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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old May 19th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #1
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What's the best workflow for this project?

I just wrapped a project where we shoot a lecture for about 4.5 hours each day for 15 days. These are broken up into 1.5 hour parts, so at the end there are 45 sections and about 60 hours of material.

We're about to do another one of these and I'm wanting to rethink my workflow.

My goal in figuring out a workflow is speed. What's the fastest way to get the best quality.

The output is online distribution. I don't have to worry about that, I just hand h.264 files over to the web guys and they enocde/publish.

I did everything SD last time, simply for speed of exporting. With this large amount of hours I've got to be able to export quickly. But eventually (maybe not with this next course but one in the future) we're going to want to go HD.

My workflow for the last one (using an FX1) was record to tape and capture to FCP at the same time with my MBP. This gave me a tape backup and I had the footage on the hard drive ready for editing the next day.

I'll have a Z7 for this next one, so it would be great to capture HDV to the CF and SD to tape (so I can get 90 minutes on tape). But my question is how to edit the HDV material?

Generally, when working with HDV, I've been capturing it and setting my render control on the timeline in FCP to ProRes. This has seemed to help with speed, but it's still very slow exporting.

If you were presented with this issue, shooting 60 hours of HDV footage that needed to be exported as quickly as possible after editing, what would you do?

Thanks!
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Old May 19th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #2
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I think you've got a good workflow as it is.

I personally would forget HDV for lecture material. It simply isn't necessary - especially if your delivery is web.

(You cannot record SD to tape and HDV to CF unfortunately. You can do HDV to both, SD to both, or HDV to tape, SD to card.)

Firewire out from Z7 into MBP, backup to tape is the perfect and quickest solution IMHO.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by John Knight View Post

(You cannot record SD to tape and HDV to CF unfortunately. You can do HDV to both, SD to both, or HDV to tape, SD to card.)
Well that's too bad.

Yeah, you're probably right about sticking with SD. I just know it's going to come up eventually and I guess the answer will have to be that it'll take much longer and be more expensive for HD.

I don't have my Z7 yet, so pardon the ignorance, but how does the CF recorder interface with the camera? I assume that even with it recording I'll still have a FW output available?
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Old May 19th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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Nope - unfortunately not. The CF unit blocks the firewire output jack when mounted on the back of camera. I think it's got something to do with the amount of data streamed out of the camera can either be going into the CF, or out via firewire. Not both. But you'd wanna stick with firewire than adding the extra step of CF card, then transferring, formatting, capturing again.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 08:14 PM   #5
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I don't have my Z7 yet, so pardon the ignorance, but how does the CF recorder interface with the camera? I assume that even with it recording I'll still have a FW output available?
Nope. The Z7 blocks the FW port when the CF drive is attached. They did this because the CF recorder uses the same internal "pathway" as the firewire port.

I had a similar gig like the one you're working on and I recorded everything to the CF card & tape, instead of going tape & hard drive.

I think this is a better way, because if you record live into your MBP, FCP is tied up for the entire time you're recording. If you get a FW800 card reader, you can transfer 1 hour of footage off the CF card in around 15min. This workflow keeps FCP free 75% of the time compared to your current workflow.

I would suggest shooting HDV to tape & DV to CF card. This way, it would be quicker to export the video, but you have a HD copy of the footage if you want HD in the future when not on the web.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #6
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I think this is a better way, because if you record live into your MBP, FCP is tied up for the entire time you're recording. If you get a FW800 card reader, you can transfer 1 hour of footage off the CF card in around 15min. This workflow keeps FCP free 75% of the time compared to your current workflow.

I would suggest shooting HDV to tape & DV to CF card. This way, it would be quicker to export the video, but you have a HD copy of the footage if you want HD in the future when not on the web.
You've just added 8 capturing hours to his workflow plus 60 hours of HDV footage on tape that will never be required.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:53 PM   #7
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I can't really shoot HDV to tape because the lectures are in 90 minute blocks.

Dumping it into FCP live isn't that big of a deal, I wouldn't be doing anything with it anyway during that time. Just want to work out the best way to use the Z7.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 03:57 AM   #8
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If you can budget for it the S270 can use larger HDV tapes up to 184mins.

The CF is very robust and you should be able to just shoot to CF and then load each session into fcp.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 12:55 PM   #9
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You've just added 8 capturing hours to his workflow plus 60 hours of HDV footage on tape that will never be required.
If you don't need a tape back up, then don't record to tape. But IMHO if there is a lecture that someone will want to pull off the shelf in 5 years, I'm sure they'd rather watch it in HD than SD (I know I would).

I am of the strong conviction that SD should only be used for workflow issues. Even if you down-res to a cell phone, if you can get a HD workflow to work, I say go HD. If SD can save you hours of rendering & encoding time, then SD.

Depending on how intensive the camera work is, maybe this would add 8 hours, but it could also save 50 hours.

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Originally Posted by Bryan McCullough View Post
Dumping it into FCP live isn't that big of a deal, I wouldn't be doing anything with it anyway during that time.
Bryan if you're locking down the camera, you could easily be editing lecture #1 while rolling on lecture #2. If you are panning & zooming, the entire lecture and wouldn't have time to mess with FCP, then dumping into the Mac is your best bet, and the CF would add 8 hours or more to your workflow.


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Originally Posted by Bryan McCullough View Post
I can't really shoot HDV to tape because the lectures are in 90 minute blocks.
Can you do 83min? (I think it is really something like 86min, or 83min + 3min pad)

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If 83min works & you can bill $7 a tape w/o any uproar, then HDV is no problem. S270 w/ the larger tapes would still be a better bet if you're doing a lot of these.

You can also set the FireWire out of the camera to down convert to SD, so FCP will be capturing SD, while HDV is beind recorded onto tape.


Just a few more ideas, but stick with what works best with you.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:57 PM   #10
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I am of the strong conviction that SD should only be used for workflow issues. Even if you down-res to a cell phone, if you can get a HD workflow to work, I say go HD. If SD can save you hours of rendering & encoding time, then SD.
I 100% agree, I always shoot HDV even if I know there's virtually no chance of the HD ever being used.

This is the first project in years I've shot in SD and only because I couldn't work out a fast HDV workflow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Love View Post
Bryan if you're locking down the camera, you could easily be editing lecture #1 while rolling on lecture #2. If you are panning & zooming, the entire lecture and wouldn't have time to mess with FCP, then dumping into the Mac is your best bet, and the CF would add 8 hours or more to your workflow.
Unfortunately the editing is done the next day (lectures at night, editing during the day) with one of the clients since they know the material. So there's no way to edit during the shoot, even though it is a locked down shot.

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Can you do 83min? (I think it is really something like 86min, or 83min + 3min pad)

Panasonic | AY-DV83PQUS Mini DV Pro Cassette | AY-DVM83PQUS

If 83min works & you can bill $7 a tape w/o any uproar, then HDV is no problem. S270 w/ the larger tapes would still be a better bet if you're doing a lot of these.
This is VERY interesting, I didn't know there were longer miniDV tapes out there. I could make 83 minutes work as there's always about 15 min of dead space during quizzes in each of the lectures. I had just been rolling continuously since there was no real reason to stop, but I could make this work.

Even if I'm still going to edit and finish in SD (via live capture) this would give me an HD archive.

These are good thoughts, thanks everyone!
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Old May 20th, 2009, 07:05 PM   #11
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We do lots of lecture style classes for our university. Your workflow of recording straight to fcp is the fastest way. your bottleneck is encoding to h.264.

Capturing straight to h.264 would be your best bet. Doesnt Blackmagic or Matrox make something that can do that? A few years ago we would record video feeds straight into a mac via dv converter using quicktime broadcaster, its free and records your video directly into h.264. we did have intermittent problems with audio being off sync but that was using a G4 power mac. Perhaps it works better with modern computers.

I dont know how hard core you are editing but you can quickly cut up and create new quicktime movies with quicktime pro. If you have to edit in lower thirds, graphics, or power points etc, then perhaps doing live switching would be best.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 09:28 PM   #12
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We do lots of lecture style classes for our university. Your workflow of recording straight to fcp is the fastest way. your bottleneck is encoding to h.264.

Capturing straight to h.264 would be your best bet. Doesnt Blackmagic or Matrox make something that can do that? A few years ago we would record video feeds straight into a mac via dv converter using quicktime broadcaster, its free and records your video directly into h.264. we did have intermittent problems with audio being off sync but that was using a G4 power mac. Perhaps it works better with modern computers.

I dont know how hard core you are editing but you can quickly cut up and create new quicktime movies with quicktime pro. If you have to edit in lower thirds, graphics, or power points etc, then perhaps doing live switching would be best.
Can't do live switching, too much editing of the material has to be done. It's very technical stuff and often the Powerpoint slides have to be changed and adjusted.

I got my Z7U today and was surprised to discover that there's no LP recording option in DV mode, only SP. So that kind of solves the issue for me. I can't use it for this work since I need to get 90 minutes on tape for backup. If I could record to CF and the computer I could get away with no tape, but with this client and the material I don't feel comfortable only having a single recording source, particularly when it's digital. I still am very comfortable with tape.

I guess I'll be keeping my FX1 around after all. :D
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Old May 21st, 2009, 02:35 AM   #13
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These are good thoughts, thanks everyone!
Glad we can help. I always use Panasonic tapes & have had only good results. The 83min tapes are nice if you need it, but the 63min are normally more than enough for me.
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