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Advice on SxS backup, archiving

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Jim Bruce
Advice on SxS backup, archiving
on Aug 20, 2009 at 4:24:42 am

Hi All,

I'm using an EX-1 for the first time. Testing for a shoot next week.

Tried using Clip Browser 2.5 and failed miserably. Now I'm realizing it's probably because we were "importing" (was that the term in the older version?) instead of using "copy all" to copy/backup SxS media to an alternate location.

Basic questions:

1) Do you guys use the copy all function? Is that the safest way to go?

2) At what point do you begin renaming files with more useful names? Do you rename the BPAV folder? The individual clips? I would sure like to have better names for my clips than the ones the camera supplies but don't want to interfere with all the data files that come in the clip folders.

Also I'm considering using Shotput Pro as we'll be wanting to make multiple backups.

3) Do folks like that program? Find it helpful for renaming etc...?

4) And last but not least, after verifying backup of media to multiple locations we will be reusing the SxS cards. What is the best procedure there? Do we reformat the cards? Simply delete files? What is the best and safest approach? Is there a way besides CRC to check that the backups are "happy" files before blowing the SxS media away?

I understand these are basic questions. But these are obviously critical steps that must be done properly. If anyone has answers or ideal work flows I would love to hear the details.

Thanks very much!

Jim


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Craig Seeman
Re: Advice on SxS backup, archiving
on Aug 20, 2009 at 5:26:41 am

I'm so glad you're asking the questions now rather than after some horrid accident. I'm giving you kudos for forethought which seems to be rare these days.

[Jim Bruce] "1) Do you guys use the copy all function? Is that the safest way to go? "
Yes I find this the most fool proof.



[Jim Bruce] "2) At what point do you begin renaming files with more useful names?"
I prefer to add comments rather than rename clips. I'm concerned about finding the elements at some future date should I have to reconstitute a project. On the other hand, if the UMID (the clip ID) is truly used the renaming could work. I don't want to test that theory. In FCP 7 Log and Transfer seems to include a way to include both the clip name and a useful name though.

[Jim Bruce] "Do you rename the BPAV folder? "
You can't do that. The folder must be called BPAV for the transfer utilities to read it.

[Jim Bruce] "Also I'm considering using Shotput Pro as we'll be wanting to make multiple backups.

3) Do folks like that program? Find it helpful for renaming etc...? "

I use Clip Browser with CRC checking. Shot Put performs a similar function with additional feature of multiple copies but it can't play back the clips.

I delete the files from Clip Browser or delete them from the camera if it's not during a shoot. If you reformat the card than you keep losing the card name (if you use that feature) and you lose any settings you've stored as well. I don't think it's necessary to reformat often. It's especially risky to do during a shoot.

BTW I back up to optical disks. I think hard drives are risky as a sole backup not only because of the occasional failure but you can accidently delete files.

[Jim Bruce] "4) And last but not least, after verifying backup of media to multiple locations we will be reusing the SxS cards. What is the best procedure there? Do we reformat the cards? Simply delete files?"

[Jim Bruce] "Is there a way besides CRC to check that the backups are "happy" files before blowing the SxS media away? "
CRC ensures the copy matches the card but of course if there's a problem with shot on the card it's only copying it. Some like to spot check the clips.

[Jim Bruce] "I understand these are basic questions. But these are obviously critical steps that must be done properly. If anyone has answers or ideal work flows I would love to hear the details. "

I'm so very glad you're asking these questions. It's the smart thing to do. Too many people post after the car wreck as a 911 call. It's great that you ask about workflow and safety tips in advance. You get kudos for that.




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Nick Lammers
Re: Advice on SxS backup, archiving
on Aug 20, 2009 at 1:19:28 pm

Great info. Thanks Craig. I've been wrestling with the best way to backup our SD cards here. We do not currently have the PDW-U1 but could purchase one. Any comments on how well that works to make backups of the cards to the optical discs? Thanks.

Nick Lammers
Media Mill, Inc.
St. Louis, MO


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Advice on SxS backup, archiving
on Aug 20, 2009 at 1:56:35 pm

One of the reasons I chose the EX format over P2 was the workflow, particularly the ability to archive to XDCAM Disc media. Interestingly, that feature was only opened up last week by Sony, but they did come through as promised. I'm only now working on establishing an archiving procedure for our shop.

In my opinion, XDCAM Disc seemed like the best option because:

1- Durability. I don't want to take an archive disc out of the safe and discover that it's got fingerprints, coffee, or whatever on it. We keep our HD footage online using a NAS device administered by an iMac, but it's amazing how these things happen anyway. A disc inside a cartridge is extra insurance.

2- Size. I'm not on the Blu Ray bandwagon yet, so backing up to DVD is tedious. Clip Browser will automatically split your BPAV folders into handy DVD-sized folders for archiving, which is a great feature, but I'd rather keep as much footage together as possible. In fact, the project files are much smaller than the footage, so I plan on just archiving them with the footage.

3- Reliability. Coming from a broadcast background prior to this job, I have faith in Sony's broadcast line. They claim that their optical media is resilient, and it looks as robust as anything else out there - certainly more likely to last over time than burned DVDs.

4- Price. If I can use an XDCAM Disc to capacity, its price compares nicely to DV/HDV tape. Given the luck we had with those ($#*&@^ little tapes before switching to XDCAM, I don't want to rely on them any more. I suspect that when the tape manufacturers changed their tape formulation for HDV, the dry lubes or something were incompatible with the stuff that was built up in everybody's machines. All I know is that a lot of guys have had DV problems as of late.

I insist on having a physical medium that I can stick into one of our giant fire safes, have a number attached to that goes into our tape log, and has a good possibility of being intact when I go to retrieve it. Presumably they'll never be needed, with the footage kept spinning on a RAID, but I want as durable an insurance policy as is reasonable.

As far as your other questions go, I think the Sony software is sufficient. I haven't used Shotput, but Clip Browser does everything I want to do so far. CRC copy is a must.

One problem I ran into is the whole "naming clips" question. We have three FCP stations here. We handle all our footage, from storage on the RAID to re-wrapping clips to MOV, on an iMac. Project managers review and log/mark the footage on that machine. This means we don't get the ability to import to FCP using XDCAM Transfer; we move the Quicktimes over the network to whichever editing machine needs them. In that case, metadata doesn't transfer well. Maybe that'll improve down the road. For now we just keep the clip numbers in order to make sure we can reconnect the footage later when needed.

XDCAM Transfer does NOT store subclip information, however, so once you remove the source folder from the list on the left you've removed that information as well. To me that seems absolutely ludicrous, but in my experience that's been the case every time. Maybe I'm missing something. A guy can retrieve that information from a FCP project, but I just wish I could add the folder as a source and have the subclip information still exist. This is one example of why tape-based workflows require diligent (and consistent) organization.

No system is perfect, but I do think that the combination of these wonderful and affordable cameras, the disc-based backup solution, and the free XDCAM software is the best configuration available.


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Jim Bruce
Re: Advice on SxS backup, archiving
on Aug 21, 2009 at 10:47:07 pm

Hi Craig,

Thanks for the tips and support. I definitely know how critical getting a bulletproof work flow is and am glad the "Cow" is there to help me along.

With your help I think we've got the basics of backing up SxS down, but, as always, progress leads to new questions...

So if you get a chance...

1) After making the initial backup to a firewire (Raid 1) with Clip Browser and CRC on, is it "safe" to then make extra backups (i.e. to additional drives - we will archive to Bluray later on) simply using the Mac drag and copy approach? What do you recommend?

2) When using spanned clips, is there any extra step u need to go through? Or are they just 2 clips that are continuous when cut together?

3) What is your process for importing into Final Cut? I used XDCam Transfer to import and the clip as it plays in FCP (in a timeline set to match the clip) seems to have fairly heavy compression added to it. In clip properties it seems to have a 4.4 variable bit rate, whereas the wrapped quicktimes when played in QT player look much better and play back at 35 Vbr - is there something I'm missing? Is this just a playback issue and it will look all right when I export and compress to DVD?

Once again any thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jim



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Andy Nastase
Re: Advice on SxS backup, archiving
on Jan 7, 2010 at 5:20:08 pm

Sorry to revive this post from the dead... Jim, after your experience, how did it all go? I'm still torn between ShoutPut Pro and Clip Browser... What do you think? Any useful tips after your experience?

Any addition to this will be great, thanks everyone



Best,

Andy


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