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Import MXFs into FCP?

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Antony Christie
Import MXFs into FCP?
on May 28, 2009 at 9:04:39 am

A friend bought an PMW-EX1 two months ago and still hasn’t been able to get the MXF clips successfully into his FCP. We’ve managed to get the MP4s out of the camera (converted to MXF) using ClipBrowser (incidentally, is v2.0.0.0 the newest version for Mac?); however, his FCP (v6.0.5 on a new iMac) will not allow import of the MXFs (shows them as 'white'd out' files).

Should v6.0.5 import MXF files? Does he need an update? A plug-in? Or 3rd party software like Flip4Mac?

We did use 3rd party freeware to convert the MXFs into MOVs which worked (as a video plus 2 audio tracks) but it is obviously a far from ideal workflow and probably we are losing most of the meta data that MXF holds (and possibly quality?)


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Craig Seeman
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on May 28, 2009 at 3:40:19 pm

Why are you exporting MXF for Final Cut Pro?

ClipBrowser 2.5 to copy
XDCAM Transfer 2.9 to rewrap as MOV.

You might consider visiting the Sony site for all this including FCP workflow PDF
http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/micro-xdcamexsite/





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Antony Christie
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on May 28, 2009 at 4:36:30 pm

Hi Craig - and thanks for your response!

"Why are you exporting MXF for Final Cut Pro?" ...because the ClipBrowser software I am using (v2.0.0.0) will only convert the MP4s to MXF, and because I believe the format was specifically developed to include all of the meta data captured on the shoot (time/date, etc) or added to the clips in the EX whilst reviewing them in camera before exporting/converting onto the Mac.

I guess I was hoping somebody would reply, "No FCP won't import MXFs" or "Yes FCP will but you have to do x"...?


"ClipBrowser 2.5 to copy" ...I don't understand what you mean here. If you mean the ClipBrowser software is on v2.5 then I'll keep searching the web for it - I could only find v2.5 for 'PC', hence my first question in my post relating to which version is current.

"XDCAM Transfer 2.9 to rewrap as MOV" ...are you saying there is an even newer version of ClipBrowser (version 2.9) that converts the MP4s to MOVs on import? Or is 'XDCAM Transfer 2.9' something else completely? And either way, do the MOVs retain all of the the meta data?

"You might consider visiting the Sony site for all this including FCP workflow PDF" ...Yes, I had already read that PDF and I understood it to say that my friend would need Flip4Mac so that he can import MXFs straight into FCP; however, I thought there was a chance this document was out of date. If my understanding of this PDF is correct, and he needs to buy Flip4Mac which will allow him to import MXFs straight into FCP, will this be better than using the XDCAM Transfer 2.9 you mentioned?

Cheers
Antony


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Craig Seeman
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on May 28, 2009 at 5:07:44 pm

[Antony Christie] ".because the ClipBrowser software I am using (v2.0.0.0) will only convert the MP4s to MXF,"

You should NOT be doing this to use EX video in Final Cut Pro.

[Antony Christie] ""ClipBrowser 2.5 to copy" ...I don't understand what you mean here. If you mean the ClipBrowser software is on v2.5 then I'll keep searching the web for it - I could only find v2.5 for 'PC', hence my first question in my post relating to which version is current. "

Sony's site. Did you look at the link I posted?
[Antony Christie] ""XDCAM Transfer 2.9 to rewrap as MOV" ...are you saying there is an even newer version of ClipBrowser (version 2.9) that converts the MP4s to MOVs on import? Or is 'XDCAM Transfer 2.9' something else completely? And either way, do the MOVs retain all of the the meta data? "

Something else entirely. wraps EX MP4 to mov. An early version comes with the camera.
[Antony Christie] ""You might consider visiting the Sony site for all this including FCP workflow PDF" ...Yes, I had already read that PDF and I understood it to say that my friend would need Flip4Mac so that he can import MXFs straight into FCP; "

Huh? It says nothing of the kind for EX video

I can't help but think you didn't go over the documentation that is on the CD that came with the camera.

I've posted the link to the Sony site. Please go over it. Please download the utilities. READ Sony's FCP workflow. You seem very confused about XDCAM HD MXF vs XDCAM EX MP4.

At recommend you get the VortexMedia and/or CallBox EX camera training DVDs.

Use ClipBrowser 2.5 to copy.
Use XDCAM Transfer 2.9 to wrap to .mov for Final Cut Pro
You have to understand those two basics.




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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on May 28, 2009 at 7:40:43 pm

You really need to get the latest version of XDCAM Transfer, Antony! While the Clip Browser is nice for...well, browsing clips, its major strength is its ability to combine and split folders, copy clips from SxS cards with error correction, and that sort of thing. Think of it as step one.

XDCAM Transfer is a fantastic app that allows you to make and export subclips as well as simply rewrapping the raw footage to Quicktime for edit. It integrates with Final Cut Pro as well (make sure to download the Log and Transfer plugin from Sony).

XDCAM EX works fantastically with Final Cut Pro. There's no transcoding needed. You just need to study the process. Good luck.

Cf


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Craig Seeman
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on May 28, 2009 at 8:01:34 pm

Actually, now that I think of it, there's a FCP Log & Transfer plugin. That might be easiest for someone confused by this process.

With the plugin, use Log & Transfer as you would normally. Point to EX source folder and L&T will import and re-wrap to .mov.



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Antony Christie
Ingest clips from EX1 into FCP
on May 29, 2009 at 12:12:36 am

Right, thanks 2 U & Clint I think I've got it now...?

I should use 'Sony ClipBrowser' (version 2.5) of to 'copy' the clips from the EX1 to the Mac (the terminology threw me - if u'd said 'import' I probably would have understood), then I use 'XDCAM Transfer' (version 2.9) to rewrap the files to .mov for FCP.

OR I can just install the 'Log & Transfer Utility' plug-in (version 1.0) which will allow me 2 import and rewrap clips straight into FCP.

Does either workflow have an advantage?

Incidently, all 3 software packages can b found at http://www.sonybiz.net/ex


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Ingest clips from EX1 into FCP
on May 29, 2009 at 1:20:22 pm

If I remember correctly, installing the plugin and then selecting "Import>Sony XDCAM..." in FCP will launch the XDCAM Transfer app. Then you select the clips/subclips you want to import, select which open FCP project you want to send them to, and hit Import. Then the files appear in your bin as they're rewrapped to MOV.

I haven't done that in a while since we have a dedicated iMac/RAID for our raw footage, and the MOVs are put into a shared dropbox folder for the editors to grab to their local machines.

In any case, I have to say the process is quite slick.

Cf


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Bjoern Adamski
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:10:54 pm

Antony,

"...because the ClipBrowser software I am using (v2.0.0.0) will only convert the MP4s to MXF, and because I believe the format was specifically developed to include all of the meta data captured on the shoot (time/date, etc) or added to the clips in the EX whilst reviewing them in camera before exporting/converting onto the Mac."

Well, yes and no. The main idea behind MXF is to have a manufacturer independent, full documented, open and SMPTE standardized file container format. MXF is very open and quite generic so for cross plattform and cross system compatibility it really requires to review which sub-standards/variation is supported.

XDCAM EX/XDCAM HD is quite challenging for a direct and fast NLE integration due to the internal MXF file structure. We provide a PDF documentation regarding this: http://mxf4mac.com/images/stories/downloads/principles_of_cbr_and_vbr.pdf

In terms of metadata with Sony XDCAM you're correct. The XML file from XDCAM gets embedded into the MXF file. However the question is which system parses this metadata and how about editing? Editing metadata in a separate XML file is much easier than within the MXF. A XML can be opened in any text editor, for MXF metadata editing you need a dedicated MXF aware software. Also, since the embedded metadata within the MXF uses a fixed data size the editing capabilities are limited. Having metadata stored externally isn't a bad thing.

"I guess I was hoping somebody would reply, "No FCP won't import MXFs" or "Yes FCP will but you have to do x"...?"

FCP by nature does not import native MXF assets, they get re-wrapped to MOV either by using Log and Transfer for P2 or XDCAM Transfer by Sony or other third party applications. Our integrated MXF solutions work perfectly with XDCAM but not yet with XDCAM HD and EX. The file and index structure of XDCAM (I-Frame Only, CBR, IMX, DV) and XDCAM HD and EX (Long-GOP, VBR, MPEG-2) is completely different and the file access is too slow when accessing large amounts of files, large files, or when dealing with video live feeds. The PDF document mentioned above shows the reason.

Accessing the native MP4s from EX however is not really a challenge as MP4 is based on MOV, it uses the same file container structure. For some testings I just changed one header entry in the MP4 files to open them natively in QuickTime without using any 3rd party software, so basically it's possible. Also the index and essence structure is the same like with MOV so the situation is very different to the XDCAM HD and EX MXF files. Files can be opened and accessed fast. The pure MP4 however does not contain the metadata you ask for and it even does not contain any timecode information. Therefore you need to keep the entire MP4 folder structure to have XML metadata including timecode. Based on many tests I did with huge amounts of footage and large projects I would consider to use the standard workflow with Sony XDCAM Transfer and re-wrap to MOV. Timecode and metadata gets included into the MOV with this workflow. You can review the metadata in FC Server, not in FCP or QuickTime Player.

---------------------
Product Manager
MXF4mac
http://mxf4mac.com


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Scott Hathaway
Re: Import MXFs into FCP?
on Jul 12, 2009 at 8:24:25 pm

Can you explain how you were able to "change the headings" of an MP4 file to open it natively in Final Cut Pro? I recently had a hard drive crash which has fragmented some of my data to places I cannot find and therefore cannot use the standard XDCam transfer route for rewrapping the MP4 files to .mov files. My biggest problem lies in the fact that most of the videos are spread across multiple files using .SMI because I had recorded two nights of a 1.5 hour dance performance on two cameras. I can view the MP4 files using Videolan's VLC player, and VLC can transcode the MP4 files to H.264 .mov files (as well as a few other formats and codecs) however it is slow and the quality is not up to par with the original files. I have been digging through lost data for a week now trying to get this stuff back and now that it's right in front of me, it's frustrating that I can't use my regular Final Cut Pro workflow (ie, xdcam transfer to fcp) because of some missing pieces. Help me Bjoern Adamski. You're my only hope.

-Scott

_________

I make movies, not a living.


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