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Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).


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Old September 10th, 2010, 08:54 PM   #16
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Josh,

Let me ask you this about the folder that is created in your first step:

Quote: "I transfer the entire card (including file structure) to a hard drive"

Have you ever tried to view those native files in XF Utility after you've copied them to your hard drive? For example, if you wanted to go back and check the metadata from one of those clips a few days or weeks after you made your backup copy?

Also, are you satifisfied with only having one copy of those native files? I'm not. I need two copies of every file I have on my computer ot I can't sleep at night.. have you ever tried to open any other copies of your backup files that have been copied to addtional hard drives, optical disks, or other devices?
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Old September 11th, 2010, 02:19 AM   #17
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Hi Doug, I appreciate your interest - I know you have a wealth of expertise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Have you ever tried to view those native files in XF Utility after you've copied them to your hard drive? For example, if you wanted to go back and check the metadata from one of those clips a few days or weeks after you made your backup copy?
You can actually pop the "CONTENTS" folder straight back onto a CF card labelled "Canon XF" (it doesn't even have to have been formatted in the XF cam) and XF Utility reads the files and provides all metadata. For most of my work the metadata is not of vital importance - I make notes during the transfer stage - but I appreciate it would be useful in some instances.

Quote:
Also, are you satifisfied with only having one copy of those native files?
At a minimum I have 3 copies during the edit - the copy on the CFs, the copy on the initial hard drive, and the copy FCP has transferred onto the scratch. For important work (and where I need to reuse the CFs in a hurry), I naturally make several copies of the "CONTENTS" folder on discrete drives. The question here is not about how many copies are made, but why it's better to use XF Utility when FCP seems to do a fast, effective job.

Quote:
Have you ever tried to open any other copies of your backup files that have been copied to addtional hard drives, optical disks, or other devices?
I've swapped them between drives and haven't had any issues so far; I've only had the camera a couple of weeks but so far I haven't run into any issues with the media. Is there a reason to suspect a problem will arise?

Thanks, Josh
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Old September 11th, 2010, 05:55 AM   #18
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Josh,

All I'm going to say is that you are going run into some problems you don't anticipate right now.

Try this:

1) Use the Finder to copy and paste the CONTENTS folder from a couple of cards to a place on your hard drive. For example:

HDD > XF Backup Files > ABC Company > Card 1 > CONTENTS
HDD > XF Backup Files > ABC Company > Card 2 > CONTENTS
etc.

2) Now try to access any of those backup files on the HDD using XF Utility to view the clips, check the metadata, etc. Well, If you didn't use XF Utility to move the files to those nested folders in the first place, XF Utility will never be able to find them.

That's just one example of the workflow problems Canon has, and not even the biggest one. I've reported several problems to Canon and have been told by Canon USA that Canon in Japan has confirmed the problems I've found and will be issuing a new version of the software. When? In a few months.

The other poblems Canon has and the workarounds are too complicated to describe here. It is a topic of a whole chapter in my XF305/300 training DVD that will be released around October 12th. However, anyone who wants to spend the time can discover the same problems and soultions I've found.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 06:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Dahlberg View Post
The question here is not about how many copies are made, but why it's better to use XF Utility when FCP seems to do a fast, effective job.
Actually, it's about both.

The mov files you create with FCP are stripped of 99% of the metadata, and will also be many times harder to share with other editors who are using non-FCP editing systems. This is the exact same reason most XDCAM EX owners are meticulous about backing up their BPAV folders.

If none of that matters to you, then sure, you can just backup the MOV files and let the original native MXF files go into the trash. But that is not a workflow I recommend.

If someone agrees with me, and decides that backing up the original native files is important, then you have opened a can of worms regarding numerous workflow problems that Canon has created. Anyone who has experience with Sony BPAV files is going to be surprised to find they can't follow the same workflow with Canon's CONTENTS folders.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 06:12 AM   #20
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Thanks Doug, I appreciate what you're saying and how it can have implications when sharing; in my case this probably isn't something that applies, but it will obviously create headaches for others.
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Old September 11th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Did you customarily throw away your 35mm negatives after you had your prints made?
Of course I don´t throw away any negatives (even I think positive;-).

By the way: I think it´s not useful to compare physical film with cf- or harddisk-based digital video, which is much more sensitive and has to be copied for safety-reasons.

The question is still: is there any difference between the "original" XF300-generated MXF-Files and the mov´s imported with final cut pro (setting "native"). I want to know, which files I have to backup to have maximum safety and opportunities in future times.

At the moment I am backing up both, original files and "nativ" fcp-files. I don´t think this is very useful but unfortunatelly Canon doesn´t tell us which codec is used when importing MXF-Files with final cut (setting "native"). I hope, everybody can understand my question, even my knowledge of your language might be limited.

Thanks

Reinhard
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Old September 11th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
The mov files you create with FCP are stripped of 99% of the metadata, and will also be many times harder to share with other editors who are using non-FCP editing systems. This is the exact same reason most XDCAM EX owners are meticulous about backing up their BPAV folders.
Sorry Doug,

you already answered one question.

Thanks,

Reinhard
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Old September 11th, 2010, 10:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Josh,

All I'm going to say is that you are going run into some problems you don't anticipate right now.

Try this:

1) Use the Finder to copy and paste the CONTENTS folder from a couple of cards to a place on your hard drive. For example:

HDD > XF Backup Files > ABC Company > Card 1 > CONTENTS
HDD > XF Backup Files > ABC Company > Card 2 > CONTENTS
etc.

2) Now try to access any of those backup files on the HDD using XF Utility to view the clips, check the metadata, etc. Well, If you didn't use XF Utility to move the files to those nested folders in the first place, XF Utility will never be able to find them.

That's just one example of the workflow problems Canon has, and not even the biggest one. I've reported several problems to Canon and have been told by Canon USA that Canon in Japan has confirmed the problems I've found and will be issuing a new version of the software. When? In a few months.

The other poblems Canon has and the workarounds are too complicated to describe here. It is a topic of a whole chapter in my XF305/300 training DVD that will be released around October 12th. However, anyone who wants to spend the time can discover the same problems and soultions I've found.
doug-

thanks for sharing your insights.

how do i get xf utility to move the contents file?

i have a situation where i am in the field w/only one cf card.

when it is filled, i want to do a dump to an external fw800 portable drive wired to my macbook pro. i was not planning on installing the xf utility siftware onto the macbook pro but rather use the finder to move the contents file to an external fw800 drive.

are you saying i need to only use the xf utility to move the contents of the compact flash card to the external hard drive rather than the mac finder?

and if i don't use the xf utility when i get the external hard drive back to my shop and connected to my mac pro and the final cut software, i will have a problem?

any and all info is greatly appreciated, especially since i'm using the camera first thing sunday morning!

be well

rob katz
smalltalk productions.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 05:59 AM   #24
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I only got hold of XF utility yesterday (with another loan camera). It looks extremely promising and its metadata capabilities are very helpful, especially when linked with the ‘User Memo’ functionality.

There seems to be a bug in that it does not create the promised virtual media, but card copies are performed flawlessly. I’m looking forward to seeing a .01 update that will hopefully have it working correctly.

At this point in time, I am a great fan or creating copies of all cards on a Bak drive. Although it does use additional space, it allows re-ingestion of ‘raw’ camera files if required.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Katz View Post
doug-

thanks for sharing your insights.

how do i get xf utility to move the contents file?

i have a situation where i am in the field w/only one cf card.

when it is filled, i want to do a dump to an external fw800 portable drive wired to my macbook pro. i was not planning on installing the xf utility siftware onto the macbook pro but rather use the finder to move the contents file to an external fw800 drive.

are you saying i need to only use the xf utility to move the contents of the compact flash card to the external hard drive rather than the mac finder?

and if i don't use the xf utility when i get the external hard drive back to my shop and connected to my mac pro and the final cut software, i will have a problem?

any and all info is greatly appreciated, especially since i'm using the camera first thing sunday morning!

be well

rob katz
smalltalk productions.
in response to my own query-

i just did two long days with the xf305 picking up b-roll shots, real run & gun stuff.

aside from a list of likes/dislikes which i will eventual compile, i did manage to load up my one sandisk extreme 16gb cf card four separate times each day which resulted in four separate data dumps.

i loaded the canon xf utility software on my macbook pro and using file->backup was able to direct the camera which was tethered via usb to the mbp to find a portable fw800 hard drive which is where the files now reside. using the osx finder, i also did a "copy" from the xf305 to the fw800 drive. with a full card-40min-i was able to backup in approx 10min.

using log and transfer, i am now loading the footage into final cut pro.

it is very nice to work with a new camera and make discoveries about a new tool.

be well

rob
smalltalk productions.
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Old September 13th, 2010, 09:47 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Katz View Post
it is very nice to work with a new camera and make discoveries about a new tool.
Hi Rob,

nice to hear, that you are happy with camera and XF Utility.

I´m not.

We are working with different computers (Macbook pro + Powermacs). That means, we´ve installed XF Utility for several times.

Unfortunatelly it is not possible to get access to stored MXF-files with XF-Utitlity from other computers.
Until now I couldn´t find a method to re-reel mxf-files.

Maybe this is not a problem, maybe it is.
We´ll see.

Kind regards,

Reinhard
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Old January 25th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #27
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Whitepaper

The new Canon Whitepaper does not recommend XF-Utility for using XF300 together with Final Cut. Interesting!


Canon Digital Learning Center - Canon White Papers: Beyond the Manual


Instead of backup via XF Utility they recommend:

"Create a disk image (DMG file) of the memory card that may be mounted and used for Log and Transfer operations in place of the physical card – archiving all your footage, and freeing up your memory cards for immediate re-use."


Best regards,

REinhard
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Old January 25th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #28
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The reason is that EOS Utility v1.0 had a few issues (as most v1.0 software does). The 1.1 updater fixes this and allows creation of a backup via the utility in log and transfer.

Important to note that 1.0 needs to be installed and the updater is applied to it.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #29
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I still have several issues with 1.1. As for example: when you transfer your clips with XF Utility from your cf-card to your macbook and sync the macbook with your stationary editing-computer, it is not possible to get access from this computer (that runs XF Utility, too) to your files.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 11:26 AM   #30
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I have been adopting the same method for downloading and ingesting video footage Josh.

I tend to only format the CF cards once the card is completely full and backed up onto another hard drive. I find that archiving the 'negatives' is therefore easier to manage as whole CF cards.
If however I were to download footage, and then film some more on the same CF card - backing up the CONTENTS folder and then ingesting that footage from the backup drive into Final Cut could become an issue because of the indifferent JOURNAL and index files.

This can be combatted by copying the contents of the CLIP*** folder on the CF card and then pasting only folders that don't already exist on the backup drive. After that, one can copy and replace the JOURNAL folder and index file into the backup CLIP*** folder. Final Cut will then recognise the new clips that have not already been ingested in Log & Transfer, and ingesting resumes as normal. This is especially good if you use Automatic Transfer.

Has anyone else adopted the Canon XF Utility as part of their workflow? I too am keen to learn from your experiences.


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