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handing off EX-3 footage

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Ed Kukla
handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 2, 2008 at 3:09:55 pm

What methods are being used for quick in & out field shoots for freelance shooters?

Out of town producer wants to leave pronto to catch a flight, always running late. No time for transfering files. Easy way has been to hand off a tape and say thanks and goodbye.

Prices for the cards are coming down, I think it's down to about $60/hour card. I can see just handing the cards off and requiring them to return the cards ASAP. Of course ASAP can mean different things to different people. I was thinking of a dayly rental rate on the cards, perhaps $10/day/card. They keep the card for 2 weeks and it will cost them. They have the option of bringing their own cards.

Are any of you out there freelancing with EX cameras? As these cameras get more popular, this will have to be addressed in some way. Data wrangling in the field is messy & time comsuming. Easy for bigger productions with a budget for a dedicated data wrangler but not good for run N gun doco work.

What are you doing in this regard?


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olof ekbergh
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 2, 2008 at 8:13:19 pm

16 GB cards are still $700 or so, they hold about 57 minutes HQ footage. So I am not going to stock to many of them.

I find that transfers to a FW800 portable drive is about 6 to 8 times faster than real time. About 10 min per hour of footage. This is reasonable.

I like the idea of field producers bringing their own or renting them, maybe from a rental house, and putting it on clients account. Rule charges $50 per day for a 16GB SxS or P2 card.

The problem may be convincing the client of this.

Olof Ekbergh


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Chris Babbitt
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 2, 2008 at 8:24:42 pm

How about transferring to 16 or 32gb USB Thumb drives? Will those work?



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Stephen May
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 2, 2008 at 8:37:00 pm

I think that in the freelance world - many videographers are so hungry for work, that they are willing to transfer the SxS media to a hard drive for the client - and that's considered the lightest amount of work, leaving the editing and post to some other party. The hope for most videographers is that they will also end up putting the acquired footage together to produce a complete video, and then bill accordingly.

For the slice of videographers who specialize in camera acquisition, it will likely be more about the scenario you're describing, where they get the footage, or the interview, whatever - and then you could hand over the SxS card like you mentioned, except for those clients that do not work in the XDCAM workflow, they might be stuck.

I don't know if this sounds too accommodating, but I've had a relatively easy time of turning footage around by simply bringing my Macbook Pro and a firewire hard drive, (which may not be necessary for shorter shoots), and quickly transferring the clips using XDCAM Transfer software over to a folder on my hard drive, and then I burn it onto a DVD disc or even a Dual Layer DVD. By doing this, your client can access the clips on multiple systems and various workflows.

That said, I may be part of the trouble as clients come to expect this service, but I doubt that I'm alone in the way I'm handling the scenario where a client wants to walk away with the acquired shots. It will be interesting to see what others say about this. -s

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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Stephen May
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 2, 2008 at 9:57:06 pm

wow, this is entertaining; I'm responding to my own post!

What are you smoking - not much HD fits onto a DVD and only a wee bit more on a DL DVD! (actually I don't have split-personality disorder...) Seriously, a lot of the stuff I do is often short b-roll clips that do fit onto DVD's and DL DVD's, but if you're tasked with a talking head or long-doc format clips, obviously you'll be pushed into a Blue Ray disc or some external hard drive that you hand over to the client.

Parting with your SxS card is not the way to go, plus it's the XDCAM flow the client may not be up on, so it seems most reasonable to expense a drive (relatively very inexpensive) to the client. It can even be a USB2 drive as speed will not be key - they just need to move the files onto their system, not edit with it. So I agree with the earlier post about going with the drive and not the card. Keep the card, nobody gets your cards...

-s

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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olof ekbergh
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 2:52:19 am

Most of the times I hand off footage to clients at the end of a shoot they want Beta SP.

I have for years now kept them happy by fedexing a beta tape overnight, it will beat them back to the suite. And keeping the master for "safety". Clients like this, and more often than not I will also land some post production from the shoot.

For really time critical stuff we use FTP and compressed uploads or posts on our server.




Olof Ekbergh


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Steve Wargo
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 6:04:19 am

We stock those small 160Gb Western Digital USB drives that we can now buy for around $60. We have the Sony USB express card drive and transfer during the shoot using a MacBook Pro. After we're done, we dump the last card and they're off and running. We simply charge for the drive like we used to charge for tapes.

Most often, we have then bring a drive with them. We transfer the entire BPAV folders and it's their baby. Sometimes we arrange to leave a copy on our hard drive for 72 hours. Only once have we had to save someone with our backup. It was a $7500 wedding that we rented two EX-1s for and the guy dropped his hard drive, from about 6" off the table. We had just called him to let him know we were just about to delete his files when he started screaming. He dropped the drive when he was answering the phone.

In the past, I had my doubts about having a client's footage but it saved his bacon.






Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Ed Kukla
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 26, 2008 at 8:44:32 pm

"I think that in the freelance world - many videographers are so hungry for work, that they are willing to transfer the SxS media to a hard drive for the client - and that's considered the lightest amount of work, leaving the editing and post to some other party. The hope for most videographers is that they will also end up putting the acquired footage together to produce a complete video, and then bill accordingly."

I was re-reading this thread and caught that comment.
I've been a professional cinematographer for about 20 years and I never edit. I specialize in making nice pictures for good clients and they hire professional editors to put another set of eyes to the project. Kind of like they do it in real life. Your post makes it sound like us who work like this are 'hungry for work'. If I was illiterate of this business I'd say you are describing a jack of all trades and master of none. But I won't go there, I'm sure that doesn't apply to all the 'videographers' out there.


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Don Greening
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 6:32:22 am

I was about to add my 2 bits to this thread but then Steve posted his reply and said just about everything I was going to. Now I don't have to type so much.

The very first thing you need to find out from your client is what they plan to edit the the XDCAM stuff with: Windows machine, Mac, which NLE they use, how recent is it, etc. etc. How they answer will determine how you hand them the XDCAM media.

To be compatible with the most number of post houses the hard drive should be formatted in FAT32, which is the formatting that can be read by both Mac and Windows platforms. Surprisingly enough, this is also the same formatting used by the SxS Pro memory cards. Then it's just a simple matter of dragging the BPAV folder from the card over to the hard drive, which is now just a lot bigger version of a card but with moving parts.

[Ed Kukla] "Data wrangling in the field is messy & time comsuming."

That's subjective. With my Macbook Pro and a FW drive I can offload a full 16 Gbyte card in about 5 1/2 minutes. You've got what, an extra laptop bag with everything you need to transfer the cards in the bag. The big downer for tapeless as opposed to tape is that you can't write on the hard drive you're about to hand the client like you could with a tape cassette. Important stuff like recording format, tape number, etc. I guess you could email them a shot list later.

Like Stephen May has already said: "Nobody gets your cards." But you can charge them for the hard drive. They get their money back if they return it and it's still working.

- Don



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Steve Connor
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 8:17:33 am

[Don Greening] "The big downer for tapeless as opposed to tape is that you can't write on the hard drive you're about to hand the client like you could with a tape cassette. Important stuff like recording format, tape number, etc. I guess you could email them a shot list later. "

Yes you can, create a new folder for each BPAV Folder and label it Card135mbs720 or Card225mbs1080 etc

Portable USB hard drives are the way to go, quick transfer and cheap price.



Steve Connor
Adrenalin Television

Have you tried "Search Posts"? Enlightenment may be there.


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Ed Kukla
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 11:15:05 am

It's interesting that none of you responded to my comment that cards recording an hour can be had for under $100.
On another website there is described a well tested method of using CF cards that cost less than $60 with an adapter that fits the slots in the EX. Only hangup is you can't shoot over 40 fps. Considering the cost of HD tape, this is just as cost effective and totally eliminates the need for data transfer. Don't know if I am allowed to link to other websites.


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Michael Slowe
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 11:50:28 am

Ed, this seems to be dangerous, there are many instances of nasty surprises as to the performance of these cheaper cards. If Sony could do their card cheaper I'm sure they would. It's like trying to save money on tape, it just might be a false economy. I'm going with a Drobo drive to off load the BPAV files pending editing. Probably will also need a cheap portable drive for field off loads if it's a long shoot away from base.

Michael Slowe


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Ed Kukla
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 4:10:44 pm

nasty suprises with CF cards? I hope the millions of professional still photographers who use CF know about this.


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Chris Cardno
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 4:35:50 pm

The issue is the write speed, not the actual CF card technology. There are already some questions about which cards and readers you can and can't use -- I'd hate to tell a client that the shoot was a bust because we cheaped out on the recording media.

As for data wrangling, we've been lucky so far in that the clients who have requested tapeless know and understand the workflow, they are willing to wait for the transfer. However, with the transfer speeds being what they are, and we usually have the MacBook ready to go, the last card is usually dumped before the producer has finished schmoozing with the interviewee, grabbed his jacket, run to the bathroom and returned the 12 very urgent calls that came in during the 20 minute interview... :-)

The one rule we do have, though, is that the client either brings their own hard drive or they are going to be buying one of ours -- we don't do returns.



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Don Greening
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 3, 2008 at 7:21:02 pm

[Chris Cardno] "The issue is the write speed, not the actual CF card technology."

Absolutely. The requirements for variable bit rate MPEG2 recording are quite different than the requirements for "millions of professional still photographers" using a third party CF card. Sony is testing these CF cards all the time and they've yet to put their seal of approval on any of them because they fail to meet the requirements for sustained transfer rates.

This is why JVC has adopted the SxS Pro Memory Card technology with a license from Sony and will be using it with future video cameras.

- Don



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Ed Kukla
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 4, 2008 at 12:40:16 pm

Sorry, I misspoke...it's SDHC cards that are being used with success in the EX cameras.


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Curt Pair
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 6, 2008 at 2:39:05 am

We do the same thing as Steve Wargo. We buy a small USB hard Drive, and copy the ENTIRE BPAV folder to the drive.

I've made small text files to include the info: Shoot date, format, frame rate, crew names/contact etc.

I've also gone the "folder" with the name/format route.

You can also purchase stickers from Pro Label that can be filled out, and then taken off at a later date (non-permanent).

Just find a route that works for you and more importantly, your client.

I couldn't agree more... DO NOT GIVE THE CARDS TO THE CLIENT! We've had some "other types" of flash media take as long as two months to get back, and the client refused to pay for the "rental" of the cards.

Curt Pair
Picture This Productions
Sony ICE Team
F900/F350/700/EX1/EX3/D790/D600
Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 HD/Matrox
Phoenix, AZ


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Simon Wyndham
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 14, 2008 at 9:31:20 am

I have been thinking about this dilemma a lot recently. It has occurred to me that if you use the SDHC recording method instead of SxS you could just hand over the card at the end and just charge it as media. The cost of the types of SDHC cards that work with this method are not hugely different to the cost of XDCAM discs a couple of years ago. Admittedly you may be talking £25 for 16GB rather than £20 for 23GB (a couple of years ago. The discs are much cheaper now). But I still think it is very doable.



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Don Greening
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 14, 2008 at 9:49:28 am

[Simon Wyndham] "But I still think it is very doable."

Absolutely, although most of our clients are using post houses that have not started down the shining path of tapeless acquisition yet. They're still stuck in Mini-DV and DigiBeta land, so we apprach each project by first finding out what they can edit with and end up cross converting to a more widely used format. We put that on a FAT32 formatted USB hard drive (usually on site) and build the cost of the drive into our price.

- Don



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Joe Tyler
Re: handing off EX-3 footage
on Dec 18, 2008 at 8:09:25 pm

My solution. I have my PC based laptop with a built in Express card reader and dual hard drives. I copy all data simultaneously to both drives. Remove the second drive (single screw in bottom of laptop), place hard drive into a shell and hand off. 80GB ~ $20. Any client can handle that. The custom laptop ran about $1400 from HP.
The hard drives can be mounted on the editor's computer and has a USB 2.0 connection.


hope that helps



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