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Clip and timecode confusion

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Grant Peacock
Clip and timecode confusion
on Jan 15, 2020 at 12:50:28 am

I have just finished a 2-cam shoot, C300's, cameras with sync'd timecode as event started, both powered continuously throughout the event. After cloning card contents to laptop, and then importing to Final Cut 10.4.6, every effort at generating a multicam clip causes bizarre results. (using audio or timecode as the basis of the generator doesn't improve things)

Looking further, I discovered that sequential clips out of 1 camera have timecode that doesn't match the order of progression :

AA0134 - 20:22:40 - 20:51:03
AA0135 - 20:30:11 - 20:40:33

These are confirmed as being from the same camera (easily determined, as the two shots were quite distinct from each other). How could this happen? I am going with the assumption that there is some type of data corruption that would make this possible, and so will start over tomorrow. But I am curious....

I did intentionally break each shot every 30 mins, for just a few frames, in order to make file management a bit easier. (2 hour event)

Grant Peacock
Washington DC
GPI TV LLC

ENG and Cine-style
Cameras and Crews

http://www.gpi.tv


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Joe Marler
Re: Clip and timecode confusion
on Jan 15, 2020 at 10:14:44 am

[Grant Peacock] "then importing to Final Cut 10.4.6, every effort at generating a multicam clip causes bizarre results. (using audio or timecode as the basis of the generator doesn't improve things)"

Before creating the multicam clip, make sure all material from each camera is labeled with a camera name or angle name in the inspector "info" tab. Select all clips from one camera then enter a name; repeat for the other. Then try sync by audio.

If you aren't sure which clips came from each camera, during import they can be automatically keyworded if you named the offload folders something unlike. E.g, C300HouseLeft, C300HouseRight, etc. That streamlines selecting them and labeling material from multiple cameras with similar codecs or filename conventions. Use FCPX Preferences>Import>"Keywords from folders".


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Grant Peacock
Re: Clip and timecode confusion
on Jan 15, 2020 at 7:56:01 pm

Thanks Joe. Yes, I'm aware of the importance of assigning something that allows clips to be recognized, and sorted into the correct angle - in this case I have used 'Camera Name' populating this field with 'Side Camera' and 'CU Camera'. All clips checked, and all looks good via the Inspector window.

I think the next step will be to re-import to FCP, but skip over the normal cloning step - instead just doing a direct import/transcode from the CF cards to the FCPX library. I'll post some results when I have them in. Thanks again.

Grant Peacock
Washington DC
GPI TV LLC

ENG and Cine-style
Cameras and Crews

http://www.gpi.tv


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Grant Peacock
Update : Clip and timecode confusion - continued
on Jan 22, 2020 at 4:14:29 pm

After many hours spent wrangling this project, and 2 calls with Apple Enterprise Support, I have run out of ideas. But I have learned that I have a very fundamental problem here - camera clips are getting mangled during the importing process. Different segments of various camera clips are being merged into a single clip, but without any interruption to the time code (free run).

Because this has happened to both camera angles, separately, I suspect that something is wrong with FCPX. As we were wrapping up the 2nd support call, the staffer wished me good luck - no answers available after an extensive screen sharing session.

How in the world are portions of different clips being merged together, and imported as a single clip? My last ditch attempt at fixing this project was to scrub thru every imported clip, looking for each non-adjacent frame of video, generating subclips, and round-tripping them out and back into FCPX, appending them with clip names such as 'a', 'b'... etc. In several cases, one camera clip that had been imported originally, now had to be split into 6 subclips. After re-importing, and attempting a multicam clip based on audio sync only, I still have a scrambled mess. There may be no way to finish this edit, apart from generating a transcript of the entire shoot, and then manually editing according to dialogue. There's already about 20 hours spent at the desk trying to solve this.

I'm 24 hours out from my next 2-cam shoot with these same cameras, and I have no way of knowing if this will happen again. Confused, and exasperated!

Grant.

Grant Peacock
Washington DC
GPI TV LLC

ENG and Cine-style
Cameras and Crews

http://www.gpi.tv


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Doug Metz
Re: Update : Clip and timecode confusion - continued
on Jan 22, 2020 at 5:02:45 pm

This happens when you import the camera cards (folder copies) directly in FCPX, yes?

I might try re-wrapping the source with EditReady:
https://www.divergentmedia.com/editready

You can simply re-wrap, or transcode to another format. And you'll have the option to add unique identifiers to each card processed.

Doug Metz

Dalton Agency


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Brad Hurley
Re: Update : Clip and timecode confusion - continued
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:18:01 pm

One fairly simple way to test whether this is a bug in Final Cut is to use the free version of DaVinci Resolve to see how it handles the files. You might be reluctant to learn how to do multicam in another NLE, but fortunately the free PDF, "Advanced Editing in DaVinci Resolve 15" (which is still a good guide for version 16) has a clearly explained step-by-step guide to setting up and editing a 2-camera interview timeline in Resolve.

Following those instructions, it shouldn't take long for you to test to see if it works in Resolve, which would then suggest that Final Cut is the culprit in this particular case. The "Advanced Editing" PDF is available in the Training section of the Resolve website, here: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/training. Scroll down to the "Training Books" section of that page to find it. The 2-camera multicam workflow is described in that book using example footage, but you can apply the same workflow to your own footage. As you tried in Final Cut, it might be worth trying to sync by audio in Resolve instead of timecode (which is the workflow used in the book as well). And maybe start with only the clips from your first shoot before the break to see if those sync properly. Then you could set up a separate multicam clip for the clips for your second shoot (after you took a break for media management), and so on.


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Grant Peacock
Re: Clip and timecode confusion
on Jan 24, 2020 at 6:04:33 pm

Thanks Doug and Brad for the follow-up. In the end, and relying on instincts, I looked up the latest method for trashing preferences (now pretty easy to do), and started a new Library, and did another import. This time, I directly pulled from the CF cards, generating optimized media without the intermediate step of cloning cards to the internal drive.

The resultant multicam file was mostly good. I was able to run 2 angles against a WAV audio file, using audio as the basis of sync. I was merrily cutting between angles and about ⅔ of the way along the timeline, video had again become uncoupled. I got by for the rest of the project with manually syncing up back to the relevant source clip in the Browser.

Mystery unsolved... Just hoping it doesn't show up again anytime soon. Pondering : I am now 2 updates behind in FCPX, due to the fact that this MBP8,3 (17" late 2011) can no longer access OS updates (topped out at 10.13.6, and FCPX 10.4.6. A long and productive companionship is about to wind down.

Grant.

Grant Peacock
Washington DC
GPI TV LLC

ENG and Cine-style
Cameras and Crews

http://www.gpi.tv


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Brad Hurley
Re: Clip and timecode confusion
on Jan 26, 2020 at 1:22:47 pm

Getting back to figuring out the source of the problem, you wrote:

Looking further, I discovered that sequential clips out of 1 camera have timecode that doesn't match the order of progression :

AA0134 - 20:22:40 - 20:51:03
AA0135 - 20:30:11 - 20:40:33


How did you sync timecode (i.e., were you using individual Tentacle Syncs, or genlock, or something else)? What timecode mode were you using (e.g., free run vs. record run)?

It does sound like one camera might not be maintaining proper sync, but it could also be a glitch in how you set up the timecode syncing. I'm far from an expert on timecode sync myself (I generally use a slate, but will be facing some situations this year where that's not practical so am investing in a set of Tentacle Syncs for my cameras and recorder).


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Grant Peacock
Re: Clip and timecode confusion
on Jan 26, 2020 at 1:41:26 pm

Good morning Brad!

The cameras were t.code sync'd in the simplest possible way - a simple BNC, coupled with menu choices in the C300's so that one camera sends and the other receives. Although these (Canon EOS) cameras have a reputation for some drift over a long day, in this case it would be unlikely that they could get more than a frame out of sync with each other (2 hour shoot, both cameras powered and on continuously, albeit at a distance where I decided not to maintain a cable connection between them).

I doubt t.code is a basis of this problem - for most of the 2 hour event, the resultant clips are in sync to within +/- 1 frame, as evidenced by opportunities to manually check sync (eg gavel open and close). If any further investigation could be done, I would be digging into the FCPX importing process.

One odd-ball thing did happen during this shoot, with one of the cameras. As I was in the process of splitting files into aprox 30 min durations (with a rapid record stop/start again), I appeared to be right at the end of one CF card's capacity. I think my attempt at swapping slots (available on the C300 if the camera is not recording) might have coincided with the moment that the camera itself was swapping media. That might explain why I have clip #'s increasing from Card 1 to Card 2 and back to Card 1, then reverting back to Card 2. But if the basis of a multi-cam file is t.code, I'd anticipate the clip #'s matter not. The next time I cover this event, I will be running Atomos prores recorders on each camera in order to produce a 2nd set of files.... just to be sure!

Grant.

Grant Peacock
Washington DC
GPI TV LLC

ENG and Cine-style
Cameras and Crews

http://www.gpi.tv


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