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EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy

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Mike Caruana
EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 4:54:49 pm

I've been researching cameras to death lately and have almost decided on the EX1R, but wondering if I need nanoflash right away.

Most of my work will be shooting in front of a green screen, and since the computer is close by, I'm wondering if I can still get the same benefits (mainly 4:2:2 for keying) by capturing straight off the camera to a blackmagic intensity card via HD-SDI. Then, we I need to take the camera to other locations (and the budget is replenished somewhat) I can add the nanoflash.

I'm a little reluctant to purchase simply because I have zero experience with anything other than a fully auto consumer grade SD camcorder. I thought about getting a high-end consumer model like the Vixia HF S21, but figured I would probably outgrow it quickly and want more. Then there's the impossibility of trying to decipher whether or not the HDMI out on these cameras is downconverted or if it will pass the full uncompressed 4:2:2 signal. At least with the Ex1R I know I have that covered.

How hard is it for someone with no experience to start shooting with an ex1R? Will it be able to do auto everything until I learn how to use the manual controls?

One other thing -- I will be setting it up on a tripod and shooting myself for corporate training and marketing videos, so if that makes a difference in whether or not the ex1r is the right choice, please comment or recommend what would be.

Thanks,
Mike


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Ron Pestes
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:25:50 pm

I shoot with the EX-3 which is very similar to the EX-1. It does a great job on auto except for auto white balance. It is terrible with that but setting manual white is easy and once you understand camera profiles you can make profiles for each of the normal white balance temps. I have four, one set for outdoor, one for indoor, one for cloudy and one for shade. Then I can just switch to the profile I need and shoot the rest on auto normally. However shooting with manual iris is easy and works better than auto in some situations.

I would definiately get the EX-1 if you can afford it. It takes great video and even works OK with green screen. Good luck.

Apple Certified Master Pro FCS 2
Sony EX-3
MacBook Pro


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:50:10 pm

Some have complained about Auto Focus on the EX series. On the training DVD I link to Doug Jensen explains the how the EX auto focus works though. The auto focus tracks slow at least the EX1 has. Maybe this has changed with EX1R. The advantage of a slow auto focus though is that if you track an object and something passes in front of it, it won't breath back and forth.

Also the "push" focus works differently than other cameras and there's that auto focus assist type feature. Basically all this means auto focus is not "set and forget." It's a complex feature that one must remember how it functions.



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:36:03 pm

Using the EX1 (predates the R) if you shoot Progressive it keys very well. If you take HDMI or HD-SDI out, you'll get 4:2:2 and that's bound to help.

Using auto anything will do a great disservice to the camera and the quality. I think it's the wrong position to start from as the mistakes the camera makes may be equal or worse then that of a newbie.

You'll get a good grounding in a matter of hours with this DVD
http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_EX1.html

and carry the field guide so you can check something you're not sure of during a shoot.
http://www.vortexmedia.com/FIELD_GUIDES.html

BTW I still don't own a Nano and yet I have no doubt it would improve things in many circumstances.



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Mike Caruana
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:43:10 pm

Hi Craig,

One of the reasons I decided on the EX1R over the Canon Xf305 was the availability of that DVD and the sheer number of users that have this camera (the other was the larger sensors).

I still wonder if anyone has hooked this straight up to a capture card like blackmagic and gotten the same results as with a nanoflash (I understand this is impossible unless you happen to be shooting cable range of your computer). Theoretically, it should work.


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Michael Palmer
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:48:11 pm

Actually, it could be better depending on the codec you choose. This is a great option as it is an opportunity for a redundant recording, however I use and love my Nano and for what my needs are it goes way beyond my needs.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:56:18 pm

[Mike Caruana] "I still wonder if anyone has hooked this straight up to a capture card like blackmagic and gotten the same results as with a nanoflash"

Certainly one can capture 10 bit Uncompressed 4:2:2 or Apple ProRes from a capture device hooked to a computer. The question one would have of course is to what extent does that limit you. Even in a studio situation I can see advantages to the Nano. Basically for the price of all the gear you'd need to hook yourself up to, you can be mobile. Of course if you already have the computer and capture card you can certainly start with that but keep in mind you're only as strong as your weakest link. Live recording to a hard drive makes me nervous.



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Mike Caruana
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 6:06:11 pm

Hi Craig,

Since I already had a quad core machine with 8GB RAM, SSD, and another RAID0 array in the same box, plus a QNAP TS-809 NAS, all I would need to do is spend $189 for the black magic card. That would get me up and running quickly for what I need to do. Later on, when I need to take the camera off-site I can invest in the nanoflash, but for right now the upfront funds would probably be better spent getting the EX1R instead of a camera in the 3-$4,000 range + nano.

I guess I could record to both the camera's flash and hard drive at the same time, so in the absolute worst case scenario at least I have a lower quality flash backup to work with, but my plan would be to copy the footage over to my QNAP array as soon as it's captured so there are 2 copies of it.


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 6:32:01 pm

That's reasonable thinking to start with for your studio work.

Personally I'm always a bit nervous about hard drive back up but that's a common dilemma. It's not too difficult to backup up EX BPAV to optical discs but uncompressed or even high data rate ProRes files gets one thinking.



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Bob Tompkins
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 6:44:58 pm

I have six EX1-R's and love them. They are as complicated or as simple as you make them. Because I am sometimes using 4 at a time I use them mostly in auto focus and iris but NOT White Balance. I found Auto White Balance funky but it will take an hold a proper WB. Auto focus can be a little tough on CU's but most people are not looking for Auto Focus on CU's. And focus is more critical with HD. I don't use any of the profiles yet but don't really need them. Again, as complicated or as simple as you want. I think you will be extremely happy with your upgrade to EX1R. Do you have a dealer you can borrow one from and check out. That was very helpful to me. And buy from a rep as opposed to a BandH. They have to charge the same price anyway.



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Brent Dunn
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 5, 2011 at 8:15:49 pm

I do have the Black Magic card, but I haven't used it as an umbilical to the camera, so I won't be much help there.

You are making the right choices. It sounds like you are also coming from tape to a media based camera. Backup and redundancy are always good practice in case you have a media card failure.

You will be very happy with the EX1 - EX 1r.

I watched the Vortex Media DVD probably 5 times when I first got the camera. It was a huge help to get up to speed on the new technology as well as a good reference to go back to down the road.

I use auto focus for my sporting events, but Manual for studio work, night time shooting, concert work, etc. I never use auto white balance or Iris. The Iris ring on the camera makes it so easy just to dial it in.

The autofocus hunts and searches too much. Just keep it simple at first so you're not overwhelmed and slowly learn the other features.

I hear great things about the Nanoflash, but my budget hasn't allowed for it yet.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1, V1U
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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William Urschel
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 6, 2011 at 1:07:33 pm

Mike:

Well, I'm very limited in actual experience re your question, in some respects, and normally I deplore those giving opinions without related experience -but I have SOME experience. First, a disclaimer - I have an EX-1, NOT an EX-1R, but about the EX-1, I just love EVERY aspect of it, EXCEPT the blasted thing is sooo awkward handheld (same can evidently be said about the EX-1R) - I get around this, when not on sticks, by using the inexpensive, and very effective Steady Stick (you can Google it). I would certainly second all the comments above about NOT using auto white balance (only exception of mine is when panning from daylight to incadescent, etc.). I have NO experience in feeding the AVI directly to my PC. But I have quite a bit of experience with the Nano and am over the top enthusiastic about it - you'll pay for it straight up using its Flash cards, instead of the relatively expensive SxS for the EX-1R (though you may want to purchase the SxSs anyhow, just to insure a second, lesser quality backup). I won't say any more about the Nano, except to refer you to a post, a couple, three below "Nano!!!" by Michael Palmer, and if you have not already read it, please do, including my lengthy comments based on ooodles of experience with the Nano, and real world experience about the results when viewed on consumer test screen viewing! Again, I can't comment on plugging the output directly to a PC or Mac, but if you go with a combo of the EX-1R and Nano, you'll be joining hundreds who are so positively taken with each device, and who usually can't say enough good about the combo - but I'll bet you've already seen some of these, which led to your consideration of the combo in the first place!


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Mike Caruana
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 6, 2011 at 1:27:22 pm

Thanks for all the great responses. I am definitely sold on the EX1R but may wait a week to see what happens with prices (although I doubt it will drop being a pro model).

In the last two days, B&H has dropped the pre-order price for the Canon FX105 from $4300 to $3995 and the HS21 is now $499 (expires today)! Probably because they have a few people over at the CES looking at what's coming down the pipeline for 2011. I may order a Vixia for the heck of it to start playing around with and then use it as a family/vacation camcorder later on (I'm not going to want to lug my EX1R to Hawaii, etc...)


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Brent Dunn
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 6, 2011 at 2:40:40 pm

You can take me to Hawaii and I'll lug the camera :)

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Rick Diamond
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 7, 2011 at 12:29:15 am

Mike, the EX1 will provide great images for you. I would strongly suggest using all manual controls however. I understand that going from a fully automatic consumer camera to a camera that is capable of fully manual professional images is a big step. You will definately find it worth the effort though. If you're starting out by shooting yourself, you'll have the time for a little trial and error. Take that time and get proficient at the process. As far as green screening, the EX1 recorded directly to SxS or SDHC at 35mbps/4:2:0 works very well. I green screen in After Effects using the Keylight plugin. I've tried hosing the HD-SDI out to my Matrox MXO-2 at Pro Res 422. It also works fine but if there's any improvement over the SxS recorded signal, I can't see it. So, at this point in time, I would say that it's premature to be buying the Nano, unless you have a client that needs delivery of a higher codec than 35mbps.

Rick


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Don Greening
Re: EX1R / Nano Questions before I buy
on Jan 8, 2011 at 7:22:01 am

[Rick Diamond] "So, at this point in time, I would say that it's premature to be buying the Nano, unless you have a client that needs delivery of a higher codec than 35mbps. "

Indeed. There's really no use for a C.D. Nano for interviews because there's not enough motion happening to make much of a difference between the the 35mbit 4:2:0 and the higher bit rates and colour space you get from using the Nano. Where the Nano really shines is in fast motion shots. Here's a comparison picture kindly donated by Michael a while ago that really shows the difference.

- Don




Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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