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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old September 6th, 2007, 08:15 AM   #1
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Capture Via Firewire While Shooting

Hello all.

I will be on a shoot with an F350 XDCAM next week and am boning up on it as best I can.

I have a few questions regarding operation and workflow.

We use Final Cut 6 on a MacPro with Kona LHe. My understanding is that XDCAM footage is a variant of HDV but with a slightly higher bit rate.

How well does it hold up for compositing and effects?

Do any of you convert to a different codec after importing clips?

We have been using the XL H1 and shooting to tape about 75% of the time and shooting to the MacPro via HD/SDI and the Kona LHe as uncompressed 10bit HD or DVCPRO/HD the rest of the time. The ability to do quick edits for the client while on location is great. When we shoot to tape, sometimes we have a MacBook connected to the XL H1 via Firewire and capture HDV for client playback and rough edits.

Can I do that with the F350? My understanding is that HDV presses the bandwidth limit for FW so didn't know if the high quality XDCAM setting could be captured on the fly over FW. I'm a bit confused though because I was the shooter on a job where we shot directly to a MacPro via FW as DVCPRO/HD form an HVX200 and isn't the bit rate for DVCPRO/HD higher than XDCAM?

We are renting the camera this time but will be purchasing one soon so any suggestions and tips would be greatly appreciated.

Also, keep your eyes open for Virginia Tech TV spots in the coming months if you live in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast regions. You will see the results of the shoot with the F350.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #2
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Dave,

In response to your questions:


< XDCAM footage is a variant of HDV but with a slightly higher bit rate. >

XDCAM is not a variant of HDV. It uses industry standard MPEG-2 HD codec and can record at 17mbps, 35mpbs variable bit rates and 25mpbs constant bit rate. The 25mbps CBR is somewhat comparable to HDV quality but with 4CH of uncompressed audio and a more robust codec. 35mbps VBR is way better than HDV and compares very favorably to other HD codecs such as DVCPro HD.

< How well does it hold up for compositing and effects? >

Ain't D5 or HDCAM but it works well for chroma keying and composing

< Do any of you convert to a different codec after importing clips? >

We have been using the XL H1 and shooting to tape about 75% of the time and shooting to the MacPro via HD/SDI and the Kona LHe as uncompressed 10bit HD or DVCPRO/HD the rest of the time. The ability to do quick edits for the client while on location is great. When we shoot to tape, sometimes we have a MacBook connected to the XL H1 via Firewire and capture HDV for client playback and rough edits.

< Can I do that with the F350? My understanding is that HDV presses the bandwidth limit for FW so didn't know if the high quality XDCAM setting could be captured on the fly over FW. I'm a bit confused though because I was the shooter on a job where we shot directly to a MacPro via FW as DVCPRO/HD form an HVX200 and isn't the bit rate for DVCPRO/HD higher than XDCAM? >

The camera does not output a HDV stream through its firewire port. You can only capture live SD DV25 through it. If you really want to do quick cuts on location, you may want to consider using editing software that supports the use of proxy clips recorded by XDCAM cameras. That is mainly Avid XPress Pro or Sony Vegas. It takes 3 or 4 minute to load an entire disc, you do your rough cut with proxies and then use a simple command to upres your sequence to higher resolution clips. Hopefully, this workflow will soon be available to FCPro as well.

The HDX200 can output either DVCPro 25 or DVCPro 100 stream through its firewire port. The XDCAM HD camera work differently as its firewire port operates in two different ways:

- Conventional A/V firewire: Ony outputs DV25 stream
- FAM (File Access Mode): The camera is seen as a storage drive by your computer. You then just transfer the shot files as you would import tracks from an audio CD regardless of their resolution.

Thierry.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #3
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dave, i'm not sure how to answer your question but I don't think you can. in the meantime, i was checking out the carter site. you guys shoot some great stuff. In particular, I was interested in what jib you're using to get those ultra smooth moves?

Thanks, and great work!
max
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Old September 10th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #4
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Thanks Thierry for your info. I've been studying the manual and reading other posts here as well and am looking forward to working with the camera.

Max, we use a Porta Jib. Thanks for the compliments on our site.

dp
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