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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old March 1st, 2008, 02:49 PM   #1
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Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?

This week I received my new Sony EX-1 XDCAM camera and FCP Studio 2. All the new software and updates are installed and I'm ready to go. But wait a minute. This camera is a little different from my old faithful DVCAM. In the old days (last week) I would shoot good old basic USA interlaced video, capture with firewire to my Apple G5 and edit within a DV environment and then lay it back to DVCAM tape for delivery to my local media outlets.
This EX-1 has a lot more shooting options.
Now this is where I would like to get a little advice. I plan to shoot in the highest quality format.
I have the option to shoot 1080 video in 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, and 24p. I am hearing a lot of buzz about 24p and it's film-like qualities. Is there a rule of thumb as to which of these formats is best for a particular situation? We shoot a variety of different projects. Primarily local TV commercials and cable programming. And I still need to be able to deliver my final projects on DV tape.
Any advice or explanation would be appreciated.

Kevin Jones
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Old March 1st, 2008, 03:03 PM   #2
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I'd recommened shooting in 1080p 30p for proper NTSC TV output. It's a good choice even for outputting on Blu-ray disc in future. And it works with DV when saved as 30psf.


regards Dennis
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:23 AM   #3
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I've been checking with my local TV Stations to see how they want me to deliver this footage, and asked if they have a diginal file transfer method ( so far it's been less than encouraging ).

Dave
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 07:41 AM   #4
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I guess I've settled on either 1080 video in 60i or 30p.
Could anyone suggest one over the other for a particular type of shooting?
Edited in Final Cut Studio 2. Keep in mind most of it will be converted over to USA DV for local delivery.
Thanks for your feedback.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:50 PM   #5
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The choice is easy.

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Originally Posted by Kevin Wayne Jones View Post
I guess I've settled on either 1080 video in 60i or 30p.
Could anyone suggest one over the other for a particular type of shooting?
Interlaced is the incarnation of evil; therefore, it should be used when shooting dirge, disaster, or death. Progressive should be used for everything else.

Progressive video looks perfect on interlaced displays, but interlaced video will *always* look bad on progressive displays: you only get to choose how bad. Artifacts, loss of resolution, or both? If you don't deinterlace before delivery, then the decision will be left up to the viewer's television (they generally choose loss of resolution).

However, it's important to note that certain skills are needed to shoot 30p. You can't have camera movement that's fast enough to cause judder without also putting the viewers attention on a non-juddery subject through the use of complimentary movement (motion blur), focus, or light.

Because of the need for perfection, 60i would be necessary for unpredictable or one-time shoots, like sports. To see the differences in action, compare a broadcast sports event with one filmed for theatrical release.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 01:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Wayne Jones View Post
Now this is where I would like to get a little advice. I plan to shoot in the highest quality format.
I have the option to shoot 1080 video in 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, and 24p. I am hearing a lot of buzz about 24p and it's film-like qualities. Is there a rule of thumb as to which of these formats is best for a particular situation? We shoot a variety of different projects. Primarily local TV commercials and cable programming. And I still need to be able to deliver my final projects on DV tape.
Any advice or explanation would be appreciated.

Kevin Jones
You should get the Vortexmedia DVD. It has a chapter about exactly that. It's a great all around investment for EX1 owners.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #7
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I've been using DGFastchannel for local cable spot delivery. Create an MPEG2 Program stream to their specs and FTP it to their drop box. I've done this for statewide spots. It seems all cable stations in my state accept it. No more dubs, no more using UPS/FedEx.

DGFastchannel also accepts HD delivery too but the local cable station has to accept that too for it to be useful.

DG also owns Pathfire which does national VNR (Video News Release) distribution via the same method.

Now I can be completely tape free!

Don't talk to the local TV stations since they may not know that they or you can do this. Talk to DGFastchannel and tell them who you want to deliver to and they'll tell you if it's possible.

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Originally Posted by David Davidson View Post
I've been checking with my local TV Stations to see how they want me to deliver this footage, and asked if they have a diginal file transfer method ( so far it's been less than encouraging ).

Dave
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Old March 4th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #8
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Ditto to what Craig just said. TV stations and cable headends have their systems in place and if you try to do something new you usually end up with a very quick no.

Just about every station can get spots via DG fastchannel but the folks who sell spots don't talk to the traffic folks and they don't talk to production folks.

The cost is a little more than overnighting if you're delivering more than one spot. I think it's around $20 per spot per station + $7 for each additional station. Or maybe that extra $7 is for additional spots to the same station.

Still, no tapestock costs too.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #9
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What moved me to DG was a series of bad BetaSP dubs for a dub house I was using. Two different clients a few weeks apart in every single dub had to be redone delaying the spots hitting air.

No more sending a bunch of Betas to different locations. One FTP upload with traffic instructions. I check my encode before it goes up. DG checks and certifies your workflow before hand.

You save on stock, dub time, QCing each tape, etc. As you mention, DG next day delivery is no more than FedEx. If you're in a supper rush they can get it to a station in an hour (at a rush cost of course) but even that's cheaper than a courier service.

From shoot to broadcast, nothing every touches tape and the workflow is faster end to end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Wilson View Post
Ditto to what Craig just said. TV stations and cable headends have their systems in place and if you try to do something new you usually end up with a very quick no.

Just about every station can get spots via DG fastchannel but the folks who sell spots don't talk to the traffic folks and they don't talk to production folks.

The cost is a little more than overnighting if you're delivering more than one spot. I think it's around $20 per spot per station + $7 for each additional station. Or maybe that extra $7 is for additional spots to the same station.

Still, no tapestock costs too.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Wayne Jones View Post
Now this is where I would like to get a little advice. I plan to shoot in the highest quality format.
I have the option to shoot 1080 video in 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, and 24p.
Firstly, if you're in the US, forget about 50i and 25p, they are applicable to 50Hz countries.

As for highest quality format, that isn't straightforward to answer in practice. Taken individually, progessive is preferable to interlace, 1080 to 720, and a 60Hz framerate to 30 or 24. So the ideal therefore follows as 1080p/60, which unfortunately isn't technically feasible for all but very top end equipment at present.

So therefore you have to decide what compromise to make. Either resolution (so go 720p/60), motion handling (so go 1080p/24) or accept interlace (and go 1080i/30). In practice, different types of material may suit different compromises, sport etc is best as 720p/60 or 1080i/30, whilst drama may be better as 1080p/24 - the motion is actively preferred as "film look", just the opposite to sport. In practice, it's best to ask your customers what they want you to deliver.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:33 PM   #11
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Did some test shooting today in 1080p/24p with shutter set to "on" and a 1/48 shutter speed. Must say it looked pretty flickery during the zooms or pans. Locked down looked beautiful.
What can I do to smooth out the shot?
Will shots with motion always look that way in 24p?
I viewed them full screen with the Sony Transfer program, not in FCP.
Could this be the problem?
Thanks for all the help.

Kevin Jones
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Old March 6th, 2008, 12:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Wayne Jones View Post
What can I do to smooth out the shot?
Will shots with motion always look that way in 24p?
I viewed them full screen with the Sony Transfer program, not in FCP.
Could this be the problem?
Thanks for all the help.

Kevin Jones
well, 24p has always had restrictions on movment because of the way the mind interprets image sequences ( if you go much below 24fps, you begin to discern the each frame instead of your brain automatically creating the motion between the images it sees ).

If you are going to shoot 24p you need to try to follow the guidelines that accompany that type of shooting ( try not to let things pan across the screen faster than 7 seconds - that's somewhat dependent on the final viewing medium ), but it would probably behoove you to look into what you need to know when you're shooting 24p. I'm sure an internet search will provide you a plethora of information in short order that should be good to get you going.

Dave
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Old March 6th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #13
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Kevin,
How are you viewing your footage?

A few things I've learned:

1. Do not trust motion based on viewing footage played to a monitor from the camera. Also, my JVC HD100 had more than normal judder when viewed this way.


2. Becareful that your computer can handle smooth playback at these data rates.

What I 've noticed is that the real test for motion is rendering to your final format and checking.
When I render out a blu-ray and play it back on my PS3 to my monitor, the 24P motion looks spot on. It's a lot smoother than if I had played the clip from the camera directly.

I'm sure it's something to do with how they are handling the component out 24P (3-2 pulldown) over the 59.94i stream.

When shooting run-and-gun footage in 24P, you really get what you get.
Shooting in 24P takes time to plan the shots. This way you can decide on how the 24P motion behaves.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #14
 
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I'm shooting 24p at 1/250 shutter speed. Some may not like the lack of motion blur, but, it sure plays back better than shooting at 180 deg.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 11:17 AM   #15
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Bill, true, but 1/250 at 24P must surely give you the staccato Gladiator look, right?
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