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what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP

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Stella Ramsden
what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:57:39 am

I have an issue which I'd love some advice on.

I'm working on a feature which is shooting on the Arri Alexa. So far, I've been receiving cards with sequential roll numbers- A001 continuing up to A030.

Yesterday, 2 cards were not formatted before use, so they have come in displaying old roll numbers.

The file names on Roll 31 were fine (A031C001 etc) but three clips from this roll were labelled A029_C008 etc- following on from where the actual Roll 29 left off at A029C007.

Roll 32 came in with file names starting A030. The first three of these A030C001-A030-003 are old files from the actual Roll 30. The rest are new files which should have been labelled A032...

Roll 33 was all labelled as A032C001 etc.

I am wondering whether I should leave the file names intact, incorrect though they are, or if it would be safe to change them so they read A031, A032 and A033.
I am worried that if I change them, there will be problems in the grade if they don't match up with the data in the FCP.xml file.

If I don't change the file names I think I can still bring them all in to final cut, since they are still named differently to the existing files.

09PSR


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gary adcock
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 1, 2014 at 3:22:44 pm

[Stella Ramsden] "Yesterday, 2 cards were not formatted before use, so they have come in displaying old roll numbers.
"


Can't happen by accident, The Reel, Roll and Takes continue to rise by default, the only way for an Alexa to count backwards is to have one of the camera assistants physically reset the numbering.

"030C001-A030-003"
That is NOT a Proper Alexa Formatted file naming convention, what does the DIT or Loader say about the content, were there any notes from onset?





File naming should always look like this A253C003_131016_R2L1.mov

The naming structure break down like this.

A253 the Letter and the number indicates the number of Cards or Mags that have been reformatted in the camera- Letters usually are set to define which camera (A, B, C) and the reformat counters are usually reset by either the rental houses or by the camera assistants and is only done at the start of production.

C003 the is clip or take numbering and is defined in the camera after cards have been formatted, it can be manually changed (usually backwards) but it is counting up the number of takes (or media Clips) that have been recorded.


_131016_R2L1 This is the camera serial number that the media was shot on.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL


Follow my blog at http://www.garyadcock.com

Or follow me on Twitter
@garyadcock




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Stella Ramsden
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 1, 2014 at 3:59:53 pm

Hi Gary,

Sorry- I was confusing in my post. I just didn't want to write out the entire file name- so I just used the first half to refer to it. The file names are normal- such as in the example you give- A253C003_131016_R2L1.mov.

So when I wrote: A030C001-A030-003, I actually meant the clips A030C001_131016_R3MO up until A030C003_131016_R3MO are old clips.

I had a response from someone at Arri services who said that he didn't recommend changing the file names, which is what I thought.

I was told by the camera trainee/DIT that two of the cards had been wrongly formatted, and that's all the info I've had. I think I can still work with the clips in FCP as they do not have the same name as any of the other clips on previous cards.

Thanks for your post.

Stella

09PSR


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gary adcock
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:02:31 pm

[Stella Ramsden] " was told by the camera trainee/DIT that two of the cards had been wrongly formatted"

Not using a trained individual was the first mistake and what happened to you is the single reason I NEVER return cards to the camera department with media on them, I will offload, check that all is correct then format the cards as Mac Journaled- that forces the camera dept to reformat every piece of media when inserted in the camera (when cards are blank they take about 15sec to format)

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL


Follow my blog at http://www.garyadcock.com

Or follow me on Twitter
@garyadcock




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Stella Ramsden
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:14:57 pm

Hi Gary,

That's really useful advice- I will suggest it to the camera crew from now on. I'm not actually receiving cards- they are backed up on set twice and one copy comes to me on a drive.

In your opinion, is it okay to work with this footage, even though the numbering was wrongly reset?

best

Stella

09PSR


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gary adcock
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 2, 2014 at 7:07:15 pm

[Stella Ramsden] "In your opinion, is it okay to work with this footage, even though the numbering was wrongly reset?"

if the content plays properly, why not?

Understand that these file are going to cause problems. Name them something that stands out so that everything you have to reconnect or search it will be easier to find.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL


Follow my blog at http://www.garyadcock.com

Or follow me on Twitter
@garyadcock




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Stella Ramsden
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 3, 2014 at 9:30:51 pm

Yeah- it's down the line that I'm not really sure about the consequences, but since there isn't a proper post workflow on the film I can't liaise with whoever's doing the grade to explain the situation, which is frustrating, but like you say, we just won't know until we get to that point. Still, thanks so much for your help and advice.

09PSR


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Stella Ramsden
Re: what to do when importing alexa files from unformatted cards into FCP
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:16:58 pm

Hi Gary,

That's really useful advice- I will suggest it to the camera crew from now on. I'm not actually receiving cards- they are backed up on set twice and one copy comes to me on a drive.

In your opinion, is it okay to work with this footage, even though the cards were not formatted?

Also, when you say you format the cards- do you do this in disk utility on your mac?

best,

Stella

09PSR


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