17 Replies Latest reply on Jan 4, 2008 4:24 AM by (jonereb)

    DVX200 & SD Down Converting

    Level 1
      Someone who is using the Panny 200, tell me how you shoot on HD tape and downconvert to SD in PPro. (Actually, I'm still using 1.5.) I'm leaning towards the 200, then upgrade my computer for CS3 & HD later. One financial step at a time.

      I need to know about:
      1. Ease of downconverting
      2. Image quality after downconverting
      3. Anything else of value worth mentioning
        • 1. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
          Colin Brougham Level 6
          I assume you're talking about the HVX200..? If so, you don't shoot HD to tape with this camera. You shoot HD to the P2 cards, which can then be used as HD from the cards, or can be dubbed to DV tape in the camera. What's cool about this is that you get the over/under cranked effects from shooting in 720p mode. However, this means you need to invest in P2 cards which, while the price has come down significantly since their introduction, are still an expensive proposition.

          That said, this camera does a great job shooting directly to miniDV tape. It's just about everything the DVX100 was, and more. With the HVX, since it has HD CCDs, even DV footage is scanned at HD resolution before being downconverted to be recorded to tape. This results in, to my eye, phenomenally good DV footage. Later on, you can always upgrade to HD.

          The biggest thing to remember is that like all cameras, this is not all things to all people. Try one out, if you have the chance, and consider how it would work in your line of business and typical workflow. I think the HVX is fantastic camera for the money, and I believe it's going to have more longevity than any of the HDV camcorders. Ultimately, if it works for you, and your clients like it, then it's a good deal :)
          • 2. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
            Level 1
            >However, this means you need to invest in P2 cards which, while the price has come down significantly since their introduction, are still an expensive proposition.

            These cards are CRAZY in price. Huge investment!
            • 3. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
              Colin Brougham Level 6
              Yeah, but considering you can now get a 32Gig card for what a 4Gig card cost less than two years ago, that's a screaming deal (relatively speaking, of course). The 64Gig cards should be out in spring sometime, and at the asking price of the 32Gig cards. In any event, at the advent of P2, I don't think it was any cheaper than tape, but that paradigm is shifting/has shifted.
              • 4. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                Jeron Coolman Level 1
                If you edit in HD and want to output SD, don't bother with PPro 2.0

                Go straight to CS3, outputting SD from an HD timeline is one of the few reasons to use CS3, 2.0 wasn't very good at that.
                • 5. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                  Level 1
                  Thanks for the info, all. I guess I didn't realize the HVX200 shot only DV tape, non-HD. I'm concerned that my workflow doesn't allow time for transfering from P2 cards (or Sony EX1/cards). Sometimes I shoot long hours with a model/host from out of town and have limited time to get it all done. My client would go crazy if I took time to offload and refresh cards. If I want to shoot on HD tape (to build a library), which camera to use? Now I'm back to long GOP, right? Remember, the camera should be native SD editing in PPro 1.5 and eventually HD native when I step up to CS3. Same questions:

                  1. What camera?
                  2. Native SD editing in 1.5?
                  3. Native HD in CS3?
                  4. What about downconverting? Realtime, on the fly?
                  • 6. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                    Level 1
                    >I'm concerned that my workflow doesn't allow time for transfering from P2 cards

                    I am a bit confused by this statement. It is a lot faster to off load files then it is to capture the footage.

                    >Go straight to CS3, outputting SD from an HD timeline is one of the few reasons to use CS3, 2.0 wasn't very good at that.

                    There are work arounds in 2.0 that will work. All you need to do is import the HD project into a SD project and it will export fine.

                    The problem was from the HD project itself.
                    • 7. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                      Colin Brougham Level 6
                      Well, the HVX200 doesn't shoot only to DV tape. You have a few options, actually:

                      1) Shoot DV25 to miniDV tape.
                      2) Shoot DV25, DVCPRO25, DVCPRO50, and DVCPROHD to P2 card.
                      3) Shoot DV25, DVCPRO25, DVCPRO50, and DVCPROHD to external HDD unit, like the Firestore FS-100.
                      4) Shoot DV25, DVCPRO25, DVCPRO50, and DVCPROHD to laptop or desktop computer, using software like On Location.

                      P2 seems like a horrible pain when you first consider it, but in certain workflows, it has a lot going for it. For me, it's wonderfully addictive, and shooting to tape now seems a little silly.

                      Consider that 1GB of storage on a P2 card will store the following (approximately):

                      * 4 minutes of DV/DVCPRO25
                      * 2 minutes of DVCPRO50
                      * 1 minute of DVCPROHD 720/60p or 1080/60i
                      * 2.5 minutes of DVCPROHD 720/24pN

                      So, a single 32GB P2 card will let you shoot 2 hours continuously of DV footage--let's see a miniDV tape do that! Pop two of them in a camera, and you could record for four hours straight. Couple that with the ability to delete on-the-spot bad takes, a couple P2 cards can be like a bottomless well of shooting :) And, you can shoot HD to the cards, then downconvert to tape for SD editing (this is a realtime process, of course) and archiving.

                      HDV, on the other hand, would give you HD footage on tape, and I think you can set up most HDV camcorder to stream out downconverted SD over firewire (don't quote me on this). That way, I think you could record HD in camera, and then SD to an external tape deck/recorder. I've not worked much with HDV, so I'm hardly an authority on it--others will have to weigh in more on this.

                      For editing, though--CS3 can natively handle the MXF clips in SD and HD from the HVX; I think PPro has more HDV compatibility farther back in the series, but again, I don't know much about it.
                      • 8. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                        >My client would go crazy if I took time to offload and refresh cards.

                        It takes less time than capturing a tape. I don't see how saving time would cause you problems.
                        • 9. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                          Jeron Coolman Level 1
                          >All you need to do is import the HD project into a SD project and it will export fine.

                          Or export the timeline as native HDV and use Sorenson or ProCoder to transcode it.

                          (Sometimes using an SD project still produced crappy results for me.)
                          • 10. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                            Level 1
                            >My client would go crazy if I took time to offload and refresh cards.
                            It takes less time than capturing a tape.

                            >I don't see how saving time would cause you problems.

                            I'm talking about work being done in the field. Taking time to transfer from cards to hard drive in the field is time lost shooting. Sometimes this is very critical. I've read that transfering from card to hard drive is about 15 minutes. Doesn't sound like a long time -- but it is if the client doesn't understand or care to understand.

                            Later, the time you saved by not having to capture is lost in archiving...maybe not as much time but you get the idea.
                            • 11. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                              Level 1
                              Someone mentioned shooting directly to a laptop via OnLocation. I assume OnLocation works with HVX200? I like the concept of OnLocation, but lugging around a laptop from scene to scene in the field is like lugging around a umatic deck tethered to a camera 25 years ago. Okay, so the image quality if much better -- but you get my drift. Anyone using a 200 and OnLocation? How do you get images from the laptop to your workstation? I've never investigated OnLocation.

                              And what about the occasions when you have a multi-cam shoot?
                              • 12. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                                Colin Brougham Level 6
                                Transferring from a P2 card takes 15 minutes? Well, that depends--depends on the size of the card, and the speed of the medium to which you're offloading. For awhile, users could expect 1GB per minute offloading, but I've read of folks getting 2+ GB a minute. Also, the HVX200 has two P2 card slots, so the expectation is that you'd be shooting with two P2 cards. You start rolling onto the first, and when it fills, it automatically dumps over to the second. You pop out the first card, transfer the footage off, wipe it, and pop it back in the camera. When the second card fills, the camera will start recording to the first again. Lather, rinse, and repeat. In theory, you could record infinitely this way. It's a process that is certainly aided by having an assistant, but now with the larger cards, that's not essential. Within a year, 128GB cards are going to be available, which is essentially going to make it possible to record a day-long single take without ever removing a card from the camera. Pretty cool stuff.

                                Might I suggest checking out the forums at DVXuser.com? That's pretty much the definitive source for all DVX/HVX and other camcorder info on the Inter-Web.
                                • 13. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                  >I'm talking about work being done in the field. Taking time to transfer from cards to hard drive in the field is time lost shooting.

                                  As Collin said, the camera has two slots, so one card would be offloaded while the other is filling up. But you lose even more time, whether in the field or in the office, by capturing a tape.

                                  I still don't understand what you're thinking is here. Whatever work flow you have going now, using P2 will only make that faster.
                                  • 14. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                                    Level 1
                                    Jim, my thinking is this. I recently did a two camera shoot -- me and another cam operator. No assistant. Very hectic. It was nice to switch tapes and keep moving. That shoot will be etched into my memory for months to come.
                                    • 15. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                                      shooternz Level 6
                                      From my experience...a laptop and an external HD has become intrinsic in my shoot and post production workflow since I moved over to digital video technologies from film. P2 has made this even more a necessity but I really like it and I am very comfortable with the workflow.

                                      The laptop has always run ON Location (previously DVRack) and is used to dubb P2 cards to ext drives. The external HDs have many functions in both the field and the edit suite.

                                      Key to P2 is multiple cards (hire extra if necessary).
                                      • 16. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                                        So why does the P2 differ? If anything, because you can offload one card while the other is being used, you actually get better coverage because with a tape, you have to stop shooting in order to change it.
                                        • 17. Re: DVX200 & SD Down Converting
                                          Level 1
                                          Craig, you're using a laptop to "dub" to external drives? Why not the internal drive? I assume you're using these external drives as the main drives back in the edit suite? Are these firewire, SCSI, other??? Please tell me more about this workflow, an elementary explaination if you please. (I don't have a laptop -- so this is all added expense to me. What laptop model are you using?) Thanks for walking me thru your process.