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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 7th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #1
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Building a system for EX - Edius Related

This post appears also in Edius forum, but traffic seems to be higher in this one so
I double post. Please tell me if that is considered to be bad manners as I am new here.

We are transitioning from DV and investing into an XDCam EX workflow system,
so after long sleepless nights there are still some questions left to solve.

THE GOAL:
1. Acquire material using Sony PMW350 in XDCam probably 720/50p with centercut in mind
2. Edit natively in Edius 5.12
3. Transcode center cut to 4/3 SD 50i Mpeg2 for broadcast - final delivery over ftp
4. Transcode to blueray for archive on external HDD and Blueray

question 1.
Can I do it this way or is it better to downconvert in Sony's clipbrowser before going
into Edius?

Computer specs for the task
Dual Xeon E5540 (Nehalem 8 cores)
12gb DDR3 ECC 1333 RAM
4x1TB 32mb buffer HDDs in Raid0 for media
10k HDD System drive
external disks for archive
Win7 64Bit

question 2.
Will the Spark do the job for monitoring given I don't really need analog and the format
of choice is 720/50p?
question 3.
Will the Spark output slow motion files and play them correctly (50% slow)?
question 4.
Can I use a PCIe to Express slot 34 adapters for ingest of SXS media into the desktop?
question 5.
How to configure sound inputs to Edius if I want to stay balanced all the way
(using XLR ). I thought of buying an M-Audio sound, a mixer and monitor speakers.
Will the spark deliver on this - preview sound?

I can go with Edius SP board with component HD if I have to, but if I can do it with spark
it is cheaper and money is a factor. I thought that if I'll have to print to digibeta I could
just wright back to SXS and play out from the camera trough SDI.

Thank you all for your advice.

Boris Barel
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Old January 7th, 2010, 05:15 PM   #2
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I'm on the same workflow.
In the past we had encountered sometimes weird pixelated frames on earlier versions of Edius when HD was use directly from card and Edius had to downconvert to SD.
Since that I always try to use the Clipbrowser to downconvert when the project is needed in 4:3. Through that way the results are stunning, while with 16X9 workflow I throw clips direct to Edius bin from card and save - export the timeline into Edius Lossless avi first after editing, then that avi goes into mp4 through our broadcast converter.

Edius appears to be the best and fastest for these needs.

Advice:
JUST test the workflow you are interested in and go with the one suits you better, or visually giving you better results.

However if you manage editing and archiving in HD it's a far better choice quality wise compared to SD as long as you can manage your output in SD.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 05:40 PM   #3
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Can i ask why you choose to centercut for SD when most of the SD stuff could display your full squeeze 16x9 in letterbox format?
It is probably just more ME , because when shooting in 16x9 i have subject items often on both edges.

I am trying to figure this stuff out myself, just like you. NTSC for me.

When I make a 3:4 SD DVD , some 16x9 LCD display items make it fat when on AUTO. I guess the AUTO is crop off the black (any black it sees). Piece of cake turn off Auto.
One LCD DVD HDTV display combo i had to FORCE the DVD to 4:3 Then shut the AUTO off on the LCD too.
I believe from my experimentation, that a SD 3:4 DVD given to the average consumer will be all screwed up aspect on their 16x9 LCD tvs when they dont set them correctally. and in one situation it was not intuitive at all.

Every squeeze 16x9 SD DVD i make when i play it on any 3:4 device (usually CRT) will show in the usual letterbox format. Playback on 16X10 computers that tiny letterbox black too. the Older projector had to be switched.

It isnt unusual with the 16x9 crossups , to see Many consumers watching off-aspect stuff, that makes me crasy anyway.

The only reason i really discovered this , was when making a SD that should BE in 3:4 the video being wide when everything was "portrait" had no value at all. But after playing it on thier an my 16x9 stuff, i wasnt to sure about my choices. They would have played it Fat, if i had not adjusted thier device.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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"question 4."
"Can I use a PCIe to Express slot 34 adapters for ingest of SXS media into the desktop?"

They have adapters both sony and 3rd party adapters that connect via USB2, for getting the data.

"How to configure sound inputs to Edius if I want to stay balanced all the way
(using XLR )."

Balance is a "analog" thing, the movement of signals with HDMI and SDI and internal to the computer is Full wave digital data usually. XLR is a connecting item, the balance is only nessisary for running long lenght cabling and such. If a line level input isnt delivering as good of sound (on short runs) as a "balanced" input, its because the A/D Converter(s) sucks , not because it isnt balanced.
Digital and its A/D conversions can be screwed up in 180* phase, by digitally flipping the phase (in software), or by an incorrect A/D conversion.
If there is no A/D conversion, then it is still digital. if there is an A/D conversion then the quality of that conversion not the connection to it is what will count, unless your running long wires.
With the digital, either you get the signal to the other side or you do not, it starts completly failing quickly when not recieved at the other end.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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Thank you for you great input.

"They have adapters both sony and 3rd party adapters that connect via USB2, for getting the data." - Yes, I know that, but going directly pci to express card is faster isn't it?

4/3 center cut is a necessity more than a choice as most of the work will be broadcasted in 4/3 SD.

What do you think of that choice:
EDIUS NX PCI Express Capture Hardware with EDIUS 5 Software
HDSPARK PCI Express Card
M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI Digital Recording Interface
Soundcraft / Spirit EPM 6 - 6 Mono + 2 Stereo Channel Recording and Live Sound Audio
M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 - 20W 4" Two-Way Active Monitor (Pair)

I am happy to buy from site sponsors if it is good and they ship internationally.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 10:02 PM   #6
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yes an internal Dedicated PCI(e) board thing in the computer , with say a Bay slot, would probably be much faster . or even a SATA connected adaption in a bay or something?
and often the offloading of buffering and transfer to a dedicated PCI or the Hard drive chipset, could reduce CPU use, as USB seems to use quite a bit of cpu still.
When more SxS users exist, i expect to see more stuff for it, at reasonable prices.
BUT
when shopping at a Mac/Apple store the guy said that the express slots were not being offered on thier laptops on as many models :-( He suggested that it was going away.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 07:01 AM   #7
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I use Edius 5.12 and ingest 1920 x 1080 50i directly from the EX1 using the USB connection. Use the Sony Clip Browser to download to hard disk then simply pull the files into the Edius workflow bin, it works a treat and in my experience it is the fastest and most stable workflow that I have used; the others being FCP (by far the slowest), Vegas (limited experience here, though) and Premiere CS4.

My present system has the NX cards fitted and this provides real time, full res HD output. The NX cards don't accelerate rendering, all that is taken care of by the CPU, or in the case of the included third part plugins, by the GPU. Using a 3GHz i7 system with 6GB RAM my work flow is almost up to that which I had with SD some 5-6 years ago. It is very unusual for me to have to render anything before seeing a full res, full speed display and I have had 9 instances of multicam footage running in real time.

The HDMI output from HD Spark card will provide similar monitoring performance to that of the NX card, but without the analogue and firewire connectivity. If I was starting from scratch this would be the card that I would use.

Using 1920 x 1080 originals for eventual output to an SD DVD I find it better to convert the Canopus HQ HD master to SD using Virtual Dub as per Anton's recommendation (see the Edius forum), but for 1440 x 1080 originals I find that directly exporting to DVD from the timeline is entirely adequate.

Using the layout tool in Edius is a good way of using HD footage within an SD format timeline,it allows you to re-frame, zoom in/out(within limits), pan and tilt the original within the SD frame without a loss of quality;all such movements may be key-framed.

The included Mercalli steadycam plugin is also very effective.

Hope this helps,

Geoff
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Old January 8th, 2010, 08:36 AM   #8
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Why do you want the NX card? Not necessary for editing. Really only if you need analog I/O, which it doesn't sound like you need. Unless I'm missing something, it is a waste of money.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 03:01 PM   #9
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Thanks guys for your input. I thought to go with NX as I was afraid that Spark would not
allow for SD output, otherwise I would be more than happy to use it. The thing is that I can
buy NX with Edius for just 100$ more than just the program in B&H. Will the two cards work together side by side?
so now the workflow seems to be:
option one: Convert to centercut SD before ingest to Edius and then just edit in DV - output to monitor on Spark - will it work? Otherwise NX
option two: Edit natively in XDcam EX monitor with Spark native resolution monitoring
then transcode to SD 50i
option three: Edit native XDCam on SD timeline - monitor in sd resolution on spark and use
layout tool to adjust the frame as needed (pan&scan) final output in SD from the timeline.

Regards
Boris
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Old January 9th, 2010, 05:28 AM   #10
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so the NX allows for analog and DV/DVCAM and HDV in/out, but not HDMI
great for getting other signals in/out but not so great for a big HD monitor thing?

the Spark, only does output to HDMI for HD monitoring, and would have to be adapted to do any other output type ?
great for monitoring on HD monitor, but useless for getting anything in.
Possible to use alongside built in DV 1394 firewire thing on standard computer for DV?

the Storm thing, will do DV HDV and various analog in/out and output HDMI?
which would be all of it?

On my system, i have to be able to interface 25 years of older footage DV S-video even 3/4" composite back into the computer (rarely), or make cheezy realtime DVDs, plus i want to monitor/Decode to HD monitoring, but only have to output DVD genrally.

On the Grass valleys own forum, they were like "Figure it out for yourself", so i assumed They already had what they wanted/needed . but knowing any problems or ramifications or USER input on this stuff for XDcam sure would be helpfull. Sales stuff doesn't ever even hint of ramifications.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:19 AM   #11
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If you need to import digital SD clips then you may use iLink, either on the NX card or a one found on may PCs.

In addition to the HDV connectivity, the NX cards also have composite and S-Video video plus audio inputs and outputs. The main advantage of using the NX card for analogue SD import is the additional processing that you may use when importing from an analogue recorder. In addition to the normal Brigtness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation, Sharpness, Setup and Gain Controls there are controls to adjust 2D and 3D Noise Reduction, Luminance Noise Reduction, Chroma Noise Reduction, Black and White Gain,Threshold, Horizontal and Vertical Outline Enhancement and Wide Screen Signalling. The corret use of these controls can considerably enhance the quality of some analogue recorded sources.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 12:27 PM   #12
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I can't speak for the NX and Spark to happily coexist but I can say that, while it is, obviously, HDMI only, the Spark will show an SD picture. Kinda an oxy-moron to me but there you go.

I didn't realize you needed analog out--go for it.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 12:27 AM   #13
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In response to the idea of NX and Spark in the same machine, they may work, but don't expect them to be 100% happy about it. See the GV website for a list of HDMI monitors that work with SD over Spark's HDMI output.

Me, I've used NX for years and am quite happy. Some complain about the lack of machine control, but it's not an issue for me. The 1394 interface is non-OCHI and gets along with built-in 1394 on my mainboard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
1. Acquire material using Sony PMW350 in XDCam probably 720/50p with centercut in mind
2. Edit natively in Edius 5.12
3. Transcode center cut to 4/3 SD 50i Mpeg2 for broadcast - final delivery over ftp
4. Transcode to blueray for archive on external HDD and Blueray
All do-able! Center cut is the bane of television! Deliver 16:9 and the station will do all the damage for you. (stupid tv)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
question 1.
Can I do it this way or is it better to downconvert in Sony's clipbrowser before going
into Edius?
Shoot/edit/deliver in the highest quality possible. Down-conversion is always a problem. Deliver on FTP and let the station convert. (see the end of this message)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
Computer specs for the task
Dual Xeon E5540 (Nehalem 8 cores)
12gb DDR3 ECC 1333 RAM
4x1TB 32mb buffer HDDs in Raid0 for media
10k HDD System drive
external disks for archive
Win7 64Bit
Good choice, I'm using dual Xeon 5550's and get 16 core performance (you will too!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
question 2.
Will the Spark do the job for monitoring given I don't really need analog and the format
of choice is 720/50p?
Spark is a great value, but be careful when picking a monitor to view SD. (see the GV forum)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
question 3.
Will the Spark output slow motion files and play them correctly (50% slow)?
Remember, Edius it 100% full raster output to whatever output device, even the computer screen. Unlike most other NLE's, there is no scaling, ever! True WYSIWYG.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
question 4.
Can I use a PCIe to Express slot 34 adapters for ingest of SXS media into the desktop
Absolutely. I use the Sony USB card adapter on my desktop and the built-in slot on my laptop. Both work fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
question 5.
How to configure sound inputs to Edius if I want to stay balanced all the way
(using XLR ). I thought of buying an M-Audio sound, a mixer and monitor speakers.
Will the spark deliver on this - preview sound?
I'd probably recommend an external USB desktop mixer. Mine operates as the sound card for Windows. NX uses it's own analog out which I can mix back into my audio monitors. I don't recall if Spark sends audio through HDMI, I think it uses RCA unbalanced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boris Barel View Post
I can go with Edius SP board with component HD if I have to, but if I can do it with spark it is cheaper and money is a factor. I thought that if I'll have to print to digibeta I could just wright back to SXS and play out from the camera trough SDI.
Again, you're correct. Edius is wicked fast at writing 100% compliant SxS files to the card or to disc.

My last broadcast project was delivered over the internet/FTP in SxS 1920x1080 file format and the station used the clip browser to conform to their 1280x1080 standards. Everyone was happy.
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