Sony FS100 Spanned Clip & Sync Issues
I own the Sony FS100 and while I initially loved it the more I use it the more it drives me crazy. I'm about ready to try and trade it for an EX1R. Let me explain the problems I'm having and hopefully some of the excellent folks on this site will be able to enlighten me.
1) Spanned Clips: When a clip gets to a certain length the camera breaks it in the middle of the recording. So when I log & transfer (L&T) how do I know, which clips are spanned? I have to go through every single file on the camera and check the first and last frame of each to make sure they aren't spanned. If they are spanned then I join them again using clipwrap while transcoding them to ProRes LT.
This is a problem in itself, because how can I preview AVCHD clips before transcoding? It's a Catch 22. I can do it in L&T as long as I didn't shoot using 60fps (because L&T doesn't recognize 60fps AVCHD). If I can't preview the files I can't figure out which ones are spanned and if I don't know which ones are spanned I don't know which ones to join. Absurd.
The problems I've had with this are legion. I've heard a lot of people
singing the praises of clipwrap. However, what I really need is a program that knows intuitively when clips are spanned and will fix them without me having to review all the footage and telling it when and where to do it. Is this possible?
Another problem is that I've noticed sync issues in clipwrap. Sometimes when I try to join spanned clips it throws the sync off by several seconds and there are frames missing. This is totally unacceptable and obviously makes clipwrap useless to me. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there anything better out there?
I just read that apparently a Sony rep told another CC user that it's the LPCM audio (at least on the NX5) that causes the clips to be spanned and that recording in Dolby will fix the problem. Can anyone confirm this for the FS100?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am at a loss about how to efficiently fix these spanned clips. I am about ready to throw the FS100 off a bridge because the codec is such junk. As a long time EX3 & EX1 user it just baffles me that they've made a product with so many workflow issues.
Which leads into my last point: red skin tones. The way the FS100 saturates the reds is insane. I'm still playing with picture profiles to hopefully find a workable look for this camera. Strapping Production posted a decent looking skin tone picture profile on vimeo. I still need to test it out. I love throwing different lenses on the FS100, but good lord do I miss the ease of ENG cameras with more robust codecs and no color issues.
Thanks for your help!
The spanning is a function of the FAT file system used on the media. Clips longer than 2 GB are recorded as multiple segmented files on the card. The EX camcorders use a variant of the FAT file system and also span clips (over 4 GB).
FCP and Premiere will detect and automatically re-connect spanned files. ClipWrap is only necessary for FCP if you don't have the full card structure/disk image (without which Log and Transfer will not detect AVCHD clips).
LPCM does not cause spanning. It can cause issues with versions of FCP below 7.0.3 (specifically, long import/transcode times) but using it does not mean a clip will be spanned. Spanning is strictly a function of file size.
Hope this is helpful...
Sony Broadcast and Professional Services
Thanks for the reply. I did not know that the EX camcorders also span clips. That's interesting. My main issue (and I'm not sure if this is an issue with my camera or clipwrap or some part of the process I'm getting wrong) is that with the spanned clips there seems to be dropped frames (audio and video) at that 2 GB break.
I noticed this when reconnecting a spanned clip of a performance I'd shot uninterrupted. When I put the two together in an fcp timeline there was a slight, but obvious jump. That makes me think there's a problem with the camera. Why would it drop frames when spanning clips?
Also, I shouldn't have had to stitch this clip together in fcp because my understanding is that clipwrap auto detects spanned clips and fixes them during transcode. Am I mistaken? Their website says that it auto-detects and fixes spanned clips and yet in the clipwrap program menu you can manually select which clips are spanned.
So which one is it? Do I have to manually tell clipwrap which clips are spanned (a huge hassle!)? Or is it supposed to do it automatically? Also, on a different job I used the manual command to tell clipwrap which clips were spanned. However, after transcoding I noticed that the sync jumped out of alignment by several seconds towards the end.
Lastly, I will describe my importing process and hopefully someone can tell me whether I'm obviously doing something wrong, what else to try or if I've simply fallen through a wormhole into a universe where up is down and elephants are pink.
I recorded roughly 3 hours of an event with my FS100 (1080P, 30fps, LPCM audio). Then I made a copy of the card on an external hard drive. Then (using the files from the card which was in a card reader) I transcoded them to ProRes LT via clipwrap. On the card there are 30 mts files. After transcoding there were 30 ProRes files. When I went back through the footage about a third of the clips were spanned. Clipwrap did not fix the spanned clips.
So I noted which clips were spanned and this time told Clipwrap, which ones were spanned and to fix them accordingly while transcoding again from the camera files. Clipwrap reconnected the spanned clips. However, in doing so it threw off the audio sync rendering them useless. Why do I seem to be the only one having this problem? Help!
Hey Nate - I'm one of the developers of ClipWrap, thought I'd chime in here.
The way spanning works, the split happens at a pretty low level. The camera hits the max byte limit for a file size and just starts a new file - it doesn't pay any attention to where that split falls. The problem is that the split will almost always fall somewhere in the middle of a GOP. If the files aren't recombined *before* transcoding, you'll have a partial gop at the end of one file, and at the start of the next. Since GOPs needs to be complete to be reconstructed, both GOPs get tossed, and you get the missing data.
When you join files in ClipWrap, we do the join before the transcode, which means the split GOP is reconstructed and you shouldn't have issues.
When people have sync issues during joins, it's almost always because they've joined at least one file that wasn't actually part of the split during the record. You end up mashing a complete gop and a partial gop together, which throws everything off.
If you drop a complete BDMV (or AVCHD) folder into clipwrap, instead of individual MTS files, we'll read the metadata from the card and automatically detect which files were spanned during record. That lets us recombine them the way the camera thinks they should be combined. (if that doesn't happen, let us know)
If you do that and still have sync issues, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can dig into it.
Does anyone know if the Content Management Utility from Sony works with the FS100? It works beautifully with the HXR-NX70 and the HDR-CS550V. (As also does the Sony Picture Motion Browser) . These Sony utilities seamlessly stitch together the 2 GB max raw files into finished AVCHD .m2ts files. I've shot literally for 5 hours and had the final files be 50 GB - with no problems whatsoever with glitches on GOP boundaries.
Win7 Pro X64 on Dell T3400, MultiTB SATA, 8GB RAM Vegas 10e x64 DVDA 5.2(build 133) Sony HDR-CX550V
Clipwrap works beautifully if you drop the whole folder in. You can drop the mts files into VLC player to preview, and then select the clip numbers you don't want to process, click the minus button at the bottom of Clipwrap's GUI to remove them from the list. I like to just re-wrap them to mov and use grinder to create 720p TC burned in proxies to edit in FCP. It's easy to re-link the original AVCHD movs when I'm done cutting and send to Color for grading or export xml for after effects.
I'm using AVID 6 on a new iMac and am having issues with spanned clips for interviews I'm shooting. I've not heard of clipwrap. How much is it and will it make files that AVID can read. Thanks!
Fort Wayne, IN
Never mind. I just went ahead and bought it!
Fort Wayne, IN