I’m typically late to the party or not invited at all. Over the last decade I’ve been waiting for video equipment to meet my budget and technical needs. In the 1980’s I used some great Panasonic S-VHS camcorders at University. Then came the 1990’s and DV, where I used a imported Sony DCR-VX700 which was so cutting edge at the time, did not include a IEEE-1394 port. In the late 2000’s I purchased the HDSLR Nikon D7000, which offered a glimpse of the possibilies with H.264 recording. For 2015, I’ve moved on to a Sony NEX-5T, just on the verge it’s discontinuation.
When the NEX-5T dropped in price by half to around $239 after incentives, I was ready to order. This ILC uses an E-Mount lens on a full APS-C which integrates into a whole family of E-Mount and A-Mount lens from Sony and Minolta. Sigma Corporation makes a compatible family of prime Art Lenses at a $200 each price range too (19mm f/2.8, 30mm f/2.8, and a 60mm f/2.8). A Zacuto Z-Finder and directional Sony ECM-SST1 stereo microphone complete the ILC rig. For somewhere shy of $600, you have a AVCHD 1080/24p or 1080p 60p camcorder, rivaling the broadcast worthy $2,850 NEXFS100. Video posts soon.
The world has changed, and because information is ubiquitous, some think they can acquire hard work for their own purposes for both personal or commercial use. The music and movie industry looses billions to pirates, thiefs, and ignorant folk that think when they buy a blu-ray or CD that allows them to do whatever they want with the media. False! You get a license to view the product or listen to the music for non-commercial purposes only. If you can figure out a way to share the image, give an attribute to the creator too.
Any photograph or video I put online belong to me, or we can license the images for your own use and manipulation for a fee to be determined. The fines for infringement range from $750 to $30,000 per image or video by USA law.
I will use a simple Creative Commons license for images:
Creative Commons License
This work by Ismael Rosales is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Rarely have multiple announcements of important image capture technology occur in a single day, outside of the standard timeframes of NAB or IBC (sometimes Inter BEE). On 3 November 2011 Red Digital Cinema and Canon announced significant advances in sensor and image recording technology with Red Scarlet-X and Canon EOS C300 camcorders. Both can deliver pretty pictures, but at a very high prices. The Red technology starts at the rock bottom $9,750 where the Canon beauty is just $20,000! These type of systems have been previewed over the last ten years, moving from tape acquisition, magnetic or optical drive, to finally flash drive technology. Their focus is image quality spare none.
Maybe it’s impossible to deliver an affordable compact camera under $2,000 but with the previous Canon EOS 5D and 7D and Nikon D7000, it sure looked like the future was bright: affordable ubiquitous image capture on large sensor formats with interchangeable lenses. This was the holy grail and the definition of a disruptive technology. Instead of building on that legacy, two companies shatter the hearts of it’s users and deliver the impossible dream of $30K systems (you still need lenses, grip gear, archive, and sound equipment).
I find it interesting the Red continues to use it’s REDCODE RAW R3D format, which is still mostly impossible to view on even the most robust desktop system without dedicated PCIe hardware or a transcode to an editing codec like ProRes or DNxHD. Canon took a step backward to MPEG-2 50 Mbps, a codec almost forgotten about in the wake of modern H.264/AVC codecs. Sometimes the best recording mechanism is bypass the decisions in the camcorder and record outboard to an alternative implementation like a AJA Ki Pro Mini or equivalent.
History is setting aside DV, DVCPRO HD, SxS, XDCAM, and P2 for a more available and affordable SDHC or SDXC systems. Canon and Red are stuck with CF cards. The future is coming, but if Canon and Red continue to delivery “affordable” camcorders at $10,000 and above, their decision might be good for a few thousand people, but the millions of folks who want high quality moving images must look elsewhere.
Earlier this month Apple Computer revealed a new direction in the Final Cut Studio roadmap. In view of the release of the Adobe Production Studio, Apple made a majority of their Pro Applications into an all or none bundle. Previous editions of Motion, DVD Studio Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Soundtrack Pro stood as individual applications, but as of now are available only as part of the $1299 Final Cut Studio integrated suite. Shake, Logic Pro, and Aperture continue to be sold as stand alone tools.
Apple also announced the introduction of the Universal version of Final Cut Studio available by the end of march 2006 for a $49 upgrade fee, just in time for NAB in Las Vegas. Historically, Apple has used the NAB show in late April to showcase the development of the Final Cut Studio. In 2004, Apple and Panasonic stunned the high definition world with the introduction of the DVCPRO HD native codec into a Final Cut Pro timeline. In 2005 apple revealed Soundtrack Pro, and a tighter fusion of the Final Cut Studio applications. 2006 should be an interesting time for Apple as they prepare their software for both powerPC and Intel chip architectures.
At the Egyptian Theatre on Friday September 30 2005, Jan Crittenden Livingston, Product Line Business Manager for the Panasonic AG-HVX200 camcorder thrilled a crowd of over 100 Los Angeles producers, directors, and high definition (HD) enthusiasts with the latest information on the upcoming DVCPRO HD product. Every aspect of the history and design methodology of this next revolution in affordable HD image acquisition became clear in the 1.5 hour lecture and hands on walkthrough of the HVX200 device.
This camcorder has extensive coverage from around the blogosphere, including HVX User, P2 Info Net, and Creative Cow P2 forum. The most interesting tidbits from the discussion and presentation in no particular order:
Panasonic showed coyness in revealing the HXV200 imaging block specifications, but rather had actual test footage from a prototype camcorder, and asked the audience to judge the final results, and not compare pixel count or CCD size. In the test footage at the booth, and some projected engineering style capture of a luscious tabletop scene of spinning desk accessories, textures, and reflective materials the image held it own. One audience member quipped that we did not actually see raw capture off the P2 card, but due to logistical reasons, the source material was transferred via analog component to an AJ-HD1200A VCR and played back on a DVCPRO HD tape, preserving the DVCPRO HD codec output.
For four days the prototype HVX200 played back a scene on P2 from the IBC 2005 Amsterdam show, with street cars during a night and daylight shot, and on the playback display, the images looked stunning with absolute clarity and image fidelity, even into the shadows. This also demonstrated the robustness of the P2 media, as hundreds, if not thousands of eager camera operators touched, prodded and cajoled the camcorder all weekend long. I left on the final day and the media and camera continued to play back the Amsterdam scene without tape wear or hesitation. The DVCPRO HD codec, based on the compression technology of DV, but at a color sampling of 4:2:2 instead of DV 4:1:1 is one step closer to the highest quality HD-D5, but at a more affordable price point. Panasonic has already announced in some future camcorder a full D5 unit, most like two years away. Currently, a HD-D5 VCR lists at $99,000 as compared to the $5995 list price for the AG-HVX200 camcorder. Another useful point during recording, using the P2 media, the camcorder will be able to remove redundant frames, so a 24p recording session will contain only the necessary information, rather than the limitation of a linear tape based system that maintained a constant tape velocity and needed to always record 60p, regardless of the variable frame rate setting. The output from the firewire interface follows this paradigm, always receiving the full 60p information stream.
This camcorder may be the best product designed for the aspiring filmmaker and documentarian. Though the camcorder is chubby and larger than DV camcorders, the weight is low and controls are well placed, and it offers specifications unavailable in any other under $10,000 HD camcorder. This camera will have four channels of uncompress audio at 16 bit 48 kHz sampling, as compared to the paltry 2 channel MPEG-1 Audio Layer II on HDV camcorder. For a small budget film, or documentary sound is over 50% of the experience, and requires perhaps more care and handling than the picture. Previously, one would need to chain a DAT or MiniDisc recorder to the camera for high sound quality, but the Panasonic rig takes care of that necessity.
Now, the faithful must wait a few more weeks. Panasonic expects to receive shipping AG-HVX200 camcorders by the end of November 2005, but I suspect that it will premiere at the Tokyo Inter BEE 2005 show in mid November, and become more widely available by early 2006.
During the Panasonic CES 2004 keynote address, Andrew Nelkin, Vice President of Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company first hinted that by the first quarter of 2006, Panasonic would produce an affordable high definition camcorder using solid state flash memory devices (secure digital memory card or SD cards). The magic date became Torino 2006, the home of the next Winter Olympic Games, where Panasonic traditionally has a commanding sponsorship.
Fortunately, Panasonic did not wait until CES 2006 to announce the new products, but instead had a very large presence at NAB 2005 for the professional DVCPRO HD AG-HVX200 rollout, and IFA 2005 for the consumer MPEG-2 based camcorder rollout. Both products are expected in the fall of 2005.
Unlike traditional portable video capture devices, these new camcorders have no need for magnetic tape. Video tape has it litany of problems including jams, dropouts, snags, tape breaks, curl, and video tracking along with environmental issues like susceptibility to humidity, magnetic field erasure, and simple aging. The era of the cassette is over, and the opportunity to be creative faster and more robustly has arrived.
The first generation product, with a 2 GB to 16 GB starting storage capacity, will need a new workflow. The recording medium, a reusable SD memory device, once filled, needs to be put somewhere, and a storage area network (SAN) or RAID device would be ideal to protect the invaluable electronic image capture. As the era of solid state recording dawns, notably other backup devices are either already mature or nearly ready to archive the DV, DVCPRO HD or MPEG-2 recording.
Today, DVD+R makes an entry level archive medium, with a 4.38 GB (17.5 minutes in DV format, 11 minutes DVCPPRO HD 720p/24) storage platform. DVD+R is cheap, reliable, and long lived. On the horizon, look to Blu-Ray Disc with a capacity of about 25 GB, five times the capacity of DVD+R. Also on the cusp is holographic storage at some 300 GB a cartridge.
Apple is moving the Mac to an Intel chipset. Until that day in 2007, where all new Mac machines will be Intel inside, expect many surprises. The glue to any good chipset deployment is not only the underlying semiconductor design, but the application environment to write to the hardware, or application program interface (API). Apple Xcode is the technology that drives the software engine. When the multicore comes out with hyperthreading, then we’re talking a good move toward Intel. The chip will have at least two onboard processors, and two virtual processors. All eyes are watching the Intel Fall Developer Forum, to see the processor roadmap.
Along with advanced processors, comes 64-bit computing, which allows access to more than 4 GB of RAM (the 32-bit limit). Today’s Power Macs can hold 8 GB of RAM. I was told by Adobe, that Creative Suite 2 needs around 2 GB of RAM for all it’s applications, and Apple Motion definitely needs all it can get (4 GB at least). the future is always in flux.
At the end of spring and now into the summer, the GPU market has reached an inflection point. Unlike the 90 nm and 65 nm semiconductor barrier, both NVIDIA and ATI chug along with product announcements and advancements. ATI announced at Computex CrossFire, a method to bond multiple PCI/AGP video cards together for near double the performance. NVIDIA had already announced a similar solution they called SLI. NVIDIA stirred the pot again with the GeForce 7 series. if the GeForce 6 series did not scream enough, we have the latest and greatest with more transistors and higher performance.
NVIDIA spurs on interest in its product and introductions with unique characters, usually buxom women scantily clad to attract the gamers and young folk of the planet. if you recall NVIDIA creates these female persona to demonstrate the real time rendering of characters in cinematic motion. all in all we have luna, nalu, dusk, and dawn (summary below). Will these chipsets make it the Mac?