i have a client that has just invested a substantial amount into a p2 workflow, from cameras to post (avid and fcp). i have worked for them as a freelance shooter for a number of years, and while i frequently use their equipment, i plan on buying an ex3 soon and would like to be able to use my gear (and charge for it) when the situation allows.
i'm concerned tho that their in-house post staff will be reluctant to deal with the files. as i understand it, even with the p2 files they have instructed production staff to "just shoot 1080/60i." it's not the job of production staff to understand camera specs and codec issues, and it's not the job of post-production to instruct them on the finer points of codec issues. and since the camera operators are all freelance, no intelligent dialogue ever takes place.
anyway, if i'm to be able to sell them on using my camera, i have to be able to assert that when i hand them files they're going to look and act just like their p2 derived files. i've gathered from what i've read here that XDCAM Transfer, and/or Clip Browser perform certain reformatting functions during the reading/transfer from the cards anyway.
how different will these files be when it comes time to import them into an fcp timeline that will be mostly populated by p2 derived files, and perhaps other tape-based hdv files?
[Michael Pruitt-Bruun]"how different will these files be when it comes time to import them into an fcp timeline that will be mostly populated by p2 derived files, and perhaps other tape-based hdv files? "
I'm not an Avid person but with FCP 6 different video formats now live happily in the same timeline. How it works is:
You create a sequence for the video format you have the most clips of. In your case it would be some flavor of DVCPRO HD since the majority of the footage comes from P2. Drop your XCDAM clips into the timeline along side everything else and FCP will conform the clips to match the sequence settings. Depending on the speed of the editing system all the various clip formats can be edited unrendered right up to the end of the edit.
Beforehand, native EX .mp4 files can even be re-wrapped to MOV format on another computer and the converted files can then be transferred to the editing station via portable FW or even USB drives. The fastest way to transfer from SxS Pro memory card to hard drive is to do the initial transfer using the Express 34 slot of a Macbook Pro. I can transfer an hour's worth of video shot at the highest quality EX setting in about 5-6 minutes. A windows laptop with an Express slot is probably similar although I've never had the opportunity to test one.
[Michael Pruitt-Bruun]"will fcp treat the clips as generic MOV files regardless of camera settings? "
Everything the EX shoots is converted to MOV format for editing in FCP. However, I wouldn't presume to catagorize the MOV files as "generic" because in order to view and edit EX files in FCP you must have these minimum requirements present on the computer doing the actual edit:
Mac OS v.10.4.11
Quicktime Player v.7.3.1
If you want the editing computer to actually import and re-wrap the native .mp4 files to .mov files then you also need these minimum requirements:
Sony FAM driver (so the computer sees the camera or card as an attached device)
Sony Transfer Tool v.2.5.1 (to import and re-wrap the clips for FCP)
Sony Clip Browser v.1.0 (not necessary for editing but still an important tool to have)
The above Sony stuff is free and available at the Sony web site.