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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 17th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kyle Self View Post
oh geeeez

Tape is not going anywhere for many more years to come. If it were that easy I think there are many of us here who would have killed of 3/4" decades ago.

Heck, I can still get 2" tapes played back. The bigger question is why does even knowing about 2" tape make me feel ancient when I come into the forum, lol.

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Old September 17th, 2007, 11:05 PM   #17
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Recording video on solid state memory cards won't take over until it's as cheap and convenient as shooting on tape, and we're probably about five years away from seeing that happen. Consider that a miniDV tape holds slightly less data than a 16GB memory card and costs around $5 (give or take a little), while a 16GB card currently costs about $200. If the price of such cards falls by a factor of two every year it'll be $6.25 in the year 2012, so mark your calendar...
I think technologies like CD and hard drive will be where the consumer market goes for sure. If you look at how many new camcorders are coming out sans tape it will be sooner than later.

The cost per unit of storage on a hard drive is about the cheapest around and pretty much matches tape. Its long term storage where tape certainly has the edge.

Tape as an acquisition medium will certainly disappear first. It will take longer for tape to loose its grip on the archiving market. That day will eventually come but will be much longer in getting here.

Just like wax and phenolic in the audio world was replaced by compact disks and now DVD-A, eventually everything becomes obsolete... Us included! ;)

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Old September 18th, 2007, 02:56 AM   #18
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The future is bright...the future is card

Quote Kevin Shaw "Consider that a miniDV tape holds slightly less data than a 16GB memory card and costs around $5 (give or take a little), while a 16GB card currently costs about $200."

From other posts 16GB = $900 (£450) and mini HDV = $12 (£6)...You are forgetting two important points, how many times do you dare to re-use mini HDV tape...none if you keep it for reference, after 75 HDV tapes you have spent $900 and counting, money tied up in tape that in most cases will never be re-used. 90% of the broadcast news network store their footage straight to hard disc and use it as a general archival pool, it's all backed up at least twice but thats the future...terabytes of storage, if you are into digital photography your only option is CD, DVD or hard drive, you just need to get into the mindset of backing things up to 2 separate independent drives. In a professional environment tape is becoming dear to store taking up valuable shelf space and if you are ordering boxes of 100 tapes at a time getting used and abused for news work it soon adds up. The second point you are forgetting is once you have bought a 16GB card, apart from archiving there is no more expense. Having worked in a news environment the people who think they count are the bean counters (Accountants) they are always looking for ways to save money so the initial expense of 16GB cards will outweigh the savings in not only space (shelf) but major savings on ongoing tape costs. Lets not kid ourselves within a year or less that $900 will drop to $350 or less once the 32Gig card appears, then the 64 etc. etc. Unlike P2 we will at least see these bigger express cards as it has been adopted by others and not just Sony.

The National Archives of Britain, which hold 900 years of written material, contains more than 580 terabytes of data

Last edited by George Johnston; September 18th, 2007 at 06:25 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 01:13 PM   #19
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The second point you are forgetting is once you have bought a 16GB card, apart from archiving there is no more expense.
So once you buy into a tapeless system you don't have to spend any more money on it until you have to spend more money on it? ;)

Right now archiving in a tapeless workflow is a sticky wicket. Will viable solutions and work flows appear in the future? Of course, but right now it takes more time and money to properly back up and archive tapeless than it does just to put that camera master on a shelf. That's one reason I'm interested in the EX/XDCAM HD line up. It offers, IMO, the best of both worlds w/o a price tag that breaks the bank.


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Old September 18th, 2007, 01:28 PM   #20
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Andrew is right. The last redeeming quality tape has over memory acquisition formats is it's instant archive feature.

If the EX SxS format can be archived to XDCAM optical disc easily with no loss in compression and be affordable Sony has a winner. No matter how fast prices drop HDD storage it's a pain in the arse to keep adding terabytes just to archive footage.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #21
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Steve...

How else can it be done other than to add more HD space. 1 TB of HD is about £340 and 2TB is about £560 storage is dropping weekly, don't tell me you could not stick a 1TB HD onto your system for backup. Look at professional digital photography not only has digital killed of film but all your major pros, weddings included store their pics on 2 separate HDs, I could not have predicted this 7 years ago, both Kodak and Fuji are winding down not only film production but photographic paper as well, they both now know the future is digital and have geared up for it. We live in an instant world where digital serves the hunger for the here and now, no one wants or is prepared to wait for a 35mm film to be developed and printed those days are gone. Tape is expensive, attracts dust, damages easily and is not a good future proof way of archiving, unless you are going to store tape in a clean room grade 7 environment it will deteriorate over time.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #22
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If the EX SxS format can be archived to XDCAM optical disc easily with no loss in compression and be affordable Sony has a winner. No matter how fast prices drop HDD storage it's a pain in the arse to keep adding terabytes just to archive footage.
No if about it. That's what Sony is recommending for archival media. There will be no quality loss because you are merely copying files, not transcoding. I can drag and drop files from the XDCAM disc right onto my hard drive if I choose to work that way. That one of the methods I have used for handing over material to the producer. Attach external FW drive, then copy the disc directories right onto the hard drive. Producer then uses XDCAM Transfer to pick out the sub clips for re-wrapping into QT for FCP.

-gb-
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Old September 18th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #23
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Replying to George via Gregs post

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No if about it. That's what Sony is recommending for archival media. There will be no quality loss because you are merely copying files, not transcoding. I can drag and drop files from the XDCAM disc right onto my hard drive if I choose to work that way. That one of the methods I have used for handing over material to the producer. Attach external FW drive, then copy the disc directories right onto the hard drive. Producer then uses XDCAM Transfer to pick out the sub clips for re-wrapping into QT for FCP.

-gb-

George, this is more of an answer. There's no doubt HHD prices continue to drop. Believe me I remember paying thousands for scsi drives in the 90s, but it isn't what I call convenient to have a machine room. All of these external drives have to go somewhere. I currently have 3TBs and need to add about another 3-5TBs for an upcoming project.

The optical disc are no bigger then a CD, draw no power, and will sit nicely on shelf storage system. HDDs are great for ongoing projects but aren't ideal for finished projects.

Question for Greg,
One you finish a project can you export a finished product then put that on a XDAM disc?
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Old September 18th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
How else can it be done other than to add more HD space. 1 TB of HD is about £340 and 2TB is about £560 storage is dropping weekly, don't tell me you could not stick a 1TB HD onto your system for backup. Look at professional digital photography not only has digital killed of film but all your major pros, weddings included store their pics on 2 separate HDs, I could not have predicted this 7 years ago, both Kodak and Fuji are winding down not only film production but photographic paper as well, they both now know the future is digital and have geared up for it. We live in an instant world where digital serves the hunger for the here and now, no one wants or is prepared to wait for a 35mm film to be developed and printed those days are gone. Tape is expensive, attracts dust, damages easily and is not a good future proof way of archiving, unless you are going to store tape in a clean room grade 7 environment it will deteriorate over time.
HDDs aren't designed to be long term, store-them-on-a-shelf devices though. If they aren't spun up periodically they fail. There goes 1TB worth of media in one fail swoop. There is a reason data tape back ups have been around for decades and don't look to be going anywhere any time soon. Lots of things are changing though and this is just industry growing pains (personally, I think it's a very exciting time to be in this industry).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
No if about it. That's what Sony is recommending for archival media. There will be no quality loss because you are merely copying files, not transcoding. I can drag and drop files from the XDCAM disc right onto my hard drive if I choose to work that way. That one of the methods I have used for handing over material to the producer. Attach external FW drive, then copy the disc directories right onto the hard drive. Producer then uses XDCAM Transfer to pick out the sub clips for re-wrapping into QT for FCP.

-gb-
Greg, I haven't seen an official word from Sony yet, but the EX shoots full raster at 35mbps while XDCAM only does 1440 at 35mbps so there is a question of whether or not the EX footage will stay full raster or get down sampled when it's burned onto an XDCAM HD disc. Hopefully Sony will let people keep full quality EX footage on the XDCAM media.

Steve,
Yes, as I understand it you can export a finished project back to an XDCAM disc. There is also 500megs of "general file" space where you can store any type of computer file such as your NLE's project file, gfx, scripts, music, etc.,. The single-layer discs hold 60min of HQ XDCAM HD footage so if you were working on a half hour show you could store a completed cut of the show as well as all the individual elements of the project so if you needed to re-vist the project all of your raw elements are sitting on a single disc (assuming it all fits on a single disc of course).

-A
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Old September 19th, 2007, 03:53 AM   #25
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As a suggestion - for tapeless or tape-based acquisition we always make sure we add enough into the budget to have a HD backup...

I have an external Firewire hot-swappable SATA drive caddy, so we purchase bare drives which are cheaper and you can get them back up and running without spending ages trying to find the right power-supply!

But it doesn't take long for those HDs to stack up and start taking over your workspace. And you need some sort of a library system or you'll spend ages looking over old drives searching for some footage for a repeat client!
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Old September 19th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by George Johnston View Post
From other posts 16GB = $900 (450) and mini HDV = $12 (6)...You are forgetting two important points, how many times do you dare to re-use mini HDV tape...none if you keep it for reference, after 75 HDV tapes you have spent $900 and counting, money tied up in tape that in most cases will never be re-used.
I'm talking about base prices for any kind of memory card versus standard miniDV tape: Amazon.com has 16GB CompactFlash for a little over $200 and you can easily find good miniDV tapes for ~$5 or so. It's true that long-term costs could favor solid state video recording before memory card prices drop to tape levels, but the time required to transfer and backup large amounts of video makes solid state less practical for video than it is for digital photography. What I'm saying is that when memory cards are cheap enough to use as permanent video storage and video camera makers start using generic cards instead of expensive specialized formats, then it's a no-brainer for solid state recording to take over. That should happen in about 5 years assuming a two-fold drop in memory card prices per year between now and then.

By the way, in eight years of shooting video professionally plus my own personal use, my total cost for blank miniDV tapes wouldn't pay for two 16GB SxS or P2 cards. That's a big cost advantage in favor of tape, plus the convenience and security of being able to store the original recorded data without having to transfer it to something else. Solid state recording has some advantages today, but cost and convenience aren't on that list.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 09:14 AM   #27
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Below are based only on estimates from what I've heard but:

Transferring from card to computer via Express slot is 3x realtime.
Backing up to XDCAM disc is 2x realtime.
So even with the extra backup step you're still faster than realtime . . . faster than tape.

The real cost issue is not card vs tape but XDCAM disc vs DV tape IMHO. Around $30US(disc) vs $5US(tape).

Now if you're comparing XDCAM disc to DVCProHD tape or HDCAM tape, XDCAM disc is very competitively priced.

The issue some of us face is that we're coming from a world where our clients are DV or HDV and, in addition, in some cases the client wants to leave with the tape after the shoot too. So archival of XDCAM is significantly more expensive and finding a way to hand "something" to the client, problematic.
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BTW when the Sony rep gave their presentation at DV Expo East in July they said quite explicitly that the EX would be able to use the non ExpressPro cards and that the cards were about $200 at the time. They also said the disadvantage would be very slow transfer speeds.

IF that's still the case, and I am seeing that being refuted now, those low priced cards would be the one you hand to the client (and tack on the cost) after the shoot.

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Death does depend on how you define it. When Prosumer cameras in the $1000-$5000 price range are solid state, tape sales will start to drop. I expect we'll start to see the EX1 and HVX200 solid state feature "migrate down" into that price range by next NAB and it will spread in the next 2 years. At the same DV Expo East both Canon and JVC also said they were moving to non tape storage although they had different approaches. The conference session was specifically about "solid state" (actually non tape) acquisition and ALL the major camera manufacturers are moving in that direction.

IMHO the market change will result in faster than real time transfers to something you can hand the client after the shoot. The question is what will the client need to play it. Even here Express card is promising (even more so than HDV or maybe DV) in that the client, without any video gear at all, will be able to play the card with any laptop with an Express card slot.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #28
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Sony dominated the pro market for over 20 years with 3/4 and Beta SP. Ikegami was part of that era but mostly at camera head portion.

In the 90s Sony falls asleep at the wheel and allows Panasonic to aggressively sell DVCPro at super cheap prices. Sony tries to play catch up with SX which fails and even JVC tries their hand at a digital format with Digital S.

Since that time Sony has maintained Beta (Digi,SP) in the broadcast market but Panasonic has clearly eaten a huge chunk of the market with DVCPro.

The HD transition is still underway and both Sony and Panasonic are both trying to make "their" solid state media the format of choice.

For me it's a tough time because unlike in years past where Beta SP was the clearly defined delivery format. Now, there is no clearly defined delivery medium and having all of Baskin Robbins 32 flavors of formats is not cost effective or efficient.

Tape will continue on for some time until the format war settles down. Not to mention that the consumer level is just as bad with VOD,Blu-Ray,HD-DVD and so on.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #29
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OK, so lets summarize the costs for a complete outfit (basing on European prices known so far). The Euro 6,500 will give you the EX with small battery and (apparently) 2x8GB SxS cards. Now, I wouldn't feel safe with just 2 8GB cards in the field, or at a wedding, far from the office; with my V1E and DR60, I can take 4-5 tapes with me and be confident I'll get 4.5 hours of HDV material already archived on tapes, with the DR60 ready for fast off-loading back in the office for editing. And all this without even replacing or recharging battery, as the L-series 970 lasts forever on the V1, and the smallest 570 - for more than long enough on the DR60. This is why I'm hoping for the DR60 being usable with the EX1 as well, with its i.LINK outputting HDV! This would mean that should my limited quantity of SxS card not be sufficient to cover all the action out there, after filling them with HQ material I could continue recording SP at 25Mbps to the drive.

But I'm digressing, so back to the topic. To have with EX1 what I have with the V1/DR60 now, I'd need at least 2x32GB cards (DR60 is 60 GB), and in HQ it'd still be less material than I'm having now with HDV (OK - with much better quality). If a 16GB SxS is currently Euro 700, by the time the 32GB version is available the prices will hopefully drop, but still a 32GB SxS Pro card will be at least Euro 1,000 I guess.

So, we have already Euro 6,500 plus 2x1,000 = 8,500. Now to the archiving stuff. The best of course would be the PDW-U1 drive - add Euro 2,500; we have Euro 11,000 plus the price the BP-U60 battery, and a couple of 50 GB Pro disks, for 4.5 hours of SP (25Mbps) field recording and fast archiving, which I have now with the V1/DR 60 and a couple of (almost free by comparison) DV tapes. And these are net prices! Add to it a 22% VAT we have in Poland, and the real upgrade cost is Euro 13,430.

So, the death nell for tape? Well, probably for freaks like you and me, but certainly not for most people out there! I'm going to upgrade, if only for the beauty of the imagers and lens the EX1 offers..
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Old September 19th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #30
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Steve, I've lived through the SX disaster head on. I was chief engineer at a facility that went in that direction before I started working there. I would have advised them to use DVCPro50.

I don't think you can compare the tape format wars with XDCAM or P2. These days, most facilities aren't investing in scores of tape decks. File transfer from XDCAM disc, P2, SxS, is far less expensive. Although facilities pick one or the other, most can handle both without having to buy multiple decks. Now you're dealing with files and archival and those are much more "fluid." I think both formats will exist for a while. A couple of adaptors and anyone can handle either P2 or SxS. A couple of plugins and anyone can handle ingest of any of the data formats.

Distribution of HD is still a nightmare though with HDDVD vs Blu-ray.

Pitor, all these costs will drop immensely in the next two years. Workflow is NOT that difficult though. You can shoot a wedding with an EX1, 2 16GB cards, an assitant with a MacBook or Sony Vaio laptop. Will that cost more than an HDV workflow? Upfront yes. It all depends on what you charge your client though. If the faster ingest saves you a half day on every edit (and time is money for me) than the costs over a year aren't as great as you think.
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