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Old November 2nd, 2007, 07:00 PM   #1
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XDCAM HD recording sound only option?

Hi all,

I'm relatively new to this forum, but I've got a problem I thought one of you might be able to address.

I recently finished shooting a feature using the F350.

Our sound man recorded to a DAT with timecode as a backup.

I need to transfer all of the DAT tapes with Time Code for use in Vegas 8.

What's the best way to do this? I could record directly from the DAT into the F350 onto XDCam disks. But is there a way to do this WITHOUT recording MPEG picture info at the same time? It seems like eliminating picture would allow much more room on the disc for the sound files and Time Code only.

On the other hand, is there a good way to preserve the time code info from the DAT tapes and record to Vegas as .wav files with embedded time code?

I need the time code obviously to line the sound up with picture.

Incidentally, I have the Aja Xeon HLe board.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as I'm looking at 26 hours worth of sound to transfer at this point.

Thanks,
Michael
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 04:07 AM   #2
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Pity you didn't use a clapper board (sticks) and then sync up your material in your NLE. Did you put a guide track down to the camera? - could have used a radio link if you didn't want cables (or camera mic. come to that). If you can't go from the DAT machine into your NLE, I would put a lens cap or Bars on the camera, put the T.C. & Audio output into the camera & transfer across. Sorry don't know a way of avoiding picture info. going down to disc. Were the time-codes locked, time of day? If so, match up T.C. and /or Audio modulations.
Sorry to be 'wise after the event' but a $2 clapper board would have saved a load of grief.
Don't forget the 'old ways' of doing things........
Hope all goes well - Regards G.
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 02:05 PM   #3
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You're going to need a DAT machine with RS-422 control and timecode. Google is telling me the Fostex D-15 is the cheapest that does this, but others should chime in here.

What I'm trying to figure out is why you need to transfer all this if it's backup. If I understand correctly, you have all your audio on the discs anyway and will come in with the video. I'd only spend the money on rental (and the time) if it turns out you need to.

In the future, try to get your sound guy to use one of the Sound Devices with the hard drive...I've used one on my last two doc shoots (a week each, with ~30 hours of sound), and it works brilliantly as a backup (which I have had to use when there's wireless hits). 30 hours worth of audio comes in with code in minutes.

[edit: I just realized you could probably use the Sound Devices recorders as a transfer mechanism as well. You'd go out of DAT to in of 702, and do the same with timecode. From there it would be a realtime dub, and then bringing the files from the 702].
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 02:25 PM   #4
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And just to clarify on the original question. No, there is no way to record sound only on th F-350. Nor can you do audio overdub with existing picture.

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Old November 5th, 2007, 01:30 AM   #5
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Godfrey, Nate and Greg,

Thank you for your thoughts and comments.

I was hoping there was a simpler, more efficient way to get the DAT tapes transferred into Vegas.

I have a Sony 7030 DAT machine which I may use to Xfer sound and TC data into the F350 onto blank discs. But it's not my preference. Pretty big waste of space of those 23 Gig discs. Maximum of 2 hrs sound?

It's too bad Sony doesn't allow sound files only to be recorded on the discs. You could pack a lot of .wav files onto that 23 Gig media without the picture and have all that valuable TC data accompany it for sync purposes!

But unless they can allow something like in a firmware update, no luck on that idea...

It's often desirable to shoot double system (for those unfamiliar with the term, I mean with the camera untethered from the mic, and the mic hard wired to a separate recorder. The old film pros know this was the ONLY way to do things for years with 35mm or 16mm, and Nagras with crystal sync.) I shot many things like that years ago, so I know the ropes. I go back to the days when we had Moviola and Kem machines to sync up fullcoat and workprints. It really wasn't that long ago, but it feels like it was the Middle Ages now.

I like wireless for convenience and I've got both Lectrosonics and an Audio Technica set, but static and dropouts still happen sometimes. Hard wired is fully professional to my mind and we boom mic' ed most of this picture for that reason.

To answer your question Nate, I do have sound on the discs, but not always, and sometimes it is only there as a guide track.

Time code between the camera and DAT was always locked. We did use sticks most of the time to answer your question, Godfrey. But not always.
When we were in a rush, we knew we had the matching time code between camera and DAT.

Right now, I'm hoping I can find some way to use Vegas to capture from the DAT machine using the AES outputs on the 7030 with the AES input on the Aja Xena LHe along with the time code. There must be some kind of software out there that does this. Problem is, I've no idea if any such software would be compatible in terms of sharing files with Vegas through an EDL of some kind. Otherwise, I lose the time code.

So that's my trouble. Apparently, no one else on this forum has confronted this particular issue before. It's nothing that complicated, I realize. But I was hoping to find an efficient workflow for DAT and XDCam.

This leads me to a question for anyone else out there reading this.

Do any of you have Avid Liquid Chrome Xe? Are you using it with XDCam HD? Does that system read native XDCam HD MXF files? Will it capture AES sound simultaneously with time code from DAT tapes? Sync that up easily with native MXF files? If so, maybe that's the best answer for me.

I've asked these questions of Avid and Aja reps and guess what? I was transferred from one rep to another; to this tech person and that one. None of them seemed to know much about their own product.

They couldn't even tell me if Xe reads native XDCAM HD MXF files. Which is why I posted the question here.

I guess that's why forums like this one are so important! :-) The owner/operators always seem to know more than the manufacturers.

Thanks,
Michael
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Old November 5th, 2007, 02:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rissi View Post
Right now, I'm hoping I can find some way to use Vegas to capture from the DAT machine using the AES outputs on the 7030 with the AES input on the Aja Xena LHe along with the time code. There must be some kind of software out there that does this.
Michael,

I was trying to tell you that if you get a deck that has timecode and RS-422, you can do what you want without capturing video. You don't need additional software, Vegas will do it. The Fostex D-15 is the cheapest DAT deck that has what you need.

You'd hook your Xena deck control to the RS-422 port on the D-15, you'd route AES out of the D-15 to the AES in of the Xena. You'd then set up deck control in Vegas to use RS-422, and AES in. You'd disable video. Timecode would come in via the RS-422 connection. Vegas would likely record AVIs, but with video missing, and timecode embedded.

And then you'd digitize away just like you had a video deck connected, except it'd only be audio.

Make sense?


[edit: Uhhhh! Newsflash! I just googled and saw your 7030 already has timecode and 9-pin remote capability! You're home free, mang]

[edit #2 I doubt you're going to find software that automatically syncs and marries your separate audio and video files. FCP has a merge function for double system sound, but you have to select clips manually, I use it with my 744 audio files. Avid might have this capability. This is one reason for thinking about double-system sound while you're working on a budget. Somebody ALWAYS has to be syncing all that audio]
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Old November 5th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #7
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Nate, you rock!

Thanks so much for the suggestion.

I'm going to try exactly what you outlined using Vegas and the Sony 7030.

I'll report here later with a note to let you know how it goes.

Thank you,
Michael
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Old November 5th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #8
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Hi,

I know this is a bit OT, but IŽd recommend to use an Edirol R4 in the field - there is a TC Version , too - WAV files will embed the TC and can be easily integrated in Vegas (IMPORT->BROADCAST WAV).

I own a R4 (without TC) and use it quite often in 4ch Mode when I cant use cables on the XDCAM HD.

ULI
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Old November 5th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #9
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More trouble in Paradise

Well guys, I hate to report this, but the Vegas capture of AES from Xena seems to be a problem.

The Xena card and Vegas find the RS422 Time Code on the 7030. No problem there. But apparently the AJA driver has a bit of a defect when it comes to working with Vegas. Unless I'm mistaken, there's no way to tell the software to use the AES input.

I called AJA Tech Support. Spoke to Shane over there. He's looking into it. But so far, neither one of us can find a way to tell Vegas to use the AES input of the Xena. Pretty glaring omission I'd say!

Anyway, I'll let you know how it pans out one way or another. But without a driver upgrade by AJA, it doesn't look promising at the moment. In fact, I think it's entirely possibly that the new driver is worse than the old one.

I don't know how many of you out there have the Xena LHe card. Also don't know how many of you are using with Vegas. I'll take a wild guess and say zero. But if I'm wrong, I'll report my findings to those who care. If nobody else has this particular card software config, I'll simply leave a brief note about whether I ever got it to work. No sense wasting space if no one else cares.

Best,
Michael
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Old November 5th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Michael Rissi View Post
If nobody else has this particular card software config, I'll simply leave a brief note about whether I ever got it to work. No sense wasting space if no one else cares.
Of course we care. Even if we aren't using that exact set-up, DVINFO is meant to be a place where folks can come to find answers. If it's an unusual solution to a problem, we will sticky it at the top.

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Old November 6th, 2007, 12:18 AM   #11
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Well, then, since you got tones on the head of each tape I'm sure, I'd just do analog.

I'd call it a very slight compromise to get where you need to go. It's not like the output of the stage of the Sony is dirty, nor the input stage of the Xena.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
Of course we care. Even if we aren't using that exact set-up, DVINFO is meant to be a place where folks can come to find answers. If it's an unusual solution to a problem, we will sticky it at the top.

-gb-
That's good to know, Greg. In that case, I'll follow up in later days with that in mind.

Also, Nate, I agree analog is a reasonable option.

As it stands, the driver currently available for the AJA card, 3.0.1 has more than one problem it seems in terms of its functionality with Vegas 8.0 and capturing sound. I am able to get Time Code from the RS422 port of the card, but once the settings are correct for that, I have not been able to record any sound, analog or AES when using the RS422 port. I have spoken at length with Shane in Tech Support at AJA about this problem. I am waiting to hear back from him.

In the meantime, if no answer comes from them, I plan to go back to an earlier driver and see if that helps.

Best,
Michael
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Old November 16th, 2007, 07:59 PM   #13
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Update

It seems that the AJA Xena board DOES NOT have a driver enabling full support of the board's inputs when used with Vegas.

Only SDI input is supported. Otherwise you have to use Machina software provided with the board to capture sound from the XLR inputs, AES or analog.

This wasn't clear to me before buying the board. Disappointing, to say the least.

In the meantime, I've discovered that when using native Sony .MXF files, the Xena will play them back from the Vegas timeline, but even with my dual core HP XW8400 (twp 3 Gig 5160 processors) it plays back a bit rough. AJA says the .MXF files are highly compressed and processor hungry. I'll try to change some settings on the workstation and see if that helps.

More bizarre, however, is an issue of sync between sound and picture. The Xena board plays the picture back in sync, even if it has to skip frames. But the sound is OUT of sync by some 13 frames or so AFTER the picture.

The only way to get sync sound is by playing picture out of the Xena board and using the crummy built in analog output of the workstation's built in sound board.

I have been talking with the folks at AJA, now Will Simpson over there and he's going to be looking into all this.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know what happens as I find out myself.

Clearly, for all the money spent on the system I have at present, it's not exactly an ideal solution. That is, this is not exactly what I bargained for when I read that Vegas 8 fully supports .MXF files for professional editing and the Xena board supports Vegas. I don't remember any fine print about sync issues.

If there's a setting of some kind I'm missing, it must be a very subtle one.

At any rate, I'll post my results here when I have something new to report.

Hope this helps some of the rest of you out there considering purchase of this combination.

I'm also looking into Liquid Chrome Xe as an option.

If anyone is using that system, please let me know.

Best,
Mike
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Old December 7th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #14
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Well, I went ahead and purchase Liquid Chrome Xe.

It has the ability to capture time code from a DAT tape and has a match frame feature that makes lining up sound and picture via time code pretty simple.

I'm still finessing my workstation, but this option seems like it will work once I have it optimized.

Mike
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