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Convergent Design Odyssey
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Old November 11th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #1
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Let me see if I've got my head around this...

I've purchased a nanoFlash unit, primarily to use in conjunction with my new PMW-EX1R so that I can produce video that is acceptable to broadcasters. However, I own two Sony HDR-HC3 cameras that have HDMI out.

The manual for these cameras indicates that they record to tape at about 25Mb/s. If my thinking is right, I should be able to get uncompressed video from the HDMI port and record it at faster bitrates using the nanoFlash.

So, if I were to film a wedding, where the customer requires a finished product on Blu-ray at best, could I use the EX1R as the primary camera (shooting 35Mb/s natively) and use one of the HC3's with the nanoFlash for a B roll and cutaway camera and get some pretty good results? I realise that there will be obvious limitations with the optics and front-end electronics of the HC3, but should I expect a much better output than the native bitrate?

Does anyone reading this use a consumer camera similar to the HC3 and boost its capabilities with a nanoFlash? I'd like to hear how it looks.

Cheers

Russ
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Old November 11th, 2010, 07:20 AM   #2
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The Nano won't improve the image off the HC3 chip but it will improve the capture. So you will see more clearly how the HC3 falls short of your EX1R - that's assuming that the HC3 even ports uncompressed streams over it's HDMI, which I doubt. The likelihood is that HC3 is hobbled by similar choices which currently afflict cameras like the Canon 5D Mark 2 whereby HDMI is either available for live viewing either before capture or during capture at a drastically reduced raster. Best to check with SONY.

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Old November 11th, 2010, 07:29 AM   #3
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Thanks Justin,

I lifted this excerpt from a review on DV.com

"Two new and welcome features are the Smooth Slow Record function and an HDMI connector. The Slow Motion Record function captures 3 seconds of 240 fields per second, high-speed video, saves it to a buffer, and then records it to tape in 12 seconds at 30i. You're locked out of operating the camera during the 12-second write-to-tape operation.

The HDMI connector allows you to output uncompressed video and audio. When you use the Sony HDR-HC3 in combination with a product such as Blackmagic Design's $249 Intensity capture card and a qualified RAID, you can capture uncompressed HD with genlocking and switching at a reasonable price. HDMI capture goes beyond FireWire HDV capture, though you can do that with a Sony HDR-HC3, too."

So, I'm working on the assumption that it does port uncompressed video (and audio, it seems) from the HDMI 'Out" connection. So my question remains. Has anyone tried it and what are the results like?

Cheers

Russ
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Old November 11th, 2010, 07:52 AM   #4
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Dear Russell,

From the spec's that I read for the HDR-HC3, it does seem that it outputs uncompressed, clean video from the HDMI port.

While DSLR's rarely (at this time) have clean HDMI outputs, video cameras, including consumer camcorders typically do.

Since you already have the camera, and the nanoFlash, all you need is a proper HDMI cable to run your own test. Thus, you can see for yourself if the quality is good enough for your work.

And, if anyone every questions you why you are using a consumer camcorder for a wedding, you can point to the "Magic Box" that is actually doing the recording.

You will need a HDMI cable. I expect that the camera end needs to be a full size HDMI cable (Type A) and the nanoFlash end needs to be a mini-HDMI connector, which is a Type C. The Sony spec's do not mention this and the photo on the Sony site did not show this area of the camera.

If you do not have this cable, and you have an HDMI cable that will connect your camera to an HDMI television, you can see what level of qualiity your camera can produce.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #5
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Thanks Dan,

The problem I have is that I've ordered and paid for my gear (camera, nanoFlash etc), but won't receive them until next week. So I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas and in the meantime I've got all of these questions bumping around inside my head.

I can't wait to try the nano/HC3 combo to see what the difference is.

Question: is 35Mb/s one of the selectable rates I can set up in the nanoFlash? It would make sense to me to try to match the HC3 and the EX1R as closely as possible to get some consistency when the edited project is rendered.

Cheers

Russ
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Old November 11th, 2010, 08:22 AM   #6
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Dear Russell,

Have you ordered a HDMI cable or two? These are nice to have.

The nanoFlash end must be "mini", Type C.

One Type A to Type C cable is desirable for playing nanoFlash footage on a HDMI television. I prefer a 6 foot or 2 meter cable for this.

Yes, you can select 35 Mbps, 4:2:0 option on the nanoFlash.

I would recommend at least 50 Mbps 4:2:2, it will give you better color detail.

I recommend that you run your own tests, but 50 Mbps 4:2:2 (at least 50 Mbps), would be my recommendation, even if I was intercutting it with a Sony EX1R.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #7
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Thanks Dan,

point taken about the 4:2:2.

I hadn't ordered the HDMI cables yet, but as the gear won't be sent until tomorrow, I've got time to have them added to the order.

Cheers

Russ
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