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Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?

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Michael Hutchinson
Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 3:37:21 am

Hi all,
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer on this topic.
I'm trying to figure out the best possible workflow for ingesting, logging, cataloging, editing, and archiving XDCAM EX footage for a reality series and several other projects I'm working on.

Others have convinced me that CatDV will make my life a whole lot easier, so I downloaded the Pro Demo and will give it a shot (first glance tells me it's exactly what I need).

I'm wondering if someone can help me with a step-by-step workflow for dealing with the footage.

Some of the early files are just in .mov (with no XML files attached--I can't blame the cameraman, I'm the one who committed the cardinal sin of not first making a copy of the BPAV folder. My apologies to Craig Seeman if you are reading this. I was new to the camera and didn't discover your posts until after the fact).

Anyway, if someone can walk me through step by step on the best workflow from this point forward, I will be forever grateful.


Here are my current system specs:
Computer: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Operating System: Snow Leopard 10.6.2

Applications:

Final Cut Studio 3 (Final Cut Pro 7.0.1)
CatDV Pro 8.08
XDCAM EX Clip Browser V2.6 2.06.00
XDCAM Transfer 2.11



Michael David Hutchinson
"That most limited of all specialists, the well-rounded man."--F. Scott Fitzgerald 'The Great Gatsby'


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 2:37:11 pm

I'm just getting off the ground with this as well, although I mostly got CatDV to manage our offline archives and not so much for prepping to ingest footage. We use a machine that doesn't have Final Cut Studio on it (Express only) so we bought the Calibrated Software codec to allow CatDV to see the MP4 files properly. Other than that, I'm just starting on the nuts & bolts part of things. We should have been up and running but then I had an animated short fall in my lap and have spent the last month or so on that.

Cf


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Michael Hutchinson
Re: Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 3:44:11 pm

Hi Clint,

Many thanks for your help! I'm getting the impression this is new terrain for many a filmmaker (on the FCP forum, the best response I've received was "go over to the CatDV forum," which, of course, I had already done.)

I finally made the decision to go w/ CatDV after heading over to a local value-added Apple Reseller that does a lot of work w/ the RED cameras and talking to their CEO. Because they work on quite a few projects of varying size at once, I asked what he used for media management (certain the response would be "why Final Cut Server of course" but, to my surprise, he said that Final Cut Server was a bit cumbersome and asked if I'd heard of a little program called CatDV that was actually taking quite a bit of business from Apple.) This was coming from an Apple Value added Reseller by the way recommending a UK based media asset management tool, so at that point I basically said "screw it" and decided to shell out the $340 for CatDV Pro.

I've been thinking about going w/ the Calibrated Software codec and even though I'll probably end up getting it, I'm stubborn and holding out until the last possible minute before shelling out the $80...shouldn't it all just work in perfect harmony rather than me having to get out the credit card every time I want to make life a little easier.

Anyway, hopefully my question will yield some fruitful responses and help us both out in the process. In the meantime, best of luck w/ the animated short...please send along any promo or link that I can check out at some point...having never worked on animation, it's still complete magic to me.

All the best,
mdh

Michael David Hutchinson
"That most limited of all specialists, the well-rounded man."--F. Scott Fitzgerald 'The Great Gatsby'


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Kuhnen Brown
Re: Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 6:13:59 pm

Hi,
CatDV is the hub of my workflow, eliminating the need for Sony Transfer. Once the BPAV masters are copied to our raid storage using Sony Clip Browser, we create a new catalog in CatDV by importing the MP4's. This can ONLY happen using the Calibrated Software codec. This is what sets CatDV apart from anything else out there. Once the MP4 clips are imported, use CatDV to log the clips. The magic happens in the next step. Select the individual clips you want to send to Final Cut Pro, and File > Export As > Final Cut Pro XML file. Save it to the desktop, then in FCP, File > Import > XML, and VOILA, the clips are in the browser ready for editing. The XML file is actually importing reference pointers to your MP4 masters.
To really take advantage of other great features in CatDV, check in regularly on its new forum here on the Cow. There are some heavy lifters with great advice.
Hope this helps.
Kuhnen

Kuhnen Brown
InterMountain Digital
Oregon


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Michael Hutchinson
Re: Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:07:39 pm

Hi Kuhnen,
Thank you so much!!! Exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for.

Only problem now is, as I posted on the CatDV forum, the program keeps crashing on me, yesterday costing me 3 hours of logging info. Ostensibly, this is because I'm using the "trial" version...of course, I'm not about to invest $340 for CatDV + $80 for the Calibrated Software codec until I know this is going to be a reliable workflow and that CatDV doesn't have stability problems with Snow Leopard. It's not much of a trial if it quits after saving or just randomly at any point in the process. It'd be like test driving a new car with a half cup of gas in the tank. "Yeah, it drove great until we got out of the parking lot..."

Anyway, your advice is hugely appreciated and if you have any knowledge about what might be going on with my copy of CatDV (is it stable w/ Snow Leopard or are they still working out kinks), I'd be even more appreciative.

As to your earlier advice, once you've brought the files into FCP using the method you outlined:
1. Copy full BPAV to Scratch Disk/RAID using Sony Clip Browser.
2. Open CatDV and import .mp4s into new catalog (or current catalog I'm guessing if it's part of an ongoing project).
3. Log and select clips for FCP project.
4. File-->export-->final cut pro XML (save to desktop)
5. in FCP, File > Import > XML

Two questions:
1. What sequence settings do you use?
2. Have you heard of any sound quality problems? Another user warned that without rewrapping as .mov files, you get poor sound quality...any truth to that? Do you know what he'd be talking about?

Many thanks,
mdh


Michael David Hutchinson
"That most limited of all specialists, the well-rounded man."--F. Scott Fitzgerald 'The Great Gatsby'


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Kuhnen Brown
Re: Best practices workflow from XDCAM EX + CAT DV + FCP?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:38:17 pm

Hi,
I've been using CatDV since version 4. Never has issues with crashing. Currently running version 8.0.8 under Snow Leopard. Works like a charm. In FCP I use the HD sequence settings for XDCam EX 1080p30. The Calibrated Software codec reads the native MP4 clips nicely. Audio? Clear as a bell.
My best,
Kuhnen.

Kuhnen Brown
InterMountain Digital
Oregon


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