Archive for the ‘recording’ Category

Sony EX3 Noise & Bits-Resolution & Green-Screen

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

It has been said ( I believe by Alister Chapman ) that there are only marginal benefits from recording XDCAM-EX to more than 8 bits, due to the relatively high noise of this camera, as compared to more typical broadcast cameras.

In my experience, while it was a wonderful step-up from my Z1, certainly it’s recordings are noisier than I’d like, leading me to pretty-process certain footage (using Neat Video denoising plugin to my NLE).  And as a recent project with reasonably well-lit green-screen illustrated, it’s noise in shadows can be a particularly nuisance (much time in post experimenting to work around this).

So I wondered:

  • Even if marginal, to what extent is 10-bit beneficial to EX3 recording?
  • For the EX3, when recording 10-bit, it is also 4:2:2, surely a benefit to chroma keying and resizing (reframing, stabilising/deshaking/tracking).
  • Could the benefit depend on editing workflow?  For example:
    • What if subsequently de-noising (like I mentioned)?
    • Some NLE’s do bits-dithering, hiding the quantisation/banding that would otherwise be apparent from having only 8 bits.

I need to do my own experiments, but for now, here (below) are some results from web-searching…


EX3 SDI Output

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

 Worked, but config was not as straightforward as I first (naively) assumed:

The big “Gotcha”:

  • Must first Disable the iLink (IEEE 1394, small FireWire) interface. Otherwise SDI won’t work at all.  I guess EX3’s SDI & iLink might share some circuitry?
    • In EX3 Menu, OTHERS category (last i.e. final category):
      • [i.Link I/O] :Disable.

Then, in EX3 Menu, VIDEO SET category (3rd category), then:

  • [YPbPr/SDI Out Select] : HD
  • [YPbPr/SDI Out Display] : Off

This worked fine in practice.


  • Under EX3 OTHERS Menu-Category:
    • With EX3 [Country] = [NTSC Area]:
      • “HQ 1080/60i” gives [1080 interlaced 59.94fps 4:2:2 YUV10].
      • “HQ 1080/30p” gives [1080 progressive 29.97fps 4:2:2 YUV10 ].
      • “HQ 1080/24p” gives ??? (Cinedeck accepted it only at 30 fps)
    • With (correspondingly) [PAL Area]:
      • “HQ 1080/50i” gives [1080 interlaces 50fps 4:2:2 YUV10]


Using an XCDAM-EX Video Camera as a Webcam

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

If you put an XDCAM-EX camera in 1080-SP mode then it generates HDV, which is 1440×1080 but with brick-like pixels and data is at Constant Bit Rate (CBR), a requirement of HDV.  For an XDCAM-EX3, there is a small iLink/Firewire connector at the back, it can be enabled/disabled by the camera’s menu.If you then run Skype, it sees the image, scales it down to Skype-format, namely 640×480 with square pixels, hence 4:3 aspect ratio.   However it does not allow for the difference in pixel shape, with the result that the image looks squashed horizontally.  A nuisance!So I wonder, is there any  interposing software that can e.g. map the pixel shapes properly or even allow some kind of zoom/pan of a (e.g.) 640×480 frame within available (e.g.) 1920×1080 (equivalent, when pixel-shape converted) image from HD or HDV camera?

    • The EX in HDV mode (SP) and iLink has worked for me. I’ve done it with Telestream Wirecast (another COW forum you’ll find my floating head) for live streaming.
    • Someone having difficulties, others offering advice on XDCAM-EX settings, though I’m not convinced that all of them are necessary)
    • Debut Video Recording software (free)
    • Instructions:
      • Connect the video cable plug on the USB video-capture device to the video input on the camera cable. Video cable plugs and inputs are usually color-coded yellow.
      • Plug the camera cable into the camera.
      • Plug the USB video-capture device into an open USB port on your computer.
      • Download “Debut Video Recording Software 1.42” or a later version and install the application on your computer.
      • Launch the software.
      • Click “Device” from the toolbar menu and then go to Step 7. If the software doesn’t recognize your HDV camera, click “Options.” Click the “Video Capture Device” arrow and select your camera from the list. Confirm that the “Format” and “Device” settings are correct or make changes, if needed. Click “OK” to continue.
      • Click the “Skype” icon on your computer’s taskbar and select “Open Skype.”
      • Right-click the person you want to call under “Contacts.”
      • Navigate to “Share Your Screen” and select “Share Selection.”
      • Use your mouse and drag the black box down to the inside of the video-capture software’s display area.
      • Resize the black box to fit within the display area.
      • Click on the “Start Screen Sharing” box in the upper left corner of the video display area.
      • Click “OK” in the Screen Sharing dialogue box. A “Starting Video” message will appear.
      • Wait until the person you are calling picks up. The “Screen Sharing Active” message confirms the connection
      • Read more: How to Use an HDV Camera for Skype |

PIX 240 Sample Files

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I like the look of the PIX 240 10-bit video recorder.  However I want some sample recordings to play with, to play with them, discover/confirm the appropriate workflow and to see how well they work with my various applications (NLEs etc).

Sample footage is indeed available, at:

By the way, I got that link by originally going to the website of a London (UK) supplier:

Training: Den Lennie’s “Music Video” Experience

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I attended, working on one of the camera units.  Had a great time, learnt lots, at all sorts of levels.  Even how to make good use of the Movie Slate application on my iPhone!  Link:

Mac: GarageBand: First Impressions

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I have never used Garage Band before, so had a play with it to see whether it could be useful as an audio editing/processing tool.  The answer is a resounding “yes” – despite its “domestic” looking interface.   Not only that, it can edit videos, leaving the video stream alone and affecting only the audio stream.  Just drag a file into it – I tried with a M4A audio file out of iPhone’s Voice Memo.  Some features I discovered were:

  • Basic cutting
  • Envelope shaping (on keyframes)
  • Effects such as:
    • Dynamic range compression
    • Reverb etc.
    • An “Autotune” pitch-stabiliser

“Whatever gets the job done”…

Sony XDCAM-EX Hard Disk Recorder

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

I am interested in a new PHU-60 hard disk for my Sony XDCAM-EX video camera.  So what’s around, and what’s the cost?  While I’m at it, what other options are there, e.g. for recording off HD-SDI ?  From my web-research today, the answers seem to be:

  • PHU-60 is no longer supplied or supported by Sony, or hence their authorised service centres.
  • PHU-120 is however available, at just under £1K.
  • At that price I’m willing to consider alternatives… Depending on price and capacity of course.
    • Mend it?
    • Record to a standard hard disk?
    • Go instead for SxS etc., e.g. the cheaper alternatives.
    • Think bigger – go for a HD-SDI recorder, get better quality and more gradeable recordings!  But at what price?
  • (To be completed)