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How compatible are the Sony F 900 and Sony XDCam HD


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#1 Bob Hayes

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 06:49 PM

I have a potential project coming up involving one Sony F 900 and one Sony XDcam 330 as a B camera. My questions are visually how will they intercut. What do I need to do to get Blue Ray into the editing system? How do you over come incompatibility between to different formats and resolutions? If all this is overcome what happens when they do their on line assembly? Do they have the same compatibility issues at this step? Should they dump the Blue ray to HD tape so as to standardize sources?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 06:57 PM

I don't think you need to dump the Blu-Ray footage to HDCAM unless they are only planning on a tape-to-tape online, which wouldn't make sense if you are using two different origination formats (unless there is very little of the Blu-Ray footage.) It would make more sense to use some sort of NLE system to digitize all the footage at full-rez for conforming.

But I don't know enough about Blu-Ray to know what sort of editing issues there will be -- isn't XDCAM HD some form of MPEG-4?
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#3 Bob Hayes

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 07:05 PM

David you know much more then me. When I said dumping to HD tape I was wondering whether it would make sense to transfer the Blue Ray to the same tape the f 900 shoots so in post they would only need one deck. I assume they will do a tape to tape assembly.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 07:15 PM

Depends on how they are posting the project. If they are editing offline using standard def downconversions, you'd just make betacam (or whatever) tape downconversions at a post facility from both the HDCAM and Blu-Ray originals. And then if they conformed in HD using something like an AVID DS system, they would just be renting the Blu-Ray decks for that digitizing session anyway.

In other words, if they can avoid dumping Blu-Ray to HDCAM, it might be better because I don't know what sort of artifacts might build-up from that cross-conversion.
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#5 Joshua Reis

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 09:48 PM

If both XDCAM HD and HDCAM footage will be intercut, the most efficient thing to do is rent a XDCAM HD VTR and capture via HDSDI. The F900 footage will most likely captured via HDSDI as well. Using HD-SDI allows both formats to be captured for online/offline using identical capture settings (compressed, uncompressed, 1080, SD, etc). Dubbing the XDCAM HD (Mpeg 2 compression 18, 25, or 35 data rates) to HDCAM would introduce additional compression.
Capturing the XDCAM footage in its native codec is an option (via 1394, or ethernet), but not sure how that would intercut with HDCAM unless the HDCAM is recompressed to the same codec. This may be ideal in an offline scenario to keep data rates low. I'm curious to see how the aesthetic quality of HD XDCAM cameras will match with the F900?
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 11:43 PM

As Joshua points out, there are three different data rates to choose from in the XDCAM HD camera, so simply be aware. I have only "introductory" knowledge of the system though, with only slight hands-on experience.

Also, the XDCAM has 1/2" chips not 2/3" like the F900, so treat your focal lengths and f-stops accordingly when trying to match the two cameras. The XDCAM is also approximately 1 stop slower than the F-900 (I've been told) so again your f-stops will be different. In some cases that may work in your favor for matching depth of field, but if you're at T1.6 on the 900 you're not going to get there with the XDCAM.
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#7 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 02:06 AM

I just 1st'ed on a feature with the PDW 350, and an Adobe rep was there the first day of shooting to watch our workflow. He told me that they are still developing software to handle the files that the XDCAM shoots on to bring into Premiere. I think he said FCP and AVID aren't there yet, but I'm not sure.

You could go firewire 800 out to the editing machine, but you need software to read those files.

Kind of scary.
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#8 Keith Mottram

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 10:48 AM

been cutting between hdcam and sony originated hdv recently and i have to say that they don't intercut at all well in my opinion, there is clear resolution differences as well as optical. xdcam is a 'higher' level format than hdv, but i think that there will be similar issues. also it is worth noting that due to the way that the pixel aspect ratio is set on the different systems post workflow becomes a pain. finally i found that it was never possible to get a true colour match between the two- now this will probably be better with xdcam, but due to the style of compression i would expect similar issues.

keith
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#9 Tim J Durham

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 11:25 AM

If both XDCAM HD and HDCAM footage will be intercut, the most efficient thing to do is rent a XDCAM HD VTR and capture via HDSDI. The F900 footage will most likely captured via HDSDI as well. Using HD-SDI allows both formats to be captured for online/offline using identical capture settings (compressed, uncompressed, 1080, SD, etc). Dubbing the XDCAM HD (Mpeg 2 compression 18, 25, or 35 data rates) to HDCAM would introduce additional compression.
Capturing the XDCAM footage in its native codec is an option (via 1394, or ethernet), but not sure how that would intercut with HDCAM unless the HDCAM is recompressed to the same codec. This may be ideal in an offline scenario to keep data rates low. I'm curious to see how the aesthetic quality of HD XDCAM cameras will match with the F900?

For that kind of money (an extra HDCam deck), you should just rent a second F-900 and record to the on-board deck. That way you can swap lenses (which you would NOT be able to do with the F330) as well as share all the support gear AND exactly match your menu settings. I've been mixing HDV (also MPeg2 long GOP codec like the XDCam-HD) with other codecs in FCP-HD and the rendering required is a pain in the @ss. And color matching would be a real needle-in-the-haystack endeavor. Plus the compression scheme of the MPEG2 long GOP looks very strange under certain (action) conditions and there would be no disguising it.
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