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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 June 27th, 2008, 10:28 PM   #1
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It was an odd day...

I finally convinced the people with money here at my office to let me upgrade my production abilities. I had been getting small incremental upgrades but nothing significant. Last week, they decided to let me "do my thing". I got some decent lights, c-stands, a new laptop (couldn't get a MacBook Pro though), and some other gear.

Yesterday, after some talking, they agreed to consider letting me buy a new Camera. I had 4 options on the table:

1. Buy a Sony EX1
2. Buy an HVX200
3. Wait and get a Panny HPX-170
4. Wait for Scarlet

I had about $7k to work with for the camera. And because of purchasing issues, it was tough to decide.

I decided that Scarlet was just too pie-in-the-sky, and 2009 release may turn into late '09 or early '10. That wasn't appealing at all.

The HPX-170 was VERY tempting, but it HAD to arrive on my doorstep before Sep. 30, or the money I tossed into the pre-order would simply vanish according to our purchasing rules. That was edgy.

The HVX200A is a nice choice, but since I run Sony Vegas, it couldn't ingest the DVCProHD stuff without Raylight. Honestly, I misunderstood the price of it, and thought it would push me over budget anyway. The cost of the P2 cards was somewhat daunting but I figured it would be a wash with the SxS cards.

The EX1 seemed like the right choice especially since I could get 2 8GB cards included at the moment.


I have TWO major questions though. And I bought the damn thing anyway, so if I have to work around this I will.

1. Can I record straight to my laptop via the USB port? Or is it only possible for me to use that to dump footage from the cards?

2. The Biggie. Can I hot-swap the cards? Basically, what I want to be able to do is to insert my two cards, fill up one, let the other start writing, but offload one of the cards while the second is still running in the camera. This offload could be via USB or by actually pulling the card during filming, I don't really care that much.

I don't know HOW long it will take before I can upgrade these cards, and quite frankly, I feel foolish trying to do that in the near future, when I know new cards will come out and be incredibly cheaper. This is one reason I "REALLY" like how RED is doing business.

Anyway, if someone could answer those two questions, I'll be eternally grateful. And it's nice to finally join the HD world. Though my DVX has treated me VERY well over these years.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 11:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
1. Can I record straight to my laptop via the USB port? Or is it only possible for me to use that to dump footage from the cards?

2. The Biggie. Can I hot-swap the cards? Basically, what I want to be able to do is to insert my two cards, fill up one, let the other start writing, but offload one of the cards while the second is still running in the camera. This offload could be via USB or by actually pulling the card during filming, I don't really care that much.
1. Not if you want to do HD. You can record SD to laptop via Firewire or the SDI port, I'm not sure which one.

2. Yes. You can go on forever this way and never miss a frame.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 11:31 PM   #3
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1. Not if you want to do HD. You can record SD to laptop via Firewire or the SDI port, I'm not sure which one.

1a. You CAN record HD via firewire but only HDV resolution (1440x1080) SQ mode, not HQ.
I've used On Location on the PC and Capture Magic Pro on the Mac.

Unsure about SDI, but I think you can send out any flavor via SDI, depending on your capture device. A few people here looking for a small (like the Flash XDR Nano) but Standard Def SDI capture device but no luck so far.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 02:05 AM   #4
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Yes, NOT SD.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 03:25 AM   #5
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What programs would i need for recording to laptop, pc not mac ?
Obviously i'll use firewire, and i edit with vegas pro 8 ?
Can Vegas capture whilst recording ?

Thanks.
Paul.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 06:59 AM   #6
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You could try capturing it directly into Vegas.
I have used the EX1 with my M15 VCR, worked a treat. I didn't really try out all the capabilities but I think you can get syncro record to work between the camera and that VCR. Certainly when I went into record on the VCR the camera's LCD showed a record icon in the LCD. It was a cheap way to record 3.5 hours without a bundle of SxS cards or doing a tango with a laptop which would have been almost impossible.
We've also run the EX1 into the DVW 250 portapack DigiBetacam recorder via SD SDI. Certainly not a budget solution though.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #7
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Thanks Bob.
I'll try that, i've already captured footage from my EX1 to vegas when i had clip browser problems, i just wondered if i can use a laptop with vegas to record as i'm filming.

Thanks.
Paul.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 07:31 AM   #8
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You could also use OnLocation (DVRack) via firewire if you're shooting HDV (SP mode).
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Old June 28th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andrew Hollister View Post
1a. You CAN record HD via firewire but only HDV resolution (1440x1080) SQ mode, not HQ.
I've used On Location on the PC and Capture Magic Pro on the Mac.

Unsure about SDI, but I think you can send out any flavor via SDI, depending on your capture device. A few people here looking for a small (like the Flash XDR Nano) but Standard Def SDI capture device but no luck so far.
Hi Andrew-
We are in the process of adding SD-SDI support to the nanoFlash and Flash XDR. I expect we will release a firmware update in late August or September. We can record in MPEG2 4:2:2 at up to 50 Mbps, which is outstanding video quality especially for SD resolution. Long-GOP and I-Frame formats will be supported, both of which will be superior to DV.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for alleviating my major concerns.

I have a firestore for the DVX100, but it looks as though that will be out the window. So my choices now are to:

1. Record HDV to my laptop directly via. This is probably going to be good enough of 90% of my filming.

2. Swap cards out frequently if I want 1080p. This will be pretty rare.

3. Try to get an SDI (SD or HD) capture medium so I can do long form. This is probably not going to be necessary because I just can't see me needing to do FULL HD resolution for corporate meetings. Honestly, the DVX is fine for those.

Looks like I made a decent choice. Thanks for everyone's help.

Oh, I've been eyeing those Convergent boxes for a WHILE now, but I just can't justify the costs. Maybe after some billable gigs...
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Old June 28th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #11
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I did see on one post that Convergent is planning a firmware update to record SD. I think he said an August release.

That gives you a couple months of play, experimentation, and bill some time to justify the nanoFlash...
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Old June 28th, 2008, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hollister View Post
1a. You CAN record HD via firewire but only HDV resolution (1440x1080) SQ mode, not HQ.
I've used On Location on the PC and Capture Magic Pro on the Mac.

Unsure about SDI, but I think you can send out any flavor via SDI, depending on your capture device. A few people here looking for a small (like the Flash XDR Nano) but Standard Def SDI capture device but no luck so far.
Whoa! Was I wrong or what!!! Next time I'll make sure to have the facts before impulsively posting wrong information. Thanks for the correction!
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Old June 29th, 2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
I have a firestore for the DVX100, but it looks as though that will be out the window.
Although I'm all for throwing things out of windows; you may just want to hook it up to your EX instead...

The EX outputs HDV compatible signal over the i.LINK (firewire) port in SP modes 1080i60, 1080i50 and 1080p24. So these are your options for recording long running events.

George/
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Old June 29th, 2008, 09:46 AM   #14
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George, I'm confused. Are you referring to "SQ" mode as opposed to "HQ"?
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Old June 29th, 2008, 10:18 AM   #15
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I was referring to page 113 (or 114 depending on your version) of the manual.

SP mode is the HDV compatible 25Mb/s CBR mode (pg. 35). I cannot help some call it SQ.

George/
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