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Old October 26th, 2010, 07:29 AM   #1
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HDCAM info needed

We're still investigating various quality camera options for our company, but trying to keep costs down as much as possible. I've found yet another great looking used camera for sale in the shape of a Sony HDW 730s recently serviced by Sony. This may be going a bit too far for our budget but I thought I'd investigate in case! Is there a "low" price VTR (used preferably) that can handle HDCAM video (small and large cassettes) and transfer it easily to computer (Mac) to edit? Likewise what would be a good starting point HD lens for this camera with a reasonable zoom range? Finally, I presume if we can source a VTR and a lens, the only other accessories we'd need would be V lock batteries and charger, plus cables from the camera to VTR, and from the VTR to the computer? Plus tapes of course.

Any assistance gratefully received.
All the best
Simon
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Old October 26th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #2
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Simon, have you looked at the PMW 350? The quality is comparable to HDCAM especially if you get a Nanoflash and it is far more flexible with a simpler, cheaper workflow.

You can also get the kit lens which I think most people agree is amazing value.

Personally I think the PMW 350 is by far the best value 2/3" HD camera out there. HDCAM decks and tapes are expensive as are quality HD lenses. There are some great deals on the cameras now but that is partly because the workflow isn't so popular now.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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I'd say the reason to shoot HDCAM these days is because your clients require it. If you're working for broadcasters it will be pretty common piece of kit, but if you're shooting for your own in house needs there are a number of 2/3" other options available.

The downside to the HDW 730 is that only shoots interlace, which could be why it's going at a low price. If I was buying HDCAM I'd really want the option of progressive. To be honest, I've never shot interlace on HDCAM.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 01:11 PM   #4
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Also HDCAM can't be edited on natively on almost all edit systems so you would need an HDSDI capture card for the Mac and then would have to convert to an intermediate codec like Prores for editing which is quite data hungry compared to the XDCAM codecs and can only capture in realtime.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
Also HDCAM can't be edited on natively on almost all edit systems so you would need an HDSDI capture card for the Mac and then would have to convert to an intermediate codec like Prores for editing which is quite data hungry compared to the XDCAM codecs and can only capture in realtime.
Really? I was sure it could be natively edited on just about any NLE -- it's like a 15 year old format now. Is it because of the 3:1:1 chroma subsampling? The odd rectangular pixels? Or is it that it's just too old now?

I'm not using HDCAM, but I'd like to fill in the gaps in my history. And HDCAM tape is still an exhibition requirement for some film festivals.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #6
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Really? I was sure it could be natively edited on just about any NLE -- it's like a 15 year old format now. Is it because of the 3:1:1 chroma subsampling? The odd rectangular pixels? Or is it that it's just too old now?
AFAIK HDCAM can only be edited natively on Sony Xpri systems and I've never even seen one or heard of anyone with one. I'm guessing it is because Sony have not made the codec available for other manufacturers.

I believe Sony are developing native HDCAM SR editing in FCP but that will require a VERY expensive deck.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #7
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Really? I was sure it could be natively edited on just about any NLE -- it's like a 15 year old format now.
I strongly suspect it would normally get edited off-line, then a conform done tape-tape.

I agree with what Brian says - "I'd say the reason to shoot HDCAM these days is because your clients require it." So if a client wants you to hand over an HDCAM tape at the end of the day, shoot on an HDCAM camera.

Otherwise, if you can choose your in-house system (and just deliver finished product) nowadays it makes sense to go with a file or clip based format. If you really want consumable media (shoot, put the rushes on the shelf) XDCAM disc makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, go solid state. And I'd second what Mike Marriage says - "I think the PMW 350 is by far the best value 2/3" HD camera out there".
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Old October 28th, 2010, 03:53 PM   #8
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Many thanks to everyone who responded to my post. As usual, very much appreciated and helpful.

Cheers
Simon
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Old October 29th, 2010, 04:20 AM   #9
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I tend to find these days that HDCAM in its SR format is more a delivery format rather than a shooting one.

As has been said the 350 is a better and more edit friendly camera and you will be getting latest technology for your money, I personally use panasonic P2 for shooting but then deliver to HDCAM SR for broadcast if required.

As broadcast moves more towards file based delivery the HDCAM SR tapes tend to be for archive and as a back-up to the file based master.

There is no low cost HDCAM deck and I don't own any VTR's these days as they are very expensive dust collectors, I keep everything in the edit domain and then hire in the deck for delivery if required although most broadcast programmes go to a high end post house for grading and mastering so I tend to just deliver a pro res HQ master on a hard drive.
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