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Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?

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Iain Gray
Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 7:36:33 pm

Hey all,

We've got a sony EX3 and about to produce a doc for broadcast HD. Looking at the Convergant design nanoflash unit to allow 100mbps and 422 colours. Seems like a good idea for HD broadcast.

However, after doing a few tests comparing 35mbps xdcam footage with prores hq captured directly from HD-SDI while recording we've found the difference to be fairly small. When played at full speed on an hd monitor we can't tell the difference. Only when comparing still frames zoomed to 200% can we see a bit more detail. And this is a much higher bit rate capture than we'd get from the nanoflash.

Has anyone done this kind of comparison before and had better results? My instinct tells me i'd much rather work with 100mbps 422 colours but my eyes are telling me there's not much in it.

Appreciate other's views on this,
Iain


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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 7:47:58 pm

I think the question is what's needed in your post production workflow. 4:2:2 will help both in compositing and color grading. You can't gain back lost data so recording 4:2:2 allows you to push things a lot more than 4:2:0.



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Iain Gray
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 8:23:35 pm

Hi Craig,

Yes I thought that too, so one of the tests i did was to do quite an extreme colour grade, high contrast and high saturation and still the 35mbps seemed to hold up really well not showing that much more degradation than the Prores version.

M


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Aaron Leong
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:37:47 pm

Hi Iain,

I did similar tests when I first received mine and came to the same conclusion. I work with video all day long and the difference is going to be negligible to the lay man. You won't see the differences until you zoom in or if you're working with complex images ie. water, WS of trees, waterfalls, sparks, etc. That's when you'll notice the 100mbps cleaning up the image a little more than the 35mbps 4:2:2.

And Craig's right. it will come in handy when doing green screen, etc. I don't use it all of the time but it does put me at ease knowing it's there when I need it. Hope this helps.

~aaron



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Michael Palmer
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:55:10 pm

" That's when you'll notice the 100mbps cleaning up the image a little more than the 35mbps 4:2:2. "

The EX codec only provides 4:2:0 color space, and most networks require A minimum 50 Mbps 4:2:2

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Iain Gray
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 11:31:59 pm

Thanks guys,

Yes, I'm slightly concerned about shooting the film 4:2:0 for that reason (the network requirement for 4:2:2), and I take your point about it becoming valuable in more extreme situations.

I understand it would make you feel much safer, however do you think that a broadcaster would actually reject a programme if it was shot 35mbps 420? Would they be able to detect it?

We'll be filming in an extremely hostile environment so any extra hassle/workload and additional kit to go wrong is something i'd like to avoid unless it's definitely going to make a considerable improvement to the film.

Cheers for advice I really appreciate it!


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Brendan Quaife
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 11:47:04 pm

Have you looked in to the Ki-Pro mini that AJA have just released?

Cons: it sits firmly in the pro-res world
Pros: It's a 10 bit format as opposed to Convergent's 8-bit.

For those in the post world - those extra 2 bits are priceless!


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Rafael Amador
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 1:39:02 am

[Brendan Quaife] "Pros: It's a 10 bit format as opposed to Convergent's 8-bit.

For those in the post world - those extra 2 bits are priceless!"

Is much more significant the difference 420 - 422 than the 8b - 10b.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Brendan Quaife
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 23, 2010 at 11:52:11 pm

further to your question about networks rejecting material...

I have seen a network reject a programme as they detected a "low bit rate" shot. Ie, some tecchie geek actually claims he could see the compression break down on a fastly panned shot.

This is where higher data rates win - the compression has a better chance when you throw faster data rates in to shots that have faster motion.

So my recording at 50mbps on an external box - you give your shot just that but more of a chance of holding up when there is lots of change happening.


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Iain Gray
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 24, 2010 at 12:09:59 pm

Ok i think you've persuaded me. Now to sort out workflow with Avid!

Really appreciate your help you can't beat first hand experience.

Best,
Iain


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William Urschel
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 25, 2010 at 12:32:40 pm

OK, I have a LOT of experience with the EX-1, pre and post use of the nanoFlash (I cannot and will not comment on the two new less pricy technologies out there, as it would be just more blather, uninformed opinion, without experience!). I would say I'm sorry for that last comment, but I'm not!

In any event, I am an absolute fan of the nanoFlash on the EX-1 (running DVI out at 1080x1920 30p, 100Mbps Long GOP, edited on Adobe Premiere CS5, and set up and burned to disc with AME and Encore CS5). This is not theory, this is experience.

BUT, I must tell you about my output and customer base before I site the two MAJOR improvements I've seen with the nanoFlash, as they may not apply to you at all. First, I am producing ONLY BDs and DVDs, with the DVD content downrezzed in AME from the hi-def, edited content. I hope to start using Cineform's NEO HD4 soon (I've had Cineform for years) as soon as I can test out its now apparently available coding with Premiere CS5 - it just wasn't possible, to the best of my knowledge, with CS4, the way I want'd to use it. But back on topic - I am NOT producing for broadcast or web, nor have I been conducting any greenscreen projects lately - I just produce BDs
and DVDs.

Given that, here's why I am an over the top, enthusiastic supporter of nanoFlash:
1)The unit I have is absolutely reliable and easy to set up.
2)The customer service, when I have questions about off beat set up, id awesomely quick, informative, and dependable!
3)The results using the nano in combo with the EX1 are VERY
notably better to ME (and even to some of my customers!) when it comes to shooting in VERY dark, but contrasty venues - the evident noise in the final product I consider to be as good as it can get!
4) Where my results REALLY shine, using the nano with the EX-1 is with the DVDs I produce. Prior to use of the nano on the EX-1, my DVD content (720x480 30p)was unacceptable to me on a number of my LCD "TV" test platforms, and to MOST of my customers - not so with the nano in use, following the aforementioned set up. Specifically, before the nano, my DVDs received complaints from my customers because of notable interline twitter (unless unacceptable degrees of softening was instituted) with ANY fine horizontal line or horizontal sharp edges in the scenes shot), and all kinds of artifacts. The DVD results with the nano do not exhibit this to any objectionable degree. I know there are other (what are to me complex and convoluted) ways of downrezzing from hi def to 720x480 for DVD production which have produced for many very successful results - I just never got that to work.

What I've had to say about the EX-1 nanoFlash combo may not be applicable to your market, but that's my experience.


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Iain Gray
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 26, 2010 at 7:38:03 pm

Thanks William for all that info. I've ordered one now so i've been convinced,

Hope this isn't too off-topic. Just wondering if there's any update on Avid accepting 100mbps long-gop files. I have MC5 and it seemed to handle the sample video from CD's website but loads of posts saying it doesn't work.

Cheers for your help,
Iain


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Rafael Amador
Re: Sony Ex and nanoflash, is it worth it?
on Sep 28, 2010 at 2:15:12 pm

[Iain Gray] "if there's any update on Avid accepting 100mbps long-gop files. I have MC5 and it seemed to handle the sample video from CD's website but loads of posts saying it doesn't work."
You need a patch (Media Composer patch 5.0.3.2 ) to make it work.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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