Our decision after three weeks tests, intensive internet research and sleepless nights is certain: we will shoot the part in London with two Sony cameras. Why? Because at the moment it is the only system, which really functions for our task. The two other cameras, the Panasonic and the JVC, are superior in many points compared to the Sony, but both have however a crucial hook: I was not able to find a workflow with the two systems. First a few remarks on the JVC. I don´t want to deliver a camera test, I only want to describe my impressions as a cameraman. The JVC is a very well designed shoulder camera, with all buttons and switches at the correct place. It gives you the possibility to change the optics. JVC announced some new optics for the camera and at the moment, you can use a 1/2 or 2/3 inch adapter to put good SD (standard definition) optics to the body. The company ChromaTV, who supports me with the project in postproduction, has such a system by JVC+Adapter+1/2 optics and they obtained probably very good results. Everything marvelously, but now there is the big mistake in our workflow. Although the camera is availale for nearly one year, the format for PAL-cameras 720p/25, is not supported by the two market leaders Apple (with FinalCut Pro) and Avid (June 2006). That means, I could shoot the most beautiful pictures with this camera, but I have no possibility to capture the footage into my editing system. There are hundred of threads in internet forums like ww.dvinfo.net/ which refers exactly to this problem, because all persons who bought this camera want to cut their film somehow. There is plug-in named "Lumiere" (beta version), for Finalcut Pro and an extra logging software called "HD log" to convert the material. But I don´t want to buy an expensive extra software nor wants to work with beta versions. I want to still briefly supplement that - after longer research – I found nevertheless another professional editing program that supports 720/25p. It is called Edius 3 (version 4 is soon available, June 2006) from the company Canopus. It is a company of GrassValley. The Edius program works with its own HD codec, that according to tests is very well and efficiently. Unfortunately I have not enough time to test all the things about this very interesting programme. We will start our shhoting on 22nd June and there is no more time remains finding out whether it is possible to do all the workflow with Edius 3. One of the problems is surely the editor. Most Cutter are used to work with Avid and a conversion to a perfectly new system means a substantial training period, which we want to rather use for the creative cut. And there are so many unsolved problems. On which computer does Edius3 run? It is a programme that is Windows based, does it for example also work on a new Intel Mac with Windows XP? Is it possible to generate an EDL with Edius? We need an EDL to recapture our footage when we want to make our color correction and online Finishing at ChromaTV on an Avid Nitris. Does Edius work reliably? So many questions which I unfortunately cannot clarify in this short time. There is still one possibilty for 720p/25. Avid and Finalcut will finally support this codec very probably in the next software-version. The JVC user had waited for the NAB in April, but they were disappointed. Even if it is only a question of the time until the codec is supported (two weeks, one month, in the third quarter 2006, there are various rumors in the net), but I do not use a format that is not supported right now, I don´t want to wait half a year to edit my film. We turn to the third camera: the Panasonic. As I wrote in one of my last articles it works with a perfectly new system. It puts the data no longer on a magnetic tape, it writes the data similarly to the digital cameras on a memory card. You can store 8GB on the largest of these P2-cards (June 2006) 8 GB (the 16GB is on its way I read in an magazine). The camera offers most diverse resolutions at and in the highest (1080/50i) fits to about 8 minutes on a card. The camera offers place for two cards and that means 16 minutes capacity. And how does this sytem work? At first sight very well! I went one day to Hamburg to ChromaTV, in order to try out their new Panasonic camera. The camera makes a very substantial impression, looks a little like a blown up Panasonic AG-DVX-100. After 16 minutes the memory cards are hopefully filled up with beautiful images and now I must somehow exchange them. But there are different possibilities. Either I carry as many memory cards with me, so I can store the whole footage of a day. If you folow this workflow you only have to change the cards like you did it with a film stock on your Super16 or 35mm filmcamera. At the end of the day when you come home to your house or hotel room you put the entire data on the cards on an external hard disk and afterwards you can delete the data on the cards and use them again on the next day. This solution sounds good, but it is however very expensive. A 8GB memory card at the moment (conditions June 2006) costs about 1000 Euros or in the rental business about 20 euro/day. Even if I want to record only about 1 hour material per day, I would have to spend about 1600 euro to rent enough cards for our two weeks in London (8 cards à 8 minutes at 10 days). Too much money for our budget. And the costs of hard disk capacity are not at all taken into consideration. The second possibility would be to shoot with two or three cards and to transfer them on a laptop at the set. You can do this directly on an external harddisk from Panasonic or on a harddisk inside your laptop. Transfering the data directly at the set is surely not so simply for many documentary shootings, especially if you are alone or in a small team. But there is another problem with the workflow. The memory cards fit into a computer-interface that is called PCMCIA. Most Windows laptops have such an interface. But a lot of people engaged in film business are Apple users and the new Apple MacBookPro does not have PCMCIA, only the old G4-Powerbooks (only 15 and 17 inch screen). So you have to buy a windows Laptop and all the editing software or one of the old Powerbooks? That does not make sense in my opinion. And there is a second way to transfer your data. You can connect the camera via Firewire to the laptop and transfer the memory cards into for a example a new MacBook. But this takes 15 minutes with 8GB. One quarter of an hour in which you cannot shoot, because the camera is blocked with data transfer. And what to do when during this 15 minutes something important happens? The Panasonic can also record 720p/25 and with this resolution you can store about 16 minutes on one 8GB P2-card. More storage, less often transfering your data. But 720p/25? Exactly: Finalcut Pro and Avid do not support the format yet. I am very impressed by the new Panasonic, but for our shoot (documentary), our equipment (Apple) and our budget (low budget) no safe workflow is possible at the moment . What a pitty! Nevertheless we had a lot of fun during our tests and they gave us clarity about the best eqiupment for our film. Our choice is Sony, because it is at present the only working system practicable for us. And after sepnt so many hours with technical testing, we do not forget that the most important takes place before the camera and not in it.