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What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U

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Don Hutcheson
What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:17:58 am

I would like to keep using my Z1-U but use an external unit that records with less compression than the camera does. I saw in Cow that Vegas can't edit Pro Res, so the Atmos Ninja is out. Is there another outboard recorder with a less compression than the camera has? Thanks

Hutch


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Russ Froze
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:02:30 am
Last Edited By Russ Froze on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:05:08 am

Uhm Ok so Vegas can't edit Apple Pro Res but it does edit Avid DNxHD which the Ninja records. One needs to have the Codec installed that's all. I use Blackmagic Cameras and Blackmagic Design has supplied the codec by installing Blackmagic Desktop Video. This is a free download and you need not have any Blackmagic hardware. Though I do not have Atomos products, I would expect Atomos to do the same. If not you can always instal the Blackmagic codec. Also you can transcode via Davinci Resolve lite, which is also free. Don't let a little thing like a codec get in the way of your projects.
Russ Froze


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Don Hutcheson
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:59:45 pm

Thanks Rus. I've read reviews that say ProRes is less compressed than M2T and produces better looking footage coming off the Z1U's heads via the Firewire, which also lets it record at a higher bitrate than the Z1-U's 20mbps. That should also improve quality, correct?

Hutch


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John Rofrano
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:08:06 pm

[Don Hutcheson] "I saw in Cow that Vegas can't edit Pro Res, so the Atmos Ninja is out. Is there another outboard recorder with a less compression than the camera has? Thanks"
Vegas Pro can edit ProRes just fine. It can't render to ProRes but it can edit ProRes. That being said, I would NOT purchase a recorder that records in any QuickTime formats for Vegas Pro because Vegas Pro uses a 32-bit QuickTime runtime which severely limits the amount of QuickTime video it can edit.

I use the Sony HVR-DR60 with my Sony HVR-Z1U which records in the native HDV M2T format and it works great with Vegas Pro. I get 4 hours of continuous recording. I wish I had bought another one before they were discontinued but I guess you can still find them on eBay.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Don Hutcheson
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:50:31 pm

Thanks for the response, John. Is MOV OK? I also have a GH3 and it seems to be ok in Vegas but I haven't done much editing yet. Since Vegas can edit ProRes, would the Atmos be ok? Or is ProRes similar to Quicktime (which you said avoid)? Some reviews say the ProRes is less compressed and produces much better looking video than M2T. That sounded great to me.

Hutch


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John Rofrano
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 12, 2014 at 2:22:14 am

[Don Hutcheson] "Is MOV OK?"
MOV is QuickTime. QucikTime works but has limitations in Vegas Pro because Vegas uses a 32-bit version and if you place too many MOV clips on the Vegas Pro timeline it starts to cause problems (like video not displaying problems).
[Don Hutcheson] "Since Vegas can edit ProRes, would the Atmos be ok? Or is ProRes similar to Quicktime (which you said avoid)?"
ProRes is QuickTime. I apologize that my use of the term "QuickTime" is confusing you. QuickTime is the native media container for Macs. The file type is .MOV. QuickTime MOV files can contain any number of CODECs and ProRes is a QuickTime CODEC. Yes Vegas can edit ProRes. It just can't edit a whole lot of them at one time. I wouldn't worry if you were just occasionally editing with ProRes files but you're talking about buying a recorder that records ProRes which means you will always be working with ProRes files.
[Don Hutcheson] "Some reviews say the ProRes is less compressed and produces much better looking video than M2T. That sounded great to me."
Yes it is less compressed, and yes it is great looking, and yes it is a Mac format that every Mac editor uses and loves because it edits very smoothly. While it also works fine on the PC with applications like Adobe Premiere Pro, it isn't an "optimal" format for Vegas Pro editors. This is a Vegas Pro limitation with all QuickTime MOV files more than anything else.

So if you're asking me if I would buy a recorded that produces ProRes files to edit with in Vegas Pro... I would not buy it unless I was willing to convert all of the footage to Sony MXF or some other Vegas friendly format before editing.

In other words, IMHO, devices that record ProRes are designed for people who edit on Mac's and people who edit on PC's should probably avoid them because they're not going to have the same great experience. Or put another way... if you want to shoot ProRes... buy a Mac! ;-)

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Don Hutcheson
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:11:10 am

Excellent summary. Thank you.

Hutch


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Russ Froze
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 12, 2014 at 2:44:38 am
Last Edited By Russ Froze on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:10:14 am

Hi, like John pointed out Vegas does not play well with anything Qucktime has to interpret for Vegas on a large scale because Apple won't allow licencing of the 64 bit version for the windows platform, it's as simple as that.Please note that todays NLE are 64 bit based only as to allow more access to ram, cuda cores and cpu. Vegas will get bogged down with a ton of mov files because of the 32 bit limitation of the Quicktime player. Conversely you might ask Microsoft why they have not found a way around the limitation, after all Windows media player does play many versions of the mov variant.

But there are other things to consider as well.For instance will an external recorder give you the results you are looking for. I played the external recorder game for a bit and have come to realise that although there was a slight improvement in color due to a more robust codec, generally there was no marked improvement in the image quality. It was not sharper or cleaner or brighter, all that was achieved was some forgiveness in the edit bay for color correction and matching up cameras.The Pro Res and Avid codecs are very similar, both are robust and can go up to uncompressed 444. The debate will rage on for ever but for me it's simply a matter of workflow. Is it for Mac or PC. In short don't be surprised if there is no difference to the naked eye.
Also consider the firewire out will be interlaced and I don't recall if the ninja does a pulldown. The output from the firewire will be 8 bit so the ideal utopia of 4:2:2 @ 10 bit is unattainable negating the need for a more robust codec for the info is not being supplied by the camera. The best gain would be an 8 bit 4:2:2 over the cameras native codec of 8 bit 4:2:0.that's a whole two pixels more of color and that just isn't worth the money. Shop around for a disgruntled Pocket Cam owner buy it and share lenses with the GH3, now that might be an idea. As for me external recorders have their uses,I use them to extend recording time and instant editing but I've given up on the it will improve your camera carrot.

All said and done the expenditure for an external recorder versus putting the doe towards new gear comes down to how long will the recorder be of use. A high end external recorder that might be good for 4k and beyond for future proofing and I'd say go for it but then you are looking at a different investment range. Think of it this way, it's time to re tool and start planning a system that will see you through the next generation or two.

That would be my advice about the ninja. If absolutely set on an external recorder, get one the new cameras can attach to, At the very least get a Samurai or an Odyssey7Q and those are but the cheaper units. Build for the future, buy a Sony.
Russ Froze


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John Rofrano
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:36:41 am

[Russ Froze] "I played the external recorder game for a bit and have come to realise that although there was a slight improvement in color due to a more robust codec, generally there was no marked improvement in the image quality."
Good Point! That's because the camera is already compressing the image to HDV and then the recorder is converting that to another format so as long as you are using a Firewire connection, you will never get better than HDV because it already starts out as HDV!

The only way to get better quality with an external recorder is if the recorder connects to the HDMI port and records directly from the uncompressed sensor and then compresses that. Otherwise, you are simply converting an already compressed HDV image.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Scott Francis
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 14, 2014 at 3:22:47 pm
Last Edited By Scott Francis on Nov 14, 2014 at 3:27:07 pm

I am using the Atomos Ninja 2 and can edit the footage no problem at this point. I pulled in two files totalling over 2 hours and 220GB's in size and Vegas handled it with ease. I also edited it right next to both MP4 and AVCHD footage (totalling 4 tracks of 2+ hours of footage) with no issues.
From what John and others had mentioned in a previous thread, the AMOUNT of clips can be the issue, regardless the quality of the footage is incredible. I am recording right off of a Blackmagic ATEM switcher for live events and this is the best footage I have gotten to date....Beautiful...

That is my 2 cents, if I run into issues in the future, I will use AVIDEMUX to re-mux the footage to another format..

Xavier (Scott) Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions


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Don Hutcheson
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 14, 2014 at 4:23:50 pm

Thanks Scott. From what everyone is saying, it is the NUMBER of Quicktime events and not the length that can cause problems. I've had a few instances where Quicktime files would work perfectly on one computer in Vegas, but not on another computer (both fast computers and both running Vegas 12). Quicktime files coming from my GH3.

Hutch


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John Rofrano
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 15, 2014 at 11:55:33 am

Yea, I usually shoot long running performances so I only have a couple of clips of whatever I'm editing. I do beleive it's the number of smaller clips that makes things bog down.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Russ Froze
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 14, 2014 at 4:49:14 pm

Hello Scott Francis,
As we went through the codec debates I deemed the codec issue to be superfluous. The question was " What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U". Any suggestions would be welcome for I too would love to find a way to extend the service life of my cameras.
Russ Froze


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Scott Francis
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 15, 2014 at 2:53:45 am
Last Edited By Scott Francis on Nov 15, 2014 at 2:54:17 am

The issue for the Z1-U is, to my knowledge that it does NOT have an HDMI out, however it DOES have component via the special Sony D connector (if it is at all like my old FX1's). The Atomos Ninja series I believe only have HDMI in (or SDI), however you could use a component to HDMI converter before it, which Blackmagic and others make as well. When all is said and done, you are getting around a $600 to a grand before you even get into HD's for the Ninja 2 or CF cards for the Ninja Star. In my experience the FX1/Z1-U's do look better on component out vs the HDV format (I use FX1s for live IMAG shoots at our church and also at events in the past) and I have also edit the same footage from HDV afterwards and from the sensor looks SO much better. I can't tell you what colorspace comes from the sensor, but pretty sure it is still 4:2:0 but image is still better than HDV.

I now use Canon G30's (as I don't need XLR inputs because I record audio separately, but often shoot up to 5 cameras at events) and DSLR's and the footage I get is SO much better than on the older HDV equipment. We still use 3 FX1's for out broadcast (so just for the sensor image)and they look good, but honestly are getting a little long in the tooth.

I would recommend the Atomos Ninja series recorders, and I am using non-SSD hard drives with mine as I am not moving when I use them...however, if you are running and gunning SSD drives are recommended. Atomos has recommend drives listed on their site and I also use there HDMI to SDI converters and love them.

Good luck!

Xavier (Scott) Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions


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Don Hutcheson
Re: What is the best external recorder to use with a Z1-U
on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:39:25 pm

You are correct, Scott. What killed my interest was discovering that the outboard recorders need HDMI and the Z1-U only has component and Firewire out. By the time I bought converters, etc, I could buy another GH3 and have memory card capability built in (GH3s are now down from $1199 to $799 since the GH4 is out). This whole thing got started when I got hold of a bad tape on an interview and the color fades ands comes back in a maddening 3-second cycle all the way through. That will be a lot of color-correcting on a 50 minute interview!

Hutch


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