Sony’s Online Expo “Less than average experience”

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

[xr_video id=”21322dace7ac49b283ec227972aeb8c0″ size=”md”]

Today I took part in Sony’s second Online Expo…is this the future for trade shows…Sony seems to think so but I disagree. The whole experience was sluggish, stuttering video, paused video… a bit of a mess in my opinion.

No expense spared Sony had a top USA sound recordist record a 30sec sound loop at a genuine trade show and added the ambiance to the graphic of the auditorium, this was to be the only sound unless you chose to enter the theatre where you could watch videos by various production companies.

The best part of the whole experience was the live chat with some of the Sony technical staff, they were very informative and answered some further burning questions about the PMW-350…

My first question was about the mysterious SD module… CBK DV01 which turns out to be a download that you up load into your PMW-350 to release the SD mode.

Yes you can use the MxR SDHC card adaptors in the EX-1R and the PMW-350 but you loose the over and under cranking facilities as has been the case with the EX-3 for the last year, over and under cranking is like any effect it can become boring after a while.

Sony-StaffThis is a selection of Sony USA staff who were very helpful but I do question the need for such an event as most cameramen and women I know want to see, feel, smell their new camcorder, sit it on their shoulder before committing to purchase. The only screen beyond the XDCAM EX screen was this one below and if you chose “LEARN MORE” it took you to Sony’s USA web site. No new info or pictures…poor show.

EX stand 350

I do question why their was no mention of the NXCAM, I personally thought that was a very poor omission. All in all it was a less than average experience and the same old footage produced by the same old Sony bashers. One attendee made me giggle when he asked “What is the difference between the Sony EX-3 and the PMW-350”, the staff were all pitching in with various answers …I personally think someone was taking the “P”.


Sony don’t seem to grasp the need for cheap archive, I asked a further question about client archive, in other words giving the client the footage out of the camera and they could not grasp the idea that there is a need to hand over footage on a card costing no more that £30 or less, mini DV tape was good for this.

I commend Sony for this brave virtual trade show but it needs a lot more work behind the scenes to make it a far more user friendly experience and lets have fresh footage and reviews of the camcorders… people are hungry for fresh information not the same old boring stuff coming off Sony USAs web site !

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Don’t work with Children and Dogs

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Sony NXCAM “The Bigger Picture”

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Sony NXCAM trailer video

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[xr_video id=”a252033a7bee436ab805952d237d8881″ size=”md”]

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Sony NXCAM…”First Pictures”

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


New inboard video recording options

In HD mode, Sony’s NXCAM records H.264 in AVCHD format at a maximum bitrate of 24 megabit per second in best mode (“FX”). Fortunately, NXCAM offers full-raster 720p and full-raster 1080i/p (in addition to subsampled 1080 formats, and SD formats encoded with MPEG2). If you live the USA or other (ex-)NTSC country, this first NXCAM will start out (“off-the-shelf”) with the standard ±60Hz-derived formats:

  • Full-raster 1080 (1920×1080) at 59.94i, 29.97p (truly native), or 23.976p (truly native)

  • Subsampled 1080 (1440×1080) 59.94i

  • Full-raster 720 (1280×720) at 59.94p

  • Standard definition (720×480) at 59.94i

  • Standard definition (720×480) at 29.97p recorded over 59.94i (not native)

  • Standard definition (720×480) at 23.976p recorded over 59.94i (not native)

  • If you send a NXCAM to Sony for a WorldCam upgrade, it will also offer you:

  • Full-raster 1080 (1920×1080) at 50i or 25p (truly native)

  • Subsampled 1080 (1440×1080) 50i

  • Full-raster 720 (1280×720) at 50p

  • Standard definition (720×586) at 50i

  • Standard definition (720×586) at 25p recorded over 50i (not native)

  • If you live in a 50Hz, (ex-)PAL location, simply reverse the two above lists to understand your “off-the-shelf” and after WordCam upgrade capabilities.


    I welcome the native versions of the HD 23.976p, 25p, and 29.97p recordings. I know from personal experience with a client’s Panasonic AG-HMC150 that 720p29.97 is unfortunately recorded over 720p59.94 in that camera. In addition, according to Panasonic’s European spec sheet of the AG-HMC151 (which is the European version of the AG-HMC150), only 23.976p is recorded natively, which implies that 25p and 29.97p in that camera are unfortunately recorded over 50i and over 59.94i respectively. I am glad to see that Sony is offering the desired native modes for AVCHD.

    New inboard audio recording options

    According to Juan Martínez at Sony, NXCAM is the first AVCHD camcorder ever to offer the option of recording audio in linear PCM for higher quality, instead of the more common Dolby Digital. As many other Sony camcorders, NXCAM offers dual balanced XLR inputs which can be individually set for line, microphone, or microphone with 48-volt phantom power. The headphone output has a selector switch to choose among monitoring channel 1, channel 2, or a mix. There is also a menu setting to tell the camera whether the headphones are stereo or mono, which makes the switch work properly in each case.

    NXCAM sensor and optics

    The first NXCAM uses the same renowned 1/3” EXMOR sensor and G lens as Sony’s Z5camcorder. For details about the sensor and optics, see Adam Wilt’s review on that camera. NXCAM takes this image beyond the Z5 (which can only record sub-sampled 1080), since NXCAM can record full-raster 1080. When recording in 720p mode, NXCAM oversamples the video before recording (as the EX1 and EX3 also do in 720p). Also, NXCAM has a much improved image stabilizer.

    Dual solid-state recording options

    NXAM offers recording either to Sony’s Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HD Duo, or a new NXCAM flash memory unit. I received the prototype with a 128GB version of this new NXCAM flash memory unit. This will be optional, and Sony has not yet set the price for it. NXCAM offers the option of creating identical or different types of recording on the NXCAM and on Memory Stick.

    Output flexibility for monitoring and external 4:2:2 recordings

    NXCAM offers both HDMI output and SD/HD-SDI output. When the camera is in live mode, the HD-SDI output is true 10-bit 4:2:2. Unlike some other cameras, which output a live HD-SDI signal at 10-bit which has been derived from an 8-bit signal, NXCAM (as the EX1 and EX3) output a true 10-bit signal over HD-SDI when live. The HD-SDI signal fortunately includes RP188 metadata, which means that a ideal recording can be made with a recorder like AJA’s KiPro (10-bit) or Convergent Design’s nanoFlash (currently 8-bit) with like timecode.

    Multicam with matching timecode

    Although this NXCAM model does not include genlock input, it does include a timecode i/o, which allows synchronizing the clock in multiple NXCAMs after making a temporary wired connection. Using the same connector, there is a switch to indicate whether it is being used as an input or an output.

    Use NXCAM with a video mixer (“switcher”)?

    As stated above, NXCAM does not include any genlock input. However, many recent HD video mixers (“switchers”) have a built-in frame synchronizer on their HD-SDI inputs, which means that NXCAM is a candidate! Some of these video mixers also include a built-in audio delay to compensate the video delay, which is a necessary evil in a frame synchronizer. (I’ll be covering some of those video mixers in upcoming articles.)


    Although NXCAM includes a wireless remote control, for a multicam installation with a video mixer, a wired remote is much more appropriate. Fortunately, NXCAM is compatible with Sony’s RM-1000BP. In addition to zoom and record start/stop, the RM-1000BP allows access to iris, gain, and all of NXCAM’s menu adjustments. Third parties offer very long LANC cables, which will work to extend the RM-1000BP to wherever the video mixer is located, to facilitate matching cameras.


    NXCAM includes a built-in GPS, which adds geo metadata to its video recordings. This information is already available in applications like Apple’s iPhoto ’09. I imagine that it will probably be in iMovie ’10 soon.

    More details

    For now, Sony is not releasing exact model number information or pricing. More details about that should be available in January. In the meantime, I will be publishing more articles about AVCHD workflow with different NLEs in the coming weeks.

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    Sony Teaser with Exmor ‘R’ chipset ?

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    Sony-teaserAll I know is that this is a smaller camcorder…in direct competition with the JVC HM100/Panasonic AG-HMC151 and I will stick my neck out by telling you that it may use Memory Stick DUO Pro HG. It may be 1/3″ chips but I suspect 1/4″ to accommodate the size, 1/3″ would be more preferable but it may also have the Exmor R chipset the one I was expecting to see on the EX-1R…this would set it above the competition.

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    JVC Offering 0% interest free credit on GY-HM700/100 camcorders

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    For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

    XR Exposure Room “Now iPhone Friendly”

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    For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

    WARNING…Using the NanoFlash with a Sony EX-3

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    It was a bit unnerving to say the least when Dennis Lennie showed us a deliberate but potentially fatal mistake during the making of his NanoFlash tutorial. We see a shot from his EX-3 footage showing a cameraman and all the viewfinder info is also in the shot.

    I emailed Dennis to confirm he was using HD-SDI…so be warned…especially those of you who hire EX-3s that you need to have the SDI Out Display to the “OFF” position when using the NanoFlash otherwise you will record all the viewfinder info as well !

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    So you want to be a cameraman…Profile on Scott Duncan

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    If Indiana Jones were a cameraman his name would be Scott Duncan. An eight time Emmy award winner, Scott is known for his artistry as well as his sense of adventure. Scott has filmed inside war zones, on top of mountains and under raging rivers. Last month he used the new Aaton Penelope camera to shoot one of Manhattan’s most menacing marauders – Donald Trump.

    The project was the opening of a brand new season of Celebrity Apprentice with The Donald and a gaggle of…celebrities (who we can’t name right now – you’ll know them when you see them). It proved an excellent opportunity for Scott to become acquainted with Penelope.

    The production took place over the course of 5 days and was shot in a studio and at various well-known New York locations. A long time owner of Aaton 16mm equipment, Scott felt comfortable immediately.

    “I put her in as many real situations as possible while gathering imagery,” he said. “There are so many great details to the camera, I felt at home almost instantly.”

    The Aaton design philosophy has always emphasized hand-held use, and Penelope brings the iconic ‘cat on the shoulder’ analogy to 35mm. Scott’s comments on the subject – “Handheld is very easy, the mag is very soft on the shoulder…that is what those little things on the bottom of the mag are for and they actually really work … I shot a lot of handheld.”

    Scott chose to shoot 2-perf, because he is considering Penelope for an upcoming feature, and this was an opportunity to test the format. (The camera can be set to shoot either 2-perf or 3-perf 35mm film). Operationally, he was pleased with changing magazines and control of the camera.

    “The Magazines on and off is butter…the operator side buttons for frame rate and other controls is super nice and easy.”

    To sum it up, Scott Duncan said, “…amazing this Penelope!” A nice first impression from an adventurous and discerning cameraman.


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