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Missing HD SxS clips after direct to FCP log and transfer

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Dewayne Rudd
Missing HD SxS clips after direct to FCP log and transfer
on Oct 26, 2008 at 4:18:10 pm

Hello,

This is my first post, and I'm a new user of the EX3 after a couple of years on the DVX100A. And, I'm finding I miss tapes because I think I lost 100 clips due to a rookie file transfer gaff in the field during high pressure/time sensitive work.

Sony PMW EX-3
32 GB SxS card
PROCESSOR: INTEL MAC
SYSTEM OS: MAC OS 10.5.x
RAM: 1GB+
MacBook pro
FCP 6.0 with EX3/SxS card transfer plug-in and updates
G-RAID 2 1500GB External Drive

I imported video clips from the 32GB SxS memory card directly into a Final Cut Pro 6.0 project using the Log and Transfer function. These clips were transferred through the laptop card slot directly to the G-RAID where the program was residing, because the laptop was nearly full from previous card downloads. I thought the project was finished, and then had an opportunity for an important interview, but all four of our 72GB worth of cards were full. I decided to delete some clips from the card to make room for the interview, reinserted into the SONY EX3 XDCAM, renumbered the card, and then filled the card once again with HD video clips. Then I imported into FCP as described above. Later, I found over 100 clips were missing from the end of the original card sequence. I'm guessing FCP either deleted or overwrote the 100 original clips with the clips I filmed the second time. I know the 100 clips were imported the first time as I watched them go into the G-RAID. Can you suggest a way to find the missing clips? Could they be in a cache somewhere on G-RAID, does G-RAID store all saved copies of a program somewhere (I did not rename the project with the second save and there are no autosaves I can find of FCP), or can you suggest a third party software program that might be able to locate the clips? Final Cut never asked if it was okay to overwrite the clips, or to delete them, and I did not do anything with the clips besides transfer them.

Perhaps the question I should ask is, what is the correct workflow to download clips in the field so cards can be re-used on a ten day documentary shoot? Fortunately, the present project can still be edited with the footage we have, but it goes from an outstanding doc to an adequate one.

Thanks for your help, and pardon me while I become ill...

Dewayne Rudd




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Don Greening
Re: Missing HD SxS clips after direct to FCP log and transfer
on Oct 26, 2008 at 4:50:45 pm

[Dewayne Rudd] "Perhaps the question I should ask is, what is the correct workflow to download clips in the field so cards can be re-used on a ten day documentary shoot?"

The answer to this question is easy: you physically drag the BPAV folder from each full card to a uniquely named folder on your G-RAID. Then, using Sony's Clip Browser software, you can view all your transferred clips without ever having to open Final Cut Pro or Sony's Transfer Tool. Think of a BPAV folder as the new video tape. Bring enough hard drives to your shoot to store all the BPAV folders from all your cards over the length of your shoot. By copying these folders you've just future-proofed yourself in case you get someone with a Windows machine to do some editing with your clips. Once you've viewed the copied clips from an SxS Pro card to make sure they're all there you can use your Macbook Pro to empty the card just by dragging that BPAV folder to the trash and emptying the trash.

It's after you get back to the studio you can use either Sony's Transfer Tool, or the Log and Transfer option in the latest version of FCP to actually transfer the clips and turn them into the MOV format that FCP uses to edit with. Viewing your clips with Sony's stand-alone Clip Browser app is also a lot faster than having to transcode the files with FCP/Sony Transfer Tool before you can view your clips and then delete the BPAV folder from the card for the next recording go-around.

Oh, and welcome to Creative COW, Dewayne.

- Don



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Dewayne Rudd
Re: Missing HD SxS clips after direct to FCP log and transfer
on Oct 26, 2008 at 5:27:52 pm

Hi Don,

Thanks for the welcome and the workflow. I guess there's no hope to solve the case of the missing clips? There was also a repeat of a sequence of ten clips for two separate cards, i.e. AB010 to AB020 and also a CD010 to CD020. I wouldn't think this was possible as the camera keeps a running tally of clips, even if the two letter ID is changed each time. And, the time was out of sequence...CD was shot after AB but is reversed after the log and transfer. New media equals new problems I suppose. Maybe I'm blessed to have whatever footage I managed to bring home. Didn't think it was possible to overwrite, record over, etc. Got complacent.

Dewayne



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Don Greening
Re: Missing HD SxS clips after direct to FCP log and transfer
on Oct 26, 2008 at 6:21:18 pm

[Dewayne Rudd] " or can you suggest a third party software program that might be able to locate the clips?"

Sure. If you have a copy of DiskWarrior it will find the existing directory on your G-RAID and build a new one from that plus anything else it may find. It may be that the clips are still there but not represented in the existing directory due to a corruption or whatever. I've never seen an instance of FCP or Sony Transfer Tool over-writing a clip name, essentially because each recorded clip has a unique filename. I'm not saying that it's impossible that clips can't get over-written, but I've been transferring EX clips for a year now and have never had this happen. If a hard drive's directory loses information about a file, then it may indeed allow a clip with the same filename to be written to the drive and in the process destroy a file that the directory doesn't know is already there.

At this point you don't have anything to lose by running DiskWarrior and it may find what you're looking for. Just don't call your client first before you try DiskWarrior.

[Dewayne Rudd] " And, the time was out of sequence...CD was shot after AB but is reversed after the log and transfer."

This actually happens to me a lot, at least when I use the Transfer Tool. Sometimes, a few of the clips don't display in a logical numerical way in the Transfer Tool window, but they're always there somewhere. I've only got FCP v.6.0.2 so I've never used the new EX log and transfer option available within FCP so I can't advise you there.

[Dewayne Rudd] "Maybe I'm blessed to have whatever footage I managed to bring home."

I suppose, but with a proven workflow and an almost religious (read: obsessive-compulsive) way of organizing imported clips you should be able to keep everything . And start keeping your BPAV folders unaltered on another backup drive. Then, if FCP screws up or directories get corrupted you have your original "video tapes" to fall back on. With the Sony Transfer Tool you can navigate to your archived BPAV folders and transfer to .mov format just like you were accessing an SxS Pro card.

- Don

Addition: I just remembered that the EX camera's file naming convention will at some point "roll its odometer" over and will start from square one again. So yes, you could observe the camera creating a duplicate filename in the future. I think it's when you get to 10,000 clips or something. I forget the number. The fix is to create your own custom naming convention in-camera to avoid this potential disaster. Doug Jensen from Vortex Media talks about this on the EX DVD training series.




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