And the beauty of the whole set up is that if you are running the operation on your own, you have everything you need in front of you, screen and mixer. You can adjust cameras from your seat with the RM-30BP remote, controlling zoom, focus and exposure. If you have got camera operators, then you can even send them a tally signal so they know their camera is on-air. The workload is designed to be simple and accessible so you don’t need lots of people. The user-friendliness of the kit was best illustrated in our scenario by how our team multi-tasked. Individuals could present in the morning and be the live producer in the afternoon.
We also appreciated all the recording options provided by the MCX-500. You can record directly to an SD card in the switcher itself or to an external recorder, in either case all the cuts and transitions are captured so we could hand over a complete recording of the show as soon as it ended. For this application Sony recommend SD, SDHC or SDXC Class 4 cards or better. The 94MBps cards work particularly well and a single 32GB SD card can record a little over 3½ hours footage at 1080/50i (17Mbps).
For many people a live broadcast and/or SD card recording would be the end of a project. However, the MCX-500 also gave us the ability to take that master show recording and create an alternate cut in post-production, upconverting from 50i to 50P to really show off the cameras’ quality. Yet more options came from the dual record function, with each camcorder making its own internal recording independent of the MCX-500. A valuable back-up and source of additional footage if a client asked for alternate cuts.
The MCX 500’s size and price is deceptive. We didn’t have need to use them, but we had Chroma Key, Streaming and Picture in Picture functions available to us. Also – and I really liked this too – the remote RM-30BP can send a ‘standby’ and a ‘record’ tally indicator direct to the camera’s LCD so the operator knows his or her camera’s status in real time.
Looking back on the shoot, I felt that the MCX-500 truly delivered on its concept; enabling three enthusiastic, but youthful media interns to shoot a live event with multiple camera angles and deliver broadcast quality coverage. All with minimal training and using kit at an entry-level price-point that’s remarkable to a broadcast veteran such as myself.
Video Producer/Director Maleena Pone handled presentation duties and also shot with the NX5R.