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Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?

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Emile Wamsteker
Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 5, 2009 at 7:06:17 pm

Is there a difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?

I am mixing footage from a Canon 7D with an EX-1. I decided it would makes sense to convert the 7D's native H264 format to Apple XDCAM using MPEG Streamclip, and then edit in the Sony XDCAM format. I would convert the H264 straight to the Sony XDCAM format, but MPEG Streamclip doesn't have an option in its pulldown menu for that format.

Any comments? Does this make sense?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Cheers,

-E


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Noah Kadner
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 5, 2009 at 10:46:47 pm

I wouldn't do that- you're essentially doubling the heavy compression already in the 7D. Convert the 7D footage to ProRes. You can cut ProRes on an XDCAM EX timeline with enough RAM and processor speed.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera! Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Call Box Training now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, and Panasonic DVX100.


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Emile Wamsteker
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 5, 2009 at 11:33:20 pm

Hi Noah,

Thanks for the feedback.

I was trying to avoid the ProRes route. I've heard many good things about the format, although I don't know if my machine is up to the task. I have a MacPro 2.4GHZ Quadcore 8GB RAM.

I hear the ProRes files are huge and slow. The upside is you're getting the best quality, I know that. I suppose I should run some tests to see how my machine does with ProRes files.

In any case, is there a way to convert the h264 file directly into the Sony XDCAM format to avoid double compression?

When you say "double compression", I take it you mean that I am compressing once from H264 to Apple XDCAM and a second time when I plop it into the timeline which is set to run Sony XDCAM files. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Going directly into the Sony XDCAM format, instead of the Apple format, would eliminate at least one generation of compression. Again, the problem is MPEG Streamclip doesn't allow for that. Does compressor? Perhaps I could do it through XDCAM Transfer?

Thanks again for your help.





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Noah Kadner
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 6, 2009 at 1:10:09 am

XDCAM EX is a significantly compressed format. And don't think of it as Apple's XDCAM vs. Sony's XDCAM- they are identical in terms of the way they compress footage and their data rates. The only difference is "Apple's" is directly playable in the QuickTime Player and "Sony's" is not without a third party plugin.

XDCAM is not doing as much crunching to your footage as the H.264 codec that the camera compresses to. But far more damage is being done to your footage as would happen with ProRes. It would be like ripping an MP3 audio file and then re-compressing it to Realplayer- really bad idea quality wise. And your machine is more than up to using ProRes alongside XDCAM EX.

Your best workflow is the following:

Log and transfer the EX1 footage to Apple XDCAM EX- this is the quickest most straightforward way to go.

Then copy the H.264 7D files onto your hard drive. Open them in Compressor and make them into 1080p Apple ProRes (doesn't even need to be ProRes HQ).

Then start a new timeline in FCP with the XDCAM EX as the sequence codec. Drop the ProRes clips into it and continue editing. Make sure you use the RT unlimited settings so nothing needs rendering. You'll get the best possible quality out of both cameras and avoid needlessly recompressing footage that's already pretty compressed out of the camera.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera! Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio.
Call Box Training now featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, and Panasonic DVX100.


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 6, 2009 at 1:54:43 pm

There's a guy sitting next to me editing Prores from XDCAM on a Quad with 2GB RAM. You'll do fine. It'll take more hard drive space but you'll avoid the quality loss. It may perform better than the XDCAM, for wrangling in your timeline...your mileage may vary, of course.

Cf


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Rafael Amador
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 6, 2009 at 3:07:43 pm

[Emile Wamsteker] "In any case, is there a way to convert the h264 file directly into the Sony XDCAM format to avoid double compression? "
But why do you want to finish exporting to EX-1?
EX-1 is an acquisition format.
Shot with it but don't export back unless is your required delivery format.
Convert your Canon files to Prores and drop it together withe the EX-1 footage in a Prores sequence.
I work in a 2 years old MBP with 1080 Prores HQ and works great.
Just fix your self some fast drives (eSATA RAID 0).
Rafael



http://www.nagavideo.com


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Nick Righton
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 7, 2009 at 10:55:55 pm

Save yourself a lot of time and effort. Buy a Black Magic Design Intensity Pro capture card for less than 200 bucks. Capture the video directly from the canon via HDMI into the mac via the Intensity and have the Intensity endode the video to Pro Res flavor of your choice. It will be a realtime capture but alot of times realtime capture is faster than copying large files and re-encoding them. Good Luck.

Nick

I wish I was good at one thing rather than average at many, but oh well.


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Emile Wamsteker
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 4:25:16 pm

Many thanks to everyone for the valuable feedback.

I took Noah and Rafael's advice and converted to Pro Res. I forgot to mention that I am running an esata connected RAID 0 which helps. I guess I underestimated the power of my set up. Images look great, and everything is running smoothly.

Cheers.


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Brent Dunn
Re: Difference between Apple XDCAM and Sony XDCAM formats?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 8:04:51 pm

Playback from 7D via intensity pro HDMI only helps if you have continuous clips. I know, I have probably 100 or more small clips. That means I would have to sit there and play each clip for capture.
Unless there is a way to have that camera play through all the clips continuously, which would be nice.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Video.com


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