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Sony NXCAM / AVCHD Camcorders
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Old April 28th, 2010, 07:13 PM   #1
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How big are the files that the NX5 produces?

Hello, super helpful and knowledgeable NX5 owners!

I've been lurking in these and other forums for some time now reading about the various upsides and downsides of this camera. I'm considering getting one (minus the FMU, at least until Sony gets the issues people are having sorted out).

Can somebody give me an idea of what I should expect in terms of how many gigs, say, an of footage hour is, using Sony's AVCHD encoding? I'm a final cut user so it'd also be very helpful to know how big that expands to when it's converted to ProRes422.

My back of the envelope math based on figures on Sony's site makes me think it might be around 10 gigs per hour when in the native AVCHD codec (is that roughly close?), but I'm really in the dark about what kind of file sizes we're talking about when it's converted to ProRes422.

Currently I'm finishing shooting a doc on the z7u (with memory module that records to compact flash card) and we've been averaging about 12 gigs/hour when the footage is logged and transferred to Apple HDV 1080p24. I just want to know if this is comparable at all (I'm expecting the ProRes conversion especially will be considerably larger).

I know there's multiple quality settings on the NX5 (FX, FH, etc), so if you could let me know what quality you're shooting with that'd be very helpful.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 07:57 PM   #2
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Hello Alan,

You may want to look at my answer on that topic on this thread http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-nxc...-into-fcp.html

I have been using a a MacBook Pro to perform my multicam video editing. The files were transferred in ProRes 422 and accessible through a eSata express 34 card. The input sequence files are located on a 2 TB Barracuda XT Hard Drive - 2TB, 7200 RPM, SATA 6G, 64MB and the rendering is performing on a 1 TB disk all through the eSata card.

Unfortunately, the files are way to big and performing multicam video editing has been very difficult. I have been reading a ProRes White Paper http://images.apple.com/finalcutstud..._July_2009.pdf and it is recommend to log and transfer AVCHD files in ProRes 422 LT.

The quality is the same but the file which was 114 GIG is now 85 GIG and FinalCut can handle better multicam video editing.

Another issue to be aware at this time is the timecode always starting at zero in FinalCut Pro. If you are going to film a show it is better to perform long sequence video recording.

For the shows I have been filming I stop recording when there was a pause. Which mean I only had two sequence per show per camera. I've synchronised the sequence video and here I was performing video editing.

Hope it helps!
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Old April 29th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #3
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Say you record in HD FX at 24Mb/sec. That makes 3MB/sec (24/8), 180MB a minute, and 10.8GB an hour. So your estimates are correct.

I have an SR12 which does 16Mb/sec (2MB/sec) and the file sizes stay pretty consistant when compared to the mathematical estimates. So I think it's safe to assume the NX5 is the same.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 08:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for your answers. Yeesh, 114 gigs for an hour of footage?! I'd find that pretty hard to justify, given that the camera originals are less than a tenth the size. Even the 85 gigs cited above is just not going to work for me. Is Final Cut Pro late to the AVCHD native editing table or what?

So my initial thought is that I could shift my workflow from an online-editing only one to an offline and then online editing workflow (ya know, quaint old school 1997-style). But numerous people have said that FCP's Log & Transfer window doesn't preserve timecode for footage shot in the NX5 (this is especially weird to me given that it seems to preserve non-drop timecode just fine from the Z7U we've been shooting on cards in HDV, but whatever).

Assuming this is true (and especially given the problems that FCP has with converting just selected portions of longer clips according to Adam Welz elsewhere on this forum), couldn't I just convert the files in, say, Roxio Toast or something, and preserve timecode that way? Then when it's time for outputting, I could just convert the clips I needed to high res?

Does that make sense to you guys and do you think it would work? (specifically the part about maintaining original timecode by converting in something other than FCP). The lack of timecode worries me, especially given that in doc work, which is pretty much all I do, it's important for us to have timecode-precise transcriptions.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 12:29 PM   #5
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Why don't you just edit in Edius, realtime, native files including the timecode. If FCP can't do it, use another tool.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 02:17 PM   #6
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Fair question, Ron, but I'm a Mac user and don't feel like buying a new system or installing bootcamp just to edit. :-)

Moreover, I'm more dedicated to my current FCP workflow (and its compatibility with my collaborators) than to any hypothetical camera I might buy in the future.

Also, I just tried ingesting a sample NX5 clip that was posted on this forum in Roxio Toast as I outlined above, and the original timecode didn't come through (it started at 00:00:00:00)! Does anybody know what's up with the timecode issues on this camera? I read somewhere on another forum that no software is currently able to pull in the NX5's timecode but I've heard conflicting reports elsewhere. Does anybody know anything about a solution to this? Is it just that Apple and others need to issue software patches to start supporting the timecode?
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Old April 30th, 2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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I fully understand your position Alan. I can however confirm that timecode is transferred by the Sony Content Management Utility if used to transfer files to the PC as recommended and read correctly by Edius from those files. I also have Vegas , which like FCP starts every clip at zero!!! So the solution is with the NLE's not the camera.

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Old April 30th, 2010, 06:35 PM   #8
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Note that Premiere has the exact same issue with timecode on file-based clips.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #9
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If shooting in the FX @ 24mb/s:
24mb/s (at 8megabits per megabyte)=
3 MB per second=
180 MB per minute=
5.5 minutes per GB

Results (rounded off a tiny bit, time may vary 1-2 minutes):
4GB sdhc card ~ 22 minutes
8GB sdhc card ~ 44 minutes
16GB sdhc card ~ 88 minutes
32GB sdhc card ~ 176 minutes

Hope this helps anyone that is looking for cards!!
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Old May 7th, 2010, 09:26 PM   #10
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Page 101 in the manual just slightly different to Nick.

32GB card FX data rate PCM audio 170 mins
32GB card FX Dolby audio 180 mins

Since AVCHD is a VBR codec the times will vary slightly depending on program recorded.

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Old May 7th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #11
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Thanks again for all your answers. It's great to have a place to be able to ask smart people questions and get a variety of answers.

Has anybody tried editing with low res offline proxy files? Does the timecode issue make reconnecting the media for a full res online edit difficult in this workflow?

And, I'm just curious, how does the file sizes of the pro res files compare to how FCP ingests XDCAM EX files?
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