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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 August 30th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #1
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Few simple questions on EX1

Sony gave me an EX1 on Friday for a weekend Demo. I have a wedding to shoot on Sunday and even though Sony only gave me 3 8GB cards, I think I have a pretty good workflow using my wife and her 20inch iMac and the supplied card reader for dumping footage while I work.

Since this is a pre-production model I did not get an instruction manual, and with some searching in this forum I found what was needed software wise for the Macs for both Final Cut Pro, and the Sony Software (thanks guys, those software links should be stickies)

So anyway, a few questions.

Does anyone have a specific profile that works for a possible dark environment like a wedding that would provide excellent quality footage for both a well lit daytime ceremony/pre ceremony and maybe into the night without having to use a light?

Would you care to post your settings?

Any tips/tricks on using this camera? ( I am the unproud owner of a JVCHD110U, I hate it)

If I span non stop recording for a ceremony across both 8GB cards, and use the Sony software to just copy the card to the computer for ingest into FCP later, do I need to do anything specific in the Sony app to ensure those clips are linked and not broken for ingest later?

Can I slap a second card in the camera while shooting? hot swap?

I think that covers it. I love this camera so far, huge difference from my HD110U and I have no plans to shoot anything other than HQ with it. I played with time lapse yesterday, but still cant figure out how to really set the camera up, I am used to the JVC and I have tons of scene files loaded on different cards for different environments, I dont have that option for this camera.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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Don't do it. Don't experiment with a new camera when you have a wedding to shoot. Wrong time to play around learning a new camera. Do it in your spare time unless you are just sending someone to play with the camera as an extra camera and are doing everything with the same tried and true equipment you have been using all along.

John
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Old August 30th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #3
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I am of course taking the JVC rig with me.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
Does anyone have a specific profile that works for a possible dark environment like a wedding that would provide excellent quality footage for both a well lit daytime ceremony/pre ceremony and maybe into the night without having to use a light?

Would you care to post your settings?

Any tips/tricks on using this camera? ( I am the unproud owner of a JVCHD110U, I hate it)
Sorry Jim, I am not yet that familiar with the camera to make any educated suggestions for that type of shooting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post

If I span non stop recording for a ceremony across both 8GB cards, and use the Sony software to just copy the card to the computer for ingest into FCP later, do I need to do anything specific in the Sony app to ensure those clips are linked and not broken for ingest later?
No, the Sony software will span the two clips automatically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
Can I slap a second card in the camera while shooting? hot swap?
Absolutely

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Fields View Post
I am of course taking the JVC rig with me.
Awesome

John
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Old August 30th, 2008, 09:51 PM   #5
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I would like to know what you dont like about the JVC. At least it looks like a pro cam rather than the small ugly looking EX1 for paid work. I have the JVC with true wide angle lens and have tried the EX1 as well. The LCD of the Sony is amazing as well as the low light, but with the wide lens on the JVC there is little difference in low light between the two. I would just find it difficult turning up for a paid job with a handycam.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 12:03 AM   #6
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Actually you haven't given much away in guiding us to the sort of advice that you can use, but assuming that you're well experienced there isn't much you need to avoid in using the EX1.

On the handling side: the camera isn't easy to hold without a support, but the technique is left hand under the lens, tip up the EVF and put the back of the camera against your ribs. The EVF isn't good, so use the LCD. The body is fairly covered with small switches, so good to be familair with these so when you press something unintentionally you realise what has happened. The lens is excellent and focus is critical. Use all manually (which I presume you would do). You can put everything on the LCD (histogram, brightness, DOF, battery, TC, CT, etc because there is just one button which will remove/restore the lot as required. If the camera hasn't had the upgrade then don't leave batteries installed overnight.

In swapping the SxS cards don't remove a card when it is being written (red light against that card); only when green indicated.

In terms of picture profiles you can use the default settings, but you will need to choose between STD gammas and cine gammas. The camera is low noise to 6dB gain and usable at 18dB (as usual depends on your acceptable noise). You gain a stop by turning off the shutter. The lens ramps to f/2.8 at max focal length although the display still shows f/1.9.
There is a problem with IR transmission which can be significant under 3200K lighting, but if you don't mind blacks being a bit mauve you will be OK (need an IR blocking filter to fix that, which you may not have at hand). The STD gammas are fairly linear and several people like these for stuff such as weddings. If the scene has a very wide lighting dynamic then the cine gammas roll over in the upper half giving a lot of compression to highlights; cine4 the most, cine1 the least. Phil Bloom has on his blog the PP he uses, and generally he uses cine1 with detail "off". I prefer cine4 for maximum dynamic with good low light contrast resolution, but this isn't necessarily the look you'll like without adjustment in post.

Best practice to positively set WB and leave on manual. The default is 3200K and you can set others on the A, B positions on the WB switch (maybe A 5600K and B even AWB!). The WB button is under the lens.

Navigate the menus using the joy stick, and you can navigate around the LCD to change settings. The zoom has very little rotational resistance and not easy to do smooth manual zooms -- may prefer to use the toggles and for that you must engage the zoom servo (under the lens).

EDIT: Phil's parameters seem to have moved, so here is his PP:
Matrix ...............on
Select................hisat
Level..................0
Phase.................-5
R-G...................75
R-B...................0
G-R...................-18
G-B...................-32
B-R...................-27
B-G...................13

Color Correction..............off
White.............................off
Detail.............................on
Detail Level.....................0
Detail Freq......................0
Skintone.........................off

Knee..............................on
Auto knee......................on
Point.............................90
Slope............................0
Knee SAT level...............50
Gamma Level..............-8
Gamma Select.............CINE1
Black..........................-12
Black Gamma..............0

These were established by Bill Raven (see PP sticky above), and later thoughts were to not push down black to that extent and to switch off "detail". Later Phil amended to a later version of Bill's PP:
Matrix select: cinema
Level: 0
Phase: -29
R-G: +31
R-B: 48
G-R: -2
G-B: -32
B-R: -38
B-G: +4
Color Correction ON
Target Phase: 274
Target Width: 0
Level: 91
Phase: -18
Knee SAT 50
Gamma Level: 0
Select STD1, Cine1, CINE3, or CINE4
Black: -8

You can try these as starting guidance, or plow through the sticky, or just use default settings until you have time to evaluate these things for yourself.

Last edited by Serena Steuart; August 31st, 2008 at 01:10 AM.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 04:31 AM   #7
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Hey guys,

We're in pre-production on a first-time independent feature; High Definition Video was a cost-effective alternative to film, but choosing the right camera is a pain . The HVR-V1 series looked good, until I saw some footage from Sony's EX1.

Someone may have asked this aleady, but does the EX1 shot remain stable enough during fast movement - action cinematography?

Does the EX1 have good gamma options for that film look?

The film will be intended as a throwback to 1940s film noir, so I'm looking for a faded, grainy black-and-white. Can this be achieved by playing with the focus on the camera and the white balance for a black-and-white setting, or is it better to do it all in post? And if so, will, say, Adobe Premium be good enough for this?

My main thing is getting as close to a 'film look' as possible, whether black-or-white or on a regular stock colour setting. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
George
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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:57 PM   #8
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The EX has a cmos sensor with the rolling shutter characteristics of that type. Some people have found that a problem for fast action and others have not (see threads here) so, as with most pre-production technical questions, you need to hire the gear and test.

If you're actually looking for the 40s film noir then your descriptors are wrong. It was sharp well lit low key velvety monochrome (lots of contrast) -- maybe you've been watching old 16mm copies of copies of copies of worn 35mm projection prints reduced to VHS. If you're wanting that old news coverage look or something like available light "The Bicycle Thieves", that's a different look. Maybe you want the very low budget film noir look.

The degraded look you specified is better done in post, and you might set the EX1 colour matrix to B&W to help you get the lighting right. Consider filters on the camera. You should check out Magic Bullet for post FX. You can do most of this in Adobe PP and certainly in Vegas Pro
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Old September 1st, 2008, 01:26 AM   #9
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Hey George,

I've had my EX3 over a week now, and I'm keen to get out there as often as possible. I have a few free weekends coming, so PM me if you want to do a test shoot, we might be able to work something out.

Noir to me usually means crisp deep focus static shots, with limited pan and dolly shots, with tight character and detail shots cut in. Not much camera movement at all. Sounds more like your after a modern stylised Noir.

The EX1/3 sensor scans an image line by line top to bottom as you see it on screen in about 1/50th of a second in PAL modes. This can introduce skew on fast pans in pretty much the same way it does with film. The effect is more pronounced at lower frame rates. Usually people won't even notice unless they are looking for it.

I'd be inclined to shoot it in B&W too, because you want to be able to see your luminance gradients cleanly. Tune for the best dynamic range, and maximise the recorded detail, then you have the best base to work with in post. You can lose detail in post if you like, but you can never regain it. You can then crop, zoom, grade and generally fiddle with less image cost.

The EX1/3 has pretty good image tweaks for it's price range. That's pretty handy for B&W images to smooth gradients, because human eyes are so much more sensitive to luminance than colour. If your blowing up to 35mm film, it'll be critical to avoid banding being so apparent. I haven't tested if the skin detail functions will work with colour matrix all set to negatives though. Should be interesting :)

David
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