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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 December 2nd, 2008, 09:15 PM   #1
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photo boy joins team ex1

Howdy, as a hapless commercial photographer i have read video forums until my eyes bleed and at last i am seriously looking at joining team Sony ex1. Seems like a great camera so per this fine forums advice i orderd the vortex media dvd set today before pulling the trigger and blurting out my credit card number. while waiting for the UPS man i had a few questions for you guys...

I assume i can download a SxS card onto my Mac 17" HD laptop? any special toys required? as far as editing lite, what software is best? i have CS3 now and will soon have 4 if that helps. is Sony Prime Support or Service Plus a good thing and how do i purchase it?

lastly, besides reading this forum religiously, what else can i do to vanquish my complete and appalling ignorance of all things video? are there general DVDs, books, orgs, workshops that you care to recommend?

thanks in advance

greg
st louis
Greg Kiger Photography
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 11:27 PM   #2
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Mac 17" HD laptop?
What is that?
MBP 17" with expresscard slot?
Download thru expresscard slot or USB. Software on Ex1 cd or on sony website.
FCP is a great editing option.
Have never used Adobe since they originally abandoned the mac.
PS the ex1 is a great still camera @ 30-60fps.
Vortex is a very good start.

We are all learning, this digital interface takes some getting used too, but logging is sooo fast. Editing is now so much faster.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 04:13 AM   #3
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Bob,

I have found that Grass Valley's Edius to be by far the most efficient program for editing with better real time performance than its competitors. Compared with FCP and Premiere it does not have such extensive support for the audio side of things, but for most types of work that I do this is of no consequence. You can run it under Boot Camp/Windows XP + SP2 if you decide to use a MacBook. There seems to be a bug on the recent V.5 release of the program, but V4.6 is rock solid; no doubt the bug will be exterminated in the near future. Try the program for yourself, a free 30 day trial may be downloaded from the Canopus/Grass valley web site.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 06:52 AM   #4
 
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my .02 cents:
Vegas is OK, no customer support
Edius is simplistic, no customer support
Adobe is OK, no customer support however, it is the fastest growing PC based NLE on the market
Avid rocks, excellent customer support. Difficult to learn, but, extremely flexible and capable. Avid also works cross PC and MAC platforms.
FCP-a little late to the table with camera updates, but giving Avid a run for its money.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 08:38 AM   #5
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Greg,

I took the plunge and moved from commercial and editorial photography about 11 years ago. I have found that the best video shooters have a strong still photo background.

You have a lot to learn. Here is how it worked for me. The best thing you can do is learn how to edit first. Take a class, find an editor who is willing to let you sit in on some editing sessions. Since you are a Mac guy, learn Final Cut Studio. I won't get into the "this software is better than that software" argument. You won't go wrong learning FCP.

You have made a good choice with the EX1. You will still have to get used to the difference in DOF from still photography, but you can do it. You already know how to use light to enhance your images.

The most important thing is learning how to tell a story in a series of images. Also knowing how the sequence will cut together is very important. You have been taught to capture a story in a single image. Now you have to throw that out the window and tell the story from different angles. Get wide establishing shots, close up reaction shots, action shots, etc. All of these will help you tell your story. Plus you have narration and music.

I took a look at your website and you have a good eye. You have a lot of work ahead of you, but it will be worth while. I can't count the number of sleepness nights I stayed up staring at my Mac screen while trying to learn a new trick in FCP.

Have fun,

Daniel Weber
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 08:47 AM   #6
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Hi Greg, and welcome. I also have a Commercial Photography background and I'm only a few months ahead of you in the learning curve. It's obvious from looking at your website that you have a great eye for lighting and composition so you'll do well. Also, Daniel is absolutely right about learning to edit. That's the one thing that gives me fits right now but I'm getting there. Have fun and welcome aboard.

Dave
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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #7
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thanks for the warm welcome guys, nice to see other photogs who have made the transition.

Bob asked about my laptop, its a Mac book pro, duo core. just looking to download onto it in the field, is that what you guys do? i believe it has a slot for the SxS cards but someone said i might get better transfer speed out of a firewire based card reader. no idea if thats the case or if it exists. anyway, maybe i will get 1 SxS card and 1 of the cheaper versions mentioned elsewhere in this forum. any thoughts on that?

it has also been suggested that i get i movie HD and learn basics on that before moving up to FCP. i may check out edius as Geoff mentioned too. either way it sounds like all roads eventually lead to FCP.

went to the book store to peruse what i expected to be a huge selection of how to video books - they had 2, wow. anyway, i bought "the filmmakers handbook". if you guys have other faves please let me know and i'll add um to my Christmas list. need a tripod and head too. anyway, appreciate the advice :)

greg kiger
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st louis
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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:39 PM   #8
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Greg,

Regarding software. I would not bother with iMovie. I have been using FCP since version 1.0. I used to be a consultant for Apple and trained people on FCP and I can't figure out iMovie. If you are going to be putting in the effort to learn something, do it once and do it right.

Regarding tripods. I use a Miller Solo DV when I am out in the field. The legs are what you would be used to with a photo tripod. Another option is Cartoni or Sacthler. Both are more expensive but you get what you pay for.

You can go with Bogen to save some money, but the heads are not that great. A fluid head if very important.

When it comes to transferring files from the EX1 nothing works better than a Macbook Pro.

The SxS card fits right into the Express slot and mounts as a hard drive. I use FW800 drives to back up to in the field. Just copy the BVAP folder over to a folder on the FW drive and that is it. I can transfer a full 16 gig card in about 6-7 minutes.

I wouldn't use a FW reader for the cards, the Express slot is very fast.

I would stick with the Sony cards if you can afford it. You will need at least 2 cards. When you buy the camera it should come with one 8 gig card. Get at least one more 8 gig. I use two 16 gig cards and can shoot almost 2 hours of HQ footage before I need to offload the files.

Good luck,

Daniel Weber
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Old December 5th, 2008, 10:19 PM   #9
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Thanks Daniel, lots of specific, actionable advice. i'll get to researching on B&H. thanks again :)
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:13 PM   #10
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If you only have "Bogen" money for sticks, check out Libec. Not quite Miller or Sachtler, but certainly a better head than the common Bogen options.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 11:16 PM   #11
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Also, the SDHC option for many of us has been terrific. SxS cards are great - no question. SxS cards are pricey - no question.

Your budget, you make the choice. But if you need to watch the investment closely, the minutes to dollars ratio can be drastically improved using an SDHC solution.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 05:36 AM   #12
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kensington cards ...

I've been using the kensington adapter with 16gig flash memory cards to good effect for standard motion. Bits of trouble on getting cards!
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Old December 6th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #13
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Hey Greg!
Congrats!

a) find an editor in a St. Louis boutique shop around the size of your own stills photo outfit, maybe even via this website.

b) talk to him or her about this

c) bring shots over - read your manuals, download your Sony Transfer software

d) have that person play with it, and watch.

e) do this a lot.

f) download Avid Free off the avid site and learn it using Alex, the online Avid Learning Experience

g) play on your own

h) check out David Bloom's website and study how he does the things he does

i) post on your own website and invite us to comment

j) assemble a reel (portfolio) and off you go!

No substitite for just getting in there and doing it.

It's harder to lug your EX with you everywhere you go but I solved all of that by changing the equipment blend of my LowePro Magnum case - before it had a Sinar F and 6x9 rollbacks and a tiny video camera, now it has my EX1 and a 6x9 folder.

Still use your exposure meter and Zone system, if you did that before. All that knowledge will put you ahead in the video game. Try and get a mental bridge going between the video camera and the stills camera - what's the equivalent camera speed? gamma response? color response?

You have the basic three (focus, aperture, shutter) but also some (photo) post built into the EX1 - the man thing is volume (push/pull) or sensitivity (kinda like variable ASA with associated grain/noise), also frame blending (burn) and other controls that you're already used to using, but differently. Also you can make an analogy to the two part neg developers with the gamma response curves - it's not the same, but it's close enough so you can get a mental picture of what the electronics are doing.

Just don't think that this camera is a digital 35mm - treat it more like a medium format camera, not a point-and-shoot, and you'll be fine.

Ask lots of questions!
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