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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 October 25th, 2007, 09:02 AM   #1
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Was considering this camera but ....

I have had the Canon A1 XH and was very happy when I saw the news on this camera. The deal breaker is 4:2:0 and I know you have 4:2:2 but only live through SDI . The other is the no tape and I know the cards are cheaper . But if I want to do what i do and shoot a show I would need 3- 32 gig cards.
As long as my networks are happy with the shows i am producing i guess I will stick with the imperfect tape and 4:2:0 format and of course HDV .

Doug
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Old October 25th, 2007, 09:18 AM   #2
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As a business you get the camera that either meets the needs of your client, their workflow or to expand your business.

With the EX1, with many circumstances, having a laptop can work. You can offload one card while the other continues to record. This actually means NO BREAK for a reel change at all even if all you have are 8GB or 16GB cards. It depends on whether you find a laptop an encumbrance.

It also means you've ingested all your footage and if you're doing a long show that'll save you hours. 3 32GB cards must mean you may shoot as much as 300 minutes. That's 5 hours of tape ingest time. This would take well under 1 hour which would occur during the shoot. As I said even two 8GB or 16GB cards and a laptop would get you through the entire day without a break to change tape.

Although the EX1 is 4:2:0 the perceived resolution is much higher than other cameras in its price range. I'm sure it'll key or color correct well although certainly not as well as 4:2:2. The Sony 350/355 is in wide use so it must be holding up well in post workflows. Like any non 4:2:2 codec you can get out of that and into 4:2:2 on capture to prevent further degradation (Apple ProRes for example).

If your client is happy with your current quality and your happy with your workflow (don't need the time savings of solid state) than there's certainly no reason to spend the money for the EX1.

For me, I've avoided HDV because it presents way too many problems for me. XDCAM (35mbps VBR) solid state with 1/2" chips and variable frame rate solves most of those problems for me.

If you are shooting that many hours of video you should measure ingest time vs solid state to laptop vs cost though.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #3
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thanks but

Yes I agrre editing and outputting hdv isn't pretty when you ad effects and such, however the quality is fine . I think the cost of cards are still to high for my taste and yes i have a macbook pro that works great with P2 cards also. I really want to go solid state , however what if my client for Bravo or Discovery asks me for a timecoded tape with burn in or such ? Still not practical for me yet

Doug
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Old October 25th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #4
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I think the higher resolution coming out of the EX1 will handle a bit better than other 4:2:0 formats but not as well as 4:2:2. One should move to a 422 codec anyway for post. Keep in mind EX1 sends out 422 from HD-SDI (live from head great, upconverted from card at least gets you out of 420). One might consider capturing to ProRes. That's for either XDCAM or HDV.

Cards are pricey but I stil think it's a better workflow than ingesting tape.

Timecoded tape with burn in. We'll you can actually put about 25 or 35 minutes of the raw video file on Dual Layer DVD which they can see with the free viewer Sony will distribute. It might not be their workflow of choice but I actually think that's easier than handing the client a tape that required they find a deck.

If you're doing TC Tape with burn ins from camera masters you're dubbing those HDV tapes anyway. You can certainly use the HD-SDI/SDI out of the EX1 to dub to the format of their choice and that shouldn't be any more difficult than dubbing from HDV tape. If you have any kind of facility you can also dub from your hard drive to create burn in dub too. I'm not sure how you think HDV is advantage here.

I always do burn in dubs after capture, which becomes much faster with the capture speed of SxS.

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Originally Posted by Doug Tessler View Post
Yes I agrre editing and outputting hdv isn't pretty when you ad effects and such, however the quality is fine . I think the cost of cards are still to high for my taste and yes i have a macbook pro that works great with P2 cards also. I really want to go solid state , however what if my client for Bravo or Discovery asks me for a timecoded tape with burn in or such ? Still not practical for me yet
the EX1 SDI
Doug
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Old October 25th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #5
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best format

Sony Xd cam F350 with disk however the workflow for outputting it still requires a facilty that has HDcam or the sony XD deck to tranfer it. All Iam saying is when I shoot ashow I have a month to do it and its all on location and not in a studio . I will post some clips for you . So how does a non-tape format work for me unless its the 350 series ?

Sincerely
Doug
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:05 PM   #6
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On location, no studio. How are giving them a Time coded burn in tape now?

These days I usually burn a DVD Video with burn in.
Input into FCP, add time code reader filter, render, burn DVD in iDVD.
or
Input file into Flip4Mac/Episode, use time code filter, burn to any web format the client can read and post online or burn file to disk. Alternative is to burn MPEG2 elementry stream and create a quick DVD in DVDStudio Pro.
How fast this is compared to a real time dub depends on the speed of your CPU. If you have no studio I don't know how you'd dub a time coded tape with burn in. You need a tape deck to go to tape.

Again if you have laptop you can burn the actual files on to dual layer DVD and THEY have a MASTER. Make a 2nd dual layer DVD and YOU have a MASTER too. All this can be faster than real time given ingest and burn speed.

Actually you have a copy on your laptop hard drive (or attached firewire drive) on ingest but backing up to disc might bive you a little bit of "security"

Keep in mind the dual layer DVD you make needs no deck. It's master. The client can play it back on their computer with the Sony Viewer. Your client can be in their office or on a Jet with their laptop and view the actual master footage with the master time code.

With EX1 all you need for location is two SxS cards, Laptop with Dual Layer DVD drive, a bunch of Dual Layer DVDs. Client needs a computer with free Sony Viewer to view.

With HDV you need a bunch of tapes. Send client HDV tapes and you have no backup master. Client must have the correct HDV deck to play those tapes. Import to laptop and you have much longer import times and you're using your camera (unless you bring a deck).

Run out of DL DVD on location and find many stores that carry them. Run out of HDV tapes and find few stores have them and then you may have to worry about switching brands if those issues concern you.

Also keep in mind Sony will have an XDCAM disc burner that can hook to a laptop (USB) for about $2500 by NAB, if you want XDCAM discs. It'll handle the 50GB discs. Blu-ray burner is another option. With XDCAM or Blu-ray client will have to have the ability to play those back though.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #7
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I just gave my client as dvd from the timeline of FCP no burn in needed. However I would like to go tapeless someday. Had the firestore FS-C 100 and it performed horribly along with its antquated 32 fat file limitation so your suggestions are great but they cost money .

Thanks again

Doug
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:28 PM   #8
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Since you mention Firestore. Sony has said that the EX1 will work with their DR60 hard drive out of the firewire port with 25mbps. 60GB should give you about 260 minutes of record time. You're probably dealing with a .m2t file though.

I've heard lots of Firestore horror stories so you don't have to convince me about that being the wrong way to go at all. I just mention the Sony as another option although I'm not inclined to go that route either.

As noted, with EX1 you can give client Dual Layer DVD of master file and not even go through FCP.

Yes money can be and issue. You have laptop though.
Camera $6500-$6999
You'll get 2 8GB cards with that (total 50 or 70 minutes of record time combined).
Want a 16GB card. Poss. $900 list for another 50 or 70 minutes of record time. That price will likely drop though in just a few months.

True you can get 2 HDV cameras in some cases, for that price, but time is money to me and card workflow is blazing fast compared to tape. 8 hours of card data, ingest may be done by the end of the shoot. 8 hours tape. That's a work day of ingest. I'd rather have the choice of another billable day on another job or a day off. Even if all you gain is one extra day a month you've either got 10 vacation days or 10 days on other jobs and that easily makes you more money than the difference between HDV vs EX1 camera price. You can certainly gain more than one day a month so that's a conservative estimate.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 01:13 PM   #9
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I would like to thank Craig for a couple of very informative posts.
Recently I had to buy a camera for a documentary.
I wanted a 355, but due to the sensetivity of the case we had to use a "small" camera.
The EX seemed to be close to perfect, but it didn´t come out in time.
I got a very good price on a XL-H1 so I went with that. I´m quite pleased with the image, but I DON`T like the (impossible) handling of that lens or the fact that clients can´t play back 25f on their decks.
I decided to shoot the documentary interlaced because of that and I´m not too happy about that.
I´m one of the first on the list to receive a EX here in Norway next week if I want to. I´m dying to get it just for the manual operating of the lens.
I´m having a hard time figuring out to go for it or not, as I don´t have a project where I can use it to pay for it.
Another thing that worried me was "the handling material over to clients" bit, but after readin Craigs posts I have finally undserstood a way of dealing with this.

It all suddenly made perfect sense to me.

Thanks.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 01:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Tessler View Post
The deal breaker is 4:2:0...
But it's 4:2:0 for full 1920x1080 resolution, which gives you 518,400 color samples per frame. Compare that to the HVX200 which has that same number of pixels on its sensors and only records 345,600 color samples per frame in the most commonly used modes, and the EX1 seems fine by comparison.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
...but time is money to me and card workflow is blazing fast compared to tape. 8 hours of card data, ingest may be done by the end of the shoot. 8 hours tape. That's a work day of ingest. I'd rather have the choice of another billable day on another job or a day off. Even if all you gain is one extra day a month you've either got 10 vacation days or 10 days on other jobs and that easily makes you more money than the difference between HDV vs EX1 camera price. You can certainly gain more than one day a month so that's a conservative estimate.
Tape capture can be done in bulk with only a couple minutes of attention per hour of footage while doing something else productive (like editing on another computer), and at the end of the capture process you also have an archive copy of your source footage on the original tape. With the EX1 you'll have to transfer the video data to your computer, possibly process it to be recognizable by your editing program, and take time to make at least one redundant/archive copy somewhere. I don't see much if any time savings there overall, so the main advantage is getting rapid access to your footage if you have a tight deadline to meet.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 04:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
But it's 4:2:0 for full 1920x1080 resolution, which gives you 518,400 color samples per frame. Compare that to the HVX200 which has that same number of pixels on its sensors and only records 345,600 color samples per frame in the most commonly used modes, and the EX1 seems fine by comparison.
The HVX 200 does not have the same number of pixels on its sensors. In fact, it has the least number of pixels than any HD camera on the market. You probably should re-check your facts.

With half-inch sensors, there is no doubt that this camera will perform better in areas that the HVX 200 cannot. However, the EX 1 street price is looking like it will come in $1200 to $1500 more than the HVX 200. The HVX has very nice SD options; whereas, the EX 1 has none. In my opinion, I don't think HVX users will be quick to jump to the EX. I do think there is a market for both. Watch out, though, if Panasonic decides to add their AVC-Intra codec and half-inch sensors in an updated HVX 200, and I don't mean the 500.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 05:47 AM   #13
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With half-inch sensors, there is no doubt that this camera will perform better in areas that the HVX 200 cannot. ........... In my opinion, I don't think HVX users will be quick to jump to the EX.
No - I doubt many will get an EX if they already have a HVX200. But there are many people looking to upgrade from older gear, and for them the EX is now likely to be far more attractive than the HVX.

An HVX200 replacement along the lines you suggest is one thing, but I for one am interested to see what other manufacturers do - JVC and Canon being the obvious two.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Tessler View Post
I really want to go solid state , however what if my client for Bravo or Discovery asks me for a timecoded tape with burn in or such ?
Masters submitted for HD broadcast most commonly need to be on HDCAM, and you're facing that restriction no matter what format you're using for acquisition... whether you're solid state, or HDV, etc. So how is this even an issue here.

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Originally Posted by John Bosco Jr. View Post
The HVX 200 ... has the least number of pixels than any HD camera on the market.
Makes no difference. The number of pixels on the image sensor is a complete non-issue. Like all other three-chip camcorders, the HVX 200 gets a significant boost in resolution from Pixel Shift. Remember, an image sensor is an analog device... therefore we need to focus instead on what is delivered from the camera's image processor *after* the signal has been converted from analog to digital. There's nothing wrong with the HVX 200 in this regard. If you fixate on the number of pixels on the image sensor, then you're completely missing out on what the camera is actually capable of delivering.

I agree with David Heath and others in that not very many HVX owners will see a need to switch to the Sony EX1. Also, I'm not seeing much of a point to this thread anymore...
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Old October 28th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #15
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Agreed,
There's always trade-offs.
I can't imagine there will be many leaving their HVX200 for the EX.

Not having either, one may sway towards the EX, but the HVX has its plusses too.
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