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EX-1 workflow questions

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Mick Haensler
EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 2:10:22 pm

First off, this camera rocks!!! Plain and simple. I've had mine for 4 days now and have shot in various lighting situations both indoors and out in a multitude of formats including over and under cranking and the footage is simply amazing for a camera at this price point. Ergonomically it's a bit funky but I can deal with that considering the image quality and flexibility. But I digress. Here's my dilemna.

I think the storage cards will be dropping in price dramatically over the next 6 months and I don't want to spend a small mint on them now if I can realize a significant savings by waiting a bit. My thought is instead to put that money into a low end Macbook that I can carry with me to offload footage during shoots. My tests show a full 8 gig card can be offloaded in about 10 minutes via USB and I assume quite a bit faster on a machine with an Express slot. I could then network the laptop with my Mac back at the studio and transfer the footage for editing. One of the advantages here is being able to view footage with the client on full screen right on sight. However, I've been offloading test footage to my lowly PC laptop running the Sony software and can't get smooth playback at full or even half resolution, only quarter resolution which looks like doodoo. So how beefy a machine will I need to view full or half resolution smoothly. And how fast can I transfer an 8 gig card onto a machine with an Express slot???

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 4:03:09 pm

I'm hearing Express slot xfers at 10x so a 8GB card with 25 minutes of video (full at 35mbps) should take about 2.5 to 3 minutes to xfer.

So far I've only used USB on my PPC and Intel Macs and find about 2x from PPC and 4x from Intel (a lowly Mac Mini no less) when dragging the contents of the SxS cards. The speeds are slower when using the Sony XDCAM xfer software. I haven't tried the clip browser which works on Intel Mac but not PPC compatible.

Now I wish for an Express slot adaptor for Mac Pro (PCIe) which I will eventually get. Apple, somebody HAS to understand the importance of having an Express slot on a DESKTOP for this kind of work!

While editing with FCP 6.0.2 on my PPC G5 Dual 2.3 is a breeze, playing back the same files (XDCAM converted to mov with xfer software) is slow at full frame size. 720p60 plays at 10fps (Use Play All Frames in Quicktime 7.3.1).

You'll need a MacBookPro (not MacBook) which has Express Slot (MacBooks don't). There's going to be at least 1, possibly 3 new laptops announced at Macworld in about two weeks.

I'd love a 13.3" MacBookPro rather than the current 15" for greater portability. My fantasy workflow option is being able to shoot, ingest into laptop and burn the client a DVD-DL with Sony Clip Browser so client can walk with disc masters if they'd want.


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Mick Haensler
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 5:51:24 pm

[Craig Seeman] "While editing with FCP 6.0.2 on my PPC G5 Dual 2.3 is a breeze, playing back the same files (XDCAM converted to mov with xfer software) is slow at full frame size. 720p60 plays at 10fps (Use Play All Frames in Quicktime 7.3.1)."


So if I understand you, your not getting full playback on your system?? I'll be editing on a dual quad core 3.0 with 4 gigs of ram outputting from a Kona card. I really hope I can get full frame full motion. I haven't ordered the system but will be in the next few days. I need to call my sales rep at Promax and find out.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media




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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 6:36:40 pm

[Mick Haensler] "So if I understand you, your not getting full playback on your system?? "

Editing is smooth as silk. Playback in Final Cut Pro is good. FCP is obviously scaling for optimal playback (as it should). Even using full screen Cinema Display from FCP handles full frame rate.

Quicktime, independent of FCP, can't handle playback though. Thus I'd need to play from within FCP for me (and clients) to see the video at full frame rate.

Of course I plan on getting a MacPro as well as MacBookPro but Macworld may bring some announcements.

As an interesting test I might check on my Intel Mac Mini. I have a hunch the Intels will handle this much better than my aging Dual 2.3GHz G5.


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Don Greening
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 7:00:17 pm

Mick,

I'm using a dual core 3 Ghz Mac Pro 8 Gigs RAM, X1900XT grfx card. XDCAM native .mov files will play just fine at full frame 1920x1080 using Quicktime as a stand alone app. FYI the fact that I've got 3 750gig internal media drives configured as RAID 0 might also have something to do with full frame playback. I'm also watching playback on an Apple 30" Cinema display, which is even harder on the grfx card.

- Don


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Mick Haensler
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 8:14:21 pm

[Don Greening] "I'm using a dual core 3 Ghz Mac Pro 8 Gigs RAM, X1900XT grfx card. XDCAM native .mov files will play just fine at full frame 1920x1080 using Quicktime as a stand alone app. FYI the fact that I've got 3 750gig internal media drives configured as RAID 0 might also have something to do with full frame playback. I'm also watching playback on an Apple 30" Cinema display, which is even harder on the grfx card."

Hey Don

Your machine has the exact same specs as the one I'm about to order except for the 8 gigs ram, I'll only have 4. As I'm brand new to Mac, I
don't really understand the difference between viewing from the FCP timeline and "QT as a standalone app". Could you elaborate?? You also say your using "native .MOV files", how are you reencoding? The files are coming into the Sony browser software as MP4 files. Also, I'll be using 2 Dell 24" displays, one for editing, the other receiving component out from the Kona card. Anyone forsee any issues.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media






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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 8:48:09 pm

[Mick Haensler] "I
don't really understand the difference between viewing from the FCP timeline and "QT as a standalone app". Could you elaborate??"


When using the Sony XDCAM transfer utility it rewraps the .mp4 files with .mov. There's NO encoding at all going on. It's simply rewraps the file at full resolution (no loss at all).

FCP is capable of playing the files in browser, viewer (timeline) and in Cinema mode at full frame rates. I'm sure it's doing some internal scaling to make sure that happens.

If I take the same .mov that the Sony XDCAM transfer tool makes and play that in Quicktime 7.3.1 at full frame size and frame rate, it drops frames at a constant rate.

Mind you this is on my nearly 3 year old Dual 2.3 GHz G5. This would NOT be the case on a current Intel Mac Quad.


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Mick Haensler
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 9:14:09 pm

Thanks Craig, I'm assuming by Sony transfer utility you mean the clip browsing software that came with the camera. As I don't have my Mac yet I've been using the software on a PC laptop just to be able to view some clips. On the PC version it doesn't rewrap the clips as .mov files, I think that's what was confusing me. I take it the browsing software does this rewrap automatically in the Mac version as I could find nothing in the software manual eluding to it.

I tell ya, switching to Mac and shooting tapeless is making me feel like a big dummy. Glad I've got some time for training set aside.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 9:47:06 pm

[Mick Haensler] "'m assuming by Sony transfer utility you mean the clip browsing software that came with the camera"

Nope. There's an XDCAM Transfer Utility that one downloads from the Sony site for Final Cut Pro. It works with the EX1 as well as XDCAM disc cameras.

The Clip Browser also works on (Intel) Macs but that's not an FCP ingest plugin. If you're using the Clip Browser on Windows I understand there's already been an update to that version.

I haven't played with the Clip Browser enough yet but my understanding is that one might use that on a MacBookPro (Mac version of Clip Browser of course) to copy files from SxS to something to get it off the card whereas the XDCAM Transfer Utility is specifically to rewrap both .mp4 and .mxf (from XDCAM discs) to .mov. It can be used as a stand alone app or as a plugin in FCP.

My understanding is that about the only NLE easier to use with these clips than FCP is Sony Vegas (of course given it's a Sony NLE).


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Mick Haensler
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 3, 2008 at 11:52:30 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Nope. There's an XDCAM Transfer Utility that one downloads from the Sony site for Final Cut Pro. It works with the EX1 as well as XDCAM disc cameras."

Once again thanks, you've been a great help. Next time I'm in NYC I'll take ya out for a cold one or two....alright three then.

Unfortunately I won't be able to set up the Mac system until the new studio is finished. I'm hauling boxes into storage right now in preperation for the painter tomorrow. I spent 3 hours with the cabinetmaker last night designing the workstations. It's going to be a busy month.

FYI.... by using a local cabinetmaker to build the work areas I'm saving major $$$$$, and I get exactly what I want!!!

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 4, 2008 at 1:24:36 am

Make absolutely sure you don't have any ground issues or hum showing up in strange places.

Set up a Mac in your home. You won't regret it. Or maybe get a MacBookPro you can take home (and out on shoots with the camera).

What are you doing specifically in designing an IT workflow given that's the workflow for the EX1.

Are you handling access to the files through a server of some sort for example?

How are you handling data archival?


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Mick Haensler
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 4, 2008 at 2:53:36 am

[Craig Seeman] "Make absolutely sure you don't have any ground issues or hum showing up in strange places.

"The studio" has been a commercial/project recording studio for the past 5 years with seperate and conditioned power, no hums or buzzes to speak of.

Set up a Mac in your home. You won't regret it. Or maybe get a MacBookPro you can take home (and out on shoots with the camera).

I've been considering a MacBookPro to take on shoots and back up footage, don't think the budget will withstand and extra $2000 though.

What are you doing specifically in designing an IT workflow given that's the workflow for the EX1.

The MacPro will only be handling creative tasks, mostly video and sound design. I have a 16 track Tascam SX-1 Digital Audio Workstation for straight recording, it outputs broadcast wav files which should be compatible with any software. Office duties and Internet will be handled by a couple of trusty PC's already in use for such tasks.

Are you handling access to the files through a server of some sort for example?

No, don't have a need yet.

How are you handling data archival?"

This remains to be seen. For the time being, I'll back up to DVD-DL seeing as an 8 gig SxS card will fit perfectly on one. We'll see what the third party developers come up with this year.

Great questions. How are you handling these issues, I'm open to any and all suggestions. Man I love The Cow...you just can't beat peer input.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media





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Mark Palmos
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 6, 2008 at 7:35:01 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I'd love a 13.3" MacBookPro rather than the current 15" for greater portability."

i hear ya, but seeing full pixel for pixel 1920x1080 on a 17 inch macbook pro is simply deeeevine....

Mick,
on a mac you need the XDCAM transfer utility to copy the stuff off the disk, and XCCAM EX Clip Browser to delete all the clips to carry on shooting on that stick.

really its better to have FCP on the laptop and ingest directly there because you will not have to import the clips separately. There is a bug however where you get 2 or 4 icons instead of one when ingesting to FCP.

mark.


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Mick Haensler
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 9, 2008 at 2:16:18 am

[Mark Palmos] "really its better to have FCP on the laptop and ingest directly there because you will not have to import the clips separately. There is a bug however where you get 2 or 4 icons instead of one when ingesting to FCP."

Even so, I won't be editing on a laptop. I will still have to transfer the clips over to the desktop once back at the studio. I don't see the advantages of capturing into FCP on the laptop and having to pay for the extra seat of FCP. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media





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Andy Nagel
Re: EX-1 workflow questions
on Jan 8, 2008 at 10:54:33 pm

[Craig Seeman] "ar I've only used USB on my PPC and Intel Macs and find about 2x from PPC and 4x from Intel (a lowly Mac Mini no less) when dragging the contents of the SxS cards. The speeds are slower when using the Sony XDCAM xfer software. I haven't tried the clip browser which works on Intel Mac but not PPC compatible"

I have a Dual 2.0Ghz PPC G5. Sounds like the Sony Clip Browser will not work with this hardware. Can I still transfer SxS card files into FCP6.0.2 via USB with the XDCAM xfer plugin, copy the (rewrapped) .mov files to DVD or HD for archive, and erase the SxS card for reuse with the camera? Or is it better to drag the .mp4 files from the card to an archival hard drive, then import to FCP via XDCAM plug in? I'm struggling to see if I can use this camera immediately without buying a new Intel MacPro or MacBookPro, or both.


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