Friday, June 24, 2011

Travel in France and Paris with Sony XR350

Hi folks, it has been quite a while since I last posted. I have been using the Sony camcorder on and off but not in any great extend. I used it a fair bit in May during my daughter's marriage registration in Perth. However, I was able to use the Sony on a daily basis recently when I went on a 14 days Cosmos Tour of France where I also did a bit more of Paris on my own which added another 6 days to the trip.

Both myself and the Sony survived the journey and I am recalling my trip in my new travel blog, Cosmos Tour of France and Paris holiday, where new posts are still being added. With 160GB of hard disk space available on the Sony, I was really trigger happy with my video shooting and I ended up with about 100GB of data which is about 12 hours worth of videos. The headache starts when I got home to do the sorting and editing. It is a bit too much to handle.

What I then did was just to capture relevant frames from my videos progressively as I posted the story of my travels in my Blog. You can see the photos there and I have also posted some short clips on YouTube which are linked in my Blog and I have also linked them here as well below. These are just trimmed from the original videos that I have taken. For all these, I have used the supplied software, PMB. I only wish that it has a merge function for joining videos. Anyway, hope you will enjoy these videos and the extracted photos in my Travel Blog.

More photos and videos will be added as my Travel Blog progresses. Comments and enquiries are welcome.

Ronald Kwok

Thursday, August 5, 2010

more on Direct Copy

After getting the proprietary USB adaptor cable, I was able to test out the Direct Copy function.
The good news is that it works, the better news is that it works for both self-powered (using AC) HDD i.e. the 3.5" type and also USB powered HDD, i.e. the 2.5" variety. This is a big improvement over the Sanyo HD2000 where the similar function will only work with self-powered HDD and thus the much smaller USB powered HDD is ruled out. Another point to note is that the Sony camcorder must be on AC power, presumably this will avoid files lost in case it run out of power if on battery.

For my test, I used a Maxtor Basics, 640GB external HDD that is AC powered. This came preformatted in NTFS and the camcorder programme suggested to reformat the HDD to FAT32. It took about 40 seconds for the formatting.

It then asks if you want to Play or Play Without Copying.

If you access the Menu when an external HDD is connected, you'll find an item, Easy Copy under the Edit group. You will use to copy videos to the HDD. The camcorder will first calculate the necessary space for HD movie copy. In my case it took about 3 minutes since there were about 100GB of videos and then the copying starts. This took quite a while and luckily there was a progressive timeline on the camcorder that also shows the elapsed time. In my case it took about 2 hours and 15 minutes and this seems to be faster than a Windows copy that I did earlier which took about 3 hours. (Not sure of the actual timing since I just left it to run but definitely it took longer earlier.)

Three folders are created in the HDD; they are AVCHD, DCIM and PRIVATE. Photos are stored in a subfolder under DCIM and videos are stored in the subfolder STREAM under AVCHD as .mts files. This file structure is same as the one on the build-in HDD and thus you can play and manipulate them on the camcorder just like they are on the built-in HDD or SDHC card.

When the HDD is connected to a PC installed with PMB, the programme recognises it and offer to import the files over as if the camcorder is connected.

This Direct Copy function is not so useful for me since the XR350 already has a 160GB built-in HDD. For other models that uses only SDHC cards, it would be very useful when going on long holidays since you can copy your files to an external HDD without the need of a PC and freed the SDHC card for more videos. Thus you need not carry a lot of SDHC cards.

Ronald Kwok

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sample photos from XR350

A reader asked for some sample photos from the Sony XR350 so below are samples that I took this afternoon. Nothing spectacular, as it is normal with camcorders. Also the sky was overcast so it doesn't help.

This one is taken at wide angle.

The same scene taken at mid-zoom or thereabouts.

This is taken at full zoom.

My hobby is macro photos so I just cannot resist when this moth came around. This is taken with normal macro at wide angle.

And this is taken at zoom macro, i.e. at full zoom so it may have fallen outside the focus range.

The original photos were taken at 5.3M size but reduced to 2M for uploading in Blogger. Only the iAuto (full auto) mode was used in all the photos.

I use the XR350 primarily for videos and if I need photos, I'll just capture them from the videos. Below are some examples of photos that were extracted from the videos using the supplied software, Picture Motion Browser (PMB). These are the better examples as the quality will depend on minimal motion in the videos.

All the photos are unedited and taken straight from the videos. Don't think they will win any prizes but good for the memories, though. Cheers

Ronald Kwok