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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old September 30th, 2007, 02:17 AM   #1
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Archiving EX with Final Cut Pro

I'll buy the EX soon... but I am still asking mylsef questions.

First of all, let's talk about archiving. Sony's PDW-U1 does not make it for me since it's expensive (about $ 3000 ?) and it won't Probably be upgraded as a writer until NAB 2008 ! So there is also blu-ray, but that means a lot of discs and it takes time to burn. So I think I'll use internal hard drives as they were discs with WiebeTech's RTX-100 (http://wiebetech.com/products/RTX100.php). This means fast transfer, and a lot of GB.

I'll be using FCP for editing with XDCAM Transfer 2. But will FCP use the native MP4 file or converted QuickTime files ? Not sure what I'll have to archive... Sony says you can record 50 minutes on a 16 GB card, so that makes about 19 GB/hour for MP4. Now if the MP4 file is converted to QT uncompressed 8-bit, that's a bunch of GB to archive !!

Last edited by Steven Nichols; September 30th, 2007 at 02:22 AM. Reason: error
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Old September 30th, 2007, 08:42 AM   #2
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I haven't heard anyone mention it yet, but there's also the option of downconverting your 35Mb/s EX footage to 25Mb/s and using a deck or hdv camera to then print your footage as hdv to tape for archiving (after you've completed your final cut of the original footage of course).

Sure it doesn't allow you to keep the footage at its full 35Mb/s quality, but how often do you need to pull out archived footage? If the answer is not very often, then the fact that it's archived at 25Mb/s probably isn't too big of a deal.

My two cents.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #3
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Mark that may work well if you shoot 1080i interlaced all the time but it isn't that great of a solution if you want to shoot 1080p 24p or 720p with the camera. The 25mbits mode is strictly for 1440x1080 interlaced. If you are somebody like me who loves this camera for what it can do for 720p then the backup to tape isn't the best option.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:05 AM   #4
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This all depends on your purpose for archiving.
For me, I've had too many hard drive failures to ever think of it as more than short term storage.

The Sony PDW-U1 expensive at about $3000? That price is not much different than many DV decks or HDV decks. How is this more expensive than an HDV deck?

Blu-ray - lots of discs and time to burn? While Blu-ray is not a durable as XDCAM disc, the storage sizes are the same.

Archive to HDV tape? To me that defeats the purpose of going XDCAM.

How often does one pull out archived footage? It would A LOT MORE OFTEN if it's random access. Slogging through 60 minute tapes to find a shot you used 2 years ago is painful. Finding a thumbnail on a disc (or even a hard drive if one takes that risk) would mean one could use archival video more easily. Many projects with a lifespan require revisions or new projects pulling selects from previous ones. Doing this quickly saves time/money.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #5
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The Sony PDW-U1 expensive at about $3000? That price is not much different than many DV decks or HDV decks. How is this more expensive than an HDV deck?
My HDV deck (HVR-M15) has YUV HD output for about $ 2000, so I definitely think $3000 for a USB drive is a lot of $-especially if the drive is a reader-only until NAB 2008 !!

Regarding the file format FCP can use, anyone used XDCAM Transfer v1 with MXF ? Just curious if it allows to use MXF (or MP4) inside FCP, or just convert it to QT files.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:55 AM   #6
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Regarding the file format FCP can use, anyone used XDCAM Transfer v1 with MXF ? Just curious if it allows to use MXF (or MP4) inside FCP, or just convert it to QT files.
Yes, I've been using it since day one. FCP does not work with MXF or MP4 directly. The XDCAM Transfer unwraps the audio/video from the MXF wrapper, and re-wraps it into a .mov file which FCP understands because of the XDCAM codecs supplied with FCP. When you are finished, your master sequence can be exported back to disc. If you edit in the native codec, you can avoid any transcoding all through the workflow. The export will take your material, and put it back into the MXF format that the disc requires.

-gb-
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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #7
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If you edit in the native codec, you can avoid any transcoding all through the workflow.
Greg, do you use the native codec or do you go for uncompressed or ProRes 422 ? How good is XDCAM HD codec ?
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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:38 AM   #8
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Greg, do you use the native codec or do you go for uncompressed or ProRes 422 ? How good is XDCAM HD codec ?
I'm still on 5.1.4 so I don't have ProRes 422. Whether or not you stay in the native codec, depends on how heavily you want to post process. I'm not a heavy duty editor and I mainly edit my stuff to make me a better camera operator in terms of shot selection and coverage. Therefore, I stay in XDCAM HD on the timeline. I think ProRes or full uncompressed makes sense if you want to start out with lots of room to massage things without sacrificing quality.

-gb-
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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:13 PM   #9
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Its data- archive it using IT methodologies

The XDCAM EX, if I recall properly, will ship with two 8GB cards. Archive that data as data. One technique is simply to copy the entire SxS media to a DVD DL.

If you follow that strategy media costs will be similar to HDV or MiniDV- and you retain all the advantages of a data centric workflow.

On a recent project we used a similar technique with 4GB P2 cards being dumped to DVD.

We actually had a data wrangler (me at first) copy footage from the P2 to a firewire HD attached to a Macbook with Final Cut Studio 2. We viewed "dailes" through FCP on a 24" computer monitor.

We had another machine (an older G5 IIRC) that we used to duplicate the firewire drives, and to make the DVD backups.

So, at the end of production, we had two and a half complete copies of our production on hard drives and a complete copy of all the P2 Media on DVD.

We had a bit more than 1TB of data, so that was a LOT of DVDs, but the job was done, and now we have the entire production in three separate locations. All told our budget for storage was low, less than $500.

In post, you dump that to your NAS or SAN and then you can use any IT methodology you like for backup.

Just remember every few years to re-encode the media in whatever is new and better so you can still read it decades down the road.

If you need "ultimate" archivability then I still suggest film out of all the master media used in your project as well as the final project.
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Last edited by Alexander Ibrahim; October 1st, 2007 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Changed 1st sentence to reflect clarification by Jiri Bakala below
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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Alexander Ibrahim View Post
The XDCAM EX, if I recall properly, will ship with max media capacities of 8GB.
I found no info on max media. The Sony XDCAM EX also works with the 16GB cards too.
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0019/t.8675.html
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Old October 1st, 2007, 09:20 AM   #11
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I believe what Alexander meant is that the camera will ship with two 8GB cards. That's what I understand the plan is.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 06:55 PM   #12
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I believe what Alexander meant is that the camera will ship with two 8GB cards. That's what I understand the plan is.
Yeah, that's what I meant. I edited my earlier post to clear that up. Sorry for the confusion Steven.

The 8GB cards give you ~31 minutes per card in HQ mode. I assure you it will take less than 31 minutes (close to 8 minutes in fact) to copy the media to a HDD and get it back into the camera.

I plan on sticking with 8GB media exclusively until blue ray comes way down in price- or until larger SxS media is cheap enough to treat "disposably."

In fact, I hope to get a few 4GB SxS cards if they are out there... because archiving to DVD will be about 1/8th the cost, and for film style production a 15 minute "film mag" is practically luxurious.

We rolled about 120 minutes a day on A cam on my last show, about half that on B cam most days. So the pace of archiving isn't at all outrageous.

In fact I like the smaller chunks of data, because then the "data wranglers" can log in the sheets properly, basically doing the job of an assistant editor, and then you can have media ready to edit as soon as you walk off set.
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Last edited by Alexander Ibrahim; October 1st, 2007 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Note edit of above comment to reflect Jiri's clarification
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