Time to catch up!

XDCAM-sliding-system-v2 Time to catch up!

No, I haven’t given up on XDCAM-USER. Just been rather busy with work.

DSC03274-300x200 Time to catch up!
Shooting with the new Sony PXW-X200 in Iceland.

My new year started off with a trip to Iceland for a workshop and to try out the new Sony PXW-X200 camcorder. The weather was really abysmal. I had fully expected it to be cold and snowy, but I didn’t count on the extreme storms and constant gale force winds that we had. The temperature wasn’t too bad, only around -10c but the constant 50km/h plus winds and driving snow made shooting difficult to say the least. I had a PXW-FS7, A7s and a PXW-X200 in Iceland and they all worked flawlessly in the harsh conditions.

While filming the geysers with the FS7 an unexpected change of wind direction blew the water from the erupting geyser all over me and the un-protected FS7. I was drenched and so was the camera, water was literally running off the camera. Thankfully the FS7 has some very good weather sealing and no harm was done to the camera. I spent the rest of the day freezing cold thanks to some very wet clothes.

DSC_0098-300x168 Time to catch up!
Camrade Wetsuit for the PXW-FS7

For the rest of the trip I made sure that the PXW-FS7 was safely wrapped up inside it’s Camrade Wetsuit. The Camrade wetsuit is made from a very nice rustle free fabric that is completely waterproof. There is a large clear panel on the left side so you can see all the buttons and switches. There is a separate cover for the viewfinder that allows it to be used with or without the monocular extension tube. It has plenty of space for different lenses, mounting options and the extension unit.

DSC03352-300x200 Time to catch up!
Shooting in the cold and wind of Iceland with the PXW-X200

Most of my time in Iceland though was used to get a good feel for the new PXW-X200 camcorder. This is a replacement for the well regarded PMW-200 and adds some very nice new features such as a 17x zoom lens, new sensors, multiple codec choices including XDCAM Mepg2 of course, but more excitingly XAVC-I and XAVC-L bringing 10 bit high quality recording to a very nice camera front end. If that’s not enough you an even record any of the codecs that have a bit rate lower than 50Mbps on SDXC cards, including Mpeg2 HD 422 (the original XDCAM codec) and HD XAVC-I. To top it all the camera has a full range of wireless options including ftp file transfer and in the future streaming over WiFi or via a 3G or 4G USB dongle.

I’m currently putting together a video on the PXW-X200 and it’s a real delight grading the 10 bit XAVC footage, it holds together much better than the older 8 bit XDCAM footage from the PMW-200.

The second half of January saw me in Norway for my annual Northern Lights expeditions. Once again we encountered some pretty extreme temperatures. The last day of the first group saw -39c and the first day of the second group saw -38c. Most of the time the temperature was below -20c. We saw the Northern Lights most nights but they weren’t very bright. However towards the end of the second groups trip we had some nice Aurora displays and I was able to video these in real time with the A7s. I have to say the A7s never ceases to amaze me. It really is incredibly sensitive and it’s pocket size means you can take it just about anywhere.

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Atomos Shogun with the A7s in Norway

For my Norway trip I was also loaned an Atomos Shogun to use with the A7s to enable 4K recording. The Shogun is a nice piece of kit and as it uses off the shelf SSD’s the recording media is pretty low cost. The screen is very good giving very clear and accurate pictures. I did have some problems with it in the cold, when the temperature dropped below -15c it would stop working and present a message saying that the firmware wasn’t correctly installed. As soon as it warmed up above -15c it would start working correctly again. To be fair -15c is well below the design specifications and not many people use kit in that kind of weather so this really shouldn’t be a big deal for most people.

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The nice clear screen of the Atomos Shogun.

Overall I don’t think the Shogun is as robustly constructed as the Convergent Design 7Q, the Shogun feels very plasticky, but it is a lower cost package than the 7Q and the recorded images do look great. When I get time I’ll be putting together some of the A7s and Shogun footage from the Norway trip and writing more about my experiences with the Shogun.

Another toy I have been playing with recently is the NextoDI NSB25 storage bridge. This is a stand-alone backup and storage device that can transfer data from almost every type of solid state recording media to a pair of internally housed (but easily changed) hard drives as well as a 3rd hard drive connected via USB3. You can make individual copies of the media or duplicated copies of the media across all the drives for added security. The NSB-25 can play back the majority of video formats on it’s built in screen or you can plug in a TV or monitor via HDMI for large screen play back. The unit is about the size of a house brick and has it’s own internal battery. If you need a robust backup solution for larger projects or for bigger media files such as 4K or even raw files you should take a look at the NSB-25.

That’s it for now. I’m off to Norway again next week, but there will be lots of new stuff coming to the web site in the coming weeks so keep checking back.

7 thoughts on “Time to catch up!”

  1. Welcome back, Alister!

    And I thought it was challenging to shoot in Vermont! I hope you get a chance to talk about your A7s/Shogun set up. It’s what I’m using now. Did you use S-log2, or one of the cines? Also, any Camrade covers for this combo? I have my Shogun sitting behind the A7s on rails. Thanks!

  2. Interesting read,

    I am looking forward to your video on the PXW-X200.

    You mention the PXW-X200 can record to any of the codecs that have a bit rate lower than 50Mbps on SDXC cards, I assume this is using the SxS SD adaptor?
    I have just taken delivery of my PXW-X200 and the SDXC cards only work with the FAT file format not exFat do you remember what file format you were using the SDXC cards with.
    Thanks.

  3. Looking forward to your review of the PXW X200. Very interested in this camera. Seems like not much info / reviews out there on this camera, so your impressions will be most welcome. – JD NYC/USA

  4. I am using the sony MEADSD02 SDHC/SDXC Media Adapter with SanDisk 64GB SDXC Memory Card Extreme Pro Class 10 UHS-I card.
    Thanks for your help.
    Matthew

  5. Hi Alister,

    thanks for all of your tips. I got a pmw ex1r and now I have bought a pxw x200. I am bothering you to know if you have some tips to give us about picture profiles. I am getting lost with them, and I remember your tips for PP for ex1r. Thanks again and ciao from italy!

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