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Old January 6th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #1
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Rant: lost 20 hrs worth of footage.

I didn't lose 20 hours worth of footage permanently, thank goodness.

But I'm switching from an Apple/Final Cut Pro solution to a Windows Vista/Sony Vegas solution. Pound-for-pound, Apple's better, but Vegas can do something FCP can't - run multicore, on bog-standard hardware.

I knew that this would mean some tedious transfer of files from my USB based 1TB hard drives (yes, that's plural) to the faster SATA drives in the new rig. What I WASN'T prepared for was finding out that any files that weren't saved in either H.264 or PhotoJpeg formats wouldn't work on Windows. At all. And there was no fix.

See, Apple uses some sort of weird form of HDV codec called HDV6. It won't work on anything other than Final Cut Pro.

I only discovered this after dropping 80 worthless dollars on QuickTime MPEG-2 codecs ($20 from Apple), Quick Time Pro for Mac ($30 - I accidentally bought it instead of the windows version), and Quick Time Pro for Windows ($30). I'm hoping to get a refund for the mac purchase, I'm also hoping to get a refund for the two QTPro versions since they did diddly squat.

In order to use the files on Vegas, I had two choices: Use Compressor on my old Mac laptop to transcode the files into the more standard m2ts files (MPEG-2 Transport Stream) or recapture from tape over 20 hours worth of 1080p High Definition footage.

Any situation where it's quicker to recapture 20 hours worth of tape is not a good day.

The downside is that I had agreed to sell my friend my HV20 - which I now have to renege on sending him, because I need it to capture the tape.

And while this is a pain in the ass, I'm pretty sure this solidifies my desire to get out of an Apple workflow.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #2
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Well,

You should have asked here first. There are NUMEROUS ways to transcode your footage from FCP to a format Vegas can read. Quicktime Pro on the Mac can do the job just fine.

Inside the quicktime container you can use:

Mjpeg (not recommended)
PNG (Best, Lossless, Paeth, Adaptive)
RAW/Lossless
Avid DNxHD (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and free)
Jpeg2000
Aja Kona 8-bit (free codec download on the PC)
Blackmagic (8 or 10 bit, free codec download on the PC)

There are others, but these should do just fine.


Or you could use an AVI container out of quicktime pro, and then just about anything will work.


Do NOT use a lossy compression format to move the files. Stay away from mpeg2 at all costs.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #3
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Not sure if this was the right choice...
Why switch - just solely processing power? Doesn't it make sense to complete your project on the system it was captured on?
You could have gone with a Psystar with dual boot and view the partition from the PC side. This would sidestep your tedious USB transfer and still allow for using Vegas.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #4
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There are numerous ways to transcode into a format that Vegas can read but they all take huge amounts of time. I may go back and try transcoding other files while I capture, so that I'm essentially "attacking it from both ends." I'll try Avid DNxHD or JPEG2000. If I can make an AVI container out of Quicktime Pro, and that'll work WITHOUT transcoding, that'll probably be my best option.

The reasons for switching are numerous and complicated. Performance is a big factor, but specifically, I wanted a desktop computer that I can chuck another TB drive in when I need it, and have the files transfer at SATA speeds.

If I -started- with a Mac Pro, I might be tempted to finish there, but on my MacBook Pro, there isn't a whole lot of room on the hard drive. eSata support leads to kernel crashes. So I'm stuck with slow, plodding, USB.

Keep in mind that I DID try running a hackintosh - I kept getting into kernel panics there as well, which provided me with all the excuse I needed to move to Windows.

When I bought my MacBook Pro, FCP offered the best performance; now that happens to belong to Vegas. It's not that much has changed, it's just that Vegas has multicore support and can "brute force" the problem much more easily than FCP can.

I also get to simplify my workflow - I use Vegas at my day job, which is entirely Windows based.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Boyko View Post
There are numerous ways to transcode into a format that Vegas can read but they all take huge amounts of time. I may go back and try transcoding other files while I capture, so that I'm essentially "attacking it from both ends." I'll try Avid DNxHD or JPEG2000. If I can make an AVI container out of Quicktime Pro, and that'll work WITHOUT transcoding, that'll probably be my best option.
Ah, now I see the issue. You don't want to transcode because it takes time. Considering you started with an HDV based codec, you're going to have to transcode no matter what codec you choose. Especially if you go with a intraframe (which you should do).

So you've really only got two choices. Re-Capture, or transcode. Both are slow. And this is the PRECISE reason I moved to DNxHD, as it supports all manner of HD, on Mac and PC, and it's free. No more of this crazy transcoding business, or trouble moving files between platforms. No gamma shifts, and no BS.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Ah, now I see the issue. You don't want to transcode because it takes time. Considering you started with an HDV based codec, you're going to have to transcode no matter what codec you choose. Especially if you go with a intraframe (which you should do).

So you've really only got two choices. Re-Capture, or transcode. Both are slow. And this is the PRECISE reason I moved to DNxHD, as it supports all manner of HD, on Mac and PC, and it's free. No more of this crazy transcoding business, or trouble moving files between platforms. No gamma shifts, and no BS.
Yep, which is why I'm ticked and felt worthy of a rant.

Still, all things considering, it could be worse.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:31 PM   #7
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Ahah! I had a Eureka moment.

I'll connect a second external 1TB drive, formatted to NTFS, to the MacBook.

I'll then take all the clips I have in a particular folder (for example, I've got about 20 clips on "Tesla Coils", but all together about 45 minutes of footage) and drag and drop them into a FCP timeline.

I then save the files as Quicktime .mov, non self-contained.

I do this for all 20 folders, leaving me with 20 Quicktime files.

I drag the quicktime files into Compressor, and I render to the 1TB NTFS drive as PhotoJPEG. This will take about a week. Or more. But it's a week which can be done totally unattended.

And, finally, this totally avoids having to recapture from tape!

When it's finished rendering, I bring the NTFS drive to the new workstation, and copy the files over. When it's time to edit, I just go back and forth on the timeline.

Alright. I can ship the camera to Jeremy after all!.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #8
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Brian, why not just buy the HDV Quicktime component for your PC ... seems like it would have saved you a lot of bother

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Old January 7th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andy Mees View Post
Brian, why not just buy the HDV Quicktime component for your PC ... seems like it would have saved you a lot of bother

Calibrated{Q} XD Decode
Oh, man, I'm such an idiot.

Not only does that software above allow you to view the files in Quicktime... But I found that MediaCoder x64 for Windows... easily converts all these files using that codec. In fact, I think it may even be able to do it WITHOUT the codec (as I'm not getting the "demo" watermark on my conversions in MediaCoder.)

I'm -such- an idiot.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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Bottom line: I'm just going to transcode the files when I need to use them from the HDV-wacky-codec I can't use into something I can using MediaCoder and the demo version of that codec you linked me to.

It's been a frustruating week.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a camera to box up, tapes to en-closet-ize, and a MacBook Pro to reformat and get ready for sale.
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