Archive for the ‘Tools/Equipment’ Category

DVX-100 modification for uncompressed video

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Rob Travis has alerted me to the Andromeda Data Acquistion System, which modifies a Panasonic DVX-100 to allow for capture of “4:4:4 10bit RGB Uncompressed output.” Assuming you already own a DVX-100, it costs $3000, which includes the software needed to do the capture. You can read more about it at the Reel Stream website.

Andromeda says they’re considering offering this modification for other cameras. Needless to say, such a thing for the HVX-200 could be outstanding. Imagine: True 24P 4:4:4 10bit RGB Uncompressed HD…. for less than $10K….

Sorry. Back to reality. Some quick thoughts:

– $6000 ($3000 for Andromeda + $3000 for DVX100B at street prices) gets you uncompressed 4:4:4 24p in standard def. (See comments.)

– $6000 can get you a Panasonic HVX200 without P2 cards. No P2 cards means you’re just using the HVX as a standard def camera. But you can invest down the road in P2 to get HD in true 24p.

– $9000 gets you a Canon XL-H1, which is HD. It can do uncompressed 4:2:2 via its HD-SDI output…. but it doesn’t have true 24p.

The question for a lot of owners of the DVX-100 will be: Do I spend the cash on modifying my camera, or do I move up to something else?

Personally, if I had a DVX-100, I’d at least consider the Andromeda upgrade. All of the currently available under-$10K HD cameras are a mixed bag (at best), plus delivery of HD content is a big question mark (what with the HD vs. Blu-ray format war) anyway. Making a small upgrade investment in SD in the interim could be a smart move. Then again, I’m saying all of this speculatively since I’ve not seen anything except the tests on Andromeda’s website.

Sony HVR-Z1U: First impressions

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. More on this later. But to get the posts started up again, here’s a quickie summary of my first impressions of the Sony HVR-Z1U, which I did some shooting with last week (documentary footage of homing pigeons).


What is 1080i?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Steve Mullen’s Just What is 1080i? article at Videosystems looks to be a cogent introduction (and look ahead) to the competing, and confusing, HD/HDV formats out there. Since it’s a three-part article written over a few weeks, navigating around the Videosystems site to read it all proved to be a little tricky. This might help:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

(Via FresHDV)

FresHDV’s Oakhurst Interview

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

Matt at FresHDV has been running a two-part interview this week with indie film/postproduction techie blogger Josh Oakhurst. Josh’s from-the-hip style suggests what might happen if you crossed that Mad Money guy on CNBC with a video engineer. This is my way of saying Josh’s energy can make some otherwise somniferous subjects (say, differences in video codecs) interesting.



Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Tomorrow I am giving a lecture on screenplay formatting in the screenwriting course I’m teaching this semester at Temple University. It’s a fairly straightforward topic; you can go over the basics in about an hour or so. The problem in the past when I’ve taught this stuff to college students and in workshops is that most beginning writers only have access to Microsoft Word, which can be a real chore to use as screenwriting software. Of course, they could invest in software like Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter, but those are pricey (around $180) — not a wise investment unless you know you’re going to be pursuing screenwriting as a career.

(As a side note, universities do sometimes invest in this software — Temple has it in some of their computer labs — but writing a screenplay in bits and pieces in various computer labs during their free hours is problematic for students that work, etc. I’ve found the software gets used intermittently at best.)

Anyway, this brings me to Celtx, which is an open source (i.e., free) screenwriting and pre-production tool. I tested it out last fall and it didn’t seem quite ready for use. Today, I downloaded a new version of it ( Now it’s got my attention.

After a few hours of toying with it, here are my jotted-down impressions: