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XDCamHD proxy use and management

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Robert Hutchings
XDCamHD proxy use and management
on Dec 11, 2009 at 12:47:20 am

We are starting a weekly arts series that will generate mountains of XDCamHD material. We plan to use CatDV to keep track of it all. All of our edit suites are Final Cut Pro.

XDCam creates its own proxies as the files get recorded to the XDCam disk. These proxies can then be ingested from the disk along with the full res files using the XDCam Transfer Software. Unfortunately the names these proxies are given by the Sony software is the long unique identifying number, many characters long, that is part of the metadata of the full res version of the file.

We could tell the Sony transfer software to give the full res files that same UMID name but we don't want our full res file names to be that long. We want them called something like 1001_00043.mov not something like 060a2b34010101501010d43139999999a73a200074510586002500fffeeebb68.mov. The upshot is the full res file ends up being called something quite different than the proxy and the Sony created proxies end up kinda being useless except for the Transfer Software itself. I know Avid and Vegas have a workflow that can make use of the proxies for offline work but Final Cut Pro doesn't know squat about the UMID.

We are trying to figure out a way to make use of these proxies, because they have already been created, they are immediately accessible and could be part of the XDCam workflow in a really helpful way. It would be great if CatDV could somehow link these already created proxies to the full res files entered in its database. We are trying to avoid having CatDV crunching away making proxies when proxies have already been made, they are just of no use because there is no way to link them to the full res files.

Is there any way to have CatDV use these Sony XDCam created proxies as its own. Maybe by telling CatDV to use the UMID metadata or other metadata as the linking parameter???

or would we be better off just biting the bullet and have CatDV create and manage its own proxies?
If you have made it this far, hats off to you, I apologize for the long winded question.

Robert Hutchings
TPT Twin Cities Public Television


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Kevin Duggan
Re: XDCamHD proxy use and management
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:10:30 pm

Hi Robert,
you pose some interesting questions about XDCAM workflows, the one thing you do not mention is that the proxy sound is very poor and a mix down of the original which could be for instance, four or eight discrete tracks. For this reason in the past, for the Volvo Ocean Race, I automated the generation of proxies. For this race we had an additional problem in that we sometimes had six crews shooting at the same time a live event. I worried about multiple instances of Untitled Disk and COOO1 files so what we did was pre-name all of the disks XD_0001 and upward and barcoded them as such prior to giving them to the crews. They just shot as normal but at ingest the enclosing folder was renamed to reflect the Disk Name. Our automation software Catdv Worker then renamed the files using this folder name so each file within the folder became XD_0001_C0001, XD_0001_0002 and so on. This meant that each file now had a man readable name that linked it back to a Disk on the shelf. The Worker then produced an OFFLine RT proxy with that exact same name for proxy editing in FCP. It also had the same discrete audio tracks as the original. This meant that relinking to the high res was very easy if you kept your high res and lo res in different folders and has the added advantage that you do not have to reconform your audio. The fact that this was automated apart from the naming of the enclosing folder meant that the workflow was kept consistent , the overhead of the proxy generation was mitigated by the clip based nature of XDCAM..after each clip was processed the Worker updates the central database , so that new clips just keep popping up in CATDV . This workflow might not suit all needs but it was very reliable in a high pressure news situation as well as allowing logging in CATDV for a weekly magazine 1 hour weekly show...Since then we have added MXF support using MXF4Mac and Calibratied Software so we can handle all of these MXF formats ie P2 XDCAM and even AVID in their native state and push them into FCP for editing so re-wrapping into Qtime is no longer even required

Hope this helps a little and check out our Worker product on the site and our MXF support


Kevin Duggan

Catdv Product Manager





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Robert Hutchings
Re: XDCamHD proxy use and management
on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:35:42 pm

Thanks Kevin for taking the time with a detailed answer. Very helpful.

We will be using the CatDV worker node to help automate basic entry into CatDV. Your answer has convinced me to let the worker node take care of creation of the proxies also.

We will be putting the full res media from each reel acquired from the field into a separate folder. So media from reel 1001 will go into a folder called 1001 on our server. We have set our XDCams to number the files on each reel not with the standard Cxxxxx numbering system that repeats file names from reel to reel but with the FREE numbering system that will number files sequentially starting at 00000 up to 99,999. The numbers will bridge over reel changes IOW they won't restart at 00001 every time there is a reel change.

When we bring the files in using the Sony XDCam Transfer software, the software will add the reel number to the file title. First file will be 1001_00001, next file on that reel will be 1001_00002 etc etc. First file on reel 1002 might end up being called 1002_00086. Next file from that reel will be called 1002_00087. So each file will get a discrete name/number bridging over multiple reels.

A few questions and to confirm the use of the worker node for creation of Proxies:

Can we indeed control how these proxies are named by the worker node?
Obviously we would like them named exactly the same as the high res file so we can use them for offline purposes outside of CatDV using Final Cut Pro.

I assume we would also have control over the location of these proxies ie. we can tell the worker node where to put the proxies? Possibly in a single location if they have unique file names.

Are these proxies then the proxies that are linked to the CatDV catalogue of the full res media?

Thanks.

Robert Hutchings
TPT Twin Cities Public Television


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Kevin Duggan
Re: XDCamHD proxy use and management
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:02:51 pm

Hi Robert
to answer your questions directly. Yes you have control over where the worker places the proxies and the high res. I have built scripts where we manage one central ingest folder for differing media and place them on the SAN dependant on many differing criteria.Typically you do not have to write one line of code , just follow the options offered to you in the tabs that define the workflow. ie Pre-Processing ...( move, copy , rename) Triggers ( what makes the worker kick in ) Conversions and Post-Processing ( Updating the database with the new information such as the new location of the files etc. ) and again one of the options is to give the proxies the exact same filename as the source.
and finally if you look at the CATDV interface you will see that it tracks both the Proxies and the High Res (Movie Tab) in the same window you can click between the two. Also if you hod down the option key as you drag the assets to the FCP project in the FCP projects tab it will take across the low res instead of the default high res... hope this makes sense its easier to demonstrate than write up... but just drag and drop over the spring loaded tabs in the tree interface onto a BOLD FCP project...the BOLD text denotes FCP is running and that this is the forefront project in CATDV and your assets complete with metadata, if this is how you have setup CATDV into the FCP Bin

Kevin Duggan
CatDV Product Manager




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Robert Hutchings
Re: XDCamHD proxy use and management
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:21:44 pm

Excellent Kevin.

CatDV is a great product. Keep up the good work.

Hope you guys continue to monitor this forum.

Who knew I'd get the product manager on the line!

Robert Hutchings
TPT Twin Cities Public Television


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bryson jones
Re: XDCamHD proxy use and management
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:50:33 am

Duggan is the XDCAM king. ;)

I'd also like to remind you that when you backup/archive your cards to LTO or hard drive or whatever, take a few minutes to tag the clips with the name of the media or volume you put them on, to make restores much easier.


bryson

bryson@hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


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