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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 21st, 2008, 12:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brooks Graham View Post
Okay, you've piqued my curiosity: I've been keeping an eye out for dual-layer BD-R discs, where do you buy yours? And how much do they cost?

For me, BD-Rs are still too expensive for the amount of material I go through:

DVD5: USD$0.09 / GB
LTO3: USD$0.12 / GB
DVD9: USD$0.28 / GB (IMHO not suitable for long-term archival)
BD-R: USD$0.43 / GB

FWIW, I'm still archiving to Taiyo Yuden DVD5 discs using Toast's disc spanning. Also, few if any of my clients have a bluray drive yet.
This is hugely misleading. Please do a breakdown of cost per HOUR since we are archiving off video which needs contiguous space. It is my contention that it is simply not practical to archive 1080p masters to DVD5 unless you are doing 30 and 60 second spots. Even a 6 minute short wouldn't fit, nevermind a 52 minute uncut show.

Also would you mind including the price per hour of the other current HD archival media? Probably should include Sony Professional Disk, HDCam 64 tapes, HDCamSR 64 tapes, And whatever Panasonic writes to for Archival purposes..

Frankly, I looked at the costs to save 1hr of HD video on BluRay, 2 hours on BD-DL, and an hour and 2 hour on HDCam/HDCamSR tapes, it was no contest. LTO might work, but I sure as heck am not going to want to retrieve my video files from an LTO tape drive in 4 years. Sticking a disk in the computer and copying my masters back to my editing machine is a MUCH more friendly method.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 01:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
This is hugely misleading. Please do a breakdown of cost per HOUR since we are arciving off video which needs contiguous space. It is my contention that it is simply not practical to archive 1080p masters to DVD5 unless you are doing 30 and 60 second spots. Even a 6 minute short wouldn't fit, nevermind a 52 minute uncut show.

Also would you mind including the price per hour of the other current HD archival media? Probably should include Sony Professional Disk, HDCam 64 tapes, HDCamSR 64 tapes, And whatever Panasonic writes to for Archival purposes..

Frankly, I looked at the costs to save 1hr of HD video on BluRay, 2 hours on BD-DL, and and hour and 2 hour on HDCam/HDCamSR tapes, it was no contest. LTO might work, but I sure as heck am not going to want to retrieve my video files from an LTO tape drive in 4 years. Sticking a disk in the computer and copying my masters back to my editing machine is a MUCH more friendly method.
Different strokes, I guess. I do tons of long-form shooting and use DVD5s just fine, thank you.

But you didn't answer my question about dual-layer bluray discs.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 01:24 AM   #18
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I don't know where the disks come from or what we pay. I send an order to my purchasing dept., and disks show up 4 days later.

Cheapest I just found online was an Imation BD-DL for 27.17. So $0.54 per GB. The had 15 single sided for $83. Or $0.22 per GB. I wonder how cheap the blanks will have to get before people consider them viable.


Out of curiosity, how do you write long form HD projects to DVD5?
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Last edited by Perrone Ford; December 21st, 2008 at 09:29 AM.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 01:57 AM   #19
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I don't know where the disks come from or what we pay. I send an order to my ourchasing dept., and disks show up 4 days later.

Cheapest I just found online was an Imation BD-DL for 27.17. So $0.54 per GB. The had 15 single sided for $83. Or $0.22 per GB. I wonder how cheap the blanks will have to get before people consider them viable.


Out of curiosity, how do you write long form HD projects to DVD5?
BD-R DLs have come down in price. SLs, not as much.

I use a rather nifty feature of Roxio Toast that will split large files across multiple discs. At first, I didn't consider it a valid approach, but at some point I discovered that it doesn't write them in any proprietary way. It simply creates two (or more) chunks that I can concatenate back to make the original files. On each disc, it places a small Mac app and another Windows app that can handle the task for you. But in some number of years, if those apps aren't viable, I can just "cat" the chunks together. I have tested the process by comparing MD5 signatures of the original files against the recreated files. (for archive, I place a small text file in with the others which contains the MD5 signatures of each file so I can have some way of validating any future restores)

I agree that I'm using more time than I would if I used BD-Rs, but for now it's a cost thing. When BD-R prices come down, I'll switch over. You wanted a cost threshold? For me that would likely be when the blank SL discs get to be around $6 or $7.

Lastly, these discs are for off-site storage. For on-site, I use a SATA dock with bare 1TB disk drives. Those come out to be about USD$0.10 / GB. So my total cost per GB is $0.19 instead of $0.53 (BD-R off-site + SATA on-site).

And some people think that with tapeless, your media costs go to zero!
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:45 AM   #20
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BD-R DLs have come down in price. SLs, not as much.


And some people think that with tapeless, your media costs go to zero!
I am seeing SL disks at about $7-12. If we consider that 1 hour of mastering media, then it is cheaper than any other commonly used HD backup.

The issue with this stuff seeming expensive invariably comes from former miniDV or HDV shooters, and not people who've worked with film or HD for some time.

HDCam tapes (64 minutes) are about $49.99
HDCamSR 64 (if you 1920x1080) are about $103
DVCPro 64 $41

Even in the SD world, Digibeta 64 minute tapes are about $25 each.

So to me, BluRay's $7-15 or so an hour is a terrific bargain.


As for media being free, well try showing up for a 3 day conference with 6 shooting hours per day with digibeta or hdcam, and compare SxS costs. It's not free, but it's WORLDS cheaper.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 10:31 AM   #21
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Before I bought the EX1 I read a lot of reviews. Many of the reviewers apologized for Sony's price gouging on the SxS cards by reasoning that you only have to mortgage your house once,
and then you could keep reusing all the SxS cards you bought for normal shooting.

Sony was bold enough to include labels with the cards, the assumption being that you would not reuse them, but rather archive footage on them, go to the bank to take out a bridge loan, and go out and buy some more.

So now we have with firmware 1.11, an unexpected consequence for Sony in that cheaper SDHC cards will work with the cameras when combined with certain card readers.

Which brings us to this thread. When some of you say that this process is cheaper than tape, what are you basing that on? Are you including the cost of archiving? At between $3 and $7 for MiniDV tape, the total media cost was done when you shot it. The aquisition media was the archived media. Done! No matter which way you slice it, EX footage is going to cost more than tape for you to archive.

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Old December 21st, 2008, 10:48 AM   #22
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I disagree John.

If you go back to page 1 of this thread, you'll see how we archive to hard drives using Retrospect Backup. This is a very quick process, but more importantly it's quicker to restore footage than restoring it from tape. For example:

For the last 7 years, we have shot on DV tape. We "Batch Digitize" using FCP. When the project is finished we archive it to firewire external hard drives. When we need to find a shot from a project we produced 5 years ago, we simply type the name of the project (or file name) into the Search field in Retrospect Backup, and it tells us to connect which ever hard drive it's saved on. About 2 minutes later (maybe less), we have the shot. Better yet, about 10 minutes later we could have the entire project restored if necessary.

What I've noticed using this method for the last 7 years is that once we capture our footage to hard drive, we NEVER use the tapes again. True, we still store them alphabetically on shelves in case we ever need them, but the truth is, we haven't ever needed them. Maybe we're lucky and some day we'll find an error with our archive system, but for 7-years now, it's been working great.

The short answer is, I believe we save time by not using tape. I can access footage off a hard drive MUCH faster (10 times faster?) than off of tape.

EDIT: BTW, we bought the EX3 because of the increase in the quality of our video. Because it's not tape based we can overcrank and undercrank our footage for some really cool effects. That's why we bought it. Not because it's memory card based.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 11:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by John Peterson View Post
Which brings us to this thread. When some of you say that this process is cheaper than tape, what are you basing that on? Are you including the cost of archiving? At between $3 and $7 for MiniDV tape, the total media cost was done when you shot it. The aquisition media was the archived media. Done!
So, you never archived your finished product? If you needed to produce a new master, you had to do all your work again? Where did you save your EDL? How about your metadata? All lost?

I'll outline my two most common shooting scenarios. The first is the 3-hour conference shoot, and the second is the multi-day.

miniDV workflow:

1. Approach conference leader and explain that my camera can only record 1hr at a time and tell him he will be prompted with 5 minutes and then 1 minute from time.

2. Load tape and shoot first hour.

3. Pause room full of people to make tape switch (repeat twice).

4. Take tapes back to edit bay, and transfer them real time. (3 hours)

5. Put tapes onto shelf.

6. Edit in NLE and produce master.

7. Write master out to 4hr Master DV tape ($18)

8. Cut CD-R with project EDL, Assets, etc.

For multi-day this process is repeated except that I now have 4-6 miniDV tapes per day, I have gaps where I changed tapes because I couldn't stop a conference to change tapes, and I need 2 $18 master tapes per day's footage. If we are taking labor into account, I have at least 2-3 days of work just getting the tapes ingested in real time to the editing suite.

Eventually, I begged for a Firestore, not so much for the increased speed, but just so I wouldn't have to stop the conferences or have gaps in the footage.

Going to tapeless flash media has saved me time, money, and added a HUGE amount of convenience. On a single day's footage I had 3-6 miniDV tapes and 1-2 master DV tapes invested. Re-usable SDHC with BluRay mastering has saved me money already.


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No matter which way you slice it, EX footage is going to cost more than tape for you to archive.
No. EX1 footage is only more expensive than SD mini-DV tape. Which is NOT a professional format. Not only are you mixing apples and oranges, you're mixing barrels and crates. SD vs HD, consumer formats versus pro.

As I have abundantly illustrated, there is absolutely NO WAY you can TOUCH EX1 recording costs when you compare any other method of recording 1920x1080 playable footage off an archive media. None. it's as cheap as it gets.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 12:01 PM   #24
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+1 for everything Perrone said. His example is much better than mine.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 12:47 PM   #25
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So, you never archived your finished product? If you needed to produce a new master, you had to do all your work again? Where did you save your EDL? How about your metadata? All lost?
-----
No. EX1 footage is only more expensive than SD mini-DV tape. Which is NOT a professional format. Not only are you mixing apples and oranges, you're mixing barrels and crates. SD vs HD, consumer formats versus pro.
OK, I store the EDL on a hard drive. And, yes I create a Master tape so add that to the cost.

In terms of "professional" I think many wedding videographers, etc would argue that what they produce on MiniDV is in fact professional, format aside.

Don't forget, at the price point of the EX1 many MiniDV camera videographers were attracted to it. It seemed aimed at us IMO.

And many of the reviews were targeted at us as well. I read them first as I mentioned. I am not yet sold on the notion that "tapeless is better". Maybe in time.

I guess what I really resent is the game Sony has played with the SxS media. That type of attempt at corporate monopoly and subsequent price gouging really turns me off the same way it does at the gas pump.

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Old December 21st, 2008, 01:05 PM   #26
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John, DL-DVD is comparable in price to miniDV and DVD may actually be cheaper. The XDCAM EX file, at 35mbps, are only slightly larger than a DV file. Restoring for DVD or DL-DVD is faster than real time. So you have comparable cost backup and faster retrieval.

Tapeless is better so many ways it would be long and boring to list. When you compare to HDV, I'd have to say HDV tape may be the worst tape format every invented (Beta SX is close though).
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Old December 21st, 2008, 01:05 PM   #27
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In terms of "professional" I think many wedding videographers, etc would argue that what they produce on MiniDV is in fact professional, format aside.
Can't put format aside because that is exactly what we are discussing. Media. I could hand Martin Scorsese a mini-DV camera and the look might be pro, but if he handed it to you and said run this up to the local TV station, they'd balk before they even looked at it.

If you charged someone $10k to shoot their wedding and showed up with an HV20, you'd be laughed out of the place, and you'd likely not get paid. Show up with a Red or a Varicam, or F900 with a mattebox and rods and a dolly, and people would be asking for your business card.

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Don't forget, at the price point of the EX1 many MiniDV camera videographers were attracted to it. It seemed aimed at us IMO.
Actually, I think it was aimed at folks who wanted B-Cams to the F900s and similar, as well as direct competition to the HVX200.

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And many of the reviews were targeted at us as well. I read them first as I mentioned. I am not yet sold on the notion that "tapeless is better". Maybe in time.
Well, the entire pro world seems to think it is. Even the film folks like Panavision are offering tapeless workflows.

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I guess what I really resent is the game Sony has played with the SxS media. That type of attempt at corporate monopoly and subsequent price gouging really turns me off the same way it does at the gas pump.
You do realize that Panasonic beat Sony to this game by nearly 4 years right? And unlike Sony, the Panasonic has NO alternatives like SDHC. For shooting 1080p, Panasonic's solution is 4 times as expensive per minute even though it's on older technology? Rent an HDCamSR deck for a day and buy tapes for it, then get back to me on SxS costs. Recording full raster 1080p isn't cheap no matter how it's done.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 10:40 PM   #28
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If you charged someone $10k to shoot their wedding and showed up with an HV20, you'd be laughed out of the place, and you'd likely not get paid. Show up with a Red or a Varicam, or F900 with a mattebox and rods and a dolly, and people would be asking for your business card.
I'm not in the wedding scene and so maybe am out of touch, but I'd be a little freaked out if a wedding videographer showed up with a Red or Varicam. Though I guess if people are paying $10k--are they? Maybe I'll do weddings after all...
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Old December 21st, 2008, 10:55 PM   #29
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I'm not in the wedding scene and so maybe am out of touch, but I'd be a little freaked out if a wedding videographer showed up with a Red or Varicam. Though I guess if people are paying $10k--are they? Maybe I'll do weddings after all...
In couldn't tell ya. I wouldn't shoot a wedding for $100k!

That said, I'd probably HIRE a video guy with a RED for my wedding! And there would be PLENTY of light!
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 12:48 AM   #30
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Writing out a full sized mp4 file and saving onto DVD-DL would be cheaper and higher quality. And you can avoid the pain of having to do real-time data transfers...

In fact, you can easily fit two hours of high quality mpt4 onto an 8gb SDHC card for $20. Or an hour of nearly BluRay spec footage. I'd take that option over tape any time. I don't EVER want to go back to tape. EVER.

-P
I also do a data backup but I also dump out a tape for the heck of it. I like knowing that if for some odd reason my data backups do kick the bucket I still at least have a tape handy to go back to if I really need it. I do agree that Blu-ray is a better option and once the price comes down I will stop using HDV tapes for my secondary backup and just use Blu-ray instead.

As for my hard drive backup you guys should look into the Thermaltake BlacX external devices for SATA drives. With this device you just pop in any 3.5" or 2.5" drive into the top like a piece of bread in a toaster and you are good to go. The version I have has USB2 and ESATA so it is very fast for backups. I just pop a drive in the top, copy my data over and hit the eject button when it is finished. With this device hard drives act sort of like tapes since they can be changed so quickly. Just be sure you have a ESATA hooked up via PCI-express or else it isn't going to be all that much faster. Some motherboards put their ESATA ports running through the old PCI which isn't all that fast. I highly suggest getting a nice ESATA card and then your backups will run as fast as moving files between two internal drives.
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