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Re: Needing information on the best/easiest way to get FCP/QT files into an EVS system

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Tom Meegan
Re: Needing information on the best/easiest way to get FCP/QT files into an EVS system
on Sep 15, 2012 at 1:46:45 am

Hi Rob,

XFile is a hardware solution that is on most OB Vans/Mobile Units. Here is how to import a file to an EVS server using the XFile as a gateway.

1. Find out what CODEC the EVS servers are using. The files you output will need to match this CODEC. There is some complexity here if the EVS servers are using the MJPEG format – we will leave that for now.

2. Find out the frame dimensions and rate the EVS servers are using (720p50, 1080i59.97, etc)

2. Find out how many audio channels the EVS servers are using for input/output. The file you output will need to match this – typically it is 4 audio channels.

3. In FCP create a sequence with the same CODEC, the same frame size, and the same number of discrete audio channels channels as the EVS's are set up for.

4. Edit your clip into the sequence. Render if necessary.

5. Export the sequence using the sequence settings onto your external drive – a thumb drive DOS formatted will be fine if your file is less than 2GB. If you are going to be using files greater than 2GB, you will need a drive that is formatted NTFS – depending on your MAC, you may not be able to see NTFS drives. My work around when I get stuck here is to connect my mac to the XFile via gigabit ethernet, and export directly to a drive attached to the XFile.

Assuming you can now see the file on the XFile computer...

6. Open the XFile application (I am assuming the XFile is part of the established eco-system of the truck you are working in – setting one up in an existing server network gets too complex for a post. Your Engineer in Charge or Lead EVS operator should be able to help here.)

7. Once in the application go to the Maintenance tab (upper right of screen.)

8. Then also on the top right, there is an Import button.

9. Point to the file, and hit Import. It will look like nothing happened, but XFile has created an evs.xml file that pairs with your quicktime.

10. Click on the Restore tab (to the left of the Maintenance tab, I believe) and find the filter for file folders (5th icon from the left I think and looks like this:

11. select an External Restore Folder in this filter and point to the folder your file is in (you might have to press the little refresh button, doesn't auto update)

12. The clip will be visible and ready to send to an XT server attached to the XFile. An EVS operator will know what to do from there. Unfortunately your clip name will not survive the process the clip number will always default to 099A.

NOTE 1 There are much more elegant ways to handle this with the right hardware and software, but most trucks are not set up for it. Talk to the EVS operators, the EIC and EVS.

NOTE 2 If you have a way to play baseband video out of your FCP system, just get the EIC to give you audio and video inputs to the truck and play your stuff back from an FCP sequence using print to video. Very little loss this way, and it is very direct.

NOTE 3 If the file is already on a drive that the EVS operators have assigned in the XFile setup as being your backup path, you don't have to do the filter on External restore Folder and it will appear as soon as you have imported it. Quicker.

NOTE 4 This whole process can also be automated by setting up a AutoRestore folder in the Session Config of XFile. I haven't tried this, but in the right circumstances it would be very convenient.

NOTE 5 If there is not XFile – I suggest the baseband video route. But, if you do have a windows computer you can do a free download of XTAccess. This works, but is less user friendly and their is very little graphical user interface. Give me a shout if you go in this direction.

NOTE 6 If you find out that the EVS servers are using MJPEG, you will not be able to match the CODEC properly in FCP. So, I again suggest baseband video UNLESS you have XTAcess with a transcode license on the truck. Your EIC and Lead EVS operator will probably know if you do – if they look at you blankly, it is because, it is highly unlikely that they will as the transcode license is pricey.

NOTE 7 A really tricky work around would be to change the setting on one EVS XT server to a CODEC you can output, go through the process above using XFile to place you file on this changed XT server, then play the video out of this server baseband video to another server. This works, and we use a variant of this method often when sharing video between shows with different CODECs and frame sizes, when we do not have a transcode license.

I hope this helps.


Tom Meegan

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