HD Cameras Revisited

Ok, I spoke too soon! It turns out the RED camera is in fact a real, bona fide, genuine project. Oakley founder Jim Jannard, noted camera enthusiast and photographer, is behind the development, although there don’t seem to be any progress reports or official press releases yet. Neverthless HD for Indies got an opportunity to talk to some of the engineers and it would seem that everything’s on the up and up – the hype-filled but vague website appears to just be a viral marketing gag.

This is great news, but I’m pretty sure this potentially very expensive camera’s release isn’t exactly imminent, so here’s a little news on equipment we can get any day now. Right now there are two cameras that the independent film community is most interested in; the Panasonic AG-HVX200, and the Canon XL H1. Both cameras have pro lenses and audio options, and HDV decks. I have an even lower opinion of HDV than DV, but the neat thing about each of these cameras is a way to get non-HDVed footage out. The Panasonic can record a less-compressed image to solid-state P2 cards, and the Canon appears to be capable of running an uncompressed(?) feed out on SDI.

Unfortunately, just how useful these options are is still a matter of some conjecture since these cameras are still pretty new. The HVX200 can pretty much only be found at trade shows and the Canon XL H1 has only just started shipping. At the moment there’s been a lot of back and forth discussion about the pros and cons of each camera based on what’s been demonstrated by the manufacturers (usually off of HDV, which isn’t that helpful) , but we have yet to see exactly what it can do when in the hands of folks like us. Keep watching.