I keep getting asked to explain my conclusions within the Panasonic PX270 Video Review and why I reject AVC I Frame over AVC Long GOP.
If you read the specs about I Frame over Long GOP you will convince yourself that I Frame is the clear winner but although I had downloaded Panasonic’s white paper about AVC ULTRA it was a bit heavy going, I am a practical person I prefer to go on what I see rather than make my mind up with what other people think in theory.
My first footage shot on the PX270 was 1080 50p AVC I100, clearly the best Panasonic had to offer…but looking at it back on my 50″ Panasonic plasma via the camera itself gave me a different picture a rather noisey look, not what I was expecting. (PS. I also looked at AVC LongG 50 footage on the same TV and looked stunning in comparison).
It may be down to a level of sharpening that I am seeing in one picture against another as these 300% pictures show but the LongG 50 codec does produce cleaner pictures.
I remembered my conversation with Rob Tarrant at BVE who told me that 1080 50p LongG 25 was cracking but LongG had not been initiated at that time so I was stuck with 1080 50i and recorded footage onto an SDHC card at the show.
The footage looked very good in my edit suite (FCPX 10.1.1) but I was actually watching proxy footage as it turned out. Apple’s FCPX is way behind Adobe on the LongG front as Premiere CC can playback AVC LongG footage. I do realise I had the option to import into Premiere then export over to FCPX but decided not to do that.
I had one option to get LongG footage via the cameras HDSDI socket into FCPX, Ultra Studio Express from BlackMagic Design comes with a smashing app called Media Express but once again limited to 1080 25p, 1080 50i or 720 50p as I am no fan of 25p or interlace I chose 720 50p.
As an aside it was 720 50p AVC Intra 100 footage that put me off buying the Panasonic HPX250 camcorder at the time.
After ingesting the footage the old fashioned way via the SDI socket I was armed with 720 50p AVC LongG 50 footage converted to ProRes 422 I fired it into FCPX and was amazed at the quality far less noisy than AVC I100…why ?
I started to question everything even my green screen footage but good old Adobe gives you a detailed properties window and there it was 10bit 422 AVC LongG.
I phoned Panasonic to tell them my findings and was told that other people had reported the same results, this certified my findings so the review was filmed and edited mainly at 720 50p AVC LongG 50.
The other major news was you had a P2 camcorder that gives its best results onto SDHC cards saving you a fortune on micro P2 cards what a winner for both Panasonic and the end user, the only camera to date producing 10bit 422 footage onto SDHC cards…fantastic.
Why was this a winner for Panasonic…simple, they will sell many more PX270’s on the back of this information, Alastair who you saw on the review has bought two PX270s to mix and match with his Sony EX-3s.
As per the video Panasonic would prefer you to use at least one micro P2 card for belt and braces just in case you have a power failure or a corrupt SD card.
Since my review I have passed on 2 requests to Panasonic…
Firstly if they could re design the VF to enable the cameraperson to lock it in position or make it more ridged while filming as it has a tendency to move easily.
Secondly like the AC160 the 2x digital zoom is quite usable but you have to toggle through 5x and 10x to get it off, could we have a limiter in the menu so you can choose to only have 2x and off rather than toggle through the other two useless magnifications.
Just before you all send further emails I also have a JVC DT-V21G11 reference monitor to view my footage on.
When I got the Panasonic PX270 I was looking for Panasonic’s newest codec the AVC ULTRA codec not realising that AVC ULTRA is the overall name that encapsulates AVC Intra, LongG, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50 and DV.
I hope this makes a wee bit more sense as to my findings with the Panasonic AJ-PX270.