I had to upgrade to at least FCP6 (FC Studio2), which installs the codec XDCAM for QT which the JVC uses to create the Quicktime MOV files.
They wouldn't even run on the latest Quicktime player. I am running a dual2.5 G5 with the old PowerPC processor (its the last of the breed before the Intel chips). I have 3.5 GB RAM, but I don't think I needed that much (I had upped my RAM to that, but didn't notice a difference. I think I only had 1.5 before). Check the requirements for FCP since that's the determining factor, not the camera.
And even when I upgraded to FCP 6, I had issues, but it turned out I needed to select the appropriate XDCAM codec in the FCP "Audio-Video Settings" Capture preset menu. Once I did that, smooth sailing. Just a matter of importing the clips from the card and start editing.
What's very cool is that I bought a cheap SDHC USB card reader (be sure it can read SDHC, not just SD). It was 20 bucks. Now it took me a few minutes to realize that I didn't have copy my files over to my hard drive to edit (like the "old days" when the tapes needed to be logged and captured to your hard drive). No sir, all you have to do it put the card in your reader, open FCP and IMPORT the files right from the reader (NOT copy the files to your hard drive, unless of course for some silly reason you WANT to), so you are editing and playing back FROM THE CARD itself. No dropped frames, nothing, even at 1080. (It gets a little pixelated if I load on lots of filters or layers, but that is just the preview and it's not very often. Actually, it's better than seeing "Unrendered" on the screen).
Before, I was always worried about managing my hard drive space. Not anymore.
I bought the camera with the Canon lens package (GY-HM700U) and it looks great.
I do a lot of tripod shooting, so I had to get a new zoom controller (from Varizoom), and I broke down and got a remote focus cable too, since the Canon lens is manual focus (both the above came out to about $850). The focus assist feature on the JVC cam is very helpful. In fact it focuses easier and better than the XL2, since it's a "real" lens in that the mechanics are physical, not endless rings activating servos to move the glass, so focusing is more "legit".
I thought I had to buy the "tripod adapter" to mount the camera to a tripod (so I did, for something like $150), which is nice for quick disconnect from the tripod, but the camera DOES have the standard 1/4-20 screw hole under the camera so it will fit on any generic tripod out of the box.
I bought the camera with the anton bauer battery mount just so it would be more universal and "pro", which means I had to buy a couple of batteries and charger (add another $1200). Batteries not included with camera.
I use 32GB cards (RiData, they cost about $80 each, make sure they are Class 6). and haven't had any major problems yet. Three hours of HD on each card. I'm still having a hard time getting my mind around that.
However, because of the protocol of the SD cards, there is a single file size limit, so when I shoot long events (i.e. stage performance), I end up with multiple MOV files each about 3.5GB in size (about 20 minutes of 720P footage). This is not a problem on a single camera shoot, since the files can be laid end to end on FCP timeline and don't miss a beat. It becomes a little bit of an issue for multicamera shoots when I want to edit using the multi-clip function in FCP, since those involuntary "breaks" don't occur at the same spot between cameras. If you have used the multi-clip function in FCP, you might see where the problem may happen. If you don't, then don't worry about it.
Since I made the jump to HD, i decided to update my computer monitor situation. Before, in Standard Def, I had a CRT and outputted my FCP via firewire to an Analog-Digital converter out to a standard TV. Now I went and bought (2) HP LCD displays which happened to be 1080x1920 (full HD). (about $220 each at BestBuy). In FCP I dedicated one monitor as the output video. Looks amazing and is pixel for pixel 1080 HD. Then in programs other than FCP, it just serves as a normal dual monitor layout.
Generally, I'm very happy with the new cameras, and I knew there was going to be some collateral damage as far as upgrades, but most of them were "wants" and not "needs". Upgrading FCP to 6 was the only major need.
Oh, another need/want was determining how I was going to archive footage. Before, I just kept the tapes on the shelf when I was done. Well the SD cards are a little too expensive to do that, so I broke down and bought a external firewire Blu-ray burner ($300). Now I back up the files (as the raw MOV files, not as a Blu-ray video) onto Blu-ray discs (about $8 each). 25GB capacity. Of course I had to upgrade my Toast to do that! and then went ahead and got the $25 option to enable Toast to make actual Blu-ray VIDEO. So now, I can say I'm in the Blu-ray VIDEO business.
BTW, the files on the external Blu-ray disc don't play very well through FCP (like they do from the SD card reader), since the data transfer rate through a SD card is faster, so if I need to unarchive a project from the Blu-ray archive disc in FCP, I have to copy the files to my hard drive so they are able to play back smoothly.
wow thanks for all the important info anthoney and taking the time to lay all that out.
It helps quite a bit.
I'll get back w you soon with a few more questions. Take care man thanks again!
Larry Ray Causey II
3933 County Rd. 317
What type of Blue Ray Firewire burner did you buy? Mel
This is the one I've got, which I bought last year. LaCie. It's only a 2x drive, there are others out there doing 8x, which are probably coming down in price. You should probably shop around since it's been a while since I bought mine. Just look for the same things you would look for to buy a standard dvd burner. BTW, the acronym "BD" just stands for "Blu-ray Disc".
I buy my Blu-ray blanks from Tapeonline.com for about $7 each.
I too am considering this camera, and the info you've provided is very helpful. One quick question/thought on archiving....
At $8/25GB BD, have you considered archiving to hard drive? A fast internal SATA 1TB hard drive goes for about $80. That's about 40 blu-ray discs. Add an external disk dock like the Thermaltake BlacX ST0005U (which allows hot swapping).
This seems like a really efficient and low cost way of archiving, with the added benefit that if you need to do a quick change (or pull footage) from an old project, you can pop in the drive, open the project, and have instant access.
My only concern is longevity of the disks, but I suppose that with proper care (keep away from magnets, keep dry, keep at adequate stable temperature) then they should last a very long time.
I know DVDs last about 10 years if kept properly. No idea on BDs.
Yes, I've considered the hard drive route for archiving, but there are a couple of things that made me do the BD option. I know that hard drives are electromechanical things that DO fail, and with it, my archived footage would disappear. I like the idea of keeping the data separate from the machine that has to read it. I don't know the longevity of the BD disc, but if I do have some irreplaceable footage, I may decide to put priceless archived BDs on a "re-cloning" schedule every so many years (or until a fail safe medium becomes commonplace).
The other thing is that when I was using tapes, my projects typically required me to use 80 minute tapes (live performances which always seemed to be a few minutes over 60 minutes), and the 80 minute tapes were normally about $8 each (instead of $2.50 for 60 minute tapes). BD blanks are coming down in price. I was paying $7 each, but I'm paying about $3.50 (at tapeonline.com).
Again, don't know how much quality issue there is between BD discs. I'm not sure why this particular brand/package dropped in price so much, but it's what I've been using at the higher price.
I'm coming up on about a year doing it this way and at some point I would like to compare my annual tape cost vs my annual BD cost. I'm thinking there is a cost savings with the BDs (again I was an 80-min tape hog). I also have to consider the upfront cost of the burner and SDHC cards too to see what the payback is.