A few EX3 questions
Hey folks, I'm on the brink of purchasing an EX3 and am hoping you guys can help me with a few final questions...
1) One of the editors I work with has been concerned about the possibility of problems with editing the EX's long-GOP footage (this is in FCP). In my workflow testing, working in a native XDCAM EX timeline with render settings set to render to ProRes, I never had any issues at all. Render times were very accepable, image quality was not significantly diminished, I never had to conform the GOP, and export times (to H.264) were the same as when I transcoded the footage to ProRes in advance and worked out of a ProRes sequence. So as far as I can tell it seems like the FCP workflow is pretty solid, but I've only had about a day to play with it so far. Are there any gotchas I'm missing here? Snags that I should be aware of? We do a lot of quick turnaround stuff so I need to be sure we're not going to run into unexpected once we put this into the field.
2) Easily my least favorite thing about the EX3 is its ergonomics. I'm definitely going to be purchasing some sort of brace/harness to make handholding more bearable. I saw a couple threads where people discussed different options, the most appealing of which seems to be the CVP SM1. For anyone who's using one, how well does it work for you? Is anyone using the Easyrig Turtle XS? I've used the Easyrig 2 before and liked that a lot, but with the EX3 I'd like to have something a bit less cumbersome and preferably less expensive as well. I can't believe there aren't more options out there considering that a DP I know custom built a rig that seems better than anything else I've looked at.
3) When archiving an edit, can you trash the capture scratch and just save the project file with your original BPAV folders and then re-link to them if you need to reinstate the project? Or does FCP not relink to the BPAVs, meaning you'd need to make sure to archive your capture scratch as well as your original BPAVs? Speaking of archiving, is anyone successfully archiving to blu-ray? We have a PC with a blu-ray burner that we use to create discs via Adobe Encore, I'm wondering if we could use that to burn data discs using some other application (can Nero do this?) Obviously I'm hoping to avoid archiving to hard drives if possible given that they can fail, and archiving to DVDs seems like a bit of a pain as well.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give. And I guess if there's anything else that you wish you knew about your EX3/EX1 when you first started using it, I'm all ears.
1) Editing long GOP EX stuff by it's very nature is less dependent upon the speed of your editing RAID (although it doesn't hurt to have a fast one) and has more to do with the processing power of your workstation. So if you've not seen a big difference between working in a native EX timeline and a ProRes one it's probably because your machine is up to the task. If you know FCP then you also know that there's at least 3 or 4 ways of doing the same job, depending on how you like to work. Working in an EX native timeline is fine but when your projects become graphics-heavy then you need to consider changing to a Pro-Res workflow to keep everything looking good. If time is money for you then transcoding to ProRes will be faster with hardware solutions such as an AJA KONA board or a Matrox MXO2, etc. just to speed up the process. Something to consider. Otherwise working with EX footage is dirt simple. Just think of the EX as HDV on steroids.
2) No experience so no suggestions.
3) For archiving you need to keep the BPAV folders for sure. Think "new video tape." The Sony Transfer Tool and/or Log and Capture Tool's job is to turn the native EX files into something that FCP can understand and subsequently edit with. The current version of FCP will only recognize EX footage within a QT wrapper and doesn't know what a BPAV folder is. So archive your BPAV folders and after your project is complete you can trash your transcoded media if you want because you can always go back to the BPAV folders for your material. Some folks (like myself) will archive both the BPAV folders and the transcoded media. Keep in mind that whatever clips are re-wrapped for FCP editing are not necessarily the same thing that other NLE's need to edit EX footage with. Down the road you might want to edit the same stuff on an AVID or Premiere etc, so hence the importance of keeping the BPAV folders.
Yes, people use Blu-ray for archiving to avoid the hard drive backup thing. You can burn Blu-ray on your Mac using Toast10® if you want an inexpensive program for this purpose. For myself I'm waiting for the firmware to be updated on Sony's PDW-U1 XDCAM reader/writer so 50 Gbytes of any type of file can be archived on XDCAM disc.
re: #3, I know that I definitely need to keep the BPAV folders, what I'm trying to find out is whether you can re-link offline clips via the BPAV structure or if FCP would only re-link to the QT-wrapped files that you imported. If I can't re-link via the BPAVs then when it comes time to archive a project it seems like you're basically stuck archiving twice as much media since you have to back up your original "shot tapes" (BPAVs) as well as the QT-wrapped versions of the same media in your capture scratch.
[Atticus Culver-Rease] "what I'm trying to find out is whether you can re-link offline clips via the BPAV structure"
No. Already answered in my first post: "The current version of FCP will only recognize EX footage within a QT wrapper and doesn't know what a BPAV folder is."
[Atticus Culver-Rease] "If I can't re-link via the BPAVs then when it comes time to archive a project it seems like you're basically stuck archiving twice as much media since you have to back up your original "shot tapes" (BPAVs) as well as the QT-wrapped versions of the same media in your capture scratch. "
Yes! Or dump your "QT-wrapped versions of the same media" and re-do the import from the BPAV folders with the Sony Transfer Tool if you have to re-visit the project at a later date. But by then FCP will most likely be able to work with the native .mp4 files. But not today.
I have been using the SM1. It is actually made in India by Sonia. I bought mine from a dealer on E-Bay for around $50 including shipping. It is well made and does the job. The only drawbacks are that you need to be careful if you are out of breath, because your breathing will transfer to the camera through the chest support. Also, there is no tilting mechanism, so in order to tilt the camera, you must tilt your body, since the bracket is rigid. Another option might be the DV-Rig Jr. which is the little brother of the Multi-Rig. It is a much simpler contraption, consisting of just the spring-loaded rod, belt and holster, with a small pan-tilt head on top. I have one for sale, if you are interested.