AG-AF100 - Missing Clip in Adobe Premiere
I wonder if anyone else has run into this. We just did a shoot with an AG-AF100 (one of several, all the rest of which have been quite successful). In this one, when we access the PRIVATE folder from within Premiere CS5, the clips jump from 00000.mts to 00002.mts. The clip called 00001.mts is missing.
Looking in PRIVATE/AVCHD/BDMV/STREAM, 00001.mts is present. There is also a corresponding 00001.CPI file in PRIVATE/AVCHD/BDMV/CLIPINF. So the physical files are sitting there. And all of them (00001.mts through 00008.mts) import just fine into Premiere except that one.
Any thoughts out there?
Thanks in advance,
Oh - one other thing. If I open the folder in Windows and navigate to PRIVATE/AVCHD/BDMV/STREAM and open 00001.mts in Windows Media Player, it plays just fine. So the stream file doesn't seem to be corrupted.
Okay - I fixed it. But it's creepy.
I forgot all about the "AVCCAM Restorer" that's included with the unit (since we've never needed it before).
But now that we've restored the file (which was successful), I see what REALLY happened. This was an interview that went for about 28 minutes. What it did was to spontaneously BREAK THE INTERVIEW INTO TWO FILES, 00000 and 00001 with 00001 being corrupt in some way (and only being about two minutes long). Unfortunately the files aren't fully contiguous - it lost about 15 frames in between while the interview subject was speaking.
While what was being said wasn't absolutely critical, it's a little scary to think the camera could do that and we won't know.
This was footage I shot myself, so I know for certain the Big Red Button wasn't touched. It did this all by itself.
Wonder what THAT'S about and what the cause might be. We're doing documentary-style corporate production, heavy on talking-head interviews, and that could be fatal if it happened at the wrong moment.
I had a similar "lost frames in broken long clip" thing myself and was told that I needed to leave the files in their associated folders and access them via Media Browser in Premiere. Being a lazy, old dog, I tend to rip and rename the clips for future use so I don't have 50 0001.mts files in my system to try and re-associate with a project 5 years from now. Don't worry about timecode for the most part. But next time a shoot a long talking head that I know will split at 22 minutes, I'll leave that in it's file structure until edited. This file-based workflow has been interesting. rg
You never get hurt in the air!
Thanks Rick. I hadn't realized the AF100 is INTENDED to split a long clip among multiple .mts files, I guess because all our prior interviews are (just a little bit) shorter than this one and therefore I never ran into it.
So NOW I understand what happened, and there is definitely a "gotcha" here, so let me explain it completely for the benefit of anyone else who runs into this.
The AF100 will INTENTIONALLY split a long file into multiple .mts files. Let's say you shoot a 30 minute clip. The first 24 (or whatever it is) minutes will be in 00000.mts. The last six (or whatever) minutes will be in 00001.mts. Then if you have some other clips they will be in 00002.mts, 00003.mts etc. When you open up Premiere and look at those files, you will see 00000.mts and then it will jump to 00002.mts. Premiere will not show you 00001.mts in the media browser and you will think it's missing. IT'S NOT. The original clip called 00000.mts, when played from within Premiere, will contain both its contents AND that of 00001.mts as a single, continuous clip.
Now if you panic as I did and run Panasonic's AVCCAM Restorer program, it will "recover" 00001.mts and make it a separate clip. However, in so doing, 00000.mts will now only contain its original 24 minutes, AND, there will be a gap of a few frames between the two (if you butt them up against each other in an edit there will be a visible and audible skip).
Fortunately I only ran AVCCAM Restorer on the hard drive I copied the data out to; I didn't run it on the card containing the original files. Once I read Rick's message, I copied the files again from the card to the hard drive. This time I did NOT run AVCCAM Restorer and I again opened the files in Premiere's media browser. Once again it jumps from 00000.mts to 00002.mts. But when I play 00000.mts within Premiere, it does in fact contain the full length clip, combining the contents of 00000.mts and 00001.mts without a hiccup. THAT'S why the media browser skips 00001.mts. It's not intended to be a separate clip.
Wish I'd known about this particular issue - it would have saved a lot of angst. Glad I know it now! (Is this an RTFM thing? Did I miss it somewhere?)
Most file based system work with a FAT32 structure, so they need to split long recordings. The file system of each manufacturer (with the exception of the Atomos Ninja) tries to get around the issue by virtually making them one continuos recording.
But this will work only if you keep the full file structure, so IMHO the best practice with any file-based workflow is making a full copy of each card as a mountable image. A great (free!) tool for the Mac would be http://www.spherico.com/filmtools/copyCards/copyCards.dmg (thank you, Andreas).
You can name this copy any way you want to keep your archives organized, but never change ANYTHING in the file structure coming from the camera. Once mounted, this will look to your NLE as if a camera or a card reader is connected, and it will read everything fine as long as it isn't damaged.
Plus, with Premiere, always use the Media Browser, don't drag files from the sub-folders into the project.
Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts
Thanks for the additional thoughts - in particular that file-based media tends to use the ancient FAT32 file system with its inherent 2GB limit (can you tell I'm a very recent convert from tape?). I was ALMOST all the way there: the full file structure was being copied off the card, only the media browser was being used to access files, and nothing was being brought directly in from Windows Explorer. I already knew that if I did otherwise, all the associated metadata (including timecode) would disappear.
The ONE THING that fooled me was the discontinuous numbering of the files. I expected to see 00000, 00001, 00002, 00003, etc. within the media browser, just as I had seen them in every previous shoot with this camera. As soon as it SKIPPED a filename that was clearly present on the physical media, it looked as though I had a problem.
Compounding it was the fact that when I ran Panasonic's own repairer program on that file structure, instead of reporting that everything was dandy and leaving it alone, it reported that it had found a repairable error and "fixed" the files by disassociating them from each other and hacking off a few frames in between.
Hopefully this thread will help someone else avoid the same problem, and a potential disaster because if they run the repairer program on the card itself without also having a complete backup of the file structure, the changes are likely to be irreversible. Fortunately I only ran it on a clone of the file structure and I was able to get everything back once I figured it out.