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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 March 24th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #1
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EXcellent 'must have' for EX cameras

Okay, for some of you I am going to be preaching to the choir. For others (and you know who you are) listen up.

Everyone is universally in agreement about the value of owning Vortex Media's EX Camera DVD guides. (they are available for the EX1, EX1r, and EX3. I also believe one for the 350 is coming out or is already out). I bought one immediately after purchasing my EX3 over a year ago, and find the resource invaluable. So invaluable in fact, that I toted the disc set around in my run bag for the last year (not a great idea, it turns out). Unfortunately, one of my discs came loose in the box and ended up getting scratched up to the point that it didn't play normally.

Damn.... and I needed a refresher on how the 'shot transition' feature works!

Solution: the Vortex Media 'Field Guide'. This is a fantastic DURABLE spiral-bound version of the immensely popular DVD set, but in a text version. It has the same in-depth explanation of all the features and functions for the cameras complete with photos and diagrams (for those of us who need pictures for anything to make sense). I'm very impressed with how comprehensive this guide is, and it will take up residence in my run-bag immediately in place of my DVD set. I should have done this long ago.... now I don't have to boot up my computer to get my answers, either.

On top of finding all the answers Sony is so woefully incapable of providing in the manual (ever wonder what 'white offset' is for, how to store a lens file, how to jam-sync timecode between two cameras, or wonder what different error messages mean?) there is also a great picture profile provided and even a backfocus chart which is very handy to have available in the field. Vortex even provides useful tips on interval recording, under/over cranking, stop-motion, and well.. you get the idea.

If you've been shooting for a long time, and think you don't need this... think again. I've been shooting network broadcast video for over 25 years. (yikes!) While I may know my way around just about any video camera intuitively, the technologies available in cameras today like the EX series boggle the mind. Some of the features astound an old dog like me, and the level of technology impresses the heck out of me. At the same time, it occasionally confuses me. The Vortex guide will bring you up to speed.

Recycle. Use sunscreen. Never stare directly into the sun. And buy...this...guide.
And no, I don't work for Vortex. I just like to spread helpful information... this forum has also proved invaluable, and saved me countless hours of frustration and research. I'm just returning the favor.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #2
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To add to the vortex praise (and no I don't work for them either) one of my two training discs went AWOL. They replaced it for me at a marginal cost. Great customer relats from a company making a great product!
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Old March 24th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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OK, so we're starting a Vortex Media fan club. I too, have both the EX3 DVD and the Field Guide. They have been invaluable. I used the DVD to get a comprehensive understanding of the EX3 features and best practices and I use the Field Guide as a reference for when I can't remember "how to ???" do something. I've used the back focus chart already and it does a great job. On a personal note, Doug Jensen has been extremely generous with his knowledge in this forum and in sales follow-up emails when I had specific questions. I can't recommend the DVDs and Field Guides enough for anyone who owns, or who contemplates owning an EX series camera.

. . . and how about those Warm Cards? I use them on every shoot.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #4
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to cool the ardour just a little bit, there are far better picture profiles on this site than the toes in the water pps Mr Jensen gives on his dvd.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by David Herman View Post
... there are far better picture profiles on this site than the toes in the water pps Mr Jensen gives on his dvd.
Hi David.

When you say "better", do you mean "more to your personal taste"?

I spent a couple of weeks testing various picture profiles from this site when I first received the EX1R. I found many excellent profiles which I really liked. I also got a DP friend to come up with a PP for me (I really like his aesthetic sense).

My Picture Profile menu consists of Doug Jensen's profile, my DP friend's and four of my favorites from the sticky on this forum.

I feel very much "spoiled with riches" as far as these profiles are concerned.

At one stage, during my testing, I sat a few people down and showed them, on an HD plasma, six different clips of the same subject, each shot with a different PP from my menu (Doug's, DP's and four from DV Info sticky). Afterwards, I asked each individually which clip they preferred the look of. Each one said the clip with Doug's PP. Again, this is purely the personal taste of a few individuals, but I nevertheless found it interesting.

I've now been shooting with the camera for 2 1/2 months and am happy to have a number of different PPs I can use, depending on which is most suitable for that situation.

But I couldn't resist having a chuckle to myself yesterday morning when I realized that I seem to be using Doug's profile exclusively for all paid work (corporate video). I find Doug's PP to be quite versatile - both outdoors and for indoors (talking head). I think it's a superb PP. As are the other PPs in my menu.

But I wouldn't call the others "far better". Just different.

It all depends on the personal taste of the operator, the taste of the client or intended audience (don't disregard that!), plus the situation or style (I wouldn't necessarily use Doug's PP for an indie feature, for example).
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Old March 24th, 2010, 07:50 PM   #6
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I couldn't agree more. It should be noted that the 'toes in the water' approach is widely recommended so the 'personal tastes' can be done in post. The more neutral the image is out of the camera, the more latitude in post.
That said, I have also entered 5 different profiles in my camera.... but have always left it set on Doug's for my paying clients.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 05:23 AM   #7
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Dead right gents. "Better" was a lazy term. (Adventurous? exotic? fit for purpose?) I really meant that, while Doug's DVD is biblical in its ability to get you on the righteous path with your camera, the section on PPs is but a hint of the universe to be explored.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
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the section on PPs is but a hint of the universe to be explored.
I caught Alister's presentation on Picture Profiles at a Sony gig a while ago. That was a game changer. Great preso, felt like getting the secret knowledge that unlocks the hidden tomb raider level (or Indiana Jones episode, whichever floats your boat).

If you're lurking, Alister, is there a canonical version of your presentation online somewhere? My notes from it are extensive and illuminating but do not translate well to a sharable format.

Whichever - it certainly lifts the veil on PPs and is a splendid introduction to the subject.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #9
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Picked up my EX3 two days ago... love it! Just read this thread 20 minutes ago... ordered the Field Guide and the DVDs.

I love this forum!


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Old May 8th, 2010, 04:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
I caught Alister's presentation on Picture Profiles at a Sony gig a while ago. That was a game changer...

If you're lurking, Alister, is there a canonical version of your presentation online somewhere?
I'd be interested as well...
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Old May 8th, 2010, 06:47 AM   #11
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I have converted the Vortex DVD-s to iPhone movie format and I carry with me in my iPhone always.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 07:34 AM   #12
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Any links to the Vortex site? (I supposed I shouldn't be lazy, and Google it....)
----
OKOK, Google, edit, Link :-)
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Old May 8th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Reich View Post
Solution: the Vortex Media 'Field Guide'. This is a fantastic DURABLE spiral-bound version of the immensely popular DVD set, but in a text version. It has the same in-depth explanation of all the features and functions for the cameras complete with photos and diagrams (for those of us who need pictures for anything to make sense). I'm very impressed with how comprehensive this guide is, and it will take up residence in my run-bag immediately in place of my DVD set. I should have done this long ago.... now I don't have to boot up my computer to get my answers, either..
Agreed. And it tastes like chicken.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by David Herman View Post
to cool the ardour just a little bit, there are far better picture profiles on this site than the toes in the water pps Mr Jensen gives on his dvd.
I totally agree. Based on all the raving reviews on the DVD, the Book and the Warm cards I ordered all of it but did not learn a single useful thing I did not already know. I use the warm cards only because they are laminated nicely and don't get ruined so easily as the ones I made myself with my printer...
However I would recommend the Book and the DVD to anyone new to video.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 01:48 PM   #15
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Did anyone end up finding online, any sort of version of Alister's presentation on Picture Profiles that Matt Daviss had mentioned (post #8), regarding the Sony gig a while ago? I tried googling it but didn’t come up with anything. Thanks!
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