Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Professional Camcorders › Panasonic HVX-200 or Panasonic MDH2 › red2000 I realize this is a
red2000 I realize this is a few months late, but if you are still looking, I would recommend the HVX-200. It is the older of the 2, and while I haven’t shot with the MDH2, personally, from what I’ve seen of it and it’s specs, it looks more like a low-end prosumer camera, whereas the HVX-200 is still prosumer, but at the higher end.
But here are a few other things to consider:
Your chroma is sampled in the 4:2:2 ratio, meaning that you have 50% of your color to work with. If you are doing green or blue screen, this helps immensely.
I don’t know where you are getting your 960 by 540 from, as for one field the camera (and if it’s 1440 by 1080, then you are dealing with a PAL camera, as NTSC models shoot 1280 by 1080) shoots an interlace field at 1920 by 540, and then stores it at 1440 by 540 (or in NTSC 1280 by 540).
The HVX-200 can shoot 1080p in 24 & 30 frame rates. It does this by using Progressive-Segmented-Frame, which means that for each frame it shoots, it makes a copy and takes the even number lines from one frame and the odd number lines from the copy, and stores it in interlace format. But when you edit, you are working with Progressive Video. PSF was originally introduced in the Mini-DV era with the HVX-100, and it was a way to record Progressive video on interlace VTR’s. The HVX-200 has an onboard Mini-DV VTR that allows you to record right to tape, or even back up your P2 recordings to Mini-DV in either 480i or 480p. And any interlace Mini-DV camcorder or VTR will play back 480p tapes, as they re just reading interlace video off the tape.
The DVCPROHD Codec shoots at 100 Mbps, which will really help in editing and final distribution, as the signal will not be as compressed. Also DVCPROHD uses inter-frame compression, just like DV, where each frame is compressed on its own, without touching the frames on either side of it. It’s kind of like in the old days, even if your delivery was on VHS , why shoot VHS and end up with something that wasn’t going to look good.
Also with the HVX-200 there are shoulder-mount rigs out there that allow you to use the HVX-200 as a shoulder-mounted camera. It may seem a little awkward at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.
One other thing I’ve noticed with the DVCPROHD codec in general is that Mac computers have a harder time reading the MXF container that Panasonic uses for the HVX-200 (or even if you are exporting a DVCPROHD or DVCPRO50 video from Premiere Pro on a PC for someone to use on a Mac) than PC’s. Specifically Final Cut, which will not read MXF natively out of the box—I believe there are some plugins for Final Cut. I just recently sent a DVCPROHD video to a station, since they had told me to send the video using the DVCPROHD codec, and the guy who I sent it to later told me that he’d had to import it into a Mac running Premiere Pro first, because Premiere read the MXF just fine, but the station’s computers only had Final Cut and Final Cut would not read the MXF (apparently on the Mac Final cut wraps the DVCPROHD codec in a QuickTime MOV wrapper and will only read the codec that way).
Now the the MDH2, the AVCHD will give you problems.
AVCHD records it’s chroma in 4:2:0. You only have 25% of your color to play with, and it’s basically averaging them. Just recently I had a guy helping me to shoot a portion of a documentary, and my camera was a HVX-200, while his was a Canon that shot AVCHD, and even though we had white balanced the camera’s to try and match them, when I was editing the footage, in his footage the people looked like they had sunburns or high blood pressure. AVCHD I find tends to have a very difficult time handling the Red color, and I’ve even found this back with SD video and MPEG, especially when 4:2:0 is the chroma. Also with 4:2:0, forget about doing green screen or blue screen.
AVCHD’s 28Mbps. AVCHD uses the GOP intra-frame compression, where it’ll look at 15 frames and store only important information, just like MPEG-2 compression. And at 28 Mbps you won’t have a lot of room for compression later on. YOUTUBE is notorious for adding heavy amounts of compression
to video uploads, so your video may look fine, but on You tube the video will look pixelated, or even shooting scenes with a lot of movement you are going to notice compression issues. I remember one test I did once between the HVX-200 and a Sony HDR-PJ270 consumer camcorder shooting AVCHD set to maximum Mbps (according to the camera settings is 28Mbps) shooting 1080p, I set both up at a safe distance in front of a barbecue (you can even do this with a fireplace) and I shot the flames, since flames from any type of fire are constantly changing from one second to the next. After I had finished, I loaded both clips onto my computer to compare, and it was a no brainer, as I found the DVCPROHD had a much smoother look to it, with no pixelation that I could see) whereas the AVCHD footage was very rough looking with a lot of pixelation.
With AVCHD, even the fastest computers are going to give you trouble in the editing suite, since it is extremely compressed. And that compression, even to edit, requires a ton of CPU processing power, because the computer needs to be constantly decompressing and recompressing the video every time you scrub along the timeline, add a fade or do a simple edit. Plus with it being intra-frame, the computer is not just dealing with one frame at a time, it is dealing with multiple frames. DVCPROHD does not require the processing power that AVCHD requires, and most people I know usually convert AVCHD to DVCPROHD or AVC-I when editing.