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Re: Sony HVR V1U vs Panasonic AG-HVX200

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Derek Antonio SerraRe: Sony HVR V1U vs Panasonic AG-HVX200
by on Mar 2, 2007 at 6:00:11 am

From all reports, the V1 does indeed offer an excellent picture, so I don't think you need be concerned about picture quality. FCP seems to be lagging behind in terms of its support for the V1, but this is nothing new and I'm sure the next revision of the software with sort out any capturing problems users currently experience. People who bought the JVC HD100 and Canon HD cameras also experienced problems with FCP at the time, but the software updates resolved their issues.

The big advantage to shooting documentary on HDV cameras like the V1 is that you simply pop in an inexpensive DV tape and shoot 1 hr of HD footage. A long-established workflow follows, with you capturing your footage from tape, editing your project and then going back to tape. Depending on your editsuite, you may go back to a HDV master, which is transfered to the broadcast format of your choice, or go straight out to DVCPRO HD or HDCAM if your system is equipped with HD-SDI. During filming you simply shoot to tape on an ongoing basis in an uninterupted fashion - 30 hrs or 100 hrs, etc. These tapes become your archive footage once your film is complete.

With the HVX200 you are faced with a new workflow which is challenging both in terms of time and money. It's the workflow of the future, but IMHO at present it presents the documentary filmmaker with an unappealing option as compared to the well-established tape-based workflow. The major stumbling block is the P2 storage which the HVX200 uses. You get between 8 - 11 mins of HD footage on the expensive P2 8gb card (in South Africa it sells for $2 200!). The HVX uses two cards, so after around 20 mins you have to stop filming, and transfer your footage to a harddrive, either in a laptop or a P2 store. Then you DELETE your footage from the P2 cards and record the next 20 mins. If you have the luxury of having an assistant on your shoot who only transfers your P2 cards then you can swop out the P2 cards on an ongoing basis provided you've bought one or two extra cards (at $ 2 200 each!).

So, once you've completed your shoot, you have no archive footage on tape,as all your footage is now on hard drive. Pray that that harddrive doesn't crash! Now you edit your film on software that supports P2. Once you have conmpleted the film, which is DVCPROHD format, you are faced with another challenge. You cannot simply export your 60min film to your HVX200, as P2 cards only take say 10mins of HD fotage. To stay HD you now need a DVCPRO HD deck in order to go out to TAPE. So your tapeless workflow so glorified by the P2 lobby ends up on TAPE in order to be broadcastable and usable. Until P2 cards can record 60mins of HD footage the format will struggle to find acceptance with independent documentary filmmakers like myself, who cannot afford to employ a dedicated P2 transfer technician...

I'd say, open that V1 box and start shooting your film tomorrow.

Derek Antonio Serra

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