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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old February 25th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #1
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Sony CX7 and Memory Stick backup during travel.

Halo everyone.

I just purchased the CX7 not long ago and like it quite a bit. However, while browsing this forum I learned about the

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
...the first .mts file from a Sony CX7 is absolutely unreadable unless processed through the PMB software...

Planning a long vacation, I know Iíll have 7~10 hours of video from this trip, what do you do to avoid to carry a laptop with you???

Stocking up on Memory sticks is quite expensive, even knowing they just dropped in price, Iím still talking doubling the camcorder price.

Any suggestions besides getting Sonyís external DVD burner???

Thanks, Andy.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Andy Gruszka View Post
Any suggestions besides getting Sonyís external DVD burner???
You sure you donít want it? You just hook up the camcorder to it and burn.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ction_DVD.html
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Old February 25th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #3
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You sure you donít want it? You just hook up the camcorder to it and burn.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ction_DVD.html
I could get a recordable Blu-ray for my PC, just for a bit more... .

.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #4
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Don't get me wrong.
Iíll do some editing with Vegas before Iíll burn a DVD.

Also, shooting video is a hobby of mine. I just hate to spend couple hundreds of dollars on something I'll use once or twice a year when I go for vacation.

.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 07:16 PM   #5
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Hi -
Wanted to make sure to clarify the situation, as your "quote" is misleading... I'm the OP on this issue.

The ONLY time that this problem comes up is if your file size exceeds approximately 2G, which equates to about 15-17 minutes length in highest quality mode.

I'd venture that maybe 90% of clips are shorter than this unless you're doing event video.

AS LONG AS THE .MTS FILE IS LESS THAN 2G, they can just be dragged and dropped from my experience.

IF the clip exceeds the 2G file size, then you must use the PMB software to properly "stitch" the first file to the rest of the clip.

On another thread, some extensive discussion addressed similar issues in the Canon HG10, and there was a solution there that I have not tried (simple command line method to joint the files), but would be worth testing. I just ended up putting the PMB software on my computer - that was the easy way to go.

As for the MC5, be aware that it is a bit of a heavy beast (about 5 3/4 pounds), so a smaller laptop and the dock might be lighter! It is a simple solution to the problem of archiving the footage though, and I guess you can just pop the disks in a BR player and go (don't have BR player yet to test!).

Just thought I'd clarify the quote, maybe it will help you if you don't anticipate long continuous clips!
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Old February 26th, 2008, 10:44 AM   #6
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Andy,

I just bought the Panny SD5, which was bundled with their DVD burner. I probably would have never gotten the burner, but the bundled price made it attractive. Am I glad I have the burner!

It accomplishes what cannot be easily done otherwise. When copying to the burner, individual scene files are copied, along with a whole folder structure including a PLAYLIST. This creates what APPEARS to be a smoothly flowing cuts only edit. Panny even warns that their simple file joiner will result in a pause at the junction. But why do that? If I am content with simple cut "edits", I can create a disc which can be played back beautifully through the cameras HDMI connection. or through a blu-ray player - and I can even add a simple menu structure. I can even copy "edited" pieces back to an SD card to play in the camera - and HDMI or component HD. The discs thus made will NOT play in my computer's internal DVD drive, although they will play in the bundled drive either through the camera, or through a USB connection to the computer. I can even burn a disc on my computer's internal drive, but it must then have the bundled drive to play back. They state that the bundled drive uses UDF 2.5, so perhaps a firmware update could fix my computer's internal drive.

While I must now convert files to MPG2 to do a fancy edit (the old-fashioned HDV way), I now have an interim way to show things immediately. I'll now need a computer upgrade to fully edit AVCHD, so one thing at a time!

Hope this helps some. I imagine Sony would have a similar process.

Good luck!
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Wanted to make sure to clarify the situation, as your "quote" is misleading... I'm the OP on this issue.

Well, the way I did understand my quote is if I just copy and paste (or drag & drop) all the .mts files to the PC, the first .mts file will not be readable at all, was I wrong?

Maybe I just jumped the gun without testing it first. Sorry about that.

I do agree with you that even 97% of the files will be shorter then 2gb. Thatís not an issue. Itís the first .mts file that I donít know yet what to expect.

My idea was to get one of the small & portable Hard Drive to do a back up while vacationing. The thing I donít know: would I have to restore the back up to the memory stick in order to make the first .mts readable again? Or should I record a short clip just to burn off the first .mts file?

Anyone tried that route yet? I donít have external HD yet, and was hoping to confirm this before I spend the money.

As for the external DVD burner, if I wanted to go that route to use DVD media as a storage, Iíd get a camcorder that records to DVD in the first placeÖ .

Thanks, Andy.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #8
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Files size smaller than 2G for a single clip = files can be dragged and dropped as they are on the MS Duo and work fine.
example #1: 0001.mts size 1.5 G, 0002.MTS size .76G, 0003.MTS size .5G == all should read fine, just drag & drop

IF due to the clip being longer than somewhere between 15 and 17 minutes long, it exceeds the 2G size (where AVCHD "splits" the files by design), you need to use the PMB software, or the first file will be unusable.
example #2: 0001.mts size 1.5 G, 0002.MTS size .76G, 0003.MTS size 2G, 0004.MTS size 1.5G == in this example file 3&4 represent a single long clip, thus file 3 exceeds the 2G size, and will be unreadable unless reintegrated with clip 4 by the PMB software.

Hope that clarifies the situation - I may try to use the command prompt approach that was worked out for seamless file joining for the Canon AVCHD cam and see if that works - I suspect it might, but HAVE NOT tested.



From my tests, I believe that if you copied the ENTIRE file structure from the MS Duo (not just the .MTS files), you could later restore that image to the memory stick and it would work OK. There is some sort of index structure in the other folders, as I found if I just dragged a .MTS file back to the MS Duo it didn't work - camera didn't know it was there.

Are you planning on just hooking the USB drive to the cam? Not sure that will work without some interface... Maybe one of those devices designed to just take a memory stick, put it in a slot and back it up? I guess that some drives designed to use for backups might be designed to just take a USB in and go?

Be careful to confirm that whatever device you choose will register an 8GB stick if you intend to use those, they seem to be problematic for EVERY reader I own... only the camera registers it properly for me... but that is fine for my use.



The concept behind being able to use full size (4.7G or DL 8G+) DVD's for backup is a valid one, and if you don't have or want to carry a computer, it could make sense.

MANY reasons to choose the CX7 over a comparable DVD camera, but it does leave the archiving issue to be figured out! That's why the manufacturers are making the little standalone drives - easy fast backup.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 05:35 PM   #9
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Dave.

Thanks a bunch for your time and knowledge.

It did clarify everything about the .mts files. I was wrongfully thinking that every first .mts file is a problem child & couldn’t understand why… .

I'm glad to hear that copy (or back up as we can say) of the entire Memory Stick structure should work, will explore that possibility.

Canon upcoming models, like the HF100 (??? the one with the SD media) and CX7 were my top choices. Yet, I went with Sony hoping to have advantage of friendlier editing it in Vegas 8. Also the new xvYCC color space did intrigue me a little. And…… it was available at that time to purchase. Plus, I liked the way it was “sitting” in my hand.

I have brand new PC in components seating in my basement ready to be assembled, along with Vegas 8 software purchased from B&H for cheap thanks to the tip posted here. All to be able to edit it a little, just like I did my edit my mini DV footage with MSP Pro.

As you can see, this wasn’t cheap camcorder upgrade for me at all. On top of it, I wanted to stay away from DVD media as a storage choice, who knows how long they’ll last. I’d rather have triple back-up on internal and external HD’s and one a safe deposit box or who knows where, rather then gamble on working – not working DVD in 20+ years.

Normally I do try to explore things on my own, yet it this case I was surprised by the death of my DV Camcorder. I had to upgrade in a hurry.
Currently, I’m sick like a dog and I’m trying to find a solution before my vacation time arrives shortly. So sorry about sounding desperate like a newbie that wants to know everything before doing a little work on my own. With 3 kids I have everything but time and money available lately… :-)

Thanks again.

Andy.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 09:50 PM   #10
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3 little ones, myself... sort of a quick way to lose track of everything! At least my Tb of strorage is easily searched over my network, now where did I put my glasses... <wink>

You'll like the CX7 - it's a killer family cam, as you'll actually HAVE it with you when things happen where you'd otherwise be saying "dang wish I had my camera". I've got mine decked out in such a way I'd have no great reservations shooting in a "professional" capacity - may not look as impressive as a big cam, but it does a heckuva fine job in a pint size package!

The new Canons look promising, but Canon's lack of zebras and LANC (I've got a hack for LANC hidden in the A/V port on the CX7) and my pile of Sony compatible accessories sort of keep me in the Sony camp...

Don't be afraid to ask questions, that's what makes forums like this so cool - you have the collective brainpower and experience of lots of serious camera addicts all available to plug in to!
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Old February 27th, 2008, 07:40 AM   #11
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Thanks.


Andy.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 11:13 PM   #12
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I'm back on this topic.

Just this time I have an answer for myself and maybe for some of you as well.... .


And the winner for me is ...... the PhotoBank

The other day I was in Office Max shopping and I saw it on the clearance shelf, 80GB PhotoBank for $89. Since I had 20% Off on anything that fits in a brown paper bag…. I’m thinking this is just too easy. No way is it going to work for me. But hey, 14 days return policy……

So, it looks and feels just like my tape player Walkman I had 20 years ago, same size too ( or the first generation Ipod Photo for those younger kids if they don’t know what I had in mind). ;-)


And the most important thing is…. it WORKS!!!!! Painfully SLOW, but it WORKS! All I had to do is use the Memory Stick Pro Duo Adaptor, Stick it into the card reader on the side of this drive , push the ON button, then the Copy button and walk away for a looong while.

OK, on the 8GB Memory Stick I had 6.7GB in few pictures and the rest of it in HD video. It took around 54 minutes to copy the entire content, including the whole directory structure with all the supporting files. So continues recording shouldn’t be a problem later on, if copied back to Memory stick and transferred back to PC using Sony Software. For comparison, using Sony software and PC to transfer the same files to a PC took only 14 minutes. But I don’t mind as long as I don’t have to carry laptop on my vacation.

Also, I did this transfer using the build in battery only! I lasted enough plus I had some more power left to (I assume) copy the whole loaded 8GB Memory Stick and have time to safely shut down the drive and maybe a bit more. But not much. As long as the battery is new at least


Also, after I hooked it up to the charger I started a second copy process (using the same Memory Stick as before) to see if there is any time difference but hell no, same time. They say it’s 5400 RPM drive but who knows…. . The thing is, starting the same copy second time around it didn’t complain about that it already existed. It just started the copy right away after creating a new folder for it. And unless hooked up to the PC, you can’t tell what’s on it (what is copied already or not), it just tells you how many Free GB it has left.

When hooked up to the PC it can double as multi card reader, it shows up as 4 different drives when mounted.

For under $78 total paid with tax, I can’t be happier. And yes I know I can’t bump it, drop it, etc, but so I couldn’t do it to my laptop. Much lighter than laptop or the Sony External DVD burner, not to mention the price of those DL blanks, etc.

Now I can go anywhere with 3 x 8GB Sticks, extra battery and this drive….

Andy.

PS. PhotoBanks specks:

Dimensions:

4.5 in x 3.1 in x 1.0 in 115 mm x 78 mm x 25 mm

Weight:

9.2 oz (262 g)


Technical Specifications:


Power:

Internal Lithium Ion battery (5 VDC Power Adapter included)


Interfaces:

USB 2.0 mini-B port

Memory Card Slots for Compact Flash Type I and II, Microdrive, Secure Digital, Multimedia Card, Smart Media, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro


Display:

1.7 inch Monochrome LCD for unit status
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Old March 15th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #13
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VERY cool, will have to keep an eye out for something like this myself! congrats on the great travelling companion!
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Old March 15th, 2008, 08:08 AM   #14
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Good find Andy, that is kind of cool!
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Old March 15th, 2008, 06:20 PM   #15
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What makes it cool is that has a multi card reader build in, so you can back-up any card, SD, xD, MS etc.

And what's even cooler about it, it seems it doesn't care what type of a file it does back-up, it's not file type or manufacturer limited.

Back-up Sony or Canon, SD, Memory Stick, Cf or xD card, pictures or video. I didn't try all that yet, but I don't see why not.

I'll back up SD card with pictures from my Nikon DSLR just to make sure, but if you don't hear from me on this topic anymore, assume it worked just fine.

Andy.

PS. It's FAT32 formated and the display shows the card size up to 999MB (1GB). It still backs up cards with larger capacity as I did mention in my post.
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