I am looking into maybe purchasing a new B-roll camera. It's been a while since I've looked into these thing but it is astounding the dozens of different codecs and features. I am looking into the Sony z90 as well as maybe the Canon xf400.
The Sony uses XAVC- L or I (scratching head on difference, and the canon MXF. I'll be shooting mostly 1080p 30.
Are there any codecs/cameras that I should avoid when editing in Final Cut. I know Larry Jordan had one that he hated, but I can't remember which one.
Sorry for the lame question. Just looking for input.
I use various flavors of XAVC all the time. I've also used various Canon codecs with no problem. Years ago there were issues with certain H.264 codecs & AVCHD but not anymore. I think you're probably okay with any you'll run across these days.
Jonathan Levin wrote: The Sony uses XAVC- L or I (scratching head on difference, and the canon MXF.
XAVC-L is a long GOP codec (inter frame) and provides extended record time at a lower bit rate. XAVC-I is an intra frame codec, larger files, higher bitrate, less record time, but a much better codec. Our PXW cameras offer both, but we always use XAVC-I. Here is a basic chart and description of the XAVC family.
This was totally the help I was looking for. I did, however, do some googling about these and other codecs ad it made my mind wobble.
So it seems that with the Sony, I will be going with the XAVC-I flavor. And great to know that There are not many coec/formats that choke FCP!
I wish there was something that would be really simple for dummys like me that says something "Use this codec/setting if you want best picture." or Use this coec/setting if you want to save disk space" or "Use this codec/setting if you want to have the widest gamut to work with". Something like that. A quick synopsis to make a quick, but half-educated choice.
In general, a higher bitrate equates to both better quality and larger file sizes. The codec capability being either 8 bit or 10 bit also factors into this. There are a number of bitrate calculators available by googling and this is one example:
Bear in mind that all these calculators provide estimated space requirements, because a particular piece of footage may vary in size based on movement, detail, etc. They do provide decent estimates.
UPDATE: here is also a space calculator :
You can search for XAVC specific calculators also.
Jonathan - earlier you mentioned that the Sony Z90 is one camera you are considering, and you also mentioned XAVC-L and XAVC-I. Assuming you meant the latter to be an uppercase I ("eye") rather than a lowercase L, I just wanted to mention that I own the X70, and it does not shoot XAVC-I, just XAVC-L. I'm pretty certain the Z90 is the same way.
It's all tradeoffs. On the X70 I can have an excellent Clear Image Zoom extended range, 60fps, and 10-bit 4:2:2 -- but only if I shoot HD. In 4K I get more detail, but I'm limited to 8-bit 4:2:0, only 30fps, and less extended zoom range. The Canon camera you mentioned does 4K 60fps, but will not do 4:2:2 or 10 bit color in any internal mode.
Either way, the Z90 is a nice upgrade from the X70, and is a leading camera in this niche of the market (under $3K camcorders with 1" sensors).
Jonathan Levin wrote: ...the dozens of different codecs and features. I am looking into the Sony z90 as well as maybe the Canon xf400....Are there any codecs/cameras that I should avoid when editing in Final Cut....
FCPX handles most codecs OK. I personally don't like AVCHD since it must be re-wrapped on import, and trying to import the bare .MTS files with "leave files in place" causes an I/O performance problem on FCPX. However it is only 1080p, so it's used less as time goes by.
The Z90 has more codec options at 1080p, but the XF405 has a significantly wider angle lens (25.5 mm vs 29 mm in 35 mm equiv terms). From a practical day-to-day use, I would always get the XF405 for this reason alone. In the real world you always use the widest end of the zoom range much more than the telephoto end. Anybody who doubts this can use various EXIF examination tools to check their photos. Lightroom even lets you make histogram charts of this -- most people will find a big usage peak at the widest end of the zoom range on any zoom lens.
The Z90 has a slightly faster lens on the telephoto end (f/4.0 vs f/4.5). It is a bit lighter and has better battery life. I don't know if the Z90 stabilizer is better or not -- that is also a significant consideration for hand held use.
However for a fixed-lens camcorder, how wide the lens goes is absolutely critical. You can't change the lens, and using a wide-angle adapter on a fixed-lens camcorder is a hassle and often degrades the image. I don't understand why manufacturers of semi-professional fixed-lens camcorders don't grasp this.
My documentary team has mostly switched to Sony but if I was getting one of these two camcorders, I'd probably get the Canon XF405 just for the wide angle lens.
You are right! When I went to B&H site for z90 specs, there is no XAVC-i on that camera:
XAVC QFHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 4:2:0 Long profile
XAVC HD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 4:2:2 Long profile
XAVC Proxy: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 4:2:0 Long profile
MPEG HD422 (CBKZ-SLMP required): MPEG-2 422P at HL 4:2:2 Long profile
MPEG HD420 (CBKZ-SLMP required): MPEG-2 MP at HL 4:2:0 Long profile
MPEG HD Proxy (CBKZ-SLMP required): MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 4:2:0 Long profile
AVCHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 format-compatible
So it looks like the XAVC HD 4:2:2 or MPEG HD422 4:2:2 would be the best choice???? Not sure which one though...GAH!
Yeah, I saw that comparison on youtube, and the wide-angle thing is a point! I think the Canon is a bit pricier than the Sony.
For what it's worth, on my Sony camera the XAVC looks a lot better than the MPEG in that same 4:2:2 color space. It has a higher bitrate also. Maybe you can find out which codec you're considering has the higher bitrate.