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Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?

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Jonathan Bierman
Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:01:22 pm

I've been helping to coordinate a documentary project with UBC Journalism School - a team of students and teachers, who are shooting with a staggering 8 cameras.

1x XDCAM EX1
3x Canon XF100
2x Canon 5D
1x Panasonic AF100
1x JVC GM HY100

They're now out in the field in Brazil (I stayed home), in a fairly remote part of Altamira. Access to electricity is sketchy, and internet access is from cafes only, if at all. I've been reciving email from them telling me that the ingest process is not going well - it's taking too long, literally all night, using the Log and Transfer protocol, for all the footage they've been gathering.

There are three separate ingest stations, laptops running FCP 7.03, each with two LaCie 1TB Rugged drives as project drives for ingest, to spread the load.

What they have started doing is just copying the contents of the CF (or SD) cards directly on to folders on the project drives instead of going through the Log and Transfer protocol in FCP, under the assumption that this is faster.

What I need to know is, will it be possible to recover this footage that has just been "dumped" on to the project drive? I understand that, with XF100 footage, you are supposed to use the XF Utility software to do this, but what about with the EX1, AF100, GM HY100 and 5D footage? And if they HAVEN'T been using the XF Utility (which they haven't) is this footage lost, or can it still be recovered?

Any help massively appreciated.


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John Christie
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:24:20 pm

Hi Jonathan

Nothing wrong with copying the card contents to a hard drive as long as you copy the whole folder structure. For instance, with an EX1 make sure you take the whole BPAV folder, not just files from inside that folder. You will need the extra metadata when ingesting to FCP later.

Mac OSX doesn't do a verify after copying, so I would recommend not doing anything else on the computer while it's copying. No writing emails, no peeking at footage, just leave it alone and let it do it's thing.

I would also make sure you copy to at least 2 hard drives for safeties sake before you delete the original cards. Also, use the get info function to compare the folder size and number of files after you've copied the folders. The size may not match exactly, but the number of files should match up after a copy.

We do this all the time with EX1 sony footage and Canon DSLR footage and haven't had a problem.

Also, when re-using cards, always re-format them on the camera you're shooting with, not on the computer.

Cheers

John


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Jonathan Bierman
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:49:59 pm

Thanks for the response John, and greetings from East Van.

Good news re the EX1 and 5D, Do you happen to know if this applies for the XF100 as well? My only concern is that I have seen some mention of using the XF Utility software to copy from the card to the hdd, although I haven't seen any evidence that it is essential.

Jonathan


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Shane Ross
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:59:16 pm

This is true for ALL cameras that shoot tapeless media. Always back up the FULL card structure, of any and all cameras. Picking and choosing files can make it so you cannot ingest the footage into your edit system.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jonathan Bierman
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:02:06 pm

Thanks Shane - as expected, makes sense.


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John Christie
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:02:42 pm

Hi Jonathan

Can't speak directly to the XF100 utility as I haven't used it. I'm guessing that maybe it has verification added to it to make it more bullet proof. Sony's XDcam software also allows for verification when copying, but we've never bothered using it in the field.

We send crews out around the world and haven't had any issues with our workflow, but it's always a good idea to follow the manufacturers suggestions for maximum safety.

And make sure they follow all the steps I listed above regarding leaving the computer alone and copying to multiple drives.

Cheers

JC


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Jonathan Bierman
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:17:37 pm

Thanks again to the both of you - wish I could be in the field now to check this for myself.

Will be necessary to make a disk image of these folders containing the card media, in order to be able to ingest when using Log and Transfer? Or can you simply browse to the folder location within the L&T window?


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Shane Ross
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:19:53 pm

Browse the folder location. I have never made disk images.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Gissing
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:34:28 pm

I hope all the Log & Transfering was done from backed up folders on the hard drive, not directly from the cards!


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John Christie
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:42:31 pm

Michael

What's the issue with L & T right from the cards aside from reel names? I do it all the time (after I set the write protect switch on the card)

Cheers

JC


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Jonathan Bierman
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:43:51 pm

So far, it's been done directly from the cards, interfaced through the camera.

Why is this bad? This is new territory for me.

Would the ideal work flow to be to only back up the card media to the hard drives and just do the log and transfer once they get back?


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Shane Ross
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:11:23 pm

[Jonathan Bierman] "So far, it's been done directly from the cards, interfaced through the camera.

Why is this bad? "


Yes. Do you capture from tape and then throw away the tape? No...you keep the tape. That's what you do with tapeless media...because you reuse the cards, you need to back up the contents, in their original format. What happens if your media drive dies? Then all of your media is gone.

And it is best to keep the originals so that you have the option to use them in any NLE. If you ingest for one NLE, and it goes away (note: FCP 7 is gone, FCX is different completely), you might be stuck with a file format other NLEs cannot read. Best to keep the originals.

[Jonathan Bierman] "Would the ideal work flow to be to only back up the card media to the hard drives and just do the log and transfer once they get back?"

Yes...that is the workflow that should be done. Archive in the field, Log and Transfer back at home base.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jonathan Bierman
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:24:48 pm

Absolutely right. Wise words. Thanks for your help with this.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:47:07 pm

Apart from backing up the originals, if you have to recapture anything due to a drive failure, even if the card media is backed up on a drive, Log & Transfer expects the media to be in the same place as the original batch transfer which is a card not a hard drive.


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Jon Frost
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 27, 2012 at 12:05:00 am

Are you using Logical File Management of your 8 cameras files? I certainly hope so. You need to make a folder for the Project; then a folder for each camera titled something like:

PROJECT NAME
Original Footage
Camera 1
Card 1 (Date)
Card 2 (Date) etc.
Camera 2
Card 1 (Date)

repeat this for all 8 cameras

You must copy the entire contents of the card from each camera each time you ingest footage from a new card. Without the card folder structure you can end up with corrupt and/or unusable footage.

When you get back stateside, then you can consider doing Log and Transfer of your clips into your editing software. Remember that each camera might have a particular file naming structure and you don't want to end up with the same filename for two files in the same folder or you are going to get an error message and may in all likelihood overwrite some files. Each file name should be changed to something like;

S(cene)#T(ake)# Cam1 Date (mmddyy))

You will most likely need much more hard disk space (preferably RIAD 1 or 5) if you are going to edit on anything other than Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 which can edit your native files for most formats of digital media.

You really need to be anal about file management especially with 8 cameras!

You can e-mail me for more info privately.

Jon Frost

meowmixmedia.net


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Jonathan Bierman
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 27, 2012 at 5:53:31 am

Hey John thanks for the tips - media management and file naming conventions etc is one area I have very well covered with regards to this... but you are right to bring it up nonetheless.


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Jon Frost
Re: Ingesting in the field - copying from CF to HDD?
on Feb 27, 2012 at 6:33:01 am

Glad to help. Look for my article on Data Management and Archiving in Student Filmmaker in the coming months.

Jon Frost


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