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Best workflow XDCAM EX-->CatDV-->FCP?

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Michael Hutchinson
Best workflow XDCAM EX-->CatDV-->FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 3:32:16 am

Hi all,
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer on this topic.
I'm trying to figure out the best possible workflow for ingesting, logging, cataloging, editing, and archiving XDCAM EX footage for a reality series and several other projects I'm working on.

Others have convinced me that CatDV will make my life a whole lot easier, so I downloaded the Pro Demo and will give it a shot (first glance tells me it's exactly what I need).

I'm wondering if someone can help me with a step-by-step workflow for dealing with the footage. Right now my work-life is a mess, with footage spread across 5 external hard drives with the organization of a tornado.

Some of the early files are just in .mov (with no XML files attached--I can't blame the cameraman, I'm the one who committed the cardinal sin of not first making a copy of the BPAV folder. My apologies to Craig Seeman if you are reading this. I was new to the camera and didn't discover your posts until after the fact).

Though not as necessary to the projects as the XDCAM footage, I also have about 25 miniDV tapes captured in single files using Final Cut's "Capture Now" function ... notice the pattern of ingesting without taking the time to properly log, label, review my material? Now that I'm actually working with the material, I sure as hell notice it. (Note to any newbies--allow me to lead by poor example and let my bad practices serve as a cautionary tale of what can happen when you think of "workflow" as isolated to post-production).

Anyway, if someone can walk me through step by step on the best workflow from this point forward, I will be forever grateful. Here's what it looks like I need to accomplish:

1. Organize assets currently existing on different hard-drives into project/client based system (all footage dealing with Reality Show A goes on Scratch Drive A, all footage of Documentary B goes on Drive B).

2. Once files are transferred and in their new homes, wipe additional hard drives and all duplicate/redundant files, then back-up according to system in step 1 while trusting in the computer gods the hard-drives won't give out during this process...on second thought, I may just transfer what I can, then delete and repeat so I always have multiple copies of material.

3. Back-up once again to another external drive and/or DVDs, leaving me with 3 back-ups in case of worst case scenario.

4. Figure out some way to continually backup new footage (Ideas?)

5. Create catalogs in CatDV based on each's where I start to get really confused...where do I store the catalogs. Do I still use "XDCAM Transfer" to create the .mov & .xml files for editing in FCP or do I use the .MP4 file in the BPAV?
Step 6-?
PLEASE HELP...and correct any of the above steps as I'm sure there are easier and better ways to organize my footage.

Here are my current system specs:
Computer: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Operating System: Snow Leopard 10.6.2


Final Cut Studio 3 (Final Cut Pro 7.0.1)
CatDV Pro 8.08
XDCAM EX Clip Browser V2.6 2.06.00
XDCAM Transfer 2.11

Michael David Hutchinson
"That most limited of all specialists, the well-rounded man."--F. Scott Fitzgerald 'The Great Gatsby'

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bryson jones
Re: Best workflow XDCAM EX-->CatDV-->FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 4:22:37 pm


You have a pretty good idea, as far as getting organized. Kevin Duggan is at a trade show in London so he may not be checking in on this, but hopefully, he'll weigh in. Also, Mark R, on here is a big XDCAM dude.

If I were doing this, I'd make sure to catalog the original media so you can easily go back to it, if needed, but you'll follow your regular XDCAM>FCP workflow, whichever way you choose and have a set of catalogs for the FCP files.

I also find that most of my clients don't use the mp4 proxy from the camera as the audio is really bad. You can make a proxy inside catdv, once you've taken it through the transfer.

CatDV will help you in a couple of ways -

1. if you get the mxf enabled version, you can view your xdcam footage before you transcode or convert it in any way.

2. you can quickly go back and organize and or tag/log the existing footage before it ever gets to FCP.

3. you can use catv to move your media to it's final storage place and even save a catalog with the locations of your second copy (should it not be apparent where it's going in all the swapping of drives, as in when you have to split things up.

4. you can make and manage an offline proxy version of the clips so you can have whatever proxy you want, with good audio.

5. Going forward, you can have a field for "archive status" and use CatDV to make backup copies of things and then mark them as backed up, so you can track what you're doing.

I'm more of a Panasonic guy so maybe some of the XDCAM pro's on here can give you more insight into the workflow, but there are some ideas.


bryson "at"

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Michael Hutchinson
Re: Best workflow XDCAM EX-->CatDV-->FCP?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 4:55:40 pm

Many thanks Bryson! Really helpful suggestions, although I just have to correct one small thing:

You wrote "you'll follow your regular XDCAM>FCP workflow." Unfortunately you assume too much of me as I still don't have an XDCAM>FCP workflow that I'm entirely comfortable with. Even though you're a Panasonic guy, I'm sure you probably have a better system than my own. If you or any of the other XDCAM pro's could offer some insight into their own XDCAM>FCP workflows, that would be hugely appreciated.

My current workflow is basically:
1. Drag & drop BPAV from SxS card into a newly created folder with a structure like (XDCAM Footage-- >BPAV folders --> xx_YY_MM_DD (where xx stands for the project or client initials) -->BPAV
(maybe it's another cardinal sin, but I haven't used Clip Browser at all in my workflow, though I imagine I should probably integrate it at some point in order to make DVD backups)
2. Open up XDCAM Transfer, add the new BPAV to the source list, select all and import to a manually modified Scratch Disc (set in preferences) that includes an XDCAM folder along with sub-folders "Cache" "Export" and "Import" (this was a Larry Jordan suggestion in a tutorial, but I'm wondering if it still makes any sense).
...That's it...hence the reason I could use some serious help!

Also, thank you for saving me $80. I was going to get the Calibrated Software codec that would allow me to use the .mp4 from the actual BPAV in FCP, but the shoddy sound rules out that possibility...if the sound is no good, you can have 4K RED footage under perfect conditions, and it won't make a difference. In my experience, people will sit through grainy footage, but not garbled sound.

Many thanks!

Michael David Hutchinson
"That most limited of all specialists, the well-rounded man."--F. Scott Fitzgerald 'The Great Gatsby'

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Roland Manuel
Re: Best workflow XDCAM EX-->CatDV-->FCP?
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:55:04 pm

Hi Bryson,

I was just at the show in London and chatted with your chaps on the stand. I am about to buy the pro standalone version but just read in this post that there is another version if you are using XDCAM, from what I read it sounds like I can't just drag the footage into catdv for cataloging from the cards, is that right?



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Kevin Duggan
Re: Best workflow XDCAM EX-->CatDV-->FCP?
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:14:32 pm

HI Roland
sorry for the delay in posting just getting back into the groove aftert fthe show last week. What you say is correct , you need either MXF4mac or Calibrated Softwares quicktime extensions to play XDCAM the MXF enabled version of CATDV assembles the clips and extracts the with P2 as well.We felt that it was better to split the product as not everyone needs or requires XDCam or P2 capabilities so we have a lower price for the "Standard Pro Version" Regarding XDcam workflows search for an earlier post I wrote here about XDCAM workflows. It can be done using log and transfer which is what I did for the Volvo Ocean Race before the introduction of Mxf4Mac and Calibrated quicktime enhancers, however Native workflows without transcoding are just so much quicker and easier which is why we developed the MXF version .

Hope this helps.

Kevin Duggan

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