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Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?

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Kevin Jones
Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?
on Mar 1, 2008 at 7:14:10 pm

This week I received my new Sony EX-1 XDCAM camera and FCP Studio 2. All the new software and updates are installed and I'm ready to go. But wait a minute. This camera is a little different from my old faithful DVCAM. In the old days (last week) I would shoot good old basic USA interlaced video, capture with firewire to my Apple G5 and edit within a DV environment and then lay it back to DVCAM tape for delivery to my local media outlets.
This EX-1 has a lot more shooting options.
Now this is where I would like to get a little advice. I plan to shoot in the highest quality format.
I have the option to shoot 1080 video in 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p, and 24p. I am hearing a lot of buzz about 24p and it's film-like qualities. Is there a rule of thumb as to which of these formats is best for a particular situation? We shoot a variety of different projects. Primarily local TV commercials and cable programming. And I still need to be able to deliver my final projects on DV tape.
Any advice or explanation would be appreciated.

Kevin Jones


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Don Greening
Re: Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?
on Mar 2, 2008 at 1:31:56 am

Doug Jensen is the owner of Vortex Media and the main man behind the training DVD Series entitled: Mastering the Sony PMW EX1 (highly recommended, BTW). Doug has also been in the broadcast business for 25 years as a freelance cameraman and editor. He states that at least 90% of the time he uses the HQ 1080 30p setting on his EX1. If Doug uses progressive shooting modes for broadcast delivery then it's good enough for me.

There is no format setting that is the "be all and end all" for everyone. Different types of projects (talking heads, fast actions sports etc. should be your guide as to the recording format you use. As far as deciding between interlaced or progressive shooting, it all boils down to what looks good to you (as Mr. Jensen states in his EX training DVD). If you choose progressive then 30p will look a little smoother then 24p, simply because there are more frames per second being shot. Regardless of what recording format you choose, whenever possible always shoot at the highest quality setting for the best picture.

- Don


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Kevin Jones
Re: Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?
on Mar 3, 2008 at 1:21:14 pm

I guess I've settled on either 1080 video in 60i or 30p.
Could anyone suggest one over the other for a particular type of shooting?
Edited in Final Cut Studio 2. Keep in mind most of it will be converted over to USA DV for local delivery.
Thanks for your feedback.

Kevin



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Jeff Bloch
Re: Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?
on Mar 4, 2008 at 8:57:27 pm

We shoot 1080 24p for our commercials. Turn the shutter to the "on" position. In the menu change the shutter speed to 1/48 or 1/50 of a second. This looks great and has a "filmic" look... but it's still video. 1080 60i looks too much like video or "news" to me. It's really up to personal preferences.

For output to SD for TV:
We then edit in FCP on a sequence that it's settings are the format that we shot. We do all our editing and color correction in this sequence. We then nest this sequence in a SD sequence for a graphics pass and final output. We have Kona cards so we nest into a 720x486 uncompressed 10bit sequence. FCP does a great job with frame rate conversions. We dub out to DVCPro via SDI with no issues.



Jeff Bloch
Commercial Production Manager
CBS Television, Sacramento


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Kevin Jones
Re: Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?
on Mar 5, 2008 at 3:46:23 am

Thanks for the info Jeff. I've been curious about the shutter speeds and how to best use them with the EX1. I'll be trying this out tomorrow. I have a week to learn this camera and how to best use it with FCP. Every little bit of feedback helps.

Thanks Again.

Kevin Jones



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Kevin Jones
Re: Sony EX-1 XDCAM Camera Format Options?
on Mar 6, 2008 at 3:06:17 am

Did some test shooting today in 1080p/24p with shutter set to "on" and a 1/48 shutter speed. Must say it looked pretty flickery during the zooms or pans. Locked down looked beautiful.
What can I do to smooth out the shot?
Will shots with motion always look that way?
I viewed them full screen with the Sony Transfer program, not in FCP.
Could this be the problem?
Thanks for all the help.

Kevin Jones



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