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Tapeless workflows

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Rich Rubasch
Tapeless workflows
on Jun 24, 2009 at 9:56:33 pm

Maybe a bit off topic but....

If a project has 10 tapes shot on Varicam 126 minute cassettes and ONE shoot was 60 minutes long and was shot on an EX-1 and transferred to FCP....would it make sense to output the EX-1 footage to a DVCProHD tape, label it with the rest of the tapes and upload needed clips from the tape to make the entire project consistent. (the source timecode of the original clips would be essentially moot, since any uploaded clips would refer to the new DVCProHD tape.)

AND would it be acceptable to you tapeless experts to delete any trace of the source footage once the new DVCProHD tape was output and checked?

Curious.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media



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Michael Palmer
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 24, 2009 at 10:21:49 pm

Have you tried using Mpeg Streamclip to convert the files.
I just tested it and it works great.

http://www.squared5.com

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 2:09:13 am

Oops..thanks Michael. Not what I was asking. I was just presenting a circumstance in which I wondered if deleting the original files was acceptable IF I made a tape output to match the rest of the projects elements. It is normally shunned upon to delete source media from tapeless cameras.

BUT, if I only have one shoot that is tapeless, AND if I can make a tape to go with the rest, THEN is it ok to delete the source footage?

Thoughts?

Rich



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Michael Palmer
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 2:22:12 am

No one here will ever tell you to delete original masters. However producing a tape is a good way to match the formats.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Tim Kolb
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 1:14:34 pm

[Michael Palmer] "No one here will ever tell you to delete original masters."

Delete the original masters!

Heh heh...just kidding...'s a joke...really...


As far as a general mindset on tapeless...for the space the files would take, I'd just make data backups of the original EX data myself. I understand that the DVC ProHD dub gets you to the point where you have your usable footage, but the EX data takes a third of the data space of a full 100 Mbit DVC ProHD clip of the same length.

Having a backup never hurts...and in the world of data, it's all first generation, so as much as copies of data is probably the most puzzling thing to get a handle on...

(when do you delete backups of raw footage-if ever?...how do I archive edited data?...do backup copies need to be removed from the building every night?...should my grip fly home on a different flight with the mirror harddrive?...)

Harddrives are cheap, and losing original data when it's a paltry 35 Mbit/s would be hard to justify should you ever have a need for it. As for myself, I'd at least keep the original EX data around in a backup form until the project is over and all the field tapes and the edit project get archived.

My .02




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Gerry Curtis
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 4:20:26 pm

Hey Rich,

Like I said earlier ignoring the merits of how you transcoded to DVCPRO your method is a lot better than many of the XDCAM workflows I here about. People are treating there original camera data as tapes but are neglecting to make copies of the transcoded quicktimes once they go through XDCAM transfer in FCP.

They often don't have backups of their media drives (still very common) & if something happens to their media drive in the middle of the project and they renamed the clip names in XDCAM transfer (or even worse made subclips) they'll have to waste time retranscoding the clips again in XDCAM transfer and then have to manually re-online the project which could be time-consuming at least and a nightmare at worse.

Cheers,
Gerry





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Gerry Curtis
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 2:31:15 am

As long as you feel everything was converted properly that sounds OK but seems like you're adding some extra time and steps by converting to DVCPRO then having the editor re-digitizing, couldn't you just hand off the converted footage to the editor on a drive along with the tape?

Cheers,
Gerry


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 2:35:18 pm

Good suggestions Gerry, however...like I said, we have 10 tapes of interviews and broll. One shoot was done with an EX1 just to record a presentation which will be used for Broll only. We transferred everything to FCP and it comes in as 23.98 XDCAM 1080 clips.

The issue is that all the tape material will be edited in a 720p60 timeline at 59.94 and the 23.98 in its data form will not mix well in FCP. BUT, if I output a tape I kill two birds...the client will have a matching tape to go with the rest for their project archive. We will now have the tape in the project instead of a random folder full of clips.

Seems to me that in all the years past that we trusted tape we only had one copy and no one thought twice about it. Sure we might have made dubs, but only sometimes and mostly for offline/online.

Tape can be trusted. I already have the footage strung out on a timeline....why not just string it out to a tape and be done with it? All the other tapes are no worse off and they don't have any EX1 media to worry about.

I'm trying to get you tapeless guys to admit that having footage on a tape source is WAY safer than any current storage media and that once on tape you can rest easy. But also, in this case, everything else is on tape, so why not just output to tape and be done with it?

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media



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Matthew Romanis
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 10:49:07 pm

Your workflow makes sense to me, but only if all the logging is done form the "now" source tape and no log file has been generated from the EX files. Time code will not transfer when going out to tape from FCP. You will wind up having to try and insert edit onto a pre stripped matching code tape to carry over useful time code data.
I'll happily admit that tape originated in camera (barring head clogs or VTR glitches) is still an easier media to hand off to clients. No need for travelling laptops and hard drives around country, but the tapeless workflow when it's your own production is hard to beat.



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Craig Seeman
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 25, 2009 at 11:18:59 pm

Record to SDHC card. Hand to client. It can't get any easier than that.
Client doesn't even need a deck, just a Mac or Windows PC (reasonably new) and the free Sony Clip Browser. Is this difficult?

So you both want a copy. Copy the file. You both have masters now. Faster than real time too. You can't do that with tape.

Generally my clients don't need to leave the shoot with the master so I burn copies on to DL-DVD and send them the disk with a copy of Clip Browser on it.

What's wrong with tape?
Tape is much bigger than SDHC so it's not easy to carry away
Tape requires a compatible deck
Making dub of tape requires two decks and it's only real time
Making dub of tape goes down a generation unless making digital clone from digital tape.
Client must have machine
Client needs much lower quality VHS or you need to burn DVD video to view at home.
Client needs time code on home viewing copy and you must make a window dub
Tape can have drop outs
Dub has problem then you need to see if it's a bad dub or bad master
Client needs to shuttle through tape to find specific scenes
Run out of Professional tape during shoot and you must find a broadcast store

What's good about SDHC
Small light so it's easy to carry hours of storage
Client can play on any modern computer with free player
copies are all master quality
copies all have time code. No window dub needed
copies are many times faster than real time
no dropouts - only need to check that the file is good
easy to burn files on DVD if client doesn't have SDHC reader (which they can get for a few bucks anyway)
near instant access to any clip
Need more during a shoot, good electronics stores may carry cards
I can pack a camera with 4 hours record time (2X 32GB SDHC cards) . . . or use inexpensive 16GB cards if client wants to leave with the masters

I started working in higher post facilities close to 30 years ago and tape can't go away fast enough IMHO.




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Michael Slowe
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 26, 2009 at 2:31:52 pm

Craig, I don't think anyone answered a question he put early on in the thread, namely, how do the tapleless guys (I'm one now) deal with the finished production off the timeline? I master to tape (only DVCAM) but would like to do better.

Michael Slowe


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Craig Seeman
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 26, 2009 at 3:20:49 pm

I archive the EX .MOV file as master. When I do local cable spots I deliver through DGFastchannel (MPEG2 Program Stream) so I have no reason to go back to tape even for broadcast. Everything I do is file delivery now. Those files get archived as masters on optical disk.

Since FCP can save the master as EX MP4 (and MXF for if you're using non EX XDCAM) I have thought about saving that as the master as the MP4 might be a bit more portable than the MOV variant.

I'm sure long form can still be an issue though but in the long run this is even worse for tape. These are the projects that need the most longevity and having lived through 2", 1", D2, etc., These machines to play back these tapes become scarce and the tapes themselves suffer over time. I think in the long run files will be easier to retrieve even as codecs come and go. Retrieving a file in a legacy codec isn't going to be the ordeal that playing a legacy tape will be.





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Michael Slowe
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 26, 2009 at 8:25:04 pm

Thanks Craig, that sounds like sense. I suppose one might ask how will we play these in 20 years time but I guess a file, is a file, is a file and some version of QT will decipher a .Mov

Michael Slowe


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 27, 2009 at 6:44:37 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I think in the long run files will be easier to retrieve even as codecs come and go. Retrieving a file in a legacy codec isn't going to be the ordeal that playing a legacy tape will be. "

Gotta disagree with you here, Craig. We have a show that's going into it's 23rd season. As you can imagine, our vault contains quite a few "ancient tape formats". I can go in there and pull an original beta SP tape, shot in 1991, throw it in a current digibeta machine and still retrieve everything.

In contrast, many of the early "logging files" were done on computers using DOS! When's the last time you used DOS? Hell, I can't even find a computer that can open these files. I'm sure if I tried hard enough I could, but don't underestimate how quick file based formats become unretrievable.

This is going to be a HUGE problem moving forward. I don't have any answers, but I know that years from now somebody's going to be making a bunch of money doing archive file recovery/translation.

Mark




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Tim Kolb
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 28, 2009 at 2:10:38 am

[Rich Rubasch] "I'm trying to get you tapeless guys to admit that having footage on a tape source is WAY safer than any current storage media and that once on tape you can rest easy."

And I'll also admit that a CRT is still the best evaluation display

...however we are both running out of time.

I don't know that any of us are "tapeless guys" because we hate tape and really love our chances with mass-produced portable hard drives.







TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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maurice jansen
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 28, 2009 at 11:07:42 am

well guys

don't forget a few things.
optical disk have a SHORTER time span in losing there data then tape. when not proper stored.
tape is more forgiving in a bad storing place.
i guess only a few have a good conditioned archive down here. don't forget that when you
are going to archive complete harddisk's that you are also storing the precise electrical mechanical part of your system.who say that your drive will spin in the good RPM when it has not moved for ages.
not spinnig no data. you have more option's when a sticky tape comes out of the archive.

next to that we still can playback all our C or even B format tape's but will you be able to decode XDcam or Proress when we are 20years further i have strong doubt's.

greet
Maurice





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Craig Seeman
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 28, 2009 at 4:03:48 pm

[maurice jansen] "optical disk have a SHORTER time span in losing there data then tape. when not proper stored. "

You can't make a blanket statement like that. If you buy well made optical disks such as Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim DataLifePlus they're rated at 50-100 years (and some say that's conservative). Don't buy cr*p from your local office supply store.

[maurice jansen] "tape is more forgiving in a bad storing place. "
Over nearly 30 years I've been involved in preservation projects for PBS, Warhol, MLB and can say that tape can deteriorate noticeably even after a few short years in a typical facility environment. Certainly modern BetaSP and DigiBeta will fair better.

My guess is that in 20 years you'll have an easier time finding something that can read a DVD data file easier than you'll be able to find a BetaSP deck. A CD made and stored properly in the 1980's can still be read by any computer. Try that with 1" tape.





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maurice jansen
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 30, 2009 at 4:25:32 pm

hi
You can't make a blanket statement like that. If you buy well made optical disks such as Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim DataLifePlus they're rated at 50-100 years (and some say that's conservative). Don't buy cr*p from your local office supply store.


sorry i indeed gone a bit fast here i indeed ment the bulk style DVD's and CD's
but alot of people i guess also a lot on the forum tto.don't realise the big differences in quality.
this is of coarse because DVD/CD are also a consumer product. the proffesional tapeformat's also have quality differences between brand's but not that big (so more stable in general)

My guess is that in 20 years you'll have an easier time finding something that can read a DVD data file easier than you'll be able to find a BetaSP deck. A CD made and stored properly in the 1980's can still be read by any computer. Try that with 1" tape.


well i'm dubbing old C/B format tape's from our archive almost weekly. 90% of them still run properly
only tape's from the brand "memorex" are sticky sometimes. these tape's are all stored in a normal room. even the lower quality format's like Umatic still run. you already say it your self "made and stored properly" but this become's harder and harder whit IT/Consumer format's mixing up in proffesional enviroment's.

that the deck's will leave us and that all tape's will become useless "TRUE" but i geuss this is also true
for codec's and i have a strong feel that these become obsolete much faster.

i am defintly a tapeless enthousiast, but archiving still is a difficult and under estimated issue of tapeless.

greet
Maurice

greet Maurice


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Craig Seeman
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 30, 2009 at 5:18:49 pm

[maurice jansen] "well i'm dubbing old C/B format tape's from our archive almost weekly. 90% of them still run properly "
10% problem rate is very high actually. I wouldn't be happy with that. I've had a boat load of problems with 1" tape. Was it Fuji that used that stupid foam padding in which the adhesive broke down after a few years and the foam itself decayed. I've seen plenty of flaking oxide and stiction problems.

[maurice jansen] "hese tape's are all stored in a normal room. even the lower quality format's like Umatic still run."
Umatic is nearly as bad as VHS in my experience except maybe its last few years of tape formulations.
I dealt with major history recording on those tapes that were lost forever to crumbling oxide. Both the 1" and 3/4" were stored at major post production facilities in properly maintained tape libraries. That's not an archival situation which should be in temperature/humidity controlled vaults. BTW this was through working at several major post houses so it wasn't a single incident at a poorly maintained facility.


[maurice jansen] "that the deck's will leave us and that all tape's will become useless "TRUE" but i geuss this is also true
for codec's and i have a strong feel that these become obsolete much faster. "


Codecs might be replaced more quickly than decks but old codec compatibility remains a LOOONG time and they generally require no special hardware (AVOID hardware implemented codecs!). Legacy codecs are much easier to maintain than decks. Look how long Animation has been around and I can still find a way to play Indeo if needed.





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maurice jansen
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 30, 2009 at 5:54:15 pm

well

time will tell.
i see all the BIG advantage's of Filebased workflow. all i want to say is that robust future proof archiving is a bigger challenge then people might think. the point's i tried to make is that there is more to concern then filetype only. i see people around me archiving on a consumer style harddisk even on big production's. we got a DVDmaster last month of a project shot with 16camera's and a big post-production budget delivered on a walmart DVD labeled with a Sharpie. (these things are scary)



i already have seen


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Craig Seeman
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jun 30, 2009 at 6:22:04 pm

That's frightening!

If I were the client I'd send it back and tell them to deliver on a professional DVD with proper printed or burned label.

I guess in the next few years we'll see a lot of companies eatings costs on damaged archives.



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Paul Zwicker
Re: Tapeless workflows
on Jul 9, 2009 at 1:41:07 pm

Craig,

When you burn EX data to DL-DVDs, how are you going about it?
I am wondering if there is a "fast" way to do this.
Are you storing the DVDs off-site or in a fireproof safe?

Thanks,

Paul Zwicker


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