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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
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Old September 11th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #1
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XDCAM Disks for Archiving?

I heard a while back, that the Sony reader / writer PDW-U1 will allow to use XDCAM disks as mountable external disks. Apparently it would be possible if Sony allows it.
This interested me greatly as I have a massive archive of photographs that I need to backup. Since then I have not heard or read anything about this.
Today I read that Sony announced 128 GB quad-layer disks. This makes me again very interested in the disks for data storage.
Anybody know anything about this?
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Old September 11th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #2
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Oliver,

The ability to use XDCAM discs to store any type of data files has existed for more than a year for PC users and since last winter for Mac. I can personally testify that it is very easy and works well. There is a folder on the XDCAM disc called "UserData" and you can treat it just like an external hard drive with full write, read, rewrite, access. All you need is a PDW-U1 drive and some blank discs. Just drag and drop.

If I was you, I wouldn't wait around for the quad layer equipment. The way I see it, that is going to be for big organizations with deep pockets. Discs will be $80 each and they will not work with the PDW-U1. The quad drives are going to be expensive. I've never heard a figure, but a price tag over $20K would not surprise me based on the prototype I saw under glass at NAB. Even if I'm off about the price, it's still going to cost in the multiple thousands. Probably not cost effective for small produciton companies or individuals. These are for big corporations, Hollywood studios, networks, etc.

That's just my 2 cents . . . and a lot of speculation not necessarily based on facts.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 04:22 AM   #3
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Surprised existing equipment couldn't be made to read such discs. Sure it is a simple case of refocussing the laser, like it has to for dual layer?
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Old September 15th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #4
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In terms of archiving video, this has got me thinking about storing recordings originally made on a camera like the EX on such discs for archive. Am I right in thinking that because they are .mp4 wrappers (not .mxf) they may be able to be stored as data files, but not in a way that an XDCAM player would recognise?

Moving on, then if that's true, what about the recordings made on the new Canon cameras? Could these be transferred from the Compact Flash to such discs to form a fully compatible XDCAM 422 disc?
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Old September 15th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #5
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Is this any different to archiving on normal DVDs though, or maybe BluRay?
I thought that's sort of what XDCam discs were, just in a hard shell for durability. For archiving you're not going to need that hard shell.
Excuse my ignorance!
Steve
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Old September 15th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
In terms of archiving video, this has got me thinking about storing recordings originally made on a camera like the EX on such discs for archive. Am I right in thinking that because they are .mp4 wrappers (not .mxf) they may be able to be stored as data files, but not in a way that an XDCAM player would recognise?

Moving on, then if that's true, what about the recordings made on the new Canon cameras? Could these be transferred from the Compact Flash to such discs to form a fully compatible XDCAM 422 disc?
David,

I don't know if the new XDCAM Browser software coming out later this month (this software replaces Clip Browser, XDCAM Transfer, etc) will automatically convert the EX MP4 files to MXF for storage on optical disc. I could ask Sony right now, but I'd rather just wait and try it myself when the software comes out.

I do know from first-hand experience this week that you CAN transfer certain types of files shot with the new PMW-500 directly to XDCAM disc. The 500 allows you to work in two different file modes on the SxS cards. You have to format the card as either FAT and UDF before you start shooting. FAT is the normal EX technology and you cannot transfer those files to the CLIPS folder of an optical disc right now. (Maybe you can in the future?) On the other hand, UDF is the F800/700 compatible mode, and you CAN transfer those MXF files directly to the CLIPS of a an optical disc. I hope that makes sense. I don't have time to explain it any better than that tonight.

Funny that you'd ask about the Canon files. I just tried that this afternoon. I was not able to transfer Canon 50Mbps/422 MXF files to the CLIPS folder on an XDCAM disc. I was kind of surprised it didn't work because I can use Sony's XDCAM Transfer to view Canon on a CompactFlash card.

Of course, you can always use the UserDate folder on an optical disc to store any kind of files you want, but what we are talking about here, is using the CLIP folder and having the video files appear as "video files" on the disc rather than just dumb data storege.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 08:47 PM   #7
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Is this any different to archiving on normal DVDs though, or maybe BluRay?
I thought that's sort of what XDCam discs were, just in a hard shell for durability. For archiving you're not going to need that hard shell.
Excuse my ignorance!
Steve
Steve, you can use the XDCAM discs as just dumb data storage like hard drives, DVD-rom, BluRay data discs, etc. I use them that way right now. There is a special folder on the disc that is just for storing any type of data you want up to the maximum available capacity of the disc. Those files can be video, music, photos, Photoshop, word processing files, etc. anything you want.

But, if you can store video files as compatible "video files" on the disc then you open up all kinds of additional features with playback, editing, NLE access, etc. The ability to store MXF files on an optical disc as video files (rather than just data files) that have been shot on SxS cards with a PMW-500 is a huge workflow advantage for those of use that use both SxS cards and optical discs. It's probably hard for someone who doesn't use optical disc to understand, but it's an important capabilty that will prove to be invaluable.

No matter what your workflow is, SxS cards are always just a temporary storage medium. Optical is KING!!! The discs can be used for acquisition, archiving, client delivery, playback, final output, etc. Meshing together SxS and optical workflows is pretty cool.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #8
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If I was you, I wouldn't wait around for the quad layer equipment. The way I see it, that is going to be for big organizations with deep pockets. Discs will be $80 each and they will not work with the PDW-U1. The quad drives are going to be expensive. I've never heard a figure, but a price tag over $20K would not surprise me based on the prototype I saw under glass at NAB. Even if I'm off about the price, it's still going to cost in the multiple thousands. Probably not cost effective for small produciton companies or individuals. These are for big corporations, Hollywood studios, networks, etc..
I had the chance to pick some brains at Sony today, and I have to back off on this prediction. Yes, I was right, the deck that was shown at NAB will be quite expensive. $20K to $44K depending on what options you want.

However, there will be a PDW-U1 replacement drive (not a deck) that will be compatible with quad-layer 128GB discs. It's my understanding that that drive won't cost much more than the $2,500 price of the current U1 drive. Pretty nice!!! It's going to make archiving big projects so much simpler to have 128GB discs.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 03:05 AM   #9
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But in what way is it different/better than just burning to DVDs for archive? Bigger, safer, easier? I still don't understand, sorry!
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Old September 16th, 2010, 04:00 AM   #10
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But in what way is it different/better than just burning to DVDs for archive? Bigger, safer, easier? I still don't understand, sorry!
More robust. Effective error checking, and the ability to recover data if one part of the disc becomes damaged. The case alone would help protect against UV light too without accounting for the other differences.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 04:10 AM   #11
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Right, thanks Simon.
Steve
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