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Old January 2nd, 2016, 05:41 PM   #1
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PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

I'm new to the XDCAM EX forum and may be joining the ranks soon. I'm needing to purchase two cameras for two-camera stage event video work. They will be used for jobs mostly consisting of simple DVD production but others could be in in HD and possible live streaming. And again, unless I pick up some new work, these will be used exclusively in theaters for recording show-choir competitions, choral concerts, plays, dance recitals and ballet performances. Lighting ranges from great to low, theatrical lighting.

I am about to pull the trigger on a couple used EX1r cameras. They seem to have everything I could want and are going for very attractive prices in the used market. My plan is to purchase one. Do some tests in a local theater with some worse-case lighting before I complete my kit (switcher, recorder, and cameras).

My question is this: Is the flip-out monitor of good enough quality to focus and operate the camera as a studio camera (on a tripod). I think I read the EX1r has focus assist. Would this be useful for stage events? Or will I need to purchase and install for each jog, a small 5 or 7 inch HDMI monitor?

I'd appreciate any insight into these older cameras for my intended use. Thank you.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 08:54 PM   #2
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

I'd say it really depends on your operators - and also how difficult your focus pulling demands will be. The focus assist basically enlarges the center of the screen for more critical focusing -- of course this works best when there is something in the middle of the frame that can be used for focus. The trick is that since it's the center that's punched in, when in this mode you lose a sense of where the top of frame is, so critical focus with a lot of movement can get tricky!.
I've done a lot of shoots in this configuration with no additional monitor, but I'm used to it. (Yes, I do have a monitor, but for many jobs decide not to use it.) I have friends who always set up with a 7" monitor because they like that configuration better. It's personal taste. If your shoots are long (more than a couple of hours) I would recommend having the monitors. Also a good idea if the camera will be configured in a position wheree it's hard to get a good, consistent view of the flip-out screen.
I would also highly recommend setting up with a rear zoom control. The zoom motors on the EX series are not the world's best (I think the EX1's are better than the EX3's in this respect), so don't expect perfect slow-zoom smoothness everytime, particularly with used cameras.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 01:04 AM   #3
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

I've done conventions with the EX1R and the thing I've learned is "stop the iris down."

You are more than often far away from the subject and having an open iris is guaranteed to be a nightmare for focus. Tune the iris down to F2.8-F4. If it's too low light to do that, gain up. Noise for Standard Definition DVDs is mitigated by the resolution change and heavier compression DVDs have.

The EX1R has been a workhorse for my convention work. Use your Expanded Focus a lot. Also, might want to use peaking as this Vine I made demonstrates: https://vine.co/v/hWjzdz0MBM3

If there's LED lighting, might want to engage the "ECS" mode. If it's incandescent or halogen lighting, you can stay at regular shutter speeds.

in 1080p30, if you have enough light, turn your shutter to 1/60th or 180 degrees. This is the number one thing people forget with the EX series and often footage looks incredibly blurry with the shutter off.
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Old January 9th, 2016, 05:37 PM   #4
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

I have me new camera. I've been going through all the settings this evening and I think I have a handle on just about everything. I was watching this video -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-9aaK2gefg#t=173 and it got me thinking about gamma settings for high contrast stage event lighting. I wonder if I should consider using "knee" and/or a cine-gamma profile for this type of work.
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Old January 9th, 2016, 07:16 PM   #5
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

I always use Cinegamma 4. On paper it's meant to be graded, but ungraded it really handles highlights very well. It's Doug's recommendation as well in his DVD in combination with the "High SAT" matrix setting.

For web content, going over 100% white isn't that big of a deal cause computer monitors can display above 100% to 109%.

For Cinegammas, set your zebras lower than what you usually might set to at from 70% down to 60%.

Here's some stage work I did shooting from afar. F3.4-F4 with 6db gain, 180 degree shutter, 1080p30, Doug Jenson's profile:
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Old January 16th, 2016, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

Nice video. And - Thank you very much. I will try out those settings next time I can get in an auditorium.
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Old January 17th, 2016, 07:48 AM   #7
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

Try it with the venue lighting before making the adjustments - they tend to expand the dynamics making the black, blacker, and adjustments the other way look a little washed out. I've never found focusing as hard as people often maintain. My biggest issue is the odd focus shifts that happens with the now always present LED lights when they are certain colours. Magenta and Blue seem to move the focus point very slightly. The colours, of course are also a problem but that is another story.
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Old January 17th, 2016, 04:12 PM   #8
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

Got my camera and am very pleased. I'm going to pick up another soon. I did a little testing and found that little LCD is pretty challenging to use but I think I can make it work. Worst case, I get a bigger monitor for one camera. During my test, the stage lighting was changing constantly and the actors were moving around. I found it difficult to use Zebras and Focus Peaking at the same time. I kind of had to go back and forth.

I'm picking out the rest of my stage event kit and have come up with the following gear:

Panasonic HS50 switcher panasonic hs50 | B&H Photo Video
Atomos Ronin Atomos Ronin Portable Recorder / Player / Monitor ATOMRON001 B&H
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Old September 28th, 2016, 04:02 PM   #9
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

I know this is an old thread but I'll leave this breadcrumb. In my theater recordings, I use the built-in monitor for focus with peaking and a 7" Marshall monitor set with false colors for exposure. Switching the Marshall to use it for focus is a snap with it's 4 assignable buttons. FWIW.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 05:34 PM   #10
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

Funny, I just came across this old thread today also, have been away from DVinfo for awhile. I have the original EX1 and have shot several performances with it. I like the little LCD screen and don't have much trouble focusing with it. I have a 15" monitor that connects with component cables, but space is too tight on the shoots I've done recently (in small NYC venues).

I thought one improvement on the EX-1R was a higher resolution viewfinder? Is that a viable option for focus? The viewfinder on the EX1 is terrible. I filmed over 200 hours of opera performances during the period 2001-2011, starting with a VX-2000, then PDX-10 and finally an HVR-Z1. The EX-1 is a big improvement over all of those. Really have not kept up with the newer cameras, I don't shoot much anymore and am still very happy with the EX-1.
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Old September 28th, 2016, 06:02 PM   #11
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

The EVF actually causes audio interference so I don't use it. I resort to the LCD. If I was going to use an EVF, I'd convert the LCD using a Loupe.
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Old September 29th, 2016, 04:55 AM   #12
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Re: PMW EX1r for Stage Event work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
Funny, I just came across this old thread today also, have been away from DVinfo for awhile.
LOL Boyd. I retired, teach and shoot only a couple times a year ... so I've not been here much either. The EX1r has been a reliable workhorse. What brought me back was an audio interference problem: 500MHz whine when G3/G2 powered off

Years ago I made a loupe for my LCD and shot handheld 90% of the time. I had my radios connected directly and powered them on and off as needed. But the other day I setup for handheld and had a bad 500Hz whine in the recording. Turns out one of the things I did in the last couple years is to change over to a field mixer for all audio and the EVF. So when I went to setup for handheld with the radios attached directly ... BOOM ... audio interference.

I just confirmed the EVF is the culprit for the 500Hz hum in the recording when my radio's are turned off but connected. I did discover however, that with the EVF ON and audio block set to mic+48, the whine is faint in the headphones but not in the recording. But if the audio block impedance is MIC, there's a loud whine in the recording. Mystery solved.
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