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Jarkko Virtanen

EX1 or EX3

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Hi,

 

i just hate to read about all the technical details from the internet written with small font.

 

Could you tell me, what's the main difference between EX1 and EX3?

 

I know I'm lazy but I'm kind of busy too...

 

J.

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Extra inputs for multi-cam and a removable lens and better balance on the EX3, for the most part.

 

Did I read the Sony brochure correctly - the EX3 will generate/read time code but the EX1 will not?

 

Camcorders around half the price (Panasonic HMC150 - for example - another entry on my short list) can handle time code.

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That's what I read, too. Time code and genlock on the 3 but not on the 1.

 

 

 

-- J.S.

 

 

It seems a shame. I think the circuitry only adds around $400-500 to the cost. I was going to place my order for the Panny (HMC150) and then thought I could stretch my budget to the EX1 and get a half incher you can over/undercrank. And the viewfinder is so much better on the EX1. But without TC in/out, it really comes up short. I have a Tascam HD-P2 field recorder and want to sync to it. Getting the EX3 would probably cause a divorce (this is not a business expense for me - it's a hobby thing!). I read somewhere else in the forum that the EX1 was used for part of a feature film. How did they sync the sound I wonder.

Edited by Rob Gordon

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How did they sync the sound I wonder.

 

Probably the old fashioned way. The camera would naturally run at crystal speed, everything does now. Just transfer to SR or some tape format striped with code, find the sticks on the time coded sound in the Avid or whatever, and match them up. Basically the same idea as syncing film workprint in the olden days.

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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That's what we did almost with our filming on the EX1

. What we had was a nice TC slate which was jam synced to the recorder. So, on every shot we would look at a frame of the TC in on our monitors and go to the appropriate spot in the TC on the audio recorder; wham bam thank you ma'am ;)

Tedious, I know, but that's what assembly is all about.

Also we ran a reference sound to the camera to help out with things while editing to get an idea of what was going on. Not as clear as the recorder, of course, but still totally usable as we had an awesome sound recordist on set.

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That's what we did almost with our filming on the EX1

. What we had was a nice TC slate which was jam synced to the recorder. So, on every shot we would look at a frame of the TC in on our monitors and go to the appropriate spot in the TC on the audio recorder; wham bam thank you ma'am ;)

Tedious, I know, but that's what assembly is all about.

Also we ran a reference sound to the camera to help out with things while editing to get an idea of what was going on. Not as clear as the recorder, of course, but still totally usable as we had an awesome sound recordist on set.

 

So you load up the sound tracks from the cam and the recorder into the NLE and line up the waveforms from both to sync the video track with the externally recorded audio track? Works pretty well?

 

I had read about the golden age of Hollywood days where the slate clapper sound and the image after the blurring of the stick had stopped were lined up in post. Scenes that lasted longer than three minutes often drifted as internal clocks on cams and recorders weren't as accurate as today. I figured using slates to sync sound and video was just a tradition (the real use was to leave a visual tag on the video). Am I placing more importance than I should on TC for single-camera shoots?

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On a single cam, yeah, a bit too much. Just line up the sound on the waveform (whenever it's coming from) with the frame of the video where you see the sticks slap; and you're set ;)

For the edit I'm talking 'bout the stuff on the camera was just reference. Once the assembly was done they brought in the "good" sound and lined it up visually between sticks and slap on the waveform, and then, just yesterday, it all got handed off the sound designer who will be doing their thing (which I still think is magic.)

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I had read about the golden age of Hollywood days where the slate clapper sound and the image after the blurring of the stick had stopped were lined up in post. Scenes that lasted longer than three minutes often drifted as internal clocks on cams and recorders weren't as accurate as today.

 

In the early days of recording optical sound, there were no internal clocks in anything. Both the camera and optical film recorder ran on AC mains power, and had synchronous motors. They'd stay in perfect sync for a full 1000 ft. roll unless there was some mechanical drag that overloaded a motor and caused it to slip cycles. Same with shooting sound to disc -- mechanical phonograph disc that is. They had an offset pin to hold the disc in alignment on a gear driven turntable.

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I just want to mention that if you have an external timecode source, like a slate or recorder w/ a timecode generator, you can record the timecode to one of the camera's audio tracks. Avid has a timecode autosync feature that will line up the TC from the audio recorder's file to the TC on the camera footage's audio track.

 

I beleive there is also a pluging that allows FCP to do this as well.

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I figured using slates to sync sound and video was just a tradition (the real use was to leave a visual tag on the video). Am I placing more importance than I should on TC for single-camera shoots?

 

I think so. Timecode makes it easier but it's not an absolute necessity. I also subscribe to a production sound list, and many of the professional sound people there recommend the sticks as a backup even when using timecode. It's not unusual to have some kind of glitch in the time code (e.g. forgetting to jam sync, the RED and other cameras losing TC when you change batteries, and so on).

 

A few months back, I shot a live event (year-end recital for the dance studio my kids go to). I have an EX1, and three mics. The EX1 only has two mic inputs. So I hooked up my shotgun mic to the EX1, used the on-board mic for the second EX1 track, and recorded the two wireless mics to my Macbook Pro via a USB audio interface (M-Audio Fast Track for those familiar with such things). I was using Apple's Sound Track Pro.

 

Syncing was easy - the music for the first number had a clear audio attack, so it was easy to line up the audio waveforms. The first act was 48 minutes long, and at the end of it the two sound sources (camera and M-Audio box) were only two frames out.

 

(Unfortunately the wireless tracks were unusable because I wasn't monitoring them, and they were way too hot - pretty much everything was clipping and distorted.)

 

--

Jim

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I have been thinking about getting the EX1 instead of the Panny AG-HMC150 because of the higher quality image sensor and LCD on the Sony. Are you saying that even though it doesn't offically read TC that I can generate it using my field audio recorder (which reads and generates TC), and record it on one of the camera's audio tracks. And then when I load the camera's audio tracks into the NLE I can use the TC track to sync to the higher-quality externally-recorded sound tracks? One thing I think I recall reading is that TC is notorious for "bleeding" into adjacent tracks, so I guess if I record "dual-system" I may risk losing the single audio track on the camera.

 

Is the EX3 really only worth the extra bucks if you use it hooked up with other cameras and/or want to use different lenses? And I guess the follow-up question to that would be - how good is the fixed lens on the EX1?

Edited by Rob Gordon

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I have been thinking about getting the EX1 instead of the Panny AG-HMC150 because of the higher quality image sensor and LCD on the Sony. Are you saying that even though it doesn't offically read TC that I can generate it using my field audio recorder (which reads and generates TC), and record it on one of the camera's audio tracks. And then when I load the camera's audio tracks into the NLE I can use the TC track to sync to the higher-quality externally-recorded sound tracks? One thing I think I recall reading is that TC is notorious for "bleeding" into adjacent tracks, so I guess if I record "dual-system" I may risk losing the single audio track on the camera.

 

Is the EX3 really only worth the extra bucks if you use it hooked up with other cameras and/or want to use different lenses? And I guess the follow-up question to that would be - how good is the fixed lens on the EX1?

 

I think your in the wrong decade here :) The EX is entirely digital, no bleeding between tracks! EX1 and 3 record TC, EX3 can sync to an external TC source, or be the source. TC is totally separate from audio. The audio quality of recording on the EX is easily professional level, Linear PCM (2ch, 16-bit, 48-kHz). So if you can get the signal to the EX, and you only need 2 channels, you don't need anything else.

 

The lens on the EX is pretty good, for the price of course. Minor barrel distortion at full wide, and minor chromatic aberration at long focals on distant subjects. F-Stop also ramps from 1.9 to 2.8. If you want better, you will pay more for the lens than the camera.

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I have been thinking about getting the EX1 instead of the Panny AG-HMC150 because of the higher quality image sensor and LCD on the Sony. Are you saying that even though it doesn't offically read TC that I can generate it using my field audio recorder (which reads and generates TC), and record it on one of the camera's audio tracks. And then when I load the camera's audio tracks into the NLE I can use the TC track to sync to the higher-quality externally-recorded sound tracks?

That should work. You may need to get extra plug-ins for your NLE. Final Cut, for example, doesn't support TC directly, but there is a plug-in available (I'm referring to Final Cut Studio 2, I don't know if that's changed for FCS 3).

 

--

Jim

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I think your in the wrong decade here :) The EX is entirely digital.

Ah, it's amazing how "wisdom" lingers on long after the truth has changed. Kind of like the "memory effect" of NiCd batteries - it was really only an issue for the first couple of years (they were introduced, what, 30 years ago?), and even then only if you discharged and recharged the battery to precisely the same levels each time.

 

--

Jim

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I think it was in a fairly recent article I read on the web that talked about TC bleedover. But maybe the author was talking about analogue audio and I wasn't paying attention. Hard to believe anyone still uses analogue audio recording though.

 

Regarding someone's commment about the 16bit 48khz audio built into the cam, I've also read that that is very adequate if you don't do much post editing of the sound track. Errors (rounding errors?) are cumulative during each successive edit. Since I already have a field recorder that records 24bit depth at up to 196khz, I'll probably record "dual-system" anyway. I was just wondering if I can "sync" the EX1 tracks in the NLE with the field audio recorder even without a TC-in on the cam. What I hear is yes - record the TC on one of the audio tracks on the cam. You have to forgive my ignorance here - I'm a sound guy just starting to get into videography. :)

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