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XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability

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thefabman
XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 5, 2006 at 4:43:25 pm

I have a question regarding the use of the XDCAM and FCP.

I am trying to resolve an issue with importing and playing back XDCAM media (.MXF files).

After much research it seems the best solution on paper is to use Flip4Mac's XDCAM file converter for FCP 5.

After downloading a trial verison of Flip4Mac's XDCAM converter for FCP, i discovered that some strange things were happening to the files that i imported.

Firstly the files i imported only contained 1 mono audio track.
Secondly the files were converted into a HDV codec.

The original footage was recorded on a Sony XDCAM HD with 2 channels of audio.

I then transferred the MXF files via firewire onto my mac. Then, using a demo version of Flip4Macs XDCAM conversion software, I attempted to "unwrap" the .MXF file and convert them into QT. Then drop them in an FCP 5.0 application.

Once "unwrapped", the files appeared in FCP as .mov with a HDV 1080i50 codec and the audio was only one channel mono. Also, the files in the sequence would only playback in real time once i set the sequence settings to match that of the imported MXF files - now in .mov HDV1080i50 format.

The sequence reported that real time playback was possible - even so, playback was jerky - even though FCP required no rendering. The files simply wouldn't play nice. (This is on an iMac Core Duo 2GHZ with 2GB RAM and a 256MB graphics card).

The QT files also dont play natively in QT with an error of "unsupported codec" appearing.

My questions are......

Why is the audio mono?

Why is it imported in HDV codec?

Can I change the converter setting into an uncompressed form that does the least harm to the quality of my picture?

I was simply after an uncompressed conversion of my .MXF files that I could playback in realtime in my FCP 5.0 application. What do I need in order to achieve this and what is the cheapest option for me?

My Director and I have researched a number of ways trying to overcome this XDCAM/.MXF to quicktime FCP issue. I want to purchase the full version of the software but I also want to ensure that it will work.

After reading copious web chats a simply solution would be greatly appreciated.

Thx for your advice.




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Nate Weaver
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 6, 2006 at 3:10:36 am

Couple things:

-XDCAM HD is MPEG-2, 1440x1080, a variant of HDV. For all intents and purposes to Final Cut, XDCAM HD *is* HDV. Except without oll the hassles HDV tape capture entails.

-Try the Sony software to bring in the clips. The Flip4Mac plug was buggy when I tested it, and I did have issues with audio tracks with it. The Sony software, which I've already used for a paying job, seems to be very solid.

The Flip4Mac software also manipulated the reported clip resolution to Quicktime, but not the actual resolution itself.

In short, reimport using the Sony software and get back to us.


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Mike Allen
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 7, 2006 at 12:59:00 pm

Can't all of this be avoided by using a Kona or (decklink)card. One could capture directly to a codec like DVCPro100 and get away from the HDV intra frame issues all together. What do you think?

Mike


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Nate Weaver
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 8, 2006 at 6:23:17 am

That would be to throw away all the advantages of XDCAM, and introduce a recompression of the footage. Not very desirable, but if all else failed it WOULD solve the problem.

The XDCAM HD/Sony software flow works in FCP, I'm using it now. If he just troubleshoots correctly he can get it working the way it's supposed to.


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Mike Allen
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 8, 2006 at 2:49:12 pm

I know this compression is much like the HDV used by many prosumer camcorders on the market. I hear of long conform times and a not so smooth edit because of the long GOP's. I thought that by using DVCPro100 I could avoid some of these issues. Are you saying the the XDCam codec is better and easier to work with after config. in FCP? I do understand that not recompressing is a good idea, but it seems the benefits may be worth it.

Mike


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Nate Weaver
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 9, 2006 at 2:51:56 am

Not so smooth edit? What? Man, there is a lot of misinformation out there on MPEG2 editing. HDV codec is FCP works just like DV for the most part.

Conforming is what you do if you need to lay back out to HDV tape or, if the urge struck you, XDCAM disc. The thing is though is that not so many folks will take a final product of HDV tape and even fewer will take an XDCAM disc. So I wouldn't base a decision on working in HDV codec on that.

In FCP, if you cut in HDV codec natively, apply your effects and graphics, and then render out a final uncompressed 10-bit 1080p24 Quicktime, and then lay THAT to HDCAM or DVCPRO HD tape, you'll have the best possible flow period. This path incurs absolutely no recompression of the HDV, and keeps it as pristine as humanly possible.

All the flows that require ingesting via DVCPRO HD, incur at least one recompression, and if you're not careful, 2.


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mschirad
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 10, 2006 at 2:12:51 pm

I'm using HDV 25 XDCam HD footage on a Quad G5, and I'm trying to export to HDCam HD disk our hour and 7 minute program. It's telling me 11 hours of writing video to disk, which is something I'd expect for HDV conforming, but.....I thought I did a "conform" render yesterday already.

I started the export process overnight, but at some point it crashed FCP; no idea why. So I've started all over again.

I'm looking for ideas why an XDCam HD export might crash, and why it seems....seems as if it wants to conform/render the entire sequence from the beginning even though that render process has already happened.

And yes, I left the "re-render" option unchecked on the XDCam HD export dialog box.

Any insights would be helpful, since I'm on a deadline to finish tonight.

thanks

mschirad
http://www.wmaeug.ent
616-970-4542
WZZM 13


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Timothy Duncan
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 14, 2006 at 4:30:12 am

It is a huge advantage to edit with the native MXF files, but unfortunately, it's not possible to use the full quality HQ mode and edit in Final Cut without treating the source like a video tape. For whatever reason, the software only supports HDV in it's current release. (Which is the 25 mbit mode).

I prefer PC based editing and have a great solution using Matrox Axio. I can source MXF, HDV, and uncompressed all in the same project easily with no rendering, even for print to tape. I can choose whatever formats I want to render to, should rendering be needed. XDCAM is a great for acquisition, but we don't normally master back to it. (We usually master back to HDCam). If a client does need XDCAM masters, it's faster for us just to send HD-SDI out to the deck and record back to XDCAM HD in the HQ mode. (Only mode we use). You can export an MXF that can be put back to disc, but it is definitely faster to go HD-SDI since this is real-time.

I think DVCProHD is only good for acquisition as well. It's a terrible thing to recompress into DVCPro in my opinion. Just do a comparison of some good clean uncompressed HD footage before and after compressing into DVCProHD. Take a look at noise and detail. D5 or HDCamSR is the best final master. Of course, you do what you budget allows.


td


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Jay Chance
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 14, 2006 at 11:59:45 pm

As far as a work flow, if you need to do some compositing in lets say After Effects... Does the XDcam codec hold up to re-rendering? We are also working in FCP and I don't want to shoot at the 25mb option. We are planning on buying the Sony 350 and I was told that they would have a solution for the HQ mode (35mb) and FCP in the near future. For now I was planning on bringing the footage in through our Kona LHe card and working in 8bit uncompressed for now. But, I'm curious if anybody has done any compositing with the Sony codec.


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Nate Weaver
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 17, 2006 at 1:29:49 am

I wouldn't ever recompress to the HDV codec, unless I had no other choice. Or the quality didn't matter.


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Timothy Duncan
Re: XDCAM MXF FCP isues with compatability
on Aug 21, 2006 at 3:45:48 am

Yes -- I agree with Nate. No reason to ever re-compress back to the MPEG2. Use it for acquisition only. Source from it in editing and compositing, but render to uncompressed, or MPEG2I-Frame. You can go back to XDCAM-HD for archiving, but we only do it as a backup. We normally master out to HDCam.

For chroma key work, we have found the XDCAM-HD at HQ (35mbit) to be every bit as clean (actually cleaner in my opinion) than the F900 on HDCam. On paper I know it's not supposed to be, but our testing and shooting has proven otherwise to us.

td


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