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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old December 19th, 2008, 11:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
I am not blaming the camera, although I think Sony could have provided better information on how to acheive quality SD footage
How? How would Sony know the tools you use? I just made a new post regarding this.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 12:10 AM   #17
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Good point Perrone,

Of course Sony would not know all the tools we are using. I would have expected some guidelines though, most people are still wanting to output to DVD.

I guess I am still a bit frustrated with the SD quality, at the moment I can't use the footage, it is not good enough. THis is not a fault of the camera, just me trying to acheive a perfect result so I can justify the £6000 I have just spent on the camera. I start filming on the 5th January for my next DVD project, so I have a couple of weeks to get it all right - I have every confidence that it will be superb. When I acheive it, I will post a workflow for other people who have the same problem.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 12:18 AM   #18
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Can you post your current workflow?

I am especially interested in the tool you use to get from 1080 to 480, and in the tool you use to go from your source format to mpeg2. I am interested in where the losses are occuring, or if its an accumulation of issues.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #19
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Rent/Borrow Before You Buy

Vincent:

Definitely rent the camera before you buy it and take it out for a spin.

I bought an EX-1 a month ago and after shooting with it - I really don't like it.

Its pretty good for 1080i, but for 24P, the image gets REALLY soft unless you pan REALLY SLOW. I'm not sure what you shoot your weddings in, just FYI.

Now, I will get verbally fragged for saying this on this forum, but its true and other pro videographers that I work with feel the same way.

And people will tell you its a "24P thing" and that you're panning too fast, but nay, I've shot on every HDV camera out there and even an F900 in 24P and NEVER saw the same effect.

Also, the auto focus BLOWS. Now, many people will tell you you don't need auto focus, and in a full-size camera rig I'd agree, but for handy cams (and let no man say this is NOT a handy cam in design), I like a good auto focus SOMETIMES (I've shot many weddings and there are times when its just nice to have). On this camera NEVER, EVER trust the auto focus (and contrary to what some may say, the Z1 was an HD camera and had a perfectly acceptable auto focus).

And the form factor absolutely DOES NOT WORK for hand held unless you pay an additional $650 or so for a shoulder rig.

Now, this camera can get some awesome footage to be sure, but I think it is more suited for controlled, cinematic situations than truly run-and-gun shooting (which weddings are).

Now, I am not a shill for any company, I am an EX-1 owner and a professional videographer and this is my opinion....
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Old December 20th, 2008, 01:55 AM   #20
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EUREKA, have solved the HD to SD problem.

I will/have post the workflow in the thread HD to SD downconversion
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Old December 20th, 2008, 05:33 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post

The ergonomics aren't perfect, but you get around them. What works for me is the Hood-pro sock magnifier and an odd Vulcan Nerve Pinch left handed grip round the lens hood, with the right hand wodging the whole affair into the shoulder. Then there's the magnified view for quick checks.

That way, I can keep the lens in manual. This is very important. Don't rely on the autofocus. Ever.

Get to know about 'hyperfocal distance' - a point on your lens at which everything is in focus from a yard to infinity (wide, mid aperture, use the Lens Info scale). Get the sock magnifier so you can SEE when you've got focus. Get used to knowing instinctively which way to tug the lens, and by how much, when your subjects move. Learn to spot the identifiers of sharp focus, know when to zoom in, twiddle, zoom out (of course you've checked your back-focus!).
I have an EX1 since a few weeks and am obviously still learning. I come from a Z1 and was used to (manually) focussing on an object a meter away and that way everything from 1 to 10 meters was in focus. Ideal for uncontrolled situations. Not so with this camera.
I really miss the temporary autofocus feature from the Z1.(why did they mess with that very useful function??!! Zoom in, push the temp autofocus button-always spot on-release the button and it keeps focus, zoom out. Sony: please have that feature return as an option for a custom button in the next firmware!)

Matt, I am curious to hear what you mean when suggesting to use the sock magnifier. While you're running around shooting? From a tripod? I have one but haven't used it yet. I don't like the idea of not being able to instantly see the LCD for composition when I walk around & shoot with the camera. Why not just use expanded focus? (even though I don't like that function either -as of yet- because it takes a few seconds during which you can't check composition. Maybe just another thing to get used to...)

Jeroen

ps I use the Varizoom LSP shoulderbrace and it is great. Used it for the Z1 and now for the EX1. I would never shoot handheld with the EX1 unless I need some unusual angles...
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Old December 20th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
I come from a Z1 and was used to (manually) focussing on an object a meter away and that way everything from 1 to 10 meters was in focus. Ideal for uncontrolled situations. Not so with this camera.
Stop the lens down. Problem solved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
I really miss the temporary autofocus feature from the Z1.(why did they mess with that very useful function??!! Zoom in, push the temp autofocus button-always spot on-release the button and it keeps focus, zoom out. Sony: please have that feature return as an option for a custom button in the next firmware!)
Put camera into manual focus, push button that says autofocus. Make sure that lens is not in full manual mode.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 09:38 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Stop the lens down. Problem solved.

Put camera into manual focus, push button that says autofocus. Make sure that lens is not in full manual mode.
Stopping down the lens in effect would mean underexposing, right? (that is, if you don't want to change shutter and gain) Or use the ND-filter when there's lots of light.
But what if you're fully open? Can you give examples how this would work in practice? Say you're following a person in a building and he's going in and out of rooms with different amounts of light available... Do you use this technique?


Autofocus on the EX1:
I understood from the Doug Jensen instruction dvd that the autofocus button is essentially different from the one on the Z1 and that it should be avoided. The difference being that autofocus doesn't stop after you release the button but continues to hunt untill it decides it's got the focus right. That, as mr Jensen says (and I fullheartedly agree) is unacceptable.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Stopping down the lens in effect would mean underexposing, right? (that is, if you don't want to change shutter and gain) Or use the ND-filter when there's lots of light.
But what if you're fully open? Can you give examples how this would work in practice? Say you're following a person in a building and he's going in and out of rooms with different amounts of light available... Do you use this technique?
If you are fully open because you HAVE to be then you have to accept the depth you get. However, I would submit that if you are fully open on the EX1 you'd be gained up on the Z1 because it doesn't gather as much light in it's smaller chips anyway. So gaining up on the EX1 should put you back ahead of the game, and then you can close the iris down a stop or so. I don't need to run-and-gun my camera so I can't say. But if I were, I'd probably be gained up +6 or so, maybe more, and then cleaning up the footage in post. If I was using the EXx in an ENG type of way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Autofocus on the EX1:
I understood from the Doug Jensen instruction dvd that the autofocus button is essentially different from the one on the Z1 and that it should be avoided. The difference being that autofocus doesn't stop after you release the button but continues to hunt untill it decides it's got the focus right. That, as mr Jensen says (and I fullheartedly agree) is unacceptable.
Interesting. I'll have to test this. I tend to not use or need autofocus for what I do, and I am not familiar with the Z1 at all.
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Old December 20th, 2008, 01:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
EUREKA, have solved the HD to SD problem.

I will/have post the workflow in the thread HD to SD downconversion
can't find the post... link?
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Old December 20th, 2008, 02:40 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Erik Phairas View Post
can't find the post... link?

Here is the link, second post

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/sony-xdca...onversion.html
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Old December 21st, 2008, 04:36 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Matt, I am curious to hear what you mean when suggesting to use the sock magnifier. While you're running around shooting? From a tripod? I have one but haven't used it yet.
The Sock Magnifier is officially known as the Hood Pro. I bought one after trying Philip Bloom's one at a conference.

Philip Bloom Blog Archive How to make EX1 LCD BETTER than EX3 viewfinder

What it does and how it works is covered by reviews by Mr Bloom and other esteemed web sources. What I will add is that using a Sock Magnifier in Run & Gun means I can keep the EX1 at eye level, keep an eye on focus, pull focus reliably and enjoy slightly more stable shots in hand held mode.

It's not perfect - I've stopped using it on a tripod, for example. It's too much hassle for talking head interviews. But for pseudo-shoulder stuff, it's brilliant. The extra touch of stability is handy, too.

One thing though: if you're tempted, buy the black version! I bought the cheerful Orange/Blue combo, and got a comment on a recent job that it stood out too much.
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