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XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues

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David Mueller
XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 3, 2008 at 8:20:44 am

Hello, forgive the lengthy explanation, but I hope someone can help.

I am making a documentary on Native American history in the 20th century. I bought an EX1 in January and have been out in the field shooting since then. I have been downloading the SxS cards (16GB) through my laptop (MacBook Pro / OS X 10.5.5 / 2.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / 4 GB) onto OWC 750GB drives through Sony's XDCAM EX Clip Browser (first version). Everything has worked beautifully and I've been able to review the footage and do initial "selects" by noting time code from the Clip Browser out in the field.

Now I'm back and ready to transfer all 70 hours of it into FCP (6.0.3) running on my Mac Pro (Quad-Core Intel Xeon / 3GHz / 6GB). I upgraded both Clip Browser and Transfer to the latest versions as well as installing the FCP Log and Transfer Plug-in:

Sony XDCAM EX ClipBrowser - Version 2.00.01
Sony XDCAM Transfer - Version 2.8.0
Sony EDCAM EX Log and Transfer Plug-in (PDZK-LT1) Version 1.0.0

Because I made my initial "selects" based on the time code running in Clip Browser, I need to see that same time code in the XDCAM Transfer window to select my subclips for import into FCP.

The problem starts here.

When I open the clips from each folder in the Transfer window all "spanned" clips (labeled .SMI instead of MP4) give me completely different (and random) time code. Additionally the time code completely cuts out several minutes into the clip. Where it cuts out is random as well. It does not matter which subclips I check or uncheck in the "Logging" window.

Is there a trick to working with spanned clips? Any settings that I'm missing? Is version 2.8 right for EX1? I had the same issue with V1.0.

On the FCP front, the Log and Transfer Plug-in for FCP seems to work, however, the spanned clips don't show up until I click on the empty place holders. At least the time code matches the Clip Browsers.

Last observation... in the Clip Browser these same "spanned" clips (usually over 20 minute takes) are taken out of order and moved to the end of the thumbnail list. Any reason for that?

Thanks for anyone's help and advice.

Dave


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Michael Palmer
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 3, 2008 at 3:17:57 pm

Is there a trick to working with spanned clips? Any settings that I'm missing? Is version 2.8 right for EX1?

In the XD Cam Transfer program you will see an Information/Logging window at the bottom right corner, by selecting Logging you'll see a sub clip tap to expand, look to make sure when selecting the .smi extension spanned clip you check the boxes for it in the Logging Subclip area.
Because these spanned clip have a different extension (smi) they fall at the end of the media list in the selection area. I don't really use the Clip Browser program so as to the timecode issues I have no thoughts.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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David Mueller
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 3, 2008 at 5:36:38 pm

Thanks for your response, Michael.

I have checked and unchecked all clips, checked only subclips and tried other variations in the Logging > Subclips window. It still will not give me time code. In addition, the time code it gives is different from the source TC and is incomplete... ie. it cuts out completely several minutes into the clip. No one else has experienced this?

Has anyone used FCP's Log and Transfer (with Sony plug-in: PDZK-LT1)? This seems to work better than Sony's Transfer... at least I can see time code that matches my original.

Thanks again for additional thoughts... before I call Sony.

Dave


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Craig Seeman
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 3, 2008 at 11:18:10 pm

Whether Log and Transfer or XDCAM Transfer they should be reading the same metadata that forms the time code. I'm not sure how one can work "better" than the other unless you've come across a bug in XDCAM Transfer (not impossible for sure).

In the earliest versions of XDCAM Transfer which handled the EX files, there were several time code issues. I saw a time of day time code issues (clock time) and others I believe had issues with material shot 24p as well as 25p (I believe).

Can you explain what time code you used when you recorded and EXACTLY what you are seeing when you play back the clip? Can you check to see if you're not getting a NDF/DF offset of some sort?



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David Mueller
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 3, 2008 at 11:39:37 pm

Thanks Craig.

I used the standard time code, generated in the EX1. Settings were: Preset > Rec Run. Each separate shoot date I reset TC to 00:00:00:00.

In addition I renamed the Title Prefix (first 4 alphanumeric digits of clip ID) to correspond with each new shoot day and I zeroed out the Clip Number (last 4 digits) to help organize my copious footage. This all worked very well.

I shot at HQ 1080 24P.

I spent some time on the phone with Sony tech support. They requested screen grabs, which I sent with all details. I seems like a bug at this point... but will keep you posted.

Further thoughts or advice, always appreciated.


Dave


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Robert Dexter
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 4, 2008 at 1:44:57 pm

Did you/are you using Clip Browser to transfer the clips from SxS card to your hard disk, or just copying the BPAV folders using Finder (much easier!)?


If you have been using Clip Browser, I seem to remember that it had a bug when copying spanned clips (.SMI) to hard disk that might account for your problems:

Locate the actual .SMI files on hard disk (somewhere under BPAV/TAKR) for one of the spanned clips that has the problem in XDCAM Transfer. Next to it you should find a file with the same name but ending M01.XML. Open this in TextEdit or something and you'll see it has Duration value (in frames). Does it look correct? - I'm guessing not. I don't know if this bug is fixed in the latest Clip Browser.


One solution you might try if you have XDCAM Transfer 2.8.0 is to use its new support for folders containing only .MP4 files:

Locate the .MP4 files for all the parts of your troublesome .SMI files (somewhere under BPAV/CLPR with similar names to the .SMI file) and put *just* these .MP4 files in a new folder somewhere completely different and then drag this folder into XDCAM Transfer's Source list. You'll now see the parts as separate clips, with no way to treat them as a single spanned clip, but they may have the right timecode.


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David Mueller
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 4, 2008 at 4:22:49 pm

Thanks Robert, it sounds like your solution might be on the right track. I'm away from the edit suite for several days but will try your solution when I return and post the results. Waiting to hear back from Sony as well.


Dave


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Michael Palmer
Re: XDCAM Transfer - Time code issues
on Dec 4, 2008 at 4:48:25 pm

Have you tried coping the original BPAV folder onto an SxS card and reinserting it into the EX1?
I would first recommend coping the original BPAV folder before I did this. Perhaps this process would repair any issues with the original BPAV folder when replaced into the camera.

I just performed a small test with a San Disk 16 gig SxS card that had 3 clips (no smi or spanned files) and I inserted it into my Mac Book Pro and copied the BPAV folder onto my desktop, then I delete the BPAV folder from the SxS card using the MBP and I then ejected it and put it back into the EX1 to make sure the card had no clips in Media mode and it didn't. Then I removed it and put it back into the MBP and copied the same BPAV folder back onto the San Dick 16 gig SxS card and a message came up that said a newer BPAV folder is on the card, stop or replace, so I replaced it and ejected it from the MBP and inserted it back into the EX1 where it plays the 3 clips properly. If nothing else works I believe you could place the original complete BPAV folder back onto an SxS card and use the camera to play back the clips and digitize/capture the media into his NLE.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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