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AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison

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Russell Robertson
AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:29:56 am

AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison

(I posted in the Vegas forum as well)

I’m on the fence between buying 2x Panasonic HMC150s or a Sony EX1R. I realize these are different class cameras, but for my specific requirements I have to evaluate both.

I suspect the XDCAM workflow using Vegas will be much easier than the AVCHD of the HMC150. As I understand it, MPEG2 processor requirements are much less than that of MPEG4 (I have a quad tower with plenty of ram so that’s not as much of a concern as total processing lag, etc). I’d be very interested to hear someone’s comments of the 2 different workflows – advantages? Disadvantages? I’ve seen so much conflicting marketing propaganda that I can’t tell you which is better quality….which actually is?

Can anyone comment on the quality difference between the HMC150 and the EX1? Other than 1/3” chip vs. 1/2", what’s the real, perceivable quality difference?

I’m literally under project pressure to purchase tomorrow for a Saturday shoot, so any and all comments would be very welcome!

RR


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cowcowcowcowcow
Noah Kadner
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 6:07:52 am

If it's for DVDs and the occasional broadcast- I'd get the 150. It's great quality for the money and frankly the workflow is not much different. If it's for theatrical work or all broadcast sure the EX1 has the edge with the image but nothing you would really notice without a 50 foot screen. that's a pretty big purchase to just flip a coin on- can't you rent for this weekend's shoot and decide after some first-hand knowledge?

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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cowcowcowcowcow
Mario Biennarc Sioco
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 6:23:52 am

I agree with Noah. It really depends on where you're going to use it. Having 2 HMC150 cameras on hand is pretty much an advantage if your final output would be DVDs. But if you're concerned about picture quality and looking further beyond the future of HD, then the EX is the choice.

Mario Biennarc Sioco
Videographer & Video Editor
Gulf Broadcast
Kingdom of Bahrain


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Russell Robertson
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 3:58:02 pm

Noah,

As always, I appreciate all of your insight, comments and time to respond.

Perhaps I should have elaborated on my “due diligence”, research for this purchase. I’ve spent a few months scouring the internet, but also speaking with colleagues and other users. The bottom line is; there really wasn’t a definitive “smoking gun” to go one way or the other. The top criterion is footage quality for potential future broadcasts. While many might then immediately say the EX1R, I wanted to really give the HMC150 fair consideration. Since funds are not my clients first concern (however a very close 2nd) , I’m looking to go with the EX1.

I’m a DVX100A disciple, so naturally I lean towards Panasonic. One thing I’m very disappointed in (not that this weighed in on the decision) was the HMC150 did not accept DVX batteries! I invested in many long life batteries. That doesn’t sit well with a loyal buyer.

Perhaps, no I am, just a bit nervous right now, needing to make the call and commit the funds (actually not my funds, but my counsel and reputation on the line, which has a higher value). So I’m not just flipping a coin, but needing to pull the trigger and reaching out just once more.

Thanks again

RR




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Noah Kadner
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 4:10:14 pm

Well, the EX1 doesn't accept your DVX100 batteries either. :) I personally think the 150s are a great choice- they shoot a nice picture, have great features you wouldn't expect at that price level- like built-in waveform, etc. The SDHC cards are so dirt cheap and readily available you can use them as tapes- i.e. shoot once and archive. Sure you can futz around that on the Ex1 with an SxS to SDHC 3rd party adapter but those sometimes fail- leaving your client wondering why you got a workaround solution to media instead of just buying those expensive proprietary SxS cards.

Also two cameras are way better than one, especially if it's not stuff for very high end output. Heck even if it is, the HMC150 is very competitive. It's a nice picture- I've got videos where it's A/B cut with HVX200 footage and you cannot tell at all.

And even for the very high end I'd say there are also of course many cameras that trump the EX1r as well- such as the RED, and any of the big gun shoulder Panasonic cameras. So anyways- not knowing much more about your situation if funds are tight I'd say the 150s are your better deal. Of course- it's not just cameras you would need I'm assuming- it's also cases, accessories, tripods, etc.

Also- I don't know where you're located but if it were me and my rep on the line, I'd at least march the client down to a dealer and show the two choices so they feel like it's not a total shot in the dark.

For example- if I had that sort of budget to work with I might counsel the client to buy one HMC150 and one Canon 5D Mark II. That way they have the HMC150 for the meat and potatoes stuff and the 5D for the sexy b-roll.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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john sharaf
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 4:14:42 pm

Jumping in late here, but with multicam, ability to link time code would be a deal breaker for me. Does the 150 have this capability? If not then you should, as others have suggested, consider the EX3 very seriously, but there of course the SxS is a significant liability, solved by spending another $3000 on Nanoflash! Pro gear with pro-features cost money!

JS






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cowcowcowcowcow
Mario Biennarc Sioco
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 6:21:09 am

It really depends if you really need two cameras. Because obviously the EX1R is way superior to the HMC150. And if I were to choose from these 2 cameras, I'd get the EX1R. I'm an owner of both EX1 and EX3 cameras and I have been satisfied with its performance. Because the expandability options are limitless. The EX1R I believe can output 10bit 4:2:2 uncompressed HD images through the SDI out. Therefore when the time comes that you have enough budget to buy a CD Nanoflash, it upgrades your camera to a much higher level. If you have enough budget, I suggest you get the EX3. When it comes to post workflow, I haven't used vegas but I think that the EX series has been friendly to the post environment. I've used both FCP and Avid on this camera and the workflow is pretty much easy to handle. I've posted a thread comparing a P2 and an EX, and as far as my research has taken me, the Sony EX cameras are still my preference.

Mario Biennarc Sioco
Videographer & Video Editor
Gulf Broadcast
Kingdom of Bahrain


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:30:09 pm

I'm not sure on the "MPEG-2 vs MPEG-4" thing. I think the EX cameras technically encode an MPEG-2 stream in an MPEG-4 file wrapper. I can say that the EX codec seems quite efficient, since we edit in the field on a MacBook Pro (one of the very first Intel models) without any worries.

Cf


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Steve Connor
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 6:34:10 pm

Going back to your original post which was about picture quality, I would have to say there IS a perceivable difference in quality and the EX1R is considerably better than the 150.

However NAB is in just a few weeks and buying anything before NAB is never a good idea!

Steve Connor
Adrenalin Television

Have you tried "Search Posts"? Enlightenment may be there.


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Noah Kadner
Re: AVCHD vs. XDCAM : workflow & quality comparison
on Mar 17, 2010 at 10:18:18 pm

[Steve Connor] "However NAB is in just a few weeks and buying anything before NAB is never a good idea!"

Steve's advice is the sagest yet in this thread!

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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