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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 September 26th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #1
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Upgrading from z1 to EX1r

We're planning to upgrade from z1s to ex1rs for our wedding video business next January. Could I ask some fairly basic questions that will help us plan our purchasing?

1 How long in practice do the largest of the Sony batteries for the camera actually last?

2 We expect to be recording at 35Mbps - how do the images differ from HDV recorded on a Z1?

3 At this speed how long do 16Gb S&S cards record for?

4 I understand the cards can be used consecutively - are the "overlap" files seamlessly stitced together by Sony's software?

5 I also understand the cards can be hot-swapped. Does this mean that one just keeps replacing the "used" card when recording an event?

Are there any aspects of the Ex1R which would be germane or relevant to someone working in the wedding business?

Many thanks
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Old September 26th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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1 How long in practice do the largest of the Sony batteries for the camera actually last?
When brand new, the BPU-60s last for 'a morning' or 'an afternoon'. After 18 months use, they shrink a little in capacity, but 3 biggies is all you ever need per camera, most get by on two.

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2 We expect to be recording at 35Mbps - how do the images differ from HDV recorded on a Z1?
Brighter, sharper, better, more colourful, impressive, sellable, but with a slight droop on the widest zoom. I would strongly recommend 720p for delivery in Standard Definition. Lots of debate here on the best way to do it, but the general consensus is that 720p is the way to go for SD delivery if you have the time to do a software downconvert at the end.

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3 At this speed how long do 16Gb S&S cards record for?
About 57 minutes.

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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
4 I understand the cards can be used consecutively - are the "overlap" files seamlessly stitced together by Sony's software?
It's absolutely seamless, nary a stutter, stop or scratch. It's just one big file. You will need to copy all your BPAV folders to a hard disk so that XDCAM Transfer can stitch them all together by opening the LAST clip of the sequence.

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5 I also understand the cards can be hot-swapped. Does this mean that one just keeps replacing the "used" card when recording an event?
Yes, just feed the beast. I've even formatted cards whilst shooting with no problem (when a late running conference decided to ditch the 'comfort' break to make up time). You can also shoot to hard disk - Sony or alternatives.

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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Are there any aspects of the Ex1R which would be germane or relevant to someone working in the wedding business?
You will love it.

Seriously, the tapeless workflow, the low light performance, the slowmo effects, the progressive formats, the cine gamma, the highlight protection, the quality of the viewfinder and the expanded focus, even the bizarre and kooky ergonomics will warm the cockles of your heart (even though it will take a while for your arm muscles to adapt to its angled hand-grip - stay with it and you will adapt).
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Old September 26th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #3
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Big step up.

All of the following is based on my experience. I think there are enough similarities on the EX platform for me to offer some thoughts but they are not definitive. What you shoot and how you shoot will impact on performance (read - do a little more action, get a little less capacity):

1. I use an EX3 and in combination with several BP-U60s and I often get nearly 4 hours out of each battery. I use IDX batteries for monitoring but have thought about getting adapters to use the little U60s as they've performed well for me and are smaller.

2. Too huge a question. could you narrow down parameters that are important to you? One thing I noticed is less noise and greater low-light sensitivity. The lighting requirements of the 1/2" sensor for the shots you are likely to want (interiors, low level lighting) might suit your intended use better. The dynamic range might also appear immediately greater.

3. I get about 50 minutes (micro-docmentaries, interviews). Possibly a few minutes less given your intended use (lots of movement?). A conservative estimate - old production habits die hard.

4. Yes - but you need to set your system up properly (meaning the Clip Browser and XDCAM Transfer software).

5. Yes. Your biggest issue though will be transferring data off the cards quickly enough if you intend to reuse a small number of cards during a shoot. Nexto have good solutions to this. However, Good = Not Cheap.

I can't realistically answer your last question as I haven't picked up an EX1R yet. However, even using the EX3 with its 'improved' form factor, hand held use is a real problem after a short while. I invested in a Zacuto rails/hand-held rig and, though it is also Good (see above) it was/is worth every cent.

Note: I also have a Convergent Design XDR. Taking the feed from the HD-SDI port and shooting at 50 to 100 mbps produces some outstanding images that I'm sure will please your clients.

Note 2: XDCAM footage is much easier for your system to handle than HDV. Its anti-thetical but true. Less maths, apparently, for your edit suite to have to do, less 'unpacking' and 're-constructing' to full HD raster.

Hope this helps.

PS. Have you thought about shooting on 5D Mark 2s as well? Much less intrusive and the types of shots you will get may suit your material quite well. Just a thought.
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