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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 28th, 2008, 08:52 AM   #1
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Transfer Utility conversion nightmares

I work on a Powerbook G4. I downloaded the Transfer Utility software from the Sony Services Plus site, since it wasn't included on the disk I received. I quickly realized it was a plug-in for Final Cut Pro 6, which I don't own, nor need, since I simply submit stock footage.

So I submitted my footage to my stock library and uploaded the Sony transfer app to them via their ftp site. I then FedExed my clip files, in complete folders, on DVD, without manipulation to them. They were to convert the files and put them to work. They already had an end user and a sale for me. But they are struggling and can't get it to work. Here's their email to me:

"well, i've talked to apple, i've talked to sony, i've reinstalled the software, i've downloaded update, i've done everything i can do to make these files work and the only thing i can conclude is that some of the data generated by the camera that would make the files work is missing. so i see two options 1) he does the conversion to quicktime files on his own system and just sends us those or 2) he resends the data but includes everything, all the folders, that the camera generated and we try again."

Okay... so when I download from the camera, I get the following:
A master folder labeled: "BPAV"
inside are two folders: "CLPR" and "TAKR"
inside the "TAKR" folder there is nothing. empty.
inside the "CLPR" folder there are folders for each take.

I ignored the "TAKR" folder, but included all the "CLPR" folders intact on the DVD. Why the heck cant' they get anything to convert?? Help??? What a nightmare! Can someone out there provide some help on what's going on?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #2
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Transfer Utility does not require FCP. It can run as a standalone but without FCP 6.0.2 and the codecs you won't be able to see anything. The utility wraps the clips to .MOV.

Transfer Utility should be 2.5.1 which is NOT on the USA Sony site when I last checked yesterday. Sony Canada has had it for several days now. The update fixes issues 2.1 had with timecode. Some reported that 24fps (and 25fps) video using Clock Time Code would not import/convert.

NEVER touch the folder structure! NEVER!
Create a folder on the desktop and name it something appropriate and put the BPAV in that. Create a separate folder for each card you copy over. THIS is what you should hand to the client! They would need Sony Clip Browser for Windows to rewraps to MXF. Sony Clip Browser (Intel Mac) is a copy only tool. Xtransfer Tool (both PPC and Intel Mac) rewraps file to MOV.

VLC can play the MP4 but it's not really a conversion or rewrap too. This will allow them to at least look at the clips even if you've damaged the folder structure.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #3
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This whole .mp4 to .mxf rewrapping/conversion thing is just dispensable. It could be so simple if .mp4 would be the final native file format that NLE's would accept. As if the world of file formats would not yet be confusing enough ...
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #4
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Sony Clip Browser on WINDOWS rewraps to MXF.
On MAC Sony Clip Browser is just a Copy tool.
On MAC Sony XFER Tool rewraps to MOV.

If would be nice if the NLE coders would rewrite to handle the .mp4 but I suspect there's much faster adoption if Sony writes one Windows tool for MXF and one Mac tool for MOV then to ask each NLE to write code for a camera with a format variant just coming to market.

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This whole .mp4 to .mxf rewrapping/conversion thing is just annoying. Why can't just .mp4 be the native file format that NLE's would accept?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
If would be nice if the NLE coders would rewrite to handle the .mp4 but I suspect there's much faster adoption if Sony writes one Windows tool for MXF and one Mac tool for MOV then to ask each NLE to write code for a camera with a format variant just coming to market.
Greg, I didn't realize that the .mp4 codec is that new. Wasn't already Vegas 6 able to render that codec?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Sony Clip Browser on WINDOWS rewraps to MXF.
On MAC Sony Clip Browser is just a Copy tool.
On MAC Sony XFER Tool rewraps to MOV.
If would be nice if the NLE coders would rewrite to handle the .mp4 but I suspect there's much faster adoption if Sony writes one Windows tool for MXF and one Mac tool for MOV then to ask each NLE to write code for a camera with a format variant just coming to market.
Hi Craig,
This is very illuminating... I'm trying to clear the cobwebs in my brain on this.
Apologies if I very temporarily interrupt Michael's issue, to ask you to clarify a couple more things.
My situation in a nutshell: I'm getting an EX1, I have a Mac, running Avid Xpress Pro... AXP, on a Mac, can import MXF files (the 25Mb ones; update coming in March for the 35Mb files), BUT... the Sony Clip Browser for Mac doesn't convert the EX files to MXF... just as you say. It's a copy tool only.
Which is why I won't be able to use my EX with my Mac-based Avid system, unless I use a PC, with the PC-version of the Sony Clip Browser, to convert the EX files to MXF first. (this much I think I now understand).
I'm stuck doing it this way until/unless Sony updates its Clip Browser for the Mac. For the life of me, I can't figure out why they wouldn't, but maybe Sony has another agenda? And maybe that agenda is the one you referred to, where the Browser for PC just does MXF, and the Browser for Mac does MOV.
Does what I've said above make sense? One more question. You say the Clip Browser for Mac is just a copy tool. So if I took my MacBook Pro into the field with me, and copied my cards to it... what type of files would I have on my desktop... (and is there anything I could do with them in Avid Xpress Pro?).
Thanks so much (and sorry for the interruption, Michael)
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #7
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Stupid question: I have both HDCAM Transfer and the EX Clip Browser. Do I need both? I have successfully copied files onto my computer just importing them from HDCAM Transfer. Only the clips copy over. Why do I need the BPAV folder at all? If I cherry pick the clips I want, I don't have to use up a lot of drive space for footage I don't want. Does that meta data follow the clip?

Thanks.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #8
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EX1 is not .mp4 "codec" per se. The clip's "essence" is XDCAM wrapped in .mp4.
Quicktime, for example, can not play the MOV unless the EX1 codec is installed and can't play the .mp4 at all.

Many apps that can handle .mp4 can not (yet) handle this.

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Originally Posted by Michael Mann View Post
Greg, I didn't realize that the .mp4 codec is that new. Wasn't already Vegas 6 able to render that codec?
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:17 AM   #9
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Hmm maybe Apple, not Sony, has another agenda. Maybe Apple would like you to use FCP rather than Avid on Mac.

Maybe Avid will have their own update coming as you mention. Avid is not the fastest and supporting new formats.

Clip Browser on (Intel only) Mac just copies (and/or splits) the entire BPAV content. It would be like moving the card BPAV folders to your desktop (or wherever). What you have on your desktop is the BPAV with all its contents.

Xfer Tool (both PPC and Intel Mac) wraps to MOV. It can run as a separate application outside of FCP. Might Avid support these MOV files . . . if Avid supports EX codec (obviously not yet)? I don't know that but it might be an avenue to explore when Avid supports EX.

BTW I was an Avid editor for over 10 years (started just after its inception) and some of what you ask about is why I switched to FCP. Avid still has some significant advantages though but this is something to consider.

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Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Hi Craig,
This is very illuminating... I'm trying to clear the cobwebs in my brain on this.
Apologies if I very temporarily interrupt Michael's issue, to ask you to clarify a couple more things.
My situation in a nutshell: I'm getting an EX1, I have a Mac, running Avid Xpress Pro... AXP, on a Mac, can import MXF files (the 25Mb ones; update coming in March for the 35Mb files), BUT... the Sony Clip Browser for Mac doesn't convert the EX files to MXF... just as you say. It's a copy tool only.
Which is why I won't be able to use my EX with my Mac-based Avid system, unless I use a PC, with the PC-version of the Sony Clip Browser, to convert the EX files to MXF first. (this much I think I now understand).
I'm stuck doing it this way until/unless Sony updates its Clip Browser for the Mac. For the life of me, I can't figure out why they wouldn't, but maybe Sony has another agenda? And maybe that agenda is the one you referred to, where the Browser for PC just does MXF, and the Browser for Mac does MOV.
Does what I've said above make sense? One more question. You say the Clip Browser for Mac is just a copy tool. So if I took my MacBook Pro into the field with me, and copied my cards to it... what type of files would I have on my desktop... (and is there anything I could do with them in Avid Xpress Pro?).
Thanks so much (and sorry for the interruption, Michael)
Malcolm
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:22 AM   #10
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I assume you mean XDCAM Transfer. Do you NEED both? No.

Clip Browser is a good way to copy the BPAV intact for archival purposes. If you're using 16GB cards, Clip Browser can split into 8GB folders for backup to DL-DVD. Also if you had to hand "masters" to a client this would be the best way.

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Originally Posted by Bill Parker View Post
Stupid question: I have both HDCAM Transfer and the EX Clip Browser. Do I need both? I have successfully copied files onto my computer just importing them from HDCAM Transfer. Only the clips copy over. Why do I need the BPAV folder at all? If I cherry pick the clips I want, I don't have to use up a lot of drive space for footage I don't want. Does that meta data follow the clip?

Thanks.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:37 AM   #11
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Yeah - XDCAM transfer (my brain has reached a saturation point with camera and format names). Thanks. You've definitely cleared it up for me.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #12
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Thanks, Craig.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 12:19 PM   #13
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Of course Sony calls the Transfer Tool PDZ-KP1. Now that's an informative title. Not to be confused with XDZ-P1 whose title should immediately clarify the difference (Clip Browser).

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Yeah - XDCAM transfer (my brain has reached a saturation point with camera and format names). Thanks. You've definitely cleared it up for me.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:14 PM   #14
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I think the stock footage house should be able to use the files by taking the CLPR folders and recreating the proper structure:

[folder name] > BPAV > TAKR [&] CLPR

Then in XDCAM Transfer app. choose "add source" and choose [folder name].
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Old February 28th, 2008, 02:25 PM   #15
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XDCAM Transfer app is Mac only and creates MOV files.

Do you mean Clip Browser?

If people keep using the names interchangeably it's going to create more confusion

ClipBrowser Windows Copies and can wrap to MXF
ClipBrowser (Intel only) Mac Copies
XDCAM Transfer Tool Mac wraps to MOV

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...ownloads.shtml

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Collins View Post
I think the stock footage house should be able to use the files by taking the CLPR folders and recreating the proper structure:

[folder name] > BPAV > TAKR [&] CLPR

Then in XDCAM Transfer app. choose "add source" and choose [folder name].
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