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.
On 24 February 2006 Panasonic, through their high-def blog site, revealed the underpinnings of the AG-HVX200 imaging block. The camcorder uses a revolutionary 3 CCD pixel shift technology to optimize three 960 x 540 imaging sensors to deliver both 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 progressive images to the P2 media. Their decision to utilized 1/3 inch CCD’s required unique engineering decisions beyond the raw pixel count other manufactures report.
In the still camera arena, there are small CCD 8 megapixel cameras, but they generate so much noise and perform so poorly in low light conditions, they become unusable. a more robust 4 megapixel or larger sensor 6 megapixel camera would deliver a more usable device beyond the technical specification. As the production ramp up of the Panasonic HVX200 continues, more folks will report on any picture degradation because of the novel pixel shift or spatial offset technique. Read the blog article and decide for yourself.
In a very large North American launch, Panasonic premiered the AG-HVX200 to the public via full page ads in newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. At the DV Expo in Los Angeles, Panasonic contracted with filmmakers to take the VariCam sibling HVX200 through it’s paces, with footage of a college basketball game, Hollywood street scene, a frame rate exploration of a backlit martial artist, and a green screen music video.
Barry Green’s footage looked fantastic. He shot multiple frame rates at 720p and also some 1080p capture. The Panasonic booth had a 17 inch LCD display as the presentation monitor, and the footage was 80% of the VariCam. Michael Caporale showed an experimental music video shot on a green screen. The original pre-composited material looked sharp, excellent contrast, and ready for green screen removal. Caporale also shot run and gun footage of a Hollywood movie premiere, which looked bright, color accurate, and competent.
Panasonic promised sometime in the future these shots should be available on a DVD. I hope that similar to the VCR-FireWire-NLE launch some two years ago, an editing software vendor release raw DVCPRO HD from the camera, so anyone can test their NLE of choice with actual image captures.
Panasonic also announced the availability of the AG-HVX200 targeted for 29 December 2005. DV Expo featured a near 2 hour walkthrough by Jan Crittenden Livingston, the product manager for the AG-HVX200, on the design and features of this revolutionary camcorder. Included here are keypoint slides from the presentation.
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.
At NAB 2005, producers and directors of photographers wondered what would become of the video cassette recorder (VCR), as solid state flash memory devices usurp the legacy tape based formats like DigiBetacam, DV, HDV, and DVCPRO 50. Sony has chosen a proprietary XDCAM format, based on a magneto optical disk, while Panasonic is going to a SD format PCMCIA card called P2.
As a VCR replacement one would have to consider these factors:
Speed must be near real time (one hour video transfered in around an hour or less)
Media should be around the same form factor as a video tape
VCR Information Technology Replacement (4 hour project, 250 GB)
Backup Time (hr)
Drive & Media Cost*
Media Only Cost*
* prices from summer 2005 survey
Today, the only viable VCR replacment on a small four hour project is the LTO series, AIT 3/AIT 4/SAIT, and the DSLT 600. In the IT industry, data centers have gravitated towards the multivendor LTO. Quantum is the sole provider of DSLT. Sony maintains a strong following for the AIT and SAIT series.
In an all electronic workflow, producers and directors cannot rely on video tapes or film as an emergency backup. Previously, a still photography or filmaker would keep their negative or positive, and strike new prints as needed. With the advent of digital photography, and soon in affordable digital filmmaking and video production, there is no physical backup, but only the bit buckets, which when arranged properly would describe a vast landscape, a human face, or an airplane landing.
In the still photography realm, image makers have embraced the new workflow, because they realize the potential for new creativity:
Every copy of the image is an original
Since the image is already digitized, it is easily shared
Digital photos are more easily manipulated and cropped
The arduous process of scanning film is eliminated
However, since the bits become supreme, over the film strip or video tape, special storage considerations must be analyzed and scrutinized. Also, still photography describes a single moment in time, while moving images records that same scene but at 24 to 60 frames per second, so a 2 MB still frame file, can become a 48 MB file per second for video, and with Panasonic DVCPRO HD codec 60 GB per hour. How does one store that much data for archiva purposesl and retrieval in the future?
Today, we have current technology, and very soon the future will be now (Blu-Ray Disc, holographic storage, VXA 3, etc). It used to take a simple trip to the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, to get a bead on storage, but for all practical purposes Comdex has ended, and may never return. Instead, we need to look to manufactucturer events and niche events like Macworld Expo, Storage Networking World, or AIIM Expo.
To manage and harness the growing terabyte requirements in entertainment consider these storage solutions: