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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 11:36 AM   #1
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GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

I'd really prefer that my occasional 20-minute takes exist as a single file.

But as far as I can tell, the GH4 insists on spanning the take across multiple files. (It's a 64GB exFAT-formatted card, so I wouldn't think the 4GB limit would apply.) It also looks like external recorders don't need to do this.

So, is there an optional "don't span" setting on the GH4 that I'm missing? Or is there a rationale here that I don't understand? Thanks.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 01:05 PM   #2
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

The GH4 cannot shoot to an exFAT formatted card.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 01:44 PM   #3
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

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Originally Posted by Gary Huff View Post
The GH4 cannot shoot to an exFAT formatted card.
Windows 7 is telling me the card, once formatted in-camera, is of "File system: exFAT." Is that not the case?
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 02:29 PM   #4
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

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The GH4 cannot shoot to an exFAT formatted card.
Do you have the camera Gary and do the card show you another format?

Mine says exFAT as well.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 04:27 PM   #5
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Do you have the camera Gary and do the card show you another format
I do have the camera. Under OSX, it tells me that the card is MS-DOS (FAT32). If I format the card under OSX to exFat, the GH4 tells me the card is incompatible and needs to be formatted.

Under Windows 7, it tells me FAT32.

EDIT: Found it. SDXC cards are exFAT. So, yes, there's no reason why it needs to span files when using SDXC cards, but unfortunately the GH4 does not have this option...yet.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 07:41 PM   #6
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

If you keep your footage on your own drives and never share backups with clients, having non-spanned clips won't get you into trouble.

But if you do share files and move projects to different people and machines, it's not safe to assume that the files will always be sitting on a filesystem capable of supporting >4GB individual files. Thus, clip spanning is still a regrettable (but not too annoying with current tools) throwback.

Maybe in 5-10 years enough of the prosumer computing world will have moved beyond FAT32 external drives and memory sticks and we won't have to worry about it anymore. But until then the annoyance of dealing with spanned clips may just save the day when they need to be stored or transported to an unknown device.
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Old July 2nd, 2014, 08:38 PM   #7
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

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But if you do share files and move projects to different people and machines, it's not safe to assume that the files will always be sitting on a filesystem capable of supporting >4GB individual files. Thus, clip spanning is still a regrettable (but not too annoying with current tools) throwback.
That is a terrible reason to keep the 4GB file limit. Frankly, I have dealt with clients who can't handle ProRes or DVCPRO HD or any number of professional formats because it gets back to me that they are on some ancient version of Final Cut Express, iMovie, or Windows Media Maker. Yet, I'm not going to transcode everything to some other format just to keep compatibility.

I routinely shoot with a Ninja Blade, which does not span files, and have had no issues with FAT32 on a portable drive. Hell, you're not going to put 120GB of files on a FAT32 formatted volume anyway.

I would suspect it was easier to setup the GH4 for the lowest common denominator of shooting, i.e. a 16GB FAT32 SD card. It would be a simple programming matter to add an IF...THEN statement and allow the option of no spanning for exFAT formatted SDXC cards. Will they do it? Maybe if enough people ask in time before the next firmware update (the one with the rumored P-Log setting). Does anyone know where to put in improvement requests for the GH4?
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 03:42 PM   #8
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

"you're not going to put 120GB of files on a FAT32 formatted volume anyway."

Except for those days that the client's office FEDEX's two FAT32 formatted drives to set, arriving in the middle of the day and both with valuable files already on them (no refrmatting allowed!) -- and you need to transfer 250+ GB of camera data (shooting long interviews with multiple cameras) to both of them. Yes, this has happened to me surprisingly often...
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 05:21 PM   #9
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

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Except for those days that the client's office FEDEX's two FAT32 formatted drives to set, arriving in the middle of the day and both with valuable files already on them
Granted, but in that case those files are being copied off and the drives wiped. What else are you going to do if the requested camera does not play nice with a 4GB file size limit?
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 06:02 PM   #10
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

"Granted, but in that case those files are being copied off and the drives wiped. What else are you going to do if the requested camera does not play nice with a 4GB file size limit?"

The other option is to bring spare drives (which I do anyhow, since on several occasions I've been handed client drives that were either old and faulty or didn't work right out of the brand new box) - and then do the whole 'can you lend us a drive?' dance - which means they borrow the drive for an indeterminate length of time, abuse it, eventually return it about 75% of the time, poorly packed in a fedex envelope, and expect not to pay anything for its use. While this is good from a keeping the client happy perspective, it's both annoying and expensive. I used to have about 20 portable drives for such occasions, and now I'm down to about 10.

On the other hand, I tend to use cameras and external recorders that adhere to the 4GB file size limit, so if the shoot happens to be a quick one, I can easily offload the footage to a thumb drive to hand to the client (yes, you've probably noticed most thumb drives are also FAT32)
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 09:00 PM   #11
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Re: GH4 - Is there an option to NOT span files?

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Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
and then do the whole 'can you lend us a drive?' dance - which means they borrow the drive for an indeterminate length of time, abuse it, eventually return it about 75% of the time, poorly packed in a fedex envelope, and expect not to pay anything for its use.
Wow, it's like you know some of my experiences! :-p

Quote:
While this is good from a keeping the client happy perspective, it's both annoying and expensive. I used to have about 20 portable drives for such occasions, and now I'm down to about 10.
I tend to use USB thumb drives now. 128GB is about right for projects, depending on what's asked for (routinely shoot a lot of ProRes LT or ProRes 422). I always make sure to inquire about the platform being used, and then format either HFS or NTFS.
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