Thursday, December 01, 2005

XDCam - The Disc

It's has been 14 months since I was handed my brand new Sony XDCam and I'm still in love. Shhhhhh, don't tell my wife.

To all TV Photojournalists that still use tape, whether it's Beta or a DV derivative, I just want to say, I am sorry. I just read Newshutr's post about a problem with a machine eating his freshly shot trailer fire and a chill went down my spine.

XD Disc (3)

Because even more impressive than that awesome digital picture and superior low light capability of my XD rig is the robust and eternal nature of the XDCam Professional Disc. At $30 per disc they seem a little pricey (not that I have to buy them), but considering they hold 90 minutes of footage they are at par with $10 Betacam tapes that hold 30 minutes of footage.

XD Disc (1)

But what really matters to me is that if I were using a Betacam tape I would only be able to re-record on it about 5 times before ugly trash started showing up on my tape, and I'm not talking about the kind you find down at the local trailer park. When I was using tape they used to have to pry old, debris trashed, head clogging tape, out of my hands or I might have used and re-used 15 or 20 times, sometimes several years from it's first use. I used to always get razzed for putting trashy video on the air.

XD Disc

Now with the XDCam, there is limitless amounts of re-recording onto the disc with no ill-effect to the quality of the digital image. I am still using the very first set of discs I recieved with my XDCam. I have put roughly 50 passes on my most used disc with no problem. And I am not aware that any of my XD toting co-workers have had a single problem with a discs.

That $30 dollars is starting to seem like pennies now. Not that I have to buy them, but you know what I mean.


Chris Morton said...

I've got a special suprise for the camera box 2 flights up. You know I think the interns have gotten to use the XDCAM over me. That pisses me off, you really suck you know. Well all of your fancy video gets dubbed down to file tape so I would say that the BetaCam machine had the last laugh.

Anonymous said...

I'll add to this love affair of the disc-- with one piece of advice. Make sure you flip the record tab after you've shot your story. It takes less than 5 seconds to erase an entire disc, and it's quite easy to accidentally erase one (as Chris and I know so well) both in the camera and in one of the players. Otherwise, this is one of the best things to happen to electronic newsgathering in a long time... especially in space conservation. Whereas we used to use up 7-8 beta tapes with one of my projects, we now only need a couple of discs!

Neill McNeill

Unknown said...

Another thing to remember is to erase the disc before begining a new shoot(unless you are continuing a shoot or saving the footage on the disc on purpose but are adding to it.). I got to my football game last night and started shooting, got the first touchdown and THEN NOTICED I only had 15 minutes left on the disc. Since you have to erase from the end going backwards I was screwed, but luckily I got what I needed with a little careful shooting, but I got the final touchdown for my highlights with less than a minute left on the disc. !: