Monday, September 14, 2009

Lil' Buster Shoots Disney Wedding

FTC Disclosure
In compliance with the FTC rulings, I state that I am the Panasonic AVCHD Evangelist. As such, I am a paid consultant to Panasonic, and I get free use of the AVCCAM products.

September 10, 2009
Walt Disney World

Today, Lil' Buster (The Panasonic HMC40 camcorder) got all dressed up and made his working debut at a fantastic Disney wedding.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I teamed up once again with my friends at Bruno White Entertainment, the pros who shoot Disney Weddings. Last year, when Ole Besty (The Panasonic HMC150) first came out, they did a fantastic job of shooting a couple of weddings for us, so I was very curious as to their reactions to Lil' Buster.

I was able to provide them with two HMC40's for the event and I actually documented them shooting the event with my Lil' Buster. I hope to post some videos later.
The wedding and the venue were spectacular. We shot pre-ceremony shots in the lobby of the Grand Floridan Hotel. Then the bride and her father climbed into Cinderella's coach (really!) and rode to the Disney Wedding Pavilion. This pix of the castle at the top of this post was taking thru the window of the pavilion by Lil' Buster. Yes, remember in addition to great HD footage, this camera also shoots 10.6 megapixel stills.

The crew at Bruno White did their usual amazing work and are delivering a Blu-ray disc for us to play in the Panasonic booth this week at WEVA (Wedding and Event Videographers Association) here in Orlando.

In this pix, the HMC40 is equipped with the Pro Audio Rig, which gives 2 XLR inputs and an external microphone .

On the other HMC40 they were able to rig their Sennheiser wireless receiver.
Pretty ingenious.

Ok, so how did Lil' Buster and his brother and sister perform? Flawlessly. The Bruno White shooters were very familiar with the HMC150 and so they had to get acquainted with the HMC40 touch screen menu controls. However, they loved the light weight of the camera (only 2.2 lbs) and the flexibility it provided to them during the shoot.

And as you can see, I finally have proper camera support.
A great help, as you can tell from my rather innovative camera support stands for the time lapse in earlier posts. My friends at Libec have supplied me with a great light weight tripod, the H22DV. It arrived just in time to cover the wedding, thanks, Libec.

If you are in Orlando and coming to Weva, please stop by the Panasonic booth and say hi. If you will be at DV Expo in Pasadena next week, look us up again in the Panasonic booth.

More to come,
The Road Warrior

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lil' Buster at Disney World

Sept 9, 2009
Lake Buenva Vista, Fl

No, Lil' Buster and I are not on vacation, but as you can see even Mickey wanted to hold the camera.

We are in Florida to supply Lil' Buster's brother and sister (2 new Panasonic HMC40 cameras) to Bruno White Entertainment. Bruno White Entertainment is responsible for the high end video recording for weddings at Walt Disney World. More on this in a later post.

But, the wedding was a late afternoon date, and the Florida sunshine was beckoning, so Lil' Buster and I went to Disney World to see what we could shoot.

However, every where we went someone else wanted to hold Lil' Buster. It was certainly a crowd pleaser. This guy told me he loves it to his very bones.

One of the key features of this HMC40 is the ability to shoot time lapse.
So, go to the following link to see footage shot in the interval mode with 1 frame every 10 seconds. Disney Balloon Time Lapse
Pretty cool!
And here is a behind the scenes shot. Once again, notice the great camera support system. Hey, it worked.


More to come, including details on the Disney Wedding Shoot.
The Road Warrior

Monday, September 7, 2009

In The Morning, In The Evening, Lil' Buster Does Time Lapse


August 24, 2009
Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset
Lil' Buster (The Panasonic HMC40 HD camcorder) and me at Bryce Canyon setting up to shoot the sunset in time lapse. Notice the way cool camera support.
(Photo by Erin Mitchell)

Ah, Bryce Canyon. Now, this is a magical site, especially at sunset and sunrise. I shot both.

If you want to see the result, click on the following link to YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ7HboBgZmQ

With Lil' Buster it is a snap to shoot time lapse. Just touch the LCD viewfinder menu button. Then pick Record Set Up and then Interval Record. Now you have to decide what effect you want. This is where you can choose to shoot one frame every 1 second, or every 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute or 2 minutes. Remember shooting time lapse requires good camera support and lots of patience. Just think of all the applications for this feature. Imagine shooting traffic, sunset on the beach, a concert load in/load out, or even a building being constructed. It would be awesome.

On one of my many airport waits, I was bored, so I pulled out Lil' Buster, sat him on a chair and recorded this time lapse footage.
Again, click on the following link to see this footage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1viUNSGk0I

I can't wait to shoot more time lapse with Lil' Buster, a most amazing camera. And I am happy to report that the HMC40 is shipping from Panasonic now! So, you can get your own!

More to come,
The Road Warrior

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Burnin' Up Miami


Thursday August 20, 2009
Miami, Fl

Lil' Buster (The Panasonic HMC40) camcorder got introduced to the sun and fun of Miami this week. Reactions from dealers and shooters were all positive. They believe that Panasonic has a new "Big" star. With it's low price, light weight, time lapse, prerecord and the fact that it also shoots 10.6 megapixel stills, it is appealing to all types of folks. And it records on MPEG 4 instead of the old MPEG 2.

Naturally, the question of workflow pops up. It is amazing how many misconceptions are still out there. People believe that AVCHD footage is impossible to edit. Not true. I have edited on Final Cut, Final Cut Express, iMovie, Adobe Premier, Sony Vegas, Pinnacle, ULead, Avid and Edius.
In fact, when Lil' Buster ships later this month, Panasonic is bundling a free copy of Edius Neo 2 which edits native AVCHD.

I have written a white paper on the Edius workflow which appears on www.panasonic.com/avccam. In additon, there are quite a few workflow papers on this site. Check them out.




Next week Lil' Buster and me will be in San Diego.
More to come,
The Road Warrior

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lil' Buster Boffo in Hollywood


August 13, 2009
Hollywood, CA

Tonight, Lil Buster (the Panasonic HMC40 camcorder) rocked Tinsel Town!
We had standing room only for a 2 hour love-fest at Birns and Sawyer in the heart of Hollywood. The enthralled crowd included not only production folks, but also educators, corporate videographers and web designers. And they loved Lil' Buster.
Why?
1. Price - under 2K (street price)
2. Light weight - just 2.2 pounds
3. Hi-def video and 10.6 megapixel still pix
4. Great low light performance
5. Scalable bandwidth (from 6 to 24 megabits per second). Great for web.
6. Pre-record. You will never miss a shot.
7. Time lapse record
...and the list goes on and on.
Great interest in using the HMC40 as a "B" camera on productions that are using the bigger brother HMC150 as an "A" camera.
Birns and Sawyer were so pleased with crowd of "new" customers that we have been invited back for a Christmas holiday presentation.
Hey, we can then wow 'em with the new HMR10 recorder/player and POVCAM. But that is another story.
More to come
The Road Warrior

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lil' Buster In The Rain


Aug. 3, 2009
New Orleans, LA

As fortune would have it, Lil' Buster (the Panasonic HMC40 AVCHD camcorder) and I found ourselves in New Orleans. Great opportunity to shoot some amazing HD footage, I thought.
Well yes and no. It rained. I mean New Orleans style buckets of rain. So, this picture shows my rather ingenious rain hood for the camera. It is a one gallon zip lock bag. Naturally, I couldn't shoot with the camera in the bag, but it did keep Lil' Buster dry. I wish I had a zip lock bag for me. I got soaked three times walking around the French Quarter.
However, during the brief spells of sunshine, I marveled again at the versatility of this great camera. You can imagine how hot and humid New Orleans got once the rain stopped and I pulled Lil' Buster out of the baggie. Well, since there are no moving parts, I didn't have to worry about head clogs, and could start shooting immediately. No dew sensor came on and told me to wait. Ah, you gotta love solid state recording.



Haven't had a chance to edit the footage yet, but I am looking forward to it.

This week, I am on the road again. Tomorrow night at the GA Professional Videographers Meeting. For information please see: http://app.talkfusion.com/fusion2/view.asp?NDU3Mjgx_2814712
Wed, I fly out to LA for an event at EVS. For further info, please see: http://www.evsonline.com/contact_us/index.shtml
On Thurs, I will be making a presentation at Birns & Sawyer that is entitled: Shoot Cheap - Load Fast - Think Panasonic
When: Thursday, August 13th
Where: Birns & Sawyer Camera Division
6381 De Longpre, LA 90028
RSVP: info@birnsandsawyer.com

If you are in Atlanta or LA, please stop by.

More to come,
The Road Warrior

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Jersey Final Cut User Group Meeting



July 28, 2009
Panasonic Corp Offices, Secaucus, NJ

Last evening, I brought Lil'Buster (the HMC40) home to Panasonic Corporate offices for meeting of the NJ Final Cut Pro User Group.
We had around 30 people in the audience. I had presented to this group a number of months ago, to introduce Ole Bestsy (the HMC150) and the concept of AVCCAM products. Last nite, was Lil' Buster's coming out party. Besides an incredible price, the crowd reacted to a number of the camera's key features; 10.6 megapixel still images, pre-record, time lapse recording, dynamic range stretch and the very light weight of the camera.
Also, the fact that Apple has now announced new support in Final Cut Pro for AVCCAM editing (including proxies) certainly had the crowd buzzing. I haven't yet got the new FCP but when I do, I will post reactions here.
More to come,
The Road Warrior

Monday, July 20, 2009

AVCCAM in New Zealand

This is me and "Steiny" at Doubtful Sound in the Fiordalnds on the South Island of New Zealand. It is cold, it is winter there. Pix taken by my son, Michael, the ace computer programer.
Steiny was the first professional AVCCAM Panasonic camcorder, unfortunately no longer available. I call it Steiny because it is about the size of a can of Steinlager, a New Zealand beer.
Ok, I could have called it Foster, but that would be wrong, as I am in New Zealand, not Australia at this moment and a Foster's can is way to big! You know, those Aussies!

If you have been wondering what happened to AVCCAM on the road, I went on holiday.
Sorry, you should try it, good for what bugs you. Nothing bugged me for 2 weeks.

Ok, Milford Sound gets all the tourists, but Doubtful....whoa. We saw dolphins and a part of the world that is incredible. Makes you feel wonderful to be alive.
Steiny is actually a forerunner to the hot new Panasonic HMC40 camera. Steiny only shoots 1080/60i and still pix, the new HMC40 (Lil' Buster, the HDV and MPEG 2 Buster, for those of you who follow this blog) shoots all flavors of HD (1080i, 1080p, 720p) and great 10.6 megapix stills. Not in the same league.
Sadly, Lil' Buster had to go home to Panasonic (couldn't get time off) while I was on holiday, to get it's pix taken for the brochure. Hey, some of us work, some play. So, Steiny got to go down under. And it fit in my shooter's vest pocket.

Speaking of play. I will soon post videos from Steiny in NZ and OZ.
Needless to say AVCCAM on the road, went to new heights down under.
Yes, I will post some from OZ at some point.
Currently back on the road, reunited with Lil' Buster and in CA.
More to come,
The Road Warrior

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lil' Buster goes home, briefly


June 19, 2009
Orlando, FL




Infocomm came to a successful end this afternoon, as did my brief friendship with Lil' Buster (The HDV and MPEG-2 Buster) HMC40 camcorder. He was a huge hit, BTW.
But, now he has to go home to Panasonic in NJ, for some cute model shots and advertising posing.
The good thing is that means you will be seeing him everywhere. The bad thing, is I will have to wait a couple of weeks to get him back. It is sort of like joint custody. I can't wait to take him on the road with me. And of course, I will report on our continuing relationship, here on the blog, as we slay HDV and MPEG-2 and establish AVCCAM as the dominant HD affordable solution.

It was a great week. Thanks to all at Panasonic for letting me work with the first HMC40 to come to the US.
Take good care of Lil' Buster and I look forward to his return.

More to Come
The Road Warrior

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cool Features on HMC40

June 18, 2009
Orlando, FL


Lil' Buster (the HDV and MPEG-2 Buster), my trusty HMC40 camera is making a big splash here in sunny Florida at Infocomm. This picture shows Steve Golub, National Product Manager for the AVCCAM product line, next to Lil'Buster. Doesn't he look proud?
I mean Steve. He should be for it is a great camera at a great price.
How much you say? Well, Steve says, the list price will be under $3K! Wow.

I have been shooting with the HMC40 and I am very impressed. The first thing you notice is how light weight it is. Only 2.2 lbs! You could shoot all day and not get cramps in your arms.
The second thing is the image quality. It is stunning.

Lil' Buster shoots at a variety of resolutions and frame rates. And all of the menu settings are accessed by touch screen from the viewfinder. PH Mode (at 24 megabits per second) at 1080/60i, 1080/24P, 1080/30p, 720/24p, 720/30p and 720/60p.

In addition, you can also shoot 1080/60i at lower bandwidths, 17, 13 and 6 megabits per second. The advantage of the 6 megabit per second is that the file size is small enough you can send it via ftp.


As I mentioned in an earlier post the HMC40 also shoots 10.6 megapixel stills.



And another way cool feature that I discovered yesterday while going thru the menus is that you can set interval recording from 1 frame every second to 1 frame very 2 minutes. This allows you to shoot those really cool time lapse sequences.

One thing I did notice while shooting outside in the bright sunlight is that it is sometimes hard to see the touch screen monitor. I mentioned this to Steve and he said that maybe an LCD hood would solve the problem.

Customers here at Infocomm have reacted very positively to Lil' Buster. I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

More to come,
The Road Warrior

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leavin' Las Vegas

June 14, 09
Crown Room










(This pix taken with an iPhone)
After making a great impression at National Press Photographer's Association Conference in Las Vegas, it was time to take Lil' Buster (the brand new HMC40 camera) home.
We are off to Infocomm in Orlando, next week.

In addition to taking stunning HD video, the HMC40 also shoots 10.6 megapixel stills. So, after some weird contortions in trying to take a still picture of myself, here are the results.









(This pix taken with HMC40)

More to Come
The Road Warrior

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Do I Have To Sleep In The Cupboard?"

June 12, 2009
Las Vegas, NV

Remember this quote from Chip in Beauty and the Beast, "Do I have to sleep in the cupboard?"
I thought of it this morning when I retrieved the new HMC40 camera from the hotel safe. Since it is the only HMC40 in the US, I naturally am paranoid about losing it. So, it slept in the safe.
Lil' Buster is the name I have given the HMC40, thanks to Tom, one of the followers on this blog. Tom said it is a true HDV Buster. So, Lil' Buster now joins Ole Betsy in my travels on AVCCAM On The Road.

Lil' Buster is having his coming out party here at the National Press Photographers Association meeting. Besides exhibiting, I am giving a presentation each day, "Getting Comfortable Shooting Stills and HD Video." The photojournalists seem to really like the light weight and picture quality from the HMC40. I have too busy to shoot much with the camera yet, but plan to do some shooting later today and tomorrow.


More To Come
The Road Warrior

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hey Las Vegas, say "Hello" to the new HMC40 camera!

June 10, 2009
Las Vegas, NV

Scary morning at the Indy airport. Seems a woman had something suspicious in her bag and TSA locked down all security screening. We stood there right by the screeners with our gear in the tubs and they wouldn't let us out, or anyone else in. This went on for about 15 minutes and then they moved us all to the screening lines as far away from the woman as we could get. Then they let us through, but she was still being held back. Wonder what she had in her bag? And I was sure hoping that she wasn't on my flight.

Anyway, no further excitement and here I am back in Las Vegas. It was only 2 months ago that I was here for NAB.
This time I am exhibiting and presenting at the National Press Photographer Association meeting; tomorrow, Friday and Saturday. Walk in registration is encouraged. See http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/workshops_and_seminars/convergence/2009/

And here is the big NEWS! Tomorrow, I will receive the first and only HMC40 camcorder in the US. This first production sample was shipped over from the Panasonic factory in Japan. As you can imagine, I am quite excited to get my hands on this camera.
We showed a prototype of this little jewel at NAB, but it wasn't fully operational. This new camera is, and I intend to do some shooting here in the desert and will post my opinions later. The HMC40 is a little brother to Ole Betsy (my trusty HMC150). I will have to think of a name for it. The reason it is a little brother, is that it weighs in at just 2.2 lbs. And, not only does it shoot stunning AVCCAM high definition, but also 10.6 megapixel stills. I am sure the photojournalists will love it.

Should be an incredible few days here in the desert.
More to come
The Road Warrior

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

When Deja Vu Doesn't Work

June 9, 2009
Indianapolis, IN

This is weird! I know I am a Road Warrior, but come on!
I landed yesterday morning in Indianapolis. I have flown here many times before. I get off the plane, it has been a long morning from Knox to Atlanta to Indy, and a short night before, so I am not thinking that clearly, I will admit.
But, still....I feel like I have stepped into the Twilight Zone. I am walking from the gate to baggage claim and nothing, and I mean nothing seems familiar.
I get my bags and walk to rental car area and nothing, I mean nothing, is familiar.
I get the car and start to drive out of the airport, and again nothing is familiar, and my GPS is taking me to roads that don't exist.
What is going on?
45 minutes later when I checked into my hotel in Carmel, IN I asked what was different about the airport. The clerk, laughed and then told me, everything was different, it is a new airport. Indy has a brand spanking new airport. Ah, whew, once again dogged the Alzheimer's bullet.
But, it made for a strange morning.

I am in Indy for the Duncan Video Show.



And what a show it was. Tom Parrish, the Panasonic Sales Manager and I set up a very nice booth, with Ole Betsy (my trusty HMC150), the new HPX300 (a hot, hot P2 camera), the pan and tilt system, a P2 portable and a wonderful 26" monitor.
Attendance was very good. People are really interested in HMC150 and the HPX300. But lots of questions about the differences between AVCCAM and P2.
Hence, my afternoon presentation: Comparing P2 and AVCCAM workflows.

This discussion has to be about Codecs and it unfortunately many people are confused.
This short answer is the P2 cameras record on DVCPRO, DVCPROHD, and AVC-Intra and as a result will always have better images and color space than AVCCAM cameras that record on SDHC cards using the AVCHD codec which is MPEG-4. AVCCAM produces stunning quality with affordable hardware and media costs.
But, where people get confused is that the AVC H.264 MPEG-4 codec also includes the very high end AVC-Intra which is recorded on P2. What gives?
Let me try to explain.

Think of the relative Codec quality as this, from top to bottom:
AVC-Intra 100 - highest quality. Independent frame, 10 bit. It is part of the AVC, H.264, MPEG 4 codec. Recorded on P2
AVC-Intra 50 - the equlivant of DVCPROHD 100 (at half the bandwidth) still Independent Frame, 10 bit, and part of AVC, H.264, MPEG 4 codec. Recorded on P2
DVCPRO HD 100 - the highest DVCPRO codec that is a .mxf file. Recorded on P2
DVCPRO HD 50 - a lower bandwidth a .mxf file. Recorded on P2
DVCPRO - lower bandwidths, a .mxf file. Recorded on P2
AVCHD - 24 - 6 mega bits per second scalable MPEG 4 recorded on SDHC cards. This is a Long GOP (Group of Pictures) format, that is highly efficient for acquisition. It is part of the AVC, H.264, MPEG 4 codec (like AVC-Intra, at the higher end of the quality stack).

I know, clear as mud.
I am working on a graphic to help explain this. Also we need to talk about the differences between MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 but that is for another post.
I have an early morning flight to Las Vegas, hope they haven't changed that airport since NAB, or it will be Deja Vu all over again
More to come
The Road Warrior

Monday, June 8, 2009

Leavin on a Jet Plane

June 8, 2009
Knoxville, TN

Another Monday Morning at the Airport.
Woke up this am with Peter, Paul and Mary's "Leavin' on a jet plane" playing in my head. It was a beautiful drive through the hollers of East TN with a pastel dawn sky.

I am off to the Midwest for the Duncan Video Showcase in Carmel, Indiana. This is always a great event.
See http://www.duncanvid.com/.
Many of Duncan's customers already own P2 cameras and naturally there is lots of interest in AVCCAM. So, tomorrow, Ole Betsy (my trusty HMC150 camcorder) and I will be comparing and contrasting the P2 and AVCCAM Workflow. It will be a fun and hopefully enlightening presentation. If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello.

Then, later in the week, Ole Betsy and I are off to Las Vegas for Convergence 09, the National Press Photographer's Association meeting. Besides exhibiting at the event, I will make three presentations (one each day) on the AVCCAM workflow. Photojournalists are increasingly being told to shoot video as well as stills. Naturally, they are very concerned and anxious about learning new skill sets. There are lots of sessions at this show to address this point. But, of course AVCCAM presents a very easy transition for them. I can't wait to show them the camera and explain the workflow. See: http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/workshops_and_seminars/convergence/2009/
It should be a good show. Again, if you are in Las Vegas and can attend, I look forward to seeing you.
As always, more to come.
The Road Warrior

Sunday, May 31, 2009

So Florida Final Cut User Group Meeting

May 28, 2009
Miami, FL


Well, the rain didn't stop. But that didn't stop people from attending the So. Florida Final Cut User Group Meeting held tonight at Videoscope, in Miami. Thanks to Bill Craig and everyone at Videoscope for hosting the event. We had standing room only.
The program consisted of my friend, Orlando Luna, from Apple demonstrating work flow with new DSLR still cameras that also shoot video, and yours truly presenting "Why in The World Would You Still Shoot on Tape, or MPEG-2?



I started by challenging the audience asking how many are still shooting on tape. About half raised their hands. I then asked how many were shooting on HD, less than half this time.
I then boldly stated that within 2 years they would all be shooting HD and none of them would be shooting on tape. That always get the evening off to a rousing start. The beauty of these presentations, is I get to present my personal perspective as a user. As always the opinons expressed in the presentations and on this blog (for that matter) are mine.

But, the actual fact of the matter is that all of the camera manufacturers are moving away from tape and towards solid state, optical disc, or flash memory recording.
Panasonic is the world's leader in solid state HD cameras having introduced the very successful P2 line of cameras a few years back. Now, of course, me and Ole Betsy (my trusty HMC150 camera) are on the road to talk about the AVCHD format and Panasonic's professional line of AVCCAM products that use the AVCHD format. And very wisely, in my opinion, Panasonic has decided that their AVCCAM products utilize SDHC cards to record. They are reliable, robust, available everywhere and their price continues to drop. Music to my ears and shooters around the country. Here I am pushing this advantage.

The question I always get at this point is can I use any SDHC card, and the answer is Yes, But...
In order to shoot in the PH (Professional Mode) with the HMC150 camera you will need at least a class 4 SDHC card (and a class 6 is recommended). And be careful, just like you wouldn't buy cheap no name tape, avoid SDHC cards from companies that you might not know. Panasonic, of course, makes a full line of SDHC cards all the way to 32GB.

The audience appreciated the features of the camera and were intrigued about editing with Final Cut. It is very easy and I demonstrated that to them. They also were very interested in the new AVCCAM products coming this fall including a couple of new cameras and a very exciting AVCCAM portable field recorder/player.

The crowd asked very intelligent questions and maybe nobody wanted to go out into the rain but they stayed till almost 10pm.


When we finally finished, the rain had stopped. It was a great evening, I enjoyed meeting with them and I guess it was a success as they have invited me back in the fall when the new equipment comes out. I will be there, hope the rain is not.
More to come
The Road Warrior.
PS thanks to Marlene and Orlando for the pix.

Scalable Bandwidth in Miami?

May 27, 2009
Miami, FL

You know you are approaching Miami, when the pilot tells you the descent will be bumpy, and he spends the next few minutes swerving around magnificent thunderheads. But, I love Miami for it's diversity, vibrant neighborhoods and general good vibe. However, at this time of year, you can count on rain.

This afternoon, I had the pleasure to speak to one of Panasonic's customers. This is a company that specializes in IT design and installation and they have recently purchased an HMC150 camera. They plan on using the camera to produce both internal training videos as well as online sales and marketing efforts. I pulled out Ole Betsy (my trusty HMC150 camera) and walked them through the basic camera set-ups. But, when they told me about their web-based goals, I showed them a little understood, but very cool feature of the Panasonic HMC150, namely scalable bandwidth.

So, what is scalable bandwidth? Well, one way to think about this, is that whenever you shoot digital HD video, you are recording your information (or data) at a certain number of mega bits per second. This is also referred to as bandwidth. Among other things, the higher the number of mega bits per second, the better your image will look, but also the bigger your files will be.
The HMC150 camera was the first camera to record in the AVCHD format with the new PH (professional mode) at up to 24 megabits per second. The results are stunning images.

However, the HMC150 also allows you to record at different and lower bandwidth settings. As noted, the HMC150 will shoot 1080/60i in the PH mode (up to 24 mega bits per second), but also in the HA mode (17 mega bits per second) HG mode (13 mega bits per second) and HE mode (6 mega bits per second).

When I first heard about this I was confused. If I have a camera that will shoot at 24 mega bits per second, why in the world would I want to set it to record at a lower bit rate? As, I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that if I was shooting a static talking head, with not much action maybe, just maybe, you could get away with a lower bit rate.

Well, a few months ago, we decided to do a side by side bit rate comparison, so we could see what happens to the quality when the bit rate changes. Here is one of those tests, courtesy of Panasonic. This piece was shot by Bentley Nelson.

video

I realize that this is hard to critically evaluate over the internet, so, if you would like to see this and more clips, in better detail, stop in at your Panasonic Professional Broadcast Products dealer. Play with the camera and ask him to show you the AG-HMC150 DVD that contains these bandwidth tests (under the DVD ROM content).

Frankly, I was stunned at the results. The HE mode at 6 mega bits per second looks surprising good. Is it as good at the PH mode at 24? No, but it is not bad at all. Most importantly, the resulting file size is very small. So small that the files can even be sent via ftp. That is pretty amazing, HD files zipping through the internet as ftp files.

The customer agreed that the 6 mega bit clip looked really good. I suggested that for their initial in- house training videos they shoot at 1080/60i in the PH mode. But for their web-based clips, I suggested they should do some tests at the lower bit rates. It is quite possible that 6 mega bits will work just fine for them. It will be interesting to see how they proceed.

Tomorrow, I am off to present to the University of Miami and then to the So. Florida Final Cut User Group Meeting. Should be an exciting day. Hope the rain stops.
More to come.
The Road Warrior

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bound for Miami and FCP User Group Presentation

May 24, 2009
Knoxville, TN

Ah there is nothing like warm weather for camera tests. Here is a pix taken last year in Miami as I was comparing the Panasonic HMC70 camera against a number of other cameras. Having shot the Iditarod Dog Race in Alaska at -67 degrees, I like coming to Miami.

Well, Ole Betsy (my trusted Panasonic HMC150 camera) and I are headed off to Miami next week. A number of meetings are still being finalized. But, if you are in the area and can make it to the So. Florida Final Cut User Group meeting on Thurs night. I invite you to come on over.
I will be there presenting "Why in the World Would You Still Shoot on Tape, or MPEG- 2, For That Matter?"

Here is a link to their meeting site page with directions, etc.
http://www.soflafcpug.com/html/meet.html
You will need to RSVP.

Hope you can make it. Please say hello if you do.
More later
The Road Warrior

Friday, May 22, 2009

You Know You Have Been On The Road Too Much When....

May 22, 2009
Chicago O'Hare Airport 8am




OH NO!
In my haste to catch my flight this morning, I mistakenly checked my camera bag with trusty Ole Betsy (my Panasonic HMC150 suggled inside). Because I often fly on small regional planes (like this morning) I always take Ole Betsy out of her bag and hand carry her on and place her under my seat. This morning, I was distracted and checked two bags. One, the camera case containing the camera. I left the bags with the agent and was started to security when I realized what I had done. Running back to the agent I frantically convinced him to grab the bag, just as it was about to descend into the bowels of the airport. He was amused by my anxiety.
Anyway, all's well that ends well, here I am with the rescued camera. Hope the rest of the day isn't as stressful.
BTW, carrying the camera on board always elicits comments from the crew and other passengers. On a couple of flights ago, I convinced the gentlemen seated next to me that this was the camera he needed. And he said he was going to buy one later that day.
Ah, the Road Warrior selling even at 30, 000 feet.
More later
The Road Warrior

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Kind of Town...Chicago Is

May 21, 2009
Chicago, Il
What a gorgeous day. High 70's, low 80's and no humidity. This is a time of the year that Chicago looks great, fall is another. I grew up in Aurora, IL not far away and Chicago has become prettier and more gracious, as I have gotten older. I wish I could have grabbed Ole Betsy (my trusty Panasonic HMC150 camera) and shot the skyline and along Lake Shore Drive today. It would have been stunning. But, alas, I was once again being the AVCCAM Evangelist. So, on my next trip to Chicago, I hope the weather will co-operate and I will try to shoot something wonderful.
But hey, if you have to work inside, work on something that you believe in, something that you feel passionately about, and I am all over this format AVCHD, and Panasonic's Professional line of products AVCCAM, that use the AVCHD format. But, I would guess you have gathered that by now.
Anyway, on to the day's activities.
First, rush hour in Chi-Town. Come on, I left Aurora to go to UCLA Film School. Having lived in LA for many years, I know rush hour traffic (it is in fact a 24 hour phenom).
But, I experienced it here in Chicago this am. And the roads are not as good as LA. They have huge pot holes from all the ice and snow. And the drivers are worse. (Sorry, Chicago)
Trusting my loyal GPS, I headed off for Resolution Digital Studios, a great studio and venue. But, the GPS had a mind of it's own, so I got to see the Cook County Jail, up close. I hope never up close and personal! And I got to see parts of Chicago I have never seen before and you will not find in the tourism guides. But, not to worry, I arrived safe and sound, if a tad late.
Hey, I operate on LA time.
Roscor, one of Panasonic's great dealers held their Roscor 09 event. Sort of a recap of NAB for those who couldn't attend NAB. This was day two of the event. You will remember, or can remember, if you read yesterday's post, I missed day one of the Roscor event, as I was at the Illionis Videographer's Association meeting, a scant 12 miles away. Hence my rant on Chicago rush hour this am.




This picture shows me at the Roscor event with my trusty Ole Betsy (HMC150 camera). Thanks to Arthur from Panasonic for shooting this pix, as you know, I am rarely in my own pix. If you look closely on the 17" monitor to the right of the picture, you might be able see Arthur shooting the still. He is being captured by the HE100, a really cool robotic camera, which is actually the HPX200 in a robotic housing. Thanks, Arthur. The check is not in the mail :-)
It was a great event. I got to speak to a number of Universities, and Schools that were very interested in the HMC150 and having me come out and do a presentation to faculty, students and staff. Also met with a number of corporate clients that also showed interest in this low cost, incredible HD camera line up. It was fun and I was glad to support Roscor.
After the event, Ned Johnston of Panasonic and I visited Calument Photographic. We discussed the possibility of an upcoming AVCCAM presentation at Calument. When we have firmed up the details, I will post here.
I have a ton of editing to do this weekend. Oh, wait isn't it supposed to be a holiday? Yeah, right.
I am also writing all the NLE white papers for editing AVCHD on www.panasonic.com/avccam.
Currently, FCP, Adobe and Pinnacle are done. I am working on Edius, and Sony Vegas and the rest. When they are done, I will post here as well.
And next week I am in Miami
Life on the road with Ole Betsy is good.
More to come.
The Road Warrior

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Illinois Videographer's Association Expo


May 20, 2009 - Countryside, Illinois
Ok, here is the scene. Wed. am bright and early near Chicago.

The Event? The Illinois Videographer's Association hosted their 2nd Annual Midwest Expo at the Holiday Inn here in Countryside (a Chicago suburb).
Event kicked off at 8am this morning. They had 75 people attend this all day session. I met most of them and they are dedicated video professionals who are trying to make sense of the changing technologies in a challenging economic environment.

The day was set up with presentations from industry professionals with break outs in the exhibit area. The exhibitors included: Grass Valley with their Edius editing software, Classrooms on demand (makers of great training software), Canon, Weva, Blue Media, Event DV and of course yours truly, representing Panasonic.
Here are a couple of shots of the exhibition table. Since I was the only person here, it was impossible to get my image in the pix, but from the first image you can see the layout of the table.

I had a 17" Panasonic Professional Monitor, and a Panasonic Blu-Ray Player. I put an SDHC card in the Blu-Ray player that contained a high def version of the popular HMC150 DVD. I had Ole Betsy (my trusty HMC150 camera) and lots of literature. I was ready!

Here come the crowds. The second pix I took by stepping away from the table for a minute to show some of the activity. People love the HMC150 camera. Everyone wanted to hold it, to shoot with it. I also had my MacBook Pro laptop so that I could show them how easy it is to edit with Final Cut Pro. If you would like to download a white paper on the FCP AVCHD Workflow that I wrote for Panasonic go to www.panasonic.com/avccam and you can discover for yourself how easy it is to edit AVCHD footage in FCP.

One comment I heard a number of times was how is this camera different from the JVC camera that shoots directly to Quick Time (making editing in Final Cut very fast and easy). That is a great question, and I have a very detailed answer that actually needs it's own posting. So, watch this space. Suffice to say the HMC150 slays the competition.
But, I digress. In addition, to the exhibition, all the vendors were invited to present to the crowd. So, I got up and challenged them immediately, with my personal prediction that in 2-3 years none of them would be shooting anything, anymore on tape, or MPEG 2, for that matter. And that in the same time frame they would all be shooting HD. Needless to say that got their attention. As I say, this is my personal observation, not a Panasonic statement. I challenged them further to say, invite me back in 2 years and I will prove I was right. This definitely started intelligent conversations :-)

The actual focus of my presentation was a Panasonic NAB update. So I talked about the new P2 products including the new E series P2 cards and of course, the hot, new HPX300, (list price $10,700) with interchangeable lenses and the AVC-I codec (only previously available on cameras over $30,000.) Way Cool.


I talked about the new P2 Varicam, the Rapid Reader and then I moved to the new products in the AVCCAM line (near and dear to my heart).

Joining the HMC70 and the HMC150, Panasonic announced a new hand held HMC40 that not only shoots 1080i and 1080p and 720p but also captures 10.6 megapixel still images at the same time!


I had the pleasure to be the first person to shoot with the HMC40 days before NAB. I got a hold of a pre-production engineering sample and shot a number of scenes out in the Nevada Desert, Lake Mead and the Vegas strip at night. Great camera.

Next up was the new HMR-10 a hand-held battery operated, AVCHD recorder player. With this little baby you can record the output of any HD/SDI camera onto AVCHD. And it features a 3.5 inch LCD color monitor so you can instantly play back your SD cards in the field. This is a killer product, I can't wait to get my hands on it.


There is also a new POVCAM the AG-HCK10 that can connect to the hand held recorder. Perfect for helmet cams, wildlife, surveillance, etc.
It is always a rush for me when the audience seems to get the message. In this case the message was simple, AVCCAM provides stunning HD images (now on a every growing family of cameras and a recorder) at affordable pricing, on inexpensive and readily available SDHC cards.
I love talking about this stuff. It is great fun to see the audience get it.
More later
The Road Warrior

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Up Before Dawn

Tues May 19, 2009
Knoxville, TN

Man, you know you are a road warrior when you are up before sunrise. Ah, the joys of air travel.
I am off today to the Windy City of Chicago (routing thru Atlanta, of course). I am once again armed with my trusty Panasonic HMC150 camera. I need to come up with a nickname for it. Since I am living in TN, I guess I will borrow Davy Crockett's name for his rifle and call my HMC150, Ole Betsy. Won't be killing any bears, but will be slaying AVCHD format confusion. Anyway, we are off to the Illinois Videographers Association 2nd Annual Midwest Expo. I will man an exhibition table as well as make a presentation talking about Panasonic's NAB announcements and new products. I spoke to this group a few months ago, they are very knowledgable shooters. It should be a fun show. If you are in Chicago come on by and say hello.
For info on the event please see: http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/News/Breaking-News/IVA%27s-2nd-Annual-Midwest-Expo-set-for-May-20-in-Countryside,-Illinois-48733.htm

On Thursday Ole Betsy and I are off to Roscor Corporation's Roscor 09 Communications Technology Exhibition. See http://www.roscor.com/content/view/569/921/
More later
The Road Warrior

Dallas Production Roundtable Event


May 12, 2009 - Dallas TX
Quite an event held at the Studios at Las Colinas in Dallas, Tx.
I was there to support some of Panasonic's dealers and to speak. My presentation was unfortunately scheduled as the last of the day. So, I expected a smallish crowd. Wrong! I gave my "Why in The World Would You Still Shoot on Tape or MPEG 2" presentation. It went really well. I showed lots of examples of AVCHD footage shot on the Panasonic HMC150 camera. I showed MPEG2 and MPEG-4 comparisons (MPEG 4 is the winner), as well as bit rate comparisons. Yes, the HMC150 let's you pick the bit rate you want to record at, and let me tell you if you want small files that can even be send via ftp, the 6Mbps recording looks surprisingly good. We talked workflow, it is my experience that people love the camera, but wonder how to edit with it. It is easy and I showed editing on Final Cut, Premiere and Pinnacle. I knew I was the only person standing between the crowd and Miller Time, but they stayed for a good additional 40 minutes to ask questions. It is another clear indication of just how popular the Panasonic HMC150 camera is.
More adventures just down the road.
The Road Warrior

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here we go again

May 11, 2009
Ok, the blog is started. We will see how it goes.
Me and my trusty Panasonic AG-HMC150 are on the road again. This week it is Dallas.
Now, flying from Knoxville, you have to go thru Atlanta, or Cinci. I chose Atlanta this trip. Flight from Knox was delayed, almost missed connection in Atlanta, but made it. That is the down side of small town (Knox) airport. The upside, no long lines at security. Anyway, storms over Louisana made for rough flight. Staying at Doubletree Market Center (a bit tired both me and the hotel). Dallas Production Roundtable demos tomorrow. http://www.videotexsystems.com/pages.php?pageid=28
For more info on AVCCAM go to www.panasonic.com/avccam
More later.
The Road Warrior