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Sony PDW-U1 Down Convert?

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Dale Curtis
Sony PDW-U1 Down Convert?
on Dec 30, 2008 at 3:36:39 pm

Hello all,

Apologies if in the wrong thread, first time poster n 'all...

I am have major difficulty down converting XDCAM HD disks to standard def using the Sony PDW-U1 and their 'XDCAM Transfer' software.

This is not the first time I've faced this problem. I've just completed one major project, where I simply could not find how to down convert. In my desperation I digitised the footage in full HD, then converted all the footage after through MPEG Streamclip (very painful).

This threw up all manner of problems... loss of timecode, audio phasing, etc etc.

Now I've another stack of XDCAM HD disks in front of me for the next project, and am determined not to go through the same drama again.

I've gone through all of the preferences in the XDCAM Transfer software, and cannot see anything anywhere! I've attempted capturing through FCP as well, but to no avail.

Please Help!

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Craig Seeman
Re: Sony PDW-U1 Down Convert?
on Dec 30, 2008 at 4:50:44 pm

Dale's what's your desired workflow?
XDCAM Transfer is not a down conversion utility.
PDW-U1 is a "dumb" drive. It's only a disk drive to copy XDCAM files to/from.
You can certainly wrap XDCAM HD in mov and import into FCP for downconversion though.
Standard def doesn't really give an indication of your target codec.
Once in FCP you can drop the files in an Apple ProRes or 8 bit Uncompressed Standard Def timeline and render and export.
Also in FCP you can export to Sony XDCAM as IMX or DVCAM

If you have a deck rather than dumb drive you might be able to export Standard Def from that.

You may be able to do a file downconversion in Telestream Episode as well.

Without knowing your target codec and equipment available to you we can only make guesses.

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Mark Raudonis
Re: Sony PDW-U1 Down Convert?
on Jan 1, 2009 at 12:40:41 am

As Craig points out, you're using the wrong tool for the job. The PDW is just a "blu ray" drive on steroids. It has very little smarts beyond that. On the other hand, the PDW-1500 is a full fledged deck that has a myriad of up and down convert options. We just finished a project using that deck and I can tell you it works like a charm. It was a SD project, but most of the interviews and host segments were shot in HD.
We did a "center punch" downconvert to 4 x 3 and it looked great. You even have the option to "pan and scan" the "center pull" depending on your needs.

Good luck.


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Dale Curtis
Re: Sony PDW-U1 Down Convert?
on Jan 1, 2009 at 2:50:51 pm

Thanks guys.

The pdw-u1 actually belongs to the production company im doing the job for. I've googled it several times before, and concluded that the pdw-u1, nor the accompanying software will down convert to SD.

I've suggested to them that If they want XDCAM HD footage converted to SD in vast quantity.... that they hire in, or buy a more advanced deck.

Thanks for confirming my suspicions!

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