EX-1 SD-SDI Output
I currently am editing standard definition with FCP 5.0.4 on a G4 desktop. I can't afford an up-grade to a MAC Pro right now. Because my current editing setup probably can't handle HD, I'm trying to figure out a way to shoot HD, convert the HD to SD for capture on my G4, and create an EDL using the SD clips. To finalize the edit on HD, I'd then transfer the EDL to a rented HD-capable MAC Pro, re-download/capture the footage in HD, and produce the final edit in HD.
I understand that the Sony EX-1 can output SD-SDI through its HD-SDI port. Would the SD-SDI stream include all the information I would need to create the SD EDL for use later in the HD edit (e.g., audio, time code)? Would the scenario I've outlined be feasible?
[Charles M Clemmons] "Would the SD-SDI stream include all the information I would need to create the SD EDL for use later in the HD edit (e.g., audio, time code)?"
Yes, the SDI port outputs imbedded audio and TC. Your problem will be deciding what to use to record the camera's SD-SDI stream. Are you the one who owns the camera or are you just receiving the video files from someone else?
The latest version of Sony's free Clip Browser software will do an HD to SD downconvert but the program is Intel only, so that won't work for your G4.
Following on Don's reasoning, if you can find a Windows computer to run ClipBrowser2 on, you could do the HD to DV downconversion on that and copy the files over to your G4.
The thing is any decent HD to SD (DV) downconvert solution may cost you nearly as much as decent Intel Mac.
In fact, given that cost, you might consider getting an Intel MacMini do use ClipBrowser2 on.
I was planning to buy the camera because there are no convenient reasonably priced rental houses for the EX-1 nearby. The cost of the camera is the main reason I wanted to try to avoid upgrading the G4 to a MAC Pro right now.
I thought the EX-1 could do a down conversion to SD internally and output the stream through the HD-SDI port. If so, why do I need down conversion software? Did I misread the spec?
[Charles M Clemmons] "I thought the EX-1 could do a down conversion to SD internally and output the stream through the HD-SDI port. If so, why do I need down conversion software?"
You're correct but you will need an SDI input card that can handle Standard Def 4:2:2 10 bit uncompressed. Maybe you already have input card and hard drive RAID. If so you could be set. Your renders will be painfully slow on a G4 though.
If you don't have the SDI input card and RAID, you're going to have a challenge finding a card (used?) to work on a G4. Money spent on buying gear for that system could be better spent on a new Mac, which would not need SDI to work with EX media coming from the SxS cards.
If you're short on cash you could get an Intel iMac and external hard drives. I'm not sure what you're budget is but if you have to buy anything for the G4 it may not be worth it unless you can find stuff cheap/used reliable.
[Charles M Clemmons] "The cost of the camera is the main reason I wanted to try to avoid upgrading the G4 to a MAC Pro right now. "
The cost of the camera is just part of it. Having a reliable workflow in place that's tailored for what you're shooting is very important and should be in place before you even turn the camera on. The camera is just one piece of a system, and when you buy the EX you're also buying into the whole system and its companion workflow.
Craig and I are just trying to figure out the least expensive way for you to achieve what you want, and that is to have SD masters of EX footage for you to use in FCP 5.0.4. Unfortunately, even an SD downconvert from the EX SDI port may be too taxing for your G4 to handle without spending money, which, even at that, is a temporary solution. If you've already got an SDI workflow and hardware in place with your G4 then that's great, you just need the camera now but you'll still have to lug your G4 around to all your shoots and have the EX hooked up to house power because the stock battery won't last more than an hour at best.
If you don't have an SDI workflow with the required hardware in place then you might be surprised at the cost involved and whether you can even get a PCI SDI card for it. That's why Craig mentioned the Mac Mini and Sony's Clip Browser app. as the cheapest solution. It's up to you to decide which way to go that will see you reaching for your wallet the least amount of times. The EX was designed from the ground up to be a whole lot faster workflow than tape based cameras. This results in more revenue in your jeans because time is money, but if you bog yourself down by trying to marry a cutting edge camera to past technology you'll soon lose that time advantage.