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Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.

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Luke Arndt
Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 2, 2015 at 4:05:01 am

TL;DR question: Can I somewhat easily replace DNxHD 115 footage in a project with DNxHD 36 files that have a slightly different name? For example, the DNxHD 115 footage might have a name of 20150901-HWPS.mxf and the DNxHD 36 might be 20150901.mxf.

The longer story...

I'm looking for some guidance on how to best approach my situation.

We have a project that contains hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of footage. We are approximately 75% of the way through filming.

Our workflow was to record .mov and .mts files, transcode those files into DNxHD 115, then edit in Media Composer. Everything that has been shot has been transcoded, and quite a bit of editing has been done.

The problem now is that the transcoded footage takes up ~60 TB of space. If we could do it again, we would start over and transcode everything to DNxHD 36 for editing and then ultimately relink to the highest quality once we are ready to finish the project.

My hope now is to batch transcode all of the original footage down to DNxHD 36 and to relink it inside of Media Composer.

The transcoding to DNxHD 36 will take some time, but it is easy. The hurdle I have is with relinking the footage, since the newly-transcoded files will have different file names than the old DNxHD 115 files that Media Composer created.

The "prefix" of the files will be the same, but when the files were originally transcoded with Media Composer, it added some additional characters to each file. Short of manually matching up and renaming the original files with their transcoded counterparts (which could be extremely time-consuming), I'm hoping to find some automatic or semi-automatic way to link everything up again.

Any thoughts on how best to approach this?

Thanks!

Luke


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 2, 2015 at 10:31:32 am

If you are transcoding in Media Composer to DNxHD 36, then it will manage all the relinking. It does not use the filename you see at the directory level, but is managed by its own database. If you have a sequence, highlight and do a relink - at the bottom of the dialog window is a relink to a specific codec data rate, or highest, etc. Give that a try.


Michael


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 2, 2015 at 1:27:17 pm

Thanks for the reply, Michael.

I should have been more specific. The transcoding to DNxHD 36 would ideally be done outside of Media Composer. The reason for this is to be able to transcode such a large volume of files at once. As Media Composer seems to randomly fail while transcoding, if I'm transcoding thousands of files it would take a lot of baby-sitting in order to keep the process going.


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 2, 2015 at 8:30:21 pm

There are other relinking options within MC that might help you out.

When you select a batch of clips in a bin and try to relink it to a specific sequence, you can select other information inside the bin to use to help find your clips. If you create a sequence of a bins clips- 115 version, and try to relink it to a bin of 36 media, you can select items such as matching masterclip duration or matching master clip end might work. (How many clips in your bin have the exact same duration...down to the frame?) I wouldn't try to relink 2000 clips at once like this, but bin by bin might work for you.

Doesn't sound like fun, but you could copy all the original names to a new column, and manually remove the extra letters from the name. They relink according to that bin...like i said, not fun, but feasible.

You are worried about babysitting your new transcodes, but your babysitting time might double or triple that of trying to get the relink to work. Setting your transcodes to go in smaller batches might just save you a lot of time in the end.

Glenn


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 1:21:08 am

I guess the problem I'm having now is that I can't figure out how to get Media Composer to relink to any media created outside of Media Composer itself. I'm wondering if this is because when I manually add an MXF file to the \Avid MediaFiles\ directory, when I look in the Media Tool, the new files show up but there's no source file or source path for the new MXF file, whereas the MXF file that Media Composer creates has info for the source file and path.

Does Media Composer use the source file information in order to link two clips? Or is there something else Media Composer "looks for" in order to match up two files?

Another question would be, is there any way to effectively select File A and File B and tell Media Composer "Link this file to this file"?

I might still be best off manually transcoding everything inside of Media Composer, but I'm just wanting to do all my homework before I make a decision.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 1:46:45 am

When you look at the Tape and Source File columns for each of the clips is there a common value between them?


Michael


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 1:58:42 am

Good thinking, but unfortunately there's not.

For the file I transcode in Media Composer, Source File is "20140228151609.mts" (the original file name) and Source Path is "C:\mypath\." The Tape field is blank.

All three fields (Source File, Source Path, and Tape) are blank when I "manually" import an MXF file that was created with Sorenson Squeeze.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 12:11:07 pm

I have never made files with Squeeze. Are you getting a single file with video and audio, or separate files for each track? Seeing as it is not a "dailies" type product, I doubt it creates embedded REEL ID etc. It seems that it should export a file that has the same name as the .mts but perhaps with a prefix or suffix?

If you want to send me a small file of both the original .mts and the resulting Sorenson file, I'll take a look at it. Use a service like Wetransfer.com or filemail.com and sent to michael[at]24p[dot]com


Michael


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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 2:12:42 pm

I'm actually surprised Sorenson keeps the original files timecode.

If you don't want to use Avid, try Resolve. You can tell it to add a prefix or suffix to the files you create, so you may be able to match the originals.

The free version should do everything you need for transcodes, and it is quite fast.

Make sure you set up your preferences to include your reel id information. (just do 1 clip and look at it in resolve to make sure you are getting the information you need back in Avid

Glenn


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 6:56:24 pm



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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 6:56:36 pm

Thanks for the offer, Michael. I'll try to upload some sample clips.

Glenn -- I had heard people mention Resolve being a possible way to transcode to Avid MXF. The problem is... I can't really figure out how to use Resolve to do this! Are you by chance familiar with the process?


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 3, 2015 at 9:35:18 pm

Michael, I sent you a zip via WeTransfer. In it, there is the original .mts file, then MXF files created by Media Composer, Squeeze, and Resolve.

Interestingly, Media Composer will not "recognize" the MXF files created by Resolve. I copy them to the C:\Avid MediaFiles\MXF\1\ folder, and they never show up under the Media Tool, whereas the MXF files created by Squeeze do show up.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:09:02 am

I have a few questions as to how you did the original workflow, as we got slightly different results. I was able to access your Resolve created files just fine by putting them in their own numbered folder and importing the msmMMOB.mdb created from the index when MC launches.

But that being said, Resolve got the filename just fine and it shows in the Tape column in the bin. That is the filename that MC will use to relink. You can relink across any of the column names if needed. But in your Resolve created file, the timecode is not the same as I what I got in Resolve, and in both cases neither of them match the Avid timecode. So there is something weird going on there. Also your Resolve duration is way off compared to the other methods and my Resolve process. Here is what I see in MC 8.4. I did an AMA link as noted. Here is what I am seeing:



In all cases, Sorenson Squeeze would be the one I would stay away from. It has a more difficult Tape ID to parse with the added _DNX_36 in the name. Perhaps that can get turned off?

Here is what I saw in Resolve which has the proper file name for REEL, but my timecode does not match your Resolve timecode but my duration matches the other methods.



Conclusion at this point is if you want to relink between 36 and 115, do it in Media Composer. In all cases, you will not be able to go back to the master files in Resolve for a conform since the timecodes do not match, but if Resolve sees all MTS files in your project as 00:00:00:00 you can always add 00:00:00:00 to all the clips in the AuxTC1 column and make an EDL.


Michael


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 8, 2015 at 1:53:21 am

I appreciate your time and effort, Michael!

I've done some additional testing myself, and I have finally gotten relinking to work, although it still requires quite a bit of effort. But here's what worked for me:

In Sorenson Squeeze's Output options (Edit -> Preferences -> Output tab), I changed the output filename format to SourceFileName only, and not SourceFileName [underscore] PresetName. That way, inside of Media Composer the MXF file shows up as the original file name (minus the extension) under "Tape."

The second thing I had to do to make the relinking work was to edit the Start timecode of the MXF file created by Squeeze. So under the "Start" column in Media Composer, I pasted the value that was shown from the original Media Composer-created file.

Once I did these two things, I could finally relink to this new file that was created by Squeeze.

So this works, which is an accomplishment for me, but obviously I don't want to have to manually edit the timecode of each created MXF file. Any thoughts on what, if anything, can be done about this?

P.S. My version of Media Composer still won't recognize the files created by Resolve. Maybe it's just something that was added/fixed in the newer versions of MC, because when I put those Resolve MXF files in my Avid MediaFiles folder, they just get ignored, whereas Squeeze MXF files show up.


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 8, 2015 at 2:48:04 am

Another thing I noticed is if I set the Media Composer MXF Start timecode to 00:00:00:00, which is what is shown for Squeeze MXF files, I can also relink.

That makes me wonder... since I can in bulk "zero out" the timecode in order to make these files match, is there any reason not to do that? Forgive the naivety, but are there many reasons why I would regret overwriting the original timecode? Or would I most likely get away with it, as long as I don't plan to do a handful of specific things that would require it?


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 8, 2015 at 3:09:16 am

I apologize for the multiple posts, but something you said interested me.

"I have a few questions as to how you did the original workflow, as we got slightly different results. I was able to access your Resolve created files just fine by putting them in their own numbered folder and importing the msmMMOB.mdb created from the index when MC launches."

What exactly do you mean when you talk about importing the msmMMOB.mdb file? Is there anything I need to be doing with that?

My practice has been simply to add the MXF files to the appropriate folder (C:\Avid MediaFiles\MXF\1\), and then open up the Media Tool. That shows all of my MXF files created by Squeeze, just not those created by Resolve.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 8, 2015 at 12:23:13 pm

It's just another method to manage and create master clips from media in the Avid Mediailes folder. It is common to manage "dailies" at the MediaFile level through the use of folder numbering rather than just filling up 1, then 2, then 3 etc. It's also a method to manage media from different project. Not elegant, but can be effective.

When I create a batch of dailies, be it from a single day, all from one camera, or however you want to organize, I start my folder numbering at 10. Then when I copy all my MXF files, you an either go the MediaTool way, or import the msmMMOB.mdb file. The latter will only be the clips from that copy making it quicker to identify rather than that all the media, with the few extra steps of sort by date, etc.

I still wonder why Media Composer sees a timecode and other applications do not. You need matching reel ID of some kind and matching timecode to make a relink work.


Michael


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:24:19 pm

Is there any "risk" to wiping out the timecode of the original clips inside of Media Composer? This way, I can do it in bulk and set ALL of the clips to 00:00:00:00 to ensure that they match.

In a small amount of testing in relinking clips from a sequence, I didn't notice anything getting messed up by zeroing out the timecode of the original clips. I just don't want to be kicking myself down the road if this is a bad idea.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:29:38 pm

Enter 00:00:00:00 into one of the Auxilliary TC columns (1-5) on all the clips. This can be done as a bulk copy process. When relinking, set up the link setting to use AuxTC instead of Start.


I would not get rid of any original timecode.


Michael


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Luke Arndt
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:35:28 pm

Good thinking, but unless I'm missing something, Media Composer 6.0.5 doesn't give me the option to relink by auxiliary timecode. This is what I see in my relink dialog:



The only other option in the "Relink by" drop-down menu is "Key Number [KN Start] - video only."


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Michael Phillips
Re: Replacing / relinking to transcoded files with slightly different file names.
on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:40:56 pm

Riiiight. Sorry, I forgot about which version you were using. Don't know if generating an EDL based on AuxTC with 00:00:00:00 as the start value of each clip. EDL's are pretty restrictive depending on complexity of sequence.


Michael


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