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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 19th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
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.
Craig, I was on the DVCpro side of thing during the tape migration to digital. I'm super excited about tapeless media. The issue for me is if you have a client your delivering a final cut to there facility may be DVCProHD, HDCAM,HDCAM SR, or even Beta SP. So, if I shoot on a tapeless format and have the final cut as a file there still the issue of what flavor of tape the client needs.

That's why I continue to want XDCAM to earn more market share. If the XDCAM disc would become a more accept end delivery format it would help eliminate the need for tape delivery. This currently is an issue for me because I have a project coming up that needs to end up on HDCAM and that process alone is adding really unneeded cost to the budget.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #32
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Steve, well, I guess I should extend the last comment about distribution to all delivery. Delivery is still an issue. At least you might be able to get away with a deck rental rather than a purchase for output.

I guess we're also "colored" by what we're delivering. I now FTP TV spots using DGFastchannel. I don't need to got to BetaSP or DigiBeta for broadcast spots (actually low budget cable spots). VNRs (Video News Releases) can go by FTP too.

For client screening I deliver h.264 or wmv online. Presentation is an issue since that's still DVD (SD) and I'd like to be able to use Blu-ray. Many clients don't mind getting an HD quality h.264 or WMVHD file they can play from a laptop to a projector or their in office HDTV system.

So it's really HDCAM for broadcast that's hanging things for some so you're stuck with a deck rental and tape QC. For such longform I don't think most stations take DVCProHD tapes for long form (shows) and P2 doesn't seem to have a specific archival method tied it so it may not be perceived as a "complete" system like XDCAM can be.

On the other hand XDCAM is moving to 50GB discs. Alas, even XDCAM HD isn't HDCAM so I'm not sure that'll solve that problem for some time.

I'm wondering if Sony's XDCAM HD 50mbps 4:2:2 is really their attempt to see what they can do to replace HDCAM tape. We may be a couple of years away from knowing where that's headed.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #33
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Distribution of HD is still a nightmare though with HDDVD vs Blu-ray.
Not necessarily: for a little over $1000 you can get all the hardware and software you need to support both formats now, using red-laser discs for the HD-DVD delivery. The big question is what encoding format to use, with MPEG2-HD currently being most convenient but AVCHD looking good once fast encoders are available.

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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.
For me capture from tape isn't a big deal: I just do that in bulk while I'm working on other things and there's almost no impact on my time. If you need to get started editing right away that's another matter, but I don't see solid-state offering a time savings until the cards are cheap enough to use as permanent storage.

The big blow to tape-based recording will be the widespread introduction of HD cameras using standard memory cards like CompactFlash, rather than expensive specialty cards. That could be done today and the only believable reason why it's not (other than a few low-end cameras) is because the camera manufacturers want to make more money selling the memory cards. Once they've soaked the folks with deep pockets then maybe we'll see more cameras based on standard memory, and at that point tape-based formats will start to fade away.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #34
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It's also important to remember that P2 and the XDCAM cards and discs are merely storage devices. They could begin storing newer types of codecs at any time. So, while the actual HD format that ends up on the media is still in the shakeout stage, the media itself should be a good investment going forward.

Part of the reason for Sony releasing a stand alone XDCAM disc drive was to lower the cost to post facilities for acceptance of discs. The only gripe is that we asked for firewire interface and got USB 2.

I know that Sony is committed to making the newer stuff backward compatible so my measly 23.5 GB discs will play on anything they bring out down the road.

-gb-
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Old September 19th, 2007, 11:22 AM   #35
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XDCAM Disc Delivery

Has any one delivered a finished product on an XDCAM disc? I'm curious what the response from a local station or cable provider would be.

Theoretically, if they have a digital head end(playback facility) you could even bring your XDCAM disc drive with you to transfer the files to their HDD storage. They would only need the codec.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 11:23 AM   #36
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It's also important to remember that P2 and the XDCAM cards and discs are merely storage devices. They could begin storing newer types of codecs at any time. So, while the actual HD format that ends up on the media is still in the shakeout stage, the media itself should be a good investment going forward.
P2 cards are likely to disappear over the next few years and I wouldn't bet on SxS becoming widely used in video cameras either. Digital photography works because it uses inexpensive standardized memory which anyone can buy anywhere for a few bucks, and that's what it's going to take to eliminate tape in future video cameras. But miniDV tapes will be with us for years to come regardless...when I went to Disneyland recently they still had VHS-C tapes for sale in the gift shop.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #37
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P2 cards are likely to disappear over the next few years and I wouldn't bet on SxS becoming widely used in video cameras either. Digital photography works because it uses inexpensive standardized memory which anyone can buy anywhere for a few bucks, and that's what it's going to take to eliminate tape in future video cameras. But miniDV tapes will be with us for years to come regardless...when I went to Disneyland recently they still had VHS-C tapes for sale in the gift shop.
I am merely pointing out that these media are not limited to the current flavor of HD encoding. That's it. I feel like solid state and optical will be the ones given new life as time goes on, unlike tape based formats. Could they allow HDCAM style tape cassettes to start storing XDCAM HD material? Probably so. But I don't think that's going to happen.

To answer the original question posed on this thread, the EX is not the death knell for tape. It's just another part of the transition puzzle.

The good news is that Sony is not the sole manufacturer of these expensive specialty cards and more manufacturers will jump in. That will create competitive pricing.

-gb-
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