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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:57 AM   #1
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Getting the best out of F700

Our dealer arrives on Tuesday with our PDW F700 c/w HDVF-20 viewfinder and Fujinon HA18x7.6BERM and we are keen to get the camera up and running asap because we start filming a new doco project at the weekend.

FYI: We having been using the F350 extensively and U1 drive for over a year, so are already familiar with XDCAMHD. We also use Final Cut Studio 2.

Is there any advice from owner / operators in regard to getting the best out of the camera in regard to image quality, particularly for post colour grading, scene files, power consumption settings or anything else that I should be looking at? I am aware of the BBC paper, not having the camera just now; I am not sure how many changes have been made in regard to that paper.

The dealer is unaware at this point if the camera comes with the latest firmware update.

Because all of our batteries are IDX, and we try not to mix and match equipment I have purchased an IDX Elite battery to see how that will work out as compared to the Endura 10.

Any pointers would be much appreciated.

Many thanks to members such as Steve, Alistair, Simon, Ivan and others who have taken the time to post their experiences which have helped us to make informed choices.

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old January 24th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #2
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Hi Stewart,
Good to hear that it's on the way. You would strongly assume that it will have the new firmware - supposed to get mine back with the upgrade next week.
Be a little wary of the BBC settings doc. While very much along the right lines, Alan Roberts does say that it was only from a brief look at the camera, and the consensus seems to be that it's set up a little too soft (I've put mine with detail ON at -30 I think).
Be very interesting to hear how you get on with the batteries.
Set the shutter to degrees, enable just 180 and leave it there.
Using -6db seems to work nicely, I set -6, 0 and 6. Zebras to about 85% (the knee point setting).
Basically though there's not much to say, it's just like a 350 (or any other broadcast cam).
Look forward to hearing how you get on.
Steve
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Old January 24th, 2009, 08:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for that info Steve, really appreciate it. I also had noticed that the BBC pdf file was not conclusive, and was indeed a bit wary about setting the camera to those specs without hearing from owner / users.

The camera will be out on an industrial shoot on Wednesday and Thursday and I now have the problem of how to approach mixing previously shot 1440 footage with the new 1920 footage (DVD usage only). How have others dealt with this? Move 1440 footage to 1920 timeline? or the other way around?

If power supply turns out to be an issue then I may purchase the mains unit for the camera. But as you say, it will be interesting to see how the Elite battery performs.

We will be filming a chromakey based project shortly that will be displayed on one of the largest plasma screens in Europe, so it will be interesting to see how well the F700 and the XDCAM HD 422 format does. Following that we are meant to be in the Middle East for a while where I am looking forward to seeing the level of detail that can be captured, particularly with ancient buildings within a dessert environment.

Should have lots of pics and experiences to share in the weeks ahead.

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old January 24th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #4
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Stewart,

All 700's shipped after November 1st were supposed to have the updated firmware in them.

-gb-
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Old January 24th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #5
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Just a note that if you use -3db or -6db gain you reduce the dynamic range. The DSP is set up to give maximum dynamic range at 0db. I tend to run detail at -20 with frequency up to +20.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #6
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Thanks Alister - have taken note...

Greg... I hope so

I have just finished reading through the on-line manual...

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old January 24th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Just a note that if you use -3db or -6db gain you reduce the dynamic range. The DSP is set up to give maximum dynamic range at 0db.
Must say I haven't noticed any change in DR at -6, and it'd rank as probably the most important thing for me. When you/they say it's best at 0db do you think it's a fractional, barely discernable, almost theoretical difference?

Steve
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Old January 24th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #8
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At -6db there is close to a stop reduction in DR according to the tests I have done. This is typical of most cameras that offer negative gain. The 0db point is the nominal optimal trade off between noise, sensitivity and dynamic range. Go either side of 0db and there are normally trade offs to one of the above. The 700's DR is pretty impressive so it may well be that the lower noise floor makes the small decrease in DR worth while. It's just an observation really as many people don't seem to be aware that running negative gain means less dynamic range.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #9
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I was certainly aware of it as a theory, but I find it hard to believe that you'd lose a stop of DR, I'm sure you'd notice it even through the VF. I'll have to look at it myself, thanks for making me aware of it!
Thing with the 700 is that noise is so minimal that you really don't need to go sub zero.
Steve
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Old January 24th, 2009, 04:08 PM   #10
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Assuming no knee is being used and a std gamma:

If you expose a scene at 0db with the brightest part of the image at 100 IRE the CCD will be just going into saturation/clipping. If you then decrease the gain by -6db to get the same overall exposure you have to open up the iris by about 1.5 stops. So the CCD's which were just going into saturation before will now be approx 1.5 stops beyond their limit at peak white. So to answer your question at -6db you will loose just over a stop of dynamic range.

The knee or gamma curve can often hide this loss, but however you look at it you do loose dynamic range.

The 700's DR is pretty impressive so it may well be that the lower noise floor makes the small decrease in DR worth while. It's just an observation really as many people don't seem to be aware that running negative gain means less dynamic range.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #11
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Maybe it's because I've got the BBC settings in, I think it's gamma 5, and the knee's altered too I seem to remember. Good to know, I will have a little play myself.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewart Menelaws View Post
I now have the problem of how to approach mixing previously shot 1440 footage with the new 1920 footage (DVD usage only). How have others dealt with this? Move 1440 footage to 1920 timeline? or the other way around?
www.studioscotland.com
Just move to a 1920 timeline and you'll be fine. Good luck with the shoot!
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Old January 25th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #13
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The 700 is so quiet anyway I'm not sure what is really gained from using -6db. I've got a ton of footage here taken with one and I am always astounded when I look at it to see just how little noise there is when it is set to 0. -6 may be useful for interview setups where you want to get that background out of focus, but I can't really see much use in it as a noise reducer since there is barely any noise to begin with!

I concur full with Alister. You only have to look at the signal on a waveform to see what is going on. There is always a trade off with this type of thing. Just as the 700's f12 sensitivity rating isn't all that it seems either.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 03:24 AM   #14
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CBR / VBR Mixing?

Many thanks for all the info guys, very interesting.

Question: As I understand it The (F700) 50mb is CBR and the (F350) 35mb is VBR how does that work out when you mix the footage in FCP?

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old January 26th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #15
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Just use the XDCAM HD422 preset at the appropriate frame rate. You will have to render the F350 footage when exporting your finished project but it will play and edit just fine.
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