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External recorder - is it needed?

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Ofer Geva
External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 17, 2014 at 11:29:01 am

Today we have a great variety of external recorders: Ki pro mini, Samurai Blade, Ninja 2, Odyssey 7, Hyperdeck shuttle 2 etc...

Of course, connected to an AF100, they won't be able to give they're full power but result in a 4:2:2 8bit format.

From your experience - are they needed?

I know 4:2:2 is better for chroma key, But for every thing else- is the picture better? Does it make grading easier? Is it something to save money for?

Thank you!

LightsOut Visuals.
Video and animation productions.

http://www.lightsoutvisuals.com


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Matt Townley
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 4:00:06 pm

I shoot with an AF100 on a regular basis and almost always record on my SD Pix240. I record in DNxHD 422, but it can of course do ProRes or DNxDH. With very few exceptions, the picture quality is noticeably better than the native AVCHD codec. It looks better and holds up better in post.

I run audio from the mixer into the AF100 and then run SDI out of the camera into the Pix. I set the Pix to get timecome from the camera and start and stop with the trigger from the camera. This way I can roll the camera and the Pix and have identical files with matched start/tops and timecode. The Pix is my primary source and the camera is my backup. Works great.


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Ofer Geva
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 4:05:22 pm

Thank you. It's weird, Someone just told me the picture difference is negligible...
Very confusing.

Not to say I don't believe you of-course!

Thanks

Video and animation productions.

http://www.ofergeva.co.il


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Matt Townley
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 4:08:40 pm

There are some types of shots that the difference is negligible. And of course, the difference is somewhat subjective. To me, its a pretty big difference and worth the little bit of extra gear. The best way to really know is to rent a recorder and spend an afternoon doing some test shots. Only you can really be the judge.


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Ofer Geva
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 6:33:48 pm

I guess you're right.

Thanks again

Video and animation productions.

http://www.ofergeva.co.il


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 23, 2014 at 7:53:07 pm

It's all about bit rate. If you record externally to a relatively low bit rate, then yes the picture difference will be negligible. If you record to a higher quality codec such as ProRes, DNxHD, or Cineform, you will definitely notice a difference. These are also more post friendly codecs that won't require a transcode process to edit and/or color grade.

As a general rule, more information is always good. If you have more information in the image, it WILL be used especially when it comes time to do a color grade. While you may not see artifacts while editing or on an on-set monitor, you will see them when you start stretching contrast, adding sharpness and saturation, and pan and scan.

The AF100 is a great camera though the internal codec is under-spec'd for what the camera is capable of giving. 8 bit will always be 8 bit but when it comes to 4:2:0 versus 4:2:2, you are talking TWICE the chroma resolution. It matters in green screen and chroma key work, and almost everywhere else in my opinion.

Co-President at fourB Productions, Inc.
Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
2008 Mac Pro 2.6 Ghz 8 Core, 10GB RAM
AJA IoXT, Blackmagic Intensity Pro, Blackmagic Mini Monitor
Adobe Production Premium CC, Avid Media Composer 7, Final Cut Pro Studio 3


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Ofer Geva
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Jan 23, 2014 at 8:24:12 pm

Thanks for your response.
I guess my next trip is to a rental place to try out an external recorder and judge for myself...

Video and animation productions.

http://www.ofergeva.co.il


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Gerald Prost
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Mar 20, 2014 at 4:33:07 pm

When you do this test, try and record something representative of the type of footage you deal with on a regular basis. Some people are all over the map, me, I shoot the same thing all the time. I shoot live theatre and concerts. For me I had to try and duplicate the lighting situation in my studio because in a live shoot both of my external recorders are used on other cameras. There is also another element, AVCHD is a codec that doesn't give you the best performance in post. At the time I did my test I thought it wasn't worth the difference; however, today I am reconsidering. The new Samurai Blade with the AF100A gives you 422 10 bit. When I tested the AF100A originally I was using the Ninja 1. At the time my camera set up was completely different too. I have changed the scene files a lot. If you increase the DRS (dynamic range stretch) you're going to get more noise in the blacks. Perhaps the external recorder will minimize this. I know that with my 1/3" chip Sonys I saw a noticeable cleaner black when I switch to the external recorder and use the Pro Res 422 setting. Gerry, in Calgary


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Scott Poston
Re: External recorder - is it needed?
on Oct 20, 2014 at 4:46:17 am

Matt,

Hello.

If I may ask, do you use an external monitor with that af-100? If so, which one?

Thanks in advance.

- Scott


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