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


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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
Can I ask why do you consider the EX suitable for weddings apart from it's low light capabilities.
That's the number one reason high-end wedding videographers are interested in this camera, and if it's good enough in low light they'll find a way to deal with any other issues. As far as delivery is concerned, that's feasible now using Blu-ray burners, authoring software and discs which are readily available for PCs. By one estimate there are already 1.5 million Blu-ray players in use in North America in the form of the Sony Playstation 3, plus however many more standalone players are out there. And there are reportedly several hundred thousand HD-DVD players in use plus an unknown number of Apple TVs: add that all up and there are at least 1-2 million households in the US with HD playback capability already installed in their home. Plus many people can play HD content in WMV-HD format on their computer if they're inclined to do so, and at least one wedding videographer claims that most of his recent customers have opted for a WMV-HD disc.

By the way, it might be feasible to mix an EX1 with HDV cameras for wedding videography purposes, and you'd just have to be careful about how you approach that. I could see using an EX1 with two HDV cameras at the ceremony and primarily use the EX1 at the reception, where it's often not necessary to have more than one camera running - especially when the lights go down and you're just shooting people dancing. If you're making any real money doing wedding videos the EX1 is looking like an ideal camera for the HD future, if you can bring yourself to spend the money for one (or two).
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:35 PM   #17
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Yeah i have to agree with Kevin on this. Based on what I've read about the camera I think it will be a great cam for weddings. As for low light do we really know what the capabilities are? I can't see it being any worse than the Z1 and frankly with the 1/2 inch chips I have to think it will be better-certainly no worse. I also agree that for a ceremony you could intercut with an HDV camera do a bit of color correction and level correction and be right in there where the average consumer wouldn't see any real difference.
While HD may be slower to come into play outside of the U.S. and while less than 50% of the population of the U.S. own an HD tv and fewer still have a way to play a BluRay or HDDVD both seem to be building and with the pricing today of HD tvs more and more people in the U.S. are in fact going to them. I think in the next couple of years we are going to see a hugh upswing in not only the number of people that own HDtvs but the number of people that will have the ability to play either BLuray or HD-DVD.
Remember also that the footage can be downrezed to SD for delivery.
Of course I still want to see some real footage from a real world job before making a decision but on the surface the XDCAM EX seems to be the right camera at the right time.

Just my thoughts
Don
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Old September 14th, 2007, 06:22 PM   #18
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Good luck lads and lassies

Hey if you have faith in this new tapeless technology for doing weddings well good luck to you...I always strived to give my brides and grooms the best pictures. You remind me of a former self starting out 20 years ago with all that enthusiasm. I got out of weddings 15 months ago to concentrate on corporate work but it's good to here the up and coming WedVids like yourselves taking the challenge of HD with such a positive edge.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #19
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For me swapping cards isn't that much more difficult then running to the corner of the room to swap batteries. In the time it takes me to pop off the battery on the camera and into the charger and put the new one on and power the camera back up I could have started one SxS card transfering to a laptop or other stand alone transfer device.

The thing to think about the cards is that it is a one time cost. If you shoot 2 or 3 weddings in a week then you make enough money to buy 6 or so cards. Once you have them you will always have them. Your initial cost into the cards may be all you ever have to put into the camera ever again.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #20
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Well, one other way to look at this is bringing a laptop to a wedding is just one more thing that could get stolen.

Especially if you work by yourself, which I do.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
...this new tapeless technology...
It ain't new. We've gone through these *exact* same discussions before, almost word for word in fact, when we first started talking about Panasonic P2 here in 2005.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 08:45 PM   #22
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You can't SHOULDN'T charge DV prices for XDCAM EX HD wedding. Multiple cameras is something to think about but the workflow for a single camera is easily manageable.

Two 16GB cards at 50 minutes each at 35mbps or 70 minutes each at 25mbps should be enough for the ceremony and that's probably going to be your longest stretch of non stop shooting.

Your assistant dumps off one card much faster than real time to a laptop or to the XDCAM burner when that finally happens. You can shoot continuously.

For the reception you or your assistant can also dump off one card while you're shooting on the 2nd.

By the time you're done with the wedding, if dumping to hard drive, you're also done inputing for edit. That can save you a day. If going to XDCAM, everything is safely on a fairly indestructible disc (I'd much prefer this method).

BTW having stuffed dumped to drive as you go also makes the same day edit a bit more viable since the ceremony is in your computer in a jiff.

You REALLY want multiple cameras, you can hire shooters who also have the camera at 1/2 day rate to shoot the ceremony only.

You're not talking low budget wedding here NOR SHOULD YOU BE.

Delivery for your couple with an HD TV set but no means to playback the edit? You deliver not on HD DVD or Blu Ray (which they probably can't play) but on AppleTV (for $299) which can play 720p.

At the minimum for a 1 camera wedding you've got camera, 2 16GB cards, assistant with MacBook(Pro) who can check and confirm xfer before wiping the card. You offer delivery on a brand new AppleTV as part of the package.

Price accordingly. Invite prospective couples WITH HDTV to come over and view your demo on your HDTV with AppleTV and you may well get some bookings in that strata.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 05:44 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
It ain't new. We've gone through these *exact* same discussions before, almost word for word in fact, when we first started talking about Panasonic P2 here in 2005.
Sorry I should had said "tapeless new for Sony".

And I agree with Craig if you are planning to do HD weddings the price should reflect the extra cost and post production time needed to put it all together.

Has anyone done a 2 camera HD production and tried to edit in FCP-6 Multicam, would love to know if it works with such large file data ?
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #24
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George, if you mean HDV, the file size is the same as DV. The long GOP structure means you'd need more computer horsepower to decode and that means spending more money on CPU and ram.

If you mean DVCProHD, I'm sure there are people shooting on the HVX200 (but changing those short run P2 cards must be a pain). Again a reasonably powered computer can handle that. That's a file 4 times the size of DV though BUT doesn't require as much "horsepower" to decode as HDV as it's all I frame. In that case the money is going to fast hard drives. In either case both HDV and DVCProHD can be handled by Intel iMacs as well as MacPros and G5 PowerMacs.

The above does beg the business question. Why does it seem so many folks are shooting weddings in HDV and NOT changing a significant premium. Whether it's more computer power or hard drive space along with, downconvert time for SD delivery, GOP render time, HD monitoring for color correction, your costs go up significantly even if the price of the cameras haven't.

One of the things in common between HDV, DVCProHD, XDCAM EX is that the cameras, relative to the quality, aren't that much more than DV/DVCAM. In every other area your time and expenses go up in some form or another.

This leads to another question relevant to the XDCAM. How does an XDCAM EX wedding videographer compete with those underpriced HDV wedding videographers? Can your potential clients see the difference? What other marketing highlights can help you pull the extra dollars you much charge for an XDCAM EX workflow?

Maybe we need to do a comparison of HDV vs DVCProHD vs XDCAM worflow?
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:33 AM   #25
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Here are the specs for Apple TV:

Video formats supported
H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps

(maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels

MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats


It looks to me that unless your shooting 24p, the Apple TV will sell your camera short on resolution and bit rate.

The Apple TV sounds like good marketing though.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
The above does beg the business question. Why does it seem so many folks are shooting weddings in HDV and NOT changing a significant premium. Whether it's more computer power or hard drive space along with, downconvert time for SD delivery, GOP render time, HD monitoring for color correction, your costs go up significantly even if the price of the cameras haven't.
I'll bite.

You can only raise prices to the level that people will pay them. I have seen people charging $3,000-$4,000 using PD or DVX cameras. To me they are overcharging for that level of equipment.

There should be a price increase for HD, but you can only justify it if people are willing to pay for it.

This is why I have not gone to HD production yet.

People like to idea of HD, but when you tell them how much more it can cost them, then SD starts looking better in their eyes.

In some ways, the EX is a bit of a bridge for me.

I use 1/2" DV cameras now.

The HDV lineup never attracted me. Maybe the 1/3" chips.

The EX will hopefully produce an image that is good enough for the corporate/produced work and it can also be used for weddings.

The produced work will pay for the cameras and the weddings will go up in quality, and some in price.

This is the way I am justifying the EX for my uses.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #27
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Think about the competition...

Tim is correct but you have to market yourselves beyond the cowboys...send out a glossy full colour brochure with a DVD get a professional VO telling your client how good you are, the equipment you are using etc. and giving them options in this case...(Remember not to confuse them with video wording they do not understand).

Standard digital wedding from church to the cutting of the cake = 800

Hi definition digital wedding from the church to the cutting of the cake = 1200

But you must explain in plain english what they are getting for that extra money.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #28
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Pricing

In my business, as in most I have been in, there are those who know how to market and those who live in fear of change.

The latter gets eaten. The move to HDV for me yielded a 20% increase in price immediately. Those whom I had consulted with at the time said I was out of my mind and that people would not care or know what HD meant and I was wasting my time and money.

This was close to two years ago. I effectively sold/marketed the upgrades, capitalized the business with HD cams and doubled revenue vs the previous fiscal year. Net result I made $ more with less time invested. My computers render overnight while I sleep, not a huge set back given the rewards in my book.

The process was not cut and dried to be sure, but what is? Reading researching and participating in forums like this have been great help.

The advantages I see with this cam and format that will pay more than HDV and tapes are thus (for me):

1) No more tapes to buy, heads to go bad, or gaping hole into the body of the cam where moisture, dust etc can climb into etc. More reliability, less actual cost per hour.

2) Faster transfer to HDD and an NLE that may allow a same day edit. Thus providing another income stream. Not to mention possible future jobs from the audience or coordinators, musicians, planners, who will be blown away by a same day edit.

3) Just showing up with pro looking gear. Appearances do count and if you look like a nut with an old PD you will start off on the wrong foot. Even uncle Bill has an HD camera... where did you get this guy?

4) I hope once the numbers get cruched to achieve a lower cost per hour of shooting/storage/editing/render/archive time vs my current flow.

5) If the couple wants the raw footage they will pay extra for it and that should pay for the archiving hardware.

6) This probably should be #1 but the increased quality of the image in all lighting conditions, the expanded creative tools like the DOF, and the frame rate for time lapse, etc. that will allow me to just ... create more better :) Even if it is just for my own head.

My thoughts.... as scattered as they may be.

Mike
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Old September 15th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #29
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I'm going to put the cat amongst the pigeons here! Surely the most expensive part of any wedding video is not the technology but the skilled professional shooting the video. To hike up the cost by 50% just because it's HD doesn't entirely add up. The cost of HD edit equipment is no more expensive these days than SD. Agreed you may need a better monitor but monitors are so much cheaper than they used to be. While an EX is more expensive than say a V1 or Z1 I can't see it justifying such a large increase in the final price, after all you can hire an F350 for £180.00 per day.

In broadcast TV the price difference between an SD production and an HD production when using the same crew is about 20%-30%. It's the crew that eat up the bulk of the budget. Now a top notch DOP is going to cost 5 times the cost of an average camera operator and a well shot piece will always look better than a badly shot piece, HD or SD. With the DOP what you are paying for is skill and experience, something that really is worth spending money on, not some mass produced piece of kit.

So IMHO to mark up your rate by 50% just because your using the latest kit seems excessive to me. If I were looking for a wedding video I don't think you could persuade me that HD is worth 50% more. Maybe you need to revise your SD rate upwards, this would make the HD rate appear more realistic. People know that technology is getting cheaper and cheaper so they don't expect to pay a significant premium just to have the latest mode.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #30
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Agreed Mr. Chapman

The shooter is where the money. In my case I am the DOP and just about everything else. I went with a 20% increase for my most purchased package.

I must say that we did more than just jump into HD. We marketed all of our services more effectively including SEOs and a better web site.

Our business model in particular will benefit greatly from a speedier ingest to the NLE as that happens during waking hours.

The guests (possible future bookings) that saw the HD camera shooting the event made mention of thier being impressed. What that paid off is also unknown.

We are not going back to SD. I assume what the SD proponents are saying is "why jump onboard now?" I guess that is a valid question but for me it has been why not now? This cam can shoot the fullest possible deliverable content. It should be good to go for as long as the DV cameras have been around. I don't see another move above 1080p for at least 10-15 years on the consumer level. Our target audience. Even then the software will surely be able to upconvert a killer 1080p signal.

Many will agree that a 1080p flat panel tv is more than good enough for screen sizes up to 60+"

So, why wait? For the cam to come down $1k? Ok, then wait.

Mike
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