Shooting a docu-series targeted at The Learning Channel, A&E, Discovery Channel using the Sony EX3. Is there anything I need to be aware of in setting this camera so that we meet broadcast requirements? Plan to shoot in 1080 24p.
One of the most stringent channels is Discovery and they have bestowed a silver rating on the EX cameras, meaning the program can have 100% EX content. Keep in mind that each channel has their own specific rules and you should be familiar with every one you want to shoot for. In other words, go to each channel's web site and become find out what they will accept and what they won't.
Content is still KING. IMO If you have great content you don't need to worry about the ratings.
The EX camera has an amazing HD image quality due to the 1/2 full raster HD sensors.
If you are looking for better quality you don't need a more expensive camera you just need the ability to record beyond the bit rate limits of the camera.
Convergent Design has developed the Flash XDR Compact Flash HD-SDI field recorder that gives you control of the same Sony Mpeg-2 encoder (inside the EX cameras) that allow you to choose bit rates you need that are near uncompressed quality.
The Convergent Design Nano Flash is a much smaller HD-SDI/HDMI recorder that is the perfect mate to the EX cameras and it will also save you time as you can wrap these files as either MXF or .MOV that makes them ready to edit for most NLE's. This is a great time saving feature.
I'm sure if the EX series recorded @ 50Mbps 4:2:2 then it would get the Gold rating.
Broadcast TV is based on 30 frames/second. So if you're going to shoot for television you should shoot 30p instead of 24p. In the end, it will have to be converted to 60i for broadcast and there are fewer potential pitfalls converting 30p to 60i than there is converting 24p.
I wouldn't be as dogmatic as you regarding framerate selection for TV broadcast; 24 or 30, both are good for conversion to 60i. I think the decision should be more creative based, do you want a full-on "film look" (choose 24 with 180 degree shutter) or more of a film-like smooth motion look (30p with 180 degree shutter), or "live video look" (60p or 60i). Where I would be dogmatic is if you are shooting for internet where 30p is a no-brainer, allowing for two repeated frames which will make compression easier and more efficient.
Actually the internet can handle any frame rate. Way back in the 20th Century, posting 10 fps and 15 fps clips was an essential part of trying to make sure old-fashioned "dialup" connections at 28 kbps could download a video clip within a reasonable amount of time -- anyone remember when 56k was considered fast? :-)
The links I posted lead to opinions by others who are more experienced than me, and they strongly recommend shooting at 30 fps for broadcast.