What I really want…

…is not a house with a swimming pool and a butler. Instead, I just want a true prosumer camcorder geared towards hobbyist artists/videographers. You see, so far, there were the pros, the indies, and the consumers (who would shoot stuff like weddings and their dog). But now, after the revolution of the cheap, capable digital cameras 2-3 years ago and the dirt cheap DSLRs selling at $500, which created a new kind of “hobbyist artists” (just look the kind of pics found at Flickr), now it’s the turn of the video market to undergo just that.

JVC came very close with their Everio HD7 to touch this *new* market, a market that would pay between $1300 and $2000 for such a camera. JVC priced their HD7 at $1500, a fair price for what the camera does. However, they did one thing wrong, and they left two features out:
1. They used 1/5 3CCD, instead of a 2/3 CMOS. While the 3CCD can produce slightly better picture than the CMOS, the CCDs they used are so small, that they produce almost no background blur. In fact, the HD7 produces less background blur than the 1/3 CMOS-based HV20. And because this market I am talking about is an *artist’s* market, more background blur is preferable to 5%-10% better picture quality. Bigger sensor would also mean less optical zoom, maxing out at around 5x (otherwise the lens would be too big). At least for me, these two points (zoom and quality) are an acceptable trade-off for more background blur. I am a sucker for background blur, and here’s why.
2. They included no 24p.
3. They included no “cine mode” gamma/contrast look preset (like the HV20 has).

But they did everything else right in their design: the manual controls, the focus ring, the easy to reach exposure dial control, the lens and its hood, the look of the camera (it looks like a hybrid between a consumer and a semi-pro camera).

Like Michael mentioned his HV20 wishes the other day on his post at DVinfo, I also think that if Canon could produce a good AVCHD 80-100GB camera with the right manual controls, focus ring and easy to reach controls, true 24p (not wrapped in that stupid 60i stream), both true 1920×1080/30/24p and 1440×1080/60i recording, a good 52mm lens+hood, and most importantly, a 2/3s CMOS chip, I would be all over that camcorder. I would pay $2000 for it without even thinking about it. I don’t need XLR inputs, I don’t need custom buttons, I don’t need most of the features/buttons found on the semi-pro cameras. I just need the basics, but done right.

I discussed this with JBQ today and he agrees that such camcorders will eventually happen, because this is indeed a new kind of market and Canon will take notice (heck, even JVC did). We might have to wait 1-3 more years for the “perfect” prosumer “artist’s” camcorder to arrive, but it will happen. I am certain of it.

8 Comments »

Andreas wrote on September 30th, 2007 at 1:21 AM PST:

What I really want is this. Unfortunately I cannot afford it for the moment but better times will come.
I am still amazed from the price that they offer it. I am very curious also about the specs/price of the Professional Pocket Cam they plan to release.


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Eugenia wrote on September 30th, 2007 at 1:26 AM PST:

Yeah, the RED is nice, but it’s not a practical solution for prosumers and hobbyist artists. It’s just the evolution of the pro/indie world instead.

But I agree with you on the Pro PocketCam they want to release. I am very curious about this too, but they haven’t let anyone spill any info about it yet. No one knows anything about it.


Ivan wrote on September 30th, 2007 at 11:06 AM PST:

What I want is good light. That’s something money can’t buy, but it really makes the difference.


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Eugenia wrote on September 30th, 2007 at 12:38 PM PST:

Ivan, good flash light is not part of any camcorder. You have to buy real lights if you need that. As for better low light performance, that’s a hard problem, but yeah, some cameras are better than others on that.


Ivan wrote on October 1st, 2007 at 11:38 AM PST:

Eugenia,
I meant real, natural light. You know, one day everything looks grey and boring, and the next day, with the sun shining, all of a sudden, the same scenery is like a magical place from a storybook. That’s something money can’t buy. It reminds me of Giverny, where Monet’s gardens and waterlily ponds are. I was there when the light was magic, but that was in the days before digital photograpgy.


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Eugenia wrote on October 1st, 2007 at 1:56 PM PST:

The best time for photography and videography is right when the sun rises and sets. All other times are not as ideal, so you will have to get up early to get good light.


JrezIN wrote on October 1st, 2007 at 2:20 PM PST:

true 24p (not wrapped in that stupid 60i stream)

Sorry, I really don’t get this problem with 24p under 60i when all you need is a pullup away…
Sure, it sucks that they didn’t have a interface designer capable enough to wrap the 24p switch under the camera’s interface with the proper warnings to costumers who don’t know what it is exactly… but… there’s SO MANY problems besides that… quality issues, too much compression, bad color steps… well… there’s so many problems that can’t really be solved so easily that maybe should get more attention them this one…

…I don’t won’t to offend, but in the dvinfo thread this simple point made the rest of the discussion that could be very useful, about prosumer and hobbyist products, simply fade away… I agree with you that taking features away just sucks, even if someone else has very good points about how costumer (average joes?) usually f*** around with this features, in the end it’s really just a bad excuse for bad interface design…

I do work in motion pictures industry… and I’m actually a designer too… I like your posts about this hobby of yours, but as you are learning, just try to not bother so much with stupid things that can actually be solved, and try to learn more about this complicated, but still great, work of motion pictures… I’ll see that there’s so much things to know (and bother) that isn’t worth to spend your time repeating yourself when you could be doing some amazing work! =]


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Eugenia wrote on October 1st, 2007 at 4:02 PM PST:

JrezIN, you really don’t get it.

>all you need is a pullup away…

Yes, a freaking pullup that costs an extra $250 to do properly. There is *NO* NLE below $1200 that does the right kind of pullup *directly* on the capture for this kind of footage. I have to either buy After Effects (which I don’t like), or I have to buy NeoHDV which costs $250 (and as soon as Canon’s AVCHD camcorders start recording in 1920×1080 instead of 1440×1080, then you have to buy NeoHD which costs $600).

It really pisses me off when people who think they know everything, like these on the DVinfo forum think that it’s an “easy feature to fix”. It’s NOT an easy to fix because the sub-$1200 NLE market currently doesn’t support it. Currently, I have to do ALL THIS to go around the pullup problem. It is a PAIN IN THE ASS (it takes 5 hours to remove pulldown on a 60min footage) and therefore it’s unacceptable. If they had a menu option to keep 24p in 60i or not, that would be ok for both consumers and prosumers. But they don’t. I don’t buy the argument that “consumers will fuck it up”. There is always the “reset all options” menu option if they do.

And regarding your consumer and hobbyist point, read my post again. This is why I wrote that what I want is a HOBBYIST ARTIST camcorder for $2000, and not a consumer or a semi-pro one. I want a cheap camera GEARED towards the cinematic look and features (which means DOF, but not much zoom). Canon and Sony offers nothing like that so far and Panasonic DVX/HVX series are too expensive and too complicated for what I really want. Only JVC came close to what I want, but they fucked it up on the 3 points I made above.

Sorry for writing in an angry manner, but people really don’t get what a huge pain in the ass HV20’s 24p pulldown removal is. But instead they all have an opinion about it. 🙁


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