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Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs

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Tim Allison
Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs
on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:00:56 pm

We presently own two PDW-f355 cameras that record on XDCAM HD optical discs. We are looking at purchasing an EX3 camera. How difficult is it to move the video from the SxS cards to the optical discs for archival purposes? Is this as simple as dragging and dropping the BPAV from the cards to the disc? Will an PDW-F75 deck be able to read and play these files without having the "proper" file structure on the disc?

I've done enough searches on this forum to know that people are doing this, but I haven't been able to find a description of how it is done.


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Ian Cook
Re: Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs
on Mar 21, 2011 at 4:41:54 pm

You can back up XDCAM EX files as either data or video. As data, the files live in a generic storage area of the disc and accessible as files but do not play back on the deck/camcorder. If you back them up as video, this involves using Clip Browser or FCP or Avid or another application to transcode from the EX codec/file type to the XDCAM optical codec/file type.

The issue you will run into is that the generic data folder you need to back up as data is not supported on the PDW-F355/PDW-F75. The 'User Data' directory was added on the PDW-700, PDW-F800, PDW-HD1500, PDW-F1600, PDW-HR1 and PDW-U1. Discs formatted on the F355 and F75 do not have a User Data folder and will not recognize one created on a later model XDCAM. If you have up-to-date firmware on these models they will not generate any errors if you use a disc with a User Data folder, but they won't be able to read from it or write to it.

You would have to transcode the individual files to one of the XDCAM HD 420 codecs using Clip Browser or an NLE. I'm guessing this isn't what you're after since it's not a real archive of the BPAVs but is instead a clip-by-clip transcode to another (albeit related MPEG-2) codec. Also the XDCAM HD 420 codecs are all 1440 x 1080, so if you are starting from HQ files the resolution will change.

Hope this helps...

Best,

Ian

Ian Cook
Sony Broadcast and Professional Company


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Tim Allison
Re: Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs
on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:09:00 pm

Now I'm more confused than ever. So you will know how to address your answers, we edit on Final Cut Pro. As for decks and drives, we have both F75 decks and PDW-U1 drives available for use.

Let's say I shoot on an EX camera, and drag and drop my BPAV folder from my SxS cards onto an XDCAM-HD disk. I understand that doing this will basically turn that disk into a data disk, instead of a video disk.

First question: will either Clip Browser, XDCAM Transfer, or Log and Capture within FCP, be able to read this new data disk to allow us to view and log clips, and then import only the "good" clips that we want to use into our project? What about comments and notes we want to make in the logging process? Can any notes be attached to the individual clips?

Second question: how much of the 23 GB capacity of that disk will be available to store this data? Can this "generic storage area" utilize most, if not all of the disk? Or does this greatly reduce the storage capacity of the disk?

Finally, how good of a job does Clip Browser do in transcoding the EX clips into a 420 codec? We haven't noticed any major issues when transcoding ProRes422 video into the XDCAM 1440x1080 codec. Is this something we would have to do on a clip-by-clip basis, or can we "select all" and walk away from the computer for a bit?



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Ian Cook
Re: Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs
on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:58:59 pm

"Let's say I shoot on an EX camera, and drag and drop my BPAV folder from my SxS cards onto an XDCAM-HD disk. I understand that doing this will basically turn that disk into a data disk, instead of a video disk."

--This is not really the case. You can only store BPAVs in a common storage area on the disc if it's been formatted by/for use in an XDCAM machine. This common area is the User Data folder I mentioned earlier. All other folders are restricted.

"First question: will either Clip Browser, XDCAM Transfer, or Log and Capture within FCP, be able to read this new data disk to allow us to view and log clips, and then import only the "good" clips that we want to use into our project? What about comments and notes we want to make in the logging process? Can any notes be attached to the individual clips?"

--Clip Browser, XDCAM Transfer and Log and Transfer will all see the BPAVs stored in the User Data folder, and any of these applications can be used to sub-clip and add comments and other metadata. Keep in mind that CB doesn't convert for FCP. You can use it to triage your material and add comments/sub clips etc but you still need to use XDCAM Transfer, XDCAM Browser or Log and Transfer to import the BPAVs into Final Cut Pro. There are also plug-ins which allow for direct import of EX .mp4s without conversion but keep in mind that you'd then have to do all your pre-logging in Clip Browser since direct import plug-ins take XDCAM Transfer and Log and Transfer out of the picture.


"how much of the 23 GB capacity of that disk will be available to store this data? Can this "generic storage area" utilize most, if not all of the disk? Or does this greatly reduce the storage capacity of the disk?"


--The User Data folder can hold any amount of data up to the remaining capacity of the disc. A formatted PFD23A (23 Gb single layer) holds roughly 20.5 GB. A formatted PFD50DLA (50 GB dual layer)
will hold roughly 45 GB.


"...How good of a job does Clip Browser do in transcoding the EX clips into a 420 codec? We haven't noticed any major issues when transcoding ProRes422 video into the XDCAM 1440x1080 codec. Is this something we would have to do on a clip-by-clip basis, or can we "select all" and walk away from the computer for a bit?"

---CB does a very clean transcode. The encoding engine is from Main Concept and only works in Demo Mode until you upgrade it based on the formats you want. You can batch-export multiple clips at a time.


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Tim Allison
Re: Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs
on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:18:49 pm

So....if I understand you correctly, I can format an XDCAM disk in a PDW-U1 drive, which would give it a User Data Folder. Then, I can copy my BPAV folder into a sub-folder inside of this User Data folder. Once this copy is made, I can use XDCAM Transfer to log and import footage into Final Cut Pro.

Is this correct?



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Ian Cook
Re: Backing up SxS cards to XDCAM HD optical discs
on Mar 21, 2011 at 9:42:44 pm

yes, correct, just point XDCAM Transfer/Log and Transfer to each BPAV's parent folder (e.g. /User Data/Card 1)


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