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AVCHD for pro applications: AG-AC160, AC130 and other AVCCAM gear.


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Old May 15th, 2009, 10:19 PM   #1
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AVCHD Extended Field Use with Mac

Hi, I'm an occasional lurker, but haven't had a lot of questions and definitely not qualified to provide authoritative answers.

So I'm planning to upgrade to a HMC-150 and my first big job will be doing about 60 hours of interviews in the field over the course of a week, with no return to home base and my 8-core Mac Pro.
I can bring my 15 inch Macbook Pro with 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4GB RAM, and my Firmtek external SATA 2-drive unit with Express card.
I'd also like to be able to use my Hyperdrive Space 120GB self-contained hard drive to minimize the number of sdhc cards. That is, work with two 16GB sdhc cards and have one sdhc transferring to the Hyperdrive while using the other in the camera, then switch and reformat the card between interviews.
At night I'd like to transfer everything in AVCHD format from sdhc cards and the Hyperdrive to the Firmtek external hard drives, via the Macbook Pro.
I realize I'll have to finally upgrade to FCP 6.0.5

So my questions are:

1) I read somewhere in a B&H review that when transcoding from AVCHD to Apple 422 Pro Res, FCP 6.0.1 requires the AVCHD feed to come directly from the camera, not from an SD card Reader. Since I want to save the AVCHD files on hard drives (temporarily on the Hyperdrive or more permanently on the Firmtek drives) will I have a problem transcoding from these drives at a later date? Is this something that was fixed in 6.0.5? Is this something that is simply solved by making sure I point to a "private" folder when using log and capture, as stated in another recent post? I want to do the transcoding later when I get home so I can use the 8-core Mac Pro.

2) If it turns out I have to or want to transcode in the field using my MacBook Pro, will I be able to? Apple's requirements for FCS2 state "Capturing HD resolution video using the ProRes 422 format requires a Mac Pro with an Intel Xeon processor and a qualified third-party capture card." From posts I've read here, this statement from Apple doesn't seem accurate. Macbook Pro's don't have Xeon processors and I don't know what Apple means by "qualified third-party capture card" but I see people do transcode using Macbook pro's. Am I missing something here?

3) Can I view the footage on my Macbook Pro without having to transcode? I only have Quicktime and FCP. I don't have FCE, I Movie, or a newer version of Toast.

4) Does it matter that I'm running OS 10.4.11 on the Macbook Pro, or is there some reason I would have to upgrade to 10.5?

Thanks in advance!

Steve
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Old May 16th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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[QUOTE=Steve Wake;1143739]Hi, I'm an occasional lurker, but haven't had a lot of questions and definitely not qualified to provide authoritative answers.

So I'm planning to upgrade to a HMC-150 and my first big job will be doing about 60 hours of interviews in the field over the course of a week, with no return to home base and my 8-core Mac Pro.
I can bring my 15 inch Macbook Pro with 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4GB RAM, and my Firmtek external SATA 2-drive unit with Express card.
I'd also like to be able to use my Hyperdrive Space 120GB self-contained hard drive to minimize the number of sdhc cards. That is, work with two 16GB sdhc cards and have one sdhc transferring to the Hyperdrive while using the other in the camera, then switch and reformat the card between interviews.
At night I'd like to transfer everything in AVCHD format from sdhc cards and the Hyperdrive to the Firmtek external hard drives, via the Macbook Pro.
I realize I'll have to finally upgrade to FCP 6.0.5

So my questions are:

1) I read somewhere in a B&H review that when transcoding from AVCHD to Apple 422 Pro Res, FCP 6.0.1 requires the AVCHD feed to come directly from the camera, not from an SD card Reader. Since I want to save the AVCHD files on hard drives (temporarily on the Hyperdrive or more permanently on the Firmtek drives) will I have a problem transcoding from these drives at a later date? Is this something that was fixed in 6.0.5? Is this something that is simply solved by making sure I point to a "private" folder when using log and capture, as stated in another recent post? I want to do the transcoding later when I get home so I can use the 8-core Mac Pro.

•Yes, in 6.0.5, you can use card readers; copy the entire PRIVATE folder to your drive; when opening Log and Transfer (not Log and Capture) choose a custom path to the folder you want it to locate. If you are dumping the contents of multiple cards to a drive, put each PRIVATE folder from each session inside of another folder you create with the name of the project/interview, etc., to keep them straight.

2) If it turns out I have to or want to transcode in the field using my MacBook Pro, will I be able to? Apple's requirements for FCS2 state "Capturing HD resolution video using the ProRes 422 format requires a Mac Pro with an Intel Xeon processor and a qualified third-party capture card." From posts I've read here, this statement from Apple doesn't seem accurate. Macbook Pro's don't have Xeon processors and I don't know what Apple means by "qualified third-party capture card" but I see people do transcode using Macbook pro's. Am I missing something here?

•The Apple requirements are for Log and Capture, not Log and Transfer. You should be fine; it may just take a bit longer.

3) Can I view the footage on my Macbook Pro without having to transcode? I only have Quicktime and FCP. I don't have FCE, I Movie, or a newer version of Toast.

•This I'm not sure about, but I don't think you can.

4) Does it matter that I'm running OS 10.4.11 on the Macbook Pro, or is there some reason I would have to upgrade to 10.5?

•Again, it should work fine; maybe just a bit slower.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #3
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VLC will allow you to view the .mts files and its free.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:31 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. That's all reassuring. Best of all, now my customer wants to buy their own camera. So I get to choose all the equipment, they pay for it, and I use it. This way maybe I'll clear enough to afford my own EX1!
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