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XDCAM EX workflow

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Puneet Malhotra
XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 12, 2011 at 5:32:12 am

Hello everybody,
I am currently using HDV format for my clients and my projects.But as tapes are are being replaced by memory card and SSD's so I also intend to move on to tapeless workflow as it saves a lot more time of transfer.
I saw external recorders also and one from Sony also by the name MRC1, but comparing the same footage recorded simultaneously on tape and on MRC1 , shows no difference in quality.Then i decided to migrate on cameras designed native for tapeless format, I am keen on getting XDCAM EX1 or EX3.
But i have read on various articles that its workflow, as far as editing is concerned, is not smooth and various NLE's does not support its native file format.
Can you please help me in getting understand what file format does these EX1 or EX3 makes and how its workflow would be, I am using Premierpro CS5.
And what difference can be there in the quality of these 2 cameras because price is a big issue.....

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Kevin Patrick
Re: XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 12, 2011 at 12:46:38 pm

Premiere Pro CS5.5 supports native editing of the XDCAM EX files. No transcoding required. While the XDCAM EX files are stored in a somewhat complex directory structure (which you should never really mess with) Premiere Pro's Media Browser makes it very easy to browse and import the clips.

Adobe has a pdf on working with this format.

Tapeless workflows require some extra thought when it comes to backing up your media, since there is no tape. ShotPut Pro is an interesting tool to both copy (more securely) and backup your clips.

Short form workflow ... Copy the entire BAV directory from the memory card to your computer. Open Premiere Pro, browse the clips in Premiere's Media Browser. Drag/import any/all clips into a Bin. Start editing.

In my opinion, the tapeless workflow is smooth and efficient. As long as you understand how it works. What not to do. (like messing with the directory structure of the stored files) Making sure you have a good backup process for the master clips. And your NLE supports the format. Premiere Pro CS5.5 does. I believe FCP 7 does, via Log and Transfer. I don't know about FCP X. (I hope I didn't just start a new FCP X rant)

Shane Ross posted a very good tutorial on tapeless workflows using FCP 7.

I have an EX1R, which is very similar to the EX3. The internals of the cameras are identical, from my understanding. So there should be no difference in terms of quality. At least using identical lens setups.

The EX3 gets you:
- Larger viewfinder, offset to the side. (it uses the LCD)
- LCD's are the same. (EX3 has no separate viewfinder)
- Interchangeable lenses. (included lens is identical to the fixed EX1R)
- It's bigger, due to viewfinder setup.
- It's heavier.
- It consumes a little more power.
- Multi-camera operation.
- Timecode and Genlock inputs.
- More expensive.

While neither one is a shoulder mount camera. The viewfinder setup on the EX3 does put the camera a little farther back, moving the weight closer to your shoulder. You'll still need some kind of accessory to make either useful for any extended period of time.

So far, I have been using Sony's MEAD-MS01 SxS adapters along with Sony's Memory Stick Pro-HG DUO memory cards, as opposed to their SxS cars. While I have only been using them for a short time, I've had no issues with this setup. I would hope not, since Sony offers them as an option. Quite a bit cheaper, see below. Plus, I use a standard memory card reader instead of an SxS reader and necessary SW drivers. Although you can use the camera's USB port.

$995 32 GB SxS Pro (more read/write cycles than non-Pro)
$599 32 GB SxS
$101 32 GB Memory Stick Pro-HD DUO

I recently got my EX1R, from Adorama. They don't list the camera as available, not even for back order. But, I called and they had them in stock. Odd. Both are hard to get due to the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan. Not sure if they still have any left now.

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Puneet Malhotra
Re: XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 12, 2011 at 2:20:04 pm

thanks Kevin, for your valuable information, can you please tell me one thing that , what file format does EX1 or EX3 makes.and as far as difference between two cameras is concerned , I see EX3 as very professional type feel and robust , but EX1 gives you a normal feel.This is only my interpretation, and I might be wrong in this so you can give more guidance.

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Kevin Patrick
Re: XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 12, 2011 at 6:19:39 pm

I read an interesting discussion about the EX1R and EX3 on another forum. One person described the difference by saying that the EX3 gives you (or as he put it, your client) the feeling that you are using some "real professional" equipment, as opposed to the EX1R. I think that appearance issue is due to the fact that the EX3 does not have a view finder. It has what I call and eye cup that snaps over the large LCD. Makes it seem more like a shoulder mount camera, which it's not. The EX1 has a more traditional, or consumer style view finder, in addition to the LCD.

When you use the EX3 with the included lens, both cameras will produce the same result. They are the same lens, built by the same company. Fujinon. It's just that you can remove the lens on the EX3.

The produce the same Sony XDCAM EX MP4 file types. No difference between the two.

While I haven't held an EX3, I'm guessing the build quality of both are the same.

If you typically shoot on a tripod, then save yourself some money and get the EX1R.

If you will be doing a lot of hand held work and you might need to the option to use other lenses, get the EX3.

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Ian Cook
Re: XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 12, 2011 at 1:59:24 pm

CS5/5.5 imports EX through it's built-in Media Browser. This workflow has been in place for some time and is very stable and reliable. You point the Media Browser to your card or card image (for example, your 'M' drive or a stored folder on the desktop) and it displays thumbnails for all the clips in this location. Clips are then dragged into the current project and handled natively, without any transcoding or conversion.

There are a number of differences between the two cameras (or rather the two families of cameras)-- EX1/3 camcorders have half inch imagers, support 720 24/30/60p and over/undercranking. These features are not on the HDV devices, although they do support 1080/24 and 30p. EX camcorders are 100% file-based and record to high speed SxS cards (modified Express Cards). HDV camcorders are tape based with optional/add-on file recorders that record M2T/AVI files to CF cards.

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Puneet Malhotra
Re: XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 13, 2011 at 6:01:46 am

Thanks Kevin and Ian
Can you tell me is MP4 file strong enough to sustain its strength in repeated generations of editing.....

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Brent Dunn
Re: XDCAM EX workflow
on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:52:32 pm

EX 1 & EX 3 are basically the same camera internally. The eX-3 allows you to change lenses, synch multiple cameras.

Premiere CS5 will allow you to use your footage natively. Premiere probably is the best at working with multiple formats.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

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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