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

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