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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PXW-Z280, Z190, X180 etc. (going back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.

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Old November 14th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Surrey, UK
Posts: 4
XDCAM transfers with new MacBook Air and EX1... Success!

As some people have been asking me about the viability of this workflow, after testing I can confirm that a USB transfer from the Sony EX1 to the new 11.6" Macbook Air using Sony XDCAM Transfer 2.12 to the internal solid state drive works extremely well.

Not only that, but Final Cut Pro 7 runs extremely smoothly considering the limitations of this machine! I successfully edited the EX1 (1080-25P HQ 35mbps) footage on both an XDCAM-EX and ProRes HQ 1080-25P timeline and exported both an XDCAM-EX quicktime and ProRes HQ quicktime with no problems at all (though the render was understandably a little slower than I'm used to on a Mac Pro / Macbook Pro!). The resulting ProRes HQ file even played back perfectly on the MacBook Air without dropping a single frame. The 16:9 aspect of the 11.6" screen is perfect for reviewing rushes on location.

I'm running the top spec 1.6Ghz machine with 4GB RAM which helps a bit, and though Final Cut Pro warns that it is not optimised to run on such a small screen when first run, it performs fine and is perfectly useable! What's more, after the OSX install there is approx 105GB of space left on the internal 128GB SSD and using a custom install of Final Cut Pro I was able to install just FCP and Compressor, which only occupy approx 1.5GB of space, leaving me with enough space to transfer 3 x 32GB XDCAM SxS cards on location should I need to back up on the move, and that's before I even connect an external drive (bus powered USB drive such as a 1TB Lacie Rikiki would be an excellent choice). It's a great setup and means I don't even feel the laptop in my camera bag.

My next test will be using the PDW-U1 XDCAM Disc Drive with the same setup and seeing if XDCAM-HD422 footage from the PDW700 will behave as well as the EX1 footage does. Sure, the transfer is quite a bit slower than I'm used to using my Macbook Pro with Expresscard slot and firewire 800 drive, but I can live with the performance hit for the portability of this machine. Can't recommend this new setup enough!

Would be interested to hear from anyone else using this setup and any tips they might have to further enhance this workflow!

Last edited by George Featherby; November 14th, 2010 at 05:01 PM. Reason: More informative subject title
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Old November 15th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #2
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Location: Leeds, UK
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You've got deeper pockets than me George!! But it sounds like a nice bit of kit. Shame it can't act as an on-camera monitor too! By the way do you have a website?, I'm looking for EX users near East Grinstead...

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Old November 16th, 2010, 12:38 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Surrey, UK
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EX1 Operator - Website

George Featherby - Freelance Camera Operator & Editor based in London UK - I'm based 20 mins from Central London. I have an EX1, PDW700 and Z1 and would be happy to hear from you.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:18 PM   #4
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Location: Oslo, Norway
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Just came across your post now. I could hardly belive my eyes!!
All this on a 11.6 MBA!

I always use my 15" MBP on location, (and as you, love the speed of transfer with the express card slot).
I have the last unibody 15" with express card slot and was planning to keep it for a long time just to off load my SxS cards.
I do however feel the 15" is "huge" at times. I travel a lot for my work, often on my own and being able to use a MBA (and at 11" too) would be a blessing. I guess I could sacrifice transfer speed for that benefit.

Of course, you have just made me want yet another Apple product, and I thought I was set for a while ;-)

Please let us know how it unfolds. Im curious about the 700 material as Im between getting a 350 or a 700 to compliment my EX-3, depending on how the projects of 2011 pans out
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