FCS2 and HD and the EX at full quality? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 13th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 54
FCS2 and HD and the EX at full quality?

Talking to my Mac Guru... HD is not straight forward, there are differing types of HD, compression rates...it's a mine field. Basically to try to put it in plain mans english...
The less compression your HD signal has the more problems you will present to your computer, this is where the AJA lo HD box comes in (£2400) it takes an HD signal and converts it to the Apple ProRes codec to allow your Apple MacPro the breathing space it needs to handle this amount of data, so ProRes compresses your HD signal. A true HD uncompressed signal would be too fast for your hard drive to keep up so it needs to be compressed to allow it to do so.
As it stands FCS2 will edit HDV without much problem on both MacPro & MacBook Pro (laptop) it's only when you go to compress the HDV footage for a DVD that all the resources are taken up by the computer. It will take a top spec MacBook 2-3x longer to compress than a full spec 8 core MacPro.
I have been told that DVCPRO HD at 100Mbps would not work in my MacPro without external hardware support like the AJA io HD box and would struggle with 50 Mbps thats only 15 Mbps away from Sonys EX at full quality.
So beware is your system up to the job, I for one will be finding out before I leap into a minefield that might just cost me more than the camera itself.
Some figures to ponder...
Sony EX = £4400 with 2 8Gb cards (Sony's initial intro deal)
Sony SxS cards 16GB x2 = £1100
Remote arm = £150-200.
Archive onto XDCAM PDW U1 = £1800 plus £15 per XDCAM disc
MacPro 8 core with 6 Gig mem = £3800 with no Blue Ray recorder.
FCS2 full version = £650
AJA io HD = £2400

TOTAL to go HD with a Mac = £14,370
George Johnston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
I have been told that DVCPRO HD at 100Mbps would not work in my MacPro without external hardware support like the AJA io HD box and would struggle with 50 Mbps
Might want to find a new 'Mac Guru', it sounds like he's got some things mixed up there... one of the benefits of using DVCPRO HD over an MPEG2-based codec like HDV or XDCAM is that the lower complexity of the intraframe-only compression puts much lower demand on the processor, resulting in faster performance and more headroom for real-time effects. DVCPRO HD at 100Mbps plays flawlessly on my dual-2Ghz G5, and almost on my 1.62GHz G4. Your macbook should have no problem playing it back, short of possible drive speed issues if you try to use the internal drive - but with an external firewire drive you should have no problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
The less compression your HD signal has the more problems you will present to your computer
This isn't necessarily true - it depends on what you mean by 'problems'. The less compression you have, the less demand you put on the processor - but the more bandwith you need. Uncompressed video uses the least processing power to decode, but demands the highest bandwidth (drive speed), while highly compressed video formats (HDV, AVCHD) allow you to use single, relatively slow drives but will use up a lot more processor cycles to play back.

So...

less compression = more potential for problem with bandwidth/hard drive performance
more compression = more potential for problem with processor speed/performance

No recent mac should have any problem playing back HDV, DVCPRO HD or XDCAM at full resolution - and if you want uncompressed its basically just a matter of adding a fast disc array.
__________________
My latest short documentary: "Four Pauls: Bring the Hat Back!"
Evan Donn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2007, 07:58 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 358
I have edited HDV on my macpro it might be alittle more processor intensive and take longer to render some effects but it's just fine it wont slow it down to the extreme at all.

Rob.
Robert Bec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2007, 10:12 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
I agree, you need to upgrade to at least Guru 2.0.

I've used my friends FCP2 setup with several formats including HDV and it works just fine.

Chris
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 352
I know it's been said before, but yer Mac guru doesn't seem to be much of a video guru (at least not HD video). DVCPro HD can be handled by G4's running off of FW400 HDDs although you won't get very much RT performance w/a setup like that. Unless you are working w/Uncompressed HD that you want to get down to a more manageable file size you won't need anything like the AJA Io HD.


-A
Andrew Kimery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 02:54 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 54
The Guru has been shown the door...! Shame I forgot to open it on his exit.

I have dipped my toe into HD using green screen hoping the extra bandwidth would give me a cleaner GS but found all sorts of problems least of all bringing Motion to almost a grinding halt. Motion 3 has some good key plugins that work better than the basic plugins seen in FC-6, but I solved this by filming further GS with DVCPRO 50.
I like many others here do not want to make a big mistake buying a camera that only gives you HD... like the Sony XDCAM EX... which sounds great on paper but as we all know HD is the future and we must get it right.
Once again the consumer gets rodger-ramgetted by the video manufacturers with far to many variables ie. various types of HD, various qualities, compression ratios etc. etc.
I want to film, log & transfer and edit...with no hassles, no extra steps in the chain as in a professional environment time is money and we have deadlines to meet...and lets be honest as yet I have nothing to output HD yet... the Pioneer BDR-202BK BluRay is only £260 when available. Here's the best yet...the Pioneer 202 wont work in an 8 core MacPro as it uses SATA connections and good old Apple use IDE connectors so if we are to go down the Blue Ray route we have no option but to use an external BR drive at £470...THANKS APPLE...!!!

Last edited by George Johnston; September 14th, 2007 at 04:00 AM.
George Johnston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
All you need to work in HD with the EX1 is a laptop computer with an ExpressCard slot, software capable of editing the footage and authoring a Blu-ray disc, and an external Blu-ray burner. The simplest/cheapest approach to that at this time would be as follows:

- Sony EX1 with 2 8Gb cards: ~$8000

- Extra SxS memory cards as needed: $500-900+

- Decent Windows-based laptop: ~$2000+

- EX1-compatible editing software (most likely Adobe CS3 or Sony Vegas): ~$600-800

- External Blu-ray burner: ~$600-800

- Five BD-R discs: $90

- External 500 GB hard drive to back up your first 25 hours of footage: $115

Total cost starting from scratch to produce a high-quality Blu-ray movie: ~$13,000. By comparison, how much for the least expensive SD camera with a 1/2" sensor, plus a decent computer with software and a standard DVD burner?

If you're interested in the EX1 because of its excellent specs then find a way to get the money for one and figure out how to handle the workflow. If not, get a cheaper HD camera or stick with DV for now.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Northampton, England
Posts: 500
I think there are two spare SATA connectors on the MacPro motherboard near the optical drive area...

Incidentally, I've worked with DVCProHD100, XDCAM HD and HDV all without any problem on a stock 2.66GHz MacPro with no extra cards or external hardware. The only thing I've done is to soft-RAID 3 of the 4 internal drives. (I have a boot drive and the RAID is used for projects / scratch).

No matter what the "DVCPro is the only answer to keying" camp might say, keying and graphics are NOT a problem with XDCAM, especially if you're working with progressive footage. There is not really any quality advantage going with DVCProHD, and I would have to say that XDCAM is easily my preference given that it's a great balance between quality and storage space.
__________________
Alex
Alex Leith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Scotland
Posts: 54
A tad childish Alex

Quote Alex Leith "No matter what the "DVCPro is the only answer to keying" camp might say". I don't come from a camp...I use what is the best, affordable production tool and it happens to be DVCPRO 50. It is a known fact and I have done fair amount of green screen over the last 6 years, struggling with DV, DVCAM, using ULTRA 2 which is good but the arithmetic tells you that 4.2.2 is the correct method for producing cleaner green screen. So Mr Leith given that you seem to be stuck in Sonyland it's not my fault that Panasonic came out with the best solution for green screen long before Sony. A camera is a working tool, not a name. I have had a variety of cameras in the past 15 years and I can assure you...I do not give a jot whether I have a Sony, Panasonic, JVC or Canon as long as it does the job.
George Johnston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 10:53 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Northampton, England
Posts: 500
Sorry George, my comments were not supposed to be an attack on anyone or anyone's tools of choice...

I was under the impression that you wanted know of the experience of Mac users regarding XDCAM HD... So I was sharing mine.

I wasn't implying that you were married to Panasonic. I definitely don't sit in any camp. I've worked (and work) with DVCPro50, DV, DVCAM, DVCProHD, XDCAM HD, HDV, and all have advantages and challenges.

Those who are "blindly" pro Panasonic tend to cite 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0 as a solid reason NOT to choose any other formats. However, from experience I've found that the difference between keying with XDCAM HD and DVCProHD is practically imperceptible. It can't really be compared to the difference between DV and DVCPro50. To my eyes I prefer the look of XDCAM HD over DVCProHD, but thats a personal taste thing.

I apologize if I offended you.
__________________
Alex
Alex Leith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #11
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: DFW area, TX
Posts: 6,108
Images: 1
Guys, let's dial it back a little bit.

George, with all due respect, your thread title promotes FUD, based on some not so accurate advice from your 'mac guru'.

From your post, it sounds like you haven't had the opportunity to work with XDCAM HD footage and it does key nicely despite the 4:2:0 color space. I think that's all Alex wanted to point out. Perhaps he could have mentioned it with a bit less rhetoric.

By all means, use whatever you feel necessary to produce quality green screen work, but don't rule out something new based on numbers alone. Keep in mind you also have the option of shooting high quality XDCAM HD and bumping it down to DVCPRO50 in FCP. It wouldn't be the first time this was done. I believe one such example is the opening segment for "Sheer Genius" airing on the Bravo Network.

-gb-
Greg Boston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Northampton, England
Posts: 500
Rhetoric, Greg? Well really! ;-D

Heh! Heh! Yes, you have succinctly and clearly encapsulated what I was trying to say without all the guff.
__________________
Alex
Alex Leith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 1,719
Heck my laptop is a simple Pentium 4 3.0 Ghz and I am playing back a 1920x1080 mpeg2 video at 50 mbits/s 4:2:2 that I custom made myself while typing on this forum and it plays back with no problem at all. While mpeg2 based HD may not run as smooth as DVCPRO50 it is 100% workable and many people here and in the world do it every day.

With mpeg2 the bitrate doesn't really have anything to do with performance. A mpeg2 stream at 50 mbits will play just as well as a stream at 25 mbits given that there is enough drive bandwidth. If your system can handle 50 mbits for DVCPRO50 then it can handle 50 mbits or less of mpeg2 in terms of drive bandwidth.

Yes rendering and FX work for HD may be slow but I use Liquid and I don't really notice it being a huge deal breaker. Perhaps FCP isn't as good with native mpeg2 as I thought it was. I have actually edited HDV on FCP on a two year old system and I thought it flowed pretty well. Of course I wasn't there during the output phase of the project.

As for keying you do realize that good 1080 4:2:0 video has more chroma samples in it then 4:2:2 SD? For example for PAL SD you have 360x576 chroma pixels. For HD you have 720x540. If you are talking about full raster then it is 960x540 chroma pixels. That equals better chroma precision.
Thomas Smet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
the arithmetic tells you that 4.2.2 is the correct method for producing cleaner green screen.
No, the arithmetic tells me that 4:2:0 full raster XDCAM is the correct method for producing cleaner green screen, as it has roughly 40% more pixels per color channel than 4:2:2 DVCPro HD and three times the pixels per channel of 4:2:2 DVCPro50.

The thing you have to understand is that numbers like 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 don't have any meaning except within the context of total pixel resolution of a format.

Also, my 3 year old G5 has SATA - Apple hasn't used IDE for several years so your Blu-ray drive should work just fine. It sounds like you don't just need to find a new guru, you need to throw out everything yours has been telling you and start over with your research.
__________________
My latest short documentary: "Four Pauls: Bring the Hat Back!"
Evan Donn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Franklin,TN
Posts: 32
I'm not going to pile on too much but there's really too much speculation based on a spec sheet.

Since the beginning of digital video creeping up on Beta SP people have argued color space as the determining factor if a format was better or not. The color space is one in a long line of important tech specs, reolution, chip size, optics and most important the end user.

I've worked with both 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 green screen footage and have had good and bad experiences with both, mostly due to lighting and not the color space. Ultimatley using keylight in AE I've been able to pull good keys from both.

My take, look at the image the camera produces to your eye. If you think it looks better then camera B then that's the cam for you.
Steve Mydelski 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 XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:01 PM.


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