Wow! First trade show I have been to in…in…well, first video trade show I have EVER been to. Lots of stuff happening there.
Big Thing #1 – HVX-200…a working model. Actually, TWO working models. They had this camera, and 5 other Panasonic models including the Varicam, SDX-900 and DVX-100B all pointing at a well lit set…a kitchen. And they had nice Panasonic LCD location monitors on each camera, and I tell you, the HVX-200 looked DARN close to the Varicam. I only noted slight softness in the image, but that was due to the fact that the Varicam had this MONSTER Canon lens. It was very nice looking. While we are considering this camera for our B and C cameras for re-creation shooting, I have no doubt that it will hold it’s own as an A camera. The CCDs are 1/3 the size, which might also account for the slight softness…softness doesn’t describe it well…smoothing of the picture. VERY slight however. And the formats it supports are MANY. DVCAM, at various frame rates, on tape. And on the P2 card, DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD, also with various frame rates…24p to 60i. It even has it’s own version of 24PA called 24PN…this is 24 FULL FRAMES of video, not 23.98…and not 24 recorded at 29.97 or 59.94…but straight up 24fps…for direct film out or export to DVD. Unfortunately, I can easily picture many people choosing this setting and still hoping to output to tape…just like people who shoot 24PA who expect to do the same.
Big Think #2 – The Kona LH. This card is THE card for so many reasons. First, the reason that I need it for. And this, my friends, is huge.
A) It will take my 720p24 DVCPRO HD timeline running at 23.98 and output that as 10-bit uncompressed 59.94…in realtime…through the card. Realtime hardware upconvert. No need for dropping into a 10-bit timeline and rendering…it just does it. I heard this, and had to ask the AJA rep twice…I HAD to confirm it. He confirmed it. This is something that the Kona 2 cannot do! That’s right. What I (and others) assumed was that it could do a hardware upconvert. Actually, I was told by an Apple rep with a Kona 2 that it could. Well, I think we had our wires crossed, for what the Kona 2 can upconvert is SD to HD…it cannot upconvert DVCPRO HD to 10-bit uncompressed HD. That is the power of the Kona LH. This credit card is burning a hole in my wallet.
B) For all those who shoot with HDV, especially the JVC JY-HD100U, you can capture 720p 24 HDV footage with this card into an I-Frame format…as DVCPRO HD…thus making editing MUCH easier. So if you shot 720p24, you can now get that footage into the computer in a very editable format. You will have to capture it at DVCPRO HD 59.94, but you will still have the 24p look that owners of this camera want. Unfortunately you MUST use the JVC HDV deck (BR-HD50U) to do this, for it has component HD outs…and the LH card has component HD ins. Yes, you will be losing quality, but very slight picture quality…nothing noticeable. This workflow was successfully tested by a producer who shot 70 hours of footage for a 13-episode PBS show with this camera. He shot all this footage without first checking for editing compatibility. We was sold an Avid, which didn’t work. So then AJA was approached and offered the LH and the deck…which worked beautifully. Oh, and the motion breakup that occurs with quick movement? That is all smoothed out with this card and codec. The deck retails for $3400. (Lumiere HD and HDVxDV converts the footage into an I frame mode, but doesn’t transfer the timecode. This card does)
So…the Kona LH is the perfect solution for my workflow, and is a very viable solution for 720p HDV. The HXV-200 is looking good as B and C cameras for our recreations…OH…and I got to meet a few Creative Cow leaders in person.