Data Wrangling Software
From the Apple OSX forum, I just learned (from Craig Thomas Quinlan) about two programs that offer data verification for offloading SxS cards: VideoToolShed Offloader and ShotPut Pro.
I wonder whether the folks over here have any insights to offer as to how well these titles operate with XDCAM data. Do you have a preference, and if so, why?
Shot Put Pro is compatible and is used by a number of XDCAM EX operators. You can also use the Sony Clip Browser or XDCAM Browser to applications to do the same type of managed copy with CRC verification. ShotPut has some additional features, I believe, like the ability to print out shot logs. CB/XDB have additional XDCAM-specific features for managing clips and merging data folders. It is also a free download.
I've been searching this forum, and have come to realize that my workflow should be improved. But my efforts to use XDCAM EX Clip Browser have been unsuccessful.
Here is what I have been doing, without XDCAM EX Clip Broswer, and with no adverse results:
1. create folder on MBP system drive, named for the project and the card e.g. "ProjectName-CardName"
2. insert SxS card into ExpressCard slot
3. copy entire BPAV folder from SxS card into the folder on the MBP system drive
4. connect firewire drive to MBP
5. copy the "ProjectName-CardName" folder onto the firewire drive
6. open Final Cut Pro, use Log & Transfer to look at footage and transfer selects to FCP.
No error-checking! And so far, no problems. But I want to do this right, so I tried today to use XDCAM EX Clip Browser. It has been a miserable experience from start to -- I would say "finish", but I haven't gotten far enough to finish. At some point several months ago, I must have succeeded in downloading something, because I have it on my laptop, but today noticed that it is version 2.00.01, not 2.6. I wanted to get the current version, but I can't seem to find a download site that works; the download pages' buttons have question marks, one download page requires signing in but rejects my passwords (which have NO unusual characters) because it says it has unusual characters.
I haven't been any happier trying to use it than I was downloading it. Compared to the Log & Transfer workflow, which seems perfectly smooth and straightforward, this software is a puzzle inside an enigma. No, I haven't read the manual. Can't find it!
I would rather just avoid this software, but if someone can recommend a place where I can download the current version, I would appreciate it. The site which I'm using is the top-ranked one in a Google search, so it should work.
But can I get away with using ShotPut?
You should be using 2.6, which is available here:
The issue you mentioned about links not working is specific to Safari. It has issues with the software site and doesn't render all the links properly. If you use Firefox or Chrome the site works normally. If you have trouble with the login or setting up an account call the Sony tech support office and they'll send you the software or give you a temp login. 800 883 6817, ops 2-5-2.
I can't say enough about Clip Browser. I have issues with the UI and some of the clunky terminology it uses but as far as what it does it's an extremely useful tool. In addition to doing safe backups you can use it to rebuild SxS cards, fix damaged BPAVs, log your clips and rewrap/transcode to other formats. Also it will run on just about any Intel Mac or Windows machine and has embedded codec support (useful if you use a separate laptop without your NLE on it for logging/copying). Log and Transfer is an import utility whereas CB is more of a management tool, so it's not really an accurate comparison.
If Clip Browser doesn't work for you then try Shot Put Pro. It doesn't have a lot of the XDCAM-specific features but it has a number of useful features that CB doesn't have. I can't stress enough that you'd be doing yourself a favor by doing verified copies of your camera originals.
In CB all you need to do is point to your card in one Explorer window and drag the clips to a location on your system in the other one. You can also set up a 'Copy All' location in the preferences and do one-click backups to this location by right-clicking on your card and selecting 'Copy All.' There are a lot of useful logging and management functions as well but as far as the basics of backing up your files, that's it.
If you decide to revisit it and have questions, let me know. I'm not here to evangelize but it is a useful resource, even if you only end up using it twice a year when you're in a pinch..
[Ian Cook] "You can also set up a 'Copy All' location in the preferences and do one-click backups to this location by right-clicking on your card and selecting 'Copy All.'"
I set up checking in Preferences, along with a folder location. I am highlighting the SxS card in the Explorer window's left pane, then clicking the fifth button from the left (up top), which copies everything on the card to a folder which is given a numerical label based on year-month-date-hour-minute-second. I assume that I am at liberty to rename that folder later on.
Is this workflow correct? I don't see any separate stage of CRC checking - I assume that goes on during the copy process.
Thanks again. This is very promising, although I may still need ShotPut or something similar for media from other sources like the GoPro. Or... not. I can always check the results by doing a Log & Transfer before doing a card erase, right?
Yes, this is all correct. You can rename the parent folder if you need to, just don't change anything within BPAV.
Once you enable the CRC checking in the prefs it's always active, regardless of what kind of copy you do.
If you go to the File Menu and select OUTPUT you can generate an XML shot log for all the clips on a given source. I had forgotten that CB could do this (perhaps because the feature is so vaguely, ambiguously named...)
Bob, I bought Shotput very early on and it worked well for me....until I tried to move the software off of my desktop and onto my laptop. At that point, the software became unusable and their "tech support" would NOT help me make it work again unless I paid for an upgraded version. So, it DOES work as advertised as long as you never move it from one computer to another.
Bob, I do mostly as you do except that I'm editing in Media 100. I presume you are naming the folders that you open as BPAV before you drag the media (BPAV) files from the cards otherwise we are told dire consequences will follow. I too then use the Transfer software to select exactly the bits I want to import into the edit system.
A question now for Ian. Can I continue using the Sony Transfer, I have 2.11, for this purpose regardless of the amalgamation of this facility into the new Clip Browser version? I can never understand the need for all these constant 'upgrades'. If it works why fiddle around? I'm able to operate exactly as I want with what I've got. Transfer allows very accurate selection of in and out points and importing, is there any need for me to change?
[Michael Slowe] " I presume you are naming the folders that you open as BPAV before you drag the media (BPAV) files from the cards otherwise we are told dire consequences will follow."
Not certain what you mean here. I'm creating a new folder, with a name which describes the shoot (client/project/date)and which card I'm using. I then copy (drag and drop) everything from the SxS card into that folder. That means I drag the BPAV folder (and of course all of its contents) into the new folder I just created.
I do try not to erase the SxS card before I've tested the files in the laptop. With three cards (two 32gb and one 16gb), I usually have enough storage for a one or two-day shoot -- but I know I'm going to have a day which breaks that limit.
Bob I use Clip Browser everyday to manage my files from my 6 EX1r's. It can be difficult to download with Safari but works flawlessly when installed with Firefox. I use it to copy my SDHC cards to a back-up hard drive on my MacPro. I use the CRC Data check every time. It takes a little longer but on a couple of occasions it has noted something wrong with the data and asked me to start again. I have done so with no problem. It names the folders with random numbers on the Back-up drive. I change this name to something that is relevant to my workflow. Now I have an exact, data checked copy of my card. In my case I now use XDCam Transfer to load these folders onto Final Cut Server for random access by my end users. Now I have two copies of my data. Only now will I erase the original SDHC cards. I also access the files from Final Cut Server into Final Cut Pro. In the end it saves me a ton of time.
I own Shot Put Pro but have never used it. Quite honestly I am easily confused and this system works for me.
[Bob Tompkins] " It can be difficult to download with Safari but works flawlessly when installed with Firefox."
Thanks - I should have thought of that. I will try Firefox.
What versions of Clip Browser and XDCAM Transfer do you use? I noticed in your earlier post that you don't like the continual upgrade process, and I agree - the accounting software I use on my PC to run the business is about ten years old, and works better than the "upgrade."
Thanks again. Glad you have a solution that works!
Bob Cole, what I mean is that I also include in the file title something to identify the shoot such as a date or location but at the very front I put BPAV as I understood that this was essential in order for the Transfer software to recognise the files. I'm surprised that you manage without doing this. You don't try selecting items from the file do you? Those that do have been castigated by Craig and have messed up the media by doing this.
[Michael Slowe] "at the very front I put BPAV as I understood that this was essential in order for the Transfer software to recognise the files. I'm surprised that you manage without doing this. You don't try selecting items from the file do you?"
Not necessary to put BPAV in the filename of the enclosing folder, for Log & Transfer to recognize the files.
When in Finder, I do not delve into the BPAV files; inside Log & Transfer, of course, you can select individual clips or even portions of clips.
Sorry about your castigation...sounds painful.
You do not have to have the words BPAV in the title of the folder but you MUST have all of the contents of the BPAV folder in that original folder...whatever you call it.
You should upgrade to 2.12, the latest version of Transfer. It has a number of fixes and improvements and is also the only version that's properly supported under Snow Leopard.
If Transfer works, there's no reason to stop using it. It's one of the best, most intuitive and functional pieces of software Sony has released and we're sorry to see it go EOL. I know XDCAM Browser has its issues but as I've said before, it's a first step in consolidating multiple different applications developed over the last 8-9 years. These disparate applications were developed by different Sony software teams to support optical XDCAM and then XDCAM EX. There are obvious advantages to having everything done under one roof and not having to use 5 different applications depending on your version of XDCAM.