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Sony 4K Ultra HD Handhelds
Pro and consumer versions including PXW-Z150, PXW-Z100, PXW-X70 / FDR-AX100


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Old March 29th, 2015, 09:24 PM   #1
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New X70 samples

After all the recent debate about the X70’s stabilization, image detail, autofocus, Clear Image Zoom quality, delayed compatibility with some NLEs, and the disappointing specs/price for the upcoming 4K upgrade, I thought I’d be really crazy and just talk about using the camera.

Here are some excerpts of my nephew at a recent swim meet. I’ve given up on getting a true “log” look from the camera so am going with a semi-flat look.

XAVC-L, 60fps, shutter 125, iris always wide open, gain -3 to +3, manual exposure, manual white balance, 100% autofocus, internal mics, converted to ProRes using EditReady, edited with FCPX. It was all either handheld (worked pretty well) or on a monopod (due to the angle from the stands that did not work well though). This has a fair amount of CI zoom shots.

Here are my “semi-flat” settings: all normal except…
Black Level +15
Gamma: ITU709
Black Gamma: High, +7
Knee (manual) Point 75%, Slope -2 (I’ve decided I like low Point and medium Slope rather than the reverse. You cannot use both Point and Slope at their low settings without problems.)
Color Mode: ITU709
Saturation: -2
Color Phase: +1
Color Depth: still experimenting a bit here, but all were 0 except B +4, Y -3
Color Correction: Type is Color revision, Memory Selection is 1&2, then all other settings are per Paul Anderegg’s suggestions posted earlier in these forums
Detail: I like some sharpness - Level +3, and under Manual Set I have Crispening at 3

Then, in FCPX (but could be done in any advanced NLE) I just adjusted shadows, mids, and highlights then added a touch of further sharpness and upped saturation to the level I wanted. I did add a bit of stabilization on some clips due to handholding at maximum CI zoom. I was very happy with the color and did zero color correction in post.

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Old March 30th, 2015, 12:14 AM   #2
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Re: New X70 samples

+1 on this David!

A great example of what an X70 can deliver in the right hands when someone knows how to get the best out of it. I will be copying down your settings and be giving them a whirl. Just one question, you're not finding the +15 black level too noisy in low light areas are you? Again well done DD.

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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Old March 30th, 2015, 07:44 AM   #3
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Re: New X70 samples

Chris - thanks very much for the kind words!

I have to confess, I am lucky in that I rarely shoot in truly low light situations so I have not tested these settings in those conditions. But one of the things I like about shooting flat is that I'm never raising shadows in post but adjusting them *down* to 0 IRE so maybe that masks noise?? The mid range and highlights seem more flexible - several of the clips here had the mid-range and highlights raised a bit in post. And I'm pleased with the relatively clean gain and would use that (in-camera) to avoid having to lift levels too much in post.

I'm also finding that the X70 can handle a fair amount of sharpening either in-camera or in post without artifacts.

I just find the exposure/dynamic range to be tricky. The highlights are easily blown but you can't just underexpose because the blacks are already (for my taste) way over crushed as well. I know most people need to go for a finished look in-camera, but these settings do seem to help stretch the effective dynamic range a bit.

Thanks again
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Old March 30th, 2015, 07:52 AM   #4
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Re: New X70 samples

Agreed; very good work.

A question though about grading. Did you find the 10-bit 4:2:2 much easier to grade as compared to say 8-bit 4:2:0? I'm assuming you've grading footage of the latter variety in the past.

One of the main reasons I'm contemplating the X70 is it's codec which should give much more latitude for grading. And the price point is so nice since the cam will do this all in-camera.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 09:19 AM   #5
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Re: New X70 samples

Ricky - thanks

I don't have much experience grading except with the X70 and my prior camera - the Canon XF100. The Canon is 8-bit 4:2:2 - very similar to Sony XDCAM mpeg2, but for what it's worth I found that to be very gradeable. But the X70 gets better image quality.

I'm very undecided on the 4K upgrade. The data rate and 8-bit 4:2:0 is disappointing, but on the other hand I'd like the extra detail and I've seen a lot of good AX100 footage. I am curious to see what's possible with the 4K footage with the picture controls of the X70 but I won't be the first to jump in.

I'm interested in what NAB brings, but despite a few issues, I don't know what camera is better (for me) than the X70 in the <$3K space. I'm liking the 1" sensor a lot and would hate to go back to 1/2" as in some newer offerings from Panasonic and JVC. I'm in no particular rush for 4K, so am considering the X70 a great option for me for the next year or so until I see what comes out.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 10:26 AM   #6
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Re: New X70 samples

Thanks, David.

The XF100 is in close second place on my purchase list. But as with you, waiting for outcome of NAB 2015.

I'm personally avoiding 4K footage. Mainly due to poorer chroma subsampling and the increased compression (Sony's 60 Mbps is quite low). Uncompressed out is not an option due to cost constraints. So wanting the best possible in-camera HD footage for that under $3K price.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: New X70 samples

The recent free SW upgrade to the FDR-AX100 allows for UHD recording in XAVC-S 100Mbps to UHS-I U3 cards. Still low, still 4:2:0, but a 66.7% improvement.
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Old April 1st, 2015, 10:42 AM   #8
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Re: New X70 samples

You're footage looks very good. I bought one to shoot a wedding (as a favor, not a paid gig) and literally took it out of the box, set it on auto everything, and fired away. The church was very dark, lots of candles, and while it was near the top of the gain setting, it did pretty good. Ran it through my noise software and it improved considerably. I like the camera, but Song still pissing me off for not getting the XAVC-L plugin worked out like they promised back in December.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 11:48 AM   #9
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Re: New X70 samples

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dixon View Post
XAVC-L, 60fps, shutter 125, iris always wide open, gain -3 to +3, manual exposure, manual white balance, 100% autofocus, internal mics, converted to ProRes using EditReady, edited with FCPX.
Hi David, Thanks for posting your settings and the video. Can't wait to give it try. I'm a newbie with my X70 and about to purchase a new maxed out iMac 5k, Pegasus 24TB (8x3TB) RAID and FCPX Pro. I have a couple questions if I may;
1) Did you convert from XAVC-L to MXF in EditReady? If not, please let me know which format you used.
2) I'm a little confused if FCPX Pro will or will not injest the MXF format. If it does, is it straight forward? If it doesn't could you please explain your workflow?
I along with everyone else, am most anxious for Apple to come out with an FCPX update to include XAVC-L....... Hopefully it will be soon. Your help would be most appreciated. Thanks, Ray
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Old April 11th, 2015, 03:24 PM   #10
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Re: New X70 samples

Ray - just remember these settings are for a fairly flat look that will be graded a bit in post. And I use these color correction settings from Paul Anderegg


Color Phase: +1 (Paul's setting is -2, but I find with my flatter settings I prefer +1)

Color Correction
Type: Color Revision
Memory Selection: 1&2
memory 1 color: 10, 4, 0
memory 1 revision: 8, 0
memory 2 color: 19, 7, 0
memory 2 revision: -14, 0

And then I of course do a manual white balance.

I convert from XAVC-L to ProRes 422 with EditReady. It's a great editing codec, and unless needed for broadcast things, I don't know why one would use MXF.

MXF is complicated - I think it's just a container that can have various codecs within it. A recent FCPX update added MXF import, but not for every flavor of MXF. My previous camera was a Canon XF100, and despite that update all clips from Canon XF series cameras still require a plugin from Canon to work. I have no idea if the MXF generated by Catalyst Browse or EditReady can be imported directly into FCPX, but it will either work seamlessly or not at all :-)

I insert the camera card in a usb3 card reader, make a disk image of the card with Disk Utility for backup, then mount that disk image and open the clips in EditReady. The converted clips are large, so I leave them in place and don't optimize when importing to the Library in FCPX, but once I'm totally done with a project I don't keep the ProRes versions. I just keep the disk image of the card, which is of course on a drive that is backed up daily. If ever needed again, the ProRes can be re-generated.

Yes, the conversion takes a few minutes, but I just set all that to convert and go do something for 15 minutes and come back. I have a late 2013 27" fastest iMac w/24gb ram and an external Thunderbolt raid. However, I hear that the native import and editing of XAVC-L is imminent, perhaps even coming around NAB - may be added in an FCPX or Pro Codecs update or may be a Sony plugin.
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 06:07 PM   #11
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Re: New X70 samples

Hi David, Thanks for all the great info.! Very much appreciated. Ray
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 08:52 PM   #12
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Re: New X70 samples

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dixon View Post
Ray - just remember these settings are for a fairly flat look that will be graded a bit in post. And I use these color correction settings from Paul Anderegg


Color Phase: +1 (Paul's setting is -2, but I find with my flatter settings I prefer +1)

Color Correction
Type: Color Revision
Memory Selection: 1&2
memory 1 color: 10, 4, 0
memory 1 revision: 8, 0
memory 2 color: 19, 7, 0
memory 2 revision: -14, 0

And then I of course do a manual white balance.
Yeah, the master phase is a bit weird! I think I even recommended in one post that the master phase can/should be played with prior to a shoot, sort of an adjustment by eye to match your lighting conditions. part of the reason this works is that the X70 can never be fully aligned on a vectorscope, so multiple vectors will ALWAYS be off in one direction or another. Changing from night to day for instance, will put the "bad" vector colors in places where that changed light source may be more noticeable.

Also a good idea to get a feel for your LCD and EVF color shift.......I find my X70 LCD to be a bit yellowish, so when adjusting by eye, I must remember this and be cautious.

Paul
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Old May 5th, 2015, 08:30 AM   #13
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Re: New X70 samples

I would also like to share some footage from my Sony PXW-X70.

Filmed in Full HD at 50p.

Edited in Sony Vegas with some colour corrections.

Here is two links to the video I'm talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWf8...ature=youtu.be

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Old May 5th, 2015, 10:10 AM   #14
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Re: New X70 samples

That was beautiful Edgar, well done.
Boy, I would love one of those cameras too :)
Did you use a stabilizer Edgar?
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Old May 5th, 2015, 11:01 AM   #15
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Re: New X70 samples

Hi Anthony,

No, I was just holding my breath. ) and at some clips I was adding stabilizer in Vegas.

It's a nice camera, I love it. Have filmed 5 projects so far and it's a big improvement from my older camera Sony Z5.
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