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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old May 19th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #1
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Question on CF card workflow

Ok, currently I'm recording HDV to tape, and let's say I've shot one tape's worth (about 60min), and to get those into my NLE of choice (Final Cut Pro) I do the following:

- Use FCP's ProRes 422 capture, which basically captures and transcodes to ProRes while it's doing it, to capture the footage in real time.

As I'm still effectively playing the tape back into the computer, this will take real time (ie 60 mins to capture).

So basically, however much footage I shot, it will take that long again to get the footage into the computer before I can log/edit etc. Takes a long time. I shot 7 hours of footage at a recent event, so it takes the best part of a working day just to get that stuff into the computer. Not good.

So, if I bought the CF card device, which records to files instead/as well, what would the workflow be? Firstly, I would have to get those files off the card - do I do this with a second CF card reader connected to my computer? Or can you copy off the Sony directly over firewire?

I'm guessing files would be of the order of about 10 gigs for 60mins of footage. Copying 10 gigs over firewire would probably take 10-20 mins I would guess.

Once the files are on my computer (these are "m2t" files, right?) can I work with those directly? Or is it still large-GOP video that's a pain to edit, therefore, like my tape workflow, I'd want to convert those to ProRes as well? (I probably would anyway, to keep a ProRes timeline.)

If so, how long does it typically tape to transcode a 60-minute m2t file to ProRes, compared to capturing off tape? I know this is processing-power dependent (I'm just using a Macbook Pro here) but some idea from those of you who are working like this would be helpful. (I might try to find some downloadable mts footage that I can transcode and try out for myself.)

Basically, I'm trying to gauge how much time/effort the card device would save me. If it's going to take, say 45 mins to transcode that footage to ProRes, then I'm not making that much of a substantial time saving to justify the cost.

Cheers!

Edit: Hmm, seems I can ClipWrap it, and edit with the m2t HDV content natively, without the need to transcode, which might be workable...

Last edited by Ben Hall; May 19th, 2009 at 10:08 AM.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 08:21 AM   #2
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I've got the MRC1K and used a Trancsent CF 16gb 133x. It took approx. 10-12 minutes to download 60mins from the card.

I used the Sony Utility to join 4 long clips together (anything over 4gb in time is split into separate files due to the FAT system) and they played seamlessly on the Premiere CS3 timeline. If I download the split files individually, at the beginning of each clip is a glitch but the end of each file is clean. Joining them together seems to get rid of the glitch.

If you line the joined up clips (one file) on the timeline and place the single clips over the top, and sync them together to match the large clip, there is about a 2-3 frame gap at the beginning of each single clip (hope you can understand what I'm trying to say, I'm English but I come from Lancashire !!)

It would seem therefore that it is better to join the clips together than load them individually.

I don't know if faster cards download quicker but I was quite happy with my download time.

I'm also looking for a source for CF cards in England. I got mine from maxmemory but their web site is down.

7dayshop.com have them for 36.99 inc postage and VAT. Watch out for Web sites, they may be cheap but then add postage.

Peter
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:10 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response, Peter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter D. Parker View Post
I've got the MRC1K and used a Trancsent CF 16gb 133x. It took approx. 10-12 minutes to download 60mins from the card.
Ok, that's nice and workable.

[QUOTE=Peter D. Parker;1146290]I used the Sony Utility to join 4 long clips together (anything over 4gb in time is split into separate files due to the FAT system) and they played seamlessly on the Premiere CS3 timeline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter D. Parker View Post
If I download the split files individually, at the beginning of each clip is a glitch but the end of each file is clean. Joining them together seems to get rid of the glitch.
Ok - presumably, the Z5 uses the FAT32 system for the cards, so the Sony itself will split files into max 4GB segments (I'm on a Mac, so can happily use files much larger than 4GB).

So split clips when joined are frame accurate, you don't lose any info across the split point. It's still a little annoying to have to deal with that if it happens mid shot and you haven't joined the clips (in terms of editing, having two clips for one shot).

This Sony utility - is this something supplied with the camera? Is there a Mac version, do you know? If the joiner is doing some magic voodoo to keep the video seamless, not having a Mac version might be important...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter D. Parker View Post
If you line the joined up clips (one file) on the timeline and place the single clips over the top, and sync them together to match the large clip, there is about a 2-3 frame gap at the beginning of each single clip (hope you can understand what I'm trying to say, I'm English but I come from Lancashire !!)
Hehe, no worries! Yes, I see what you are saying - when joined with the utility, there are no problems, but if you use the clips without joining them via the utility, there are potential issues.

When you press record, does the camera make a new file on the card for every segment you shoot? If so, presumably this joing shenannigans only really applies when filming continuous segments that would generate a file larger than 4GB - what's that in terms of time - maybe a 30 or so minute shot?

This is great stuff, and stuff I wasn't aware of, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. Once again it seems were cursed with Microsoft limitations in terms of the file system... :(
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:45 AM   #4
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Hi Ben,

Look at Sony : Sony Recording Unit Utility Software : United Kingdom
for the software utility.

t
There's been discussion on here about formating the card. It seems it's better NOT to format the card but just delete the clips. If you do decide to format, do it in the Unit and not on the computer.

Peter
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 04:29 AM   #5
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Yeah - PC only (which doesn't surprise me, Sony barely recognise Macs' existence...)

So in order to import sizable clips using the CF workflow, I'd also have to run Windows in Parallels to join the files, in addition to copying them off the card, and transcoding to ProRes. Hmm - the workflow is getting less automatic, slower and more tricky all the time.

The tape way is long, but at least it's a start-and-forget process.

If the CF card workflow is more hassle than it should be, and won't save a significant amount of time, then for my needs it would seem the main feature of running the card recorder is a recording backup - a great thing of course, but as the recorder is a sizable investment, it would seem it doesn't have as many advantages for me as it otherwise might have...

Stuff to think about, anyway. Thanks for your input, Peter, really helpful.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 09:38 AM   #6
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Maybe I am just missing something here, but this is how I do it on my mac.
When you buy the MRC1K you also get a disc with software on it.
Install it and you will be able to log and transfer in FCP 6.0.5
This automaticly transforms the file from M2T to whatever it is shot in.
So for instance HDV 1080 50i, which is perfectly doable to edit in my mac book pro.
You may choose to set the renders to prores tho, if you want to save time in renders.
I can make a iShowU video of it, if you want to see how that workflow goes...

Cheers!

Last edited by Boudewijn de Kemp; May 22nd, 2009 at 10:40 AM.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudewijn de Kemp View Post
Install it and you will be able to log and transfer in FCP 6.0.5
Hmm... I thought the whole point with having file access is that you no longer have to do the log and capture process?

Sure, I'm using this with tape in real time, but I thought the whole point of the CF card workflow was that, rather than having to log and capture the data from the camera *to* a file, you already have the file/s you copied from the card reader, you just import (and/or transcode) that into FCP?

Or am I missing something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudewijn de Kemp View Post
I can make a iShowU video of it, if you want to see how that workflow goes...
That would be great, if it's not too much of a chore.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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I use clipwrap and it re-wraps the files as .mov for use in FCP. Log and transfer with the sony plug in does a similar job.
Even on AVID there is still a transfer process involved but it is a lot faster than capture from tape.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 12:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Hall View Post
Hmm... I thought the whole point with having file access is that you no longer have to do the log and capture process?

Sure, I'm using this with tape in real time, but I thought the whole point of the CF card workflow was that, rather than having to log and capture the data from the camera *to* a file, you already have the file/s you copied from the card reader, you just import (and/or transcode) that into FCP?

Or am I missing something?
Yes, that is why you Log and TRANSFER instead of Log and capture.
Anyways, this will explain everything...

Here you will see how it works

RapidShare: Easy Filehosting

p.s. this is done on a very old FW400 disk and a Imac 2.66ghz dual core.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudewijn de Kemp View Post
Yes, that is why you Log and TRANSFER instead of Log and capture.
Ah, ok. Sorry for the dumb questions, it's difficult to pre-visualise this stuff until you actually get everything in front of you and work out what to do.

Cool - I've never used the Log and Transfer function, hence my confusion with Log and Capture.

In your video, are you selecting the source clips from the compact flash card (in which case the log and transfer reads and wraps/transcodes the files from the card and writes the new clip data to the drive), or have you already copied these to your drive? (In effect having two copies?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudewijn de Kemp View Post
Anyways, this will explain everything...
Thanks for that - really useful. Does the log and transfer function handle clips that go across the 4GB FAT boundary on the cards - ie does it do this joining process invisibly, or do you still end up with split clips?
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 12:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Hall View Post
Ah, ok. Sorry for the dumb questions, it's difficult to pre-visualise this stuff until you actually get everything in front of you and work out what to do.

Cool - I've never used the Log and Transfer function, hence my confusion with Log and Capture.

In your video, are you selecting the source clips from the compact flash card (in which case the log and transfer reads and wraps/transcodes the files from the card and writes the new clip data to the drive), or have you already copied these to your drive? (In effect having two copies?)
No worries, there are no dumb questions.
As you can see the process is really simple and straight forward.
In this case the files where copied from the cf into fcp while being wrapped.
The rewrapped movs will appear in the capture scratch under your project name.
I always backup the M2T files onto a seprate (cheap USB 2.0) disk before deleting them on the CF.
1TB disk is 99 euro including taxes, so I see no reason to not do this.
Besides that back up, I also have a timemachine backup running from my edit disk.
So I have 3 copies of every shot eventually.

But as noted by Gary, you can also use ClipWrap...
When I import a full CF, I tend to use ClipWrap also.
It seems faster that way...
For more info go to http://www.clipwrap.com/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Hall View Post
Thanks for that - really useful. Does the log and transfer function handle clips that go across the 4GB FAT boundary on the cards - ie does it do this joining process invisibly, or do you still end up with split clips?
Good question, never had this happen tho so I should really test this.
I am still having to sort out some timecode diffculties also when shooting on CF only.
But I think I can sort this out by changing some settings in the MRC1K, haven't figured it out yet tho.
I really want the MRC1K to handle my CF as if it was tape. So that the timecode continues instead of going to zero everytime I press record.
I am sure this can be done very easy, but haven't found it yet.

cheers!
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 03:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudewijn de Kemp View Post
Maybe I am just missing something here, but this is how I do it on my mac.
When you buy the MRC1K you also get a disc with software on it.
Install it and you will be able to log and transfer in FCP 6.0.5
This automaticly transforms the file from M2T to whatever it is shot in.
So for instance HDV 1080 50i, which is perfectly doable to edit in my mac book pro.
You may choose to set the renders to prores tho, if you want to save time in renders.
I can make a iShowU video of it, if you want to see how that workflow goes...

Cheers!
And does this work with clips longer than 4 gB? I'll be doing a mulicamera shoot (5 cams) shortly and I want to use the 'multiclip' tool in FCP. I'd hate to see the synchronisation of all these cams go lost when stitching the clips togehter!
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