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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old March 25th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #1
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EX1 editing - no render please!

Kinda new to the forum, and I'd appreciate some help. I'm building a new edit system soon, along with purchasing 2 EX1 units.... Waited till now to get past all the bugs in the new cameras. Current system is a Matrox Digisuite/SpeedRazor system (it's old, but still works great), shooting with 2 DSR300 units. What I'm curious about is an edit system that handles EX1 files with no problems, and no render, aside from a BorisRed effect, or something of the like. I'd like realtime playback of dissolves, basic dve moves, static titles, and the like. What are you folks using? Is the Vegas platform a good one?
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Old March 25th, 2008, 04:00 PM   #2
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Your best bet Thomas is to stick to the Matrox Axio + Premiere Pro CS3. As long as you buy one of the recommended systems that Matrox recommends then you do not need to render. Encoding is faster than real time - editing is a breeze. All you need is to learn Premiere Pro - I did this jump from Speed Razor to Premiere 4 years ago and it only took me 3 days to fully master Premiere.

Your concern should not be the editing system but the change of the cameras. I shoot everything with my DSR-300 and have had the EX1 since December on loan to test it out with the intention of buying it to replace my ageing 300. Last week I finally concluded that if I do buy the EX1 I'll loose out on SD quality. As things stand, the EX1 downconverted SD footage, whether from the camera or from Premiere or from hardware converters (tried them all) is no match to SD footage from the DSR 300! Hence the EX1 would be a step backwards for me.

I've read loads of threads of different forums and I'm under the impression (although I might be mistaken) that most of those who are singing praises to the SD downconverted images of the EX1 are comparing to lesser 1/3 inch chip DV cameras and not to pro DVCAM camcorders. In this case, yes, the EX1 footage is much better.

Having said this, it could be that my camera (since it is an early model) is suffering from the backfocus issue. I have never been happy with the downconverted images because they are too soft - now I'm realising that this could be due to the BF issue - have tried the BF adjustment via menu but with no difference. Unless I get my hands on a defect free EX1, I cannot say. But by the way things are going it's going to be a long wait as even the 1.5 version models are still exhibiting the BF issue. So I've decided to hold on to my 300 for another year and see whether 1)Sony get their house in order on the EX1 and address all the issues or 2)whether a XDCAM HD camera like the 335 is produced having a sensitivity of at least f10 @ 2000lux like the EX1. Either way we need to wait till IBC for sure.....
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Old March 25th, 2008, 04:02 PM   #3
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...forgot to mention that I'm refering to Matrox Axio LE - with the break out box. Also pls note that now Matrox are producing the Axio LE to fit in a PCI-E slot as opposed to the almost obsolete PCI-X.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #4
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Axio.

It doesn't handle the .mp4 files (yet), but Matrox has stated they are working on it and anticipate supporting it soon. Using Sony's included ClipBrowser software, files can be converted to .MXF and then Axio/PPro handles them realtime.

Color correction and greenscreen in Axio are pretty impressive and run in realtime. Dissolves, static titles, etc. also work realtime. You definitely need a serious system with a large amount of high speed storage.

Regarding Brian's comments about the quality of the camera, I will have to respectfully disagree. I haven't had the time to set up a side-by-side comparison, but I'm very happy with the quality of our EX1 relative to the quality of our JVC DV5000U. That camera used 1/2" CCDs and a decent Fujinon lens, but I still think the EX1 outperforms it in many areas, including color reproduction and light sensitivity.

I shoot 95% 1080p24, and there may be some scaling issues related to interlaced video that I haven't experienced yet.

Plus, HD is here to stay: we finally have a winner in the format war, not the mention the potential for delivering HD content over the web. HD is a huge selling point to my clients, because even if they don't understand what exactly the differences are, they've heard enough about HD in the media and elsewhere to know that they want it.

It won't be long before clients start asking for final product via Blu-Ray, etc.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #5
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Jon you've just confirmed my theory - the EX1 when compared to lesser cameras will blow them away. I know people who have the JVC and the DSR300 beats it in colour and low light sensitivity. The 300 has been one of the best cameras that Sony produced for the SD domain. The EX1 downconverted SD footage does not stand near the DSR 300 - and I did a side by side comparision. I'm comparing cameras coming from the same company - hence a better comparision.

Jon I agree with you that clients will soon start asking for HD - that's why I'm getting jumpy as Sony do not have the right camera for me at the moment - i.e a HD with low light capabilities. The EX1 does fit the bill but unfortunately have all these initial problems. However we still need to deliver SD DVD for the moment and this is causing problems.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 05:22 PM   #6
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Brian,

I hate to threadjack Thomas's original questions about editing, but I wouldn't exactly call the JVC a "lesser" camera. It's actually competitive, in terms of both features and image quality, with the DSR300. ( Per this comparison: http://www.dvcentral.org/gy-dv500-03...Mitchell).html )

Now, as that reviewer stated, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For my money, though, I'm very pleased with the EX1. I hope to shoot some side-by-side interlaced footage and see if the interlaced scaling is an issue.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 09:41 PM   #7
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Excellent advice from all, thank you. As far as the JVC/Sony camera debate,...I realize this may make some mad, but personally I have found every JVC camera I've ever operated to confirm my personal belief that JVC stands for Junk Video Corp. I'll keep the dsr 300's for now, and I think I'll wait to jump to the EX, or similar HD camera, until sony get's it fixed. (I will now wait for the tomatoe's to be thrown at me)
I have been looking at the Axio/PP3 systems, but judging from the complaints on the user forums for axio, they seem to have not a few issues of thier own. There really is no "Holy Grail", is there? And, why are there so many in the FCP camp? I think I'll hold off for now, and plan on the new camera/edit system purchase in January 09.
Anyway, thank you all for the input, and here's to praying for a shoulder-mount EX camera with all the bugs fixed.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 01:31 AM   #8
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Thomas, the Axio + PP3 is far from perfect and I too have noticed that the FCP camp is quite large. However considering the relatively cheap price of Axio and the fact that you have a breakout box that satisfies most I/O needs and the fact that rendering is hardware accelerated, makes the Axio a very enticing NLE. Another plus point is the integration of different software in one package - the CS3 suite.

On the other hand, FCP can be run on octacores now and I guess that this does make a difference - although still it will not give you faster than real time for DVD encoding. Also one needs to buy additional hardware to monitor HD on seperate monitor. .....and it is rumoured that it crashes less....!

As regards to the EX1, I must add that the cost of my Canon lens on the 300 was the same as the cost of the whole EX1 - so basically it might not be fair to compare the 300 to the EX1!
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Old March 26th, 2008, 02:53 AM   #9
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As regards comparing images from the DSR300 (I own 2) and downconverted EX1 images.

A friend and I both filmed the same dance show recently side by side.
He used the DSR300 (2) and I used the EX1 (2) both cameras output rendered to DVD.

Our conclusion. Superior colour from the EX1. Superior detail from the EX1. Better hightlights handling from the EX1 . Sometimes the pictures looked similar. At no time did the DCSR300 pictures look better than the EX1.

There can be problems donwn coverting from the EX1 or for that matter any HD camera. My EX1 pictures here in PAL land where filmed HQ 720P/50.

Add the fact that the EX1 is wide screen and the DSR300 is 4:3 another obvious plus.

For the sake of comparison the DSR300 pics where shown on a 40inch LCD TV with intelligent stretch.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 05:30 AM   #10
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Then, based on Greg's reply, I can only conclude that my EX1 currently under testing is suffering from a horrible back focus problem and it is this problem that is producing such a difference between the 300 and the EX1. Another curious thing is that I never shot at 720 50P as yet (even though I'm in PAL land) - maybe this has something to do with a better downconversion.


...Greg could you kindly tell me what NLE did you use to finally output the SD DVD that produced similar if not better picture than that of the 300 please?
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Old March 26th, 2008, 05:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Gregory View Post
Kinda new to the forum, and I'd appreciate some help. I'm building a new edit system soon, along with purchasing 2 EX1 units.... Waited till now to get past all the bugs in the new cameras. Current system is a Matrox Digisuite/SpeedRazor system (it's old, but still works great), shooting with 2 DSR300 units. What I'm curious about is an edit system that handles EX1 files with no problems, and no render, aside from a BorisRed effect, or something of the like. I'd like realtime playback of dissolves, basic dve moves, static titles, and the like. What are you folks using? Is the Vegas platform a good one?
Back to the original question, if you do consider a platform move, I think you will find editing in FCP to be quite smooth. To me it just plain works, and requires fewer workarounds, like added codecs or plug-ins to work with the native EX-1 files.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 06:49 AM   #12
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now that you mention it, when i down converted on my ex1, i noticed softer image has a zoomed out (even inside with no nd filter) but i dont recall seeing it degrade when i watched as HD. i too have a sony dsr390 and the quality difference is not even a competition, the dsr390 blows the ex1 out of the water when down converted to SD. i think most people who disagree are coming form pd150 land or another 1/3" chip cam, theyve never worked consistently with 1/2" "sony" cams before. and i say sony cams cause jvc and panasonic 1/2" cams didnt hold a candle to the dsr300, 370, 390 series. (beofre you disagree, ask yourself why the sony's were 2x the money) i know many companies in my area that wouldnt even think of hiring someone with w jvc5100 ro panasonic 200, not even in the same league. if you didnt shoot with a sony 300 series you cant relate to the few of us still scrathing our heads about the lame ex1 downcovert. so in conclusion :

ex1 60i to sd = sucks! - if you make the footage progressive in the encoding process, it helps but defeats the purpose of shooting 60i

other than that, the ex1 in hd is great! if everyone including grandma had a bluray player (and apple got their sh*t together with bluray) , i wouldnt care now would i. i will look into this backfocus issue and keep posted. is there way to test it besides with the naked eye? are the degrees of problems or is either its really bad and defective or works perfect?
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Old March 26th, 2008, 06:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Cassar View Post
Then, based on Greg's reply, I can only conclude that my EX1 currently under testing is suffering from a horrible back focus problem and it is this problem that is producing such a difference between the 300 and the EX1. Another curious thing is that I never shot at 720 50P as yet (even though I'm in PAL land) - maybe this has something to do with a better downconversion.


...Greg could you kindly tell me what NLE did you use to finally output the SD DVD that produced similar if not better picture than that of the 300 please?
Vegas 8b rendered to PAL widescreen good not best quality.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 09:41 AM   #14
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my hd to sd problem could be related to my NLE (i hope) i use the latets FCP, compressor, ad DVDSP. anyone have luck with ex1 60i footage downconverted?
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Old March 26th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #15
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Yeah, Axio is getting pretty beat up in the Matrox forum. I'm not sure exactly why, as I've had great experiences with the system so far.

My first unit was DOA, but B&H quickly shipped out a replacement unit for me, and it's been (for the most part) rock solid. Yes, I've had crashes on occasion, and I did manage to create a project large and complex enough (using multiple nested sequences, After Effects comps with Dynamic Link), color correction, etc. that it wouldn't render to MPEG2 from the timeline. I ended up creating an uncompressed AVI file and creating my MPEG2 and H.264 files from that.

I'm very happy the EX1 / Axio combination. I still do a bit of SD editing for clients, and Axio provides all the inputs I need to handle what they throw at me.

The integration between After Effects and Premiere is wonderful, as is the WYSIWYG preview in Photoshop.

I've been using Premiere since version 5.0, so it's natural for me to stay within that workflow. FCP seems to have done a better job integrating EX1 support out of the gate, but the MXF conversion is painless and quick.

I'll stress again that you need a *serious* system to handle HD editing using the Axio. There are several vendors around offering turnkey systems, but if you shop around using Matrox's validated components list you certainly can build it yourself. Everything needs to be valid, though, from mobo to GFX to storage. Don't cut corners.

Has anyone out there worked with both Vegas and PPro? What are your thoughts?
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