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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 November 28th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
SxS has transfer speed of 800Mbps (100MB/s).
Right, but that only matters if you're copying to something which can also sustain that high a write speed - which isn't likely on a laptop. In any case, a CF card which can transfer 25-30 minutes (8GB) of video in a little over 3 minutes should be suficiently practical for field work, if that's a concern.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #17
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One of the gotchas with Long GOP is the 15 frame tape dropout. No matter how occasional it can be catastrophic if it's on your "buy" take. Solid state makes Long GOP much more palatable.
Any single recording solution can fail, so the best way to ensure a critical take is to use multiple cameras and/or redundant recording options. I like the possibility the Z7 offers of recording to both tape and CF cards at the same time.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #18
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Yes recording to tape and memory is a safe bet. But maybe it's me, I'm looking forward to not dealing with mechanical tape drives and drop-outs.
I have sure seen my fair share of issues.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:39 AM   #19
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One of the great advantages of true file based systems such as XDCAM over tape based systems is that the files can be worked with in either the PC or Mac environment. If you encode your HDV material so that FCP on a mac can read it you won't be able to read those encoded files in most PC edit apps and vice-versa. XDCAM MXF's or MP4 can be read by both PC's and Macs. Since switching to XDCAM over a year ago I have not lost one single shot. Managing my footage has become simple and easy. When I have to go back to HDV it is a painful experience, making sure I have m2t files for PC's and .movs for macs.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 12:59 PM   #20
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For a weddings I don't think XDCAM brings a lot more to the table over HDV. If you were doing sports the choice would swing the other way - XDCAM. HDV just doesn't have the bandwidth for lots of motion.
Only in a tape vs. tapeless workflow. How much time do you spend capturing on a project? Now divide that by 4 or 5. That is a huge savings to me and a benefit to my clients. I can spend that time saved on making that much better of a project.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #21
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I'm sold on the tapeless workflow but I still have to admit that there isn't a viable way of going tapeless in some shooting scenarios, especially so with flash card recording, unless you've got very deep pockets to hold a lot of cards.

1) Weddings. I've only shot one wedding but know plenty who do for living. How do you transfer footage on the day when you've got to move quickly?

2) One of my clients shoots a lot of sporting events. That can mean standing on a mound all day in the rain and mud. Again I don't see how you'd setup the logistics to download cards as they fill up.

Capturing from tape isn't that much effort, when we've got a lot on I have a dedicated small system for doing that and my wife does the capturing while I edit and another system does the rendering.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #22
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You'd need a laptop. You can download one card in a couple of minutes while the other card records (with the EX1) so in effect there's no tape change interruption. As to whether you find a laptop convenient or not is another issue.

On the Mac side the MacBookPro at its smallest is still kinda big IMHO. I'd like something smaller.

With the above workflow you'd be captured and ready to edit by the end of the shoot.

With two 16 GB cards you can hold 100 minutes at 35mbps. You may even get through an entire ceremony and clear the cards out in 10 minutes while on the way to the reception.

The thought sure is nice to have 4 to 5 hours of video already captured by the end of the event. Saving a half day of work or more is way too significant to ignore.

If your wife can capture she can certainly be at the event to man errr person the laptop.

For sports, again it's whether having a laptop is convenient to you.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 04:20 PM   #23
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I've been wrestling with this same question, too. I shoot primarily independent, long-form documentary, and often operate as a one-man-band, with no crew or assistants. Dumping to laptop during a shoot is often completely out of the question. For me, the choice between the PMW-EX1 and the Z7 breaks down like this:

PMW-EX1:
Pros:
- 1/2-inch chips and good low-light sensitivity;
- stronger, broadcast-standard XDCAM codec;
- uncompressed PCM audio.

Cons:
- Media cost ($3600 for enough media to shoot for 4 hours straight -- assuming no mid-shoot dumps to a laptop-- OUCH!)
- Cost/time associated with archiving XDCAM-EX footage to permanent media. (XDCAM-disk is pricey, DVD-DL may be a good interim solution. However, if I'm spending nearly as much time transferring and archiving as I would have spent capturing from tape, why bother going tapeless?)
- Size and ergonomics of camera - the PMW-EX1 looks like a heavy, ungainly beast compared to my PD-150
- Cost for new batteries, accessories, etc.

Z7:
Pros:
- Redundant recording to tape and CF
- Interchangeable lens options (I'm really interested in experimenting with DSLR or 35mm SLR lenses as lightweight telephotos, and putting a filter, screen or pantyhose behind the lens element. The proposed Zeiss 8x wide angle looks like a much more elegant WA solution than screwing on WA adaptors on the front of a fixed lens.)
- Can reuse all my NPF-970s I bought for my PD-150;
- Compact, portable design with reportedly decent ergonomics for a handheld camera
- Modular design would support incremental upgrades over time
- Instant archiving to HDV tape -- no need for separate backup/archival process

Cons:
- Smaller chips and presumably poorer low-light sensitivity;
- HDV codec may scare away broadcast clients and I'm concerned about reported motion problems;
- compressed audio.

If Cineform comes out with their HDMI CF recorder, that would help solve some of my codec concerns.

Weighing up all of these pros and cons, the Z7 seems like a better choice for me.

If I had $15000 to spend, instead of only $5000-$7000, I would simply get a PDW-F335 XDCAM HD disk camera and solve ALL of these problems.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:39 PM   #24
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Only in a tape vs. tapeless workflow. How much time do you spend capturing on a project? Now divide that by 4 or 5. That is a huge savings to me and a benefit to my clients. I can spend that time saved on making that much better of a project.
I don't shoot tape now with my V1. I use the matching sony HD. Tremendous time saver. I keep a couple of tapes in the box for emergencies but that is all.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #25
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I don't shoot tape now with my V1. I use the matching sony HD. Tremendous time saver. I keep a couple of tapes in the box for emergencies but that is all.
What happens when you need or want to make a change?

How do you batch re-capture all the footage you used and the footage YOU DIDN'T use?
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #26
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Thanks

Thanks everyone for your comments on this thread. I think I'm leaning more towards the EX1 over the Z7. Both look like great cameras, but I think I like the idea of the larger sensors and the other features of the EX1 such as the CineAlta format and the under and over cranking. I think as I will need to be purchasing around February anyway, the EX1 will be easier to get a hold of perhaps where the Z7 may not even be released on time.

I'll keep you posted on the decision making progress though!
Thanks again.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:29 PM   #27
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What happens when you need or want to make a change?

How do you batch re-capture all the footage you used and the footage YOU DIDN'T use?
I'm sorry and I know this is a bit OT.

Right now any important footage that I need to keep is archived onto hard drives. I know long term this isn't a good solution but for now it works. Once the high density optical storage wars are over and the drives/media are more reasonably priced I will move to optical disk for archiving. I'll not be going back to tape.

Between the 2 edit machines there is about 6 TB of online storage to keep several projects going at once. When a project is complete it is consolidated and moved over to archive drives. When I need to make a summary of the years events I just plug in the drive where the video is located and away I go.

I shot tape for years. I completely understand why people really like it. It is familiar and comfortable. Its been the work horse of the industry because its reliable. BUT it just doesn't fit with the speed in which my product must be delivered. I get business because my clients want something that others have problems delivering. They want their video NOW. I show up with everything I need to hand them a disk within just minutes of when we are done. The tapeless workflow allows me to deliver exactly that. Its not been pain free but I've learned how to work within its limitations.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:38 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
Between the 2 edit machines there is about 6 TB of online storage to keep several projects going at once. When a project is complete it is consolidated and moved over to archive drives. When I need to make a summary of the years events I just plug in the drive where the video is located and away I go.
Chris, do you have a server setup and edit off the server? Or just several harddrives within each machine?

Do you have a hot swappable harddrive bay plug in your archive drives or just use an external case?
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Old November 29th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #29
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Chris, do you have a server setup and edit off the server? Or just several harddrives within each machine?

Do you have a hot swappable harddrive bay plug in your archive drives or just use an external case?
I have drives in each machine and one external RAID setup that can shuttle video back and forth and keep a backup of active projects.

Since I do a good bit of editing in the field I have to keep the machines self sufficient. A network server would be great if the computers spent more time at home! :)
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Old November 30th, 2007, 12:02 AM   #30
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I'm sold on the tapeless workflow but I still have to admit that there isn't a viable way of going tapeless in some shooting scenarios, especially so with flash card recording, unless you've got very deep pockets to hold a lot of cards.
Well said. Tapeless sounds so great, but unless it is done to a built-in hardrive, it can create more problems than it solves.

When it comes to long term storage, unless it is a cheap -- very high-capacity with a very fast record-speed -- optical disc, everything becomes a pain. When the EX1 gets it's XDCAM HD field drive that will help. But, a cheap BD disc is even better because any BD player can be used. BD discs are also cheaper. But then, why not record to BD? I'm not convinced every needs an XDCAM HD industrial strength disc.

The Z7 and S270 clearly don't have the EX1's wonderful chips, but I'm warming to their mix of features. My concern has been their price. But, given Canon and JVC have already defined the price for a shoulder-mount camcorder to be almost $10K -- I guess Sony had the option to do the same. (Still I would have thought $8,500 would be more ideal.)

The Z7 is more affordable -- although $5K would also have been more ideal. (Has anyone noticed how prices have leaped upward from the typical prosumer DV camcorder! Wasn't the third gen. VX1000 only about $4k?)

I expect the new camcorder's HDV to be more than adequate for non-broadcast applications. Not because there is anything really wrong with HDV, but the network gate keepers like to have rules.
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