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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 September 19th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #61
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I hear you Bill.

Shooting seaside footage of water movement can show mpeg macroblocking with XDCAM codec.

I'm looking forward to Portable SDI capture devices for the best quality possible.
Even capturing at 50mb/s will offer cleaner mpeg artifacts.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #62
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If you can't see a difference and feel it's so small, stick with the XDCAM codec. Like Jim pointed out, 4:2:2 is your best bet for clean edge green or blue screen work.

But, I certainly can see the difference, especially as Thomas pointed out in more complex scenes.

Working with XDCAM footage over the last year, although it's no doubt one of the best mpeg compression verses data rate, more detailed scenes with motion can show mpeg artifacts. SDI will allow to capture your footage at a higher data rate to minimize these issues and also allow better chroma subsampling (4:2:2).

It's all about if you want the best possible. Certainly XDCAM codec does a great job.
Well for someone like me who cant see a difference at least nothing that could ever matter I would love to see Bills suggestion about panning and some real life examples of where there is a real difference otherwise to me there is nothing I could say proves there is a difference. No ones going to spend thousands on someone saying that Oh yes there is when so far there clearly isnt? Not trying to be argumentative just trying to get some evidence?
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Old September 19th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #63
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Mark,
I'm sure you will find Bill is a fan of the EX1. He owns one and has offered a lot to these forums

What I'm finding is it's hard to write in a few sentences without someone misinterpreting someones thoughts.

Mpeg artifacts are not real noticeable with the XDCAM. There's no doubt that XDCAM 35mb/s is probably "good enough". The real discussion is when your looking to get the best possible from the EX1.

We can't help this stuff man.... We all have the strive for the best possible disease. No doubt this is why we own the EX1. I'm still floored on the quality coming off of this camera.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #64
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Mark, I agree that more practical tests are needed.

The more data, the clearer the picture will be.

We all agree that 422 HD-SDI was *supposed* to be so much better than the internal SxS MPEG-compressed recording, in theory.

Let's see clear evidence of that with EX1, on practical footage.

A bit of history: I actually was one of the first people to positively confirm that Sony FX1 did output uncompressed video out of it's Component connector. I was then the first one (correct me if wrong) who actually built a device to capture it that way. I used it to shoot a HD short back in 2006. It was covered by the press, and Sony engineers called me numerous times to see how I did it. So I'd like to think that I know what I'm talking about, usually.

My own point has always been that we should always try to capture at the highest quality that can be afforded.

Now, with EX1, I thought the same: surely HD-SDI out should be significantly better in both compression artifacts and color fidelity.

And then, my tests did not show any difference, to my surprise.

The image, especially in terms of no motion artifacts, was so much better with both FX1 (live out of Component) and V1U (live out of HDMI). But not with EX1.

Thus it'd be useful to see more tests by others, if possible. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Or maybe there really isn't a discernible difference w EX1 (again, we are talking practical applications, not theory, please... I'd like to see something that can actually be appreciated by viewing on-screen as part of the moving images.)
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Old September 19th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #65
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I've tested a PDW-700 which is 4:2:2 at 50Mbps and an EX3 side by side under controlled conditions and I can tell you there is very little difference in the pictures that these cameras record. Is the EX1/3's HDSDi 4:2:2 or 4:2:0? I don't know. What I do know is that the images coming out of this camera are simply amazing. There are many cameras out there with full 4:2:2 HDSDi that cost an awful lot more than the EX1, yet the pictures are not as good. Don't read too much into the numbers, look at the pictures and make your quality judgement that way.

I've been using the XDCAM codec for 3 years and it is very robust. The difference between the uncompressed and compressed images has always been very very small. The XDCAM version of MPEG 2 is remarkably robust, much more so than HDV.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 02:00 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Alex Raskin View Post
A bit of history: I actually was one of the first people to positively confirm that Sony FX1 did output uncompressed video out of it's Component connector. I was then the first one (correct me if wrong) who actually built a device to capture it that way. I used it to shoot a HD short back in 2006.
Amazing discovery. Would such be the case for a Z1 as well? I have an EX1 as well, but darn it, I just sold my Black Magic Intensity Pro card thinking that I would be moving on to HD-SDI and the new Matrox box.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #67
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I'm surprised David from Cineform hasn't post yet, so I'll fill in a bit for him.

I sent him an uncompressed capture from HD-SDI through a Kona card. 10 frames of 1920 x 1080 60i. He wanted 60i to make it easier to distinguish the chroma sampling. We settled on a red Sharpie cap moving in front of a blue background to give the clearest chroma reference.

"I think it is 4:2:2. I can't see how a 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 will generate to amount of chroma information. I realize now that a more detail object would have made it easier to tell, the noise characteristic is not one of 4:2:0 interpolated to 4:2:2." David Newman, Cineform

So the conclusion is - probably 4:2:2 native. Or some really clever 4:2:0 conversion.

Also, partly because it's informative and partly because everyone is going to ask anyway, I've included a frame from the clip I sent to David and a clip of the same setup captured in HQ to SxS card.

I say partly informative because this is a shallow depth of field shot of a pen waving around and it's interlace, so focus/resolution is a bit mushed.

That said, there is a clear advantage to the HD-SDI shot. Quieter, cleaner, with a finer tooth to the interlace yuck. This advantage comes from avoiding MPEG macro blocking and the 30 something to 1 compression on the SxS card as well as 4.2.0 vs 4.2.2.

Watching the clips in motion, the twice per second softening usually visible in high motion shots on SxS captures is gone in the uncompressed clip.

On the secondary question of whether the nanoFlash will be useful, I think it should improve high motion shots and be much easier to haul around than a Mac Pro with RAID.

Last edited by George Strother; September 19th, 2008 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Photos didn't attach, twice
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Old September 19th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #68
 
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I always find it interesting how much people differ in their approach to things. I have always been a pretty big techie, sometimes that's a plus, sometimes not so much so. All I can ever do is offer my opinion...yes O-P-I-N-I-O-N. I will leave proof to the reader. If you are happy with the results you're seeing, I envy you because, in the end, this profession/hobby will cost you much less than it costs me...LOL

At the risk of repeating myself, my opinion of capturing 10-bit 4:2:2 at 100mbps vs. native capture of 8-bit 4:2:0 at 35mbps, has absolutely nothing to do with 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0. It's all about the mathematics of squeezing quality out of 35mbps worth of data vs. 100mbps worth of data. As a clue to what this might be like, I invite anyone with Avid or DVCPROHD to compare the same footage from DVCPRO50 to DVCPROHD(100mbps). If you see a difference, then you will see an even bigger difference with (nano)Flash. Let me tell you, after a summer of doing 16mm film transfers(which was done at 2k 4:4:4), there is a HUGE difference. However, for anyone who never strays far from their 1600x1200 computer monitor, you'll never SEE the difference. Hell, I can see the difference between DNx115 and DNX175 on a production monitor. It stands out like a slap in the face. Not to mention DNx220 or even Red's 4k images.

Vive la differance!

Last edited by Bill Ravens; September 19th, 2008 at 02:56 PM. Reason: spell checker
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Old September 19th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
Would such be the case for a Z1 as well? I have an EX1 as well, but darn it, I just sold my Black Magic Intensity Pro card thinking that I would be moving on to HD-SDI and the new Matrox box.
Yes. Please note that the difference with FX1/Z1/V1 is only evident if you capture *live* footage (not off the tape.)

However EX1's video quality is so much better than all the previous cameras in this price range. I even sold my V1U (a great camera on its own) because I wasn't happy how the video was intercutting between it and EX1.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 02:52 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by George Strother View Post
I'm surprised David form Cineform hasn't post yet, so I'll fill in a bit for him.

I sent him an uncompressed capture from HD-SDI through a Kona card. 10 frames of 1920 x 1080 60i. He wanted 60i to make it easier to distinguish the chroma sampling. We settled on a red Sharpie cap moving in front of a blue background to give the clearest chroma reference.

"I think it is 4:2:2. I can't see how a 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 will generate to amount of chroma information. I realize now that a more detail object would have made it easier to tell, the noise characteristic is not one of 4:2:0 interpolated to 4:2:2." David Newman, Cineform

So the conclusion is - probably 4:2:2 native. Or some really clever 4:2:0 conversion.

Also, partly because it's informative and partly because everyone is going to ask anyway, I've included a frame from the clip I sent to David and a clip of the same setup captured in HQ to SxS card.

I say partly informative because this is a shallow depth of field shot of a pen waving around and it's interlace, so focus/resolution is a bit mushed.

That said, there is a clear advantage to the HD-SDI shot. Quieter, cleaner, with a finer tooth to the interlace yuck. This advantage comes from avoiding MPEG macro blocking and the 30 something to 1 compression on the SxS card as well as 4.2.0 vs 4.2.2.

Watching the clips in motion, the twice per second softening usually visible in high motion shots on SxS captures is gone in the uncompressed clip.

On the secondary question of whether the nanoFlash will be useful, I think it should improve high motion shots and be much easier to haul around than a Mac Pro with RAID.
I found pretty much the same thing as David Newman. I posted my results on page 4 of this thread and used the image Jim posted. From what I understand of creating image processing programs there is no way to upsample the chroma to get it to look as good as the 4:2:2 sample.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Bill Ravens View Post
I always find it interesting how much people differ in their approach to things. I have always been a pretty big techie, sometimes that's a plus, sometimes not so much so. All I can ever do is offer my opinion...yes O-P-I-N-I-O-N. I will leave proof to the reader. If you are happy with the results you're seeing, I envy you because, in the end, this profession/hobby will cost you much less than it costs me...LOL

At the risk of repeating myself, my opinion of capturing 10-bit 4:2:2 at 100mbps vs. native capture of 8-bit 4:2:0 at 35mbps, has absolutely nothing to do with 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0. It's all about the mathematics of squeezing quality out of 35mbps worth of data vs. 100mbps worth of data. As a clue to what this might be like, I invite anyone with Avid or DVCPROHD to compare the same footage from DVCPRO50 to DVCPROHD(100mbps). If you see a difference, then you will see an even bigger difference with (nano)Flash. Let me tell you, after a summer of doing 16mm film transfers, there is a HUGE difference. However, for anyone who never strays far from their 1600x1200 computer monitor, you'll never SEE the difference. Hell, I can see the difference between DNx115 and DNX175 on a production monitor. It stands out like a slap in the face. Not to mention DNx220 or even Red's 4k images.

Vive la differance!
Bill HDSDI is 420? Thats the title of this thread? I'd like to know for sure whether it is or not and so far nothing shown proves anything? Or am I getting somehing wrong here?
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Old September 19th, 2008, 03:04 PM   #72
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Yes. Please note that the difference with FX1/Z1/V1 is only evident if you capture *live* footage (not off the tape.)
Noted. Your discovery is exciting. I gave up doing certain types of video due to the Z1's motion artifacts.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 03:24 PM   #73
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Gints, gald to be of help. Z1/FX1's video is really easy to break. (Unless you are capturing live from Component out, in which case it does not have much motion artifacts. I even posted comparison video caps Tape vs Live Component out here a couple years ago.)

V1 also not the best - I did a test at NY intersection, zoomed in so 2/3 of the car's length would take the whole screen. With cars (relatively slowly) moving in different directions in the background, and people doing the same in the foreground, the image fell apart a couple of times real bad.

I assume this was one of the situations when codec could not predict the motion, and thus could not cope.

When Adam Wilt said that EX1 is much better and it's virtually impossible to break its image, I could not believe it. Would 35Mbs vs 25Mbs really make much difference? Apparently it did :)
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Old September 19th, 2008, 04:51 PM   #74
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Perhaps a bit late in this discussion to be pointing this out however I do recall Sony saying the SDI signal is derived from the camera's component outputs. If correct then the signal has been though a chroma smoothing process in the D->A converters.
Avid has long maintained that the best way to capture DV is via component from a VCR so equiped. Clearly the VCR cannot put back that which the DV compression lost so the same result can be achieved in post.
Even if what is coming out the SDI port is from 4:2:0 processed video that's been resampled into 4:2:2 the critical question for keying is how much chroma resolution is available, not the sampling scheme.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 06:03 PM   #75
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Bill HDSDI is 420? Thats the title of this thread? I'd like to know for sure whether it is or not and so far nothing shown proves anything? Or am I getting somehing wrong here?
???

You're joking right?
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