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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 August 29th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #1
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Importing to FCPro - BETTER!

Hi,
Someone out there who REALLY knows what they're doing will know this. We "kinda" know what we're doing!

OK, when we shoot with the XF300 and import into FCPro (say through our pretty new MacBook Pro) - we've of course installed the Canon XF utility - everything works perfectly. FCPro just seems to 'know' to use ProRes422. No rendering necessary - everything works great!

BUT . . . the imported .mov files are about 30% LARGER than the original XF files the camera shoots.
No big deal, but I guess that's what ProRes does. And when we export from the FCPro timelne as a Self Contained movie, it plays at about 70mbs - despite the fact that the camera "shoots" at 50mbs!
So a little wasted disk space! No big deal!

We find on a MacBook Pro, it seems to import each clip about 1/2 as long as the actual clip. A 30 second clip takes about 15 seconds to import. GOOD!

BUT I was told when you're in the Log &Transfer window - if you click the little gear thing at the top - and change the 'codec' to "NATIVE" and not ProRes 422 - the files would be 1/3 smaller - AND would import much faster.

So we tried that, and they DO! OMG - smaller files by 30% and the import much FASTER then before, too. We love it!

EXCEPT . . . we're noticing an orange bar over the clips requiring, of course some serious rendering - which takes a long time and adds lots of "big" files in the 'render' folders :(

Well - seems like we're kinda going backwards here.

We tried opening a new timeline, dragging one clip of the "native" import into it hoping FCPro will change the parameters of the timeLine to match - but for some reason it doesn't! (It usually will.)

So if we go the easy setup route, could somebody tell me exactly what parameters to use to setup the TL so it doesn't have to be rendered. THEN, we're thinking we'll have the best of both worlds. Files 30% smaller and faster import times and smaller exported SC movies!

Does anyone know the "Easy Setup" parameters we need to tell FCPro what it's doing? I hope I'm saying all this correctly!

Thanks,
Larry
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Old August 31st, 2010, 04:13 AM   #2
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Prores is a more robust format, so I would use that for jobs that require lots of colour correction, but for day to day work it's great not having to transcode, and super fast. After using log & transfer with the "native" 50mb setting, I've been popping clips in a new sequence and letting FCP determine the sequence settings. They look like the attached (yes, a Sony XDCAM sequence).

When you create a new sequence, drop a clip into the timeline - FCP should ask you if you would like to change the sequence settings to match the clip. I've been editing the native files with a three year old macbook pro, and they work just fine, no rendering needed. Not sure why you're getting the orange line, good luck!
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Importing to FCPro - BETTER!-fcp.png  

Last edited by Josh Dahlberg; August 31st, 2010 at 04:51 AM.
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Old August 31st, 2010, 02:45 PM   #3
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I have found that editing natively using the Log & Transfer it a lot quicker than pro res but when I export the timeline as a quick time I always get a lot of image degradation. I think its because FCP & Quick time dont really like .mxf files. Maybe I'm wrong but it would be great if Apple could release an update to sort this out. Hopefully we will see something from IBC. Who's going by the way?
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Old August 31st, 2010, 05:13 PM   #4
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Hi Mark.

You must be doing something wrong because the XF files are basically identical to XDCAM files and I've been exporting those for several years and the output looks fantastic. I've had the same experience with the XF files over the last two months, and they look great whether I'm exporting HD or downconverted SD. You need to check your workflow and find out what you need to change. There is no reason the XF files shouldn't look fantastic.

FYI, I always use native for import and never use ProRes for anything.
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Old August 31st, 2010, 06:50 PM   #5
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FCPro import

Thanks, Doug. Now that you've confirmed you've been doing it - importing as Native - I'll try again. Good to hear your experiences are so positive. I'll try it again. Thanks.

Can't wait for your new DVD on the XF to be released. I feel like it'll just save me weeks of experimenting and tinkering!

Larry
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Old August 31st, 2010, 06:51 PM   #6
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FCPro import

Thanks, Mark. I'll try to get this to work and tests the results. But you've at least made me suspicious! :)

Good!

Larry
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Old August 31st, 2010, 06:52 PM   #7
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FCPro import

Thanks, Josh. Not sure what I'm doing wrong - but I'll try again knowing you've done it!

Larry
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 03:32 AM   #8
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HI Doug,
Thanks, Maybe you could tell us your workflow in a step by step way if you don't mind. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. It would be good to check it against your way of working so that I can get this sorted out as I would prefer to work native as well.
Many Thanks
Mark
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 05:34 AM   #9
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Mark, I was afraid you'd ask that. :-)

I should have prefaced my first comments by saying that I only work with 30P. If you're doing 60i or 24P, then you might be right that the output looks bad. Fortunately, I have no use for those formats. I see now that you're in London, and I have no experience with 25P, but I'm sure the workflow is rock solid when done right. There's plenty of people who have been using XDCAM 25P for years with no complaints.

Maybe this workflow for NTSC DVD output will help. Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training
It was originally written for XDCAM, but as I said, XF files are basically identical to XDCAM.

To get the XF footage into FCP, you should use Log & Transfer and choose "native" as the import setting.
Then you can start going down my 8 step workflow.

FYI, you can't accurately judge what you are seeing until you do your final output to DVD, Blu-ray, XDCAM optical , tape, etc. so so don't make any judgements based soley on what you are seeing on your computer screen. Just because it might not look ideal in FCP, Compressor, or QuickTime doesn't necessarily mean anything.


I hope that helps, I don't have the time right now to write something more elaborate than that.
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Last edited by Doug Jensen; September 2nd, 2010 at 08:43 AM. Reason: Fixed typo
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 08:26 AM   #10
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Thanks Doug. Much appreciated
All the best
Mark
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Old September 4th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #11
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Working with native 50i-XF-Files and Final Cut Pro 7 since 2 month and there are nearly no problems.

It is faster then ProRes, the quality is great, no problems at all. The plug-in works fine and I only use XF-Utility for copying the files from CF-Card to harddisk.

By the way: The only thing I don´t understand: does it make sense to store the original MXF-Files beside the so called "native" files converted with the final-cut-plug-In?

How do you handle it?

Best wishes,
Reinhard
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Old September 4th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #12
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FCPro import

Hi Reinhard,
I just read your reply. Hmmmm . . . I'm just curious - I might be doing this wrong! We just "copy" the contents file of the CF card to a folder on an external firewire drive, than we import to FCPro.

But you're saying "and I only use XF-Utility for copying the files from CF-Card to harddisk."

When we use a firewire CF card reader (a Lexor) it seems to copy about 2 to 3 gig/minute.
Is there an advantage to using XF utility to copy the CF card contents to an external drive that I don't know about?

I figure, why clutter the workflow up with another "un needed" program like XF utility. Copying a folder is pretty straight forward - Is there something I should know?

Thank you,

Larry
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Old September 10th, 2010, 07:41 AM   #13
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Hi Larry,

you are not wrong, I´m wrong. I was just doubtful with the workflow and therefor I did it like Canon recommented. You are right: there is no need to use XF-Utility. I remember when I was working the first time with Canon DSLRs I also have used Canon Software. Of course you don´t need it just to copy files from the CF-Card onto a harddisk.

Anyway: Do you store also the "original MXF-Files" beside the so called "native" files imported via FCP? I´m not shure if they are really identically and therefor I store both. But thats double space:-(

Kind regards, Reinhard
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Old September 10th, 2010, 07:01 PM   #14
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There are several reasons to use XF Utility. I don't have time to explain why in detail, but I would not recommend skipping that step in your normal workflow.
Did you customarily throw away your 35mm negatives after you had your prints made?
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Old September 10th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #15
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I transfer the entire card (including file structure) to a hard drive (i). I then use Log and Transfer with the "native" setting to ingest the clips into final cut - this copies them to my capture scratch, a completely separate drive.

So I now have the "native" copies ready for use in my FCP project, and I have the original "negatives" as you put it Doug for safe keeping on another drive.

If there is some benefit of adding XF utility to this workflow it would be good to know - I can't see what I'm missing.
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