Sony NX3D1U MVC / MTS 3D stereoscopic workflow for AVID on Mac OSX Lion
Workflow for Sony NX3D1U for Avid
I wanted a solution for 3D in AVID on my Mac . After a long week of trial and error, I figured out a workflow for getting Sony NX3D1U MVC footage into AVID Media Composer 6 on a Mac.
A lot of forums recommend Cineform or MVC to AVI Converter. I tried them all and they all had little problems. Cineform had audio sync problems, and the MVC to AVI was great except there was audio distortion at the head of every transcode. Some AVID posts recommend using MetaFuze explained in the “AVID 3D Guide to Stereoscopic Editing.” I tried that too and it worked, but with MC6 you can skip that step. You want to use full frame media for best resolution anyway. MetaFuze outputs a “side by side” format, which would be used for MC5.5, but trust me it is so much simpler in MC6. All of the above output large media files. Unfortunately, I just bought AVID 5.0 this summer and now have to upgrade to MC 6. If anyone from Avid is reading this…help a guy out.
This workflow uses the Sony NX3D1U Camera, the Sony “Content Manager Utility” software (CMU) and Avid Media Composer 6. Sony CMU can be downloaded from the Sony website, and you can download a 30 Day free trail of AVID MC6 from the Avid website.
My system is a Mac Pro 8 Core that has the 32bit EFI. The only reason I mention this is because Avid recommends that my computer should be 64bit. I installed OSX Lion and AVID MC 6 on it and so far it works. I did have to upgrade my video card to the ATI Radeon HD 5770, which seems to have solved all compatibility issues. I haven’t done any heavy editing on it yet but AVID plays 1080p/24 stereoscopic groups in full resolution back fine, and I see it on my client monitor in 3D. I have a Matrox MXO2 Mini, which can be enabled to send 3D to a client monitor through HDMI. My client monitor is a 24” PlayStation 3D Display, which at 240 Hz, is twice as fast as any 3D computer monitor for the price. I found one at Fry’s on sale for under $300, it also comes with Active 3D glasses and a free game. I highly recommend this as a client monitor over any 3D computer monitor or 3D TV. That is if you have the ability to output a HDMI signal to a client monitor, such as a device like the MXO2 Mini. Otherwise you can use AVID full screen playback on a 2D computer monitor, with the Anaglyph settings and a pair of Anaglyph glasses. AVID has really risen to the occasion here, because in MC6 there is a set of 3D tools that are comparable to Dashwood plugins for FCP. AVID MC6 is seamless and a one stop solution.
Here is the workflow:
I am using a Mac, so I had to create a “boot camp” partition and installed Windows 7 Pro on it. You can probably get away with Vista or XP, because all you need it for is to install the Sony CMU software. I tried running the CMU on Parallels but had problems getting the CMU to read the files on my camera.
STEP 1: IMPORT FILES FROM THE NX3D1U
In Windows boot camp:
Open the CMU software, plug in your camera to the USB and import your footage into the CMU. You have to select a destination folder before you can import. Once the import is done, highlight the clips, right click and there will be an option to make them “Independent Left and Right.” Select that and the CMU will take the MVC files and make two independent full frame “.MTS” files, one Left and one Right. These files will appear in the CMU window as well as the folder where you designated the CMU to save the media. Each left and right clip will be named the same as the MVC file with “_L” and “_R” attached to the end. These .MTS files are AVCHD files and MC6 can read them. For the next step you need only import these left/right files into AVID.
STEP 2: IMPORT L/R .MTS FILES INTO AVID MC6
Reboot into OSX LION:
Open MC 6, and create a new project. If you shot in 24p select “1080p/23.976” and select Stereoscopic “Full”. Create a bin called “Media” and import the left/right .MTS files only (not the cmuprops files that CMU creates.) You may need to “enable all” in the import window if the .MTS tracks are grayed out. I used DNxHD 36, which is roughly 1.5 GB for a five-minute clip.
STEP 3: CREATE STEREOSCOPIC GROUPS
After the import, create a bin named “MEDIA” with column headings: “Duration”, “S3D Group Name” and “S3D Channel.” Now making these clips into a 3D pair is similar to making groups, with one exception is that the column headings have selectable parameters, which is why you need to display them.
Select the left and right clips, then right click and select “Populate S3D Group Names automatically”. Avid will look at clips that match and give them a name. You will see in the “3D Group Name” column that a name was created. Be sure that all your left and right pairs have the same “group name.” Sometimes if the duration of one clip in the pair is off, Avid will give it a different “group name.” So you may need to spot check and manually enter a group name in the column.
After giving each pair the same S3D group name, go to the “S3D Channel” column and select “Left Eye” for the left clip, and “Right Eye” for the right clip.
Make another bin and call it “Stereo Groups.” In the “Stereo Groups” bin create column headings for: “S3D Contributors,” and “S3D Leading Eye.”
Select all the clips in your “Media” bin then right click and select “Create Stereoscopic Clips”. A window will pop up.
Select the “Stereo Group” bin as the destination.
Consider Clips: Selection in Current Bin
Retrieve default timecode: Left Eye
Name the new clips using: S3D Clip Names
Create Audio: Default TC Contributor
Set S3D leading eye: Left
Sync: Source timecode
Create clips in destination box: I left it unchecked.
(If you need to make corrections later then check it to create a new group, otherwise it won’t make one.)
In the “Stereo Groups” bin you should see that AVID created stereoscopic clips of your full frame media. The “S3D Contributors Column” should read, “Left, Right, Audio”. The “S3D Leading Eye” column select “Left” if not already. I am not sure but I think I read somewhere that the Left eye on the NX3D1U has slightly better quality.
That is it for importing you now have stereoscopic clips to work with. Only use these stereo groups for 3D editing and not your imported media. If you load one up into the source monitor, you then can right click in the monitor and select how you want to view it: Left Eye, Right Eye, Side by Side and so on. The same goes for the record window as well.
STEP 4: OUTPUT TO CLIENT MONITOR
To view 3D on the client monitor with the Matrox MXO2 mini, go to system preferences and open the Matrox settings: enable in the “Video Output” the HDMI 3D Viewing mode to “Side by Side.” In AVID MC6 in the format settings make sure you set Stereoscopic to “Full Frame.” I leave the PlayStation Display in “3D Auto Full”. Put your Sony 3D glasses on and enjoy.
If you want to view 2D on the client monitor then in AVID select Stereoscopic “OFF” then disable 3D viewing mode in the Matrox Settings.
You should watch all the tutorial videos that AVID has posted on their website. They cover in depth what I explained above. These videos were extremely helpful.
AVID 3D Tutorial
Other links to products and software:
A hard copy of this workflow is available on my website:
Sony Content Manager Utility (CMU):
PlayStation 3D Display:
Matrox MXO2 mini:
Thanks a lot for this walkthrough - it really makes some hope for our project where we used the NX3D1U.
I downloaded the CMU Software (v1.1.0x) and I have imported a folder with a folder structure from the cam. Unfortunately I don't have the option to export left/right image - it's just not there. Actually I don't see anywhere in the application that it even supports 3D (not even in the metadata or wherever). The operatingsystem I have been trying this on was Windows 7.
Did they change anything (in terms of degrading their software).
Any help would be highly appreciated!
Well, same problem here. the CMU doesn´t provide an option like it is mentioned in the tutorial.
When I was installing the CMU, the camera needed to be connected via usb. Could it be, that I got a restricted version of the software because I only have the "NX3D-1E"? This would really suck.
Next thing is, this camera deliveres *.mts files, not *.mvc files. Maybe this is the next problem?
When I import into the Sony Software I connect the camera to the USB. Then a message pops up on the camera asking to "USB connect". Hit yes. Next launch the Sony software. You have to register a folder where you want the files to go. There is a fast menu button on the top of the browser. Register a folder, I have been placing them on the desktop, but I imagine you could put them on another drive. After that, go to the button next to the register folders button. It should be an icon that looks like a camera, that is the import button. Hit that and a new window pops up. Click on the clips you want to import. After the import is done, and this may take a while for the software to refresh all the clips with thumbnails, you need to highlight the clips you want separated into left and right clips. Once you have selected the clips, you have to "right click" and select separate media to left and right. I am not infront of the computer but there should be something like that. Then a new window pops up and will show the clips to be separated and I think it asks again if you want to proceed. Hit yes. It should start to separate the clips.
Now as far as .mvc versus .mts. I think you may have shot in 2D mode instead of 3D. I am not positive but I would have to check later. I think mvc files are only made in 3D mode. If you shoot in 2D mode it makes mts files. Also if you have shot in 2D mode, I think you need to be in 2D mode to import those clips. Once again I would have to check...hope that helps
yeah, this could be a reason as well. i did not shoot the stuff myself, so there is always the chance of an "human error". :) but i think i remember checking it 2 days ago with "media info", a small tool. and it said it contains 2 fullHD videos.
the right click option does not exist in my case. and i guess, the collegue above has the same problem.
its not grey, its just not there. maybe because of the slighty different camera types??