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Old August 12th, 2008, 08:07 AM   #1
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"ClipWrap" m2t to Quicktime HDV wrapper NOW AVAILABLE!

The missing link for reliable 720p24 FCP workflows is NOW AVAILABLE!

ORIGINAL POST from August 12 2008:
I'm very pleased to finally announce that Divergent Media's latest app "ClipWrap" is now available for download. I can tell you that it works perfectly with every 720p24 m2t clip I've thrown at it and I'll be testing all the other frame rates later this week.

I've been biting my tongue on this since NAB but now that DM has officially announced ClipWrap I'd like to fill you all in on this awesome little product that I'm sure all of the FCP users will be adding to the arsenal.

First a little background:
I usually go to NAB each year with a short list of mini-missions. Most of them involve researching future purchases but these past two years one of my missions was to find someone who would listen (be it from Apple or otherwise) and help overcome the simple hurdle of encapsulating HDV m2t FILES into quicktime. I knew it was possible since Apple can do it during digizitation and Focus Enhancements can do it within their DR-HD100. Last year reps from Focus listened attentively to my idea but it was clear that they put so much effort into figuring out how to wrap QT within the DR-HD100 software that they weren't interested in taking the task on for Mac OS X. The FCP developers I've met and had conversations with have never seemed to understand exactly why we needed this because they believed their digitizer worked just fine.

I had been following Divergent Media's development of Scopebox 2 very closely and I knew that since they had finally figured out how to wrap a m2t stream into QT HDV that they probably had the know-how to wrap an existing m2t file into QT HDV.
I went over to their booth and found the lead developer Mike Woodworth. I had already been in contact with Mike on the scopebox board but it is so much better to make your case face-to-face on the showroom floor. Mike told me that through the development of Scopebox 2 he had figured out how Apple handles HDV in Quicktime and that it would probably be very easy to create the app I was looking for.
I told Mike my three major requirements for my dream "m2t to QT wrapper" app. (in order of importance.)
  1. Batch encapsulation (wrapping) of m2t files into Quicktime HDV clips
  2. Read and carry over the source timecode into the Quicktime HDV clips
  3. A capability to "unwrap" Quicktime HDV back into m2t.
Mike told me right away that the first two would be easy to do but the third requirement would be very tricky. (As of the current version ClipWrap does not "unwrap".)

So after a 20 minute conversation about it Mike said he would get working on it within a week.

3 months later Mike had the first beta ready for me to test! I can't quite put into words how excited I was the first time I ran a few old 720p24 m2t files I had captured back in 2005 from a first generation HD100 and I saw new Quicktimes WITH SOURCE TIMECODE come out the other end! Cudos to Mike Woodworth and his team for taking on this task and creating an elegantly simple and solid application.

So what's the difference between ClipWrap and all the other apps I've used (Mpeg Streamclip, Lumiére HD or HDVxDV)?
Those other apps all have batch TRANSCODING capabilities but they lack the ability to ENCAPSULATE or "wrap" one media type into another. For example Mpeg Streamclip can read any m2t files that you may have captured (via CapDVHS, HDVxDV, Firestore, Premiere, etc.) and then transcode it into any other codec within Quicktime. This means you have to choose a suitable codec (ideally a 'near-lossless' one like ProRes422 or AIC) and then wait for your computer to encode each file into new and bigger QT files. The speed of the encoding is dependent on the speed of your processor(s). The other vital bit of information lost with all of these apps is timecode.

The Elegant Alternative:
When you use ClipWrap to simply encapsulate or "wrap" the m2t files you are not transcoding any video. The original mpeg2 of the original camera acquired clip remains perfectly intact in its original form but now it is wrapped in quicktime and can be used for immediate native HDV editing in Final Cut Pro (5.1.2 and later for 720p24.) NO GENERATION LOSS.

The greatest thing about the simplicity of just wrapping is that IT IS FAST! The file sizes are the same (about 1% larger because the audio in uncompressed during the encapsulation process) and you are only waiting as long as it would take for your hard drive to duplicate the file. Therefore the faster your hard drives the faster the process. Speedy processors will also help but wrapping is no where near as taxing on the processor as encoding.

What is the new workflow? How will the app benefit me?
Tape based workflow:
As we all know FCP does not support direct import of m2t files and it is very picky when it captures a m2t stream from tape. If it encounters any small data problems in the mpeg2 stream it simply halts digitizing and picks up a few seconds later. This can be very frustrating for those who can capture their clips fine from the tape with Premiere (into m2t) or apps like DVHSCap or HDVxDV but then have to reencode into an intermediate codec. Now you can simply convert those captured m2t files into Quicktime HDV and start editing with FCP in native HDV.

Hard drive or Flash media based workflow:
Focus Enhancements and JVC have gone to great lengths to include QT HDV encapsulation in the DR-HD100 product. This works flawlessly now in all 720p formats but what if you have used the FS-4 or other hard drive capture device to capture m2t? What if you are not sure what NLE will be used in post and you want to keep your options open?
I shot a short film a month ago and the producer assured me it was to be posted in Premiere. We recorded to the DR-HD100 in m2t but then two weeks ago the producer decided to use an editor with FCP. I was able to use ClipWrap to easily wrap those m2ts into quicktime and they were able to start cutting immediately.

What other features does ClipWrap currently have?
ClipWrap currently does exactly what it was designed for (batch wraps m2t to QT HDV) but Mike has managed to add a great feature I'm sure the DR-HD100 or FS-4 owners will appreciate. ClipWrap will detect long clips that were split to 4GB chunks because of FAT-32 format of DTE drives and then stitch the clip back together into one big Quicktime. Of course you need to write to a mac formatted drive to handle file sizes larger than 4GB.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 08:39 AM   #2
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A million thanks, Tim! And to Divergent Media!

The end of the dreaded (and all too frequent) "mid-clip break"!

I guess we'll find out in the next few days where to download it from and how much.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #3
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Excellent Tim...You continue to make a difference.

This is something that should have been done years ago. I'm glad you were finally able to get through to somebody.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #4
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I have been researching the nNovia HD recorders and they were stating that they had software that they would be bundling with the recorders that did this very same thing.

Has anyone tried their product? Is it shipping.

This one sounds very cool. Hope it ships soon.

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Old August 12th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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Can't wait!
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Old August 12th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Weber View Post
I have been researching the nNovia HD recorders and they were stating that they had software that they would be bundling with the recorders that did this very same thing.
I've never heard of that and can't find any reference to it on their website. Their website states that FCP6 supports m2t, which is a half-truth. Log & Transfer in FCP6 does work with m2t generated by some cameras but currently not 720p HDV.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #7
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I was closed to buy a nNovia because of this feature :

"QuickHDV – a MAC desktop utility that converts HDV files formatted as .m2t files to .mov files for seamless integration into Final Cut Pro. The conversion occurs when the files are dragged and dropped from the nNovia HDD to the MAC for editing. It is very fast and adds minimal time to the standard file transfer process. (May 19 Release)"

You can find this information there :
http://www.nnovia.com/news.php?id=12

But i've sent them a mail once week ago to verify this (and to know if the timelapse fonction was also working from the hdv stream) but never had any respons. Peharps are they on holidays... ?

And thanks a lot for trying to find someone who can do this new application !
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Old August 12th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Dashwood View Post
I've never heard of that and can't find any reference to it on their website. Their website states that FCP6 supports m2t, which is a half-truth. Log & Transfer in FCP6 does work with m2t generated by some cameras but currently not 720p HDV.
I just talked to someone at nNovia today. She said that the software is in Beta and is available to clients. It started shipping yesterday. They have tested the unit with a JVC HD110 and claim that it would work with 720p24 and 720p30. I asked how long I would have to evaluate the unit and she said 30 days.

They also have a unit coming out that will record DVCPro HD.

Their base unit is the QC HD model with runs for $1069 with a 120 gig HD. They say that to have start and stop functions you need to have a tape in the camera. They have a V mount that you can run the camera and the recorder off of at the same time. The kit with this mount and the drive runs for $1225. Prices go up at the end of the month.

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Old August 13th, 2008, 03:57 AM   #9
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While you are beta testing ...

Hi Tim.

Are you allowed to comment (in this pre-release period) on whether ClipWrap has a function similar to MPEG Streamclip's "Fix Timecode Breaks"?

On occasion, I've received .m2t files (captured by another with DVHSCap) which contain a number of clips (and therefore timecode breaks) in the one .m2t file. Not a problem for MPEG Streamclip (but only if you wanted to transcode, of course).

So it might prove a very popular function if it's included with ClipWrap.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 01:27 PM   #10
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Fix TC breaks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
Are you allowed to comment (in this pre-release period) on whether ClipWrap has a function similar to MPEG Streamclip's "Fix Timecode Breaks"?

On occasion, I've received .m2t files (captured by another with DVHSCap) which contain a number of clips (and therefore timecode breaks) in the one .m2t file. Not a problem for MPEG Streamclip (but only if you wanted to transcode, of course).
Since I wrote ClipWrap, I certainly can comment :)

I'm not familiar with how MpegStreamClip handles breaks, does it split them into separate files? We don't currently do that - it will just roll the whole m2t into a single mov file with the first clips TC.

Once I get a better idea of exactly what you want, I can let you know how easy it will be to add.

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Old August 13th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Woodworth View Post
Since I wrote ClipWrap, I certainly can comment :)

I'm not familiar with how MpegStreamClip handles breaks, does it split them into separate files? We don't currently do that - it will just roll the whole m2t into a single mov file with the first clips TC.

Once I get a better idea of exactly what you want, I can let you know how easy it will be to add.

Mike Woodworth
Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE this forum?

Thanks for chiming in Mike. Looking forward to seeing how this all pans out...
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Old August 13th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #12
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This program will very much help me as for I have a TON of m2t files that need to be MOV, Is there any projected date as to when this might come out?
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Old August 13th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Woodworth View Post
Since I wrote ClipWrap, I certainly can comment :)

I'm not familiar with how MpegStreamClip handles breaks, does it split them into separate files? We don't currently do that - it will just roll the whole m2t into a single mov file with the first clips TC.

Once I get a better idea of exactly what you want, I can let you know how easy it will be to add.

Mike Woodworth
I didn't write the original question, but I think I know what he is referring to. Sometimes when you open an .M2T file in MPEG Streamclip it will say that there are timecode breaks and that they need to be fixed. This takes place before the transcoding.

Any ideas on what your product will cost?

Thanks,

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Old August 13th, 2008, 04:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Woodworth View Post
Since I wrote ClipWrap, I certainly can comment :)

I'm not familiar with how MpegStreamClip handles breaks, does it split them into separate files? We don't currently do that - it will just roll the whole m2t into a single mov file with the first clips TC.

Once I get a better idea of exactly what you want, I can let you know how easy it will be to add.

Mike Woodworth
Great to have you aboard, Mike!

To explain:
Say you have a clip (.m2t) captured on DVHSCap which has 5 different takes on it (and therefore 5 different "timecode breaks" for every time you stopped recording). Even though your actual timecode on the tape is continuous, both FCP and MPEG Streamclip register a "timecode break" at each point you stopped recording - presumably due to some sort of disturbance to the GOP structure at each of these points.

Now, if you create a QuickTime of the .m2t file using MPEG Streamclip WITHOUT fixing the "timecode breaks", the result is a QuickTime movie which plays only the first clip and then freezes the image at the first break and you don't get the next four clips at all. Just one very long freeze frame.

If you DO fix the timecode breaks at the beginning with MPEG Streamclip and then create the QuickTime, you get one long clip containing all five takes correctly playing one after the other.

So, rolling the whole .m2t (which contains all 5 takes) into a single .mov file, as you currently are, is absolutely perfect!

As I don't know the inner mysteries of .m2t to .mov migration, I was just concerned that simply wrapping the .m2t in a QuickTime wrapper might require some sort of function applied to it (in the same vein as "Fix Timecode Breaks" needs to be applied with MPEG Streamclip) so that the resultant .mov doesn't freeze up part of the way through when you play it in FCP.

Believe me, the first thing I will test when I buy ClipWrap will be a single .m2t file containing multiple takes!

I'm sure you've already got it solved, but I just thought I would check.

And believe me, your popularity rating with the FCP users on this board is absolutely sky-high!

Thanks again!
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Old August 13th, 2008, 05:22 PM   #15
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The .m2t to .mov issue is just about the only thing keeping me from spending my hard earned money on a hard drive recorder for my HD200U as I'm a "dyed in the wool" FCP user who really wants to have timecode come over intact.
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