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EX-3 footage dropouts?

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Bill Kimzey
EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 17, 2009 at 8:28:11 pm

Has anyone seen brief picture glitches in their EX-1 or EX-3 footage that looks like digital tape dropout? Essentially, it appears as blocks, or lines of blocks, sometimes green, sometimes black, or sometimes appearing as a displacement of the picture along a line. We seem to be experiencing this with footage shot on different cameras, using different cards, and imported on different Macs. Sometimes it seems fixable by re-importing the specific portion of the footage that has the problem; other times it appears in the Clip Browser or in the XDcam transfer tool, and is not correctable.

Is this indeed a dropout, or does someone have any information regarding this?

Thanks


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 17, 2009 at 8:38:09 pm

Reimporting fixes it?
Are you using ClipBrowser 2.5 with CRC checking enabled when you copy the files?
I've never seen this myself.
It's odd that you're getting this from multiple cameras going to multiple Macs.
Have you tried reformatting your cards recently just in case?
Have they been used in environments in which dirt might have gotten on the contacts for the cards or in the slots?



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Bill Kimzey
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 1:34:02 pm

The general procedure we’ve used is to copy the BPAV folder off the SxS card to 2 hard drives; then from FCP, select XDCam import which calls up the XDCam Transfer Tool (2.8), and import the footage. The re-importing is marking in and outs from the clip where the breakup occurs, then importing again. This doesn’t always fix the problem; often only makes it less obtrusive, and often does nothing.

Using the Clipbrowser 2.5 to import the footage (w/CRC) does not seem to fix the problem.

Several cameras were rented, as were the cards, so I cannot vouch to their care. We have seen it also with our own EX3 on our own cards, which we do take good care of. With the rentals, I believe we reformatted once before shooting, then simply erased the files off the card from that point. (It seems as if – though did not count the breakups – we have more on the first use of the cards than in subsequent non-reformatted uses.)

I’m uploading a few example pics to show the problem. Often it’s more subtle than these examples. The blue boxes are for obfuscation ;-)

Thanks

example1.jpg

example2.jpg



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 2:42:40 pm

. . . and you have this on multiple cameras and cards?

Sorry but I've never had this happen and I've been using the camera since Dec 2007 with both SxS and for the last 6 months SDHC.

It certainly seems pervasive and it seems to have impacted too many cameras and cards to be a malfunction specific to any of the above. I can't help but think there's something in your environment or procedure or you are uniquely unlucky. I've simply never had something like that happen and I believe I may have read a report or two that sounded something like that happening as an isolated occurrence but certainly not regularly.



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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 2:47:49 pm

I should add that if you're using CRC and not getting errors that it certainly does seem like the issue is happening on record.

Are you using rental cameras with rental cards and your camera with your own cards? Have the cards crossed? The only thing I can think of is that some foreign substance has moved from one to the other.

I would contact Sony and have them check the contacts in the slots and the cards that you're using.



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Jeremy Wilker
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:04:04 pm

That sort of looks like some errors we used to experience with large files being saved across a network with Photoshop. There is not a good way to fix that issue once it happens as the file/image/data is corrupted. We solved the problem at the time by copying the large TIFFs/PSDs locally, working them, and then copying them back to the server. Could it be a similar issue with your network/server, perhaps?


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:19:43 pm

I think Bill is implying they're being recorded this way.

The only way to know for sure is check AT THE SOURCE and eliminate other variables. I assume Bill is checking using ClipBrowser on the source file coming off the card. Anytime after that point can indicate copying issues or some other problem not related to the file. Another check is to place the card back in the camera and check in the LCD and maybe also HD/SDI out to monitor on a big screen.

I haven't seen nor heard of another user experiencing this across multiple cameras and cards since the dawn of the EX.

Bill you are checking the source files aren't you from the cards?



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Bill Kimzey
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 9:04:52 pm

Not quite - unfortunately this was shot a while back, and is only being discovered in the editing stage. So, the first copy from the card was done as a straight copy of the BPAV folder from the card to a couple of hard drives, as stated above. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that.

So, I can only use the ClipBrowser to move files post that initial copy.

This seemed to be a standard way at the time, using the ExpressCard slot on a laptop to trasfer it to a couple of drives.

One other note is that we've only noticed this on long records, over 30 minutes or so; may or may not be relevant.

Is everyone else always using the ClipBrowser to copy the file from the card initially?

Thanks


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Craig Seeman
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 9:22:33 pm

Are you saying that you did NOT use ClipBrowser CRC on to move those files initially?
If not, all bets are off. It may be your workflow. CRC will basically check that copy matches source (in lay terms . . . it's a bit more complex then that).
There's no guarantee that the copy caused the problem but without CRC as "eye witness" one can't avoid the possibility that you have bad copies and the sources were fine

[Bill Kimzey] "This seemed to be a standard way at the time, using the ExpressCard slot on a laptop to trasfer it to a couple of drives. "

This does not preclude using ClipBrowser at all. The above method is about as "standard" as driving without seat belts. One doesn't have to if one doesn't get caught but you hold your life and your masters in your hands. Anybody who claims what you describe was "standard" probably matches the mindset of people who don't wear seat belts . . . until the car accident happens. It only takes one accident in a lifetime to maim or end one's life, or, without ClipBrowser CRC, one's shoot, one's project, one's client, one's business.




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Bill Kimzey
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:27:04 am

I'll humbly submit that you are right.

By standard, I had meant that this is what we saw often suggested as the way to do it. Not a good word choice - I should have said common. I could point you to posts and tutes that state this as the procedure, but I don't want to embarrass or criticize what was meant as helpful. Since this was so oft suggested, seems like there'd be more complaining.

I'd be very interested to see what percentage of users use the ClipBrowser always to copy their footage vs. the straight copy, if anyone else would want to fess up.

I'm also curious why a file copy, which works mostly flawlessly on other files, would fail to copy byte for byte for this particular format. I'm guessing there is a reason; since Sony included the CRC, they must have suspected there'd be problems sometimes.

Thanks for your help. Guess we won't be able to use the G5 for offloading from here on out.

We'll keep our eyes out for pic breakups, but hopefully this will solve the problem.

Thanks



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Atticus Culver-Rease
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:36:44 pm

I have had this problem, and it seems to be a problem with the machine you use or the import process. I was traveling with an EX3 recently using my Macbook Pro to offload and then import clips in FCP. Occasionally I would get the same blocky green/black lines you're describing. It doesn't seem to be a "dropout" or anything wrong with the original media on the card, because the clips would always play back fine in camera or in Clip Browser directly from the card, and when I tried transferring the same media on a different Macbook I didn't always get the problem in the same areas. The corruption seems to be introduced by the machine or the software at some point.

At the time I experienced this, I was doing what you did and fixing it by re-importing the problem areas, which usually did the trick, although sometime it seemed like I would have to reboot first, sometimes multiple times. Since then I've imported a lot of media using several other machines (mostly Mac Pro towers) and never seen it again. So the issue seemed to be with the Macbook Pro, which I recently did a complete reinstall on (for various reasons, this being one of them) and haven't had a chance to test again yet, but I'm curious to see what happens.

So the good news is that your footage is all probably fine, you just might have to jump through hoops to get it imported properly on some machines it seems.


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Anthony Bairstow
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Jun 9, 2010 at 3:20:25 pm

Make sure your video playback quality in your sequence (top left of sequence, drop down) is on HIGH and not MEDIUM

I found that this even effects playback in the viewer if you match frame or just watch ur clip back whole- not just the sequence and canvas

This is tested on FCP 6 - not sure if 7 has this issue

Good luck

Anthony


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Victor Virgilio
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:21:33 pm

What do you do if the original sxs cards have been formatted? Am I now stuck with bad footage?



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Victor Virgilio
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:07:31 pm

What do you do when you have the drop out of the footage and no longer have the original sxs cards?



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Bill Kimzey
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:21:31 pm

Did you, perhaps, make multiple copies from the card? If so, check other copies. One transfer may be bad, the other good.

Does the problem appear if the file is played directly in Quicktime? If not, you might be able to export the problem areas from QTPro into a more robust codec, such as Prores.

Depending on the severity of the problem it may be possible to manually composite good footage into the problem areas of your bad footage.

But, 'tis best practice to use ClipBrowser or some third-party tool with copy-error detection (such as ShotPut) for at least the initial transfer from the SxS card to your footage drive.


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Don Greening
Re: EX-3 footage dropouts?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:30:11 pm

In addition to Bill's sage advice, keep in mind that the camera may have actually recorded the bad frames (a rarity) and the fault is not with the integrity of the recording media. If this is the case then copying the clips using Clip Browser with CRC checking on or another third party program the bad frames will be faithfully reproduced in every detail.

- Don

Don Greening
A Vancouver Video Production Company
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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