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Sony EX3 for greenscreen

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This camera is available for rent locally, and I was wondering if anyone has dealt with greenscreen footage from this camera. I have keyed a lot of footage from the HVX200 and it has been miserable. This camera seems like maybe it's a step above, but would love to hear some first hand accounts.

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There's some good info in this thread. There's a link to some videos and making of with the EX1 by basilisk. From what I know there are minor differences between the two cameras, the biggest one being the inter-changable lens option and different EVF.

Edited by a2visual

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There's some good info in this thread. There's a link to some videos and making of with the EX1 by basilik. From what I know there are minor differences between the two cameras, the biggest one being the inter-changable lens option and different EVF.

 

Thanks, missed that. Basilisk seems to give it a pretty good review. The downfall of the P2 (hvx200) seems to be the compression more than anything else. It turns bright green into an extra chunky mess on all the edges.

 

Still would really like to hear from anyone else that has hands on experience with EX3 footage.

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I think we shot some stuff on the EX3 at work. Don't remember if it was on green.

I'm gonna see if I can grab a clip of the footage tomorrow.

Edited by KGB

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Yes - EX1/EX3 are probably the best in the price range for green screen. More expensive XDCAM models add 50 mb 422 recording which should be even better.

My experience is that shooting 1080p for use at SD or 720p is probably perfectly adequate - the compression artifacts don't really show if you scale footage down.

If you are posting at full 1080p then it might be worth capturing uncompressed/ProRes etc via SDI to hard disc - depends on your client. I wouldn't bother for most corporate jobs, but broadcast, I might.

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People might have a hard time with keying HVX200 footage because the sensors don't have the resolution that these Sony XDCAM EX cameras have. However, I've seen some good HVX200 keyed footage available.

 

DVCPROHD is a great codec. Better than what Sony is using, actually.

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People might have a hard time with keying HVX200 footage because the sensors don't have the resolution that these Sony XDCAM EX cameras have. However, I've seen some good HVX200 keyed footage available.

DVCPROHD is a great codec. Better than what Sony is using, actually.

 

DVCPROHD is a good enough codec, given a good camera - though I have had some pretty soft footage out of a first generation Varicam. Your best resolution with DVCPROHD is 1440x1080 (nonsquare pixels), but with the HVX200 this isn't much better than resampled 960x720. The EX1 is a full 1920x1080 sensor which is obviously a lot more pixels. The colour sampling may not be as good as in DVCPROHD, but this is lower sampling on an image with nearly double the resolution. Don't be misled by the sample rate. Although DVCPROHD 100mb is nearly 3 times the data rate of XDCAM EX 35mb, the interframe compression on the Sony allows a lot more data to be squeezed in. The penalty is a processor hit on decoding the footage, but not a major problem with a recent multicore mac (or PC I guess). It is a much more robust codec than HDV, and I have yet to see it break up under stress. The sensor is also good and relatively clean in shadow areas which is a bonus for keying.

 

New Panasonic models recording to AVCHD sound like they may score in the same areas as the EX range - has anyone tried them?

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Edges on HVX footage are atrocious and can be a real pain to key. We have one in-house and have used it a few times on green shoots, and we've gotten good keys, but there have been a few jobs where it wasn't pretty. Good for med shots and two buttons, but anything else it can be a pain. I'm definitely disappointed with it's sharpness, and the more we use it the color space benefits are becoming few and far between.

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We use the EX1 and EX3 and I absolutely love them for chromakey work. It helps that we did a lot with DV/DVCAM before (ugh), but that doesn't change the fact that these cameras kick out fantastic footage. There are also settings (which I haven't learned to use yet) for edge detail that can be tweaked. Square pixels. Big sensor. Good codec. I just did a seven minute video comprised of a "coverflow" type thing through a zillion little chroma-keyed clips of kids talking, and the keying part of the project took the least time using Keylight in AE.

 

I've never worked with film or any of the "expensive" video formats, but I've been pleased with the ease of the green screen work we've done using the EX cameras.

 

Cf

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I think we shot some stuff on the EX3 at work. Don't remember if it was on green.

I'm gonna see if I can grab a clip of the footage tomorrow.

 

No-go. Sorry...the stuff wasn't on green.

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We use the EX1 and EX3 and I absolutely love them for chromakey work. It helps that we did a lot with DV/DVCAM before (ugh), but that doesn't change the fact that these cameras kick out fantastic footage. There are also settings (which I haven't learned to use yet) for edge detail that can be tweaked. Square pixels. Big sensor. Good codec. I just did a seven minute video comprised of a "coverflow" type thing through a zillion little chroma-keyed clips of kids talking, and the keying part of the project took the least time using Keylight in AE.

 

I've never worked with film or any of the "expensive" video formats, but I've been pleased with the ease of the green screen work we've done using the EX cameras.

 

Cf

 

Hmm good to hear. Odd how they seem to have squoze better edges out of a lower bit rate than DVCPROHD. So does your place own the sonys?

 

Also, another question, maybe this would be better suited for another thread, but does anyone have experience shooting green screen footage with consumer level gear? Like cameras in the sub-$1000 range? I'm asking because some of this is going to web, and something like the EX3 may be overkill when I can buy a camera for almost the same price as renting the EX3 a couple times...

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Guest Sao_Bento
Hmm good to hear. Odd how they seem to have squoze better edges out of a lower bit rate than DVCPROHD. So does your place own the sonys?

 

Also, another question, maybe this would be better suited for another thread, but does anyone have experience shooting green screen footage with consumer level gear? Like cameras in the sub-$1000 range? I'm asking because some of this is going to web, and something like the EX3 may be overkill when I can buy a camera for almost the same price as renting the EX3 a couple times...

The thing is that you're keying is going to happen in whatever format the camera shoots, I wouldn't want to bet on down sampling to fix the problems. The closer you get to uncompressed or film, the easier life will be. Going cheap for something that gets keyed is a guaranteed nightmare. IMHO, it's better to make things easy on yourself and guarantee a good result for the client than risk those things for a few bucks.

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Hmm good to hear. Odd how they seem to have squoze better edges out of a lower bit rate than DVCPROHD.

 

That is interframe vs intraframe. Interframe is more size efficient.

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So does your place own the sonys?

 

Yep, we own them both. I weighed a lot of pros and cons before picking them to replace our Canon DV gear. As far as using cheaper consumer cameras, I can't say from experience. I can say that one of the factors that "people who know" brag up about the Sony cameras is the larger sensor size...something that will definitely matter vs. a consumer camera. Presumably some better optics will matter on your green screen material, as I'm sure a $1000 camera will have more aberration on those darned edges.

 

Cf

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The thing is that you're keying is going to happen in whatever format the camera shoots, I wouldn't want to bet on down sampling to fix the problems. The closer you get to uncompressed or film, the easier life will be. Going cheap for something that gets keyed is a guaranteed nightmare. IMHO, it's better to make things easy on yourself and guarantee a good result for the client than risk those things for a few bucks.

 

Amen to that, Sao. We saw that immediately when our EX cameras arrived and some of the footage started making its way into finished web/CD videos. I'd been saying forever that sure, properly lit/shot DV/DVCAM footage looks fine...until you put it next to just about anything else. The increase in final quality due to good source footage, even in something shrunk down and/or compressed to lossy formats including (ugh) WMV, was eye opening.

 

Cf

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I shot green screen with an EX1 (not EX3, but close), bypassing MPEG-2 compression and 4:2:0 sampling entirely by hooking the uncompressed HD-SDI output to an AJA IO HD box connected to a Macbook Pro. The results were amazingly good for keying. I can provide some samples if you want (privately, please).

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I shot green screen with an EX1 (not EX3, but close), bypassing MPEG-2 compression and 4:2:0 sampling entirely by hooking the uncompressed HD-SDI output to an AJA IO HD box connected to a Macbook Pro. The results were amazingly good for keying..

 

Agree, keys great, done the same but with a

macpro+decklink+ProRes codec setup

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Agree, keys great, done the same but with a

macpro+decklink+ProRes codec setup

 

 

Note that this can be done now with more affordable solutions, like the Matrox MXO2 and the new little device from AJA.

The quality of the keys is amazing.

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Note that this can be done now with more affordable solutions, like the Matrox MXO2 and the new little device from AJA.

The quality of the keys is amazing.

 

Hey that´s really nice, we actually moved one of our mac pros to a studio the few times we done it.

This would be a LOT easier to handle :)

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HI Adolfo and AAAron, this is great thanks for the tips on capturing but we are a small company and we were looking into the DeckLINK Studio to capture uncompressed video via SD direct into our Mac Book Pro , it will be a 3 minute video clip , how do you do to captured directly into the hard drive, do you have final cut digitizing your footage in the background? I also will like to bypass the MPEG compression and get the sharpest image since i am the one in charge.

Thanks,Edgard

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Guest Sao_Bento
HI Adolfo and AAAron, this is great thanks for the tips on capturing but we are a small company and we were looking into the DeckLINK Studio to capture uncompressed video via SD direct into our Mac Book Pro , it will be a 3 minute video clip , how do you do to captured directly into the hard drive, do you have final cut digitizing your footage in the background? I also will like to bypass the MPEG compression and get the sharpest image since i am the one in charge.

Thanks,Edgard

Decklink products don't generally introduce MPEG encoding into the workflow. 3 Minutes should be no problem as long as your drives are fast enough to support the data rate you are capturing at. FCP would be in the foreground while you are digitizing. For safety, I wouldn't be running a bunch of other apps while you're capturing video.

 

edit: OK, they do make a dongle thingy that records directly to h.264, but that's not what you would use. You need either an Intensity (if you are using a camera with HDMI out), or one of the other "pro" level products, like the Decklink Studio you mentioned.

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