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Sony XDCAM EX CineAlta
Sony PMW-EX1 / PMW EX-3 / PMW 350 XDCAM recording to Express Card flash memory.


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Old March 2nd, 2012, 06:29 AM   #16
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Attached are stills from an event last year of the SxS and 100Mb L-GOP nanoFlash as well as a jpeg from Photoshop where I layered the SxS over the nanoFlash and set the SxS image to Difference and then used Levels to make the difference easier to see.
I would say that if you have to jump through that many hoops to prove there is a difference, then no viewer will ever notice the difference in a final edited production. And just because there is a difference, doesn't make one necessarily better than the other. All a test like this shows is that the EXPORTED still frame images are not precisely the same exact file.

A better test is to overlay both clips on a timeline (something with a lot of motion and fine detail is best) and then run a moving wipe between them and see if you can see the difference while the video plays. In my experience, not only can you not see a difference, you won't even be able to see the wipe moving unless you put a border on it. That's what I mean when I say there is no visible difference between 100Mbps Nano and 35Mbps SxS in the real world.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 07:19 AM   #17
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Just back from a four day shoot in FL where we shot 12 hrs days on the water with fast moving boats, stopped interview footage, and lots of b-roll. I used the EX3 with Fujinon HSs 18x5.5 lens recorded to 64GB SxS and Nano. I am sitting at my edit machine and just decided to use the SxS footage.

As Doug said, if you dial in your PP settings and do not have to grade (proper way to shoot as a one man show for a living), you are fine with the SxS footage. I can not see the difference between the footage with fast moving objects. An as with all footage this will now be compressed once edited.

And don't forget the great SxS workflow which is hard to beat.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 12:44 AM   #18
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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And don't forget the great SxS workflow which is hard to beat.
I can vouch for that. Currently there is no easy way to join spanned clips on the nanoflash if you recorded in MXF and want to keep MXF. There is a joining utility for MOV to MOV and MXF to MOV, but nothing for MXF to MXF.

The Samurai uses exFAT, so it never divides clips thanks to a filesystem that doesn't have a 4GB limit.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 02:46 AM   #19
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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BTW, I actually own a Nanoflash and a Samurai, yet I don't use them for the type of shooting being discussed here because the supposed benefits just don't show up in the real world.
But they do show up in the real world. The frame grabs I provided are not a particularly extreme situation, just leaves fluttering in the wind. Perhaps some people won't notice it when the clip is viewed in isolation, but when you then view the same clip shot on the Samurai on a moderate sized screen the difference is clear to see. The samurai footage has a clarity that is absent on the 35 Mb/s footage. In addition you have to consider concatenation. If you have artefacts in your material, no matter how small, if that material then gets re-encoded you run the very real risk of getting artefacts on top of artefacts, keep going and the image can degrade rapidly. That's why the BBC and many, many others insist on a 50Mb/s minimum. Shoot at less than 50Mb/s and you restrict the saleability of your footage.

If your producing content for the web then 35Mb/s is fine. The super high compression used for the web (sub 20Mb/s) tends to soften and smooth out many small artefacts. Here in the UK we are blessed with a number of very high quality HD TV channels with very mild off air compression. When shows like Planet Earth or high end Drama's get shown you can see the quality in those shows, the images are beautiful to watch. Then you see a lesser show, shot with less attention to detail, less concern about IQ and you can see the difference. So you can't tell me that attention to detail and striving to get the very best possible image is not important. Sure, maybe "good enough" is OK for the web, TV news or low budget stuff, that's fine and of course there will be situations where "good enough" is all that's possible. But when you can do better, then you should, because frankly I don't want my images to be just "good enough" there's plenty of that out there already. I want my images to be the best that they can be.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 06:46 AM   #20
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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I want my images to be the best that they can be.
Really? That statement is contradicted by many of your other posts!! But I'm happy to let you have the last word. I stand by what I've already posted and will leave it at that because you seem to be making a slam against my personal standards or the type of work I do. That's fine. I'm not going down that path with you. I stand by my posts and the quality of my footage. I'll leave it at that and you can have the last word.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 08:33 AM   #21
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

I'm surprised to see two of my favourite video-gurus get into an argument like this. Could it be that it all boils down to European viewers being more critical, as far as image quality is concerned, than their American counterparts? Years ago, when I used to travel a lot to the US, I was always stunned by the poor image quality on tv, compared to what I was used to over here. I even remember a running gag that said that NTSC was the acronym for 'Never The Same Color'. I'm sure that gap has become smaller over the years and certainly with HD-broadcasting, but perhaps it still exists in a way? That would explain why Alister needs to be far more critical on image quality than Doug? Just a thought...
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 09:22 AM   #22
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Yeah, that's it. I have low standards and can't tell the difference between quality and crap. I'm just a dumb American. I guess a .009% difference in quality, that can't even be seen in normal viewing, is certainly worth all the hassle and expense of using an external recorder. I stand corrected.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 09:46 AM   #23
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

.....suddenly, a tense hush enveloped the room......
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 10:58 AM   #24
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Here in Europe 35Mb/s is not considered good enough for broadcast. That is a fact, that is not a rule or regulation made up by me but by the EBU, BBC, Sky and most other broadcasters. Around the world many other countries also consider anything less than 50Mb/s un-acceptable for broadcast. You can argue all you want that 35Mb/s is good enough, but this side of the Atlantic that argument won't get you anywhere. The footage will not be accepted within a productions 80% HD minimum. 35Mb/s is considered sub standard and so counts towards the 20% of sub standard material normally allowed within a programme (normally used for Go-Pros, handy cams and home video). I don't make the rules, but I do have to work to the them if I want to sell my footage. That's why in Europe right now the Canon C300 is hot property. I believe the F3 with an off board recorder can produce a better image than the C300, but the C300 meets that magic 50Mb/s rule.

I have not, Doug said that your work is sub standard, criticised your work or in fact passed any comment on your work. Merely pointed out that if I can, I choose to at least meet what is considered the minimum for broadcast in most of the world and where possible exceed that, because I can see the difference and I want to produce a top notch image, free of artefacts, visible or not. If you don't like that, then that's fine by me, each to his own. Your clearly very happy with your workflow and it's making you money, which is after all what we are in this business for.
But over here, 35Mb/s just won't cut it. Why? Because it's widely regarded as below the quality threshold needed for broadcast. A lot of time and research has gone in to testing all sorts of codecs at all sorts of bit rates by some very clever people with no agenda other than ensuring acceptable quality for the end viewer. I wish 35Mb/s was "good enough" there are many occasions where I have had no choice but to shoot at 35 and as a result had a devil of a job selling the material. 35Mb/s can and often does look very good, but I can do better and if I do better I sell more footage and make more money. It's no coincidence that in the global stock footage market, material shot using higher quality equipment sells for more money than similar footage shoot on lower quality equipment. Again, I don't control the market, these are just facts of life in broadcast TV.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:06 AM   #25
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Question for Doug... first of all I highly respect your opinion and your quality is top-notch so that's a silly non-issue for me. I've been torn for a while now whether I need an external recorder or not, and if I do, then the Samurai vs. Nanoflash is a tough one. I shoot a Sony EX1. I start shooting on a nature doc in May, multiple days out with no electricity, etc. (using solar panels for battery recharges). If my intended 'market' is Blu-ray and streaming on something like Netflix, film festivals and maybe Nat Geo or Discovery HD if so lucky, would bothering with an external recorder be worth it $$ and hassle-wise? Secondly, if you have external recorders, what critieria do you use on when to shoot with them vs. SxS? (I know you also have the Canon XF305 that already hits the 50 mbps specs). But with your EX1/3, when do you decide to use the external recorders, and the criteria needed whether you choose the NanoFlash vs. Samurai?
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:11 AM   #26
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Alister, same question to you (your work is fantastic and your blog is a go-to resource for me, gracias!). Most of us don't have multiple external recorders, if any. If you are shooting an EX1/3 and could buy only one external recorder, would you get the NanoFlash or the Samurai? The Samurai is nearly half the purchase price of the Nanoflash.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 12:52 PM   #27
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Hi Buck. I think I would go for the NanoFlash, her's why:

I can run both the EX and the nano flash of a Swit EX battery with D-tap, no need for any other adapters, so only one type of battery and charger required.

The NanoFlash is very low power.

The files will be smaller, so I would not need as much backup media.

The NanoFlash has 3 years of reliable in the field performance behind it. If I use 50Mb/s then it is 100% compatible with XDCAM HD422.

With any of the 35Mb/s EX cameras I use an external recorder whenever possible if I am doing a project for broadcast or large screen presentation. The only time I don't bother is when doing stuff for distribution solely on the web. For Blu-Ray I would want to use an external recorder as the compression ratio used for Blu-Ray is high enough to show up flaws in my footage, but low enough for concatenation to be a very real issue.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 12:54 PM   #28
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Yeah, that's it. I have low standards and can't tell the difference between quality and crap. I'm just a dumb American. I guess a .009% difference in quality, that can't even be seen in normal viewing, is certainly worth all the hassle and expense of using an external recorder. I stand corrected.
Doug, I never called you dumb or a maker of crap, just as I don't call Alister a pixelpeeper or a sharpness freak. I just suggested a possible explanation as to why two experts with a reputation can differ so much on the same subject.
Anyway, I'm gone, this discussion has dropped below my standards.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 01:09 PM   #29
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Doug's approach is to shoot with his look 'baked' in.
If you work this way, as I often do, then 35Mbps works really well.

What's not been mentioned here so far is that 50Mbps and above on a NanoFlash gives you 4:2:2 sampling.

Good chromakey and heavy grading needs 4:2:2.

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Old March 3rd, 2012, 02:28 PM   #30
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Re: EX3 nanoflash vs samurai?

Thank you for the straight up answer, Alister. That is what I'll do.
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