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Old February 10th, 2006, 08:13 PM   #1
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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How to request Apple to support MXF files

Here's a link to provide feedback to Apple on feature requests for FCP.

http://www.apple.com/feedback/finalcutpro.html

Right now, editing HVX footage requires an intermediary step of unwrapping the MXF files and rewrapping them as Quicktimes. This adds a bit of time to the import process, and it also means the metadata doesn't get carried through. If Apple would implement Op-Atom MXF support on the timeline that would give us faster, more efficient editing taking up less disk space, and the ability to edit straight from the cards. Since Apple's competition (Canopus and Avid) both support it, it seems a necessary step for FCP to take.

If you plan on using an FCP with an HVX200, you really want this feature implemented. Let Apple know and maybe they'll put it high on their priority list.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #2
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Questions from a fellow person editing footage from the HVX:

1) What data do you need other than timecode? If the clip is offline, all you need to do is reimport/convert and relink. What else do you need?

2) Why would you edit from the P2 cards? Aren't you shooting more footage than the cards can handle, thus have the need to download them to another drive?

3) Aren't you worried about messing with the original...and wouldn't you rather be editing a copy of the footage?

4) What is wrong with the QT wrapper? I still find it taking less time to import and convert than capturing from a tape.

5) What else do those edit systems have to offer other than the ability to edit MXF files directly?

Just curious. I am not meaning to sound like I am attacking. Just curious.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Ross
Questions from a fellow person editing footage from the HVX:

1) What data do you need other than timecode? If the clip is offline, all you need to do is reimport/convert and relink. What else do you need?
Well, timecode is great, but think of all the other information stored within an MXF. You have all the camera settings for that clip... Working in larger production facilities where you may pass rough cut footage on to an FX or post production group, all the metadata contains information like shutter speeds and whatnot or other handy notes that often get lost in transition that instead would be contained right in the files and help save some time.

Quote:
2) Why would you edit from the P2 cards? Aren't you shooting more footage than the cards can handle, thus have the need to download them to another drive?
In most situations you wouldn't. But that's not really the point of direct MXF support. Right now, it takes 2 to 3 times as long to ingest DVCPROHD from MXF into the QT wrapper than it would to simply copy the MXF from the card.

Quote:
4) What is wrong with the QT wrapper? I still find it taking less time to import and convert than capturing from a tape.
True, but why not natively support the industry standard acquisition format and all of its benefits? Apple has this one-track approach where they want to funnel all of their video capabilites through QT. Seems a little narrow-minded, don't you think?

Quote:
5) What else do those edit systems have to offer other than the ability to edit MXF files directly?
Er, nothing much in comparison to Final Cut Pro. Edius is actually lacking many features we take for granted in other editors like Avid, Vegas, FCP, etc.. Avid is slow and clunky with DVCPRO/HD and to really have decent performance we need to transcode the video to Avid's DNxHD codec.

Quote:
Just curious. I am not meaning to sound like I am attacking. Just curious.
:) ...Essentially, it's just an issue of "wouldn't it be nice if...". There's some nice features to be had and the possibility of a slightly quicker and more streamlined workflow if they were to adopt native MXF support, that's all. IMO, even though Avid supports MXF (although not fully), FCP is still a better editor in this price range. Avid becomes a lot better and more capable when you spend $20K on their Adrenaline system. Edius has awesome MXF support and it's hard to understand how cool it is until you give it a test drive. But it lacks too many features for a lot of people. For basic editing, cuts only with some transitional effects, it's great. For broadcasters and newsrooms, it would be an ideal choice. For the indie crowd, anyone doing serious post work, compositing/effects/etc... or for people who hire themselves out as editors, Edius is a poor choice. It doesn't have the industry presence of FCP or Avid and no direct integration with most of the commong compositors and DVD authoring packages.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:30 PM   #4
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I didn't realize that the MXF contained all that information. I can see why that would be useful.

2-3 times as long to import the footage that to just copy? I am not noticing that. I can import footage from a 4GB P2 card in about 4 min...the same time it would take to copy that from the card to a hard drive. But since I do both, so that I can have the original RAW P2 files and re-use the card, it takes 8 min. Hmmm...since the card holds 8 min of footage (4 Gb cards) I guess that is real time importing. Yeeeaaaahhh. OK.

Give Apple time. This format JUST came out...rather this camera just did. Give them time...maybe they will. But the biggest issue is that the P2 technology and tools are all designed with Windows machines in mind...because it was designed by the Windows side of Panasonic in Japan (or so I have been told).
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Ross
I didn't realize that the MXF contained all that information. I can see why that would be useful.
Yep.

Quote:
2-3 times as long to import the footage that to just copy? I am not noticing that. I can import footage from a 4GB P2 card in about 4 min...
You have a slow hard drive or are using a single HDD system or notebook. ;) I'd never get anything done if it took me a whole minute to copy a gigabyte of data. Hehe. If you're getting real-time importing, then that's basically the same as copying from tape, no?

Quote:
Give Apple time. This format JUST came out...rather this camera just did. Give them time...maybe they will. But the biggest issue is that the P2 technology and tools are all designed with Windows machines in mind...because it was designed by the Windows side of Panasonic in Japan (or so I have been told).
I totally disagree with that (designed with Windows in mind). Unfortunately, Windows users are being left in the cold with the HVX200. The only usable edit options are Edius and Avid... For most PC users, Edius is a piece of software they have never heard of and it lacks too many features compared to Premiere and Vegas (arguably the two most popular PC NLE applications). Avid Xpress Pro is great, but expensive at $1500 and its support for DVCPROHD and MXF is a little buggy and performance is a joke - a dual processor 3.2GHz PC w/2GB RAM can't even get one stream of 1080i DVCPROHD to run in real-time in Avid!!! One stream of 720pn24 can run real-time in Avid on such a system. Edius can run multiple streams on a system like that, just like FCP can. The other PC NLE option is the RayLight codec, but it also suffers from sluggish performance and a work-around approach that involves creating a reference file that mimmicks a Windows AVI file, but is just an interface to the A/V data within an MXF. Performance is about the same with RayLight as it is in Avid.... Other than that, Leitch's VelocityHD supports MXF and DVCPROHD and so does the Matrox Axio system... However both of those are $7500+ for the hardware and software and that doesn't include the PC to run it on!

I've been primarily a PC user for several years now, but I just assembled a new Mac-based edit system. I'm tired of dealing with all the junk PC software and I wanted a more streamlined workflow... Adobe's software and Vegas+DVD just weren't cutting it and upgrade costs for Fusion (compositing software) are out of hand. So, I picked up a G5 Quad, Final Cut Studio, Shake4 and even an Xserve RAID too.... Paid for all but the RAID with my first project last week - a DVD production for a local snowboard manufacturer (sorry, can't say who). All I can say is I'm glad I bought the Mac... DVD Studio Pro is soooooo much better than Encore or Vegas on the PC and Motion2 rocks! I pretty well knew this about DVD Studio as it was SpruceDVD on the PC before Apple bought it and Spruce was hands down the best DVD authoring app on the PC back then... In fact, I'd still use my old copy of Spruce today instead of Encore if it weren't for a few nagging bugs and lack of support for multiple title sets (which Apple added when they released the Pro version of DVD Studio).

Anyway, enough babbling... Hopefully we'll see MXF support in FCP in the near future. And not that I want to start rumors, but a little birdie told me that MXF support (Op-Atom for the HVX and Sony for XDCAM) would be present in the upcoming Final Cut Extreme... No idea about FCP and I don't know how reliable this source is. ...But they seemd to know what they were talking about.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #6
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What files are created on a direct capture to a PowerBook via firewire?

Are they movie files or do they have be unwrapped as well?
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Old February 12th, 2006, 12:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Saraceno
What files are created on a direct capture to a PowerBook via firewire?

Are they movie files or do they have be unwrapped as well?
When you capture via Firewire into FCP, the DVCPRO[HD] stream is placed right into a QT movie file. No need to reconvert or unwrap... However, no metadata is recorded either. You get the same thing via Firewire that you would get if you import a MXF and create the QT file.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 12:47 PM   #8
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This is unfortunate news for us Mac people who are used to being on the cutting edge and having a better workflow than the PC stalwarts. I'm hoping that they make it available for FCP6. I would think it would be so invaluable for greenscreen and compositing.. as well as for pickups and reshoots. Especially for reshoots. This metadata could reduce the job of the logger on the set.


Also, I know this is a bit off subject here, and I haven't been able to use a P2 card and the viewer software.. but I'm wondering: Is it possible to insert the P2 card.. have the system recognize this.. execute a command.. and then copy the footage onto a specified folder and then clean the P2. I'm just thinking of minimizing the transfer and steps to do then when shooting. I know I'll be switching cards, but I just want to be able to concentrate more on the shooting.. and have the laptop set up within arms reach to offload quickly and then repeat.

If this isn't a feature of the viewer, would be great to write up an executable script for this. I know it would also help to eliminate the need for an assistant and such.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 02:56 PM   #9
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simple Automator Script

What about a simple Automator Script
that would
1) Detect the P2
2) Unload it to specific location
3) Erase

while we go on shooting.
?
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Old February 12th, 2006, 03:00 PM   #10
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It called a P2 Store. Handy device with a 60GB hard drive that you slap the card in, press a button and walk away.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 03:35 PM   #11
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Until they decide to implement this the P2 workflow is no faster than tape. Of course, no HD tape option in the HVX so the question is moot but IMHO this is really crippling P2s potential.



ash =o)
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Old February 12th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Ross
It called a P2 Store. Handy device with a 60GB hard drive that you slap the card in, press a button and walk away.
Yeah.
But this one is free, larger and in your comp, ready to edit.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 05:22 PM   #13
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If you had a 15" Powerbook with FCP 5 loaded on it on the set, plugged the P2 card into the PCMCIA slot and have a G-Raid or other firewire drive connected via firewire, you could then just have someone import the footage directly from the P2 card.

I myself wouldn't want to do that. I'd stick with the Original files. But I consider the offloading of the footage from cards to drives as production time, not post time. The amount of time it takes t convert the footage and label it is 2 to 3 times faster than if they were on tape. And I am not missing ONE FRAME of footage. I like that.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 07:06 PM   #14
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John, that does sound really interesting. I've not gotten too much into automater, just for resizing photos and what not. I think this might work, or certainly some kind of scripting.


Regarding the P2 store, I like that device but I think it's way too expensive for 60 gigs. For that money, I could get a laptop which fullfills many of my needs. I think if Panny made something in the 750-1000 range they'd have another load of business.

I'm really interested in an offloading alternative as I routinely shoot talking head conferences and concerts that run an hour or more. I'd like to avoid having to bring out an assistant, and I'd need to keep the offloading as automated as possibly. Maybe it's not that tough, but I'd be interested in keeping the steps and manual nature down to a minium. I'm also not really too interested in streaming to a laptop except under really controlled conditions... so it'll be about dealing until the firestore/cineporter comes out.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #15
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Justyn,
I'm with ya.
I will probably be getting my HVX about the time those come out anyway
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