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Katie Gates
best way to transcode quickly
on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:07:16 pm

I work with a crew that shoots XDCam footage to news producers (read into that rushed, harried) In the past I have provided them with there footage on a thumb drive with a copy of content browser and they walk away. I've been using Shotput software to transfer the files so they have verified transfer, a timely process they frequently are unhappy to wait for, but do so.

But increasingly, they are either unwilling or unable (to the same result either way) to work with the raw camera files. I have no contol or knowledge of what editing systems will be used (and can't trust their knowldege) and have to turn this around pronto. I'm wondering if you kind folks have any insights into a workflow that will get a "universal" (I'm think prorez 422) fomat quickly. I have FCP7, Compressor, Premier 5, Adobe Media Encoder, and Content Browser.

Katie Gates



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Craig Seeman
Re: best way to transcode quickly
on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:27:32 pm
Last Edited By Craig Seeman on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:31:27 pm

Unless the client makes clear what they need, you risk getting it wrong.
Some Windows users might prefer DNxHD instead of ProRes. Some would prefer ProRes4444 rather than 422 if they're going to have a heavy FX or Grading post workflow.

Personally if the client is professional they should be able to handle the camera masters and transcode as they see fit if their workflow requires it. If they aren't professionals you certainly may chose the delivery codec for them but I think it should be clear, in writing, that sans their input, you decision is final.

At the point they sign the contract (or letter of agreement or email agreeing to the job) you can offer Native Camera Masters, DNxHD, ProRes 4444, ProRes HQ 422 and if one isn't specific you reserve the right to chose delivery codec.

Keep in mind that uninformed clients or clients without the knowledge may respond "These Pro Res files are too big" whereas you could have given them 35mbit or 50mbit camera masters and get a response "We can't play these" or "we can't transcode these."

BTW if they're ducking because they don't like spending the time transcoding than you charge them for your time to do that.

I should add that the best way to encode might depend on what your encoder can do depending on the flavor of XDCAM you shot with. Keep in mind that it might range from BPAV from XDCAM EX wrapped in .mov first or .mxf files and whether they are MPEG2 or XAVC.


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Katie Gates
Re: best way to transcode quickly
on Nov 16, 2014 at 8:40:52 pm

Thanks for that, Craig, what you say supports my understanding of the scenario, but I always need a reality check. Never know when the latest greatest change has popped up that negates my knowledge.

This is for news purposes however, and "professional" there has a slightly different definition than in the post production world. They want the footage NOW for the news feed in 4 hours. Many times they ask for an .mov, which I realize is a wrapper, and I could very well provide a .mov that they wouldn't have the proper codec to read. My client represents the interviewees, who want to get as many interviewers as possible. So I am hoping there may be some suggestions that will provide a slightly move user friendly way to get a file they can use. katie gates


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Craig Seeman
Re: best way to transcode quickly
on Nov 16, 2014 at 11:48:04 pm

[Katie Gates] "They want the footage NOW for the news feed in 4 hours. Many times they ask for an .mov, "

If you want to keep it simple you could consider getting PremierPro CC which is probably the most camera codec friendly NLE and then export as ProRes 422.

Keep in mind transcoding slows you down. Keep in mind that ProRes 422 will take longer to deliver than the camera master files which might only be 35 or 50mbits. Transcoding and ProRes work against "NOW"

Long gone are the days when you could just send a BetaSP or DigiBeta unfortunately.

You could look at ExtremeReach Pathfire specs as they specialize in VNR delivery, which sounds like what you're doing more or less.
http://syndication.pathfire.com/master-specifications



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Ian Cook
Re: best way to transcode quickly
on Nov 17, 2014 at 3:44:28 pm

Most editors (FCP, Premiere, Avid etc) take XDCAM, XDCAM EX and XAVC files natively. If you have transcode to ProRes you can use Catalyst Prepare, Resolve, Premiere (Mac only)..


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