How to re-link .MOV files in FCP from BPAV files
I am new to the EX3 tapeless workflow so please bear with me.
I have a question about workflow in regards to the BPAV files and the MOV files that are later created. I understand that I should back up my BPAV files twice using Clip Browser with error protection. And I know to how re-wrap these files into MOV files using XDCAM Transfer. In the process of using XDCAM transfer I often create subclips that are of a shorter duration than the original camera files. And I give them more descriptive names too. So when I import them into FCP they no longer have the generic EX3 file names and they take up less space than the original files.
Suppose I do an edit and then delete all of the MOV files after I am done. If I later have to go back and do a re-edit, how easy is it to "re-link" the media that is offline, assuming that all I have access to is the original BPAV files (and these files would have different names and lengths than the ones I am using in FCP)? In my old tape based workflow it was as simple as re-capturing the footage from properly labeled tapes.
Do I also need to create yet another backup of files, in this case the MOV files themselves. I'm already supposed to do a double back up of the BPAV files. If I need to also back up the MOV files (twice to be safe I assume) it seems like that is really a lot of extra workflow and hard drive space.
Or should I not be re-naming my MOV files created with XDCAM Transfer so that they have the original generic EX3 file names in FCP.
Thanks in advance for any tips here...
WideWorld HD Productions
I applaud you your courage in posting this question. Not that I have an answer but that you've broached one of my phobias about the EX XDCAM workflow. I've asked this question many moons ago and on various forums and the answers I got didn't seem promising.
Here's what I've observed and what people have responded and what I do.
Each MP4 source clip has a UMID (Unique Material Identifier).
This is carried over when a clip is rewrapped to MOV
UMID and not clip name is what Sony uses to join split/spanned clips.
In theory this should make it very easy to connect MOV used in FCP to the original MP4.
I believe if you try to take a project that is offline to online FCP will only look for the MOV to reconnect. I hope I'm wrong though. Ideally it should call Log and Transfer and should be able to find and import/rewrap the MP4(BPAV) to MOV. I also don't know if this will remember subclips. I should test all this. I can't recall a single post on any forum of anyone testing this.
The responses I did get were:
Save the project media MOV files so FCP can reattach them. This means yet more large backups though.
Or Rewrap all the MP4(BPAV) back to MOV so FCP will find the MOV files. This means avoid subclipping. This is what I do.
I would love for someone who has tried to reconstitute an offline project with subclips and no save MOV files to explain what they've done.
Sadly FCP will not call log and transfer or XDCAM transfer tool when re-linking files. FCP\'s media management is pretty basic. If the clips it is linking back to are of diffent length it will flag up a warning, but provided the clip has time code it should find the correct part of the clip. I would avoid sub clips if you think you may need to re-link in the future. If you must create sub clips, name them so that you can find the original full clip in the BPAV folder. When re-linking use the transfer tool as a stand alone application to convert all your media to .mov then simply point FCP at the .mov that the sub clip was created from and it will use the clips timecode to use the correct segment. You could consider having one of your backups as BPAV and the second as a set of .mov files. You have 2 copies should you loose a backup, but there could be extra work if you loose the BPAV backup and need to convert the movs back to a BPAV folder.
Alister thanks for all that. You've basically summarized everything I've heard.
You'd think that with UMID and XML to store data such as in/out subclip info, there would be a way to do this. This is on my MUST wish list for FCS4 in our file based media world. Otherwise this would be a great opportunity for a third party tool. After all, with UMID and in/out metadata (subclip) you've got the basics.
A simple step forward would be if FCP could use the MP4 natively as it would then simply need to link back to the camera masters. Of course CalibratedSoftware allows for direct MP4 use in FCP but I haven't tried using it this way. That sill may not resolve the subclip issue though.
BTW the above gets even more complicated when people do things like go from MP4(BPAV) through to Apple ProRes clips where you've likely lost the UMID info.
For most of my projects there's always risk of having it being revisited at some future point, sometimes a few years later. That's why I don't subclip and use EX XDCAM natively to edit rather than AppleProRes (which I just set for renders as anyone should in FCP).
Thank you for your help. I tried a simple test to see if FCP was able to relink to MOV files that were deleted and then re-created with XDCAM TRANSFER at a different duration, in this case full-length clips instead of sub clips. It worked, with some caveats.
What I did was this:
I used XDCAM TRANSFER to re-wrap 3 MP4 files into MOV files. Each one of the MOV files created in XDCAM TRANSFER was a “subclip”, or a shorter portion of the original file. I did not change anything in regards to the file name but XDCAM TRANSFER did add an additional "01", "02", etc to the file names representing the fact that they are subclips.
I then went into FCP and edited together a short sequence using the MOV files. Then I exported my sequence as a stand alone QT movie and closed FCP. I deleted the MOV files as if I was done with the project.
Next, as if a client had suggested further changes. I re-opened the FCP project. Of course, it could not find the media it was looking for. So I went back into XDCAM TRANSFER and re-wrapped the files again. This time, I did not make any subclips and used the entire media from in to out. Of course, there was no "01", "02", etc. added to the file names because I re-wrapped the entire MP4 files, not just subclip portions.
I went back into FCP and tried to “relink” to the new MOV files I just created. It worked, but I had to manually relink each clip. Here’s why: When you create a subclip in XDCAM TRANSFER it wants to append a “01”, “02”, etc. to the end of the MOV file name. This is so that it can create multiple subclips from a single clip and give each one a unique file name. That works fine on your first edit in FCP. But if you have to go back and re-wrap the MP4 files into MOV files, and you do the entire clip (no subclip) you wont get the “01”, “02”, etc appendage on your file names. So you will have to manually point these files out to FCP. It’s easy enough to do, as you just disregard the subclip appendage in the file name and relink to the correct file. It just might take a lot of time, depending on how many clips you have.
And it seems important that I did not originally change the file names using XDCAM TRANSFER either. Using the god-given, gerneric EX-3 file names made it pretty easy to do.
In short, Alister is correct and FCP does seem to recognize my MOV files and the timecode associated with them after they are deleted re-wrapped and re-imported, even when the original files were created as subclips and the later ones were created as full length clips.
I can only imagine that it would be easier if the entire MP4 files were re-wrapped to begin with, with no subclips at all. Then FCP should be able to recognize and relink all of the clips at once.
Interestingly enough, I got the whole idea of using XDCAM TRANSFER to create subclips from the Vortex Media EX3 Instructional DVD. He really touts the ability to create subclips as a powerful feature of the workflow, allowing you to import only the footage that you need, thus saving both time and disk space in the edit. In theory this sounds like a great idea to me, but one must be careful to consider what happens later if any changes in the program are required and there are no MOV file back ups.
Going forward I will continue to experiment and weigh the prosand cons of using subclips in XDCAM TRANSFER. I am also considering, as Alister suggested, backing up one copy of both the BPAV files and the MOV files. I think (hope!) that this method will give me the redundancy and flexibility I will need in the future if I have to go back and change anything. Also, I like to have the ability to quickly access footage I have shot in the past, as MOV files, rather than having to recreate them in XDCAM TRANSFER.
Also, I am thinking that it is best not to re-name anything with XDCAM TRANSFER. As long as the MOV files have the same names as the MP4 files, things would be much easier to relink in the future? Any renaming of clips will be done in FCP only, without changing the actual media file name. Either that or I will use one of the logging columns to create more descriptive text names.
Thank you both.
WideWorld HD Productions
Thanks for that report Sterling.
What I do is to neither subclip or rename (as you suggest). This means I just need to rewrap and everything falls into place. Rewrap to MOV is fast enough for me so that I don't worry about backing up the MOV.
If FCP handled the metadata properly it would use the UMID rather than the name. The UMID does not change when rewrapping the file. Subclip in and outs (time code) are also nothing more than metadata. In other words, FCP should look a the UMID and the in and out points and Log and Transfer would find and rewrap the appropriate MP4/BPAV.
Well now, I think you guys should head on over to the CatDV forum for a solution to this. On the most recent post a person talks about being able to use a function within CatDV called "attach media" because:
"What this does is actually look for timecode within a media file to relink sub clips no matter what the original media was."
This person is working exclusively with FCP and is re-connecting subclips from a tape that was initially captured in its entirety. Sounds like with this the FCP recapturing problem would be solved.
check it out: http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/278/411
My solution to this problem is to make sure that XDCAM Transfer can reimport exactly the same subclips with exactly the same names by saving the database created by XDCAM Transfer.
I name all my subclips and have XDCAM Transfer's preferences set so that the names of the imported clips are as I want them without having to rename the mov files.
I also remove the check beside any clips that I do not want to import. That way, I can select all the clips and hit the import button without importing anything unnecessarily.
When I have finished, I move XDCAM Transfer's database to the same place as I save the FCP project.
I can then reimport exactly the same subclips by setting the path for the cache in preferences to the appropriate database, selecting all the clips and importing.
This method relies on the BPAV folders not being moved (otherwise XDCAM Transfer will lose track of them).