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Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"

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Elizabeth Perlman
Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 7:16:57 pm

Still attempting to set up my project. We plan to optimize everything in ProRes from a Sony FS5. I've copied all of the footage from the SD card over to our external drive. I would like to optimize + leave in place, but the option is ghosted because FCPX thinks my drive is actually a card.

Any workarounds?


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John Rofrano
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:15:04 pm
Last Edited By John Rofrano on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:21:42 pm

FCP X is trying to prevent you from doing something dangerous like delete your original media files. ;-) It's not a bad failsafe mechanism. I assume you copied the entire card card structure to the external drive. If you really want to edit your original media, try moving the files into another folder that is not under that card structure. FCP X will then let you leave them in place.

What I do is work with two external drives. One contains all of my camera card archives. The second contains all of my projects. If either one gets corrupt I have the other one as backup. This is how FCP X works too. So I can select files from my camera card archive drive and have FCP X copy them to my project drive just like it wants to. Then I eject my camera card archive drive and continue editing on my project drive which is also external. I like to keep my media contained in my library but if you want it to be external, just set up your library media location to external and FCP X will use that.

In the Library Properties under Storage Locations press the Modify Settings button and change the Media location to your external folder. All future media will be place there. I believe this is what you are trying to get FCP X to do.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Elizabeth Perlman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:22:10 pm

We've already backed up all the raw media, so the only thing I'd prefer to backup again would be the optimized ProRes files. If I "copy to library", isn't FCP unwrapping the AVCHD codec, placing a copy of the original into the "original media" as well as placing a 422 file into the "optimized" folder? Or am I misunderstanding something...I just want to import + optimize to 422, edit + not deal with proxies or copying my original media again.

If I change the storage location to a folder on my external, it still won't let me "leave in place".


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John Rofrano
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:36:33 pm

Sorry if I confused the matter with the library stuff. I gave you the answer in my first paragraph (I guess I should have stopped explaining at that point) ;-)

All you need to do is move the AVCHD files outside of the camera card structure and place them in another folder and you will be able to import and leave them in place and generate optimized media.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Elizabeth Perlman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:42:32 pm

ah I see, yeah I tried moving a .mxf file, but when I imported into fcpx, I only saw the audio. File structure looks like this:



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John Rofrano
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 26, 2016 at 1:42:07 am

Sorry I didn't realize they were in an MXF wrapper. When you said AVCHD I wrongly assumed MTS files which FCP X can read fine from any folder. MXF files are a whole other story. FCP X cannot read MXF files unless they are in their original card structure like you have. Since you don't want FCP X to make copies, because you already did, and these are your copies... you're going to have to manually convert your files to ProRes some other way.

For future reference, your workflow should be to not make your own backup copy, but rather, have FCP X copy the files from the camera card structure into the folder that you really want them in and then edit from that folder. Then you won't have these workflow problems. In other words, instead of having two copies both in camera card format, take the original drive with all of the camera card structures on it and ingest that with FCP X to a target folder that you will work from. The original camera card drive will then be your backup. You can still do and it might be quicker than manually trying to figure something else out.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Tangier Clarke
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:42:32 pm

You could also import the media into FCP X with no optimization. This way it just rewraps into an MOV file. Then go into your library package and COPY them out of there into unique folders as reels. These will server as your backups. Make sure to assign the same folder names to reels inside FCP X.

Doing this method you get:
Small file sizes (pre optimized)
Quicktimes you can just point back to easily

Tangier


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Elizabeth Perlman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:46:05 pm

If I don't optimize, then it will rewrap to an .h264 MOV file, right? I'd like to edit and finish in 422.

Or do I copy the rewrapped MOVs and then reimport and optimize? gah brain! seems rather circuitous


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Tangier Clarke
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 25, 2016 at 11:17:47 pm

That is correct. The file type stays the same - H.264, but it will be wrapped in an MOV. You can still tell FCP X to transcode all of the video content once it's already imported. The above mentioned method just insures you have an as-close-to-original copy of your AVCHD files as backups. ProRes was not your original.

One workflow recap:
Import ALL media into FCP X
Go into library package and COPY MOV files out to unique folder reels
Assign same folder reel names to appropriate content.

The danger in doing this is that you have to be certain you imported all of your footage. Some people only import some of the contents of an AVCHD card; particularly if the card wasn't wiped before the most recent shoot and therefore has leftover content from a previous shoot that isn't necessary to keep.

It's safer just to backup the card data into a unique folder as a reel. But if you know what you're doing and are thorough, the method above isn't a problem.

Just be mindful that with multiple cards you may end up with Clip1, clip 2, clip 3, etc multiple times. This is why you need unique reels folders.

Tangier


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Jan 26, 2016 at 12:04:18 am

I personally prefer to use something like EditReady to do the rewrapping or conversion before I import the files. That way I get the format I want, in the folder I want, and can just do a 'leave in place' import in FCPX.


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Dan Bowman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 3:14:30 pm

I'm having the same problem. I'm trying to import Sony FS5 AVCHD footage into FCPX 10.2.3 without embedding the clips. I'm on a Mac pro trashcan running El Capitan. But FCPX won't let me leave files in place. I'd love to leave Premiere CC and put an end my digital sharecropping, but having to copy clips before importing to FCPX is a deal breaker for me. Has anyone found a solution?


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Liz Parham
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 3:18:00 pm

I actually found that recently I can highlight all the .mxf files directly + drag and drop from Finder into an event with library preferences "leave file in place" and it will not copy the clips.


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Dan Bowman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 3:35:39 pm

Hi Liz,

Thanks for your help. But I can't see the Sony FS5 mxf files when I look in the finder.


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Liz Parham
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 3:45:52 pm

I don't have FS5 files in front of me but I think if you right click show package contents and go into the PRIVATE folder and XDROOT you'll see all the individual clips


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Doug Metz
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 4:54:02 pm

This method 'works', but can be problematic for a couple of reasons:

First, it doesn't resolve spanned clips. That 15 minute interview, depending on camera/card/format, may span several files on the card. When you import from the card normally, or use EditReady or ClipWrap or similar, the long segments come in as one file instead of 2 or more. When they're dragged & dropped directly, you may end up with a missing frame or audible click at the seams.

Second, you likely aren't getting all of the metadata into FCPX that's stored in the folder structure of the card.

I used to use ClipWrap or 5DtoRGB to convert to ProRes prior to import (that way I could rename the files in the Finder first), but because the vast majority of my projects are short-form (usually under 2 min), I now create Camera Archives and just import what I need. The libraries live on the drives with their related jobs, so having a subset of AVCHD clips in the library isn't really an issue. For me. :^)

Doug Metz

Anode


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Dan Bowman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 19, 2017 at 7:53:39 pm

I think you're right Doug. After importing AVCHD clips from my Sony FS5 by the drag and drop method I find that every time I open the library the colored spinning wheel pops up for several minutes. Looks like I'll have to transcode. Trouble is, with EditReady the file sizes grow five-fold. Not sure what settings I need in order to closely match the quality and files size of the camera originals.


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Doug Metz
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 19, 2017 at 9:33:33 pm

[Dan Bowman] "Looks like I'll have to transcode. Trouble is, with EditReady the file sizes grow five-fold. Not sure what settings I need in order to closely match the quality and files size of the camera originals."

It sounds like you're taking camera source H.264 encoded files, and transcoding with EditReady to ProRes... I don't have EditReady - is there an option to simply re-wrap instead of transcode? That'll be as original as you can get.

Doug Metz

Anode


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Dan Bowman
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 9:57:35 pm

Wow Liz, that worked, thank you so much. BTW I called Apple tech support and they told it is impossible to import AVCHD files without embedding them into FCP.

Anyway, Here’s what worked for me:
1-Copy the PRIVATE folder and all its contents from the camera SD card.
2- Open the PRIVATE folder, right click the AVCHD Icon and select ”show package contents”, this will reveal an icon called BDMV.
3- Right click the BDMV icon, and select ”show package contents”. This will reveal a folder called STREAM.
4-Open the STREAM folder and select the clips you want. They will be named 00000.MTS, 00001.MTS, and so on.
5- Drag the clips onto FCPX. There will be no progress bar, just the deadly colored spinning wheel, but fear not. If there are many large clips, go meditate. Eventually the clips will appear in FCPX. And no, the file size of FCPX will not suddenly jump to 50GB.


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Joe Marler
Re: Working with AVCHD, how to leave "files in place"
on Apr 12, 2017 at 8:55:20 pm

[Dan Bowman] "I'm trying to import Sony FS5 AVCHD footage into FCPX 10.2.3 without embedding the clips...But FCPX won't let me leave files in place...having to copy clips before importing to FCPX is a deal breaker for me. Has anyone found a solution?"

If the AVCHD content is in the original tree format (despite being copied to hard disk before import), FCPX will not import that "in place". You could copy the video files outside the tree and import in place from there -- but this should NEVER be done with FCPX, for two reasons:

(1) Risk of missing metadata causing problems with clip spanning, or other unknown issues. However new cameras using SDXC cards automatically use the exFAT file system which has no practical file size limit, so clip spanning might be less a problem than previously. Unfortunately you never know -- the camera might split the file even though the exFAT file system does not mandate that.

(2) Possible I/O performance problems from "in place" AVCHD files. This causes excessive small random I/Os when scrolling through the Event Browser in filmstrip mode. Even a small % of "in place" AVCHD content mixed in a large library of non-AVCHD content may cause this. I don't know if this happens with all AVCHD content or just from certain cameras. I haven't tested FS5 content but I've seen it from other cameras. It is potentially quite serious because there's no obvious error -- everything just seems slow. Isolating, removing, then properly re-importing just those AVCHD "in place" clips can be tricky -- especially if they are already in projects.

By far the easiest, fastest solution for AVCHD is simply re-wrapping with EditReady before import. It is lightning fast, preserves all metadata, allows in-place import, and the import itself is much faster: http://www.divergentmedia.com/editready


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