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Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats

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Kevin Hansen
Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats
on Apr 25, 2010 at 9:15:55 pm

I run a non-profit outdoor sports organization. We have been venturing into shoe-string video production and are currently working on a sports SD DVD project with several days shot using a Sony PD-170 at 16.9. As part of the project we are planning on documenting a major road race next weekend which requires the use of three cameras. We have been gifted the use of an EX3 and an HVR-Z1U for the shoot which will include standard sports docu stuff like interviews, on the bus banter, and action shots. We are planning on using the EX3 shooting the entire race from the lead vehicle, with the Z1U at the start/finish/staging area for candid B-roll stuff. We will also be using a couple POV cams on a couple of the athletes.

While the planned finished piece is for a SD-DVD - we may eventually want to convert to film for entries into festivals.

Question is what format is best to use during the shoot so we have fewest problems in post and the differences in camera quality is not too glaring. I usually use iMovie for rough cuts then our video guy does final editing in FCP 6. We are thinking 720p/24 for the EX3 and Z1U but are a bit worried about how that may affect our ability to use slow motion in post.

We are obviously in over our heads and would appreciate any advice on the EX3 and Z1U with a new iMac and MacbookPro for editing.



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Don Greening
Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats
on Apr 26, 2010 at 5:08:31 am

You're setting yourself up for lots and lots of heartache in the editing suite if you use the cameras with the settings you mentioned. Probably the worst thing you can do, resolution-wise, is to use that PD170 in widescreen mode. The 170 is basically a 4:3 interlaced camera. Period. When you shoot in 16:9 what happens is the bottom and top of the picture is cut off and what's left is expanded to fit the widescreen aspect ratio. Lots of resolution loss there which would look awful if shown on a big screen at a film festival. If you must use this camera go rent an anamorphic adapter for the front of it and shoot in 4:3 mode. The adapter will squeeze a widescreen image into a 4:3 space and you won't lose any native resolution.

Cons: PD170 anamorphic adapters are not "zoom through" which means the picture will go soft after about a 60-70% zoom in.

The Z1U's progressive mode is a "pretend" progressive that throws away half of the information to get the progressive "look". No one I know uses this mode on the Z1U. This camera is basically an interlaced shooting 1440x1080 16:9 HDV camera.

The EX3 is the most versatile of all the cameras you mentioned because of the various shooting modes it's capable of using. If I was matching to the other cameras I would shoot HQ 1080 60i.

Back in the editing suite create an NTSC DV Pro Res or DVCPRO 50 (also known as DV50) timeline in (hopefully) Final Cut Pro and use that for your DVD edit.

- Don


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Kevin Hansen
Re: Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats
on Apr 26, 2010 at 7:03:00 am

Thank you very much Don. What mode would you use on the Z1U to match the EX3 at 1080 60i?
We need 3 cameras to get the shots we need next weekend because there are no do-overs in covering the race. We can reshoot the instructional segments we have in the can if need be to better match the EX3 Would you recommend parking the 170 and the Z1U and renting a "true"progressive mode camera? We need something small because even the EX3 has proven heavy while sprinting and shooting for sustained periods at low angles. Would one of those little 1080p beer can cameras be a better choice than the Z1U or the 170 or can we "make -do" with the 170 shooting close and wide?
Thanks again!


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Don Greening
Re: Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats
on Apr 26, 2010 at 8:42:57 am

[Kevin Hansen] "What mode would you use on the Z1U to match the EX3 at 1080 60i?"

I would use 1440x1080 60i. This mode is anamorphic HD. When you bring the footage into Final Cut Pro the program will know it's anamorphic footage and will display it properly as 1920x1080 60i.

You're shooting a race of some sort so there's bound to be lots of fast action sequences. Interlaced is perfect for this type of shooting because of the increased temporal resolution (less motion blur). The only way I would consider progressive is if all the cameras could shoot 720 60p. But they can't, so you have to use the various cameras' strengths to your advantage.

The PD170 would be fine for shooting the interviews where you're "in their face" without having to zoom in, provided you use that anamorphic lens adapter. Otherwise lose the PD170 and rent a small camera that shoots 1080 60i.

- Don


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Will Salley
Re: Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats
on Apr 28, 2010 at 3:10:17 am

[Kevin Hansen] "I usually use iMovie for rough cuts "

You won't be able to view the EX3 footage in iMovie.

It might be a good idea to just buy a consumer model HDV camera to shoot the non-sync sound stuff instead of the PD170. At least that keeps things 1080i.



Mac Pro 2x2.8 Quadcore - 10.6.3 - QT 7.6.3 - 22 GB RAM - nvidia8800GT - SATA internal & external storage - Blackmagic Multibridge Pro - Open GL 1.5.10 - Wacom Intous2 tablet - AJA io
SONY XDCAM EX3 - Letus Elite - FC7.0.2 - CS4 Prod Prem.


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Kevin Hansen
Re: Combining EX3, HVR-Z1U & PD170 formats
on Apr 28, 2010 at 4:59:19 am

"You won't be able to view the EX3 footage in iMovie"

Bummer - I thought I could. Please check out this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdcam-ex-cinealta/235570-edit-ex-1-footage...

Can I use iMovie with XDcam stuff or not? Because I've used iMovie for so long it is much faster (thus cost effective) for me.

Thanks for your input Will.


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