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XDCAM Database

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Eric Barker
XDCAM Database
on Mar 15, 2011 at 7:47:14 pm

I've enquired about this before, but I don't think I layed it out well enough to get good feedback.

I have a news department that is shooting hours of footage a week in XDCAM EX format, and editing in Adobe Premiere CS5. I need to organize a central "news file" database for them to edit and search metadata of all their footage. But I'm running into some problems.

- Adobe Bridge can search metadata, but cannot parse XDCAM BPAV structures

- Premiere Media Browser can parse BPAV structures, but can't search metadata

- Premiere Metadata window can search metadata, but only of files loaded into Premiere.

I just need to create a system to be able to search and edit metadata of numerous BPAV substructures and import footage into Premiere. Seems like a pretty basic request for anyone creating a footage database. Currently, I'm having to re-wrap everything to MXF first because there's no way for me to appropriately archive XDCAM substructures.

I'm beating my head against a wall here. ANY information on setting up this kind of database would be highly appreciated. We're moving gigs of footage a week, stuff that needs to be accessed easily in the future, and it's turning to chaos.

Television Producer
KTVF-11 Fairbanks, Alaska
video.ericbarker.com


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Keith Moreau
Re: XDCAM Database
on Mar 16, 2011 at 6:31:51 am

Look into the Calibrated Software plugins for XDCAM, they read the metadata and insert relevant stuff into quicktime files. Then you can use sometime like CATDV that understands Quicktime to catalog the footage.

Premiere / Adobe handles XDCAM strangely, I've had to work around a lot of stuff to get it to work well, for example it concatenates spanned XDCAM EX files together, making it difficult to know what you're editiing if you need to import or export it out of Premiere Pro.

Not sure if this is helpful but the Calibrated software for XDCAM is really excellent and the support is great.


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Eric Barker
Re: XDCAM Database
on Mar 17, 2011 at 12:50:52 am

Well, I was able to get it working up to a point. Greg was amazingly helpful and very nice. Some of the best customer service I've ever gotten. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Premiere is playing nice with the MOV format that MP4-EX (with CatDV) converts to. It would play fine in QuickTime, but PPro wouldn't recognize any of the audio tracks. I was so hoping this solution would work out. Back to the drawing board.

Television Producer
KTVF-11 Fairbanks, Alaska
video.ericbarker.com


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Keith Moreau
Re: XDCAM Database
on Mar 17, 2011 at 2:25:29 am

Thats why I recommended CatDV, I have it and it takes what Calibrated does and puts it into a nice searchable database automatically. Adobe won't do that no matter what, even with footage it handles optimally.

THe single user CatDV product isn't too expensive, I have the server version and I like it a lot. You can export what it finds into Final Cut XML, then import that into Premiere pro. (Theoretically, I haven't done this but I've thought about it -) So before purchasing CatDV you might want to try it and see if what I theorize works.


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Eric Barker
Re: XDCAM Database
on Mar 17, 2011 at 7:05:58 pm

That's actually what I did, I imported the BPAV directory off the SD card into CatDV via "Import Directory", and it went in and gathered all the MP4 files. I then exported them to a library folder. All the files worked great in QuickTime Player, but when I tried opening them in PPro CS5, they had missing audio tracks and/or video tracks.

Maybe I'm not doing something right. How do you use CatDV to extract files off a BPAV directory into a mass library folder? I feel like I'm too close to just write this whole idea off, but at this point, it's just not working correctly.

Television Producer
KTVF-11 Fairbanks, Alaska
video.ericbarker.com


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Keith Moreau
Re: XDCAM Database
on Mar 18, 2011 at 6:24:45 am

First do you have the files on other that the SD / SxS cards? Have they been transferred to a hard drive?

That's the first step is to get them off your cards and onto your hard drive.

Once that is done, this process shouldn't involve any copying or moving of the files. just pointers to the files. The BPAV structure should stay intact in order for Calibrated and Premiere to understand the files. While the .MP4 files have the actual video data, the other files have the metadata that describes the .MP4 files.

Are you on Mac or PC? I work on Mac so I'm not sure of the differences in PC.

If on Mac, have you ever successfully added a EX .MP4 file to Premiere and had it play correctly? Premiere (the CS5 version at least, I don't know about earlier versions), does a lot of 'helping' with EX files, primarily it will concatenate the MP4 files together (within Premiere Pro, not actually in the file system) if they are 'spanned' that is if the shot spanned more than the 4GB file size limitation with EX. for example if a shot spans 01.MP4, 02.MP4, 03.MP4, Premiere will make 01.MP4 actually all 3 files, and any instances to the other files will actually be the beginning of 01.MP4. In this way the surrounding BPAV structure helps Premiere figure out which files are spanned. This is kind of confusing so play with importing spanned EX files directly into Premiere pro to see what I mean.

So, if using CATDV, you do a selection of EX files, and export a FCP XML sequence of those 'selects' you should then be able to import that into Premiere pro. There should be a bin with those files and a sequence. If the files are spanned you'll have to account for that.

if on Mac, do you have FCP? you can test this 'interim' workflow out this way as CatDV likes to play with FCP.

Also if on a Mac, I have "Perian" installed and this helps with audio sometimes (avchd mostly).

You also might want to post this question in the CatDV forums if you haven't already, I think it will do what you want, you just need to add Premiere to the end of the workflow, I gather.

If you're on a PC, I'm not sure if there is a solution, if you're on a Mac, let me know and when I have a few free moments I'll try to test it out if you still need help.


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