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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 January 20th, 2014, 09:48 AM   #1
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Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Hi, actually not sure if I'm posting this in the right place, but since it deals with Canon XF100, I'll give it a shot.

My typical scenario for working with the XF100 is, each shoot day, I'll connect a CF reader via USB and two external hard drives. I'll copy the entire contents of each card in its own folder on the two individual external drives. This is done via a macbook pro. Then edit on the same macbook accessing the footage from one of the drives. This has worked well and is pretty straightforward, obviously.

For an upcoming shoot, the goal is to travel very, very light. I'd hoped some of the phones had gotten to the point where they could act as a conduit for getting the footage copied from a card to an external drive, but doesn't appear to be the case yet.

I've researched the Surface Pro tablet, and seems like it would work. With a full size USB 3 port, I think I could connect a hub, plug in the CF reader and one (or two) external drives, and simply copy the folders as I've always done.

But here's where my ignorance of windows vs mac really starts to show up...

As I understand it, the external drives would have to be formatted ahead of time to FAT32 to be able to be used with Windows (to get the footage from the Surface to the external drives) and Mac (to edit in FCP). If that's true, I'm also seeing a deal killer in that FAT32 will not let you work with individual files over 4GB. While we rarely have an individual file that large (though some interviews could easily be) I'm wondering if that would impact trying to pull over the entire CONTENTS folder (usually around 30GB).

And I'm not sure if there are any other potential problems with going from Windows to Mac with these type of files.

So, anyone have experience working with a Windows to Mac workflow with the Canon XF? Does the above sound accurate? Any suggestions for a good workflow for backing up audio with as little gear (figuratively and literally) as possible?

Thanks very much for helping me out.

Jeff
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Old January 20th, 2014, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Window drives need to be NTFS in order to use files over 4 gig.
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Old January 20th, 2014, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Thanks. But then the drive can't be used to actually work with the footage on my Mac, correct?
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Old January 20th, 2014, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Hi, after starting to get a handle on what I'm actually asking, I've done some more research and as much as I can tell, Mac can read (and copy, I assume) folders/files from a NTFS formatted disc (as I'd have if we went the Surface route). Confirming this is anyone else's experience, please.

If that is the case, I don't see a reason why I could use a Surface tablet to back up footage while in the field, and be able to access and use it later in edit on a Mac. Again, appreciate you letting me know if I'm missing anything.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old January 20th, 2014, 06:29 PM   #5
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

You can format drives with exFAT, and then both Windows and Mac can read/write to them, and they don't have the 4GB limitation. Don't know about whether a tablet can work with that format, though.
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Old January 20th, 2014, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Jeff, Paragon makes some software that allows you to read AND write to NTFS drives from your Mac. It comes free with some WD drives in Australia, I don't know about the US. The Free version is limited to the hardware you have purchased, but the paid version is unrestricted. May be worth a look...

I am assuming that you are not taking your Mac with you on this trip? What about an 11" MacBook air instead of the Surface and keep on the Mac side of things?
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Old January 21st, 2014, 10:41 AM   #7
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Thanks, Steve and Tim. Steve, I'll explore that as an option. Not sure it matters much now, if I can indeed pull from the drive formatted for NTFS to mac. The data will only need to go one way.

Tim, I'll check out Paragon but again, may not matter much if my thinking is correct. I'd considered a Mac Air, but we are really having to travel very, very light and if I can find one machine to do it all (there's other stuff we'll need a computer for, including making edits to the script and using it to read on location VO and on-camera set ups). I know it is a bit weird to have to be so concerned about space, but that's the gig this time.

Of course, if I hear something that tells me moving from Windows to Mac with the footage MIGHT cause problems, all that will rethought.

Thanks!
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Old January 21st, 2014, 03:11 PM   #8
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Jeff, I think you'll find that your CF cards are likely FAT32 formatted anyway, and that your XF100 will start a new video file once your recording reaches 2GB. These files will be in numerical sequence, and will act as one file when imported into the xf utility or an editor. i have had long files split into three parts, all of which combined in the editor seamlessly.
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Old January 21st, 2014, 03:16 PM   #9
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Additionally Jeff, I use a Macbook Air with the XF utility installed, and an OWS external hard drive, and import via the XF utility onto the Ext. Drive after every days shoot. Then simply connect the hard drive to my home computer when I return and import the files into my home computer.
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Old January 21st, 2014, 09:23 PM   #10
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Scott is absolutely correct. You won't need to go NTFS, but if you did, I just pulled over NTFS files to my iMac today and edited them in Pr. The Mac OS can read but not write NFTS, so they show up as read only drives, like a DVD. I would agree to format the drive EXFAT, it will allow you to read and write in the field, and go buy yourself a Mac Air. It's a full fledged computer not a tablet that is hobbled. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing *wrong* with a tablet, I own one myself, but the Mac Air can do all the work you need in the field,and is not even as heavy as a tablet. Do yourself a favor and don't buy a tablet when you need a laptop.
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 11:02 AM   #11
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Re: Stumped on Potential Footage Backup/Workflow

Thanks again to everyone.

I really do prefer the idea of using a Mac in the field for this, but unfortunately it is just not possible for this occasion. Many factors not worth going into here, so I'm trying to fit a solution to the other issues, and not able to do what's "best."

All that being said, sounds like I should be OK, even though it is not optimal, copying and pasting the full CONTENTS folder from the CF card to an external drive via the Surface, and then be able to access those files for editing on Mac upon return. I'll be doing some tests this weekend and report back with any problems should anyone stumble on this thread in future.

Thanks,
Jeff
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