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Danny Soderberg
pmw-ex1
on Sep 16, 2009 at 7:05:10 pm

Hi,

I just had a few questions about the PMW-EX1 camera.

A: Are there any downsides to the camera? I have only found raving good reviews about it and I want to hear something bad about it.

B: Is it worth the extra $2,000 to get the EX3 instead, or is the EX1 pretty much the same thing (as long as you don't care about changing lenses)?

Thanks!
-Danny


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Marvin Holdman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 16, 2009 at 7:57:03 pm

The lens is adequate, but far from stellar.

The XDCAM workflow is a bit tedious. Sony is VERY proprietary in their implementation of MP4 format. Give yourself plenty of time to figure this out on your first edits with this camera. While there are third party solutions coming out to give this format more versatility (Calibrated Software Codecs are VERY useful), it is still somewhat of chore working it all out.

The upside is, this is a GREAT forum for working with this camera. You will find most any answer you need here.

All in all, it's been a pleasure of a camera to work with. Some of the features, such as slow motion, time lapse and slow exposure are VERY cool (when used judiciously). I've been very pleasantly surprised by what this camera can do.

Of course, all of this really depends on what you are using it for? What is your intended deliverable? National broadcast? Might be a bit lacking there (depending on your subject, it would be fine for reality television, but a bit short on anything else). Local commercial and industrial productions? Perfect.

Can you give us more of an idea what you will be using it for? Might have some more pro's and con's.

No camera is perfect, but sometimes...

It's not so important what you're pointing at it, as what you point it at.


Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Craig Seeman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:33:44 pm

[Marvin Holdman] "he XDCAM workflow is a bit tedious. Sony is VERY proprietary in their implementation of MP4 format. Give yourself plenty of time to figure this out on your first edits with this camera. While there are third party solutions coming out to give this format more versatility (Calibrated Software Codecs are VERY useful), it is still somewhat of chore working it all out.
"


Compared to . . .?
All major NLEs support. Can be re-wraped to MXF or MOV as needed or used as MP4 in many NLEs including FCP with Calibrated Software plugin.

Copies several times faster than tape formats and even faster than many tapeless formats.

Nearly all "Professional" video file formats are "proprietary." You can't play DVCProHD either unless you have the codec installed.

VLC Player can play the native MP4 files so one doesn't need anything else installed just for viewing.

Tell do you find it easier to give someone a DV tape who doesn't have a deck or a XDCAM EX native file with the freely available VLC?

Anyone can use the free Sony Clip Browser to view or re-wrap to MXF too. Even downconvert to DV (sans time code though) if that's what they need.



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Noah Kadner
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:14:39 pm

Yeah I wouldn't say the workflow is tedious at all if you're using FCP for example. We recently did a 24 hour film rally with 10 EX1s and FCP- made 10 short films withing 24 hours including editing and projection. Worked like a charm. If there's a downside it's that it's not free. :)

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!. Unlock the secrets of the 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, and Panasonic DVX100.
http://www.callboxlive.com


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David Issko
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 12:55:13 am

I have not encountered a less tedious workflow than with my EX format. Shoot, backup (at high speed as has already been mentioned), import & edit. All in pristine quality too.

I have the EX3 with a Fujinon XS HD lens. I cannot comment on the difference in picture quality between the lenses as I have not compared them in that way. I can say that with the broadcast lens I have better overall control & ease of use with the HD lens. I does make the camera more front heavy but with all of my extras such as radio mic receiver, nanoFlash etc attached to the back of the camera, I gain a bit of weight control back. Any long term hand held goes on a shoulder rig.

OK, downside, and that is easily overcome is hand holding the cameras, the EX3 being a little easier to manage. SxS cards are expensive but should last for years. Again, an issue easily overcome by some operators with the cheaper cards.

Bang for bucks - no contest with the EX cameras.

Best wishes.



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Marvin Holdman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 12:31:42 pm

Guys, it is tedious. Compare it to a few years ago when external hard drives first came out. Firestore, Citidisk... they both captured in a VERY innocuous format. No need for conversions, you could use it anywhere on your machine, it was NOT like this. In Sony's paranoid clamor to create "market share" they have made a Frankenstein version of MP4 format that ties you to their software. This is not in the name of functionality, it is in the name of selling more equipment.

Look, no one wants to hear that their baby has warts. Do I use XDCAM products, yes. On the whole, do I like them, yes. Is this proprietary format really necessary? I don't think so. The reality is, this exist because people accept it. In this case, the benefit of the medium outweighs the tedium, but that doesn't mean that it's not tedious. The promise of "tapeless" was to eliminate steps in workflow. This format (as do others) simply replaces one task (digitizing) with another (transferring & converting).

The gentleman ask what was "bad" about the EX-1. In my opinion, this is one of the bad parts. I tend to compare the EX to the HD camera's (all XDCAM). The file structure and format (MXF) of the HD camera's is much more versatile and quicker to manipulate. Why do you think this is? Because you are paying more for the HD line, and there must be a benefit built in to distinguish the price difference. Why didn't they make the EX camera's with the same file structure and format? My only guess is... to sell more HD camera's.

If you don't find the EX tedious to work with, that's great. I find it unnecessarily complicated, due in large part, to the SALES & MARKETING department at Sony designing their product (instead of the engineers). Ask me how I know (but not on a public forum, please).

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Danny Soderberg
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 1:55:40 am

I am using (will be using) the camera to make short narrative films. I use Adobe Premiere Pro to import and After Effects to edit. I simply am looking for the best quality picture and of course the closest thing to actual film.

So far from what I am hearing, unless you need to change lenses, it's not worth getting the EX3 instead of the EX1 for $2,000 more. Would you all agree?


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Marvin Holdman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 12:41:38 pm

Danny,

You will be happy with the EX-1. Forgive my rant regarding the format, but you do need to be aware that it is something that must be dealt with. Fortunately, the good people here will be more than helpful. It sounds like you've already made up your mind regarding the EX-1 (vs. the EX-3), and I think you've only come here looking for vindication. Hopefully, you have found that.

My only point in bringing up the whole format issue was to let you know what you were getting into (provided you haven't worked with XDCAM's before). I find that most folks coming to work where I'm at have a limited understanding of what's necessary to work with modern tapeless camera's. There is a mistaken impression that they generate vanilla files that can simply be downloaded from the camera and dropped on the timeline, ready to edit. As Craig mentioned in an earlier posting, the EX is no different from most of the other tapeless camera's these days, when it comes to their proprietary nature. If you've worked with one of these other formats, you might know what I mean. If you haven't, then you really need to be ready, as they are not always as intuitive as you might be used too. Don't worry, the sky is not falling, but you do need to be aware of what you are getting into.


Good luck with it, you will make very nice narrative films with the EX-1.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Aaron Leong
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 4:03:00 pm

I've got both cameras, the flexibility of the EX3 will appeal to some because they want the ability to change lenses. Having that flexibility comes in handy for certain shots. Shots you could not get with the stock lens on EX1/3. Which camera suits you best? Thats the question you must ask. What do you shoot with the cameras? What are you using the camera for?

Marvin, I agree in that SONY really didn't have to make the format proprietary. To anyone that says its tedious to work with, I disagree. The only step that it really requires is making the clip useful to FCP or whatever NLE you want. For example, an hour's worth of footage from tape to computer takes an hour. For an hour's worth of XDCAM EX footage it takes 5 mins to go from 16GB card to computer, then another maybe 5 mins to render and make useful. 10 mins vs 60 mins . . . not that bad . . .

And for those that have the Nano Flash (received mine yesterday, Thank you Dan Keaton-Convergent Design and Rick Kelly-Indie Group) recording at 100, 140, 160 mbps, the clips are native to XDCAM HD422 1080p30 CBR in FCP. And all you have to do is download from CF card to computer, drag the footage into FCP and you're ready to go. Its a little box but it does BIG work.

Love the EX series!! Which ever camera you choose let us know how you like it!!


~aaron


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Danny Soderberg
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 6:56:20 pm

Thanks for the heads up Marvin. I will be ready for the conversion process. Do you know of any good documents explaining it well?
-Daniel


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Aaron Leong
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 18, 2009 at 5:45:54 pm

Daniel, I use the XDCAM Transfer application, instead of the Log & Transfer within FCP.

When I first started using the EX series I used the Log & Transfer and it started failing me, as in it would freeze, or just wouldn't render the footage. I downloaded XDCAM Transfer and it has worked flawlessly for me. Although I hear that the Log & Transfer within FCP is much better now. I've yet to use it since upgrading to FCS 3.

In XDCAM Transfer all you have to do is select the clip(s) you want to render, and click on 'import'. Thats it. Make sure you set where the clips are imported in the preferences and you're good to go. Hope this helps.


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Marvin Holdman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 19, 2009 at 6:40:20 pm

Assuming you are working with FCP, here is one;

http://www.sony.co.uk/res/attachment/file/95/1133797571595.pdf

Another good starting point for this camera is Noah's fine video on the subject. You will find it here;

http://www.callboxlive.com/products/sony-ex1-guidebook





Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Danny Soderberg
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:53:14 pm

Thanks for the links, though I actually use Adobe Premiere and After Effects to edit.
-Daniel


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Craig Seeman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 20, 2009 at 12:05:32 am

http://pro.sony.com/bbsccms/assets/files/micro/hdtapelessworkflow/brochures...

You'd think Sony would update their Premier Pro guide from CS3 to CS4. Sheesh.



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Harold Protter
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 17, 2009 at 3:59:36 pm


I have an EX-1 and find it easy to use and full broadcast quality. The only advantage I see for the EX-3 besides the ability to change lens is that the EX-3 can be used in a multi-camera studio enviroment. I bleive thay make the same high quality picture.
Hal Protter, SVP / Technology / The CW Television Network


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Michael Slowe
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 19, 2009 at 2:00:57 pm

I am really AMAZED that not one of you has mentioned the one huge difference between the EX 1 and EX3 - the VIEWFINDER. The glass over the screen on the EX3 makes it so much easier to focus, especially in bright daylight. I stuck to the EX1 because it's lighter and does all I need but I do find it tricky to focus with that screen - so much so that I'm investigating the possibility of fitting the finder from the 3 on to the screen of my camera.

Also I can't understand all the talk over the workflow. The Sony Transfer does a great job in presenting all the clips from a card (file) which you can edit before importing straight into your chosen NLE - Media 100 in my own case. Just the same as with tape but faster.

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 19, 2009 at 4:06:04 pm

Like the one Hoodman has?

http://www.hoodmanusa.com/prodinfo.asp?number=HEX1KIT



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Ron Pestes
Re: pmw-ex1
on Sep 24, 2009 at 12:33:17 am

Guys, there are several BIG differences between the EX-1 and EX-3. The viewfinder on the -3 is a HUGE advantage over the -1. I have shot with both and own an EX-3. It also is MUCH easier to hold steady handheld because it is shoulder mounted. The lens and multicam cabability are great too.

Also, there is no problem with using XDCAM Transfer to download your clips. It is fast and you can drag them straight to FCP with no render. FCP makes a compatable timeline automaticly. This is about as easy as it gets.


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