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XDCAM and data overhead

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Marvin Holdman
XDCAM and data overhead
on Jun 30, 2011 at 1:47:29 pm

Trying to spend as much time "hands on" with this app to see for myself what all this angst is about. Aside from the obvious (XML, timeline, tape import) I'm looking at one very substantial problem with the way this program works. Specifically, the way it works with XDCAM footage.

As I understand the current workflow I must use Sony's transfer software to re-wrap my footage. Double my data footprint. Now, once I bring these re-wrapped files into iMovie Pro, it creates another copy of them. So I have just tripled my data footprint. Not a big deal if you have a handy exabyte raid on your terabyte switch, but for those of us living in the present, this represents an inordinate amount of extra files that must be transferred and stored.

I realize "the future" holds much promise for dealing with media files and one day their size will be as inconsequential as text files, but I don't live in the future yet. Being one of the "Luddite" set, one of the advantages my grey beard brings to me is being able to have a fairly pragmatic perspective on this whole "future" thing. For all the "fanboy" friends out there, I will give you one word of caution as you plunge headlong into your love affair with this pro-sumer product. You will have to pay for space to store your stuff. Apple knows this. You may save hundreds of dollars on this product, but you will spend those hundreds of dollars buying storage for all the media you create. Chances are, after a few of those Orifice Depot "portable drives" die (and take hours of your work with them) you will realize that you need a more robust means of holding onto your stuff. Then you'll start down the road of RAID systems and begin to understand that it's not just "space" that cost money, it's also "integrity" and that's not quite as cheap. At that point, you'll say to yourself, "Wow, I need to figure out how create this stuff in the most efficient way possible" and these issues will become a priority in your life.

Some of you will say, "Well they'll have solutions by the time I get to that point". Once again, The Luddite would tell you, "Buddy, you are going to get there quicker than you think". Of course, that is the case if you actually USE this stuff. If you do one project a year, then you'll never have to worry about it. But then again, you probably aren't going to make a living at this just doing one project a year. Sure, there are those that do just that, but if you want to make a living at this craft, statistically, you will probably have to work very hard at it and will produce a substantial amount of media that you will have to manage.

All that being said, I'm moving past the incredulous disbelief that this blunder of a release initially brought and trying to see how, or when, this product might actually become a viable production tool for those who must actually use it. The more time I actually spend with it, the more I see it's potential. Problem is, where I had hoped to focus my sole time on learning a great new tool, I must now split that time with researching alternative paths. As time is the only real commodity that production people have, I am not sure how much I can afford to spend with Randy's lonely bastard love child.... FCPX. At this point, someone else is probably going to have to raise this love child. It appears that it will need to find a village to raise it somewhere else, as the professional village doesn't really have time for such a needy bastard.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv

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Craig Seeman
Re: XDCAM and data overhead
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:20:12 pm

You must rewrap the files to .mov. Sony has said they are working on direct support though. No timetable as to when.

In FCPX, in preferences, disable "Copy Files to Final Cut Events folder" and it will not make a further copy. Also make sure you disable Optimize Media or it may encode it to Apple Pro Res in the background.

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