My Sony rep recommended XDCAM. But how expensive is the post pasth? at DVinfo.net

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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 January 22nd, 2005, 12:46 PM   #1
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My Sony rep recommended XDCAM. But how expensive is the post pasth?

Hi there

I'm about to shoot a short film. The camera's which we are looking at now are the Panasonic AJ-SX900, the Soby DSR-570WS, and the XDCAM from Sony.

Our Sony rep seems interested in getting us to use the XDCAM if we do a film transfer, as the adoptation of this technology has been slow and the camera is fine (can go into 4:2:2 color space).

However, I am worried for this very reason, if the adoptation is slow, it'll be harder to find decks to get it off the disc cartidge and the editing....it could be as expensive as digibeta....

Do you know of any cheap(er) video post houses near you that work with/in XDCAM?

thanks
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 06:18 PM   #2
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Ronald,

if i may suggest - you should try IMX format camera msw-900 by sony.
i'm working with this camera for almost two years now and this camera is really brilliant.
the true is - if someone works with this camera - he will NEVER go back again to work with any other beta camera. (can give you a LIST of my friends DOPs who fall in love with this camera, and fogrot about SP or digibeta)

it has progressive scan and beautiful, beautiful reproducition of colors, contrast, blacks etc.
and it's absolutelly the same camera as XDCAM but uses tapes. which are very cheap.
i did some tests with transfer to 35mm and that was amazing.

i know that my answer is not "tapeless" solution, but in my opinion - for now - this is the cheapest one.

you can flawlessly work in your editing room with i.e. J-3 player which is cappable to read IMX tapes. no problems with avid or FCP.

filip

p.s.

it's somehow difficult to work with this camera when bluescreen/greenscreen is needed. you must find the guy who knows how to work with those things.
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 07:55 PM   #3
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Hi Filip

Actually, when this camera came out, I was interested. Wasn't there a film that was shot on this camera and transferred to film, that showed at a Sundance and it blew everyone away?

I'm just worried about the mpeg 2 compression about how easy or hard or expensive it will be to edit and do effects/color time.
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Old January 23rd, 2005, 05:15 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ronald Ng : Wasn't there a film that was shot on this camera and transferred to film, that showed at a Sundance and it blew everyone away? -->>>


i do not know really, i wasn't on sundance festival, but from my neiborhood i can clearly see that this camera is really something interesting when it comes to transfer it to film. i saw 3 different productions here in poland and there are really interesting. you cannot say in any given moment that this is electronics.

<<<---I'm just worried about the mpeg 2 compression about how easy or hard or expensive it will be to edit and do effects/color time. -->>>

you edit normally on any pc or mac in standard resolution. then i beleive the best solution is to make on line on FCP with 10bits depth and using SDI input. (with decklink SDI card or similar)
in this case you have everything what is on the tape - no compromise. after that - you can go directly with your hard disks to the facility where someone can transfer it on 35mm. concidering color effects and grading - i beleive that 10bit depth is a must. you cannot normally see big difference when something is grabbed in 8 or 10 bits, but when you start to manipulate the color etc. it shows. so in my opinion if you have the possibility - go with 10 bit depht and do whatever you need with color etc. still looks nice. of course, we are talking about pal/ntsc resolution not hd. camera works in pal/ntsc and that's it's maximum, but when transfered on 35mm - you just siimply cannot beleive that this is normal pal/ntsc signal.

it's a pitty that you are not living closer to poland, in this case it will be easier to you to test it and judge for yourself.

many main polish productions are now transfered from digital to 35mm because it's probably the cheapest way to do it in whole world. and the quality is really, really good. and the europeans are starting to think about polish facilities also.
i mean here in poland quality level of such transfer is really exellent. many polish DOPs are working with top hollywood producers and directors and here is really strong tradition of extremelly high level of vizual works and transfer from video to 35mm is treated with same standards as normal 35mm negative-positive process - it must sustain really high level of quality to pass all exams with such demanding DOPs.
Two years ago polish candidate for oscars was transfered from digital to 35mm (dv and HD was used as origin), last year - the same situation - the candidate was also tranfered from digital to 35mm (from HD), so probably guys know how to do this... and the same is with IMX format. they just know, and work their best. last year on polish national film festival two films were shooted on IMX camera, three on HD - all transfered to 35mm. this "season" (after national festival until today) already 3 feature movies are in production shooted/shooting on IMX, two others are prepared to be shooted on IMX.

sorry if this is maybe to long, but i think that this gives you better view about IMX and transfer to 35mm.

filip
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Old January 24th, 2005, 10:37 PM   #5
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<<<-- I'm just worried about the mpeg 2 compression about how easy or hard or expensive it will be to edit and do effects/color time. -->>>

Ronald, as your Sony rep would've told you, the XDCAM is available in two flavours - one only records DVCAM quality (DV25) and the other model does both DV and IMX, which is MPEG based @ 30, 40 or 50Mbps.

As for the "cheapness" of tape, one $30 disc can be reused around 1000 times. Tape can be reused, but who risks it?

The camera itself is the best you can get in SD, surpassing even digital betacam, in fact the 50Mb IMX setting is as good as digibeta.

I don't know what you edit on but more and more NLEs support XDCAM, from Avid to FCP. You can also edit the proxy MPEG4 data to save cost /HDD space to produce an EDL

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Old February 7th, 2005, 10:11 PM   #6
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MPEGIMX

Hey Filip!

I'm a Polish native born in Malbork.

My parents came to the U.S. when I was little and I grew up in Dallas, Texas...

I still speak Polish and I visit my relatives back there there once in a while.

It's nice to talk to some Polish cameramen. I'm a freelancer myself, and I shoot on DVCAM, but i'm seriously considering migrating to MPEGIMX sometime in the future. It seems to me that just like BetaSP has survived for so long, so will MPEGIMX. I'd like to see just how good it looks on an HDTV or HD monitor.

in the meantime, check out my website, and send me an e-mail, if you'd like.

best,

Jacques Star (aka Jacob Szucko)

http://www.jacquesstarvideo.com
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Old February 7th, 2005, 10:19 PM   #7
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> just like BetaSP has survived for so long, so will MPEGIMX

I imagine the "pro" version of HDV might be the next step of IMX. It would make sense to have 1920x1080 proscan MPEG @24~30fps with a low GOP and a 50 Mbps bandwidth or more on optical media. If this happens, the decks will probably be backwards-compatible with today's IMX.
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Old February 7th, 2005, 10:42 PM   #8
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maybe, maybe not

Personally, I doubt that HDV will replace MPEGIMX and Beta. IMX is still superior to HDV. Granted, it doesn't have as many lines of resolution as HDV does, but it has a lot more color information in the image. I've seen some of the Sony HDV footage, and I was dissatisfied with it's color reproduction. Besides, most IMX vtr's will be able to play back all Beta format tapes, from BetaSP to Digibeta, so it will be the least expensive and most logical step into the world of digital television. The same thing happened with DVCAM, and why it became so popular. DVCAM cameras and VTR's will read Mini-DV and DV format tapes, and most will even take Mini-DV tapes without an adaptor, so it became accepted very quickly due to it's compatability. It was relatively easy to migrate from DV to DVCAM, without losing lots of money by still being able to use archival DV format footage for storage, editing and playback. I also think that for many years still, we will be in a digital television world with SD and HD mixed together even after every station and television set in the country goes completely digital. There's just too many things being shot in SD, that will continue to be shot in SD, and HD is a bit slow to come about. I see a co-existence of IMX and other SD formats side-by-side with HD before it all goes hi-def. No one is going to throw away their DVCAMs or Digibetas, or whatever digital format they're shooting on (including myself), after investing thousands of dollars, and throwing away their SD gear and investing thousands more just to go HD.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #9
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Sorry. I said IMX in my post but actually I was thinking XDCAM, disc-based. We are approaching the time when disc-based storage will be as cost effective as tape media. So I think the logical evolution for a pro format will go in that direction. In a way, HDV is poor man's IMX. There is this huge problem with GOP structures that makes tape a risky choice for storage, because if you lose a frame it shows up as a very noticable problem in the video, not like with DV where if you lost a frame it was barely noticable. Stupidly, Sony's 'pro' HDV offering, the Z1, does not even have the capability of using DVCAM track pitch and tape speed for a lower error rate in HDV mode. So I speculate that the next step for Sony will probbaly be disk-based, it just makes sense that way.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #10
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Re: MPEGIMX

<<<-- Originally posted by Jacques Star : I still speak Polish and I visit my relatives back there there once in a while.
-->>>

thank you jack - will send you mail to your mentioned address.

filip

p.s.

following words are in polish - typical sentence, like :"see you soon".

do zobaczenia!
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Old February 8th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: MPEGIMX

<<<-- Originally posted by Jacques Star : ...but i'm seriously considering migrating to MPEGIMX sometime in the future... -->>>


i beleive that this is right direction, despite which "type" of imx you will use - tape or blulaser one, the main idea is the same. superior picture.
i may say that together with my friend Maciek Ostoja we made kind of small revolution with IMX here in poland, i am still in love with this camera, it's ease of use, endless menu options and BEAUTIFUL picture.
two years ago when we started with imx in poland NO ONE ever heard about this camera. today you can see LOT of productions shooted on this very camera. with astonishing pictures, as you may espect from polish DOPs. :)

but i must say that this camera works so nice, that is VERY easy to transfer the materials shooted on imx to 35mm. i saw beautiful results, and encourage you to at least TEST the same. you will be shocked, how GOOD this camera looks on the HUGE 35mm screens!
doesn't matter if this is tape or tapeless version.

filip
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Old February 8th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #12
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editing problems

I talked to a colleague of mine, who is an HD director of photography. He told me that MPEGIMX will have editing problems due to the MPEG encoding, especially for video edited for broadcast, which usually hava a lot of graphics intensive material added to them. What editing platform do you use? Have you guys ever had any editing problems with the MPEG compression? I use Final Cut Pro HD. Are there software drivers for this format? I heard that it's not a software problem but a codec problem as well.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #13
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> He told me that MPEGIMX will have editing problems
> due to the MPEG encoding, especially for video edited for
> broadcast, which usually hava a lot of graphics intensive
> material added to them.

Yes. That makes sense. But you see this incarnation of MPEG is meant to be used as an aquisition format only, you don't use this kind of MPEG as an intermediate codec for postproduction. In Final Cut you would tend to use Pixlet or uncompressed. When you are done, you master to whatever will be your end result format. If it is film, you will try to send the uncompressed online to the scanning company on a hard disk. If DVD, you will master in MPEG, if upscaling to HD, you can compress to the DVCPROHD codec or to HDV (someday).

Of course this is not 25Mbps DV. To handle this, especially if you try uncompressed, will mean a dual G5 and some kind of RAID, preferrably on the local SATA buses.

Often people install 2 same size SATA drives, configure them as a RAID and boot from a third drive, which can be an external Firewire.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 07:32 AM   #14
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Re: editing problems

<<<-- Originally posted by Jacques Star : I talked to a colleague of mine, who is an HD director of photography. He told me that MPEGIMX will have editing problems due to the MPEG encoding, especially for video edited for broadcast -->>>

Jacques,

PLEASE - ask your HD director to explail you (or to us) EXactly!!!! what kind of problems you will have!!!

I personally DO NOT BELEIVE in that what he is talking about and i am ready to proof exactly the opposite!

i work with imx for more than two years, we use and rent IMX to many, many people, but i did not receive SINGLE complain about editing problems. i am editor mysef as well. (i'm teaching editing in polish film academy btw.)
we did THOUSENS of edited programs which are broadcasted here in poland. my company has sister companies in denmark, sweden, finlad, germany, holland and norway - and there also NONE complains about editing!!!
i am using either j-3 SDI player (pal and ntsc) for feeding the computer, or J-30, or msw 2000 player/recorder and again - single problem!
i am working both with FCP and AVID systems and again - no problems. this format is frame accurate and for normal user - there is no difference between beta sp, digital beta or IMX editing.

So, REALLY - i beleive i am in the right person in right place to talk about this system and cannot say any bad thing about IMX.
sorry - ask your frend about his discoveries and system he uses, i just don't beleive this!!!

filip

p.s.

sorry if my message is bit more ENERGETIC than usual, but i am talking about FACTS! not gossips!
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Old February 9th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #15
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also - you can check this link - already mentioned somewhere on another thread:

http://pro.sony.com.hk/xdcam_faq3.html


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