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#1 James Briggs

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 11:28 AM

Hi Everyone

Please forgive probably my foolish question in advance if its well known and obvious! I?ve been searching for a really simple answer but can?t seem to find one!

I recently used the HVX200 on a short and was really impressed by the results. We shot 1080 at 1gb a minute to hard-drive. I?m really thinking of using it on my first low budget film myself now. But from what I can see I also like the look of sonys EX1. I really want to move away from tape now, but I am pretty new to this so please excuse my lack of knowledge.

The 1gb a minute DVC-pro HD compared to sony?s 70minutes per 16gb to SxS cards at the same resolutions, is there any real difference or is the sony?s codec more resourceful for space but maintains the same quality? I?m not interested in sound as that?s always done externally. From screen grab comparisons I?ve seen on the internet at full the HVX doesn?t seem to be any superior to other 720 \ 1080 cams in terms of resolution?

What does the 1gb a minute really mean in terms of results!?

Thanks for your time!
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#2 Mitch Gross

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 04:17 PM

It means nothing. This is about the form of encoding, and how it lays down the information in the file format. The HVX200's P2 DVCPROHD format is notoptimized for 1080 where Sony's XDCAM is. So Sony gets the same information in less space.

It's really far more complicated than that, but you are comparing apple to oranges in a big way here.
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#3 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 07:53 PM

Not sure it's that simple. The HVX is recording twice the color information after all. I've marvelled at how Sony fits such long record times into small spaces. Not sure if the Sony is more efficient or just more compressed, which is no bueno.
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#4 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 08:46 PM

The XDCam format is essentially a beefier version of HDV. You're getting far more recording time because it's "optimized," but what this means in practice is that it's throwing away far more picture information. Whether this is bad for you depends on exactly what you're doing with it. If you're doing ENG or doc work, XDCam might be fantastic. On the other hand, if you're planning on doing a lot of visual effects, especially keying, or heavy color correction, you'll really appreciate the extra information that DVCProHD retains. For low-budget filmmaking, if you are able to get the look and color of your image 90% of the way there in-camera through your use of lighting and the camera's internal look settings, XDCam could work out very well for you. But if you need more flexibility in post, you're going to need to keep more image data, which means much less storage capacity.
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#5 James Briggs

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 08:47 AM

Thanks guys for your feedback. From what I read uncompressed HD retains more data for colour correction and after affects, so at least I know now that the HVX200 recording does retain some of this.

The film I want to make is going to be very stylised and atmospheric. So I think I?m really going to look heavily into lighting equipment, as I think that?s a big part for me what is wrongly neglected at times. That said a lot of its going to be dark and I know the XDCAM has some grain issues compared to that of Panasonic and Canon cams. But if I?m lighting what I want correct then grain shouldn?t be a problem on any camera right? Cause I can just keep than gain right down. Or that?s my principle thinking. I?m only experienced in low light really with my XL?s.

But I do think with lighting, I?ll be looking to aim to get the picture as close to what I want on the day. After effects won?t be that extensive.

1gb a minute is quite a lot of space! And that hard rive we used last time was a right noisy fella at times. Considering this film is going to be feature in length I am worried about the space. So I?m just going to have to keep thinking on it in the meantime I guess.

The 1gb a minute isn?t going add anything otherwise to a transfer to film is it?

Thanks again for the help and if anyone has any other advice it would be greatly appreciated.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 08:55 AM

I'm just going to chime in here and give my personal taste of the HVX: It doesn't handle low-light well IMHO. This doesn't mean it's a bad camera, in the least, just that I find it lacking when you're scrounging for light (this has less to do with the size of your kit and more to do with the available power on locations from my experience.)
The HVX producers very nice pictures, though; i'm just more a sony fan myself.
From what i head of their new prosumer XDcam, it seems nice. It's form factor, and the iris ring are nice little professional touches which should help in the end.
What I would recommend is to look past the numbers, go out and find a rental house that has either or both, and see if they'll let you try them out. Or hell, even rent them for the day, and then approximate the type of lighting you'll be doing, bring it in to your editing station and fudge it up, see which once works best for the specific project.
If this isn't an option, try to find someplace selling it, and see if you can at least fiddle with it before you buy.

my $0.02
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#7 James Briggs

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:47 AM

thanks adrian for the suggestion. I certainly don't think the HVX is the best cam in low light from what I saw when using it. I'm waiting for my copy of the film back so I can really disect it shot for shot of what
I've filmed. I think canons cams look like they would be the best option in low light. But then I don't get the 720p option and they're not true progressive.

I have never used any of Sony's prosumer cameras, but the EX1 really caught my interest and I like the idea of SxScards. The only thing thats held me back is the negative reviews of it in low light. And I always seem to end up doing a lot of low light shooting.

I think I really need to work out what the lighting kit is going to be and then certainly rent out the EX1 to see what it can do for dramatic work.

I've seen a lot of examples in which the HVX200 comes up trumps with a lighting kit though as-well.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 12:02 PM

Most definitively the HVX with some lights can look phenomenal, though all in all, I'm not a Pannasonic fan. But, in any case, glad i could be of some help!
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#9 Mitch Gross

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 02:49 PM

The Sony EX is significantly more sensitive in low light than the Panasonic HVX200. They each have their own looks and that will be a primary guide to what people get out of them,but the EX is more sensitive.

Probably the biggest plus right now for the HVX is that P2 is a very well established workflow platform. There are many products and solutions available for it. XDcam via SxS cards is not yet nearly as well supported and other than the camera there are as yet no accessory devices for the format. This of course will change in time but you have to decide if you are comfortable being a pioneer or wish to work with media everybody already knows. and understands.
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#10 James Briggs

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:27 AM

Hi Mitch. How would you describe the results of the more sensitive low light picture from the EX?

(They had quite a few problems with the P2 format on this film I was working on so they could edit. Once they worked it out and got the plug ins they needed though they praised it. But with the SxS cards even less established I can imagine the problems. I think compared to the transfer speeds, memory, and all the extrenal harddrives and backing up on more, something I do dread for the amount of footege for a feature film! I think the SxS workflow is really tempting at 16gb for 70 minutes despite any other issues.)
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#11 Mitch Gross

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:19 AM

The EX-1 is about 2/3 to 1 stop more sensitive to light compared to the HVX200.
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#12 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:27 AM

As far as SxS goes, here it what Barry Green has to say on the matter:

"kay, now onto my main gripe: SxS SuXS! It was infuriating to use; for anyone used to P2 I don't know how you could stand this. It's like they totally missed the point on what solid state is supposed to be. It's so slow to actually work with the system, it's like using a tape camera, only worse. Okay, look, I've gone around the globe teaching people about the HVX and P2, so I'm used to talking to a lot of shooters and showing them how to use the system. One thing I do is I show how quickly you can go check your footage -- just pop into playback mode and play your clips. Takes about a second, maybe two. On the EX1 the same process takes 14 SECONDS. Count that out, folks. Think about it. "Let's play back that clip", the director says. Okay, count it out: one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand... all the way to 14 one thousand. Now, the camera's rebooted into playback mode and you can play a clip. 14 seconds? On a tape camera like the DVX I could toggle over, REWIND THE TAPE, and be viewing footage in less than 14 seconds!

Okay, another thing I point out in training seminars is that even in the middle of playing back HVX footage, if something started happening that you need to record, you can just punch the record button and the camera will automatically jump into camera mode and start recording. Takes maybe 2 seconds. This is part of the revolution of tapeless, this is part of what makes going solid-state so darn cool, right? I mean, if you're fooling around showing off some footage outside the courtroom and suddenly the doors fly open and the defendant is marched out, you can punch "record" and by the time you point the camera at the scene, it's recording, right? On the EX1? Not possible. It takes about 12 seconds to go from playback mode back to record mode. Again, that's crazy. 12 seconds? The defendant would already be in the cop car and driven away in 12 seconds! How are people supposed to use this for ENG? You're setting yourself up to get screwed.

Okay, here's where it gets worse -- let's say that you decided to show your friend a clip so you push to "playback" mode, and three seconds later the door bursts open. The camera's barely started booting up into playback mode, so you push the switch to camera mode -- guess what? You're out of the game for a full 25 seconds. It has to *finish* booting up in playback mode before it'll even register that you swapped to camera mode! So, you've waited three seconds, now you have to wait 11 more seconds for it to finish booting up, and then you have to wait another 11 seconds for it to re-boot in camera mode. 25 seconds, round trip. Ridiculous. 25 seconds is a long, long time to not be able to shoot. Makes that 7-second tape spool-up time seem instantaneous, doesn't it?

Granted I was swapping back and forth a lot in my testing, so I experienced these delays proportionally more than an average shooter might, so it irritated me more than it may irritate you. But I wanted to drop-kick the thing after a while, and I seriously don't know how an ENG/news guy would put up with it. When you need to go, you need to GO, not sit around waiting for the camera to dawdle around for up to 25 seconds...

Okay, more on SxS: it took 4 minutes and 20 seconds to offload an 8GB card. An 8GB P2 card takes 4:25 on this same laptop (Sony laptop with both ExpressCard and PCMCIA slots). So any claims of how the ExpressCard SxS system is "so much faster" are just marketing nonsense."
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#13 Lombre

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 01:28 PM

The Sony EX1 seem a really good camera for sure, if you have the budget, buy one and let us know what you think of it. The HVX200 has made his proof, it is not a perfect camera but you can have very nice image from it, no doubt and also consider you can find a very good condition HVX200 camera used for a really good price now with some P2 cards. (my2c)
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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:10 PM

"kay, now onto my main gripe: SxS SuXS! It was infuriating to use; for anyone used to P2 I don't know how you could stand this. It's like they totally missed the point on what solid state is supposed to be. It's so slow to actually work with the system"

For some reason over the years this sort of thing seems to have been a Sony trademark - gear launched with serious operational problems that make one wonder if they ever hand out a few prototypes to working pros, invite feedback, and then act on that feedback. Jim Jannard is certainly having teething troubles getting RED out in the field but at least he's staying in the loop and trying his darndest to improve his camera and get the bugs out.
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#15 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:19 PM

As far as SxS goes, here it what Barry Green has to say on the matter:
...

Haha Jesus, ouch. That's definitely something to keep in mind. Eek.
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#16 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 06:07 PM

The Sony Codec for Xdcam HD is one of the most average i have seen. Yes you get heaps of footage per gig, but you loose so much information in the process. It really is glorified HDV vs one of two formats that is considered to be the Real Deal in HD shooting(lets clarify in talking about HD, NOT Digital Cinema)

The HVX records on an industry standard HD platform(DVCPro HD) that has been tested and trialed, and although it has its downfalls it is nothing compared to what you loose in your image from XDCAM HD.

Optimisation is an interesting word to substitute for Compression. Compression is essentially a system of encoding picture data in such a way as to reduce its file size. Usually this is done by pixel blending. A system where by pixels with similar adjacent pixels are merged. Loosing information about the individual pixels, (loosing subtleties in colour, which are very handy in the grade). As we all know, while compression is BAD it is a fairly necessary part of our lives to allow for smooth workflows.

Lets Look at their Data Rates:
DVCProHD- CBR 100mb/s
XDCAMHD- VBR 35mb/s
HDV- CBR 25mb/s

Typically the higher the data rate the lower the amount of information that has been thrown away. The more information you have the more your footage is going to be able to handle in post production.

Thats just my 2c
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#17 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 06:21 PM

Optimisation is an interesting word to substitute for Compression.

Yeah, I love it when the manufacturers are bragging about how "optimized" their data formats are. I don't want optimization, I want as much data as you can possibly give me! :angry:
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