Archive for October, 2005

We mentioned the lack of 720p, 24fps editing solution for the JVC GY-HD100 several months ago, and Mike “God of HD” Curtis commented that LumiereHD was working on a solution for FCP editors.

Well, it looks like that solution is nearly ready…LumiereHD now has a 24p editing solution (beta) for the JVC GY-HD100. The price is right, and it looks like it has all the neccesary features, albiet requiring a few workarounds to edit in FCP.

Filmmakers, rejoice. And poke around the HD For Indies site while you are there, Mike has posted tons of relevant and invaluable info on HD and filmmaking. If you aren’t a regular reader of HDFI, you should be.

As a timely sidenote, JVC, Duart Film and Video, and Able Cine Tech will be presenting a series of workshops on October 21 at the Tribeca Screening Room in NYC. The focus will be on acquisition with the HD100 and a workflow towards 35mm delivery. Sounds interesting. Space is limited, RSVP to penny@ablecine.com.

Well shoot…this was a great deal, but I think it’s just expired this morning, the 18th. I bought mine on a similar promotion that Dell was running, so keep an eye out for the next time they run a special. And drop me a line if you see another deal like this one in the future.
freshdvinfo@gmail.com

HD Beat points to a veritable STEAL on the most excellent Dell FPW LCD monitor series. The 20.1″ LCD could be had for only $397, and you could have picked up the 24″ model for $783.
These are really nice monitors, I personally own the 20.1″ model and absolutely love it. They feature nearly every input known to man, have an integrated USB hub, and the stand is really slick. I’ve got a few detail snapshots posted here.
Specs are up to par (exceed Apple Cinema display specs, last I heard) and it’s a fantastic LCD for editing and general use. If you are in the market for a new/additional display, I highly recommend this Dell series.

B&H accepting pre-orders for the new Panasonic AG-HVX200

They don’t have any in stock at this time, but Bimi & Herschel is now accepting pre-orders for the forthcoming Panasonic AG-HVX200 HD P2 camcorder.

Panasonic had projected a 4Q 2005 availability, and it’s looking like they might hit that target. Maybe it will arrive just in time for the Holidays. Merry Christmas to me…

I think that Tascam is going to sell a lot of these little buggers. The Tascam HD-P2 is a portable, sub-$1000 compact flash-based audio recorder that packs in a ton of pro-level features.

* 44.1kHz to 192kHz recording resolution at 16- or 24-bit
* Time-stamped Broadcast WAVE file format
* Retake button – re-do the last recording with a single button press
* Audio files continually re-saved to CF on the fly
* XLR mic inputs feature phantom power
* Unbalanced stereo RCA I/O
* S/PDIF digital I/O
* Built-in mono microphone and speaker
* Analog level controls
* FireWire interface so you can instantly pull the files from CF to a computer
* SMPTE/LTC timecode via XLR jack
* Timestamps Broadcast WAVE recordings from SMPTE input
* Chase locks to incoming SMPTE timecode
* Video clock input resolves to house clock
* Pull-up and Pull-down sample rates (for the odd video format situation)
* Runs on (8) readily available AA batteries or DC power adapter
* Approximately 5.5 hours of operating time on battery power

This is the first sub-$1000 device features timecode input for video synch. Here’s what Tascam has to say.
Is DAT dead?

(Via Gizmodo)

Rumors are true; New iPod with video support

iPodLounge is reporting that the new iPod announced at today’s Apple event does in fact support video. 320 x 240 resolution on a 2.5″ screen, support for MPEG 4, H.264 formats at 30fps, TV-out. Available in 30 and 60 GB varieties at $299 and $399, respectively.
Content is available via the new iTunes 6. Music videos and select (ad-free) TV shows available for $1.99, with current TV episodes lagging a day behind airing. Past episodes and seasons will also be made available. All video content protected with Fairplay DRM.
Apple says the 60GB will store up to 150hrs of video (a video is “the size of 6 songs”). Should be available in a week’s time.

Sony & Canon camcorders with faulty CCD’s

Sony and Canon have both announced that certain camcorders may have faulty CCD’s. This condition can be accelerated by high temp/humidity, and if/when it does, the camcorder may exhibit a distorted image, or no image at all when used in “Camera” mode.
The fault occurs in certain Sony CCD sensors that use a cheap epoxy packaging that can eventually let in moisture. Canon has said that this moisture can then cause internal CCD wiring to become loose or disconnected. Details are sketchy, but it’s likely that the repair would require replacement of the CCD block.
This problem supposedly affects a limited number of those cameras/camcorders manufactured October 2002 through March 2004.

There is a long list of affected Sony camcorders (as well as still cameras), but of particular interest are the so-called Prosumer and Professional camcorders that are widely used in video production:
DCR-VX2000
DCR-VX2000E
DCR-VX2100
DCR-VX2100E
DSR-250 & DSR-250/P
DSR-PD150 & DSR-PD150P
DSR-PD170 & DSR-PD170P
DSR-PDX10 & DSR-PDX10P

The full list of possibly affected camcorders:
Sony Consumer Camcorders
Sony Professional Camcorders
Canon Consumer Camcorders

Sony and Canon have both stated that they will perform free repair, even if the camera exhibiting the symptoms is out-of-warranty. But the camera has to exhibit the symptoms first, and that’s a problem for those that depend on thier venerable VX-2000 or PD-170.

Info from Sony on epoxy CCD issue.
Info from Canon on epoxy CCD issue.

Camcorderinfo recently mentioned this issue concerning the Digital8 TRV-250, now Sony is admitting to a LOT more affected models.

As a side note; a more reliable, and also more expensive method of packaging the CCD is to use ceramic. I am not aware of which current models, if any, use ceramic packaging instead of the epoxy variety. This would be good info, because if they are shipping epoxy-packaged CCD’s to this day, then we will see this happen again in the future with the current crop of HDV camcorders.

UPDATE: Richard Baguley/Camcorderinfo blog has been keeping an eye on this issue.

Analysis of Canon’s 24fps HDV technology: Part 1

A very interesting read. Videosystem’s Steve Mullen goes over just what sort of animal Canon’s “24F” mode actually is. Stay tuned for Part 2.

ARRI film-style digital camera

CinemaTech has news on the new ARRI D-20 digital camera, just announced last week. And here are more details, directly from ARRI.

The ARRIFLEX D-20 camera features a a single 6-megapixel CMOS sensor that precisely matches the physical size of Super 35mm film aperture. Therefore, the D-20 utilizes standard 35mm film camera lenses.
This camera has been years in the making. They announced plans to build the D-20 back in 2003, and the first test shoot of the D-20 prototype was just after NAB 2005. A variety of well-known cinematographers have been able to use the camera, and responses seem to be positive.

One comment in particular caught my eye. Sam Nicholson says: “The depth of field and the lens choice it gives me are great, but the real advantage is the optical viewfinder. Judging focus is usually quite impossible on an electronic camera, unless you have a 30,000 USD monitor with you. The optical viewfinder of the D-20 will essentially save me 30,000 USD per shoot. Focus is the one thing that no one notices until it is out. In HD, often things get soft and you cannot tell. I would look to use the D-20 for some high quality keying on set for virtual backgrounds.”

ARRI has this to say about the choice to use CMOS in lieu of CCD’s:
“CMOS sensors inherently have superior power efficiency and a natural blooming immunity, plus it is possible to read out any portion of the sensor at any time. This has a wide range of advantages, including the ability to read out high frame rates despite the high pixel count and the ability to run speed ramps. It also means that the recording format can be freely chosen, so it is possible to trade spatial resolution for frame rate. Because CMOS is essentially a more flexible technology than CCDs, ARRI can experiment in the future with new and sophisticated features like higher frame rates or a double read-out of each frame to further increase dynamic range.”

They go on to say that the sensor and the camera data bus, are “prepared for frame rates up to 150 fps.”
Neato.

ARRI has really put a lot of thought and research into this solution. One such example is the choice of Video or Film output modes. In Video Mode, the camera internally processes the 2880 x 1620 image and outputs as 1920 x 1080 to a “variety of standard HD video signals for different recording formats, including HDCAM SR”.
In Film Mode, the D-20 outputs raw data from the CMOS sensor to a format that must then be processed offline using “complex 3D Look Up Tables (LUTs) before it is usable or even viewable.” I would liken this to still image RAW processing. It takes more space and requires processing, but you also retain more image information and quality. The good thing is that you can still monitor the live HD output as well when you are in Film Mode.
Another interesting feature is that ability store grading parameters as metadata piggybacked along with the raw, unprocessed image data. Pretty sweet stuff.

Interview with Mark Cuban

Found this thought-provoking interview with Mark Cuban at CinemaTech. Mark wants to try different ways of adding value for consumers; soundtracks free with movie tickets, un-encrypted DVD’s, DivX or other compressed formats along with the full-quality format, etc.
Love this comment: “I see no reason to treat my customers like criminals.”

Asia gets a Blu-ray drive in November 2005?

CDRinfo says “AOpen plans to introduce its first line of internal and external PC-based Blu-ray optical drives in the Asian market by the end of November.”

Want to find music that is similar to your personal tastes? The Music Genome Project might just have the answer, in the form of a subscription service called Pandora. Input a song or artist name, and Pandora will build you a personalized “radio station” of songs that are similar in syncopation, tonality, vocals, etc. It’s uncanny how accurate the selections are.

Finally some light on the Blu-ray “ROM Mark” System

Unless you have been living in a hole for the past 3 months, you probably know:
*Competing HD DVD and Blu-Ray hi-def DVD formats both use Advanced Access Contest System (AACS) in order to protect their data from unathorized replication.
*The Blu-ray format also has announced an additional layer of content protection called “ROM Mark”.
Up till now, what “ROM Mark” actually means has been something of a mystery. Well, wonder no more. Here’s a nice summary of the info in several ROM Mark-related patent applications.

It looks like ROM Mark is aimed at simply determining if a disc has been pressed from an authorized master. That’s it. So AACS is control on the client side, and ROM Mark is control on the distributor/duplication side.

VideoSpace widget for OSX Tiger

Found this nugget at HD For Indies
VideoSpace 1.0
:
VideoSpace is a free widget for Mac OS X Tiger which calculates the disk space required for a given duration, codec, frame rate and audio setting.

VideoSpace is being offered free of charge by DigitalHeaven. We mentioned DigitalHeaven a few months back, they have several really handy plugins for FCP, and they are only $10/each. Brilliant.

An alternative to Firestore: CitiDISK HDV

Just read about the CitiDISK HDV at DVGuru. It’s a new hard-disk-based recording device for camcorders. The device supports capturing directly to MT2, AVI, DV (infl. DV50) or MOV formats, and is priced in approx. the same range as the Firestore devices. It’s worth mentioning that Firestore says HDV support is coming.

Competition is a Good Thing™.

Sony will repair buggy D8 camcorder screens

Camcorderinfo is reporting that Sony will repair Handycam DCR-TRV250 Digital8 camcorders that exhibit a distorted or blank image in the viewfinder and LCD screen.