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Choosing camera - EX1, P2, Z7U?

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Shane O'Brien
Choosing camera - EX1, P2, Z7U?
on Jun 27, 2009 at 6:57:43 pm

I'm looking for some advice on what camera to rent for a project. I'm doing a 2-3 day shoot on a mining project in a fairly remote area of Canada. 90% of it will be shot outdoors, out in the field. I haven't done much filming for about 3 years now, so I am a bit out of the loop in terms of current camera equipment. I used to shoot projects like this on a Sony PD-150. However, I would like to shoot it in HD, so the picture is of broadcast quality. In terms of resolution, I'm not sure whether I should shoot at 1080p or 720p. Also I'm thinking probably 30p. I'm going to be buying a new Mac Pro to edit the project.

What camera would you recommend? An EX-1 or something else? Ideally, I'd like whatever I get to be quite easy to use (not a big learning curve beyond a PD-150).

What resolution and framerate would you recommend?

And finally, any suggestions on the simplest workflow with the recommended format, especially in terms of capturing the footage?

Thanks in advance!!!



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Craig Seeman
Re: Choosing camera - EX1, P2, Z7U?
on Jun 27, 2009 at 7:12:57 pm

[Shane O'Brien] "What camera would you recommend? An EX-1 or something else? Ideally, I'd like whatever I get to be quite easy to use (not a big learning curve beyond a PD-150). "

Any good HD camera is going to have some learning curve compared to the very easy PD-150. I had a 170 (and 150s before that) and now use the EX1. Get the excellent
http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_EX1.html
or
http://callboxlive.com/instructional-dvds/cameras/sony-ex1-guidebook.html
and carry this book with you
http://www.vortexmedia.com/FIELD_GUIDES.html

You can learn the basics of the EX1 in just a few hours.

EX1 has 1/2" chips. It's the only camera of its size that does. You'll like having the extra Depth of Field Control. I believe Discovery Channel has given it "silver" status which means entire programs shot with it are acceptable for broadcast.

XDCAM codec is more robust (hard to break) than HDV
XDCAM codec is much more space efficient than most codec that are used on P2. This means longer record times and much faster offload times.

Broadcast is 1080i60 or 720p60 (NTSC area - use 50 for PAL area) These will give you best temporal resolution.

Some like 1080p24 because you can add pull down for NTSC area and speed change for PAL area distribution. Many playback devices can play 24p directly. The lower temporal resolution bothers some (including me) though.

I usually shoot 1080p30 when it's not for broadcast. It's my preferred method.



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Tim Kolb
Re: Choosing camera - EX1, P2, Z7U?
on Jun 28, 2009 at 4:12:19 am

[Craig Seeman] "EX1 has 1/2" chips. It's the only camera of its size that does. You'll like having the extra Depth of Field Control. I believe Discovery Channel has given it "silver" status which means entire programs shot with it are acceptable for broadcast."

ditto to all that...

For a workflow...if you're on FCP, I'm not sure if you need to transcode or not...since it's wrapped MP4, I'd think you could load it, no?

Adobe handles it natively.

I have no idea where Avid is on EXcam support...




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Craig Seeman
Re: Choosing camera - EX1, P2, Z7U?
on Jun 28, 2009 at 4:07:13 pm

For Final Cut Pro it needs to be rewrapped as MOV (XDCAM Transfer or Log & Transfer)
or
You can get the CalibratedSoftware MP4 import plugin which allows direct import of MP4 in FCP as well as other Quicktime based apps and players.



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Shane O'Brien
Re: Choosing camera - EX1, P2, Z7U?
on Jun 28, 2009 at 6:36:17 pm

Thanks for the advice! I should add a couple extra details. I will be working in FCP. Also, in terms of output, I'd like the final product to be of broadcast quality. However, the video will be used on HDTV screens in boardrooms, projectors at conferences, on DVD and for the web - that's why I was thinking 1080/30p...


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