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Xdcam HD 422 Codec

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John Pipes
Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 9, 2010 at 3:09:48 am

Is anyone using the Sony XDCAM HD 422 CODEC as their editing CODEC for their ingest and sequence settings? If so have there been any issues you can share? Do you find that in spite of the small file size you have audio/video out of sync issues, or instability issues of any kind? Thanks for any experience you can share!

We are on 8 core Intel Macs with Kona 3 cards and 8 gigs of ram each connected via fibre to a large XSAN

John Pipes
Senior Producer
Joyce Meyer Ministries
http://www.joycemeyer.org


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 9, 2010 at 2:51:30 pm

I don't work with it much, but when I'm forced do, I use a ProRes sequence. It's much easier and things go smoother and faster as you are out of the LongGOP situation.


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Stuart Simpson
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:42:50 am

Use it all the time. Our only issue is the long export times for encoding to flash and windows media. Quality is great.

-Stuart Simpson
7 MacPros - Kona 3, Kona LH & Kona LHi
1 G5 - Kona LH
xbox360, Wii, PSP, PS3
http://www.speak.co.uk


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Wayne Carey
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:31:47 pm

Guys...

Talk with any of the experienced engineers at Sony and they will shed some light for you. XDCAM HD and all of this flavors of XDCAM are based on the Long-GOP method of HDV. The engineers will tell you that originally when this was designed, HDV and XDCAM were designed to be an acquisition format ONLY and that you really needed to transcode it to an editable I-Frame codec like ProRes422.

Sure... People edit on it all of the time and the files sizes are wonderful compared to others, BUT, as most of you found out, outputting HDV and XDCAM can be very lengthy. This is entirely because most editing system can ONLY edit using the I-Frame method, not Long-GOP. Therefore, you have to go through a conversion process to output.

This is the reason why Apple came up with the HDV-ProRes422 conversion for HDV material and why ProRes422 works so beautifully well with XDCAM material. If you notice on the Render Control tab in the User Preferences, you'll see in the middle of the dialog box, Codec. This gives you the option to render any HDV and XDCAM material in the ProRes422 codec for the best quality.

We can debate about this all day... But there are lots of folks here who make lots of money knowing this feature and the results of this feature. Take their word and try it.

_______________________________

Wayne Carey
Schazam Productions
http://web.mac.com/schazamproductions
schazamproductions@mac.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:38:05 pm

[Wayne Carey] "If you notice on the Render Control tab in the User Preferences, you'll see in the middle of the dialog box, Codec. This gives you the option to render any HDV and XDCAM material in the ProRes422 codec for the best quality."

And this to me is a boondoggle, as if you try and export a self contained movie back out of FCP, it will crunch everything and conform back to 'HDV'. That's why I think working in a ProRes sequence is the best way to go, if you don't transcode every frame to ProRes first. This way when you export, there's only one codec, ProRes, and not a mix of XDCam and ProRes in an XDCam sequence. Just my 2 cents.

Jeremy


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Wayne Carey
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:42:38 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "f you try and export a self contained movie back out of FCP, it will crunch everything and conform back to 'HDV'."

This is very very true. Unless your outputting to XDCAM HD, which its fine.

[Jeremy Garchow] "This way when you export, there's only one codec, ProRes, and not a mix of XDCam and ProRes in an XDCam sequence. Just my 2 cents."

Exactly, but if your computer is fast enough and almost everyone here has one now... You don't have to render the XDCAM footage in your ProRes422 timeline.

_______________________________

Wayne Carey
Schazam Productions
http://web.mac.com/schazamproductions
schazamproductions@mac.com


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gary adcock
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 23, 2010 at 10:11:12 am

" if you try and export a self contained movie back out of FCP, it will crunch everything and conform back to 'HDV'. That's why I think working in a ProRes sequence is the best way to go, if you don't transcode every frame to ProRes first."


Interestingly enough, if the XDCam video is already rendered internally to ProRes-

a Quicktime Conversion at this point ( in FCP v6.02 or later i believe) will render out a ProRes file, as far as I have heard from the apple guys, this is really about the only time this setting works they way one would expect. Conversion of one codec correctly into another.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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John Pipes
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 23, 2010 at 1:00:56 pm

Thanks all for your information. I think after further testing and consulting with Sony (we had an XDCAM specialist come out from New Jersey) that although the XDCAM HD 4:2:2 CODEC should be robust enough (it sure looks great!) to use with 8 core Macs as an editing Sequence CODEC-there are just too many crashes.

We can't say for sure because the math does not add up (through-put, etc.) but we think as many of you that the long GOP nature of the CODEC is still an issue for editing. We did extensive testing on our hardware setup before we tried this as a group and actually found that render times in the XDCAM 4:2:2 CODEC were shorter than ProRes with our 8 core Macs and the amount of ram we have.

This approach was very appealing to us because the file size is so much smaller which means the demand on the storage is significantly less. XDCAM 4:2:2 is about a third of the file size of ProRes HQ. This is significant in a large multi-seat post house like ours (we have 14 edit suites on our Xsan) because it effectively tripples our storage.

Another reason this approach was appealing was the file based nature of ingesting with Sony's USB XDCAM drives instead of as video through the Kona card. Ingesting as data is up to two times faster. However we don't want to have to use Compressor to batch XDCAM files over to ProRes or drop XDCAM files into a ProRes sequence which forces major rendering issues-with a daily TV program this would just take too much time. So staying native XDCAM was appealing...

But stability has definately been compromised since we switched to the XDCAM 4:2:2 CODEC as our house CODEC. This has especially been the case with graphics in our sequences. So at this point we will continue to shoot on our F800s for EFP and aquire our multi cam footage to XDCAM 4:2:2 on the 1500 decks (again the CODEC looks amazing!) but we will go back to ingesting as video via HDSDI to ProRes.

I expect as time goes on for this to get better. Sony is really behind this format (see the IBC announcements this week) but for now sticking with Apple's ProRes CODEC seems to make the most sense for stability on a large scale.

Any other thoughts are most welcome!
Thanks

John Pipes
Senior Producer
Joyce Meyer Ministries
http://www.joycemeyer.org


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Wayne Carey
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:23:31 pm

[John Pipes] "We can't say for sure because the math does not add up (through-put, etc.) but we think as many of you that the long GOP nature of the CODEC is still an issue for editing. We did extensive testing on our hardware setup before we tried this as a group and actually found that render times in the XDCAM 4:2:2 CODEC were shorter than ProRes with our 8 core Macs and the amount of ram we have. "

This is why we ALL say to edit in the ProRes422 codec, not in the XDCAM HD 4:2:2 codec. Final Cut Pro has ALWAYS had issues with the Long-GOP method. But if you notice, when you drop an XDCAM HD clip into a ProRes422 timeline, yes, the clip shows a yellow bar BUT it plays in real time without issue. AND... This solves the problem with the Long-GOP issues.


[John Pipes] "XDCAM 4:2:2 is about a third of the file size of ProRes HQ."

John, John, John... You are comparing Apples to Oranges (pardon the pun). XDCAM HD 4:2:2 is the equivalent of ProRes422, not ProRes422 HQ. ProRes422 HQ was SOLELY intended for working with 2k and higher quality material. When you capture and work into ProRes422 HQ, you are wasting space and computer resources unnecessarily. ProRes422 is a 10-bit codec, so is ProRes422 HQ. But they have very different bit rates. ProRes422 work somewhere around 100 mb/sec and ProRes422 HQ works around 220 mb/sec. (I hope I got my mb/sec, right... That designation always stumbles me)


[John Pipes] "But stability has definately been compromised since we switched to the XDCAM 4:2:2 CODEC as our house CODEC. This has especially been the case with graphics in our sequences. So at this point we will continue to shoot on our F800s for EFP and aquire our multi cam footage to XDCAM 4:2:2 on the 1500 decks (again the CODEC looks amazing!) but we will go back to ingesting as video via HDSDI to ProRes."

As for your stability, Sony has ALWAYS been known to be at least one year behind on FCP full compatibility when it comes to XDCAM. We have lots of experience since dealing with these issues for the past five years since the introduction of XDCAM.

The tip I have for you on this... Have someone completely catalog the discs using the XDCAM Transfer program (and hopefully no one used the cacheing feature on the cameras), import the media into FCP using the Sony XDCAM in the File Menu, delete the media itself - not the clips and recapture into the ProRes422 codec. Then your good to go... Yeah, I know this seems lengthy but it works. This is the reason why many news oriented organizations use DVCProHD. Its much more friendly since the technology is much more mature.

_______________________________

Wayne Carey
Schazam Productions
http://web.mac.com/schazamproductions
schazamproductions@mac.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Xdcam HD 422 Codec
on Sep 23, 2010 at 4:11:05 pm

[Wayne Carey] "This is the reason why many news oriented organizations use DVCProHD. Its much more friendly since the technology is much more mature."

And I-frame! And CBR!


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