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Old February 1st, 2009, 05:08 PM   #1
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Looking for deck recommendations (need 4:4:4 capability)

I'm looking for recommendations on a replacement for our Sony HDW-F500s with something that supports 4:4:4 sampling (AFAIK, only HDCAM SR will do this, correct?). The rest of the capture chain will include a Mac Pro with the Kona 3 card (running FCS2).

Comparing specs of the Sony HDCAM SR decks, I see no difference between the SRW-5500 and the SRW-5000 (other than slightly darker grey on the case!) and the only differences I see between the SRW-5500/5000 and the SRW-5800 is a slight difference in "Search Speed Range Variable Mo" (and not a significant difference at that)!

Oh, sure the prices are a bit different: $72,000.00 USD for the 5800; $90,640.00 USD for the 5000; and $100,940.00 USD for the 5500.

It seems that if I wanted to go with the SRW-5800 I would also want to get the optional HKSR-5001 card (for 2-3 pull down, 1080/720P, 4:4:4/4:2:2 conversion), the optional SR-5803HQ card (for RGB 4:4:4 HQ recording and playback) and the optional HKSR-5802 (for HDCAM playback and Digital Betacam playback with Up-converter).

Something about the 5800 that grabs my attention (though without fully understanding it) is the optional HKSR5804 network interface option board which will "transfer Digital Picture Exchange (DPX) files from/to servers or NLE systems over Gigabit Ethernet networks". Since we are a VFX house, this really interests me though I am not sure how to utilize such an option with Final Cut Pro.

Does anyone have any experience with any of these decks that can give some insight?
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Old February 1st, 2009, 06:43 PM   #2
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On a completely unrelated note, it's nice to see someone that is actually looking at a $100k piece of kit and not saying "isn't there a consumer camera that I can use to..." and "$500 is too much for an HD camera, isn't there something cheaper?"

In other words, Mike, I'm jealous and good luck with your search.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 02:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Mike, I'm jealous and good luck with your search.
Haha! Thanks, but it's easy when it isn't my money. ;-D

But seriously, I need to figure out the solution ASAP -- not that I have cash to burn or anything, but the reality is we need to find replacements and are looking to make sure we have a capture chain that will ensure the best quality (meaning the most lossless) capture possible and was told to look into making capturing 4:4:4 a possibility.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #4
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444 capture

if you are buying a studio deck, I assume your recording is done in-studio? why bother with a deck in that case? The Kona card will do all the up/down conversion you want, and will capture 4:4:4 uncompressed directly from the camera. All you need is a large 300mb/sec RAID, which is peanuts these days compared to the cost of a deck. Even the Apple XSans are cheap in comparison.

Once captured you can render it out to Cineform's 4:4:4 codec which is better than HDCAM-SR and a small fraction the size/data-rate of uncompressed.

if you have legacy media to capture, rent a deck for a day now and then.

just a thought to save 80K, even if it's not yours :)
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Old February 9th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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I have no experience with the decks, but does it HAVE to be tape? In this day and age, I'd have to imagine it would be cheaper, faster, and easier to roll to something solid state. I know Panavision has something like this. There is the unit that has been used recently with the Viper Cams as well. Some of the RED guys are capturing 4:4:4 also I believe.

Maybe your client has a solid reason for staying on tape, but given a choice, I'd certainly be looking elsewhere.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #6
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Mike, you do know that the 5800 is a player only, right? And appears to have digital only connections.

The 5500 will record BOTH HDCam and HDCam SR while the 5000 will playback both but only record HDCam SR. Hope this helps.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Charles Dautremont View Post
if you are buying a studio deck, I assume your recording is done in-studio? why bother with a deck in that case?
We're a VFX company; we don't do the shooting, the shots come to us -- more often than not on hard drives these days but tapes still come in. For example, for one of our latest projects (NBC's Crusoe), I would say at least 15% to 20% of the plates delivered were on HDCAM while a few of the reference edits were delivered on either DigiBeta or (ugh) DVCAM.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Dautremont View Post
if you have legacy media to capture, rent a deck for a day now and then.
Renting is funny. Sometimes it is the best option, sometimes it is the only option and sometimes it is barley an option, if one at all. Renting an HDCAM SR deck isn't like renting a light kit or a camera... they are not exactly as readily available.


EDIT: To clarify, I think DVCAM is a perfectly reasonable choice for a reference edit; my "ugh" was only due to the fact that we didn't (and still don't) have a DVCAM deck, so playback/capture was impossible without renting one -- a royal PITA. I ended up taking the tape home and capturing on my own DVCAM deck.
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Last edited by Mike Barber; February 9th, 2009 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Qualifying on my "ugh" ;-p
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Old February 9th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #8
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I have no experience with the decks, but does it HAVE to be tape?
Like you, my personal preference is tapeless. However, if a set of plates are delivered on HDCAM then that's what I have to be prepared to ingest in order to get the footage in the pipeline. There is no time to quibble about preferred delivery formats when a national broadcast deadline is looming over head. This is the same reason to buy rather than rent or outsource. Perhaps more cost-effective in the short run, but it adds to the turnaround time required and adding time to the process can kill you, to say nothing of adding another set of hands the footage travels through.

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Maybe your client has a solid reason for staying on tape, but given a choice, I'd certainly be looking elsewhere.
Everyone has some reason (good or bad) for sticking with the workflow they use. Why does Teletoon still use Beta SX? I don't know, but they do. Why does a post house deliver TARGA sequences on a HDD one day and then HDCAM on the next? I don't know, but they do and it is my job to be ready and able to deal with it.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Mike, you do know that the 5800 is a player only, right?
Uhhhhhhh, nope; it's not only a player. From the 5800's product page (emphasis is mine):

"The SRW-5800 HDCAM-SR Studio Recorder is equipped with the same key features as SRW-5500 and SRW-5000 recorders in the series. This deck records 1920 x 1080 resolution 10bit HD signals using MPEG-4 Studio Profile with visually loss-less compression. Video data rate is 440Mbps and 880Mbps is also possible with HKSR-5803HQ option..."

;-D
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Old February 9th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Charles Dautremont View Post
if you have legacy media to capture, rent a deck for a day now and then.
HDCAM can hardly be considered "legacy media". Don't let the solid state revolution fool you.


(Film is also far from dead.)
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Old February 9th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #11
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D'oh! I was POSITIVE when I looked at it the afternoon that it was a player but that big red button is kind of a giveaway, even if the text was wrong (which it isn't). My bad. I THINK I got the other two right though...
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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:40 PM   #12
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My bad. I THINK I got the other two right though...
Take a closer look. ;-)
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:08 PM   #13
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If it was me I would just go for the 5800. Its the one we rent when we need to send out our shows for broadcast and its all we need. You say your a VFX house so I'm assuming you won't be doing many dubs/downconverts so the pulldown board and what not isn't necessary right? It records, what else do you need?

Oh and if you want to rent a SR deck in LA get in line. That or just rent on Monday because everyone outputs on Friday/Saturday(i.e the new Friday)
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Old February 14th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #14
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You say your a VFX house so I'm assuming you won't be doing many dubs/downconverts so the pulldown board and what not isn't necessary right? It records, what else do you need?
You are correct, we do not do many dubs. 99% of the time our decks are used for ingest, the final image sequence deliverables are typically delivered on optical media or hard drive; it is rare that I am asked for a tape.

Quote:
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Oh and if you want to rent a SR deck in LA get in line. That or just rent on Monday because everyone outputs on Friday/Saturday(i.e the new Friday)
Yeah, no kidding. Here in Montreal the only rental house (that I know of) that has an SR deck for rent has an SRW-5500, though I don't know they're full specs (which optional boards they have for it) just yet (waiting to hear back). Rental cost is only $1750/day (plus tax and delivery) which isn't too bad but, for reasons already stated, renting is a workaround, not a solution.
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