Hi, I'm looking for some advice on the best (and cheapest) way to play out XDCam EX HD files from my MacBook pro in HD, SDI and analog forms, to a feed point or external VTR when required. I've looked at the 'AJA IO HD' but was hoping there would be a better way. I'm using FCP 6 and a Dual core intel Macbook Pro for an ENG work flow with a Sony PMW-EX3, so speed and multi adaption is my aim. Any advice on all issues would be greatly appreciated.
I'm trying to encourage my clients to accept and use MPEG2 Program or Transport streams. Then one can encode the file and either FTP or burn to optical disc (or portable hard drive maybe) or even a "thumb" flash drive.
These days, I don't use video tape at all for local cable spots. I use DGFastchannel and encode to MPEG2 Program Streams. You may have a way to deliver HD-SDI 10 bit uncompressed but you're dealing with a very large stream. If you're going to tape, not only is tape delivery going to slow you down (IMHO) there's also the risk of "traditional" tape issues.
DGFastchannel also owns a company called Pathfire http://www.pathfire.com/child/productap/products_applications.html
It seems most (nearly all) major TV/Cable news stations subscribe to Pathfire which uses MPEG2 Transport streams for delivery and MPEG1 for "preview." When you deliver to them, you're file is available for 14 days on the server (unless you pay for an "evergreen" service).
This is so much more reliable (and potentially faster) than making a tape (or many tapes!) with potential tape based issues as well as potential shipping issues.
In fact even on the occasion I needed to deliver a "one off" to a target station, they were much happier with the speed of file based delivery. For example, CNN Headline News actually asked me for a high quality H264 on one job.
Whether Spots or VNR/ENG I just don't see a reason to go to tape anymore. If you have a client using tape you should really talk to them about tapeless file delivery. It's far more efficient.
There may be cases where HDCAM is required but other than that, I see little use for tape.
That said, I can certainly see many uses for HD-SDI output if one needs uncompressed files for heavy compositing or color correction, monitoring, etc.