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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 February 28th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #1
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ex1 disaster scenario, any options?

okay im a wedding videographer. if i go with the ex1, i will have to rely on backing up to my macbook pro through out the day cause i shoot 3-4 hours of footage normally. because they're so expensive, i would only have a 16gig and 2 8 gig cards. i would backup to my MBP, an external HD, and burn dual layer dvd's through out the day for triple back up. what if my macbook pro dies on the job. is there anyway the ex1 can dump footage/data to an external unit (drive, burner, ipod, etc) without using a computer, or is my only piece of mind :

buy more cards or have a backup computer?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #2
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I'd love a way to backup straight to a hard drive but insofar as I know that's yet not possible. Would love to find out otherwise.

On the subject, while the thought of loosing data gives me the willies, it almost seems to me that now that were going tapeless we've gotten a bit paranoid. I never had the luxury of backing up a tape on location but yet I never freaked out about it even though it would be quite easy to tape over something, loose a tape, or have any number of gut wrenching things go wrong with it. I know I've had my share of problems with tape over the years including something as simple as forgetting to clean my heads, ack, was pretty much useless footage.

Anyway, obviously adequate caution should be taken and I'm not arguing that it shouldn't. I would probably be a bit more concerned if just about every instance of data loss I've heard about thus far wansn't human error, not that I'm not susceptible, but at least it's within our control. While I don't doubt a mechanical problem will cause some data loss for someone somewhere sometime sooner or later, this so far seems to be rare if (it's happened at all). My point being that recording to tape was never perfect either.

Okay, done with my little unrequested and most likely not all that insightful psycho babel on the subject, just something I've thought for a while now and finally caved into wasting some time to post about. =)

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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #3
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HI Adam I am also a wedding videographer and use an EX1.

I have 2 16Gb cards and just aquired 2 8 Gb cards (very cheaply)

My aim is by the start of April ( my first wedding of the year) to have enough cards for 5 hours of footage. I now need another 2 16gb cards and am waiting in the hope to see a price drop. If there is no drop I am going the laptop route.

Make sure the laptop is charged, take the mains adapter with you in case of problems. When you get a second dump your first card onto the laptop. Check to make sure all the footage is there and you are happy. Delete clips off the cards ( don't format the cards as it affects numbering sequences) and start again.

As long as you have viewed the clips on the laptop and are happy they are there, I wouldn't worry about burning to dvd at that moment. You should be busy shooting rather than worrying if a disk has burnt OK.

5 16Gb cards will be ample for a normal wedding shoot.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Raymond Schlogel View Post
On the subject, while the thought of loosing data gives me the willies, it almost seems to me that now that were going tapeless we've gotten a bit paranoid. I never had the luxury of backing up a tape on location but yet I never freaked out about it even though it would be quite easy to tape over something, loose a tape, or have any number of gut wrenching things go wrong with it.
Excellent point, Raymond!

Let's hope for two things to happen soon enough:

- SxS card's price going down, enabling us to have more of them
- straight SxS backup without a computer to e.g. the Professional Disk becomes available.

We'll be fine there, and really start enjoying the benefits of going tapeless!
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; February 28th, 2008 at 04:10 PM.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #5
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How about a few 16GB USB memory sticks (or even 32GB) which can be USB powered and can hold a duplicate copy of the data until you get a chance to do a permanent backup.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #6
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I got a Maxtor USB Hard drive. One of the tiny ones that is powered off of USB. It was 120 GB and cost 80 bucks. When I am out shooting my MBP has about 90 GB free space so I offload to that and then dump to the Maxtor. So really quickly I have 2 copies. It is a luxury over the tape based systems to have quick backups, but it is a piece of mind saver. Yes, if the MacBook goes poop, then I am s#it out of luck. I carry a disc with the XDCAM and clip browser software with me, because a lot of the producers I work with have MBPs so in a pinch I could offload to there machine, but that is definitely more of a disaster scenario.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Steve Shovlar;834787]HI Adam I am also a wedding videographer and use an EX1.

I


Steve,if you're ever up Bristol way and need a 2nd cam/operator,then give me a shout,i'm looking for some experience.
Thanks,Paul.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quite honestly,although I just bought an EX1 and it's a great camera, I think it's the completely wrong camera for weddings. I'm loving the camera and it's fantastic. It does have it's limitations and flaws just like any piece of gear though. But for weddings I think a JVC HD110 is a much better option. I also have one of them and it's much better suited for weddings and that type of event. First, it's a shoulder mount. It balances very well and it's very easy to handheld. The EX1 is a nightmare to handheld unless you invest more money on some sort of shoulder brace but even though I prefer having my eye in the viewfinder like with the HD110. The HD110 also looks more professional, which sometimes matters in this business. Second, the longest lasting battery for the EX1 is 3-4 hours (according to Sony). With the HD110 you can snap an V-mount or AB and power it for some 8 hours consecutively. Third thing is the EX1 is sharp, but 720p is much more pleasing on faces. It will sure make brides happier. I know you can filter the EX1 down but then why bother shooting 1080p? Then the HD110 shoots to tape which is much more practical for weddings, unless you are going to be buying a half dozen SxS cards ($$$$). Tape is also better or easier to archive and sometimes wedding customers come back for old footage. Some even like to get the raw footage.
One more thing is the CMOS limitations. Not only handhelding, which is not as bad as some think. But most wedding parties have strobe lights for example. Also, sometimes photographers shot flashes in your frame and you can't do anything about it. Not a good thing for CMOS as we all know. All together I just think the EX1 is just not the best for weddings. It shines in many other areas but weddings is not one of them. You can also get some very sweet deals on HD110 kits out there including the IDX or AB kits for less than an EX1 alone. You buy the EX1 you also need to buy the bigger batteries which cost $240 a pop and you will need at least 2 or 3 of them. Then you need to buy a shoulder brace etc. Food for thought. I'm all for choosing the right tool for the right job.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 04:50 PM   #9
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Third thing is the EX1 is sharp, but 720p is much more pleasing on faces. It will sure make brides happier. I know you can filter the EX1 down but then why bother shooting 1080p?
Hmmm...
Throw your image up un a 1080P monitor and compare.
I see a good difference between 1080P and 720P.

As a JVC owner myself, I must admit the HD100/110 cameras do produce some nice stuff. It was not until I dropped the EX1 and the JVC footage on the same timeline and viewed it on a 1080 monitor that the rez difference was so large.

Maybe i'm spoiled, but now 720 looks blocky compared to the 1080P stuff. It's like going from 480 SD to 720 HD.

Also, if your looking for silky smooth detailed images from the EX1, just turn off Detail. It still holds the detail without the harsh sharpening artifacts.

A lot of other cameras look very soft without artificial enhancement. I was very happy to see the EX1 looks great with it off.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 04:51 PM   #10
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Sorry Michael I completely disagree with you here.

For starters the low light capability of the EX1 is worth its weight in gold for wedding videographers.

I live in the UK and 80% of my weddings are in 15th century churches with low light. The EX1 sings, and compared to my old HVX, which was next to useless, and before that a Sony FX1, this cam is perfect.

I don't use the viewfinder, because the LCD is far superior. Peaking on and I am set.

Handheld? No problem! Don't hold it high handheld. I also now own a should brace, which will be used, but more often than not when I am not on a tripod I will be using the Manfrotto 561B monopod, so no strain there!

Tape for archive? Let me tell you something about wedding videos. In the years I have been filming them, I have yet to have a single bride come back to me and ask for more copies. They do it themselves, or they order a load when they pay for it. Archiving weddings is a waste of space and the best bits are saved for my sample DVD and for online samples, and the rest is gone three weeks after they have received their film. I tell them this. If they have anything they don't like, they need to let me knowasap. As yet I have only had praise, so I am doing it right.

Battery worries? I have two of the large BP-U60's and the smaller battery that came with the camera. Easily enough.

I shoot weddings 720P 25, and it looks great. Like a feature film.

And another reason why this camera works so well is its size. Brides and guests don't want to see a great big intimidating pro cam. It scares them and gets them all flustered. The smaller the better, although not too small to look amateur. The EX1 fits the bill perfectly as I can get friends and family talking and leaving messages of goodwill without being scared or tongue tied.

It might be different for wedding videographers in other countries. But for me, and I do hgher end wedding films, it workss a treat.

Steve T, I haven't yet shot a wedding in 1080P. I will give it a try on my first wedding and see how it all looks. Thing is I like to do a bit of slow mo and your can't do it in 1080P compared to 720P. Doing it in cam is far better than in post.

Paul, message me your details. Sometimes I might need a second camera and if the guy I currently use is busy I could give you a call. I don't flm in Bristol but I do cover Taunton/Bridgwater at the north western edge of my area.

Cheers
Steve
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Old February 28th, 2008, 04:53 PM   #11
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Hmmm...
Throw your image up un a 1080P monitor and compare.
I see a good difference between 1080P and 720P.
i didn't mean 720p looks sharper or "better". Just that brides won't like seeing every pimple on their faces. 720p for being softer is much more pleasing on faces. For DVD 720p is more than enough. Given all the shortcomings from the EX1 in the wedding arena I think the JVC is a better camera for that.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 05:16 PM   #12
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Sorry Michael I completely disagree with you here.
For starters the low light capability of the EX1 is worth its weight in gold for wedding videographers.
This is really the only advantage it has for weddings. But IMO all the other faults off sets this advantage. I would rather use a camera light.


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I don't use the viewfinder, because the LCD is far superior. Peaking on and I am set.
Well, if you enjoy holding the camera in front of your face while looking at the LCD is up to you. I like having my eye on a viewfinder and the camera on my shoulder. It's the easiest and best way to shot hand held. I can't do that with the EX1.

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Handheld? No problem! Don't hold it high handheld.
It is very heavy and wrongly balanced. Very uncomfortable to handheld. This is actually the camera biggest flaw. Even the HVX is easier to handheld. Very bad design in this respect!

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I also now own a should brace,
As I said this is a possibility. but more expenses and still not as good as a real shoulder camera.

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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
Tape for archive? Let me tell you something about wedding videos. In the years I have been filming them, I have yet to have a single bride come back to me and ask for more copies.
Biggest problem is not archiving but shooting itself. Unless you spend a lot cash on a half dozen SxS cards tape is much more practical for long form and events. No way around that.

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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
Battery worries? I have two of the large BP-U60's and the smaller battery that came with the camera. Easily enough.
Yes, 2-3 batteries will do. but again more expense. A V-mount will power a camera for 6-8 hours. No change needed. No interruption when the bride is just about to throw that bouquet. ;-)

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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
I shoot weddings 720P 25, and it looks great. Like a feature film.
See, you bought a 1080p camera and you shot 720p for weddings. I would save money, buy a 720p camera complete with all the accessories for cheaper than a EX1. Why run around with a 1080p shooting 720p? The right tool for the right job.

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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
And another reason why this camera works so well is its size. Brides and guests don't want to see a great big intimidating pro cam.
Well, that's very debatable. Some people feel more comfortable in paying a lot of cash for a wedding video if the camera doesn't look like their uncles handheld camera. In other words, some people prefer a pro looking camera because in their minds that equals better quality=their money's worth.

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It scares them and gets them all flustered.
Never saw, experienced or even heard of the above. You must work with a very sensitive or "special" client base. :D

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, although not too small to look amateur.
Again, very, very debatable :). All those fixed lens handheld cameras look just like them old VHS Sharp cameras. Long, low and with a evf in the end. :D. Seriously, they all look amateur. Just slightly bigger.

Now you only listed the advantages of the EX1 and completely ignored all the weak points it has for weddings. I think this is a very biased view. I have an EX1 and love it. It is a great camera for many other applications but I would never use it for a wedding.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #13
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When I am out shooting my MBP has about 90 GB free space so I offload to that and then dump to the Maxtor
Benjamin - - is there not a way to dump (via the MacBook Pro) directly to the external fw drive? Do you have to dump to the internal MBP drive first?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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I hear you...
This is why we all don't drive the same car. We're all entitled to our own likes and dislikes.

Throwing on light on the camera gives you the close lit up look, but for capturing more natural lighting, especially in the church, there's no substitution for sensitivity.

Also, I agree, the EX1 is hard to hold. For that matter, I find all handheld cameras a pain to hold, some are just better than others.

For weddings I would get a shoulder mount, or some sort of steady cam vest for the EX1.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #15
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Michael, I see your points. Are you in the USA? Possibly the brides are not as shy and blushing as over here. Sometimes its hard to get a single word out of them!;)

Yes handheld is a bitch on this camera but the monopod gets over that problem instantly, and also gets rid of any camera shake at the same time.

I can't possibly use a camera light or dedos or anyting like that in a church. I would never be allowed. OK in civil ceremonies at a hotel but the vicar would not tolerate it in church. Ambient light only, and if its an overcast day there isn't a lot of light to use. The EX1 excells here as you know.

Using the express slot on a laptop and you can download a 16gb card in no time, empty it and have it safely back in the camer whils using the other card. Very easy. Though obviously the best objective is to have 5 16Gb cards at hand, which I will be mid summer at the latest.

Not yet had the chance to shoot a wedding in 1080P, but I will. Not had the camera long enough to try this out.

Before the EX1 I had a HVX200 with firestore. Now that was a bitch to shoot weddings with!
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