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Can't convert Kona QT in Windows

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Chris Blair
Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 8, 2008 at 12:31:57 am

We have hard drive from a production facility with tons of Quicktimes captured in Final Cut using Kona hardware. The editor at the facility was unsure of which Kona model or version of Final Cut. He did say the system was a year old and the capture was done in June 2007, which is what shows on the date/timestamp of the files.

We're a PC shop using several VelocityQ's and Premiere CS3. The problem is we can open, play and convert some of the files, but others we cannot. More bizarre is that one group of files from a project captured during one session (you can tell from the date/timestamp on the file) will open, play and convert fine...while another group from the same project captured later that day or the next day will not open, play or convert in anything.

The files that will open show that the codec is Kona V2.10 or something like that. We have installed the latest Kona windows codecs from their site, but no joy on the offending files. Even more bizarre...we uninstalled the Kona codec, then installed the blackmagic codecs, and we got the same results!

This occurs across multiple Windows PC's using IBM intellistations, HP xw series PC's, and across a variety of hardware (some have Harris Quattrus cards in them, some have Blackmagic Decklink cards, one system doesn't have any capture hardware). All the systems also have various versions of Quicktime, with one machine having 7.1.xx, a couple 7.2 and a couple others the latest version from Apple's website.

No matter what...we get the same problem. Trying to load the problem files into Quicktime just locks it up. Trying to load them into AE (both 7.0 and CS3) results in nothing happening. QT and AE will both load, play and convert the other "good" files fine. There are hundreds of files on this drive..and roughly 70% we can open and convert fine...the others we cannot.

Even MORE bizarre is a generic media player called KM Player, WILL open and play the problem files, which kind of rules out any corruption in the files themselves. But it will only play them if the Blackmagic codec is installed on the machine. If you remove the Blackmagic codecs and just leave the Kona codecs....even KM Player won't load or play the offending quicktimes.

Does anybody have any suggestions? The editor swore he captured all the files using the same codec, project dimensions, capture rates etc. But we're not so sure, as some load into AE showing they're 640x480 DVCPro50, and the rest load showing they're 720x486 Kona files. Some of the offending files show they were captured perhaps 30 minutes later (in a batch) than large groups of good files captured in an earlier batch.

We convert Quicktimes all the time, from Avid based files to Blackmagic, but I've never seen this issue. Any help is appreciated.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 8, 2008 at 2:01:50 am

[Chris Blair] "The files that will open show that the codec is Kona V2.10 or something like that."

Yep, that makes sense.

It would seem to me that some of those files were captured to codecs that quicktime does not support in windows namely dv50 or DVCPro HD.


[Chris Blair] "Even MORE bizarre is a generic media player called KM Player"

WIthout knowing what that is or what is does, I bet it's some sort of real time decoder that is smart enough to know what to do with the files are at least smart enough to transcode them in to something watchable.

[Chris Blair] "The editor swore he captured all the files using the same codec, project dimensions, capture rates etc."

Yeah, I'd hook them straight up to the polygraph...or actually they could have easily made an honest mistake. It's easy to screw that up if you don't know what's going on in FCP and especially if you are bouncing around to different formats in between captures.

Any chance you can export from the Km player thing?

Any chance you can recapture the offending tapes?

Do you have a Mac with FCP on it for a bit of a diagnostic or in an even further reach can you post one of the problem files to look at?

Jeremy


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Chris Blair
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 8, 2008 at 2:53:06 am

Jeremy,

I also suspect that they were captured to a different codec than Kona. Not having worked in Final Cut, Seems crazy you could do a batch capture from 8am to 8:15, then do another one from 8:25 to 8:45am (using the same tape) and the format and codec get changed.

KMPlayer is a universal media player made by a Korean software engineer. It's free and is quite an amazing program. It will play almost any file format known to man. I don't know if it's doing what you say to play the file, but you're probably right as it shows the QT codec as being Apple Native MPEG 4, which I know for a fact it isn't.

KM Player is just a player so exporting from it isn't an option.

Recapturing isn't an option either. The footage came from an ad agency in NY that essentially "washed" their hands of this particular client. They literally used the phrase "we're trashing all the assets and dumping the footage onto a drive" when they sent us the footage. The company that shot the footage was also unceremoniously "dumped" by the client and refuses to release the raw footage tapes without the client paying a rather large fee, which the client isn't willing to do.

The files are huge, too big to post. Most are at least 300MB, and some are over a gig. The average is in the 500MB range for each file.

And we've already contacted a couple of local colleagues that use Final Cut, so we're probably going to just take the drive to them and let them output to DVCPro50 tape or transcode to Quicktime Component format, which we know we can transcode in large batches to our .dps format.

Thanks for confirming I'm not crazy though! I wasted hours today trying to convert a bunch of files that SHOULD have taken me about a half-hour to transcode.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com

[Chris Blair] "The files that will open show that the codec is Kona V2.10 or something like that."

Yep, that makes sense.

It would seem to me that some of those files were captured to codecs that quicktime does not support in windows namely dv50 or DVCPro HD.


[Chris Blair] "Even MORE bizarre is a generic media player called KM Player"

WIthout knowing what that is or what is does, I bet it's some sort of real time decoder that is smart enough to know what to do with the files are at least smart enough to transcode them in to something watchable.

[Chris Blair] "The editor swore he captured all the files using the same codec, project dimensions, capture rates etc."

Yeah, I'd hook them straight up to the polygraph...or actually they could have easily made an honest mistake. It's easy to screw that up if you don't know what's going on in FCP and especially if you are bouncing around to different formats in between captures.

Any chance you can export from the Km player thing?

Any chance you can recapture the offending tapes?

Do you have a Mac with FCP on it for a bit of a diagnostic or in an even further reach can you post one of the problem files to look at?

Jeremy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 8, 2008 at 3:13:43 am

[Chris Blair] "They literally used the phrase "we're trashing all the assets and dumping the footage onto a drive" when they sent us the footage. The company that shot the footage was also unceremoniously "dumped" by the client and refuses to release the raw footage tapes without the client paying a rather large fee, which the client isn't willing to do. "

Mmm. That sounds like loads of fun.

[Chris Blair] "I also suspect that they were captured to a different codec than Kona."

The Kona can capture to a multitude of codecs and very rarely (or only with certain workflows) do you capture to the AJA titled codec.

[Chris Blair] "Seems crazy you could do a batch capture from 8am to 8:15, then do another one from 8:25 to 8:45am (using the same tape) and the format and codec get changed. "

Not to knock the editor, but if they don't know what they're doing, it's really really easy. Click of a button is all, or perhaps the tapes were logged wrong in the first place, and even though they were captured 10 minutes apart, at the time the footage was actually logged (which could have been days or weeks before the footage was captured), the settings could have been set wrong. FCP's format conundrum is endless. There's so many it is totally easy to screw up if you're not looking for it.

[Chris Blair] "And we've already contacted a couple of local colleagues that use Final Cut"

Perfect, but 300MBs is nothing. If you can post it, I will download it if your colleagues shrug their shoulders.


[Chris Blair] "Thanks for confirming I'm not crazy though!"

Oh no, you're still nuts.



Jeremy



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Chris Blair
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 8, 2008 at 4:31:19 am

I know when our less experienced editors log stuff they always forget to check the settings in VelocityQ and Premiere.

We constantly preach to double check project management, capture/format settings and directory structures, but we still end up with occasional problems!

After I posted earlier we found a partial short-term solution. Premiere CS3 will load all the files, but the problem files show up without audio and Premiere thinks they're single frame graphic files. So we can easily sort the "good" ones from the "bad" in a Premiere/Decklink timeline. We can then quickly render the files into Blackmagic uncompressed AVIs and play the timeline out over our SDI matrix switcher and capture into the VelocityQ. Not an elegant solution, but we won't have to pay another facility to transfer them and we can get by the with files that are readable for this project.

The problem files show as DVCPro50 format in Premiere. I wasn't aware Windows couldn't play Quicktimes using the DVCPro50 codec. Is there a codec pack or trancoding software for windows that will?

Thanks....and you're right...I am still nuts...but it's our clients' fault...oh and and my crazy Uncle Earl.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com

[Chris Blair] "They literally used the phrase "we're trashing all the assets and dumping the footage onto a drive" when they sent us the footage. The company that shot the footage was also unceremoniously "dumped" by the client and refuses to release the raw footage tapes without the client paying a rather large fee, which the client isn't willing to do. "

Mmm. That sounds like loads of fun.

[Chris Blair] "I also suspect that they were captured to a different codec than Kona."

The Kona can capture to a multitude of codecs and very rarely (or only with certain workflows) do you capture to the AJA titled codec.

[Chris Blair] "Seems crazy you could do a batch capture from 8am to 8:15, then do another one from 8:25 to 8:45am (using the same tape) and the format and codec get changed. "

Not to knock the editor, but if they don't know what they're doing, it's really really easy. Click of a button is all, or perhaps the tapes were logged wrong in the first place, and even though they were captured 10 minutes apart, at the time the footage was actually logged (which could have been days or weeks before the footage was captured), the settings could have been set wrong. FCP's format conundrum is endless. There's so many it is totally easy to screw up if you're not looking for it.

[Chris Blair] "And we've already contacted a couple of local colleagues that use Final Cut"

Perfect, but 300MBs is nothing. If you can post it, I will download it if your colleagues shrug their shoulders.


[Chris Blair] "Thanks for confirming I'm not crazy though!"

Oh no, you're still nuts.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 8, 2008 at 4:40:09 am

[Chris Blair] "Is there a codec pack or trancoding software for windows that will?"


if you know it's dv50:

http://www.dvfilm.com/raylight/EncoderPro/index.htm


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Chris Blair
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 9, 2008 at 2:20:06 am

We tried the Raylight demo. It's very convoluted. According to the instructions, you have to install an ancient Matrox DVCPro windows codec to be able to work with the QT DVCPro50 footage on the Premiere or AE timelines, and the documentation on the DV Film website is cryptic and confusing. The link to the needed codecs was out of date, and finding them on Matrox's website took forever.

Even after installing everything, it still wouldn't work. We confirmed the files are indeed QT DVCPro50 by burning one to CD and taking it to another post house here in town with Final Cut.

It's baffling to me that a free windows media player programmed by a Korean computer science student (KM Player) can decode and play hese files in real-time...but professional editing and compositing programs cannot.

If we need any of the DVCPro50 QT files we'll just take them to somebody with Final Cut.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 9, 2008 at 3:13:53 am

Yikes. Sorry Chris. I had no experience with that before as we work on Macs.

I had no idea it was that much of a hassle.

Jeremy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 9, 2008 at 3:33:52 am

Hey here's some more recent programming, see if this demo will work for you:

Nevermind. DVCPro HD only


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Chris Blair
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 10, 2008 at 5:56:01 pm

Jeremy,

Thanks for your help and suggestions on this. I've read on other forums that some Windows users have gotten QT/Final Cut DVCPro50 files to play by installing just the DVCPro50 codec from the AceMegaCodec Pack. I typically hate installing anything from those big codec packs as the codecs usually cause more problems than they solve...but after getting a rather expensive quote to convert all the files (there are hundreds on the disk)... I'm gonna give it a try.

I'll let you know what if it works.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
401 E. Indiana
Evansville, IN 47711
http://www.videomi.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can't convert Kona QT in Windows
on May 12, 2008 at 12:08:55 am

[Chris Blair] "I'll let you know what if it works. "

Please do. Thanks for posting back.

Jeremy


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