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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #1
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Codec Help Needed

Hi everyone,

Looking for some help and this is most likely the best place to find it...

I shoot with the EX1 and my biggest problem is finding a single codec that I can use to deliver the highest quality video to editors. I find if I edit my source on a PC, Final Cut can not read the .mxf files. If I edit on a Mac, PC's can not read the Final Cut QuickTIme videos.

What I have done is taken a 10 second piece of video and rendered out two files. The source shot at 1080/30P @ 35mbs. One file is rendered to H264 and the other is Photo-JPEG. Both files were rendered at the highest quality settings each codec allowed.

The files are loaded on to my FTP server at:
ftp://vegas:demo@download.gotfootage.com

What I need to know from everyone is if you were to incorporate my video into your video, what codec would you rather receive? Is Photo-JPEG so much better then H264. I honestly can not see with my eye much of a difference between the two though the H264 has a much lower data rate.

Thanks,

David Schmerin
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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #2
 
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personally, cineform's intermediate allows .mov formatting that can be read on either platform, PC or Mac. Sheer video also makes a viable, transferable codec.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #3
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If you're talking about source files you just hand them the BPAV folders. They can then use their Clip Browser (and XDCAM Transfer Tool on Mac) to convert as needed.

If you're talking about edited material to be used as source for further editing (stock video) you may need a "lowest common denominator." On the Mac, Episode Pro can encode to a variety of codecs such as XDCAM HD MXF.

It seems the more we move into IT workflow the further away we go from any kind of "standard."

Basically you have to give them something that they may have to convert again to work in their NLE on hand.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
If you're talking about source files you just hand them the BPAV folders. They can then use their Clip Browser (and XDCAM Transfer Tool on Mac) to convert as needed.

If you're talking about edited material to be used as source for further editing (stock video) you may need a "lowest common denominator." On the Mac, Episode Pro can encode to a variety of codecs such as XDCAM HD MXF.

It seems the more we move into IT workflow the further away we go from any kind of "standard."

Basically you have to give them something that they may have to convert again to work in their NLE on hand.
I am talking about stock video so yes the video will be edited. However, given that XDCAM HD 1440*1080, down sizing from full 1920 would be a shame. I might as well deliver HDV footage. If Final Cut Pro could read the 1920*1080 30p .MXF files produced by Sony's Clip Browser on the PC, my life would be great!

The reason for choosing between Photo-JPEG and H.264 is that all NLE systems support these video formats.

David Schmerin
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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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I'd think the BPAV folder plus ClipBrowser is closest to "universal" but it's not the simplest way of delivery. It allows the user to convert the files to what their system needs.

The above would work for Vegas, PremierePro, Final Cut Pro, Avid and Edius I believe BUT it means people have to have current updates.

Even if you go H264 (which means compression) you'll be faced with .mov vs .mp4 container.

Somewhere in there, there's people who do NOT update their NLEs regularly... but this is something every developer runs into. At some point the potential customer MUST update SOMETHING (OS, Program, CPU) to be compatible.

The problem of distribution of EX .mp4 will get easier very soon I think. Sony is going to fix the ClipBrowser so it'll handle "orphaned" EX MP4 files. This would be you could just deliver the MP4 with a link to the ClipBrowser and the end user would be able to:

Create BPAV folder for XDCAM Transfer tool to wrap to MOV for FCP 6.0.2 and up. Wrap to MXF for systems that need that. Vegas and Premiere (latest update) can handle EX MP4 directly.

If you're going to accommodate backward compatibility you certainly ARE faced with converting to SOMETHING else whether it's XDCAM HD or H264, etc.

There's a HUGE number of variables and one has to make a "reasoned" business decision form "mass" availability.

Actually to bring us back to this section of the forum (sample clips), it's why you see many (most?) using Vimeo (or EXposure Room) since, at least for display, Flash has become the standard and BOTH the above allow the view to download the source (usually H264). H264 can be awkward to edit with for many reasons though.

You may well look into "custom" orders. Deliver in whatever you deem your "standard" and charge (a lot?) extra if the buyer wants delivery in a specific codec.
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