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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 February 21st, 2009, 05:08 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
Wildlife progs can't really use 1080 cams as you always need slomo, even the Varicam at 60fps is not really enough.
But as for stopping using the Varicam and using EX3s I wouldn't get your hopes up, it's not even an option that's ever discussed excpet for really special circumstances.
Well the BBC seem happy enough to use cameras for super slow mo that produce pretty poor images with nasty vertical banding. There are many 1080 cameras that can overcrank, I expect it has a lot to do with all the sponsorship and free kit that Panasonic give the NHU.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 05:20 PM   #47
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There are many high-end productions made on RED ONEs and EX1s/EX3s. I don't have time to search for lists for you, but perhaps we are differing on what is "high end". If you're thinking of paid-for budgets by the BBC to send you on assignment, then that's not what I'm talking about because that means nothing to me. I'm talking about getting air time on the big channels, like Nat'l Geo or Discovery, Travel, etc. You don't need a "big budget" for that at all. Shows like Survivorman are filmed on cameras much lesser than EX1's, but that's a very successful show. Man vs. Wild often uses a little Panasonic HVX200, that's not "big budget", but look at the end results of the show's success. That's what I'm talking about. I'm working on stuff that I know will someday air on those channels. But it takes time to develop a show/documentary, and the EX1 and EX3 are relatively new. Using an EX1 allows me to compete with the big budgets for the same air time because the footage is freakin' amazing. If I get a series or a documentary shown on Nat'l Geo HD, I call that 'high end' because of who they are. If I get a showing on the local PBS channel, then no, that's obviously not high end. Don't get "money" and "budgets" confused with "quality". That's the magic of the Sony EX1 and EX3, they allow a small guy production to have the "specs" that can get on the big channels. Does that mean the EX1 is as good as a big fat shoulder-mounted 2/3" CCD camera? Of course not. But for what I shoot I wouldnt' even WANT one of those because how am I gonna put that on my kayak deck, or on multi-day backpacking trips, or up 14,000' High Sierra peaks? But the quality of footage from the EX1, properly shot, is spectacular even with limitations and will get me on the high end channels. Big budget? Heck no, it's mostly just me and my camera and the wilderness. High end potential? You betcha.

I also use Microdolly jibs and dolly/track. Is that "big budget"? No (it's still not cheap though for little 'ole me, ha!). Big budget productions would use big cranes and sit-on dollys on big fatty tracks and fancy lights, etc. But I can compete with those guys in my market on the best HD channels available with my Sony EX1, light Microdolly gear, Sennheiser MKH 416 mic, and editing on my home Mac Pro with a Kona 3 card, Final Cut Studio, and CalDigit Raid 5 system. They may have a multi-million dollar studio and mine might be $40 grand but I can submit programming in my niche to these high end channels and go head-to-head, and even beat them. That's the magic of the digital revolution and the affordable, high quality tools available to guys with dreams and creativity but, previously, had no 'real outlet'. The playing field has been leveled and I'm excited about it. I couldn't do what I'm doing with a $60,000+ camera even if I could afford it, they're just too big and heavy. I'm also excited about this RED Scarlet coming out. These small form cameras with spectacular footage capabilities is what it's all about for me. And the future keeps getting brighter! (recession be damned!). :^D
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:00 PM   #48
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Well Buck I'm in agreement with you. There's nothing wrong with the EX1/3 for lots of work, but not blue chip wildlife stuff. I think the stuff you're talking about is people observational type programmes for which the smaller cameras are ideal to work with.
Alister, I think you're referring to the Photron, and I agree with you, it's not great. At the time it was pretty much the best choice, but it's not even in the same league as the Phantom HD which is a gem of a camera - and with a rolling shutter too!!!
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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:00 PM   #49
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What does any of this natter matter? There would be some point if someone was seeking advice for their upcoming DOP job. You define the requirement, you select the gear best suited within all the trade-offs.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:04 PM   #50
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What does any of this natter matter? There would be some point if someone was seeking advice for their upcoming DOP job. You define the requirement, you select the gear best suited within all the trade-offs.
And because most of us here own an EX camera, they are naturally going to at least be considered as first camera of choice.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 12:20 AM   #51
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And because most of us here own an EX camera, they are naturally going to at least be considered as first camera of choice.
True enough if you are also the producer. But in the situation being thrown back and forth the producer is at the level of the BBC, and whether or not the considered cameraman owns a camera is irrelevant if that camera doesn't satisfy the producer's requirement. This thread has become one of "it is"/"it isn't" with no technical argument for either side. It would be better here to ask "in what way does the EX fail to meet the standard demanded?" Then you might respond by demonstrating how that assessment is wrong.
The EX is an excellent camera, but it isn't an F23. Tools for the job.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:09 AM   #52
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This thread has become one of "it is"/"it isn't" with no technical argument for either side. It would be better here to ask "in what way does the EX fail to meet the standard demanded?" Then you might respond by demonstrating how that assessment is wrong.
.
That's right. This thread is filled with absolutely meaningless assessments like "Red is a fringe camera" and "Blue Chip" standards, and "Not in Varicam's league". These aren't facts and aren't useful for people trying to make decisions about which cameras to buy or use for a given application.

I don't know what is or isn't good enough for BBC, ABC, or Run DMC. However the most compelling wild life footage I've ever seen was a sequence of a pride of lions taking down an adolescent buffalo. Right after the take down, a huge croc jumps out of the river and engages in a buffaloe tug o' war with the lions. The buffalo was the rope. Then the other buffaloes rally their courage, return, and rescue the adolescent. The lions got their butts kicked. I think it was shot on a cell phone cam.

Last edited by Brian Luce; February 22nd, 2009 at 03:06 AM.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:40 AM   #53
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Content is king.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 02:32 AM   #54
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Funny, nobody ever cared what camera Irving Penn or Helmut Newton used, not for that matter which brushes Rembrandt or Degas used.

The airplane that came down in the Hudson was captured on CCTV and it was shown on the BBC and no doubt every other major TV station in the world. As Nick Stone and Brian Luce point out, "Content is King"

Use your EX1/EX3 to capture some great footage.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 04:17 AM   #55
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Content is king.
And we make it with cameras.
And lights, makeup, screenplays, music.....
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 04:21 AM   #56
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What does any of this natter matter? There would be some point if someone was seeking advice for their upcoming DOP job. You define the requirement, you select the gear best suited within all the trade-offs.
I think it does matter to a lot of folks as they may be wondering whether to buy an EX3 so they can shoot stuff for certain programmes or channels. They may want to know whether it'll be accepted or not. Quite a few people have asked my opinion (for what it's worth) on this very matter.
Vincent, you are quite right, but times have changed and people do ask now - including the commissioners. And it does matter more now, it used to be the case in wildlife stills photography for example that the equipment was not a big deal and it was all down to photographer skill, but these days it does make a big difference and to a large extent with the right kit anyone who's out there can get a great shot - Image Stabiliser lenses, intelligent auto exposure etc. make even long telephoto, super performance digital cameras as easy as point and shoots, and even a mediocre photographer would get better results of flying birds than an expert with a 1970s set-up. I think it was Art Morris (and they don't get much more expert than him) said that in 20 odd years of bird photography before AF he considered that he got 3 good flight shots!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:31 AM   #57
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I think it does matter to a lot of folks as they may be wondering whether to buy an EX3 so they can shoot stuff for certain programmes or channels.
In that case wouldn't it make more sense for them to contact those channels and ask "Which cameras do you prefer that your contributors use?" rather than coming onto a random internet forum and asking people who probably don't know anyway?

Further more, how many decent productions, such as Planet Earth etc, make the contributors use their own gear anyway? Do the camera ops on Doctor Who use their own DigiBeta gear? Do the Top Gear guys? No. So why are we even discussing this. Any producer that expects a freelancer to own each and every camera and format is a total schmuck.

If you are buying an EX3 or are asking about an EX3 to buy then you are probably making your own in house productions.

This discussion reminds me of the ones in the Red forums. People thinking that if they buy a Red they will be hired for big productions etc. There was a hilarious discussion on another forum recently with a Red owner being incredibly annoyed that the local rental place threw in a Red for free with a production package along with all the 35mm gear. He wondered why they didn't hire him with his Red. Well, its because with big productions all that gear comes at a discount and they do things like that. A day on a Jim Cameron set doesn't start with the camera operator pulling up in his Volvo and taking a camera and a Miller tripod out of the boot!

I think people are mad to buy a camera based on whether they think they can get broadcast and film work. There are so many formats around you'd be better off selling your talent (which you should be doing anyway) rather than your gear.

I'd certainly not buy one of these new tapeless cameras based on being a freelancer. The demands for these cameras changes too quickly. With the BBC I'd even be worried with the PDW-700. I just do not think that it will last, great camera though it is. It is taking off in the US for network shows, but disc based XDCAM has never been big in broadcast in the UK, and I can't see it taking off at this stage in the game.

Don't get me wrong, I love the full size XD cameras, and I'm really, really not looking forward to offloading my 510. It is like seeing a really good friend off for the last time. But I think we have to face realities that if you are a freelancer rather than an end to end production house the days of owning a camera really is seeing its dusk period.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:47 AM   #58
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Sadly for many, in the current climate, the days of actually being a Freelancer are seeing their dusk period!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:50 AM   #59
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Not sure why that would be. There is still a lot of TV, and that doesn't make itself, and the demand for internet video is greater than ever.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:15 AM   #60
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You obviously don't know as many out of work cameraman as I do!

Lot's of new TV and internet video is increasingly being shot by poorly paid recent graduates and camera ops. Many experienced Broadcast cameramen are struggling at the moment.

I'm not saying it's desperate all over, but just look on Production Base or other Broadcast sites to see what's happening.

The last cameraman job I looked at had 200 applications in 2 days!
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