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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 January 6th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #31
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I've bought Vortex EX1 DVDs and it's really 3 hours of know-how about this camera.

Unfortuantely, author spend too much time on workflow issues and doesn't bring out any of major EX series cons.

It's worth money.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 04:53 AM   #32
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Its a shame Vortex don't have a reseller in the UK, like creativevideo or Amazon etc.
I'm sure you used to be able to buy the 350 DVD's from Prestons. Not sure if they have the EX ones though.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #33
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Hi, my registration has finally been approved and Iíve been given the green light to start posting. Hopefully Iíll be able to exercise some self-control and avoid the urge to chime in on every topic.

One thing I have always liked about reading through the forums at DVi is that the posts are generally very informative and rarely get side tracked into fringe areas. I think this thread has not typical of what DVi is all about. Nevertheless, at the risk of getting started off on the wrong foot, I feel I must respond to a few things that have been said about my company, Vortex Media.

Simon has already posted my explanation of our shipping charges, so I wonít bother rehashing that stuff. However, I think anyone would be offended if they were accused of ďripping offĒ customers. Especially when the shipping charges are clearly displayed at the very top of the order form. You can either accept it or you not, but nobody is being ripped off.

How much should a niche product like these DVDs sell for? As any entrepreneur will tell you, thatís always a difficult to thing to determine. If anyone has a crystal ball, Iíd love to borrow it. There are several DVDs weíve done over the years that will never be in the black. Thatís just part of the game.

But apparently some people feel that the creator of such a product should charge just a couple of bucks more than what it cost them to create it because ďToo much profit looks like greed.Ē I disagree wholeheartedly with that attitude. The amount of profit (or loss) is of no concern to the customer. The question is, did each individual customer get value for their money? Was the DVD, book, movie, software, music, or whatever youíre buying, worth more than what you spent to buy it?

Itís easy to sit back and say someone else is charging too much, especially when they havenít even seen the product. I wish everything cost less, but personally, I donít ever give any thought to how much profit a company is making when I buy something. What difference does it make to me if the company is going to sell 10 copies or 10 million. Whether the company will make $10,000 or lose $100,000 from the venture? Who cares? The value to me, as the customer, is based on what I get out of it of buying the item.

Last month I invested $1400 in new Adobe software. I didnít look at the three discs that came in the little box (without manuals) and wonder why Adobe wasnít selling it for only $20. I know why it cost $1400, and I know what I am going to be able to create with that software once I master it. At the same time, I also invested $225 in books to learn the software faster and teach me things I would have never known without them. In my opinion, it was money well spent for the time it has already saved me.

I like to think that Vortex Mediaís DVDs have the same value to our customers. For $125 someone gets to learn what it took us several weeks to find out about the cameras. Customers get a very efficient training program in just three hours that would normally take a day or two if you sat in a classroom. They can pause, rewind, and review it anytime. How much is that worth? Surely more than $125. If the situation were reversed, Iíd gladly pay $125 (and I have) to get up to speed learning something new. Time is money.

Yeah, instead of buying the Adobe books I could have bought some shoes or a video game, but Iíll earn much more money in the long run by investing in new software and the necessary training to master it faster. How much or how little the writers of those books earn from their labor is no concern of mine because I got my moneyís worth out of the books Ė although I hope they make millions!! I really do.

Itís ridiculous to think that the customer can even judge how much profit is too much profit. The customer canít know how much profit there is. Does the customer see the 6-8 weeks of time, expenses, and effort that went into producing each video? Do they know how many copies will be sold? Do they know how much of a discount resellers expect? Do they know how much advertising costs? Without all those pieces of information the customer canít determine how much profit is ďtoo much profitĒ. Believe me, you could sell thousands of copies of a DVD and still not have the venture be worth the hassle. Iíve been there.

Unlike training videos from other companies, we donít pick up the camera one day, shoot the video the next day, and have it packaged and ready to go in one week. Vortex Mediaís videos take a tremendous amount of time to research, plan, write, shoot, edit, author, replicate, distribute, etc. Unless someone has gone through the process (and knows that fellow professionals will be watching it and picking it apart) you canít appreciate the pressure and huge number of hours involved to produce a 3 hour program. Fortunately, I love the challenge and enjoy this line of work. My videos arenít perfect, nor can they fit the needs of everyone, but I stand behind them and will put them up against any competitors. I canít wait for the next camera.

Sorry for this long-winded monologue. I promise to keep it shorter next time.
Thanks,
Doug
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #34
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Welcome Doug.
May i say that your EX1 dvd is a must have as far as I am concerned.
Particularly in advance of someone getting the camera, to get an idea how it works.
I keep a copy of the DVD in my camera bag.
Please respond as often as you can.
Additional knowledge base is important.
Bob
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #35
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No Sweat Doug

Just picked up you dvd today for the ex3 @ bhphoto... great product and worth the ducks!

peace
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #36
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Hi Doug

Thanks for your post and I hope you continue to contribute. I have purchased your DVDs for the Sony HC1 and the Sony EX1. To me they are invaluable and are basically like my user manual to get acquainted with these units in a fraction of the time it would take for me to fiddle and experiment on my own.

I think what you charge is reasonable considering the volume of your sales and the specialized nature of the products. You're producing DVDs for professionals, who are used to paying a premium for things associated with their profession, and the quality of what you produce is excellent compared to some of the other DVD guides I've purchased, which had spotty audio and organization.

I think that we just got off track with the perils of shipping overseas, I've done it and it's a pain. I once sold an item through eBay via US Postal Service airmail and after a month it showed up back on my doorstep, apparently having taken a trip around the world. It was a great deal of trouble to communicate with the customer, and both of us were cordial but anxious of where the item might be. I finally stopped offering to ship items sold on eBay to anywhere outside the US except for Canada because it just wasn't worth the hassle of waiting at the Post Office line, filling out customs forms, extra communication, etc. The fact that you offer this service at all using a reliable method should be appreciated.

Take Care
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Simon has already posted my explanation of our shipping charges, so I won’t bother rehashing that stuff. However, I think anyone would be offended if they were accused of “ripping off” customers. Especially when the shipping charges are clearly displayed at the very top of the order form. You can either accept it or you not, but nobody is being ripped off.
An apology was posted, I don't think we need to play this tune again.

I will be buying the EX3 DVD set from you as a token of my good will, I wish you the best of luck with all your future ventures.

ps.I hope the DVDs include a section on converting HD to SD, because this is a nightmare for me - I need to get my next DVD on the shelves in February.

Best wishes Vincent
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #38
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I want to say thank you to every everyone for your feedback and comments. Really, the best form of adversiting someone like me can get is the positive feedback and honest opinions of people like you all. Thanks.

Vincent, to be honest, 'm not sure an apology was even necessary, but I'll accept it and we can move one. Thanks. And there's no need to buy a DVD as token of good will!! Please only buy it if you really feel that you want it. You're under no olbigation to plunk down your money. Don't buy it if you don't think it will be worth the money.

One thing you aren't going to find on the DVD is much information about going from HD to SD. Why? Two reasons:

1) This is a camcorder training DVD, and as far as Iím concerned, that training ends once I have shown you how to import, archive, and organize your clips. Once youíve reached that point, youíre entering the realm of NLE training not camcorder training. I can't cover FCP, Vegas, Premier, Avid, Canopus, etc. in an EX3 DVD -- especially when the HD options you'll face aren't even unique to XDCAM.

2) I honestly didnít know if would be an issue to even consider talking about. Iíve had no workflow issues with HD and I didnít anticipate that other people would even care about HD to SD conversions. That is a total surprise to me.

To be honest, I'm not an FCP expert . I recommend Larry Jordan's FCP books or any of his online training. I highly recommend anything produced by Larry.

Like I said, you wonít find my editing methods discussed on the DVD, so Iíll post them here for anyone to glean whatever they want from them.

First of all, I believe it is very important to edit with Sequence settings that are as close as you can come to matching your final output. In other words, if you aren't going to author a Blu-ray disk or some other HD final product -- then DO NOT edit in HD. Edit in SD. Choose sequence settings that match your output -- not the source footage. Here's how I edited all of my DVDs.

1) I shoot most footage 1080 30P HQ, but I don't think that makes much difference in the final output.

2) I open a new Sequence in FCP and use the "DV NTSC 48Khz Anamorphic" preset.

3) I change the Field Dominance to "NONE"

4) I edit the entire program within that Sequence.

3) When I'm done editing, I then Export a QuickTime movie of the Sequence. I choose "Current Settings" and I do NOT choose to "Make Movie Self-Contained".

4) I then take that QuickTime movie and bring it into Compressor.

5) I then choose the Compressor preset for DVD Best Quality and modify a few of the settings (such as bitrate), but nothing major.

6) After that file is finished rendering, I bring it into DVD Studio Pro and author the DVD normally.

This is the workflow I've been using with XDCAM HD and HDV for over three years. I think most people who have seen the DVDs will agree that they look great. That's it. No big secret. There's no need to overcomplicate things with extra steps, conversions, additional software, etc. It's easy.

I hope that helps.
Doug
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #39
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
I hope the DVDs include a section on converting HD to SD, because this is a nightmare for me...
Sorry, Vincent, it doesn't. It deals with the EX3.

You still having problems with that?

Edit: Vincent, Doug replied while I was. Dude, you lucked out, big time!
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #40
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Thanks Doug, I will buy the DVDs because I looked at them in the first place with the intention of purchasing. Thanks also for your HD > SD workflow, I will give this a go.

Jay, I too thought I had this cracked, but I have just looked at the footage I shot over the last two days which have been rendered to DVD (just for quality testing) and they look horrid. I think the subject matter for my first testing covered up a lot of the artifacts.

A saving grace is that the HD footage looks superb, so I have a good base on which to build.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 04:37 PM   #41
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Welcome Doug! Here's another thumbs up for the EX3 DVD bought in Australia through a reseller as it was cheaper than shipping. Coming from SP Beta it helped me to get up to speed a lot quicker...time is money!

Doug could I also suggest you look at download options, maybe not for say the complete EX3 DVD but for any new appendices to that or other DVD's. i.e. new workflows, tips etc and have a nominal fee for each new "small" download.

The Luminous Landscape has this system and I think it works very well and customers can get whole programs or smaller segments where available. This would bypass the shipping thing altogether!

Cheers, Evan
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Old January 7th, 2009, 06:05 PM   #42
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Ripple Training have a good system using i Tunes. Took a bit of getting used to but now can buy a DVD and download the content straight away.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #43
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Thank you for the download suggestions. It will be worth considering for our next project.

Doug
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:20 AM   #44
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You'd also be able to additional sections when you don't have enough to justify another DVD.
For example you can add an "advanced" EX chapter on Picture Profiles. You can even tier the pricing structure. One for people who haven't purchased the DVD on a lower price for those who have.

This would encourage people to buy the DVD to get additional advanced sections for less.
It would allow you to add additional chapters without the cost of manufacture and shipping. You can post sections piecemeal rather than having to block off time to get an entire DVD done.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #45
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I can't see why the DVD's cant be downloadable?
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