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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 March 20th, 2010, 03:06 AM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
"Smoother, nicer motion"? Following on from what Tom says, I'd only add that such as rolling shutter effects could also make a difference to how motion was portrayed - but in a comparison of the 2700/700 we're talking about two CCD cameras, so that can't be applicable here. So the only differences I can think of that would affect motion handling are framerate, shutter angle, and interlace/progressive.
I'm quoting from the RSPB head's email to me. But I think it says a lot about what we've been debating. You might point out to him what you've just said to me and his reaction is likely to be shrugging his shoulder and saying "OK, but the Varicam picture just looked nicer to me" and no matter what anyone says, that is all that matters.
I would never deny that a 1080/60P Varicam would be preferable to a 720/60P one, of course it would . BUT, here's a thought and another debating point - I'd probably rather have a 720/120P Varicam than a 1080/60P one. This follows the reasoning that 720 is probably "good enough" even on a big HD screen, and 120fps would be really useful for a lot of wildlife stuff, almost gives us our Arriflexes back! For cinema release stuff you could use the 1080 one. Presumably this will never happen though with 720/120P not being an HD fomat.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #92
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Some interesting points being raised.

The problem with the "it just looked better" test is that you don't know how the cameras were setup. Sony's tend to look quite crappy without any adjustment whereas Pany seem to dial in a much more "filmic" look as standard. Of course engineers in Japan may have a different opinion as I heard they prefer a more electronic look there and think of film as old and stuttery.

Many cameramen never use the paint menus in their cameras at all, especially on hire kit.

I've shot a fair amount of 720p for large screen including several filmouts. Filmouts loose rez anyway and help blur the line between 720 an 1080 but in general it depends on subject matter in the frame. Close ups tend to be fine in 720 but wide vistas with high detail really benefit from 1080. I'd be interested to know if the Beeb use the 3700 for such shots in order to gain the extra detail. They definitely use HDCAMs on Planet Earth for certain scenes... and a little film!

Of course, like for like, 1080p is always better that 720p as are higher frame rates. IMO 1080 is "enough" rez for virtually anything but as said below I'd like to see framerates over 100fps soon. I'm also hoping Sony will release an upgrade board for the 350 that allows all the options of the nanoflash on board. They may do so if they want to take a slice of the nano's profits for themselves. That would be harder with the 700 as the discs aren't fast enough. I'm guessing 50/50 whether such a board will be released.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #93
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I'm quoting from the RSPB head's email to me. But I think it says a lot about what we've been debating. You might point out to him what you've just said to me and his reaction is likely to be shrugging his shoulder and saying "OK, but the Varicam picture just looked nicer to me" and no matter what anyone says, that is all that matters.
That's completely missing the point Steve. It's back to what I said in post #82 - "Hmmm. I wonder how much thought was given to the way the cameras were lined up......." and I see Mike is thinking exactly the same.

You may like to ask him exactly that point - ideally invite him to join in this discussion. If you took a camera out of it's box and how it looked was the way it was, period, then "the look" would indeed be all that mattered. But that's not the case - not with the higher end cameras, anyway. The "look" can be made to vary widely on any of them. And in the case of digital cinema I believe the norm is to shoot RAW and the "look" be determined in post.

There's a lot of reason to believe that out of the box Panasonic cameras have a look more preferred by those from a "film" tendency, Sony are preferred by those influenced by TV. That's not to say either is right or wrong, but it's important to realise that if the adjustments are there, either camera can be made to look either way - at least by someone who knows what they are doing.
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BUT, here's a thought and another debating point - I'd probably rather have a 720/120P Varicam than a 1080/60P one. This follows the reasoning that 720 is probably "good enough" even on a big HD screen, and 120fps would be really useful for a lot of wildlife stuff, .......
A good point, but isn't that the third stage in what I'm saying? A camera with 1920x1080 chips, that will overcrank in 1080 up to 60fps, AND ADDITIONALLY overcrank in 720 up to 120fps?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 07:03 AM   #94
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Mike that would be interesting if Sony put a board in the 350 to do that same as the Nano. I don't think that would happy since CD is being helped by Sony and it helps them sell cameras.

I was told by someone from Sony that the F800 disk can handle over 200Mbps. That might be cutting the size in half and using a 50GB disk as a 25Gb disk.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 07:08 AM   #95
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It's you that's missing the point David, the guy preferred the look of the motion which is not something that'll be altered by Paint settings. Both cameras would have been same shutter etc.,Mark is very experienced and knows his stuff well enough to knot that out of the bix settings are not what you'd use.
As for 120P, what I was saying is if it was a question of which one you had to choose, which would it be - 702/120 or 1080/60? Obviously it'd better to be able to choose.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 07:45 AM   #96
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Hi Peter,

Couple of questions. What lens were you using with the 2700 and also the delivery to SD for H.264 transmission Master.

I was asked to delivery to H.264 the other day and was confused with this format. Can you shed some light on the compression settings. I did some comparisons with prores and found H.264 came out looking softer than prores, maybe my compression settings were wrong.

Thanks
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Old March 20th, 2010, 11:57 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
It's you that's missing the point David, the guy preferred the look of the motion which is not something that'll be altered by Paint settings.
No, but it could be altered by such settings as shutter, and it was implied that his preference was down not solely to "the look of the motion" anyway - I was responding to "....his reaction is likely to be shrugging his shoulder and saying "OK, but the Varicam picture just looked nicer to me". That implies much more than just motion to me.
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As for 120P, what I was saying is if it was a question of which one you had to choose, which would it be - 702/120 or 1080/60? Obviously it'd better to be able to choose.
It shouldn't boil down to a choice, that's the daft thing about the higher end of the Panasonic range at the moment. There's no doubt the 3700 is good as far as it goes as a 1080p/25 camera - but why doesn't it do 720p, and able to do 50/60fps in that? It's expensive enough, and other cameras don't seem to have a problem.

Mike earlier raised the question "I'd be interested to know if the Beeb use the 3700 for such shots in order to gain the extra detail. They definitely use HDCAMs on Planet Earth for certain scenes... and a little film!" If the answer is yes, it seems very unsatisfactory to have to take a 3700 and a 2700 along on a shoot, then select one camera or the other on a shot by shot basis?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #98
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Mark's such an experienced guy he's not going to swayed by simple things like the setup, believe me. I've thought the same thing, looking at the Varicam there is just something nice and high quality feeling to it, hard to say exactly what it is, but I had my 700 and 2700 setup with BBC settings, and they were good settings, and there is just something about the Varicam that's really appealing.
You're right about Panasonic being an odd bunch, you could say they're protecting sales of both 2700 and 3700 by each having something the other does not, but why not just make one in the first place, I agree with you a 3700 with 720 option. I get the feeling they may pull out a quality argument, backed up by people like Alan Roberts at the Beeb, which is that for the optimum 720 picture you need a 720 chip and that converting from a 1080 chip like the Sonys do is sub-optimal. How much truth there is in this I don't know, certainly I thought the 720 from the PDW700 looked pretty good, slightly less so from the EXs.
What's Panny's next move going to be I wonder, as with the Varicams (plus the 3000 don't forget being in a real no-man's land), and the mixed feelings HPX301 they do seem to be losing the plot a bit.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #99
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We've seen comparisons between the 350 and 700 from Alister that are roughly equivalent, and of the 350 and 800 from Doug and Paul that are hugely disparative.

More curious to me is how the PDW700 compares to the 800.

I tried to locate one here in Denver for a test, all I can find for rent is the F900 w/lens for $1,300/day and the HPX2000 for $1,100/day, with lens.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 12:54 PM   #100
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If the 700 is not identical to the 800 then there is something very odd going on as they have all the same gear inside AFAIK (ie chips, processing). The 800 is just a 700 with all the optional extras as standard and a few extras like overcranking.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #101
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Steve is correct there should be no reason why the 700 and F800 should look different. The differences seen in Doug and Paul's tests are down to camera setups and exposure differences. It is actually good illustration of how a few simple tweeks or even different exposure can greatly change the "look" of a camera.

When I compared the 3700 and PDW-700 side by side, I did prefer the out of the box look of the 3700. But the primary difference is in the way the matrix is set up, the Pana's handle reds and greens differently to the Sony's. While I preferred the out of the box Pana look, I did feel IMHO that the Sony look was more accurate and true to life. I decided that for me a half way house between the two would be nice. So I created some new Matrix settings for the 700 and 350 that achieves that.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #102
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In short, any of the latest 2/3" cameras can produce great images and be set up so that very few professionals, let alone audience could tell them apart.

The choice should really come down to what workflow and features you require.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
I agree with you a 3700 with 720 option. I get the feeling they may pull out a quality argument, backed up by people like Alan Roberts at the Beeb, which is that for the optimum 720 picture you need a 720 chip and that converting from a 1080 chip like the Sonys do is sub-optimal. How much truth there is in this I don't know,........
I think that argument would be more of an excuse. I suspect the main issue with the downconversion is filtering out the finest detail BEFORE the downscaling - otherwise it just becomes aliases. But that's no different to the situation in the optical domain when using 1280x720 chips - there you need good optical low-pass filtering to avoid the aliasing. My hunch would be it's easier to do it via electronics than optics, especially straight from the chips, but unquestionably some downconvertors are better than others.

And if they use that quality argument, then why does the 2700 have 720 and 1080 outputs, the latter an upconvert from the 1280x720 chips?

I'm waiting to see what NAB brings. It's time for a 1080 Varicam, and Panasonic seriously need to update the lower part of their range. Sony (IMO) should build the 50Mbs codec into the 350, and who knows what Canon are going to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Roper
We've seen comparisons between the 350 and 700 from Alister that are roughly equivalent, and of the 350 and 800 from Doug and Paul that are hugely disparative.
Is this not a case (within one manufacturer) of how a "look" can differ widely according to the way the camera is set up? That Alister specifically tried to match his cameras to a common look, which wasn't the case with Doug and Paul?

Which is why I feel it's so hard to define any "look" to any camera. It's 10% down to science and the hardware, 90% down to setup.

[EDIT - I see I've been beaten to it. Yes Mike, couldn't agree more - "The choice should really come down to what workflow and features you require. ]
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Old March 20th, 2010, 02:06 PM   #104
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I disagree, no way it's only 10% down to the hardware. If I had to put a figure on it out thin air I'd go 80% hardware 20% setup. The setup can only work with what's there to begin with.
As for the 2700 having a 1080 up-convert, it's a good point, why is it there?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 02:09 PM   #105
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I've a series coming out on BBC2 in the summer on wildlife in Wales, which I shot with a Sony 750, PDW700 and Varicam 2700, it'll be interesting to see how they mix and compare. Not sure if it'll go out on the HD channel, presumably on SD it won't tell us much.
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