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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old December 29th, 2009, 01:03 AM   #1
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newbie flailing a bit- workflow guidance needed

how to start this thread?... hmmm... could be long... but, here goes..

I work for a software company, and my role is to create training videos for our sales engineers. These videos are mostly created in the 'studio' (converted conference room).
The end result of my work are videos that run in length from 5 to 30 min and will be viewed on a computer (directly or streaming via a browser) or someone's iPod.

Even in these tough economic times, I was able to get a budget and purchase quality items to help me produce these videos. Can you help me and keep me from being the best outfitted skier in the lodge? I want to be able to show great results in a short time.

my equipment:
Sony Z5U
MRC1K
Arri Light Kit
quad i7 iMac with Final Cut Studio

So, here I am.. ready to create great video... yet I don't know where to get started.
Up until now, I have been using an old Sony TRV900 and Sony Vegas. And, I created some decent material. (enough to get budget to take it to the next level) but now I am a little lost with the new equipment.

For the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with the new camera and Mac but don't really know what settings to choose throughout. I had read somewhere that I should record SD to tape and use the MRC1K to simultaneously record HD. If that is the case, then do I just copy the MT2 files onto the Mac and use something to convert them to be used in Final Cut?

Since I have complete control on the complete work flow from start to finish... what is your advice? What settings should I set on the camera? How to get the video on to the Mac? What format should I ingest it into Final Cut? And once edited, how do I get it to look great online or on an iPod?

If you are still with me on this thread, thank you for taking the time to impart some great advice... yes, I am looking to be as productive as quickly as possible. (trying to keep my job)

I look forward to your replies...

-Steven
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Old December 29th, 2009, 04:42 AM   #2
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I only have a minute right now, but as far as the camera, you can begin with Auto and then learn as you go. I say this because you will be in sufficient light and it will be unlikely that the white balance and focus will be issues. A test run under simulated conditions will tell you. They could be, however depending on the nature of things, therefore I would:

1. Spend an hour or more learning how to navigate the camera menu. You will want to learn your way around. It is easy to accidentally change settings in the menu until you are familiar with navigating it. Therefore if you screw up you might need to return everything to the default values and start over. I don't remember how to do that but it is easy...just check your manual or ask here.

2. Learn how to:

a. Set your white balance manually. Look in your manual.
b. Learn how to change your record mode to 30p, 60i, etc.
c. how to change from SD to HD, and vice versa.
d. learn how to use manual focus. Basically, you change to manual focus, zoom in on your subject, focus, then zoom out. Hopefully conditions will be such that initially you may not need to use manual focus, allowing you to concentrate on other things while you are learning.

3. Change your record mode to 30p. Since your videos will be seen primarily on computers, etc., 30p is ideal. This is done in the menu, so you will start with pushing the menu button and go from there. You could start in 60i for a simpler editing process (non-HD) and then make your final product 30p.

4. Setup your lighting to simulate a shoot.

5. Ask a test subject to stand in while you tape a dry run. Have them simulate whatever normally happens during your taping. Record both to tape and to card. (Advise your subjects to avoid wearing solid white tops or bold stripes.)

6. Playback the footage on your computer monitor. Look for issues with focus and see if your colors look accurate. If not, your white balance was not set correctly.

Mac workflow I cannot help you with.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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Thanks Jeff.

So... do you recommend that I shoot everything in 30p HD? To both tape and card?
During this slow week (gotta love having to work the week between Xmas and New Years), I will do a test.

-Steven
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Old December 29th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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Because I do not know Macs, I cannot say for sure what your workflow should be.

Ideally yes, 30p is best for computer viewing, I believe. And you say that is where your video will be seen. However the camera only shoots HD 30p, not SD 30p. There is the issue for me. I personally would likely shoot in 60i and convert it to 30p during post, that way you do not have the hassle of editing HD.

Your Mac is a powerful one, it seems, so editing HD might not be an issue, I don't know.

I can tell you in any case your workflow will be faster with SD widescreen than HD, and it sounds like you need efficiency more than the "perfect" way of doing it, at least in the beginning.

I cannot imagine you possibly need to shoot your training videos in HD. If your lighting and camera are setup nicely, the SD widescreen footage will look VERY nice. I have had customers think my SD footage was HD, if that says anything.

I would get a basic workflow together, and then try 30p later. You can't go wrong with 60i footage that looks good.

This has to be your decision. You can try shooting in 30p but you will likely have to convert it to SD in post anyway, which is why I would just forget it and start with 60i SD widescreen.

Now that I think about it....HERE'S what you should do...unless someone else comes along here...go to the FCP forum here, and tell them what your output will be, and that you have the choice of shooting 60i or 30p...ask them their opinion about the differences in editing the different footage, they might be of more help than me.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #5
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Thank you again Jeff.... I will head to the FCP forum now...

Cheers...

-sjf
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Old December 29th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #6
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Sure thing; head back here with your camera questions...we'll be waiting...
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Old December 31st, 2009, 10:37 AM   #7
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If you know Sony Vegas pretty well and are comfortable with it, I'd suggest considering trading in the Mac for an i7 PC (if you can get away with it politically - certainly won't cost more). A good chunk of your challenge is simply learning a very new system (both a new and very different computer platform and a new and very different NLE).

Shooting progressive is a very good idea (as mentioned). If bandwidth (for viewers) is an issue at all though, I'd suggest shooting 24p. If it isn't an issue at all, 30p is better.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:08 AM   #8
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Robert, your suggestion is a good one of course, but only in theory. There is little doubt the Mac is overkill for what he needs...but if he has "sold" the powers that be on the idea he needs a Mac and they just spent well over 2K, (likely over $3k) on it, he would appear idiotic for making such an attempt after receiving his new equipment.

Truth be told he only asked for camera settings, not software advice, though as a fellow Vegas user I know your heart is in the right place!
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
...but if he has "sold" the powers that be on the idea he needs a Mac and they just spent well over 2K, (likely over $3k) on it, he would appear idiotic for making such an attempt after receiving his new equipment.
I did mention politics. It may well be (probably is) worth it now to simply honker down and learn how to use the new system.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:52 AM   #10
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You know though, politics is a funny game. I can imagine a strategy that might work great, if management is totally naive (wouldn't that be rare - note the sarcasm). It does sound a bit like they are happy to spend money pretty freely on overkill. Could try an approach as if the Mac with Final Cut was proving to be inadequate (trying not to smirk), and pitch a mind-boggling dual CPU i7 PC (with a bunch of huge HDDs in RAID arrays for the heck of it) with AVID at management (and then just use the Vegas anyway perhaps). That would sure melt HDV like butter on a hot griddle.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 12:05 PM   #11
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I actually used a tactic similar to that once. I worked for a rather large company for awhile, back in the 90s, and we were in an inter-departmental meeting with management from two (independent) tech support groups within the company. We had much crappier computers than the other guys. The bigwigs were talking about consolidating functions, and wanting to install some common software on machines for both groups. I picked an opportune moment and made it sound ludicrous to install the particular piece of software on our lowly machines (knowing full well it was no problem really, but the bigwigs had no clue as to what kind of hardware the software really demanded). Everybody laughed. Next day, I had the fastest dang PC in the whole building, sitting on my desk when I got to work (and thoroughly enjoyed playing with it).
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 09:53 PM   #12
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If you edit in FCP rather than in Sony's edit software, consider selling the MRC1 and buying a Focus FS-5 or FS H200.

I considered getting the Sony CF memory unit for my Z5 but opted, instead, to get a Focus Enhancements FS-5 DTE (Direct to Edit hard drive) because it deals with the files DIRECTLY from the drive and can be moved instantly to your FCP timeline. Yes, it's a bit more expensive. Yes, it's a bit bigger. But the Focus FS-5 has some compelling advantages:

1. Direct to timeline editing capability (no having to convert M2T files).
2. The FS-5 is 100 GB vs 32 GB max for the MRC1 on current CF capacity
3. Ability to log DIRECTLY into file metadata wirelessly from a laptop or iPhone (!) on customizable fields. This is a HUGE advantage.

Considering the price of high end CF cards, the price is a wash between the Sony MRC1 and the FS-5.

When Sony upgrades the MRC1 to output to a choice of files that includes MPEG4 .mov files, then I will rethink my workflow. Until then I believe if you're using FCP, the Focus FS-5 makes far more sense in an efficient workflow.

Dave
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 03:40 AM   #13
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Can't you drop *.m2t files directly onto the timeline with FCP?

Btw, it doesn't take notably fast (by today's standards) flash memory cards to keep up with recording at HDV bitrates.
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