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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 August 24th, 2010, 06:42 AM   #1
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Doc shot solo with EXr

This is a link to my youtube channel and a documentary I shot mid-summer that was supposed to air on a local cable channel. News happens, and changes to the regulatory framework of mixed martial arts in Ontario before the doc could air means that it won't air. Ah, the trouble with building storylines around possibly moving targets.

There are some techy\shooting issues and I think I converted the files using the wrong colour format but its a decent piece. Hope to do more soon.

All comments welcome.

YouTube - TheFarmpunk's Channel
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Old August 24th, 2010, 05:37 PM   #2
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It's a decent subject, and covered pretty well. Glaring problem with no excuses: The Audio needs to be fixed. You've got the VO in one channel on-cam voices in another channel... All voice should be dead center. If you capture your audio as 2 mono channels you won't have this problem. XDCAM Transfer does it this way by default. Also if you are only recording with one mic, you can have the signal go to both channels, which is cool because you can set one lower as a safety for clipping. I don't know if you already did this, but you can throw on the 3-way color corrector and lose that milkiness. Punch up the saturation a little, crush out the blacks. It's a simple plug. I'd probably put the lower 3rd titles off to the left bottom rather than the center. Maybe try to hold the camera more steady, or use Apple Motion to smooth it out (if your on FCP). Or use a tripod more.

Otherwise it was pretty nice.

Cheers
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Old August 25th, 2010, 06:22 AM   #3
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Docs were so much easier in radio...

Thanks for the feedback, Chad. XDCam transfer creates two mono channels automatically even if I record on a single channel? Is this a setting that needs to be selected?

The milkiness probably comes from exporting straight out of Avid, and using the wrong colour scheme (601\709 instead of RGB, or vice versa). I may try and use Streamclip to get a better online version. There is no milkiness present in the project. Some of the handheld shots should have been stabilized through Avid.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #4
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In XDCAM Transfer when you are usb connected and you can see all your clips, you select one or all of them. Then on the lower right side you scroll down to see the "Audio" option. Click the check box and then you are importing the audio. I haven't seen an option to choose between stereo interleaved or dual mono. It just comes in as dual mono, which is fine. You can always pan your channels left/right, but you can't take an interleaved stereo file and pan the channels center unless you use a seperate audio app. Maybe you can in Avid? I'm in FCP. But the XDCAM Transfer process is stand-alone so it has nothing to do with the NLE you use.

If you only have signal on one channel, a cool thing to do in you NLE is to turn off, not sure what it's called - like snapping, but it allows you to take the audio away from the video. So I would remove the unused audio channel, copy the used channel and paste it under the original. That doubles your volume, which is good in cases where you have too quiet of a recording, and your volume adjustments won't get your signal loud enough. Then you can link the video & 2 audio clips and they act like one file again.

Also having both channels panned center, in cases where you have the same thing on both channels, will ensure that your dialogue is exactly centered. With the EX1 your volume dials can be off so one channel could be a little louder, so a stereo interleaved capture will reflect that. Like I said earlier it's good to capture one mic in both channels with one lower for clip protection. Of course only when you only need one mic.

Audio is as important, if not more important, in any type of film. Especially docs where the story is the interesting thing. Shotguns for outside (Like a Rode NTG-3), hypercardioids for indoors (Like an AT4053b), and a wireless lav (Like a Sennheiser G3) are the basic kit any film maker needs to cover all the basics. Of course there are better mics, but those mics are the best bang for the buck. We've honed it down to those for the most part on the audio forums.


Cheers.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 04:22 PM   #5
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I was never happy with any Rode-mikes for my EX1(r) (extremely sensitive with any touching-noise), other mikes were too long (like the Sennheiser K6-series ). I finnally chose the Sony ECM-XM1, form-factor juste like the NV1 but way better sound quality. It's pricey if you buy it as a spare part from sony. I was lucky to get a new one via ebay from England for a reasonable price.
As mentioned, with the G2/G3 series (wireless lav) you can't go wrong either if it comes to statements and you are acting as one man band on your own. But never use the auto-audio! Just as terrible as any automatic function on any camcorder in a real life situation.
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Old August 29th, 2010, 08:13 AM   #6
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I use the auto audio often, and have had good results. I've found it sorts sound - isolating the interviewee from crowd noise for example - rather effectively. And in some situations it would be difficult to play with the dials while running the camera.

I'm running with an older hypercardioid, a NTG2, and have the G3 wireless. I'm hot and cold on the NTG2 but the G3 is a wicked piece of gear. Next on my audio shopping list is a new hyper and possibly a replacement for the G3 lav mic.

I'm messing up my sound in post. The source footage recordings are decent.
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Old August 29th, 2010, 03:34 PM   #7
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Nathan it only seems like the "auto" audio is "sorting out" the bg noise from the speaker. With the AGC (auto) engaged, when nobody is speaking the recording level is brought up, then when they speak the overall volume goes down because the speaker is the loudest thing. So it sounds like the noise goes down when the person speaks. BUT if you turn off audio the noise will NOT be pushed up between words/sentences of the speaker. The signal(person speaking )to noise ratio never changes unless you get the mic closer. So with auto all you get is noisier parts in between sentences.

You don't have to play with the dial. Just turn off AUTO and set the level so the loudest thing the subject does doesn't clip. Then if you want to turn up the volume you can do it later in post. If the method you mentioned were actually true the pros would be using auto all the time. Your method is actually the worst way to record dialogue.
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Old August 30th, 2010, 05:51 AM   #8
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Hmm, that does make sense. I never used, or had access to, auto-audio functions on any audio-alone recorders. I've forgotten my basics, gah.
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