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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 October 9th, 2011, 05:08 AM   #1
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What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

I've read the Utility User notes, but for the life of me I don't understand the differences or rather, why or how I would benefit from each of these approaches in getting shot footage onto my PC.

Does a Virtual Media proces produce a backup as it produces a Virtual Media process?

When I backup and choose "update", where do these incrementals get deposited?

I've got more questions the more I get my head around this.

What I'm looking for is real world experiential feedback/responses.

TIA

Grazie
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Old October 9th, 2011, 07:21 PM   #2
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

I think a Backup does a complete full backup of the card. Where it puts it? ---the folder you specify in the Preferences for the Canon Utility.

A Virtual Media creates, well, a virtual card folder structure instead of a full backup. The Virtual Media does not copy anything to it at first, it just makes it. Then you can drag clips directly to it from the Canon Utility viewing window.

I use Final Cut Pro on a Mac, and either one creates a folder on my internal hard drive that has the same folder structure as the card does, so I can import clips into FCP from those just like I could from the card. FCP doesn't work on the originals, but on copies that it creates, so the backups are still there.

As far as I know, the only difference between a Backup and a Virtual Media is that the Virtual Media option allows you to just back up the clips you want, bypassing any that you're certain are not necessary to keep. I've been using Virtual Media more than Backup, because there are always a few short clips that are just junk that it's not necessary to keep. And, I guess it would also allow you to combine clips from more than one card into one place for organizational purposes.

Others probably know far more about this than I do. And, I didn't figure this out, but got most of this from Doug Jensen's Vortex DVD training for the XF300/305.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 12:25 AM   #3
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

What David wrote is basically how I understand it as well. The back-up is an automated and complete backup of the card. With a Virtual Media, you can (even accidentally - oops!) drag just some of the clips over the the Virtual media folder.

Larry
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Old October 12th, 2011, 03:55 PM   #4
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

YEP...be careful. If you drag a file from the card, I corrupted the entire card.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

I haven't corrupted a card yet, but I didn't drag all the files over - I missed a line of them - not paying attention. I HAD done a full backup, though, and I checked before I erased the card, so I didn't lose anything...

Larry
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Old October 12th, 2011, 09:59 PM   #6
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

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Originally Posted by Larry Becker View Post
I haven't corrupted a card yet, but I didn't drag all the files over - I missed a line of them - not paying attention. I HAD done a full backup, though, and I checked before I erased the card, so I didn't lose anything...

Larry
WOAH!..... Scary.....

Yes, I'm doing ALL three : backups, Virts and exports. No chances being taken here. My backups go on to a removable HDD and put on a shelf. But even so, every time I initialise the cards I get a wee freson of fear.

Grazie
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Old October 13th, 2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

My recommendation, on the Mac at least, is to AVOID USING XF Utility if at all possible. It does NOT have a Read-Only mode, and there are ways to inadvertently wreck the data on your cards, requiring an expensive service to recover the data, assuming you're lucky and stop right away.

I suggest first using Finder to copy the "Contents" folder of your CF card to the hard drive (2 hard drives is preferable, obviously). Then, if you must, use XF Utility's "Set Virtual Media" function and point it at one of those copies. From there you can "Export to MXF..." if you need to. If you're using Premiere Pro CS 5.5, for instance, you will not need XF Utility in your workflow. I will not use XF Utility anymore.

Here's what happened to me: Inserted first card, started the export of MXFs and took a break. Came back, the export was done, so I pulled the first card out of the reader and inserted the second card. Suddenly, nothing worked. What happened was that XF Utility didn't know there was a new card and so it only couldn't play nor export anything any more, which is understandable. But, and this is unforgivable, it actually wrote the first card's folder structure on top of the second card!!!!! Boom - the data on the second card is now corrupt. The files on the second card have the same names as the first card, but with different sizes and they all contain corrupt data. Death by XF Utility.

Yes, I didn't follow the correct procedure, which is to "Eject" the first card. But, Eject is to protect the card in the reader, not the card going into the reader next. Furthermore, a good program should have reasonable precautions built-in when handling what is typically the one and only copy of the your precious data, such as being able to treat that data as read-only. There may be other problems using XF Utility. There may even be as of yet undiscovered bugs that might cause normal operation to overwrite your precious data. It's just inexcusable, in my view, for a program like this to not have a read-only mode in its architecture. If I were forced to use XF Utility on my CF cards, I'd probably shoot in dual-slot mode since I am now so scared of what XF Utility might do to my data.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 09:17 PM   #8
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

I agree. Unacceptable.

So far I've done the Eject thing, but I could quite easily have forgotten. Tell me, are you using the updated Utility?

Thanks for sharing your now preferred upload procedure. I've learnt a salutary hard won experience from approach.

Grazie
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Old October 14th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #9
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

"I will not use XF Utility anymore."

Ditto!

I was doing a test shoot with the FS100 a while ago. Downloaded files via the Canon Utility to a HD & started reading. Then clicked the red X in the top right corner to close the Utility. A warning box came up to say it would delete the files. I clicked OK, thinking it would just be the desktop RAM. It deleted all the XF files from my HD. I had already reformated the card & not yet backed it up. Of course it's entirely my fault & it didn't matter, but glad it was only a test shoot.

This is so easy:
Save the files on a HD.
Play the clips with the Sony Viewer.
Write down the files to be deleted.
Delete the unwanted files.
Backup the remaining files to a second HD.
Import the clips to PP5.5 as needed for editing.

Just done this from a dusk to nighttime art show shoot at a marina. Works like a dream

Also very pleased with the low light capability of the XF300 & overall ease of use of the camera. There were very few deletes considering everything was set to manual.

Regards,
Doug.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #10
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Re: What are the differences between: Virtual Media, Export MXF files and a Backup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Bernard View Post
Tell me, are you using the updated Utility?
Yes, the current (Oct 2011) version is called 2.0 on the website, but the program startup screen says "Version 1.1.0".
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