Before I start, I am aware that you have probably heard the following questions asked many times before and so I would like to thank you in advance for whatever answers you can offer.
I am about to start work on a long form documentary that will be shot on the Sony EX3. I have edited footage from this camera in the past on FCP and have always imported from the SxS cards and edited in FCP using the native EX3 35mbps codec and the quality has been great. The director on this project has talked about capturing all the footage via the HD-SDI port in order to capture 10BIT 4:2:2 footage and I'm now confused. My questions are the following:
1] If the EX3 shoots native 8 BIT 4:2:0 how can it be captured at 10 BIT 4:2:2 and how exactly is this done? What is the recording device/software used to do this?
2] Will it be in M-PEG 2 format if captured live 10 BIT?
3] If the footage is recorded live at 10 BIT, will I need an AJA machine in order to edit the footage in FCP?
4] How many GB's will an hour of 10 BIT 4:2:2 footage take up storage wise?
Thanks again for your time,
Michael, London, UK.
[Michael Freedman]"1] If the EX3 shoots native 8 BIT 4:2:0 how can it be captured at 10 BIT 4:2:2 and how exactly is this done? What is the recording device/software used to do this?"
It's too late if the video is already recording to card. You can't add resolution to encoded files. You can do this if you shoot live off the camera head though. There are a number of ways to do this including bringing a computer with appropriate input card to all locations. There are a number of camera add ons that can lightly compress a file to codecs as an alternative. NanoFlash is one example. Aja KiPro is another.
All the above depend on WHY you need what you need and what is a PRACTICAL workflow for shooting a doc. Basically you can get whatever you want but you're not going to navigate a sailboat if you attach a 10 ton anchor to it.
To but it politely, the question you ask is missing the premise. We need to do "X" to the video for reason "Y" so what's the most practical way to do it.
Why do you need 10 bit 4:2:2 for a doc? How heavy is your motion graphics, compositing and grading going to be? How is this going to impact budget and delivery deadlines?
If someone asks me, "What't the best airline to take to get me across the street," my response is, "Walk across the street instead."
Tell us where you need to go and why and then we can tell you how to travel.
The camera will output 10 bit 4:2:2 via the SDI in camera mode, not in playback mode. If you need 10 bit 4:2:2 you would need to record the live output to another device or directly into (for example) a Kona interface.
If it is captured live it will be encoded using whatever codec is selected in FCP or on the recording device. If you recorded it in ProRes, for example, it would not be MPEG-2.
You'll need an AJA to capture the footage into FCP via SDI, whether you choose uncompressed 10 bit or Pro Res.
An hour of 10 bit 4:2:2 23.98 is roughly 1.3 TB. For ProRes 422 HQ it would be 70-80 GB.
There's a very handy footage/storage calculator (as well as a number of other neat tools) on the Digital Rebellion site:
You can record 10 bit 4:2:2 using the AJA KiPro, but this device is large and uses a hard drive to record the files and it uses the Apple codec Pro Rez.
You may want to look into the Convergent Design "Nano Flash" digital recorder that is extremely small and it records to affordable compact flash cards(no hard drive involved) and you can record at the bit rate of your choice, all the way up to 280Mbps intra-frame (all-i-frame). The Nano Flash uses the Sony Torino mpeg-2 encoder so it will be 8 bit color spacing but recording at 100Mbps (4:2:2) is near uncompressed quality, and with the advanced gamma setting of the EX cameras you will record the color spectrum you desire. I use the Nano Flash and record to the camera to insure a redundant recording.
If you're recording in 1080 and intend only to produce BD, by all means go with what you have! BUT if you intend to downres for production of DVD as well as BD or HiDef TV, by all means go with the 4:2:2 output at 100 Mbps, as your DVDs will look very substantially better, not just to the "naked eye", but even to those with very poor vision! When and as someone here disputes that, then I may have more to say.
Yes! BD = Blu Ray. All I produce are BDs and DVDs, Event Videography, so no Networks, Internet, I-Pads, etc.. And the nano
Flash, mentioned above, works spendidly at 4:2:2 100 Mbps, Long GOP -I still simultaneously record SxS cards for backup just in case, but have never had to use them, as my nano works flawlessly. It also qualifies the EX1 (and similar) for BBC, Discovery and otherwise. And otherwise, with the resolution loss over the Internet, cable, etc., my customers are just not interested in anything but BDs (and for those still living in the last century), DVDs, unless they're watching sports.
I just want to add that the reason I choose to redundantly record is we simply won't know when we will reach the end of the life expectancy of our recording media. I archive all of my media on separate drives so why wouldn't I record to 2 separate sources. It just makes good sense as the Nano Flash uses affordable compact flash media and so does the EX with SDHC media.
There will come a day when someone posts here with their SxS cards failing. As I've said in other posts the Nano Flash makes the most sense financially to me when looking at the overall camera/quality package.
I believe any/all of you EX users should be seriously considering the Nano Flash as a necessary part of your package.