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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 October 7th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #31
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I mentioned this in another thread, but I just don't understand something.

It seems to me, that the biggest risk involved here is not getting something recorded in a reliable way and for a reasonable cost. ALL of the mentioned solutions leave a single point of failure. Whether that failure occurs on SxS or SDHC. Or during a transfer from card to latptop, etc.

I have to record unrepeatable events on occasion, and under NO circumstance would I leave it to a single point of failure. So to that end, I record to my Firestore and to SDHC.

If I were basing my business on doing this type of event recording, it would seem that I would choose 1 of 2 paths.

1. Purchase a Firestore product that records either to HD or CF. The cost of these units is about the same as a single 32GB SxS card.

2. Purchase a Convergent-Designs Nanoflash, and use that MUCH higher quality recording as the primary, and the SDHC in the camera as a live backup.

Option 1 is of course far cheaper, but does limit recording to HDV. Since most people seem to be delivering SD to their clients, this doesn't seem like much of an impediment. OPtion 2 moves the recording capability up to high end broadcast standards and allows recording onto fairly inexpensive CF cards. If desired, 2 CF cards can be written to have a backup of the high quality recording, and then a lower quality recording in the camera on SxS.

Maybe I am just out of touch here, but any of this seems FAR preferable to trusting an unrepeatable event to a single recording mechanism, whether that's tape, CF, SDHC, HDD or SxS.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 04:43 AM   #32
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Obvioulsy, everyone has to do whatever they have to do to have peace of mind. But I'll suggest another option:

3. Shoot on REAL SXS cards and forget all the other recording devices.

I've been shooting with SxS cards for over two years now and have never experienced a single bad clip, corrupted card, or any problem at all. In my opinion, it is rock solid. I have no qualms about shooting once-in-a-lifetime events on SxS cards without any other backup. And that is totally different than my days of shooting Betacam where I could never relax 100% during any shoot.

With option #1 you're giving the client inferior quality video. You have to spend a lot more money to buy the hardware, and you have to put up with the hassle of mounting the Firestore.

With option #2 you're spending $3k for the NanoFlash and now have the hassle of adding another piece of gear to your camera rig. The NanoFlash is great device, and I have one myself on order right now, but not because I feel I need backup for the SxS cards.

Everyone has to find their own comfort zone, but that's just my point of view. SxS is safe.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 05:01 AM   #33
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I agree with Doug that for peace of mind use SxS. I have shot Digibeta, SX and SP since the 80s and there was no way of having back up you just trusted your kit. Card costs are coming down so peace of mind is getting cheaper. I have used SDHC cards since last January (Transcend/MxR) and have had no problems at all but I would not use them on a paying job.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #34
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I'm with David Heath on this issue.

If you can afford 2 or better, 3 32GB SxS than go for it. If you can't, I think the in SDHC is better than smaller SxS cards IF you'd have to offload in the field during a shoot with the smaller SxS cards. That point of failure (transfer in the field) looms so huge that I'd avoid that at all costs.

I've been using SDHC since January and they've been rock solid reliable. You simply need to do a thorough test before using in the field, and the results have to be 100% or the card is returned. If SDHC were so unreliable than the JVC HM series would not be viable in the pro market.

SDHC allows the option of handing the card to a client and billing as "tape stock" if the clients want to leave with the shoot material. SDHC means that I can now use the current 13" or 15" MacBookPro if I need to do an offload AFTER the shoot when I'm not going right back to the office.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #35
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Thanks again for the helpful advice. I have now bought a 32gb SxS card giving me a total of almost 3hrs recording. I feel a lot happier now going out to record a wedding with the sxs cards,... having said that, the SDHC cards haven't giving me any bother at all.

So what guarantee comes with these sxs cards, is it a lifetime one?
As well as using the camera, what other way is there of offloading the sxs cards to the PC?
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Old October 8th, 2009, 10:14 AM   #36
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Doug thank you for posting this info and more importantly those links. The devil is in the details. Below I have pastebombed the press release from Sony. It is worth pouring over. The optional eSata connection should have people a twitter.

Quote:
NEWS

Sony announces the PXU-MS240 mobile storage unit for use with XDCAM EX camcorders and decks (24/4/2009)

New Unit and Hard Disk Drive Cartridges Provide Increased Versatility for HD Video Professionals

Sony is expanding its line of professional media options with the new PXU-MS240 mobile storage unit. Designed for use with XDCAM EX camcorders and decks, the device can be used to transfer data from SxS PRO(tm) memory cards to the unit for nearly continuous back-up or off-load of video clips.

The unit stores content on a removable hard disk drive (HDD) cartridge, model PXU-HC240, (included with purchase) that can store up to 240 GB of data. Each cartridge offers a maximum record time of more than 13 hours in high-quality (HQ) mode and 17 hours in standard-play (SP) mode.

"Whether you're in the field hot-swapping media cards or in the editing room uploading content to an NLE, these new products offer HD video professionals virtually unlimited options," said James Cito, business manager in Sony Electronics' Professional Media Business Unit. "The ability to easily store data onto an HDD cartridge so that media cards can be re-used enables multi-camera operations in the field and provides added flexibility and cost-savings when deploying HD cameras on a shoot."

The HDD cartridges can support data transfer rates of up to 600 Mbps, and can upload a full 16 GB SxS Memory PRO card in about five minutes.

For even faster data transfer rates of up to 800 Mbps when off-loading video from a card, users can connect the mobile storage unit to their PC using the optional e-SATA (external serial advanced technology attachment) interface.

The mobile storage unit is also equipped with a one-touch copy and verifying function that displays a message confirming that data has been copied and verifies the completion of all transfers.

The mobile storage unit is powered by a long-lasting battery, model BP-U30. This same battery can be used with all EX series camcorders and the PHU-60K HDD recording unit.

The mobile storage unit and HDD cartridges are both planned to be available this fall, with suggested list pricing to be announced.
This opens up huge workflow improvements in my mind particularly if you do a lot of long form video shooting.

I have been dreaming about a day when a card comes out that I can slam in my MacPro that allows lightening fast data aquistition from SxS cards. This is certainly a good step in that direction and I applaud them for doing it. To me it is a win-win for both Sony and the consumer (us). Yes a premium but the benefits for many are huge.

I hope they continue to do innovative stuff like this that makes our lives easier so we can spend more time shooting than injesting.

Now if they would provide a quick way to get XDCAM to conform in most/all NLR then another sore spot in the workflow process would be removed.

-Andrew
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Old October 8th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #37
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It's funny how people get so "up in arms" when it comes to SxS vs SDHC (or whatever type) but I'd be willing to bet that VERY few ever have a second camera on hand when they go on a shoot! In almost 20 years of shooting I've always taken a backup camera. Only had to use it once because of a failure but that one time saved me a big client! It just means that all electronics will fail at some time and you just plan for it to happen and be ready with a backup plan.

Offloading SxS cards (or SDHC) is just another area to watch out for but just a couple of simple things will keep you safe. There are a lot of options to make copies of your cards, some inexpensive and some very expensive. Pick the workflow that suits you best and gives you the security you need.

Copy the ENTIRE SxS card to it's OWN folder on a PC/Mac. A simple drag n' drop works fine but just remember to copy everything. Some people say to always use XDCAM Transfer to offload your cards. If you feel you need that level of security then use that method.

Copy to more than one device. If you've got a laptop, copy to an internal drive and an external drive. Now you have two copies with much less chance of losing both. Shotput works well to copy to multiple devices simultaneously.

If you're using 16 or 32GB cards, once you've copied them over, split them into smaller folders using XDCAM Transfer. Then copy to DL DVDs. Now you've got even further redundancy. Do this only on your working copy. That way if something goes wrong you still have another "original" copy. (I've never had it fail though)

Use some of the devices suggested in other threads like the NanoFlash, Sony PXU, AJA Ki, etc., if you want to record to both SxS and some other media.

Basically just figure out what YOU need to feel that you've got your bases covered, test it out and stick with it until you find something you like better!

Personally I prefer to offload when I get back to the studio. I've offloaded on site occasionally but only when we had multicam shoots with limited SxS cards. I've yet to have a problem either way but if I do, I always have a backup!
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Old October 8th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony McErlean View Post

So what guarantee comes with these sxs cards, is it a lifetime one?
Guarantees dont make any odds Tony. If they go wrong, Sony can replace the card, but not the lost footage. Remember the 3M Scotch video tape ads of the mid 80s
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Old October 8th, 2009, 03:26 PM   #39
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Your right there Colin and yes, I do remember those ads as well.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #40
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Guarantees dont make any odds Tony. If they go wrong, Sony can replace the card, but not the lost footage. Remember the 3M Scotch video tape ads of the mid 80s
Do Sony not offer any recovery service on the SxS cards? At those prices?

When minidisc (a Sony format) first made inroads into the broadcast market, one radio station I knew hit problems with a disc. Like with our cameras, minidisc would write a TOC after recording. If something went wrong when the TOC was being written, you waved bye to all of your audio. The audio was on the disc, but the player couldn't see it without a valid TOC.

So they had a crucial interview on a minidisc that suddenly wouldn't play. They contacted Sony for help who then recovered the audio. This was on a 5 minidisc.

Are we seriously suggesting that Sony won't even look at a 500 card and try to recover the data if the card is at fault? What on earth are we paying for other than supposed piece of mind?
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Old October 8th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Obvioulsy, everyone has to do whatever they have to do to have peace of mind. But I'll suggest another option:

3. Shoot on REAL SXS cards and forget all the other recording devices.

I've been shooting with SxS cards for over two years now .........In my opinion, it is rock solid. SxS is safe.
Don't get me wrong - I'd prefer to shoot on SxS than SDHC IF ALL ELSE WAS EQUAL. If I had enough memory to shoot, transfer, then not format the cards until the edit was over, then no quibbling - use SxS. In no way am I doubting the intrinsic reliability of SxS (or P2 for that matter.)

But that's missing the point. For many people all else is not equal, and the advantages of SDHC IMO are when it saves field downloading, and the possibilities of human error that involves. SxS is safe - humans downloading from it aren't, as the other thread proves.

Perrone makes a good point about recording on two separate devices, but even that doesn't completely take all risk away. What about a camera or battery failure? And the extra complexity may take the mind off other features. The beauty of SDHC is that it adds no extra complexity, cables, or external devices to the operation.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 02:48 AM   #42
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Do Sony not offer any recovery service on the SxS cards..
Thats what I thought, I could be mistaken but I thought I read somewhere, that Sony would take the card and try and recover the footage, if something should happen.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 03:44 AM   #43
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I just cashed out for 256GB of SxS. I feel dizzy...
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Old October 9th, 2009, 03:48 AM   #44
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Worth reminding people that, what with the cost of SxS cards, check your insurance policy covers the loss of media.

Also worth checking what your policy limits are as carrying around a lot of SxS cards could easily nudge you over the limit.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 05:10 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
But that's missing the point. For many people all else is not equal, and the advantages of SDHC IMO are when it saves field downloading, and the possibilities of human error that involves. SxS is safe - humans downloading from it aren't, as the other thread proves.
David, I understand the point you are making, but if these are my two choices:

1) Shoot on SxS cards and download in the field to a computer, Nexto, or PXU-MS240

or

2) Shoot with SD cards so no downloading in the field is necessary.


I'd prefer to go with #1. No question about it. I trust myself not to make a mistake more than I trust non-SxS cards not to screw me over. I probably delete 50% of everything I shoot immediately; some of my takes are very short; I playback clips frequently; and I don't want to have to watch little indicator lights go on and off to give me the all-clear every time I want to start rolling again. I never have to think about anything technical when I'm using SxS. I can get into my "zone" and forget about all the technical stuff that is going on.
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