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NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes

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Eric Pensenstadler
NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 25, 2011 at 11:22:08 pm

I use the NX5u's for events that are sometimes over 1 hour in length. After 30 minutes the cameras automatically create a new file. This is a headache for syncing multiple cameras but I'm dealing with it.

However, when I butt those two clips together it's supposed to be seamless, but it's not! The video is seamless, but the end of each 30 minute clip has 4 frames of no audio. The audio file is there, but no waveform or audible sound.

It is like this on both of my NX5Us so I don't think it's a random problem with one camera. If this is how these cameras record I cannot use them professionally. I have projects now where every 30 minutes there's an audio glitch.

Somebody please tell me I'm doing something wrong.

Any advice or thoughts? I'm using them in conjunction with FCP 7

Thank you,
Eric


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Joseph Morgan
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 27, 2011 at 2:28:34 am

This is a new one on me. I haven't filmed any one clip that's as long as 30 minutes.

Have you contacted Sony support? We all need to hear the answer on this one.

Regards,

Joseph

Joseph in Ireland with his new NX5


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john lenihan
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 27, 2011 at 3:22:16 am

I have seen this too.

I had seen it last July, then documented it fully to Sony tech Support in August.

From September through November they were in contact with me, and succeeded in duplicating the issue. Then they went silent.
So I started hounding Sony Vegas software folks, who investigated and said it was a camera issue.

Since no firmware updates have occurred, I suggest pestering them. I will start again. The following are the specific characteristics so that you can know where the pot holes are at:

1. If you record in HD, you get about 12 minutes per file. The camera closes the file and starts a new one. Unfortunately it drops x amount of frames closing and opening the new file. It drops the video and the audio. If you are syncing two cameras video, it will drive you nuts. If you are syncing a camera's audio and an independent audio, it will drive you nuts.

2. More details. MOST of the time it seems to drop two frames every 12 minutes. Thus 30 minutes it would drop 4 frames.

3. If you have a 3 hour dance recital with some audio on the camera and some recorded separately, you have to resync every 12 minutes.

4. It is terrible, but the worst is yet to come. I have been shooting a lot of multicam. And about 5 % of the time, it is only 1 frame dropped. about 1 % of the time it has been 4 SECONDS dropped, that is 120 frames!!!!

5. I have just completed a three hour test of two cameras recording a watch onto the fmu and the sd cards. There is no difference between cameras, nor between a given camera's sd and fmu.

I am trying to figure out how to get 3 hours of video onto something small enough to show Sony and you folks.

John Lenihan

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicam.com


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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 27, 2011 at 4:13:22 pm

Thank you for your reply John. I appreciate your feedback once again.

I think this is the final straw for me with these cameras (remember the SD problems of severe interlacing and flickering footage?). First thing Monday I am going to start the - probably ill-fated - attempt to return these cameras to Sony. I'll get my attorney involved if need be because there's a chance I will end up having to refund a lot of money to clients.

If I was a client receiving a video and it had all the problems I've mentioned before with the SD footage, and then now has audio and video dropouts, I would not pay for the product. I'm expecting my clients to feel the same way.

It is a shame, but these cameras cannot be used professionally. I did a lot of research on cameras before I purchased these NX5Us. Nowhere did anybody review the cameras that it had these limitations/problems. Everybody just said how wonderful they were. Yes, there are a lot of great features and they're good cameras, but I feel they are totally unacceptable for my professional services (and believe me, I don't say that with an ego, I do very little for broadcast and I'm not doing anything more than most readers of this thread are doing). Sorry for my rant, but I just can't believe Sony could put out this good of a camera with "show-stoppable" limitations and problems.

Wish me luck as I prepare for battle with Sony!

Eric



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john lenihan
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 27, 2011 at 6:47:51 pm

Eric,

Here is my wish. That your crusade ends with Sony offering a firmware upgrade so that we can all benefit.

Have you checked with other tapeless cameras to make sure that they don't do similar frame dropping?


As much as I hate these problems, this is still less problems than my tape based cameras where I had to resync at every tape change anyway.

John Lenihan

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicam.com


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Joseph Morgan
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 27, 2011 at 8:27:00 pm

I hope it all ends in a firmware upgrade because I would never have bought an NX5 if I knew this problem existed.

I will see if there's anything I can do to start causing trouble at my end too (Ireland).

Cheers,

Joseph

Joseph in Ireland with his new NX5


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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:32:59 pm

My sentiments exact Joseph. Again, I did a lot of research before investing in 3 of these things and I wish I would have known these issues before.

Anyway, a firmware update would be just fine! I'd prefer that to trying to sell or return these and then buy new ones.

John, to your point, I have talked to others who use tapeless format and they do not seem to have this problem. HOWEVER, I have a little Sony palm camera that I use as back up or hide in the flowers at a wedding and it does the same thing! I just noticed this. I talked to somebody last night that suggested maybe it's the HDSC cards I'm using. He is going to lend me one of his which is a different brand and size than mine just to see if there's any difference.

What cards are you guys using? I'm using Transcend Class 10 32GB. Hey, I'd be happy if buying all new cards solved the problem.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for all your support... misery loves company!

Eric



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john lenihan
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 28, 2011 at 2:45:39 pm

I am using Kindston 32 gig class 10. I am also using the sony digital storage unit, I thinkg it is called FMU128. Both of them drop the EXACT same amount of frames.

John

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicam.com


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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:46:25 pm

That's interesting that they both drop the frames, definitely sounds more like a camera issue then.



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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 2, 2011 at 4:18:48 am

OK. Thoroughly confused now.

Regarding the issue of dropping audio and video frames, and the headaches of resyncing the camera-created clips every 12 minutes: I just did a test where I recorded for 38 minutes. Keep in mind this test would mark the first time I've recorded HD for over 10 minutes (although I had plans to later this month). My expectation was that a new clip would be created every 12 minutes and that I would lose a couple frames of audio and probably video too at the end of each clip.

What happened? It created ONE clip 38 minutes long. What the crap? I mean, that's really awesomely fantastic, but why didn't it break up the clips every 12 minutes?

This test was done with settings at 1080 30P. I'm doing the same test now at 1080 60i. Would this really make a difference? We'll see.

Eric



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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 2, 2011 at 5:56:49 am

Just following up. I did the same test where I shot about 40 minutes in 1080 60i. Same thing... it only created ONE clip the entire length.

I mean, that is really great, but I'm confused now. Reminder, this is the first time I've experimented with HD clips over 10 minutes. Before it was SD and the cameras created a new file after 30 minutes - which was my original post because the end of that 30 minute clip had a loss of 4 frames of audio.

Others replied to my original post and shared their stories of these cameras creating a new clip every 12 minutes with HD footage, and losing frames of video and audio at the end of those clips. So I tested this in HD and found that the camera did NOT create the 12 minute clips like I thought it would.

Any thoughts?

Eric



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john lenihan
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 2, 2011 at 1:29:06 pm

Eric,

In actuality, the camera doesn't create a new file every 12 minutes, it creates it every time it gets to 2Gig file size. So the higher the resolution, the shorter the clip. I shoot at 1920 x 1080 x 60i

I use the clips as they come from the camera, I just take them right off the camera, the mts files. If you look at the files as the are on the storage media, you should see the size is 2 gig max.

If you use the Content Management Utility that came with the Sony, to get the files from the storage media, it will concatenate the files into one long one. This is easier to edit, however masks the issue.

If you use the Cineform codec before editing, it will concatenate the files into one long one.

I am not familiar with how you are processing the files before FCP, but I suspect that it may be concatenating the files.

I am using Sony Vegas Pro 10. This allows me to take the files directly from storage card and drop them into the editor. When I tell the program to lay out the files according to the embedded timecode, it leaves the one or two frame gap between clips.

Remember, loosing two frames every 12 minutes is not noticable at all in itself.

It is only an issue with multicam shoots, or where you have audio being recording on a different device like the zoom recorder and the event is say over an hour. Like a 3 hour dance recital or play or concert. In those cases I might have 2 cameras with 4 tracks of audio plus the zoom h4n with 4 more tracks of audio, and after one hour the audio is noticably out of sync between the audio on the two cameras and the separate device.

John Lenihan

LeniCam Video Productions
http://www.lenicam.com


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James Kumorek
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 4, 2011 at 3:20:32 pm

I'm working on a product review of the NX5U for Church Production Magazine, and am also observing dropped frames when new files are created on the SD cards. I'd like to hear from those of you who are experiencing dropped frames what SD cards you are using -- make, model, size, and class rating. Any input would be appreciated!

And, if you found a solution to the dropped frames problem, I'd certainly like to hear about that as well.

Thank you!


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James Kumorek
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 6, 2011 at 11:20:45 pm

I had a discussion with a Sony product engineer Friday night about this. The problem (at least the one that I was having) is because I did not use Sony's content management software to copy the clips off the SDHC cards, which builds new files containing the entire clip from the 2-gig clip fragments on the cards. When I did this, all the 2-frame gaps went away in the new resulting clip -- no issues at all. Why the clips won't work stand-along in my editor (Sony Vegas) without there being gaps is a mystery, but using the content management software solved the problem.


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Eric Pensenstadler
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 7, 2011 at 1:10:19 pm

Thank you for sharing your info James, that's really good to hear. If I'm not mistaking, though, the software that came with the camera is only for PC, not Mac (ie, Final Cut Pro). I should revisit that to make sure.

At least there IS a work-around, even if we think it shouldn't be that way or if it's a little inconvenient.

I'm still in the process of some more specific test but unfortunately I will be out of town for 2 weeks so they'll have to wait. In particular I'm very surprised that when I record long shots in HD it is transfering into FCP as ONE clip! I don't know why, I thought it would have been multiple clips in 12 minute incraments. Anyway, I'm still curious as to if there's audio dropouts every 12 minutes but at least for syncing purposes I won't have to resynce every 12 minutes.

I'll report back.
Eric



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Ian Cook
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Mar 8, 2011 at 5:08:58 pm

Hi All,

Apologies for the late reply, but I think this is solved by using each NLE's dedicated file browser, rather than file-->import. Final Cut Pro has always worked this way when importing via Log and Transfer; Premiere and Vegas now support the same kind of workflow.

FCP: Log and Transfer will show spanned files made up of 2 GB segments as one self-contained file

Vegas 10: If you use the Device Explorer to import from either the card or a stored card image, the spanned portions should register as one self-contained clip, just as they do with XDCAM EX. You need to first show the Device Explorer, then point it to the AVCHD card. If the files are stored locally, right click and select Browse, then go to the root folder of your AVCHD image..

Premiere Pro CS5: If you use the built in Media Browser the spanned clip portions should show as one file. You need to make sure tht browser is set to 'AVCHD' and not 'File Directory.'

Please let me know if you discover otherwise...

Unfortunately there is still no way to import the CMU-reconnected MTS files into FCP without first re-wrapping them.

Below is a screen shot of Vegas showing a spanned clip in the Device Explorer and two spanned clips (tested from different sources, card/local) on the timeline..



John, we are taking another look at your multicam issue, thanks for hanging in there


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Rahul Choksi
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on May 4, 2011 at 9:54:13 pm

Hi I am struggling with this issue too.


Ian, I have tried to use the media browser in CS5 to import the files and it still shows up as individual 12min clips. IIRC when I did some workflow tests, the audio was set to PCM and the files showed up as one clip (well individual clips but all with the same duration of 3 hours). This meant that I could import one file onto the timeline and it would show a 3 hour clip. Since then I have changed the audio to dolby...would that have made a difference? trying it out now to check but maybe someone has some insight,

On another note, any idea why the NX5 struggles with FCP's log and transfer. Any large clips over 1 hour in duration seem to make L&T crash...I realise there were some problems back in the day with regards to PCM audio but a firmware sorted that out.

thanks,


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Rahul Choksi
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on May 5, 2011 at 7:47:04 am

Update. I recorded a 35 min clip last night and copied all files to my hdd. File >import and imported folder into pp cs5. All clips showed 35 mins and when I moved one clip to the timeline I got a 35 min sequence. I have not noticed any breaks in video or audio. This happened once I changed audio to pcm instead of dolby. Any ideas why that has happened


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Ian Cook
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on May 5, 2011 at 4:00:41 pm

I checked this again and saw no difference in behavior between LPCM and D-Digital clips. See attached images. Each 20 minute clip in the Media Browser spans two MTS files on the FMU128 drive. I included the Finder window showing the spans on the card in the screen shots. Both clips display in PPro as single 20 min files in the Media Browser and on the timeline. Even if I file-->import 0001 (the first half of a spanned clip comprised of two files) the entire span comes in as one clip. This was in Premiere Pro 5.0.2 (075(MC:218798)).

As far as Log and Transfer and long clips I believe this has to do with memory management/allocation within FCP. FCP will often have issues with long transcodes of any format (NXCAM, HDV, XDCAM) as the ProRes output files can stretch into the hundreds of gigabytes and from all indications FCP simply runs out of available memory. Remember that transcoding to ProRes 422 HQ will increase the file size nearly 10x. If you look at the crash logs you will probably see memory allocation issues in the "crashed" thread. In my experience this is somewhat normal for FCP and will not change until FCP 10 is released with 64 bit memory addressing and access to more than 3-4 GB of RAM.





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Rahul Choksi
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on May 5, 2011 at 7:49:06 pm

Thanks for the reply Ian. That is very strange then. Literally the only setting I changed yesterday before my test was to change audio. I am using pp 7.03 although that shouldn't make a difference. I am shooting a wedding tomorrow but should have time to carry out some more testing next week. Will report back if I find something. Any suggestions in the mean time? Thanks


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Rahul Choksi
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on May 7, 2011 at 1:57:47 pm

Right, some very strange behaviour now!

Captured the wedding yesterday and spent the morning transferring the FMU unit's files to my computers HD. Once I imported that AVCHD folder into PP CS5 I noticed that once again the files did not show up as one duration. I had a number of files showing 11-12mins each and they had a break. So this time I transferred the data from the SD cards as well (I record to both SD and FMU for backup)...and when I imported those files in I am getting files showing the same duration - i.e. one spanned clip.


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Michael Johnston
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Jun 9, 2011 at 4:46:20 am

The problem isn't the camera, it's that the card/flash unit are FAT32 instead of NTSF format. With FAT32, you can't capture anything over 2GB. As mentioned above, using the included content management software to load clips eliminates these issues. For the record, I've had the same type of problems using P2 & AVID. Issue was never fixed. Long clips get split in the camera and would not load correctly. Bigger problem when i let a clip span two cards. Panasonic had no answers and AVID had no answers. Eventually we had to attach a deck via SDI for long continuous records or stop and start the camera every 15 minutes. This was with a HPX2000 editing on AVID Newscutter. Most cameras can't record long continuous clips over 30 minutes without some type of issue.


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Eric Olson
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Jun 28, 2011 at 5:59:17 pm

Splitting the video into 2GB chunks and using FAT32 avoids software patents on more modern file systems. This work around solution is present in every AVCHD camcorder. To join the chunks back together type

copy /b 000001.mts+000002.mts joined.mts

at the DOS/Windows command prompt.


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Laurent Gross
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Nov 14, 2015 at 5:03:54 pm

copy /b 000001.mts+000002.mts joined.mts

Eric, THIS is probably the best answer, although it may need an explanation.

It anyway proves the cameras works, as concatenating the individual files makes the issue disappear. This is the proof all the information is actually recorded and available : the audio, video frames, every single bit is there.

The error is in the process, and I just understood with this post the real use of the Sony Content Management Utility : it brings the interface for concatenating the single MTS files.

So, why do we need to concatenate and why does this fail when dragging every block continuously on the editor timeline ?
I guess the reason is linked to the AVCHD codec itself where, as far as I understand, each video frame is dependant from the previous ones (4 ?). Not sure, I am not a video codec specialist, but I know this is the case for mp3 as well. That said, it is not possible to determine the first audio/video frames until a minimum frame account has been decoded.
As a consequence, if all blocks are concatenated, there is not issue as all frames have their previous frames embedded in the global file (except for the beginning of file which is never an issue).
And when dragging MTS files independantly in any editor, they are considered as independant blocks. Hence unable of determining the previous frames of each block, although WE (film editors) know these are the previous ones. But software does not assumes this.

The VERY good news is that this also works while rebuilding full footage from dual SD slots (e.g. a full 3 hours show recorded with 2 x 16Gb SD with NX5). Concatenating SD1 last file with SD2 first file does work ! No drop at all !

At the end,
copy /b 000001.mts+000002.mts+....+....MTS complete.mts
does work.

All this will save time (and money) when editing multicam shows :-)

Just created a cow account for being able to add my 2 cents. But I think this is worth the case.


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Roger Calcutt
Re: NX5u dropping 4 frames of audio after 30 minutes
on Jan 27, 2013 at 12:13:32 pm

Hi Eric
The reason you are dropping frames after 30 mins or 2 gig file is due to
the way you import the files. Do not just grab mts files from folder as you are missing vital information! Copy the whole folder. On Mac I go
to File and select duplicate. Then take whole folder into editing.
By doing this you will find the file is seamless you don't need to join it!! No Glitches :-)
Hope this helps
Rog


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