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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 December 4th, 2007, 10:32 AM   #31
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Barton,

I'd love to see some footage out of the HD-SDI and have a look at it, even a single uncompressed frame would be fantastic...

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Old December 4th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #32
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Yes, I would like to have a real 10 bit HD-SDI montior. I wil say that the banding was much less noticeable on the CRT, but when viewing higher bit depth photos on my LCD, the banding is still way less noticeable than a regual 8 bit pic. And btw, it wasn't bad banding at all, just something I'd expect from 8 bit video.

Thomas, do you have a way to view 10 bit video properly? I'd be happy to send you a couple clips to peruse.
The only monitor I've used that displays 10 bit color is the Sony BVM L230. There are other manufacturers that manage this- but I've never seen their monitors for real.

The BVM L230 is MSRP $25000 USD. That's a "base" unit. I think you'd have to add an HD SDI i/o board.

I don't think that the earlier BVM CRT monitors displayed 10 bits per channel, but I've never really used or considered one, so I don't know for sure.

No computer monitor displays 10 bit color. In fact a lot of HD LCD computer monitor panels don't even display 8 bit per channel.

(I have two Gateway FPD2485SW monitors and I can assure you they display dithered 6 bit color. There is a clear difference when comparing to my Apple Cinema Display (aluminum 23"))

So... unless you've examined the image on a high end monitor it is hard to be definitive.

I just so happens I have looked at the image from the EX1's SDI port on the BVM L230- but I was looking at a "straight" uncorrected image live from the camera. I simply can't draw definitive conclusions based on that.

The best way to determine the nature of the footage is to capture some test patterns and gradations using a 10 bit or better codec, ideally uncompressed, and then analyze it using the scopes in Color or Lustre.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #33
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The best way to determine the nature of the footage is to capture some test patterns and gradations using a 10 bit or better codec, ideally uncompressed, and then analyze it using the scopes in Color or Lustre.
Sorry to reply to me.

I should say that even if you use Color or Lustre you need to make sure that they are set up for high precision color.

Also, the color correction tools in the NLE (Final Cut or Avid or whatever) aren't likely to give you good results on a test like this. Although they'd certainly break the footage for you- 10 bit or 8 bit, they won't indicate why or how the footage broke.

It also occurs to me that compositors like Shake should be able to show you the differences readily as well. In fact if you really know what you are doing you might be able to get more information out of Shake than Color. Color will give you information much more readily though.

Finally... I mentioned monitoring on the BVM series production monitors, but I neglected to mention Digital Cinema projectors that manage DCI spec color. Sony showed such a beast working at 4K for the paltry sum of $100000 USD.

So.. if anyone has BVM-L230, an ioHD and an EX1 to loan me I'd be happy to put this one to rest forever.

Unless your material is going to be projected in a DCI spec theater then 10 bit or not is just a matter of headroom, not necessity.

You'll get a lot of that headroom just by using a 10 bit codec for post and the right tools correctly configured.

(By the way FCP is set up by default to use 8 bit color for everything- so change it if this matters to you.)
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Old December 4th, 2007, 07:01 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Barlow Elton View Post
Yes, I would like to have a real 10 bit HD-SDI montior. I wil say that the banding was much less noticeable on the CRT, but when viewing higher bit depth photos on my LCD, the banding is still way less noticeable than a regual 8 bit pic. And btw, it wasn't bad banding at all, just something I'd expect from 8 bit video.

Thomas, do you have a way to view 10 bit video properly? I'd be happy to send you a couple clips to peruse.
Not yet I don't. I just started a job where we use the F900, Red and a SONY Xpri editing system but I'm not if they will let me bring in material to goof around with yet. The sad thing is I think they are also using 8 bit monitors so even with all this massive gear I'm still not sure if I can help you there.

One way to tell of course is to take two clips or even two still images and use a levels filter to really crush the min and max levels. If you have After Effects this test should be pretty easy.

1. Load the 8 bit and 10 bit video into AE.
2. Set AE to work in 16 bits/channel. If you do not even the 10 bit video will work as 8 bit.
3. Load one clip into one layer and the second clip into another layer.
4. Put a levels filter on the top clip. Really bring in the min and max points to push the colors to extreme levels.
5. Copy the filter and paste it onto the bottom layer.
6. Now turn the top layer off and on to view the difference between the two.

The 10 bit video if it really is 10 bits should have held up much better while the 8 bit video will now start to look like a 256 color image.

If you do not have AE (I beleive you use FCP if I remember correctly) You can do the same thing in FCP or pretty much any other program including photoshop for stills.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 11:56 PM   #35
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The best way to determine the nature of the footage is to capture some test patterns and gradations using a 10 bit or better codec, ideally uncompressed, and then analyze it using the scopes in Color or Lustre.
I did capture in true 10 bit uncompressed (lossless Sheer codec--still huge data rate--about 62 MBs), but that doesn't open in Color so I transcoded to ProRes HQ. I shot the sky at dusk (almost dark, actually) and the sky had a smooth but deep ramp from warm glow of the sun just dipped below the mountains to dark blue towards the sky above.

If you want to see it shoot me an email.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 12:34 AM   #36
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If you want to see it shoot me an email.
Might be a problem there...

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:)

I'd love to see the footage. Drop me an email.

If you can I'd love to get OpenEXR float images (16 or 32bit) Motion will output those for you from any footage FCP can read. I don't need much, 1 frame would work.

Or, you could post a 2-3 frames as a 10 bit uncompressed quicktime or about 4 seconds as ProRes HQ quicktime to the forum.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 12:56 AM   #37
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In a program like Shake, you can subtract one image from the other. If you get anything other than pure black, you know the images are different at least.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #38
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Might be a problem there...



:)

I'd love to see the footage. Drop me an email.

If you can I'd love to get OpenEXR float images (16 or 32bit) Motion will output those for you from any footage FCP can read. I don't need much, 1 frame would work.

Or, you could post a 2-3 frames as a 10 bit uncompressed quicktime or about 4 seconds as ProRes HQ quicktime to the forum.

Ok, here is a 3 second 10 bit ProRes capture. (transcoded from raw 10bit SheerVideo..essentially uncompressed)

Please work your post magic and see if you can discern its bit depth. And I really really hope I'm wrong about it. :)

I can only leave the clip up for a few days.

http://homepage.mac.com/mrbarlowelton/FileSharing1.html

Last edited by Barlow Elton; December 7th, 2007 at 01:24 PM.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #39
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Sorry, been super busy the last couple days, but I will try to post some of the footage I shot at AbleCineTech when I can from both cameras.

I copied the contents of the card onto my HD from the EX1, but can't seem to open the movie files. I can only read them in the reader software that Sony provides. Can anyone tell me what I need to open them in the latest Final Cut Pro 6.02?

Hey Greggor ... I'm gonna make you an internet sensation just like we talked about ... lol
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Old December 11th, 2007, 05:11 PM   #40
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I am not a mac guy, so I don't know what you would need for FCP. But I have a guess. The files from the EX1 are mp4 files. You use the clip browser to export the footage as an mxf file. It is just a simple re-wrapping function that is extremely fast. If FCP will edit mxf files, then you are set.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #41
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So I have finally received the Sony EX 1 and with Holidays and all, haven't had a lot of time to mess with it, but here are initial impressions, compared to my XL-H1.

1. First and foremost, the LCD. All I can say is WOW ... they got it right! The Canon LCD, next to it, looks like unfocused mush compared to the EX. No LCD on any camera comes even close ... this is VERY important to me as I don't necessarily have to use an external 7"LCD which adds size to the setup. Bravo here ... it makes such a more enjoyable user experience ...

2. Ergonomics of the camera to me are pretty bad. The EX is very awkward and unbalanced when handheld. I found myself holding it from the top handle the whole time. I much prefer the ergonomics of the Canon XL.

3. Controls: The EX, like the Canon, has a myriad of image controls that allow you to tweak the camera image quite a bit. But the EX has a lot of it in menu options ... I like the Canon layout on camera better, but I believe the EX has more overall settings to tweak.

4. The Kelvin adjustments on the Canon (one of my most favorite features by far) has made its way to the EX (YES!!!), but is adjustible only in the menu options (not so YES ...).

5. The image from both cameras are very similar to me in resolution, color fidelity, adjustability ... but the EX's lowlight is just plain better. Shooting the same subject, I had to boost the gain on the Canon around +6db to get the same exposure level at the same iris level. The EX really does excel in lowlight shooting ... no surprise given the chip size.

6. Sharpness between the 2 cameras are very close ... I shot both 1080F24 on the Canon and 1080P24 on the EX and viewed the footage side by side in my HD edit suite, and they both looked the same sharpness wise to me. I thought the EX1 would be a little more noticeable in sharpness because of the full raster chipset, but they perceptually look about the same. kudos to Canon for whatever they do in the F modes ... (although I'm sure a pure technical test would indicate the EX to be sharper).

I need much more time to mess around with the camera, but the EX is looking to be one quite nice camera. Definitely has things about it that I prefer over the XL-H1 (That LCD screen is just amazing).

Now if Canon ever came out with a LCD/Viewfinder that matched or exceeded the one on the EX, I would still pick the XL-H1 over the EX (I still do now). Oh well, hopefully on the XL-H2 (c'mon Canon, make it come out soon!)
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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:18 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Michael Galvan View Post
So I have finally received the Sony EX 1 and with Holidays and all, haven't had a lot of time to mess with it, but here are initial impressions, compared to my XL-H1.

1. First and foremost, the LCD. All I can say is WOW ... they got it right! The Canon LCD, next to it, looks like unfocused mush compared to the EX. No LCD on any camera comes even close ... this is VERY important to me as I don't necessarily have to use an external 7"LCD which adds size to the setup. Bravo here ... it makes such a more enjoyable user experience ...

2. Ergonomics of the camera to me are pretty bad. The EX is very awkward and unbalanced when handheld. I found myself holding it from the top handle the whole time. I much prefer the ergonomics of the Canon XL.

3. Controls: The EX, like the Canon, has a myriad of image controls that allow you to tweak the camera image quite a bit. But the EX has a lot of it in menu options ... I like the Canon layout on camera better, but I believe the EX has more overall settings to tweak.

4. The Kelvin adjustments on the Canon (one of my most favorite features by far) has made its way to the EX (YES!!!), but is adjustible only in the menu options (not so YES ...).

5. The image from both cameras are very similar to me in resolution, color fidelity, adjustability ... but the EX's lowlight is just plain better. Shooting the same subject, I had to boost the gain on the Canon around +6db to get the same exposure level at the same iris level. The EX really does excel in lowlight shooting ... no surprise given the chip size.

6. Sharpness between the 2 cameras are very close ... I shot both 1080F24 on the Canon and 1080P24 on the EX and viewed the footage side by side in my HD edit suite, and they both looked the same sharpness wise to me. I thought the EX1 would be a little more noticeable in sharpness because of the full raster chipset, but they perceptually look about the same. kudos to Canon for whatever they do in the F modes ... (although I'm sure a pure technical test would indicate the EX to be sharper).

I need much more time to mess around with the camera, but the EX is looking to be one quite nice camera. Definitely has things about it that I prefer over the XL-H1 (That LCD screen is just amazing).

Now if Canon ever came out with a LCD/Viewfinder that matched or exceeded the one on the EX, I would still pick the XL-H1 over the EX (I still do now). Oh well, hopefully on the XL-H2 (c'mon Canon, make it come out soon!)
Hey Mike,

Should we take that to mean you'd still generally prefer a tape-based workflow to tapeless? If so, I'd love to know why. Is it the archiving?
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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #43
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Coming fom years of tape, I'm very happy to never rewind again. I'm not a fan of the shuttling back and forth, not to mention, head wear and mechanical failure. For archiving, tape is great.

Also, I've had my share of drop-outs, and with my luck, they always seem to happen at this most important spots.
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Old December 26th, 2007, 07:53 PM   #44
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And his review did not even mention the codec which (from my experience with the F350) is much nicer than HDV. Thanks for the input Michael.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #45
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Hey Mike,

Should we take that to mean you'd still generally prefer a tape-based workflow to tapeless? If so, I'd love to know why. Is it the archiving?
I actually much prefer the tapeless workflow. I already had the EX 1 clips in my Macbook Pro while I was still connecting my XL-H1 for capture through firewire.

Tape still has its benefits, but once these cards reach a certain size, tapeless really seems to be the way to go ...
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