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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 31st, 2006, 02:13 PM   #16
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Jay, the Sony XDCAM HD demo you can download has some nice shots that show pretty good latitude, lots of strong backlight, etc.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 04:43 PM   #17
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I don't know whether to thank you or not Bill. Now that I've seen that footage, I have to buy one! Much better look than the 1/3" cams with a real lens and pro ergonomics to boot.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 06:34 PM   #18
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Chroma key vs XL H1

As promised, we have now posted up some Chroma key tests with XL H1 and the F350 (see http://www.redhawk-development.com/x...chroma_key.htm. We kept it simple (no hair). This was all done with Avid SpectraMatte.

You can see that the Canon does a better job since it is true 4:2:2 output. As I said earlier the F350 is a great camera, but it would be much better if the HDSDI was full 4:2:2 (rather than generated from 4:2:0).

This test is just to show which is easier in doing a minimum effort key. With effort you can make any of these look better.

(That drill has starred in a lot of effects clips here recently...)
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Old March 31st, 2006, 06:43 PM   #19
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One of the other things about HD (HDV) is the camera sensitivity. On the 1/3" cameras, it seems you need a lot more light than with a comparable SD camera. So far, what are your thoughts on this cameras abilities in lower light situations? How much sensitivity do you lose when switching over to the 24P mode from 60i?
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Old March 31st, 2006, 06:47 PM   #20
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Broken link

The above link to the Chroma Key test does not seem to work completely reliably. You can go to the home page (http://www.redhawk-development.com/) then browse to Features and then Chroma Key Test.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 06:51 PM   #21
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Jay I will try to quantify the sensitivity attributes (relative to the XL H1, which is quite sensitive for a 1/3" camera). I can tell you that the slow shutter function on the F350 works quite well and (as advertised) produces a relatively low noise image compared to cranking up gain. Of course, you will have motion blur in that mode.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 11:08 PM   #22
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If I'm not wrong, will there be available footage concerning your new F350 or not?
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Old April 4th, 2006, 12:18 AM   #23
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Footage

Yes there will be footage posted. There is a little bit of green screen footage available now at http://www.redhawk-development.com/ in the "Features" section.

Tomorrow we should be posting some simple slow motion shots (effects done in Avid, not in-camera) done just to test the 35Mbps codec and how it interacts with Avid. Bottom line is that the image recorded to disc looks just about as good as the image captured through the HDSDI even after moderate post processing (which can amplify artifacts).

Lots to do and only certain footage can be posted, but more test footage will be posted over the next week or so.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 09:01 AM   #24
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I'm just glad there's another XDCAM owner here. It was beginning to get lonely :)
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Old April 4th, 2006, 10:03 AM   #25
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You have a little more experience that I do Simon. Do you usually use DCC for exterior shots? So far it seems for the F350 that Cine2 gamma curve plus DCC is the best combo to handle exterior shots with wide dynamic range, especially capturing action where you can't control the lighting and don't have much time to set up the shot.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 12:16 PM   #26
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Motion test clips

The first two of the motion test clips are now available on http://www.redhawk-development.com/

Go to "Features" and then select "XDCAM Motion Test". We plan to post a few more clips on that page showing different Avid Slo-Mo effects, since this (like the green screen clip) is still mostly a test of how the F350 and Avid work together.

We are also doing some shots that involve a vehicle moving across a complex background with a pan in the opposite direction and such to stress the Codec more realistically. We hope to post 24P and 60i footage for that within a few days.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 12:18 PM   #27
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Some people do not like DCC. However I find it more useful than not. It only comes into effect above the knee point you have defined. In the XDCAM HD cameras there are some things to consider.

The knee point is set to 100 out of the box which is very high. The white clip is also set to 108. Again very high. You will have to adjust this if you want to make legal video without the need to do some post adjustment.

The Cinegamma modes are designed to get more visual dynamic range. At a full open iris with the DCC off you will not hit 100ire because the roll off of the highlights is well before that point. I need to look into it more, but I do not think you will gain much using DCC with the cinegamma modes other than brighter whites. So if you are using the standard setting of 100 for the knee point, the cinegamma modes never get to this point. DCC I think will just make the whites whiter if you have kept the white clip to 108, or have turned it off. I could be wrong though.

In use I actually found STD gamma to work the best overall. I didn't have much trouble even in harsh contrasty sun conditions. It is the same for my 510. I have settings that will lift the blacks and roll off the highlights to obtain an 11.5 stop exposure range if I want, but at the end of the day I have gone back to shooting STD gamma table 3.

The main problem I find with trying to get a lot of exposure range with these cameras isn't because of highlights. None of these settings make a huge difference to them other than the smoothness of the roll off. As long as you keep them under or around the clip point it doesn't really make a huge difference which gamma setting you use. The real problem is the lowlights and mid-tones. And the only way to bring them up is to stretch them. And unfortunately that results in noise, which you will want to eliminate in post by bringing them down again. Kind of defeating the point of lifting them to begin with.

And there is something else too. After shooting with a maximum range setting I find that in post because of problems with banding if I try to extract more from the lowlights or highlights in high contrast situations I merely end up with a picture that looks no different than had I used STD gamma in the first place.

One thing that does confuse me is that looking at a document I have here with the XDCAM HD gamma curve definitions, there is a marked difference between Cine4 and STD gamma. But when I tried them out they looked almost exactly the same. Sony assured me that these gamma curves are designed for maximum range and are based on the same curves that came with the V2 software for the HDW-750. So you may want to experiment more with them.

When the 350 arrives I aim to try and get it tested properly. One drawback to the XDCAM HD cameras is that they don't have a test SAW signal to actually see what is going on with the gamma curves.

Have you tried the camera with the detail switched off? I shot the music video on the 330 this way and it remained pin-sharp. Almost too sharp still!
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:32 PM   #28
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Thanks Simon. Lots of good ideas.

I am not sure why, but I have found that DCC does make a big difference with Cine2. For example I shot a time-lapse (1 fps) sunset shot due north across a steep valley with a ridge about 3/4 mile away. The sky was cloudy with clouds racing by, so the light was somewhat diffuse. With DCC OFF the trees on the top of the ridge disappeared in the glare (with exposure set for the rest of the image). With DCC ON the details of the trees came back. Not sure how it works, but seems useful.

You are right that the gamma curves do not go above 100. I tried your suggestion and shot a white card with lots of light and checked the waveform monitor. With STD the waveform peaks at 108/100 (DCC off/on, white clip 108). With Cine1 it is 98/84, Cine2 89/78, Cine3 99/90, Cine4 90/93.

I will just have to play around with them a bit more to figure out when to use what.

Your comments about noise are dead on. The camera seems a little noisy at times. We often have to use -3db gain (green screen and such). Frequent black balance helps some. I have the gain switch H/M/L set to -3,0,+3. It is hard to image even using anything above +3 for most of what we do. Perhaps there is something else going on here.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #29
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Michael: how would you say the noise level on the F350 compares to the Canon XLH1, and what gain settings are you using on the latter camera?
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:52 PM   #30
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The DCC works I believe by creating multiple knee points above the specified knee point. I can't remember if the PDW-3xx series has a knee aperture setting, but this could help in keeping detail in the highlights. But it would of course require that the detail circuits are on. As a compromise you could put the Detail frequency up to the max to make any edge enhancement really fine, and try turning on Knee Aperture if there is one (I forgot to save the manual from the CD)

With the white clip turned off you should find that the cinegamma curves shoot up to maximum output with DCC on.

With regards to the noise, yes I also found the camera to be noisier than I would have expected. This was visible with the peaking in the viewfinder too. Adding in even +3db of gain introduced much more noise than the PDW-5xx series (one of the things I like about the PDW-5xx series is that you need to go to +9db gain before the noise becomes anywhere near intrusive). The manual states that the new cameras are rated at 54db SN ratio.
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