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Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?

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Leslie Farquharson
Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 8:35:11 pm

Hello All,

I am an assistant editor at production company that has started shooting their pilots and sizzles using the EX3. We are on FCP 7.0.2 in an xSan environment. Usually, I rewrap using FCP's log and transfer tool. However, we recently got XDCAM footage where 16 out of 40 cards could not be rewrapped in FCP. The files showed up in the window with no thumbnail and just an "unsupported" error message in the preview window. I tried using Sony's XDT app, but got nothing but errors. I tried CB, which was able to preview the problem cards but copying to new BPAV folders didn't work. I tried using XDCAM browser through FCP, but it only gave errors when I tried to register the clips for FCP. I even tried installing the Sony Log and Transfer utility plug in, but that was a bust as well.

For this pilot, we eventually had to transcode to Pro Res 422 HQ in Premiere Pro just to keep us on schedule. However, I'd rather not use that as our go-to workaround. So, I did some more research online and found Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import. Before I pitch it to our EIC, I wanted to check in and see if anyone has used it in a professional setting. Did it have any bugs or problems that made you regret the purchase? Its only $150 - $200, but I don't want to request the purchase and then it cause problems during post.

Your replies would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

L


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Craig Seeman
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:02:14 pm

I use it. It works well. It's great for ENG type work, for example, where the time to rewrap is critical. Also good when you don't want to use extra hard drive space to have both BPAV and EX .mov files.

I did this tutorial to show how to import many files in few steps.

How to batch import XDCAM EX MP4 files into Final Cut Pro with Calibrated S...





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Ian Cook
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 9:30:04 pm

Hi Leslie,

You may also want to check out the Cinemon.mp4 plugin from Sony. It's a QT plugin that allows for native import, QT playback and OS preview of EX .mp4 files.

There's a 60-day trial here:

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/cat-datastorage/resource.latest.bbsccms-assets...

Price is $99.

Best,

Ian


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Leslie Farquharson
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:28:46 pm

I just saw that site for Cinemon. Looks good. Thanks so much for the replies everyone! Will pitch both, but the EIC is a money cruncher so I'm sure they will go with Cinemon if the trial copy proves stable. Now I just have to make sure the DIT utilizes our naming convention for the parent folders and we are good to go. You wouldn't believe how many times freelancers send a drive with a bunch of folders listed as CARD 1, CARD 2.... Is it unreasonable for me to ask them to do an A CAM and B CAM folder and then within each folder do subfolders that indicate roll (e.g. LS1228A01)? Oh well. At least we save time not having to log and transfer.

Sweet!

L


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Greg Booth
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 29, 2010 at 3:33:24 pm

Hi Leslie,

I also just wanted to point out a few other differences besides price:

1. Support for Dual-Mono audio tracks for the MP4 files ( I think Cinemon labels MP4 files with two-track audio as stereo )

2. Support for JVCProHD HM700/HM100 MP4 files ( Cinemon though may unofficialy support this as well - but I'm unsure)

3. Support for auto-changing the TypeCode of the MP4 files to 'MooV' - this doesn't affect the file on disc ( rather just how the OS 'tags' the MP4 file) - having the file tagged with 'MooV' TypeCode enables FCP to use such features as SmoothCam Filter and certain media management features.

You can read more about that on the bottom of page 13 of the User Guide:

http://www.calibratedsoftware.com/downloads/CalibratedQ-MP4EX-UserGuide.pdf

4. A 'helper' application called 'Calibrated{Q} Import Assist' which lets you batch create QT Ref MOV files from XDCAM EX MP4 files, as well as create a FCP XML file from XDCAM MP4 files - when you import the FCP XML into FCP - it will import the MP4 files with certain metadata of the MP4 files.

You can read more about the MetaData mapping of MP4 files on page 14 of the Calibrated{Q} Import Assist User Guide:

http://www.calibratedsoftware.com/downloads/CalibratedQ-ImportAssist-UserGu...


Let me know if you have any questions - and feel free to email at


info at calibratedsoftware dot com


Cheers,
Greg

Calibrated Software


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Leslie Farquharson
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 29, 2010 at 7:53:31 pm

Sounds great! Thank you for all the info.

L


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Dave Jenkins
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 5:58:25 am

I was very interested in Sony's cinémon .mp4 plug-in until i read this issue below on the last page of the User Guide. It sounds like it resets the timecode which is a big deal for me. We shoot time of day and it helpful for me to know the time something was shot. I also like to rename my clips using the Log & Transfer.

Known Issues:
 Timecode breaks/discontinuous timecode are not supported by Final Cut Pro. Media files will import and play properly, but the timecode will increment from the first frame of the file regardless of the embedded timecode value.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
MacPro Two 2.8GHz Quad Core - AJA Kona LHe
FCS 3 OS X 10.6 QT 10


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Leslie Farquharson
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 7:38:40 am

Wow! We shoot time of day also as well as jam sync. If tc were to be affected, I would be up the proverbial creek when it came time to sync and group. And Story would have issues finding materials based on the field notes. Doh.

I should probably check the demo and see if that happens with Calibrated's software as well.

Thanks for the heads up!

L


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Greg Booth
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 3:14:41 pm

Hi,

Per the timecode - we have the same limitation as well - which I believe is also a limitation that XDCAM Transfer has too - in that if a single MP4 file has timecode breaks in the LTCChangeTable (in the XML of the MP4 file) the timecode will increment from the first frame only when imported via our component or re-wrapped to a MOV file with XDCAM Transfer. This is how FCP/QuickTime operates with timecode - in that it increments timecode from the first frame.

The few MP4 files I've seen that have timecode breaks in the LTCChangeTable when re-wrapped via XDCAM Transfer or imported directly via Calibrated{Q} MP4-EX Import into FCP - have the same reported timecode value - that of the first frame of the LTC ChangeTable. If you have a MP4 file with timecode breaks in LTC Change Table that exhibits a different behavior when re-wrapped via XDCAM Transfer than as described above, please let me know as I'd like to check out the file.


Cheers,
Greg

Calibrated Software


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Ian Cook
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 3:26:38 pm

Greg is correct in that this is more of an NLE limitation. Mp4-EX Import and Cinemon will behave the same way when dealing with clips that have TC breaks. Avid also does the same thing, as does our own standalone MXF player for optical XDCAM files. Most NLEs do not parse the entire TC range for a file-- they look at the first frame, the # of frames, the frame rate of the video and then they interpolate. XDCAM optical camcorders have a feature called 'Clip Continuous Recording' which, when enabled, causes the camera to create one long MXF file with markers placed at record starts/stops. If you use this mode with TOD you will get a single XDCAM file with discontinuous TC. When imported into most NLEs, Continuous TOD clips will erroneously show unbroken TC...


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Dave Jenkins
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 4:23:34 pm

When I use the Sony log and transfer plugin I see the same timecode we shot in the field.
Does Cinemon behave the same way?
When you are speaking of TC breaks are you talking about within a clip or when we shoot TOD and breaks between clips?

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
MacPro Two 2.8GHz Quad Core - AJA Kona LHe
FCS 3 OS X 10.6 QT 10


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Ian Cook
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 4:26:38 pm

Cinemon will behave the same way. It's not there there's no Time Code support; the limitation only applies to clips that contain breaks.


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Michael Palmer
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 4:55:34 pm

Ian,

What clips contain tc breaks? Please explain. I understand the TOD breaks but the clip always has a first frame of tc.

Its really to bad Sony and Apple don't play well together, it would solve this issue if Sony would offer a Quicktime wrapper option like other manufacturers. IMO This is just another reason to add a Nano Flash to your camera bag.

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Dave Jenkins
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 9:46:44 pm

Hi Ian, thanks for posting here. It's nice to have someone from Sony around.
Question
How can there be a TC break inside a digital clip?

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
MacPro Two 2.8GHz Quad Core - AJA Kona LHe
FCS 3 OS X 10.6 QT 10


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Ian Cook
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Jan 3, 2011 at 6:04:21 pm

If you record via SDI from an external source on, for example, an EX30 set to external regen, and the source happens to have broken TC, the clip created on the EX card will have TC breaks. This can happen if you are going from an XDCAM optical disc created with Clip Continuous and Free Run enabled (see above post) or if the source is an HDCAM or HDCAM SR tape with TC breaks.


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Leslie Farquharson
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Jan 4, 2011 at 6:41:11 pm

If we use Calibrated's EX MP4 import, will I be able to media manage the final cut to a drive to send out for color correction? Also, our colorist uses Apple's Color application. Will that be a problem? I've looked at your user's guide and it looks like I just need to alter the typecode to MooV and then I will be able to use the media manager for online prep. However, it says that "select" media manager functions can be used, but not all. Can you elaborate?

L


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Greg Booth
Re: Calibrated {Q} MP4-EX Import: Should I get it?
on Jan 4, 2011 at 7:16:59 pm

Hi Leslie,

Basically, Color does not support Calibrated{Q} MP4-EX Import so you cannot import XDCAM EX MP4 files directly into Color. I believe this is an Apple big and most likely Cinemon would have the same problem.

Per the 'select' Media Management - basically that means that you'd be able 'Media Manage' and either 'copy' your Sequence which then FCP rewraps to a XDCAM EX MOV file or 'recompress' (as some users prefer) to a ProRes MOV file - which you can then import into Color.

Cheers,
Greg

Calibrated Software


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