XF305 timecoding issue (really stuck now)
I initially posted this problem in the FCP forum and Shane Ross has been helping but with no success. There are a small number clips that won't transfer in the 'log and transfer' in FCP. When I say a small number, this can be none in 4 full 32gb cards or up to 5 clips on one card. I can tell before I even try to drag these into the transfer box that they're going to fail because the media start TC is 00:00:00:00 and the duration of the clip is ridiculous....like 10hrs when it's really a few seconds of minutes.
First off I thought this was an FCP issue and have tried re-installing, updating plugins, trashing prefs etc. But last night I looked at an example offending clip properties in the Canon XF Utility and it shows there the TC is 00:00:00:00 for the start and totally messed up for the duration. So, this looks like a camera issue. And, it's not just one camera as my other XF305 does the same.
Because of the nature of my filming, 95% of the time I have the pre-record on (3 secs) and the TC is just running regardless of recording. That's the only thing that I think could (but shouldn't) be affecting it.
So, what do I do? I've got to get some footage to a client and I can't bring it onto a timeline. Any ideas?
I've emailed Canon CPS two days ago and they've not got back to me yet - not impressive.
do you always format cards after moving content to the computer? i always do and i have not had an issue as you say. what is the ref of your cards? i also use 32GB cards.
Have you installed the latest firmware upgrade?
Can VLC at least preview the MXF file?
I believe there is inside the XF a way to check files for consistency but im not 100% sure
For all of us who live from this, i recommend having a software that can take the single mxf file and convert it to prores or what ever we need. it is no good to keep stuck just to FCP to ingest files.
I like this, you're helping me with my issue and I'm helping me with yours. Excellent!
So, I got a response from Canon this morning with a whole load of questions they want me to answer. I've done so ans awaiting their call.
Regarding your questions: I don't always format the cards after moving content to hard drives. I just 'delete all clips'. Foolish I know as I format on every other camera including DSLRs. Do you think that would really make the TC go missing on a few clips? I don't have the latest firmware upgrade but I do have the one before (with the dual slot recording). It shouldn't change things but I'll give it a go.
Yes, VLC can preview the MXF file absolutely fine, so the video clip is fully intact.
I think I have two problems. 1) Need to get a way of getting these faulty clips with no TC onto a timeline as I need to deliver to a client (urgent). 2) Need to make sure this doesn't keep happening.
There is a feature in the XF Utility that says 'Convert to MXF'. What does that actually mean? I thought there were already MXF's?
Start by exporting to mxf. It's non distructive to the card and will put all the clips in one folder, i do it all the time.
I don't have the clips on the card anymore. In the field (which can be month-long shoots) I just make a folder called 'Day 1' and then folders with CF1 CF2 CF3 etc. I then copy the contents into it so it's a carbon copy of the card. In FCP it brings it up like like a CF card and the same with XF Utility.
What you mean by exporting to mxf? What do I do with the files next?
I tried this with one of the offending no-TC clips and it's sitting in it's own folder on my desktop.
Thanks for your help.
What format does the client need? Mov?mxf?
Use the canon utility to "mount" the exported complete card folder.
Highlight all the clips.
Choose Export to mxf"
Export to a new folder.
Give that folder to client
Attempt to import to fcp.
If no can do
I would need to understand what format they want.
If mov, maybe try transcoding the footage in compressor?
Thanks for getting back to me. I need to be able to put it onto the timeline and cut off some of the unwanted bit at the beginning and end, and combine it with the other material. I want to then put a TC reader onto the clips (or perhaps TC generator if there is no TC) and then exports as a very small mov. Ultimately I will export as a full quality pro-res.
I'm not sure that the fcp utility will "see" the exported raw mxf files ( lacking the metadata). But you should be able to use a tool to convert them to mov, and dump them on the timeline, or bring them in as xdcam and conform inside fcp. Hopefully the tc is still in there. I sometimes just bypass the import utilty in fcp and import as xdcam. Then output to mov in compressor.
After it's over you might wantto see about upgrading your camera's software, maybe pick up standalone CS 6?
That doesn't need the fcp import utility. Gives you another way(?) to achieve this?
Converting from MXF (outputted from XF Utility) and then converting to .mov sounds ok, but wouldn't that be different to what I already have on the timeline, which is an apple pro-res (HQ) .mov?
Unfortunately my FCP leave much to be desired as I've just taught myself over the last year. I only put them on a timeline, strap, watermark and slate the clips and send them to clients for stock footage examples. The way it works usually is brilliant, i'm just really struggling now i've his this stone.
This is my usual workflow:
Camera (USB) to Hard Drive
Hard drive to FCP timeline via FCP 'Log and Transfer'
Timeline to low-res mov file (timecoded) to client for reference
Client chooses which footage they want from TC in and out
High-res footage delivered either in pro-res, tape, raw or however clients want it.
Bit of a nightmare that there are these few clips that I really need to include that I can't just convert to pro-res (HQ) and bring in the normal TC. Are there any converters that will go from MXF to pro-res?
What do you mean about upgrading the camera's software? The firmware on the camera? Or are you talking about switching to premier? I think it's got nothing to do with FCP. It's definitely a camera/card issue.
Thanks again for your help.
Sorry for being unclear. The firmware is what I was talking about.
I'm just trying to help you over the hurdle of the couple of clips that aren't reading correctly. Perhaps by trying some of these other import methods, the TC might show up, if it's there.
The footage is apparently so similar to XDCAM that you should be able to bring it in as XDCAM directly to the FCP timeline. I've done it myself on occassion. It's not "rendered' or "conformed" properly on the timeline (meaning you need to eventually have it converted to MOV, but the 4:2:2 footage you are taking is not 'needing' to be converted to MOV to be used on the timeline. Try it out on a clip! (G) You can choose it in the FCP settings menu.
After it's in the timeline, I have then used compressor to output it to mov. But, I would think you could take the clips you have "exported to MXF" in the canon utility and simply run them through compressor to convert to MOV. I did that once upon a time, just before converting to Pr. The thing I like about Pr is that it bypasses all this conversion to FCP, saving a step, which frankly is a PITA, and costs us time and money.
So to solve your immediate problem, I'd first try just importing the raw MXF footage without converting to mov. see if the TC is still in there. If not, generate it if possible, I know I've seen examples of doing that in other NLE's, though I've never needed to generate it as I am an indie and don't usually get into that kind of conversion requirement. My xf305 is generating it just fine (knock on wood).
Thanks again Al. Will go to new firmware anyway. See if it changes things. I think Rodrigo may have a point about formatting the cards after each dump, but I've looked for a format on the camera and dont see one. Do you format the cards after each dump? I just go to delete all clips (or whatever it is on the camera).
I'm going to see if i can fix the clips I need for now and hopefully canon come back with what the problem is long-term.
Just out of interest, what is THE best file quality I can deliver footage from the camera in? And it has to be something that they can just use. The client won't want raw footage from the camera where they have to convert from MXF to pro-res for example.
Don't know if the client is using premier or FCP, it's just an 'out of interest' question.
Hi Nick i hope you can solve this pretty soon. I have had success with Telestream´s Episode Encoder, this software is not cheap but it worths the price, is really good and quality the same or better than FCP.
I dont know if you are working on FCP7 or FCP6, ive had some issues with FCP6 and this digital workflow.
Ive had trouble with other camcorders when i just delete clips instead formatting the cards, i thought it was not necessary to format, but once i had a headache i format always.
I always do the same as you do (cut some at the beginning and at the end) i try to export and bring the same format i use in the capture scratch folder. Im not converting to prores because that is a lot of space in HDD. i guess it is converted to mov xdcamex hq and thats what i like.
To format go tho the bottom icon in the menu (maybe a tool icon) and then you will find it.
Yep. I always format in the camera. Eliminates any possible issue with deleting files and the cleanup of them.
I would ask your clients what they are doing with the files. They might not need ProRes but simply think it's the easiest thing to do. Many professional clients are very familiar with XDCAM workflows. Sony uses it, and Sony is often a standard in many shops. Also P2 (which is not the format) from Panasonic. It's just a question of what they are doing with it.
It sounds as if you should spend some time seriously working on learning the file transfer types used by the industry, and talking to your client. Could save you some time! (G)
Canon have just got back to me with a possible answer to the above problem with the XF305 timecode.
They have managed to replicate the problem through testing out my suspicions of the cause. We film most of our material with pre-record because we film mostly wildlife. If you stop recording but quickly (within 1 or 2 seconds) start recording again with the pre-record on, it will completely mess-up all the timecode. And, usually the reason you've started recording again is because it's a poignant moment and the footage is footage you need, thus a nightmare if you can't use it.
Canon called yesterday and explained that they managed to replicate the problem over and over again, and that this is indeed an issue. However, I got a call back later and the tech assured me that upon upgrading the firmware to the latest 184.108.40.206 version he couldn't reproduce it. I'm in the process of testing this myself to see if it is indeed a fix.
Just thought I'd let you all know. If any of you can test as well then we can see if it actually is resolved of whether Canon are just getting lucky.