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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 May 14th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: USVI
Posts: 232
:( steep learning curve strikes again

This cam is really just pushing my buttons! It makes amazing images especially in lower light situations but buddy you better be on your game!

Coming from the Z1, I feel this cam is too manual intensive for event style shooting. By the time I focus, set exposure and frame, the moment is gone.... at least 50% of the time, and I am pretty fast.

The other beef I am airing publicly is the mystery of the missing clip I am dealing with now. I shot an event with fire eaters, and glass walkers etc at night. It was the first event I did with the EX at night. I was so happy with the great image I was getting with the limited lighting.

Now this is at the inception of getting to know the clip browsing, tapeless workflow and I followed instructions as per DVinfo posters. Copied to HD then copied files to optical disk AND to another HD!

I am shooting away and getting some amazing fire eating action with guest interaction etc. That was a long clip and after it was over and the action subsided I decided to show the grooms dad a clip of the fire eaters. It looked amazing and the Dad was very impressed. So was I.

Now back in post on the NLE (FCP6.0.3) it is not there! The clip numbers are in order 1,2,3,4 etc but where the clip is supposed to be is just GONE!

Major bummer! The best action of the entire event is gone. The only thing I can think of is that SOMEHOW I deleted that clip after showing off!

Now I'm not a complete knucklehead (really only part) and was carefull to exit the menu but none the less it must have gotten erased! I hope this helps anyone else out there be more cautious when reviewing clips.

This was back in April and have shot dozens of events since then without incident. This was the only time I went into the media area of the cam to review clips. I have to say I am on the fence about this cam and tapeless workflow. The raid, the backing up to optical media etc is just not seeming worth the hassle.

The best scenario I could think about is this cam with a tape !!!! I know it's nuts but the only thing keeping me from getting rid of this thing is the low light performance. Thanks for reading this far I am really just not a happy camper at this moment!

Mike
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:41 PM   #2
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Did you hit that "delete last clip" button twice when deleting a following take? This is the usual cause of this.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #3
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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Is it possible the clip was spanned and you only imported part of it or not at all?

With spanned clips you need to make sure you import that clip with the .smi at the end which all the parts together.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #4
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Not spanned

Craig,

I know what you mean but the clip wan't at a part where the cam switched slots. I avoid this now and just manually switch slots shortly after notified.

Mike,

I really don't remember deleting any clips at all. I did use every last second of space on the three cards I did have though. Not sure if should read this as sarcasm or not but I did laugh when I read it :)

Once again I do remember showing the clip that is now gone the the "clients dad" and remeber now that someone here had mentioned to be really carefull when in the menu mode viewing clips.

Thanks for the replies.

Is there a place to rent cards? I have a rare and LONG event coming up and don't want to buy another card that will sit and not be used.

Mike
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Old May 15th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #5
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Clips can span and be on one card. File limit is 4GB per clip. That means if you have a shot more than 12 minutes there's a good chance the clip would be spanned.

Yes it's possible to accidentally delete a clip during Media Play mode but I believe the cam will give you a warning.

While I can't tell you want a card rental would be in USVI but in NYC you can rent a 16GB card for $40-$60 a day. A day can be an entire weekend (pick up Friday return Monday).

DVInfo Sponsor AbelCine rents 16GB cards for $60 a day (a weekend is a day).
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Old May 16th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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Fantastic!

Thanks for the heads up on the card rental!!! I'll have to inquire about if we could do some kind of express mail deal.

Great tip Craig. Also great tip about the long clip spanning thing. I had no idea! I have had 4gb plus clips especially for longer ceremonies but not had this issue.

So one is now forced to check every clip is loaded in addition the rigorous back up routine! Looking more and more like I need to get out of the tapeless deal for my business model.

This is rather major in my book. How can a clip just not load automatically if it's spanned automatically? Both "disks" load onto the clip browser via the cam USB output.

How are other event shooters out there dealing with these issues, or are you staying tape based?

Mike
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Old May 16th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #7
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Tapeless is VERY EASY once you grasp it. Like anything new you have to spend some time learning and it's best to do test shoots. I often shoot long form (speeches etc) and have NO problems.

Import all cards with each BPAV in its own folder using ClipBrowser.
On Mac open XDCAM Transfer tool.
Make sure all folders are added. Select all folder.
Import All.
DONE.

All clips are always imported that way.
You can do one folder at a time IF ALL FOLDERS have been added FIRST.
Select All for each folder. Then Import All. It will SKIP incomplete clips.
When you get to the folder that has the SMI it'll pull in the spanned clips preceding it.
If the spanned clip is on a single card it'll get pulled in when you Select All, Import All for that folder.

I've had 90 minute speeches span across 3 cards (that's four 4 GB clips on a 16GB card and two 4GB clips on each of two 8GB cards) and pulling in that final SMI pulls in EVERYTHING.

RULE: Make sure ALL FOLDERS are available and it will do the right thing. Anything else and you're taking a risk.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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tapeless

I would never go back to tape by choice, have never lost a clip in 10 important shoots.
1. It is faster to digitize footage.
2. The clip browsing software makes it very easy to see what is going on. And it is easy to import small clips without searching tape.
3. A large part of my work is done as the clips are already separated in FCP.
4. Several times in tape, I would have to re digitize material because audio and video got out of sync.
Yes there is the backup task, but drives are cheap, and the process is fast.
5. No need to constantly check for dirty heads, and send in deck for repair of moving parts.

Phew! what a relief.
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