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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 April 30th, 2007, 08:28 PM   #1
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XDCAM EX in SD

Does anyone have any ideas about this camera's SD capabilities. While I love the camera for its HD abilities at the price I still shoot mainly SD (and will do for some time) so I would like an option of higher quality SD such as a 4:2:2 option (like the HVX's DVCPro50 capability) along with a standard DV mode (for backwards compatibility).

I am aware I can shoot HD and down convert in post, but if I am shooting a job that will only ever be SD who wants to do all that rendering if it can be just shot in a high end SD codec to start with. HD also bogs the NLE down with RT effects etc while editing etc.

I would think some type of 4:2:2 MPG2 SD at 15-20Mbps would provide great quality SD and very good record times onto the cards.

Did anyone find out anything at NAB about this?
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:27 PM   #2
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I think that with all the XD Cams you can shoot in 480 or you can shoot in HD and either the camera or deck will downconvert to 480 on the fly. So you capture into your NLE as standard def DV .avi
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:42 PM   #3
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Perhaps but with ExpressCard media there will be no 'capture' phase, just a copy of files from card to disk.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 08:44 PM   #4
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I think the EX will downconvert and output DV .avi thru the firewire. EX reads and downconverts off of the card instead of the blu ray disk like the other XD Cams. You shouldn't need to download the card mpg2 files at all.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 09:48 PM   #5
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You are talking to someone here with no XDCAM experience so please bear with me. Wouldn't the process of downconverting and capturing in SD via 1394 mean you would have to go back to only a real time capture process not copying the files faster than real time?

If I stick the Express Card into my laptop to read them there is no camera involved.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 10:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Guy Barwood View Post
Wouldn't the process of downconverting and capturing in SD via 1394 mean you would have to go back to only a real time capture process not copying the files faster than real time?
That is correct as far as the full size cameras are concerned. They can also shoot in native DVCAM which is 25mb 4:1:1. I wouldn't sweat it too much because it doesn't really take that much time to downconvert HD to SD in post. Just do it BEFORE you do any other editing such as CC or FX.

There may ultimately be other options with the new XDCAM EX camera, but we don't know as of yet.

-gb-
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 07:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
... it doesn't really take that much time to downconvert HD to SD in post. Just do it BEFORE you do any other editing such as CC or FX...-gb-
Thats the problem though, it does take some time to render, time I want to avoid and don't see any reason to just accept more wasted time in my life, and it consumes twice the HDD space.

I guess this thing will have a DV mode (probably called DVCAM by Sony but DVCAM onto anything but tape is just DV) but if this is all it has then the Panasonic does have one trump card being able to shoot directly to a 4:2:2 SD codec.

I see this camera to me as an opportunity for moving into a non tape SD 16:9 unit about the same as a HD unit.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 08:03 AM   #8
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Good point Guy, I feel the same.

Only I doubt if NLE developers will waste time supporting new SD codecs with so much happening in the HD world.

A 4:2:2 20Mbps SD MPEG2 (or even 4) codec would look great. The 19Mbps 576p50 (or 480p60) looks great on the HD100. Shame that so few NLEs support it natively.

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Old May 2nd, 2007, 08:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
I wouldn't sweat it too much because it doesn't really take that much time to downconvert HD to SD in post.
I guess it depends on your hardware, software and methodology. I shot a project in HDV on my Z1 recently and decided to downconvert in post as opposed to using the camera to downconvert during capture like I usually do. I was surprised when it took around 4 hours to convert an hour of HDV on my dual G5/2.5ghz.

I'm not going to try that again anytime soon :-)
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:20 AM   #10
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Here's what Sony has to say on their web site regarding standard definition on current XDCAM HD cameras:

"Q: Can XDCAM HD decks or camcorders also record standard definition?

A: Yes. The PDW-F350 and PDW-F330 camcorders and the PDW-F70 recorder
will all record DVCAM 25 Mbps standard definition in NTSC (480/59.94i) or
PAL (576/50i)."

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...XDCAM_FAQs.pdf

So it doesn't sound like there's an SD 4:2:2 recording option, and if that's important to you Panasonic has an advantage there. But with the world moving to HD production and computers continually getting more powerful, this becomes a less and less relevant issue. Plus I would think you could capture from XDCAM HD via HD-SDI to an SD 4:2:2 editing solution, using something like a Kona or Blackmagic capture card.

As far as downconversions go, Sony says all their XDCAM HD camcorders and decks can downconvert to standard definition. Some editing programs (e.g. Edius) can downconvert to SD in real time, or work with multiple layers of HD without rendering on sufficiently powerful computers. Given all this, if you have a good HD camera you might as well shoot most projects in HD and sort out what to do with the footage in post.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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P.S. There isn't a practical way to deliver 4:2:2 SD or DVCProHD to consumers, but it may be possible to deliver XDCAM HD at full quality on Blu-ray discs. That's a significant delivery advantage for the XDCAM format as we head into the HD era.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:11 AM   #12
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Sometimes I shoot HD and let the camera down convert to SD uncompressed which I send via component into one of my SD uncompressed systems. This may not be as good as a native 4:2:2 but it sure beats DV and only takes as long as the footage to capture it this way. I then have a pretty nice high quality psuedo 4:2:2 SD format to work with. Depending on your system you could use other 4:2:2 formats as well such as DVCPRO50 or photojpeg.

Even with HDV cameras I have been able to get very good results by using this method. Why spend the time letting your computer decode and down convert when the camera can do it in realtime? Perhaps you could push a little bit better quality by down converting in software but the tradeoff is 4 hours vs. 1 hour for 60 minutes worth of footage. Plus even with XDCAM it still takes you some time to transfer that footage to a hard drive so you are looking at 4+ hours.

With HDV and very fast movement even with down converting I noticed some artifacts but with 35mbit XDCAMHD you should hardly ever see any artifacts when the footage is down converted.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
Here's what Sony has to say on their web site regarding standard definition on current XDCAM HD cameras:

"Q: Can XDCAM HD decks or camcorders also record standard definition?

A: Yes. The PDW-F350 and PDW-F330 camcorders and the PDW-F70 recorder
will all record DVCAM 25 Mbps standard definition in NTSC (480/59.94i) or
PAL (576/50i)."


So it doesn't sound like there's an SD 4:2:2 recording option, ...


As far as downconversions go, Sony says all their XDCAM HD camcorders and decks can downconvert to standard definition.
Yup, that's essentially what I said in post #6. I was pointing out what the current full size cameras (and decks) can do since I own one of them. We just don't have the final details on the XDCAM EX as of yet.

-gb-
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Old May 4th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #14
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Does this look like a good firewire solution to get the SD cards to quickly transfer to my computer

http://store.lexar.com/?category=22&...ctid=RW024-001
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Last edited by Mark Williams; May 4th, 2007 at 02:30 PM.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 10:08 PM   #15
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that seems to be a Compact Flash (CF) card reader ... if you are shooting to compact flash and do not have an ExpressCard interface option then it would be a good solution
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