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Old December 19th, 2013, 08:50 AM   #316
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

From our debate (and my personal tests) on the Z100 vs. AX1 cameras (or rather the XAVC vs. S-AVC codex), my conclusion so far is that - with limited budget for upgrading all the other components of the 4k edit/delivery chain - the Intra Frame codec of the Z100 is not only better in terms of color resolution (4:2:2 10 bit vs. 4:2:0 8 bit), but surprisingly it's also easier to edit with PP CCC or even VP12 on my current editing PC (just a modest 2600K@4.2GHz with the GeForce 580 GPU). However, I still have one important question to those more knowledgeable here:

- assuming 10 bit color support by the graphic card and monitor (for full WYSIWYG experience), is Adobe PP CC fully 10-bit aware, in both editing and rendering/encoding? I'm asking, because Vegas Pro is not, afaik. It''s important for those trying to choose between the 8-bit AX1 and 10 -bit Z100 whether they'd be able to push the material harder while grading and color-correcting...

Anyone, please?

Piotr
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Old December 19th, 2013, 06:28 PM   #317
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Piotr, no. In the Vegas project settings, for the editing side of things you could choose to work in the 8-bit 16-235 video space, but by switching to full range 32 bit floating point at the time of rendering you'll get whatever the format is. If it was AVCHD that would be 8 bit 4:2:0. In the case of XAVC, it would be 10 bit 4:2:2.

You might be thinking that 10 bit is truncated because the 0-255 scaling for the histogram/waveform monitors don't change, but in full range 32 bit mode, it's working with full precision.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 10:03 PM   #318
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Quote:
Am I the only one who thinks this footage from Austin looks noisy? At 50% it looks pretty good but at 100% that fine grain moving around gets really annoying.
I have to agree based on my limited exposure with the footage as well. Edited the clips in V12, exported to 4K MP4, high profile@ 250Mbs. Viewed on a Panasonic 4K set in 4K and the noise levels are very high, like some weird Instagram filter was applied. Even viewing on smaller screens had the same results: 27" iMac (2560x1440), 17" laptop screen (1600x900), 55" LG HDTV (1920x1080) and on my Galaxy Note 3 screen (1920x1080).

I'd like to see raw XAVC on a 4K monitor/display for final judgement. I was really looking forward to obtaining this camera, but if it's that noisy in good daylight footage, I'll wait out.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 11:06 PM   #319
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

The first camera I got was crazy noisy. The replacement is much better. At 50% it looks great, at 100% it looks like HD at 200%. I haven't been able to look t it on a 4K display yet. Alister says that it looks fine. The noise may only mean that 4K on a 2K display is just not gonna work at 100%.

The HD that it shoots is superb.

I shot with the camera all day today and going through the shots there are a couple that knocked me out. The camera can make a beautiful image. Some shots were noisy, others much cleaner. It could be a keeper. Still trying to sort it out.

The CA really sucks.
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Old December 20th, 2013, 02:44 AM   #320
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

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Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
Piotr, no. In the Vegas project settings, for the editing side of things you could choose to work in the 8-bit 16-235 video space, but by switching to full range 32 bit floating point at the time of rendering you'll get whatever the format is. If it was AVCHD that would be 8 bit 4:2:0. In the case of XAVC, it would be 10 bit 4:2:2.

You might be thinking that 10 bit is truncated because the 0-255 scaling for the histogram/waveform monitors don't change, but in full range 32 bit mode, it's working with full precision.
Hi Tom, it's been a long time since we last exchanged posts together:)

Thank you very much for this explanation; I assume (knowing you) that it's 100% accurate. Funny thing is that as a long time VP user, I mainly was drawing knowledge from the SCS Vegas forum, and the established opinion there has always been VP truncates to 8 bits no matter what...

Piotr

EDIT: Actually, it's even better than that; I just checked the piece I rendered out using the XAVC codec in the newest build of VP12, and it is 10 bit 4:2:2 even though I didn't switch to 32-bit precision before rendering... Would that be possible?
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Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM-vp_rendered-xavc.jpg  
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; December 20th, 2013 at 03:41 AM.
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Old December 20th, 2013, 10:29 AM   #321
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Hi Piotr,

It is always nice to talk to you friend. :-)

You expressed the question of whether V12 is "10 bit aware" to which the simple answer is that it has to be, inherently, to read and write 10 bit codecs like Sony XAVC, Avid DNxHD, Main Concept AVC high profile and others.

Then the question went to whether it truncates to 8-bit. Obviously it can't if it is to work as described above, but what if the 2 least significant bits were always zeros? In that case we would still be working in 10-bit but only using 8-bits. That's a little different then not being 10-bit aware. So let's describe the case that would apply and use XAVC 10-bit 4:2:2 in the example.

We know that for HD, rec. 709 coding uses SMPTE 8-bit reference levels 16-235. In Sony cams using hypergammas and log gammas, the color depth is much wider than that, up to 16 bit acquisition in some models.

With Vegas 12, in order to render greater than default 8-bit rec. 709 output, you select customize template from the rendering template, click on the tab for project, click the drop down for color space, and there you are presented with a choice of many, ACES, S-Log2, ADX 16 bit, DCI, CIE XYZ and of course...rec. 709. In order to have anything other than zeros written into the last two bits, you will need to render using the 32 bit full range option and choose one of the full range color spaces, not 709.

So Vegas 12 is certainly 10 bit aware, but whether you can view it depends on your monitor (8 bit rec. 709 most of them), and on your choice of acquisition and rendered codecs.
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Old December 20th, 2013, 10:54 AM   #322
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Tom - thank you for the perfect (as always) explanation; I've just become a better Vegas Pro user :)

Cheers, my Friend

Piotr
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Old December 20th, 2013, 12:41 PM   #323
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

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Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
So let's describe the case that would apply and use XAVC 10-bit 4:2:2 in the example.

We know that for HD, rec. 709 coding uses SMPTE 8-bit reference levels 16-235. In Sony cams using hypergammas and log gammas, the color depth is much wider than that, up to 16 bit acquisition in some models.

With Vegas 12, in order to render greater than default 8-bit rec. 709 output, you select customize template from the rendering template, click on the tab for project, click the drop down for color space, and there you are presented with a choice of many, ACES, S-Log2, ADX 16 bit, DCI, CIE XYZ and of course...rec. 709. In order to have anything other than zeros written into the last two bits, you will need to render using the 32 bit full range option and choose one of the full range color spaces, not 709.

So Vegas 12 is certainly 10 bit aware, but whether you can view it depends on your monitor (8 bit rec. 709 most of them), and on your choice of acquisition and rendered codecs.

Tom,

Just played with the available color space options, and with an XAVC clip on the timeline, there are 3 different places the choice you describe is given:

1. Project Settings: when pixel format is set to 32 bit fp (full range), the "View Transform" drop-down list becomes active and anything (including "off") can be selected. I guess one of its uses is when an S-log video is being edited, but our example XAVC is not this case

2. When Properties of a clip inside Project Media (or already on the TL) are accessed, one of the color spaces (including ADX-10 bit and various Sony S-logs) can be chosen; I *imagine* this is used to match color space to the project properties set as per Point 1 above, right?

3. In some rendering templates (like MC/Sony AVC, but not Sony XAVC), indeed a 10-bit color space (or anything different than the REC 709, for that matter) can be selected.

Now, I understand you're talking about the last of the above 3; but with color space selection lacking in the Sony XAVC render template, would it mean it's always encoded in a 10-bit color space by default, and regardless of the project pixel format being 8 or 32 bit?

Please explain :)

Piotr
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Old December 20th, 2013, 02:15 PM   #324
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Almost had this answered before you asked the question. See if this helps, and be sure to read the link. :)

Piotr, refer to the link below. Sony Vegas Pro 12, supports the ACES workflow, and you should too. With Aces workflow, you are not working with RAW, but are working in the ACES color space which is in a virtual way, infinite and camera independent.

The 3 steps to the workflow are IDT, ACES and RRT.

For IDT (input display transformation), you go to the media properties for each clip, and set the color space, ex. Sony S-Log2 (5500k). You do this for each clip, thus allowing you to mix and match different cameras. This is the feature that makes possible the unwinding of the S-Log2 curve so that the image appears normal.

For ACES, and to enable viewing the unwound s-log, you go to the project properties, select full range, 32 bit, 1.000 (linear) gamma and ACES RRT (sRGB). This is what you will be grading on. Go to your first S-Log2 clip and add the Sony Levels plugin. Punch in gamma equal to 2.2, drag the slider for output end to 0.45, (the inverse of 2.2 gamma), and start your grade. For a rec 709 display, you'll be 95% there already. For your waveform display settings, make sure the box for 16-235 is unchecked.

For RRT (Reference Rendering Transform)
In this stage you select what the target color space is for rendering. Depending on the target color space you will lose information (ACES RRT 709). You choose this from the rendering template, customize template, project tab, color space.

So 1,2,3, done. That's a pretty good summary on how to work with ACES in Vegas. That should get rid of the noise because the color space is being remapped, rather than having the noise amplified by mathematical computations, truncations and low numerical precision issues. It's also going to show a full color gamut.

ACES – Academy Color Encoding Specification | Niwa
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Old December 20th, 2013, 03:24 PM   #325
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

I haven't found any function like Interval Record in the menus. Is there a way to get this to shoot time lapse in 4K?
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Old December 20th, 2013, 03:55 PM   #326
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Piotr, when you select an 8 bit color space (ACES RRT Rec. 709) from the rendering template, you are not telling XAVC to not be a 10 bit codec, but the render will only have 8-bit precision. The rec. 709 output will be mapped into the 10 bit space, so 16-235 becomes 64-940. And if you render a 10 bit number with 8 bit precision, it can only be as good as 8 bit, not better, thus the reason for using full range 32 bit floating point in your project properties. You only need to do that just before rendering, at other times during preview and edit you could use 8 bit, but would not be able to use the ACES RRT (sRGB) input transformation for viewing.
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Old December 20th, 2013, 06:45 PM   #327
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Good review of the Z100 by Alister...
A Tale of Two Cameras – The PMW-300 and PXW-Z100 reviewed. | XDCAM-USER.COM

I knew this camera wasn't the best in low light, but my personal excitement over this camera took a big hit after seeing the pics of him in front of the Christmas tree and it's subsequent noise performance hit just to get it up to the PMW-300's 0db sensitivity. Bah humbug! Not many other options with 1080p60 and 3GHDSDI out which is what we need, and while we don't need "the best" low light cam on the block, this is somewhat brutal. Bummer.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 01:44 AM   #328
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

Yes, it IS a bummer.

I had high hopes for the Z100, especially after I found out the XAVC can actually be edited on my current hardware (+ 10 bit IPS monitor), and with my current software (thanks again Tom for realizing me the potential of Sony Vegas Pro 12 I never used before).

But after Alister's hands-on review, it seems the sensitivity and S/N of this camera is more or less equal to that of my old good EX1 without any gain capabilities - if the Z100 picture is only tolerable up to 12 dB, and at that being only as bright as the EX1 (or 300) at 0 dB :(

Alister - thanks for the report nevertheless; after all you are just a messenger...But the message to me is that I'm not ready for 4k just yet; I cannot tolerate low S/N and above all the noise of the Z100, and the FS700/Odyssey combo I just cannot afford.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 08:42 AM   #329
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

One should not be surprised with the performance. The sensor is cropped about 1/3 " from the full sensor to match the lens which came from the AX2000/ NX5U, it has more than 4 times the sensors of these AVCHD cameras as they have less than 1920x1080 pixel sources and interpolate to 1920x1080. A better comparison is to the small single chip Sony's like my CX700 or NX30U and it still has 4 times as many pixel sources as these and they too are back illuminated sensors. So the FDR-AX1 and PXW-Z100 are not likely to perform as well as these single chip Sony's and they do not!! In testing my FDR-AX1 ( which I think has the same sensor as in my Cybershot HX30V ) noise performance is just like this HX30V in comparison to the CX700 and NX30U 's is about a stop slower than these small Sony's. The FDR-AX1 is at best a stop slower than the NX5U at around 0 db but gets to be over 2 stops slower as it gets dark. The NX5U is about a stop slower than the EX1/3 so there is no way that the FDR-AX1 or PXW-Z100 is close to the performance of an EX range camera and will be at least 2 stops slower. If you want a camera with a 20x zoom that doesn't cost a fortune then about 1/3" is the sweet spot and there is likely no way around the issues with present technology. The RX10 gives me a view of where things may go though.

What I have found though is that shooting in HD mode is not as good as shooting in 4K and downconverting to HD with software. Noticable difference in my tests so I will not be using the HD setting. I used Edius Pro7 and used Lancsoz 3 for downconversion. Even at 21db it will provide a nice image better than the CX700 or the NX30 for the same scene which they would be at between 15db and 18db. ( dark stage set with few actors ) I had hoped to use the FDR-AX1 in 4K mode so that I could later crop in to HD but for dark scenes the noise then is too much. In good light this works and for minor cropping works great. For my uses as an unattended full stage camera it works but will look forward to a larger sensor version in the future. Even though it does not have the fancy iAuto modes of the consumer cameras just using AE shift at -1EV it has worked well on the 3 shows I have tested it with. All dark or flashing lights with most of the time it hovering at 21db gain but with the camera fixed and not moving of course !!! Maybe a camera with the sensor/lens from the RX10 with 10 or 12x zoom !!!

Ron Evans

Last edited by Ron Evans; December 21st, 2013 at 09:34 AM.
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Old December 21st, 2013, 07:17 PM   #330
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Re: Sony launches PXW-Z100 4K Handheld XDCAM

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If you want a camera with a 20x zoom that doesn't cost a fortune then about 1/3" is the sweet spot and there is likely no way around the issues with present technology.
There's the new Sony HXR-NX3 with three larger 1/2.8" sensors, 20x zoom, and IMO, an excellent price at $3,500.
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