7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 23, 2007 9:10 AM by (Howard_Cromwell)

    Sony XDCAM EX

    Level 1
      I'm taking a real serious look at this new camera from Sony. I read this online about it...

      "But in launching XDCAM EX, Sony has boldly jettisoned the MXF file container format used for XDCAM HD and instead embraced the rival MPEG-4 container format known as MP4. In other words, XDCAM EX records MPEG-2 in an MPEG-4 wrapper. Got that?

      This will impact mainly those who attempt direct file transfers of 1080p/i or 720p MP4 files from EX1s flash memory to PC or laptop via an ExpressCard/34 slot or USB. Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 reportedly already handles EX1s MP4 files with aplombdrop n drag style.."

      Is that last sentence right? I realize no one here's used the camera yet, but I've never used mp4 files and I'd have to assume that if 2.0 did it, CS3 would as well. If this is true, I think this may seal the deal - this camera looks great.
        • 1. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
          Harm Millaard Level 7
          Sounds like b*llS**t to me. XDCAM-HD is MPEG2. The storage medium for the EX has changed, but not the format. It still is up to 35 Mbps VBR MPEG2.
          • 2. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
            Level 1
            Well, the source is pretty good...

            http://digitalcontentproducer.com/cameras/revfeat/first_look_xdcam_ex/index3.html
            • 3. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
              Jim_Simon Level 8
              I can't get to the article. Just some missing ad that keeps trying to repeat. I can't even get to their Home page or their Contact page to let them know that their site as programmed isn't working.
              • 4. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
                Level 1
                It works for me...there is sometimes and ad page that comes up, but you should be able to click past it.
                • 5. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                  Tried. The ad just comes back up no matter what I click. I even tried getting to it from Google, same result.
                  • 6. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
                    Level 1
                    I just clicked it and the ad for Canon came up - but if you wait 10 seconds, it then takes you to the link...
                    • 7. Re: Sony XDCAM EX
                      Level 1
                      "Recording and encoding

                      In marrying long-GOP MPEG-2 to flash recording, Sony insists, correctly, that MPEG-2 encoding is a moving target that has steadily improved over time. (It’s the decoding of MPEG-2 that involves fixed techniques.) That’s one reason Sony chose MPEG-2 over MPEG-4 when it introduced XDCAM HD in early 2006. But in launching XDCAM EX, Sony has boldly jettisoned the MXF file container format used for XDCAM HD and instead embraced the rival MPEG-4 container format known as MP4. In other words, XDCAM EX records MPEG-2 in an MPEG-4 wrapper. Got that?

                      This will impact mainly those who attempt direct file transfers of 1080p/i or 720p MP4 files from EX1’s flash memory to PC or laptop via an ExpressCard/34 slot or USB. Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 reportedly already handles EX1’s MP4 files with aplomb—drop ‘n’ drag style—ditto Canopus Edius Pro. Apple Final Cut Pro 6 (FCP) users will want to download an upcoming FCP plug-in called XDCAM Transfer 2.0 from Sony. Vegas 8 may require a rewrapping of MP4 files to MXF using Sony’s new Clip Browser, a free software program (Windows and Mac versions!) that Sony is bundling with EX1. In addition to MP4-MXF conversion, Clip Browser also provides instant viewing and copying of native MP4 clips. Avid Xpress? Currently, an editor can use Sony’s Clip Browser software to view and select a clip, then select Export to MXF. The application then re-wraps the media into an MXF file for import to the Avid editor. Avid says it plans to support the format natively in the future, but it doesn’t have a specific date to communicate.

                      Unlike XDCAM HD camcorders, EX1 doesn’t record DVCAM. Nor can it output DV of any sort. On the fly, it can convert HD to SD through SD-HDI or analog component cables, adding letterboxing if desired. That’s it as far as standard definition is concerned. When recording at 25Mbps (called SP mode), format choices are further limited to 1440x1080 and 60i, 50i, or 24p—in other words, HDV. (It is possible to parallel- record HDV to both SxS and an external hard disk drive at the same time.) Put another way, all 25Mbps is recorded as either 60i or 50i, which in the case of 24p requires addition of standard 3:2 pulldown. In contrast, 35Mbps (called HQ for high quality) is recorded as native 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i/p, or 60i/p. HD-SDI output of these native frame rates, however, similarly requires transport as 60i or 50i with 3:2 pulldown where necessary. Note that when recording in 35Mbps mode, EX1’s 1394 port has no signal. An omen?

                      Which brings us, at long last, to SxS (pronounced “S by S”), the flash-memory cards co-developed by Sony and SanDisk for XDCAM EX. They’re almost half the size of Panasonic’s P2 cards because they conform to the PCMCIA’s new ExpressCard/34 standard, the one that supersedes the CardBus PC Card that P2 is based on. ExpressCard/34 (because it’s 34mm wide) has fewer pins—26 vs. 68—yet claims big hikes in speed and bandwidth because it connects directly to a computer’s system bus over PCI Express instead of a PC Card controller.

                      Smaller also means that the EX1’s two SxS slots, co-located with the controls on the operator’s side of the camcorder, take up less real estate. Which means the camcorder’s body can be more compact.

                      There is, however, an ExpressCard/34 version that interfaces internally over USB 2.0 instead of PCI Express. It looks identical to the PCI Express version, but according to Sony, its reduced throughput is not suitable to XDCAM EX. For this reason and others, Sony requires, for now, use of ExpressCard/34 cards certified by Sony or SanDisk for XDCAM EX. They’ll be marketed by both companies under the logo SxS Pro. (This restriction could change with time and experience.) Presently available are 8GB and 16GB SxS Pro cards (pricing to be announced).

                      Flash recording is, of course, a trail Panasonic blazed, and the EX1 confers many of the same advantages: instant-start recording, no timecode breaks, continuous recording between cards, hot-swapping, dead-silent operation, display of 12 thumbnails at a time for clip playback and management with marking, deleting, and grouping of clips together, and instant playback of overcranked or undercranked clips. Sony even adds a few wrinkles of its own: file names that can be preset; a Rec Review handgrip button for confidence playback at the end of a take (programmable for two seconds, 10 seconds, or an entire clip); and the ability to mix 1920x1080, 1440x1080, and 1280x720 clips, both progressive and interlaced, at various timebase frame rates on a single SxS Pro card.

                      A single 16GB SxS Pro card will record 70 minutes of 25Mbps (constant bit rate) and at least 50 minutes of 35Mbps (variable bit rate). It’s interesting to compare this to an XDCAM HD disc, which holds 23.3GB, records 90 minutes of 25Mbps or 60 minutes of 35Mbps, and costs $30.

                      Only the disc has a good answer at hand when the inevitable question of archiving is raised. Neither P2 nor XDCAM EX is equipped to tackle this issue. From this standpoint, reports of the death of videotape are greatly exaggerated. But anyone who follows the bullish development of NAND flash-memory technology in East Asia, an industry targeting mass replacement of hard drives in laptops, knows the era of flash recording has only has just begun. It’s fantastic that Sony has joined Panasonic in pioneering this sea change in our industry."