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View Full Version : My LONG plead to Panasonic to take seriously the HPX300 issues, for better for worse



G.P.
05-20-2009, 04:13 AM
This maybe long, but they are my PASSIONATE thoughts about the camera, I have had the chance to shoot with it, and yes the skew at 1080p is most likely the biggest issue i've ever seen at this price point in a camera.

This could be fixed with adding a buffer...

I think if someone in pany actually put the damn thing on their shoulder and walked while shooting in 1080p 24 this could have been caught before it was put into production, my guess is by the time they actually had a prototype to go on a shoulder, no one thought to actually shoot with this on shoulder. I constantly see footage from a tripod... isn't it called a shoulder mounted camera for a reason??? WHY even build in this form factor without SEVERELY testing this on shoulder?? They might as well just make it a brick camera that sits on a tripod all day.

If this was caught before hand I think it could have stayed the same price it is now.... Doesn't Panasonic have an R&D guy for Cinematography? I know this... if I were hired to make sure that this camera can be put out on the market properly, it would have never passed any of my tests in real world settings... You cant shoot shoulder mounted and walk, without skew, in pretty much any frame rate at any speed, I've seen enough footage to say that's pretty much a killer. Then you have the noise issue, which I wont even get into, on top of that you have a 1080p cmos chip that goes 10bit 422, and yet with all its numbers if the damn thing cant pan or shake or move fast, what is all that good for? I would have rather had the same form factor with a 720p chip or even pixel shifted chip and keep at lower 8bit 422. This 3MOS stuff really should have been worked on more, instead of just wowing people with numbers like 10bit 422 and AVCI. I see this camera being used in static shots for green screen VERY well... and umm, that's about it as far as the cinema world goes... maybe news guys like it more?? although I couldn't see how, considering out in the field they deal with weather and wind and run-and-gun type shooting... Isn't this what the camera is worse at?

Sorry if I sound angry, because I almost am, just typing this I realized how much it bothers me to see something that someone was obviously very passionate about, and then just drop the ball half way into it. This camera form factor and price should have been a godsend, but where was the research, where was the real world testing??? This was someones amazing idea, and they just left it behind. I would have gladly waited 6 -12 months for a camera that actually was usable within its form factor. I find it VERY hard to believe this was tested outside of lab tests with people and movement. And if it was, I feel comfortable saying shame on the people for testing this and 1) not seeing the problems or 2) seeing the problems and not addressing them and fixing them.

Yes I am very verbal and opinionated, but I would feel no shame in talking to these people directly and ask, what exactly was being done in the testing phase? I know you have to test for a billion and one things on the sensor side of things... but once you get a point where you can stick a sensor with a lens in the form factor camera, even if it needed a teather line, wouldn't you walk around and shoot, or setup some vibration tests, or even zoom half way and try to track someone walking around fast? Were the "lab" guys doing the testing and just didn't know any better that SKEW is a huge problem to anyone in the semi-professional or professional realm (most people paying for this camera)? Is there even an actual Cinematographer used in testing anymore? Who "ok's" a cameras worthiness to go into production with these kind of limitations?

Am I really that critical when it comes to the skew? Am I the only one who thinks "accepting" the limitations is a bad choice for US shooters in general? Shouldn't we be setting the standards? After all we are the ones buying and renting the damn things... I think this excuse for "its cmos, they have limitations" is just getting old. Sure that would be ok if it was the FIRST cmos camera, but its not, not by a long shot... and the fact that anyone would even compare it to a phone camera just says something right there... this was not a quality checked item.

We are talking over EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS for a complete camera setup that CANT PROPERLY do what cameras half its price can? I think its fair to say when you use excuses like "well just work around it" that's not professional, and when your target audience is professional, what are you saying about yourself?

I've said a lot of harsh words, but I feel very passionate about cameras, I have gone from Film up to HD, and never have I seen a product with such limitations for so much money, in such a professional form factor before. Its just a big tease. You want it to work, but at the price of scraficing quality? why? I shoot for a living, its not always Cine style, sometimes its reality shows, some times hidden camera shows, sometimes experimental, its whatever the client wants when we are hired.... So im not just some cranky film guy who is stuck in his ways, I would find it hard to use this camera in any of the shooting situations i've mentioned without running into some crazy skew issues. I shoot for a living, and it is my life, its what keeps a roof over my head, and food in my belly. I DO NOT have a second job, this IS my job, this is my company, this is my living.
I think its very important to voice an opinion from my point of view. I also might be speaking for many others who read this site, but dont speak up, I used to be one of those people. If I were a camera company I would listen to the advice of the buyers over ANYONE else. They are what makes or breaks you. Again I think this is why RED has a following that's almost like a cult, they listen and provide every step of the way, sure its hard to do that, but even making a step in that direction could dramatically help.

This is a cry for help for the 300, to the developers, to the person(s) who had the idea of the camera in the first place, are you going to let this be a camera half done? Is this a business choice to sell all of these now, and wait a year and come out with an (A) model which will make EVERYONE who just paid 8k for the model before, pissed? Please do something about this, we aren't talking a small company here, we are talking about PANASONIC, a WORLD wide leader in electronics for decades...

Please don't accept things the way they are, try to make them better... for years you guys have made your name as a STANDARD in broadcast quality ( I still love Varicam footage over tons of other cameras) so why ever put your name on something that causes compromise, especially at a price point where its really too much money to compromise the things you are? If there is a will, there is a way, even if that means people have to send their camera in and pay a few hundred dollars to implement a buffer, or even a new technology to fix Skew.... It would be worth it to the hundreds of others who want to buy this camera now, or have already bought this camera.

Jan, I know you must hate me, I am not a Panasonic hater, I am just the opposite... I want to see this shine.

Consider this my "Letter to the editor" so to speak.

If you think I am wrong, please tell me so, but I feel for this situation it shouldn't be left unsaid. I am not a nobody, but I'm also not a 'Somebody', my name Isnt up in lights, I still fight to get my big gigs, just the same as the small ones as well... I am, to Panasonic a very educated consumer, and that's it.

Thank you for reading, let the hate mail start haha.

ryaninoz
05-20-2009, 05:50 AM
I chose this camera over the 500 because of price and also to me the 500 always looked a little soft, like an SD camera uprezzed. Next to the EX the 500 didn't have that HD looking through a window look. I miss 2/3 inch optics but I intend using an adaptor for any of my higher end or drama work.

The 300 is capable of looking great but I do feel restricted. I'm not sure if it is mean't to but I have found 720P to be the best option, I haven't noticed any skew at all ( I'm in PAL land ) unless I try to create it. I panned with cars doing 40 mph against a series of posts and poles and none of them skewed. DVCPRO50 is also very nice on this cam.

I support your protest though, I went into this camera with my eye's open about it's limitations but at the end of the day the price/performance equation made it a no brainer to buy the 300. However if they release a patch or an update and it costs a little to fix the skew then I am there !

SPZ
05-20-2009, 06:48 AM
I think there's nothing you should appologise for, Giuseppe. You said you were passionate.

You know, Panasonic has to understand that feedback like yours come because Panasonic have a very passionate group of costumers. And why? Because Panasonic created a name for themselves amongst costumers based on quality, innovation, excelent quality and great costumer support. All these are factors that make a happy costumer, and costumer fidelity. Lets talk about cameras. Panasonic camera division introduced a new philosopy and approach to our market. It started, probably, with the DVX- that little extra- not only the "Modjo" of the scene files, but that small pioneering thing like introduction of 24-25p and, later on the HVX, variable frame rates- were things others already offered, but to the high end, not to the prosumer, or low budget professional- a market that was always looked by other companies without interest. Also, and as importantly , of course, was how Panasonic differentiated themselves from the others by listening to us and with that feedback improved their products- Look at the DVX and how it has evolved to the HVX200. Every step of the way, Panasonic listened to the costumer base.

I believe that Panasonic knows they made a misstep with this. Now what they are going to do to correct this, is what will define the continuity of this following.

Panasonic has always been, at least in the Prosumer price point, the leader and the sweetheart of the costumers. Now its the time when they can prove they are deserving off that reputation, swallow some loss and recall cameras for a quick fix (even if it means a small price for the costumer and call it an "upgrade), or keep this going and have a generation of cameras on the market doing things they are advertised to do but just don't perform anywhere close to the competition.

This is probably the first big break Sony had since the introduction of the DVX100.

Marcus_Germany
05-20-2009, 07:37 AM
I'm also dissapointed because of the relatively heavy noise when using the 720 50p settings. I have sent an email to the European Management of Panasonic and included a link to Giuseppe's thread.

The Director of Panasonic Europe answered directly. He said - and in fact, he is right, that there is not other camcorder on the market which delivers this quality in that price range.

He promised that he forwarded Guiseppe's remarks and my complaints about the noisy pictures to their technicians in Japan and Europe.

So, the HPX 301e (European Version) is out in Europe only for a couple of weeks, let's give them time to assess the situation.

Marcus

David Saraceno
05-20-2009, 08:53 AM
Giuseppe:

I don't see any animosity in your "open letter." You are passionate about your concern and passionate about Panasonic cameras.

We really wanted to purchase this cam.

I even convinced my business partner (who is my wife) that this was a cam to purchase. (no small matter :))

But the "skew" issue has postponed a pretty certain purchase.

I wish there would be an official announcement in the form of a press release, but I don't see that forthcoming.

I also feel that Panasonic has been better -- much better -- than most in responding to its customer base.

If this can be fixed or attenuated with a hardware change, no doubt it is being explored.

At least I hope it is.

mickjones
05-20-2009, 04:02 PM
I am in the same boat re- the skew. I would have bought this camera in a heartbeat if it weren't for the skew that I've seen. The other disappointing factor for me is the ludicrous price point of this camera in Australia when compared with other territories. If they sort out the skew I will buy one, but I have to go about it by getting my friend in the USA to buy a 300 with the PAL upgrade. By doing this I am $7,000 in front even with currency conversion! I have written about this before... Aussie price=ridiculous.
Bring on Scarlet I say. It can't come soon enough.

G.P.
05-21-2009, 02:04 AM
Thank you for all your reply's, its nice to hear what others have to say about this as well. I know that my comments have been heard from the USA side of Panasonic, but now that its headed over seas as well, maybe the message will start to hit home. I have to say, on the European side of Panasonic, they have a much more "commitment to our customer" feel. Maybe I'll hear back from them, maybe not.

I want to go one step further in my own personal "investigation"... I want to get in contact with the news companies who have bought these new cameras. I want to hear what they have to say about shooting with them. I want to see if they are happy, or if they have even opened the boxes yet. I think as news companies they will be just as opinionated as me. Hopefully hear something from the actual people out in the field, shooting with the camera. I know they will all be happy with the camera on a tripod, as does everyone else it seems... But the second that thing is moving its a whole different situation. Anyone have a good idea of who to contact to start asking some questions?

I also want to make a statement about something I said in the start of this post. When I said shame on the people testing, it dawned on me that even if they tested the camera and found problems, their cry for help may have fallen upon deaf ears. So I apologize for saying this, if the fact is they tried, but people from above in Panasonic pushed the product forward.... then no matter what they said, most likely it was pushed down the production line anyway. Again this is just something I thought up, if it is true that Panasonic pushed the production of this camera to be around the time of NAB, then I could see the conspiracy of getting the product out the door "unfinished". If this is not the case and the people testing the camera thought nothing wrong, I stand by my words still, and I do not take back my "shame on you" statement.

I find it quite shocking if there was a dedicated Cinematographer/camera operator, OK'ing their cameras and that person not speaking up... Again, is there any actually working for you guys? If not I can gladly say I would offer myself to do this free of charge. I know a handful of other very qualified Cinematographers/Camera Operators that would gladly do this job free as well... Testing these cameras with this kind of personnel should ALWAYS be done. Outsiders view on the camera can greatly help products, and again I say... There is NO way this camera would have made it passed anyone in a real shooting scenario, I just cant believe it ever could with the skew at hand. Was everyone just so excited about price point and numbers, that they didnt care what it actually did?

To touch on NOISE, this is another very bad point in the camera, its something completely distracting to the viewer. I was very shocked when I first saw how bad it was, and complained then to Jan about it. At that time I hadn't seen how bad the cameras skew was with regard to hand held work... So I was focused on Noise being the issue. I can see that with tweaking, it gets better, but its still something very odd... these little black dots, that are not "noise" are a completely new phenomenon. Its like a film grain almost, but for something of ASA 800 film... Just too much for my taste. These little black dots are very odd, I feel like the scientists when they first discovered dark matter... I sat there looking, thinking to myself "well this is something no ones ever seen before, but it cant be explained yet".

My only conclusion I can come up with so far is that since the noise is particularly bad with this camera, maybe these black dots are "super noise" a collection of noise located in one spot. These black dots are much more prominent than normal noise. My assumption is that since they disappear and reappear in the SAME location pixel wise, that it is in fact noise induced. The noise artifacts happen in such a small localized area that then end up blacking out a collection of pixels creating these black dots. I have NO clue if this is true or not... Without the use of a camera to test, I cannot look any further into it.

Is there anyone on here that is in the New York area willing to do some tests with me, some REAL world tests that can show whats possible, as well as some numbers tests, including the noise issues, and skew issues?

dregenthal
05-21-2009, 07:52 AM
Giuseppe- Well thought out and articulated. This is part of how we (and the manufacturer) learn & benefit -- thanks for your passion.

This is an issue that isn't going to go away (or fix itself).

Important thread . . . ought to be a sticky.

Best.

CinemaElectronika
05-21-2009, 09:05 AM
I find it quite shocking if there was a dedicated Cinematographer/camera operator, OK'ing their cameras and that person not speaking up... Again, is there any actually working for you guys? If not I can gladly say I would offer myself to do this free of charge. I know a handful of other very qualified Cinematographers/Camera Operators that would gladly do this job free as well... Testing these cameras with this kind of personnel should ALWAYS be done. Outsiders view on the camera can greatly help products, and again I say... There is NO way this camera would have made it passed anyone in a real shooting scenario, I just cant believe it ever could with the skew at hand. Was everyone just so excited about price point and numbers, that they didnt care what it actually did?



Michel Caporale, Panasonic Master DP, creator of the +100 Scene File settings for P2 Cameras at the Panasonic Web Page, could be possiby an authorized opinion voice regarding these issues.

I believe he is from Cincinatti, OH. His webpage: http://24pdigitalcinema.com/

Would be wonderful if some one could have access to him... Maybe he's also working on the previously announced HPX300 Scene File settings due to be published anytime at the same Panasonic webpage...

Cheers.

H:)

Jan_Crittenden
05-21-2009, 12:58 PM
Michel Caporale, Panasonic Master DP, creator of the +100 Scene File settings for P2 Cameras at the Panasonic Web Page, could be possiby an authorized opinion voice regarding these issues.

I believe he is from Cincinatti, OH. His webpage: http://24pdigitalcinema.com/

Would be wonderful if some one could have access to him... Maybe he's also working on the previously announced HPX300 Scene File settings due to be published anytime at the same Panasonic webpage...

Mike is working on the Scene files, actually he is finished with them. They are about to go live. Mike actually was the DP that shot the footage on the LasVegas strip that did not have skew issues in 1080P/24. He also made the camera screw where he wanted it to. Mike is working on another project for me with the HPX300 and you bet, he does indeed have a voice of reason and yes, he has probably spent more time with the HPX300 in an artistic sense than most people out there.

Best,

Jan

David Saraceno
05-21-2009, 01:03 PM
Mike actually was the DP that shot the footage on the LasVegas strip that did not have skew issues in 1080P/24.

Love to see that footage in some form together with what he did to achieve the non skew.

is that possible somewhere?

best

Jan_Crittenden
05-21-2009, 01:07 PM
It is downloadable from Giuseppe's FTP site. He moved the camera in a manner that is appropriate to keep motion judder from happening.

Best,

Jan

Marcus_Germany
05-21-2009, 03:14 PM
Jan,

could you please post a link to the new scene files as soon as they are published?

Marcus

guillaum972
05-21-2009, 03:57 PM
you can find it here (http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/scene_files.asp?model=HPX300) :-)

Jan_Crittenden
05-21-2009, 07:14 PM
you can find it here (http://www.panasonic.com/business/provideo/scene_files.asp?model=HPX300) :-)

Arrgh, got scooped on my own contracted work. Mike did a great job. Hope you all agree.

All the best,

JAN

SPZ
05-21-2009, 07:33 PM
Would love to see Mike do some Handheld Run and Gun footage. Mike, have you shot any of these?

Jan_Crittenden
05-21-2009, 07:47 PM
Trust me, Mike does not hang out here, he is a very busy person. He owns an HPX2700 and has tp pay for it along with two girls still in college. He is producing a video for how to work with a CMOS imager, which is different. We will be posting when done. Should be soon.

Best,

Jan

CinemaElectronika
05-21-2009, 08:22 PM
Arrgh, got scooped on my own contracted work. Mike did a great job. Hope you all agree.

All the best,

JAN

Jan,

As always... Thank you so much for your great support and efforts to bring us the best!

You are truly wonderful! Great job with theses scene files...

Mike Caporale is really remarkable... nice tastes!

Cheers!

guillaum972
05-21-2009, 08:57 PM
Arrgh, got scooped on my own contracted work. Mike did a great job. Hope you all agree.


Thank you so much for this.
Interresting to see that detail coring value is always at "5" and knee setting to "low" (for more detailled highlight).

Day after day i enjoy my HPX301 more and more. I am thinking to buy a second soon.

Hope my english isn't too bad.

G.P.
05-24-2009, 10:55 PM
I think I am seeing a pattern with all the people saying to me that the NOISE issues is way less than with 170 or 200 or other cameras... They seem to be evaluating this with a monitor connected to the camera... The 10bit 422 output of the camera seems to have less noise, but the ACTUAL recorded footage in AVC-I going to the P2 cards holds much more noise.

Also if you are running a "side by side" comparison with say the EX1/3 or HVX200 make sure the screen is pixel for pixel HD, some of these screens are not even a full 1920x1080 resolution, this interpolating to downres to a smaller size can hide noise with playback from the P2 cards. Just because its an "HD" monitor, doesnt mean you're waiting it in HD at all. The resolutions are much lower, most at 800x480. Even a 1440x1024 monitor isnt good enough (unless viewing 720p footage), you arent getting the full story, and its unfair to make a statement about noise unless you're viewing setup is proper.

All of my evaluation is with footage shot with the camera in both 720p or 1080p modes and ON the P2 cards, NOT a monitor connected to the camera. My viewing setup includes a 24" full 1920x1080 LCD monitor with DVI connection from my editing suite. The monitor is calibrated and is always in a neutrally lit room (soft gray walls). Every time I hear someone say "theres hardly any noise in this shot" I go to the link, download the clip, and low and behold the exact same amount of noise is there as in ever other clip I have seen in the past. I use both Quicktime and VLC Player, to play back the footage to make sure its not just a particular problem with any viewing program.

The only thing that matters in footage evaluation is the footage you get on the P2 card in the editing suite. Everything else doesn't matter.

Just for the hell of it, I started doing some comparisons to the SKEW found in RED... All I have to say is this, compared to RED the skew in the 300 is most likely the worst case you will ever see. RED's skew is VERY acceptable at its worst. I have posted on our FTP server a test of skew for the RED camera, showing how little the skew problem really is for them. There really is no comparison, so the whole deference of "Even RED has skew" is really not fair at all. Its on a completely different level, very much within the usable standards at its WORST.

As for noise... well I know this isnt a fair fight for the HPX300 or other cameras, but yeah the RED is as clean as it gets, I just viewed about 10 clips from RED cameras all in 2k res from all different cameras and build numbers.... The footage is CLEAN as can be, there are some shots that I just sit there with my mouth open drooling. Again I know its not fair to compare them, but it does make you think twice about paying 8,000 for the HPX300 or 7,500 for a 5k resolution Scarlet when thinking about movie making with the cameras. I dont want to be a hypocrite because I know ive said these cameras cannot be compared, it just hurts to see footage very clean and then see the noise from the 300 or the skew from the 300.

I will say this, if you USE the noise as a tool, you can make something look very gritty, I have a "dark" feature film I am shooting this year and with all the bashing of the noise, it is almost a "film grain" quality that we might want for the look of the film. (ist shocking to hear me say something good about the camera isnt it? haha) I have also seen that noise can be overlooked when you're images are so compelling you look right passed the noise. I watched the trailer to "Sherlock Holmes" on Apple Trailers website. I downloaded the 1080p trailer... It looked great, and I noticed that because of the compression to keep the trailer at a decent size to be on the site, the noise in the footage was brought out a lot more, and it looked A LOT like the noise we see from the HPX300. Check it out and see for yourself.

Just to let you know "Sherlock Holmes" was shot with the SI-2K camera.

David Saraceno
05-25-2009, 09:05 AM
Please fix the Jan footage zipped file.

Many of us have had no luck unzipping it.

G.P.
05-25-2009, 04:23 PM
Working on fixing it as we speak.

CinemaElectronika
06-03-2009, 04:51 PM
Trust me, Mike does not hang out here, he is a very busy person. He owns an HPX2700 and has tp pay for it along with two girls still in college. He is producing a video for how to work with a CMOS imager, which is different. We will be posting when done. Should be soon.

Best,

Jan


Hi Jan,

Could you give us an update on Mike Caporale's How-To-CMOS Video?

Sounds very interesting...

Cheers!

Henry Epstein.

Jan_Crittenden
06-03-2009, 04:55 PM
Coming along outstandingly well when you need 5 sign-offs on the green light. Hoping to see the final edit mid next week.

Thanks for the patience,

Jan

CinemaElectronika
06-03-2009, 05:00 PM
Thank you for your reply... That's great news!

Hope to see it too soon...

A link will be very welcome!

Best,

H

:)

Jan_Crittenden
06-03-2009, 05:10 PM
Will do.

So a question, I will post in a new thread.

CinemaElectronika
06-17-2009, 09:05 PM
Hi Jan,

Any fresh news about Mike Caporale's video on CMOS Imagers?

Cheers!

Henry Epstein

Jan_Crittenden
06-18-2009, 02:46 AM
Yes I should be done soon.

Best,

Jan