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Craig Swanson
catalogs
on Jan 1, 2010 at 7:24:10 am

I downloaded a trial version of catdv and have some questions if this is the right software for what I want to accomplish.

I'm new to p2 workflows and need to come up with a standalone archive type system for a twelve episode series. My plan is to stay away from the log and transfer into FCP and use an MFX program (p2 flow or raylight etc.) to use those files directly. Once my project (for example episode one) is complete, I then archive that to LTO tape. I would use catdv to catalog that episode/LTO archive.

Is catdv able to detect MFX files and the metadata from p2 cards? If it can, am I able to edit that metadata or do I still need additional software for that?

also, from reading the manual, I understand it's best to limit the catalog size. So in my scenario, each episode would have it's own catalog and at the end of the season I have 12 catalog files. Now, without really understanding the software at this point, would I have to search each of those catalogs individually for a specific file/ video? Or can I search them collectively.

There are some other questions, but I want to be sure I'm not barking up the wrong tree forcing software that wasn't designed to do what i'm trying.

Craig Swanson

Macbook Pro 17
10.6.2
2.6 ghz
4 gigs ram
GeForce 8600 GT 512 mb
HD One 8 drive Raid 5
QT 7.6.3 / QT 10.0
FCP 7



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Kevin Duggan
Re: catalogs
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:48:17 pm

Hi Craig.
Yes CatDV the mxf enabled version with addition of MXF4mac or Calibrated Softwares Mxf enablers can read and play native MXF Formats. It creates what we call a metaclip. You can drag and drop these clips into FCP via our tree mechanism. This creates the XML description of the files and pushes them into an active FCP project. CatDV can read all of the mxf metadata ie memos shooter location camera serial number etc. You can also map any of these field to FCP (or additional logging fields that the P2 format does not cater for). Also it is possible to push back these amendments to the P2 XML file.
(File>Export>Update P2 metadata.

For example you can place markers in the clips and take them into FCP or save them back to the card or clone of the card and they show up in AVID Media Composer 3.5 and up as well.
However I find that the P2 metadata welcome as it is is not in itself totally sufficient to facilitate easy searching for users who actually where not present during the shoot. A more formal schema for logging is a better approach.

All the advanced functionality of Catdv is supported ie Global tagging of assets as well as the ability to create a dummy clip from which you can paste the metadata attributes to all of your imported P2 clips. Think of it as globally filling in the camera sheets for the clips. Do this as your first pass, then go through your clips again adding to the metadata that which is unique and specific to each clip.

Finally we also have a version of CatDV that supports the CACHE-A LTO 4 device. It enables you to do all of the above plus write the CatDV metadata to the LTO4 tape and track the LTO4 TAPE number. In this way you can construct either a thumbnail metadata view of all the clips on a given LTO4 tape on the shelf or generate editable proxies that you can later relink to the stored high res files as a conforming process.

Regarding you search question. Yes if you are using our standalone product you are searching on catalog at a time, if you upgrade to our server product you are always searching globally across all catalogs and with that product you can share all of the metadata across multiple seats. In effect you gain the ability to have directors producers etc do a pre-edit of favoured shots and selected takes , add metadata in a proscribed schema which aids searching and save and share this information across a SAN.

Hope this helps

Kevin Duggan
CatDV Product Manger



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Craig Swanson
Re: catalogs
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:28:18 am

Thanks Kevin. Our budget won't allow thorough logging, as I would like, to fully utilize the CatDV software. What I'm looking at is using it more as an archive utility after the project is complete (in which it the demo appears to serve me well).

My workflow will be something like this:

have a dit/logger in the field manage the p2 offload to drives and use P2 viewer to add additional metadata with a pc. After the shoot day, one hard drive copy goes to the edit suite. The other stays with the producer/writer/etc.. to develop the script. The script may already be completed by the time the editor receives the drive thus making additional logging or metadata entry unnecessary.

This is where I'm still a little foggy on how to proceed with CatDV and the MXF calibrated software for a FCP edit workflow. I would just take the MXF file into FCP right from the MXF software, so why would I need the CatDV to do this. Unless it's some plugin that would enable me to do it from within the CatDV.

What I think I'm trying to say is, I wish there was a video demo I could watch regarding the workflow between FCP and CatDV (if indeed people are using it that way to edit).

Like I said, right now I'm looking at it for cataloging my projects. But the more I read the more I think I'm missing out on a faster or better editing workflow too.

btw, can I use any MXF software in conjunction with the CatDV? Or does it have to be Calibrated or MXF4mac?

Thanks again.

Craig Swanson





Macbook Pro 17
10.6.2
2.6 ghz
4 gigs ram
GeForce 8600 GT 512 mb
HD One 8 drive Raid 5
QT 7.6.3 / QT 10.0
FCP 7



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Kevin Duggan
Re: catalogs
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:30:13 am

Hi Craig
to answer the points you raise. MXF4mac and Calibrate allow FCP and CATDV to play mxf media natively. CATDV in addition extracts any embedded metadata and can re-map the fields so this information can be displayed within FCP`s browser window. The mechanism we provide to do this is a simple drag and drop operation. Catdv has at the top left of the interface a TAB called OTHER. Inside this tab is a folder called Final Cut Projects. This holds a list of FCP projects that CATDV has seen.. So with FCP running in the background drop your current FCP project file into CATDV`s clip list window. This will prime CATDV and add that project to its list of FCP projects. The project name should also appear in BOLD because it is a currently open project in FCP. Select your assets in CATDV and drag them to the FCP projects folder and onto this BOLD highlighted project. The assets complete with metadata will appear in your FCP Browser window. What is happening behind the scenes is that CATDV is creating XML files that it is pushing into FCP in the background by-passing the usual XLM dialogs. With MXF files which are being played natively it is doing a bit more work. MXF files are not muxed as they are in Qtime they are discrete files so CATDV describes within the XML structures to FCP as a merged clip. The result is that you get what you expect a single clip but with additional metadata mapped into FCP`s Browser window fields. All this is hidden from the user who only has to has to understand drag and drop. After a few trials of this process you will also realise that the Tabs at the top are spring loaded and you can just drag and drop without even having to specifically open the FCP projects folder. if you need a movie of this process just drop me a line at kevin@squarebox.co.uk and I will send you a link.

Hope this helps

Kevin Duggan
Product Developer



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bryson jones
Re: catalogs
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:15:12 pm

Also, one important thought about "logging" in CatDV. I completely understand that a full logging of all media is unrealistic, but we've found that because you can bulk tag all of the media in a catalog, (which by the way can be thousands of items, if you choose) you can add a ton of useful metadata in a few seconds. (for instance a drive number, LTO Archive ID or project name) so that you can quickly go way beyond the basic P2 metadata fields with minimal hassle or time.

Unlike Final Cut Server, where you have to tag clips individually (ouch) you can add a tag to all clips by selecting all and typing or using a pull-down menu.

Secondly, being able to view and pre tag MXF in CatDV, without converting it to Avid or FCP media, is pretty amazing for a workflow like you're talking about. If it doesn't need to be used, it can go straight to LTO without passing through an edit station and you'll still know what you have for later use.


bryson

bryson@hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


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Allan White
Re: catalogs
on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:17:32 pm

I really like CatDV as the "Pre-editor" step before things hit FCP. It's so much more orderly and team-friendly (including non-editors).

The main need we had that drove us to search for it was a need for a database that sat 'above' all the other FCP projects and let us search and draw across multiple projects. I try to push as much data entry, transcription, and even basic edit decisions that direction so the 'pile' builds value over time, making future projects faster. The Server product helps with this.

You can search across catalogs with the "browse catalogs" view - just point it at your catalog list and you can search all those, it's similar (but not as powerful) as the Server query module.

I gave FC Server a hard look, but without cuts-only editing and subclip creation (among other things) it's a far cry from CatDV.

- Allan White, Video Producer, Luis Palau Assoc.

Quad 3Ghz Mac Pro, 10GB RAM, X1900 GPU, MetaSAN, CatDV Server


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