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Editing platform recommendation for MXF files

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hisayo kushida
Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:12:08 pm

Hi. We will edit a feature length documentary.
The majority of the footage will be shot in Canon C300 and some 5D.
We are hoping to edit MXF file natively without conversion.

Also we will have a lot of archival footage which will be mixed format.

Which editing platform (Avid, Premiere, FCP X) do you think it's most stable, convenient and works well
considering the finishing process in the future for sound mixing with pro-tool and color correction.

What is your experience editing with MXF files without conversion?

Thank you.
Hisayo


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Todd Terry
Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
on Jan 18, 2013 at 10:42:52 pm

I can't really speak to any of the other editing platforms, only mine...

I personally edit my C300 footage with Premiere.... a PC with Matrox MX02 and running Adobe CS6.

I always just edit with the native MXF files, have never done (or had to do) any conversion with them. They play fine, edit fine, and are very stable.

Now, I will say I'm using them on a very powerful computer. We just replaced the system in this suite a few months ago, and basically just told the vendor who was building our new computer that we wanted the biggest fastest most powerful and badass machine they could put together (and they did, although sadly it will probably be a dinosaur in a year). That MAY account for the MXF files being so usable and playing so flawlessly... I couldn't say whether they would work as well on a more conventionally-powered machine running CS6.

The slightly strange part is that in one of our other suites, the one where my senior editor cuts, his machine is still running Premiere CS4 (on a Matrox AXIO LE machine). For whatever reason (and we've not been able to figure out any rhyme or reason to it), sometimes he can not get MXF files to import. In those cases he uses PavTube to convert the files into a different format, which work fine. USUALLY he can natively edit MXF files, but occasionally can't. It's a puzzle we haven't solved. I'll admit thought that we haven't tried to solve it too much though since the conversion works fine and we've been planning to upgrade his suite with a machine identical to mine soon (as soon as we scrape another truckload of nickles together).

So, I can't speak to Avid or FCP (I seem to think that FCP can't handle MXF natively, but I'm not totally sure about that), but MXF files work like a charm in Premiere CS6.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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hisayo kushida
Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
on Jan 19, 2013 at 12:56:42 am

Todd, thank you so much for sharing your opinion.
I wanted to hear people's opinion of the different editing platform working with MXF files.

I am going to experiment the Premiere with my mac book pro laptop and the media is in the thunderbolt drives. With this set up, I don't have any problem editing Prores files with FCP X.
But converting from MXF to Prores is so much time consuming and we have tons of footage. So we are exploring other possibilities.

If things are something to do with the machine capacity, since my set up is good but not state of the art grade, I should experiment, I guess.

We also have tons of multi cam shoot. That can also be very heavy...I guess...

I deeply appreciate your response!!
hisayo


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Todd Terry
Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
on Jan 19, 2013 at 3:48:37 am

[hisayo kushida] "...converting from MXF to Prores is so much time consuming..."

Hisayo, have you tried the converter software that I mentioned in my post above? I won't call it by name because for SOME unknown reason it trips the COW's "bad words filter" and prevents the post from showing up until it is approved by an administrator here.

That software is what my other editor used at first before he discovered he could use MXF natively most of the time (and still uses it occasionally). It's really fast at converting footage, and you can batch process tons of clips all at once to ProRes with just a couple of mouse clicks. It's pretty cheap, too.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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hisayo kushida
Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
on Jan 19, 2013 at 4:11:22 am

Todd, yes. We use the converter but just so much material that it takes so long...
So we were thinking to find the best way to work with MXF file natively.
As I'm searching I just found out in the website of Canon C300 website, you can download the free software that let you work with MXF file natively in Avid and FCP X. It's free.
http://usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/professional_cameras/cinema...

So now, all the 3 edit systems seem to take MXF files. But just I wonder how people feel and wanted to get an idea.
I deeply appreciate your opinion. Thank you so much!!


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Al Bergstein
Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
on Jan 19, 2013 at 5:49:43 pm

Hiyaso, I'm an independent one to three man band shop, and have done most of my editing alone in the last three years. I've gone from Vegas and FCP (older version) to Pr. I shoot MXF and would share the following.

  • Your choice might depend on whether you are editing with more than one editor or sharing files across a team. If you are working in the LA area, and are doing a team editing effort, I'd likely seriously look at Avid. The editors that I've met from LA seem to be favoring AVID for larger team efforts. I was at a workshop for indies last spring, and I asked this question of all the editors I met. So I have a small sample of people that all seemed to favor AVID.


  • I have really enjoyed the switch to the Pr, especially the stability of the platform on Windows. Yes, I've had a few moments, but compared to what I experienced on the same machine with Vegas, with the same files, it's much much more stable. It handles MXF files just fine. From what I've seen on the web, all platforms are now having some stability issues, but especially the Mac users on Pr using FCPX. My guess is that Mountain Lion is still causing more problems than W7 for Adobe. This is only a guess. The integration with other Adobe products is also very deep and useful.


  • FCPX seems to finally 'getting there' but after the bungled conversion and the lack of newer professional machines from Apple, I really don't feel that Apple is interested in the professional market any longer. I was happily using FCP on a Mac Pro, really had no reason to switch. There was so much to like about the old FCP. But I ended up doing so because I'm a small shop. They may be back, but it's too late for me. I've bought Windows machines, Pr and it all works fine. Adobe tech support has been excellent.

    There have been some interesting threads lately on the Adobe boards about workflow issues on feature length films, especially in teams, with problems in relinking original footage. I haven't experienced that, but it would make me a bit concerned if you had two or three editors working on the same footage in multiple locations. You might want to talk to peers to the size of your team to see how they are doing on it. I do a slightly different workflow than they do, in that I "export to MXF" out of the card,rather than simply just copy the cards. This allows me to rename all footage to something that makes sense in tracking the files. But shops with multicams seem to simply have their data wranglers back the card up in it's entirety. This leads to some interesting file naming issues when you are dealing with the same footage across more than one editor.

    I think that adobe is still needing professional workflow tools for larger teams, only my opinion, but I would at this time, seriously also look at AVID as they seem to be the choice of a lot of top flight editors in LA. There's likely some good reasons for it. I've not played with it, so only assume they are doing a better job of workflow for the larger teams.

    With either you can still you existing Apple hardware if needed, or shift to Windows. The jump to Windows 8 is a problem from what I've heard, but you can still demand and buy Windows 7 from the major players like HP and Dell. You need to go through their professional sales outlets, not the consumer shops.

    Al


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    hisayo kushida
    Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
    on Jan 20, 2013 at 12:34:25 am

    Hi Al. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion.
    You made points... that's true. I also use Premiere CS6 and I can kind of see how the re-connecting media process can be a problem since it doesn't show the record of media location in the re-connecting media process as FCP 7 does.
    So when there are the exact same name clips exist in different folders, you don't know which one to pick to reconnect since the only clue you get is the clip name.

    The thing is our director may also wants his set up. And there's a possibility it goes multiple editors. That means multiple users. So maybe we should look into Avid...
    And we have a lot of multicam stuff... Almost all shoots are multicam.

    Renaming MXF sounds such a smart thing. But we already have a lot of stuff shot and copied into the hard drives.
    I just have to look into Avid also. I haven't worked with Avid since 2010. So I don't know how it is now.
    And also Mac or Windows choice... I remember when I used to work Avid on Mac, Windows version gets updated much earlier than mac version. I don't know how it's now and I prefer mac... but maybe I have to forget about my preference and be flexible.

    Thank you so much for your insight!
    I will also update about how we decide on this.

    Hisayo


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    Al Bergstein
    Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
    on Jan 20, 2013 at 2:27:18 am

    Thanks Hisayo, would be interested to know how it turns out. I like Premiere a lot, and haven't worked with Avid lately, but respect their dedication to the industry. Premiere has worked fine for 4 camera multicam work. But i don't do theatrical pieces, so it's hard to know what the nuances are between them. Best of luck. Would love to see the film.

    Al


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    hisayo kushida
    Re: Editing platform recommendation for MXF files
    on May 7, 2013 at 7:25:10 pm

    I got Avid MC6.5. Avid MC7 is coming up in June but we got it after 4/7th so that it's cheaper now and also we will get free upgrade to 7. Using Avid AMA. Sometimes a bit slow but no problem in editing. Not freezing. We will see how it goes. So far, multicam also works fine.


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