XDCAM, HDCAM, HDV Airshow shoot. at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 10th, 2006, 05:20 AM   #1
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
XDCAM, HDCAM, HDV Airshow shoot.

I just spent a long weekend shooting the Flying Legends Airshow at Duxford. The show features old propeller fighters from the two world wars such as Spitfires and Mustangs. We shot with 2 Sony F750 HDCAMs, an F350 XDCAM HD and a F330 XDCAM HD. We had a 17” Panasonic HD monitor with HD-SDi and component inputs. We had 3 HD 2/3” HD lenses and one ½” SD lens.

We spent a little bit of time setting both the HDCAM and XDCAM the cameras up using Gamma 3, Knee at 95 and clip at 105.
Did the XDCAM’s look as sharp and clean as the HDCAMs?.... No, but then I wouldn’t expect them to given the price difference. The remarkable thing was how small the difference is. We had both an F350 and a F750 plugged in to the HD monitor via HD-SDI and it was only when you quickly flicked from one to the other that the difference could really be seen. Overall the pictures look remarkably similar with rich, natural colours, very pleasing contrast and excellent dynamic range. The F350 exhibited a bit more noise and was just a bit (in a quite nice almost filmic way) softer than the 750. One thing I would point out is that when monitoring direct from the camera like this the F750 outputs a full 4:2:2 unprocessed image while the F350 gives a 4:2:0 signal as get encoded and recorded to the disk. The F730 4:2:2 signal is sub-sampled before being recorded so the actual off tape/disk images will be even better matched than over SDi. Will the HDCAM’s and XDCAM’s cut together, yes they will and the XDCAM’s are not going to be obviously different. If you had a 750 and 350 producing the same shot then yes you will see a small difference, but most real life situations the cameras are giving different shots from different angles and you would only really notice a difference if you were looking for it, as we were. To me the F350 looks a little more filmic than the F750, something to do with the grain and slightly softer look.

The current XDCAM HD camcorders are not going to replace HDCAM, however I can see no reason why XDCAM HD cannot be used as the main acquisition format for a wide range of programmes. The difference is very much like the difference between a DVW790 Digibeta and a DSR570 DVCAM, it’s there but it isn’t huge.

Every one that used the XDCAM liked it. The ability to be able to review rushes on the colour LCD and then instantly switch to record without worrying about cueing up a tape or recording over a crucial shot is brilliant. The timelapse function is superb and the ability to overcrank just makes this system incredibly versatile. I’ve owned many cameras over the years from Digibeta to DV and my F350 has to be my favourite.

F350/F330 differences. Well they are not great. In terms of the final image there is no difference. The biggest down side to the F330 is the viewfinder, it’s just too small for any serious HD work. Maybe if you have the autofocus lens you’ll be OK, but it would be extremely tiring and difficult to squint at that small viewfinder all day. I just wasn’t confident that I was finding focus accurately with the F330 VF. The F350 viewfinder is a big improvement, crank up the peaking and it just snaps sharp when you hit focus.

Lenses. The 2/3 inch HD lenses were great, but they cost as much or more than the camera. I have a ½ inch SD Canon 19x6.7 (cost me £1000 used) and we were able to compare that with the HD lenses. As expected the SD lens was softer than the HD lenses, but not by very much. You certainly couldn’t call it blurred and it's certainly sharper than for example a Z1. However it was not as pin sharp as the HD lenses, I could see no difference in the amount of CA between the lenses in the short test that we did. If you were planning on using any diffusion then I doubt you would gain anything with an HD lens.

The F330K comes with a lens, the F350 without. I have no regrets about buying the F350 and then using a SD lens (it’s all my budget would stretch to). It’s my opinion that you are better off with an F350 with an SD lens, than an F330 with it’s supplied HD lens because with the F350 and it’s far superior viewfinder you will be in sharp focus more often than with the F330’s poor viewfinder. An SD lens that is in sharp focus will look much nicer than an HD lens that is not quite in focus. I do intend to buy an HD lens but I want to make sure I get the right lens, at least this way I can hire in the appropriate lens for the shoot and be sure that it’s going to be in focus, if you have a F330 your going to need a monitor to be sure focus is sharp. As an example I was trying to set the back focus on the F330 and when I zoomed out from the star chart I just couldn’t be sure that it was still pin sharp, with the F350 it was obvious when it was in focus.

My F350 just continues to amaze me. I love the direct disk access, the picture quality and the range of frame rate features. As I get more time to experiment with the setups I am sure I will be able to squeeze even more from it. Would I swap it for an F750... NO.. The F350 is more versatile.

As an aside I adore the new HD colour viewfinders that we had on the F750’s. having worked with black and white VF’s for 20 years, to put you eye to a VF and see a beautiful, sharp COLOUR image is kind of strange. I didn’t use one for any length of time but my guess is that eye strain would be seriously reduced.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com

Last edited by Alister Chapman; July 10th, 2006 at 08:32 AM.
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 06:49 AM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Excellent report Alister, much appreciated. Would you happen to have any still photos of the cams at the show, or were you too busy shooting? Don't want to impose, but if you find the time to upload a frame grab or two from the video, I'm sure we'd all be keenly interested. Thanks in advance,
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 07:18 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Malvern UK
Posts: 1,931
Nice report Alister.

One thing I am finding more now that I am grading the XDCAM HD shoot I did the other week is that the noise is more of an issue than I would like. Especially in the blues. The picture from the 510 is noticeably cleaner than the XDCAM HD and is standing up to the grading process with much more solidity since I'm noticing posterisation on the XDCAM HD footage (noticeable both visibly and on the NLE waveform and histogram).

Of course I am coming from the angle of shooting high def for a downconvert to standard def DVD. For an HD master things are different, although the problems are still there.

That said, the 350 is addictive with its variable framerates! And I've had quite a few comments from puzzled people wondering how I acheived such good slow motion on the last shoot.

Alister, have you tried the 'put the camera into 60hz mode, shoot at 60p, then do a frame for frame transfer to a 25p timeline' trick yet? Works a treat for an extra 10fps slow down :-)
Simon Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 383
Just to correct Alister slightly, they were HDW 750's not 730's.

We're doing the same thing next weekend at a large military airshow here in the UK. As soon as we're in post production I'll post some footage\stills.
Steve Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
Simon, I think it is essential to use -3db gain with the F350/F330. There is a significant reduction in the amount of grain at -3db. I havn't seen any noticable posterisation and I ve been pushing some clips pretty hard in post. Are you grading the HD clips or downconverted DV? Did you shoot 25 or 35Mb? So far I've only used 35Mb and have been editing it in both Avid Liquid (Native 35Mb) and Express Pro (converted to DNxHD).
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 09:00 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Malvern UK
Posts: 1,931
Hi Alister,

I recorded in 35mbps mode, and then transcoded to Cineform at the highest quality, although the original MXF's have similar problems. I was shooting with -3db on both days.

The problem with the shading is appearing mostly on interview subjects faces, particularly in contrasting light. Although it is also appearing on out of focus backgrounds where smooth shading should be seen.

Perhaps I am being over finnicky, but compared to the 510/530 the new cameras are very noticeably more noisy with far less smoother colour shading.

Maybe I have just been spoiled with my current camera!

The problem can of course mostly be seen on deep blue skies (of which there were many on this particular shoot). As such it is pretty distracting to me compared to what I am used to.

Alister, where abouts are you based? Perhaps we could hook up and examine the footage more closely?
Simon Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
I'm in Bracknell, Berkshire. I used a 510 on a shoot last year and loved the pictures it produced, very clean. I have seen stair-stepping on blue skies and near constant backgrounds and this is almost certainly a limitation of 8 bit codecs as I have seen it on DV, Digi beta and HDV. For some reason the Cineform codec seems to exagerate the effect, which is a shame because the CF codec is otherwise excellent. Maybe what your seeing is the limitation of a 4:2:0 sampled image with an 8 bit codec and it's 256 shades of grey.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Malvern UK
Posts: 1,931
Hmm, about 2hrs drive.

Yeah, the chroma stair stepping is there, but like you say, that is also on DV, HDV etc as well and is a limitation of 4:2:0 sampling.

The Cineform codec does seem to 'enhance' the noise issue to a degree (actually annoyingly so). Although it is still on the original files.

With regards to the banding issue it is probably to do with the large amount of range that is crammed in using the Cinegamma 2 curve, combined with the limitation of shades that brings.

However I was shooting additional footage the other day with the 510 using the BBC recommended film style settings which crams a similar amount of range into the same space, but I have had no similar problems with that.

I'm at a loss to explain it really, which is a shame because in all other respects I really like the HD series. Although things do need to be put into context. It would be easy to think that I thought the quality of the HD cameras was a bit ropey. But that isn't the case. I still think they produce superb images.
Simon Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
For the range of subjects I shoot and the budgets I have to work with the F350 is going to be hard to beat. No one single camera other than the F350 (that I can afford) can do HD, SD, Timelapse, Interlace, Progressive, overcrank, has HD-SDi and swappable pro lenses. It dosn't excell at any of these (except maybe timelapse), but it does a pretty damn good job of all of them. It is an excellent workhorse, jack-of-all trades-camera, which as a freelancer is what I need.

The overcrank is half vertical resolution, but if your going to SD then it's still going to look very nice. I wouldn't rent a Varicam, because I own an F350 which even at half res is pretty close to 720p resolution.

Would the F350 be better for a film? Depends on what you mean by better, you'll get a cleaner picture off an F900 or F750, but an F750 costs nearly 3 times as much. I would love to see XDCAM HD transferred to film as I bet it would look very nice.

Simon, you could be right about the gamma curves causing the issue. maybe that's why the standard gamma is so flat. I shall investigate more, but as I said I havn't seen it yet with HD XDCAM.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 12:27 PM   #10
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: DFW area, TX
Posts: 6,108
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
One thing I would point out is that when monitoring direct from the camera like this the F750 outputs a full 4:2:2 unprocessed image while the F350 gives a 4:2:0 signal as get encoded and recorded to the disk.
Alister, the F350 outputs an upsampled 4:2:2 image out the HDSDI port but the camera is a 4:2:0 head with 12bit processing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
F350/F330 differences. Well they are not great. In terms of the final image there is no difference. The biggest down side to the F330 is the viewfinder, itís just too small for any serious HD work. Maybe if you have the autofocus lens youíll be OK, but it would be extremely tiring and difficult to squint at that small viewfinder all day. I just wasnít confident that I was finding focus accurately with the F330 VF. The F350 viewfinder is a big improvement, crank up the peaking and it just snaps sharp when you hit focus.

if you have a F330 your going to need a monitor to be sure focus is sharp. As an example I was trying to set the back focus on the F330 and when I zoomed out from the star chart I just couldnít be sure that it was still pin sharp, with the F350 it was obvious when it was in focus.
You can always buy the vf that comes with the F350 as standard for use on the F330 and then you'll get that same likable vf. But as an F350 owner, you know that already. Both cameras are so similar that they share the same owner's manual.

-gb-
Greg Boston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
I stand corrected about the SDi Greg, I was kind of right, but wrong at the same time. LOL.

Yes you could by the F350 VF, but I bet it costs almost as much as an HD lens if purchased as an add-on.

Next test would be to compare half inch and 2/3 inch HD lenses.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 10th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #12
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Thanks Alister for the extended write-up. It appears I'm in the same boat as you (thinking the 350 is the better choice, but having to stick with SD lens for the time being if I do go 350).
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 14th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #13
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
I wonder what the 330 would cost if you got the better viewfinder.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 14th, 2006, 12:50 PM   #14
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 16
In the UK £1500 extra
William Gaffney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 17th, 2006, 03:27 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
Thanks for that William... That would appear to be a good compromise then, get an F330 kit with the F350 viewfinder. One thing to note is that the F330 has HD component out, while the F350 does not, instead having HD-SDi.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:44 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network