EX3 for UK Broadcast - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 25th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #16
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,413
Dear Alister,

I always enjoy your posts. I have learned quite a lot from you and I really appreciate the information that you provide.

I for one, in no way consider you to be a "sub-standard" producer!

We have used our Flash XDR with quite a few Sony EX1/EX3's.

Our users like being able to record 4:2:2 via the Flash XDR as opposed to the 4:2:0 which is what is recorded in-camera to the SxS cards.

Paul Cronin was particularly impressed with the improvement in the image quality.
__________________
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
Dan Keaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 08:09 AM   #17
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
Dan, I don't consider myself a sub-standard producer;) But there are some (that don't seem to be on this forum) that will look down on the users of smaller, more economical cameras as some kind of low life that needs to be squashed like an annoying bug. Often it is those that have invested 10's of thousands of pounds/dollars on high end equipment yet are struggling to make ends meet because (in their minds) some upstart has gone out and produced a stunning piece of television (both technically and creatively) with a camera kit that cost less than their tripod and that annoys them.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there is no need to have various tiers of equipment and qualities. There will I hope, always be those big glossy productions that can afford to get every last ounce of quality. But the vast majority of TV these days is made with small budgets and that's where wise equipment choice becomes very important.

I applaud Discovery with their 3 tier system. They have proven that even with very low bandwidth transmission data rates you can use formats like HDV to produce compelling HD television. Perhaps with less money being spent on equipment there will be more money for developing new and interesting ideas and just maybe giving more production companies a slice of what is at the moment a fairly small cake. Consider for one moment if the $25 million spent on the BBC's Planet Earth was divided up amongst 100 talented, fresh, producers or production companies. We would could well have 100 great innovative HD programmes to watch instead of just 6 and at the same time giving new talent a much needed break. I know it's not as simple as that in real life but this whole "if it doesn't meet specification X,Y,Z" business is not helpful.

One of the real strengths of cameras like the EX is that you can add devices such as the Flash XDR. I'm waiting for the NanoFlash. Portability is paramount to me and the XDR is just that bit too bulky. I can't really see any point in using it a 50Mbps when it can do 100Mbps. This year I am planning on shooting everything stereoscopically so I'm going to need 2!
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #18
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wales
Posts: 2,130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
While the BBC and others may well stand on a high spot and shout out loud that they will only take 50Mbps 4:2:2 the reality is somewhat different. While I am sure that given the choice of the same footage at 35Mbps or 50Mbps they would choose the 50Mbps. But if the only way the can get the material they want (either through technical or budget issues) is to use a below spec format they will take it.

When DVCAM was first released the BBC were very vocal about never using it as it was too highly compressed and not "broadcast quality", the same with HDV yet a massive amount of the BBC's output is shot with DVCAM and even some of the BBC's flagship HD shows make extensive use of HDV, in particular "Strictly come dancing". Most of the rehearsal and behind the scene footage is shot on HDV. These sequences make up half of the show. My guess is that budget constraints mean that they cannot pay for a dozen crews up and down the country with HDCAM or DVCPRO-HD kits so instead they use PA's with Z1's. The BBC's own not less than 50Mbps rules are clearly being broken by the BBC themselves on prime time, big audience HD shows, not for technical reasons but purely on cost grounds.

The difference between a PDW-700 and an EX in progressive is tiny. The compression ratios are just about the same. I don't see how encoding more data at a given bit rate gives you a compression advantage, that's lost on me I'm afraid. I accept that obviously the 700 has a bit more chroma information. Certainly in the Luma channel there should be no more artifacts from an EX than a PDW-700. Both the EX and PDW 700 compression ratios are around 20-1. It's arguable that because the EX is VBR the EX should be producing less artifacts than the constrained CBR of the 700. If artifacts and generation loss was really the big deal that everyone is so afraid of then XDCAM HD which is 16:1 would outperform XDCAM HD 4:2:2. We also need to consider that when Discovery tested the EX it was at 30fps. It was found to be perfectly acceptable by them at 30fps, but here in Europe we are only using 25fps which gives us a lower compression ratio.

My point is that the decision to draw the line at 50Mbps 4:2:2 is not IMHO entirely based on quality, artifacts or generation loss. By drawing the line there the engineers are able to exclude all us "sub-standard" producers. The Engineers don't like the idea that someone with a a good story, a good eye for composition and a "cheap" camera can produce programmes that can rival programme made using the mega bucks formats that are the engineers bread and butter.

At the end of the day with almost all broadcasters it is not the engineers or producers that run the company. It is the accountants that (sadly) run these organisations. Budgets are getting smaller if not cut altogether, especially in the current financial downturn. At the end of the day broadcasters must have new programmes to survive and if it becomes a case of getting it made by company A for half the price of company B with just a teeny, tiny, virtually impossible to see difference in quality the accountants will steer towards company A. Put it another way. The comissioning editors are given a budget by the accountants to fill their time slots. If they can get 3 programmes for the price of 2 there will be significant pressure on them to take the 3.

These are my views, they may be wrong, perhaps the BBC will clamp down and stop their own productions from using HDV. Certainly if you have a 700 or Flash XDR you should find it easier to sell your material but that doesn't necessarily mean that you will automatically be more profitable, especially if you do anything that involves lots of travel as lugging a full size kit around the world can be very expensive. The BBC have broadcast a lot of my XDCAM HD and EX footage as have ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Virgin One, Discovery, Nat Geo to name just a few. Admittedly much of my material is fairly unique and not readily available here in Europe but the fact that it is "only" 35Mbps hasn't lost me any business.

Rant Over... sorry.
I pretty much agree too.
Steve
Steve Phillipps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #19
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Malvern UK
Posts: 1,931
I agree with much of what you said Alister. The DVCAM comparison is very important. Let us not forget the BBC's ditching of Digibeta for many programmes.

However that said I was brought around to a very important point that David alerted me to a few weeks ago. That being that quite often people talk about the BBC as one big all encompassing entity when in fact it is made up of many, many divisions and sub companies, not all of whom are working from the same hymn sheet.

It strikes me that the 50Mb/s thing is more of a discouragement than an outright ban. Kind of saying to producers to use that if at all possible, but don't sweat it if it isn't available or your budgets can't cope with it. As Alister pointed out shows such as Strictly Come Dancing have extensive amounts of footage shot with HDV. That number is only going to become higher.

If Freeview ever shows extensive HD channels then it will become a matter of course that the lower end cameras will have to be used. Really I am not sure why the situation needs to be any different at all from SD transmissions. HD is mostly just more resolution and while I can understand broadcasters wanting to put a veneer of exclusivity and high end polish to their current HD channels, once SD is eradicated it will be a case of going back to old SD values. Reality shows using Canon HV20's, EX's being used for news gathering, F355's being used for factual programming, and 700's being used for dramatic productions*.

* The composer of this message would like to alert viewers that there are many other quality camcorders available at these production tiers from other manufacturers. ;-)
Simon Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #20
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Yup Alistair is right on the mark, there needs to be some sensibility in shooting formats in the current broadcast climate. An HDV or EX camera in the hands of an experienced broadcast team can open up all sorts of avenues for new entertaining and informative television that is cost effective.
Allowing more money to go on the big budget super high quality top end progs.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 11:54 AM   #21
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,699
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
The difference between a PDW-700 and an EX in progressive is tiny. The compression ratios are just about the same. I don't see how encoding more data at a given bit rate gives you a compression advantage, that's lost on me I'm afraid.
I don't think anyone is saying "encoding more data at a given bit rate gives you a compression advantage" - what I would say is that you don't need x% more bitrate to encode x% more data for the same quality, in practice you need some more, but not as much as x.

If we assume an EX has 4 bits of luminance, it will have 2 corresponding bits of chrominance (1 U, 1 V) and for an XDCAM HD422 signal it will have 4 bits of chrominance. Consequently, you can expect such to be trying to encode 1.333x as many total pixels (8 v 6) as the standard EX codec. Multiply 35Mbs by 1.33x and you get about 47Mbs, so you can indeed say that to all intents the two have the same compression ratio.

But compression ratios alone cannot tell you much about relative quality, and the key here is that the extra data that XDCAM HD422 contains is correlated with the basic XDCAM 420 data, has a lot of similarities to the 420 chrominance information, and that's just what compressors love. Hence it would be possible to code it with a lot less than 12Mbs extra on top of the 35Mbs stream. Using 50Mbs not only makes 422 viable, but gives a general compression advantage as well, and I think this theory is borne out by the results from the XDR.

It may be easier to see the principle if 1080p/25 and 1080p/50 are compared. Uncompressed, the latter will have twice the data rate of the former, so simple logic would lead you to think that if satisfactory results are obtained compressed to (say) 19Mbs for transmission for the former, 38Mbs would be necessary for equivalent quality for the latter. In practice, it's not so. A system can take advantage of the similarities the extra 25 frames every second have to the original 25 - temporal correlation - and practically, nowhere near as much as 38Mbs are needed.

Similar logic for the XDCAM HD422 example, though here it's spatial rather than temporal correlations that get exploited.

As far as the wider issues go - well, as I said before, I'm glad it's not me who has to draw lines. :-) All I would say is that I believe the lines are intended far more as guidelines than hard and inflexible, and to an extent dependent on content anyway. As far as "Strictly.." goes, then it's not correct to say "The BBC's own not less than 50Mbps rules are clearly being broken by the BBC themselves on prime time...." - the rules clearly allow for a limited percentage of SD upconverted material to be used within an HD show, and HDV counts in the same way as SD upconvert.
David Heath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #22
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 82
Music to my ears

Firstly I just have to thank all you guys for what I consider to be top quality advice and a lot of good common sense. Being some what new to this game, the forum makes a huge difference if you have a problem or issue that you cant quite get an answer to. You pop up a question on the forum and bam, not only do you get an answer to your question but you get a whole lot of other good stuff thrown in... fantastic.
Now the next leading question I have to ask is...who has had experience of using this Borg type nano probe device with an EX3, and what do they think about it? At just over 350 it looks very interesting though the pdf data sheet is a bit thin on info. It may be that I am a bit dim but, I take it it connects to the EX3 via the HD-SDI, but how much storage does it have if any or do you have to plug in some other device? Anyone explain please...
Eric A Robinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 01:33 PM   #23
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bracknell, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 4,957
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
As far as "Strictly.." goes, then it's not correct to say "The BBC's own not less than 50Mbps rules are clearly being broken by the BBC themselves on prime time...." - the rules clearly allow for a limited percentage of SD upconverted material to be used within an HD show, and HDV counts in the same way as SD upconvert.
But the upconverted and HDV material makes up 50% of the show, It's not just a small percentage, it's a significant part of the show. Plus this is a peak viewing, Saturday night, flagship show that clearly has a very large overall budget and massive audience. It is not some obscure documentary or niche programme, yet the producers feel that it's perfectly acceptable to use PA's with Z1's for half of the programmes content. If I approach the BBC and say I have a great idea for a HD documentary and I'm going to shoot it with Z1's it would take a lot of hard work to get it accepted. It's just the BBC being hypocritical as usual.
__________________
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
Alister Chapman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #24
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Malvern UK
Posts: 1,931
Mind you, nobody in their right mind would pitch an idea to the BBC anyway. They are very cliquey when it comes to who is in and who is out. Very much the 'old boys network'.
Simon Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #25
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric A Robinson View Post
Firstly I just have to thank all you guys for what I consider to be top quality advice and a lot of good common sense. Being some what new to this game, the forum makes a huge difference if you have a problem or issue that you cant quite get an answer to. You pop up a question on the forum and bam, not only do you get an answer to your question but you get a whole lot of other good stuff thrown in... fantastic.
Now the next leading question I have to ask is...who has had experience of using this Borg type nano probe device with an EX3, and what do they think about it? At just over 350 it looks very interesting though the pdf data sheet is a bit thin on info. It may be that I am a bit dim but, I take it it connects to the EX3 via the HD-SDI, but how much storage does it have if any or do you have to plug in some other device? Anyone explain please...
Dear Eric,

I am assuming by "Borg type nano probe device", you mean our nanoFlash.

I will be happy to answer all of your questions, no matter how detailed.

First, the nanoFlash connects to a camera, EX1/EX3 or many other cameras, via HDMI or HD-SDI. Both the EX1 and EX3 have HD-SDI outputs, which put out a 4:2:2 signals, but record internally using 4:2:0.

We compress this using a few options available at this time, more options will come later.

We compress it using an advanced MPEG2 encoder using a 4:2:2 HL profile in Long-GOP mode. In the future, we will also support I-Frame only. Our bit-rates are currently 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps constant bit rate using Closed GOP.

Audio will be recorded in the nanoFlash, initially by recording two channels of HD-SDI/HDMI embedded audio at 24 bit-48K. In the future, we will support up to 8 channels.

The Flash XDR has 2 channels of professional, balanced mic/line analog audio inputs, each with selectable +48 VDC phantom power. Analog audio outputs and a headphone output are provided.

The nanoFlash does not have analog audio inputs or outputs, or a headphone output. The audio can however be monitored in camera, or via an attached HD-SDI or HDMI monitor.

As far as storage goes, this is really up to you and the CompactFlash cards available.

The nanoFlash has 2 CompactFlash card slots, the Flash XDR 4.

We currently support a wide range of CompactFlash cards in the Flash XDR. We recommend the Transcend 32 GB 133x card, but support cards from SanDisk, Lexar, Delkin and others.

SanDisk Extreme III/IV cards are supported, as are Lexar Pro 300x UDMA cards.


The nanoFlash builds on the proven technology of the Flash XDR, which is currently being used around the world. It has been used in very hot and humid jungles, and in the coldest of climates.

The Flash XDR is available in-stock for immediate delivery while it will be more than 60 days, at a minimum, prior to the first availability of the nanoFlash.


Please let me know what specs you need. I will provide answers.
__________________
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
Dan Keaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #26
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 82
Nano drives

Everything is now much clearer now though I obviously had totally the wrong end of this particular nano stick thinking it was retailing at 350! None the less it looks like this device hooked up to the EX3 will provide output that will meet the standards as laid down by broadcasters such as the BBC. Though as other contributors to this thread have stated, it is not about how big your camera is, or what its compression ratio is, it is how you use it and how good your story is, and how good you are at weaving the narrative. Thanks to all the people who have taken the time to add to this thread in a most enlightening and informative way.
Eric A Robinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #27
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,413
Dear Eric,

While we call this nanoFlash and Flash XDR, these are not the size of a CompactFlash card or SxS memory.

These are feature rich Full HD recorder/players which provide extremely high quality recordings to CompactFlash memory.
__________________
Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
Dan Keaton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #28
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham View Post
Mind you, nobody in their right mind would pitch an idea to the BBC anyway. They are very cliquey when it comes to who is in and who is out. Very much the 'old boys network'.
Even the old boys are having problems these days.

There has been a trend towards using the large independent companies in recent years by the UK broadcasters. So, if you've got a first time project for the BBC it makes sense to take it to an independent producer with a relationship with the BBC and whom you can both work with and trust.

Second time around you stand a better chance yourself, but the advantage is still lies with the big indies.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:14 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network