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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 May 26th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #16
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Thanks for your patience with this Piotr, and anyone else who's been reading this. Now would you mind looking at this list? (some of it is specific to someone like me, who has to convert to MXF, but much of it pertains to most of the rest of you, I would think).
Is this, finally, the 'Perfect Workflow' for downloading cards in the field and then exporting to MXF, with all clips, even spanned ones, intact? I've attached a few questions, with an asterisk...

IN FIELD:

1) insert SXS card into MBP, launch ShotPut EXpress, copy BPAV folder to '[new name for each shoot]' folder on desktop AND to external fw drive AND to USB flash drive. (*should all three folders have the same name?)

- with each successive download (because some clips can span two cards):
when you mount your next card, copy BPAV folder to the SAME folder on desktop (and ext. fw drive and flash drive) - - not a separate folder or subfolder! This creates the right structure automatically, and displays any combined files as single clips. (*so, each successive BPAV folder will be placed in the same 'encompassing' folder, but within this folder, will each successive BPAV folder get its own distinct name? eg. BPAV1, BPAV2, etc.?)

2) corroborate that copy of files has been successful (check all three copies), then drag the BPAV folder from SXS card to the Trash

3) eject SXS card (Control-Eject; then power off card in menu bar)

4) put card back in camera and keep shooting...

then,

IN OFFICE:

1) launch VMWare and Windows XP

2) open My Documents and drag BPAV folder from Mac desktop into My Documents

3) launch Clip Browser. In Sony Clip Browser, search for the BPV folder in the tree on the left of top window (disregard the bottom window)

4) once found select all with mouse (not the copy all button at the top)...... right click and select EXPORT to MXF and copy to 'My Computer/Shared Documents/'EX1 MXF files'

5) copy this 'MXF files' folder from Shared Documents to a folder on MBP desktop

6) from here, copy to external SATA ("storage") drive. Remove storage drive and put away on shelf.

7) repeat: this time copy all media to SATA "edit" drives

8) start editing

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #17
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Dear Malcolm,

DISCLAIMER:

Not knowing how ShotPut really works, I cannot confirm your workflow - I still cannot open the purchasse/download site
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Old May 26th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #18
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Deleting all SxS clips

I think there may be a camera menu function to delete all clips and leave the camera settings file alone.

I believe I saw this on the Vortex DVD.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 08:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave McCallister View Post
I think there may be a camera menu function to delete all clips and leave the camera settings file alone.
Yes, there is a delete-all-clips (which doesn't delete camera-data) and a format-media-function. And in addition you can use both while recording. In fact you can use almost every function of this camera while recording (for example altering picture-profiles or gain-presets).
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Old May 27th, 2008, 07:19 AM   #20
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For whatever reason, two threads are converging... I just posted this on the other thread, but we've been wondering about the same thing here, so...

Just got word back from the makers of ShotPut EXpress:

"The "reformat" only erases the contents of the BPAV folder. Your camera settings will be preserved"

I'm certainly not trying to sell their software for them. But it does seem to be a very useful tool (sorry, Piotr, that you aren't able to check it out for yourself). The camera does it, but SPEXpress makes it even easier. Maybe too easy? I still might feel the need to first check to make sure my copies are fine, and then (and only then) delete clips.
Cheers, Malcolm
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Old May 27th, 2008, 07:29 AM   #21
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Apart from the re-format problem (which you seem to have resolved), the question remains: does it, or does it not, allow to stitch split clips together into original takes, like the Clip Browser does?

I cannot tell, until I try the software :(
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #22
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O.K., more information from the makers of ShotPut EXpress:

"ShotPut is copying the card’s contents “as is”. Because you do not merge spanned clips on the cards, there is no reason to be concerned with them during the copy process. The viewing application, such as FCP or Sony’s viewer, may auto-merge spanned clips. But they would want to “see” the virtual cards in the same format as they were on the cards themselves. In other words, unchanged. Just select the BPAV folders (or folders above them) in sequence during import and you should be fine. This makes for a good argument to use the Auto Numbering function in ShotPut so you know which card comes next"

"You should not delete the BPAV folder using Finder unless you plan to reformat the card in the camera. If you let ShotPut “reformat”—and it prompts you before it does it—the application will erase the contents of the BPAV folder but leave the folder structure intact"

seems good to me... what do you think?
Malcolm
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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:31 AM   #23
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From what they wrote, it seems it should be OK to keep exact copies of each SxS card on the HDD(s) (as opposed to my method of storing already merged, complete takes under a single BPAV per project); I don't know about Mac but on Windows, what I would need to do next is use Sony Clip Browser, mount the BPAV folders one by one (as saved to my HDD in a project folder), just as I would with the original SxS cards, and first copy the contents of all of them in a project to another location - Clip Browser would then stitch the spanned/divided clips; only then I could export to mxf's.

Quite a few steps compared to my method of "stitch-on-the-fly" when copying SxS card using just the Clip Browser,

...unless it can stitch automatically during export, as it find the other parts of divided clips in the same subdirectory, which it cannot do during exporting straight from a SxS card, in which case it would display the warning message "Clip incomplete" (or something to that effect).
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; May 28th, 2008 at 03:56 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:16 AM   #24
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OK, so thanks to Malcolm, I was able to give the ShotPut EXpress for Windows a test drive; here are my findings:

I recorded multiple short clips over two days; not much - just over 20 mins in total. It could well fit on a single card, but I deliberately switched the "Select slot" button randomly several times, so that the clips got divided between my 2 cards, to best simulate the worst-case, real life scenario.

Today I launched ShotPut EXpress on my 2.4 GHz dual core Vaio laptop; I configured it to use the usual video folder on its internal drive, as well as one on the external HDD, hooked up via USB 2.0. What I did was:

Using ShotPut EXpress:
1. Copy everything (card by card) to those 2 locations
2. Verify the copies and erase the SxS cards

Then, using Clip Browser:
3. Copy everything again from the internal HDD location to a new location on the external HDD, in order for the Clip Browser to re-connect seamlessly those split takes (an extra step !!!)
4. Export the final mxf's (ready for editing) from the external HDD folder to the final destination on the internal drive

I ended up having 2 independent archives (exact SxS cards' copies), one additional copy with clips stitched back (though physically on one of the same drives), and the final mxf clips ready for editing. Time to accomplish that was just above 20 minutes. Too long!

Using just the Clip Browser, with similar amount of data I usually need less than 10 mins (EDIT: actually 6 minutes - have just measured it) to:
a) COPY everything to the internal drive WHILE stitching any split takes
b) empty the two SxS cards before ejecting them (ready to use in camera)
b) EXPORT the final mxf's from the above to the external HDD, ready to bring to my studio, hook up to my main editing system, and start editing! And I still have 2 archives, on two separate drives...

I am not totally dismissing ShotPut EXpress yet; it'd be premature - for instance, I am not sure about the strength of the copy verification procedure - but from the viewpoint of time and simplicity, it's not a great solution. I guess it could be, should the authors incorporate clip merging while copying, and mxf re-wrapping - thus eliminating the need for using Clip Browser at all. But in its current form, the overhead required would increase with the length of the material to copy, and card wrangling while shooting continuously is a pain!

Thanks a lot, Malcolm, for enabling me to run the tests - it's a pity there is no TBYB version ! One thing in favour is that you can use the utility on any computer, in any place on Earth - the licence can be de-activated and actived at will through the Internet (this is how Malcolm could help me do my tests :)).

EDIT: I hear (mostly from Mac users) that stitching can be done on import (to FCP, I assume). Maybe so; for Windows though the NLE of choice for the EX1's stuff is still Vegas Pro and Edius. BOTH are better off if you feed them with ready mxf's rather than MP4's (Edius can be ingested with MP4's, Vegas is rumoured to be capable of it soon, as well).

Nevertheless, I'd need to see the results of stitching divided clips in any NLE to judge how good it can be, compared to what Clip Browser does on-the-fly (really completely seamless)...
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; May 31st, 2008 at 03:28 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #25
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With a Mac when you import files into FCP using the Sony Transfer tool the transfer tool merges split clips so the is no need to use the EX browser to either combine files or to create MXF's. So if you are going to make backups of your cards anyway you may as well use shotput as it will make multiple copies and VERIFY them. There is no time penalty, in fact shotput works out a tiny bit quicker as the copy and verification is done automatically.

If your not bothered about a BPAV/MP4 backup you could just import the clips with the transfer tool and then keep the .mov files as your backup.

If your having to work with MXF's on a PC then using Shotput or making BPAV backups first does introduce an extra step. However for me, I like to always have a 1 to 1 backup of my cards content. It's all too easy to miss a card or forget to copy a file. One card.. One folder with matching file sizes and file counts. Using the EX Browser to merge clips without making a backup leaves you open to problems as it is difficult to verify that your backup is correct and nothing is missing. Yes, agreed, it may be a little slower but I like to play safe with my footage.

Malcom The BPAV files must be called BPAV. You cannot call them BPAV1... BPAV2... so for that reason each BPAV folder must go in it's own sub folder.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:36 PM   #26
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Thank you Piotr and Alister...

Alister, I'm inferring that you're on a Mac. I am too, so in case any of these steps make more sense for a Mac-user, I'd like to ask you about my workflow in the field (I've removed the BPAV1, BPAV2 business... thank you for clearing this up):


WORKFLOW
before heading out on a shoot, create 'holding' folder, named for current project (eg. 'CCL June 2') on Mac desktop. Copy this empty folder to external fw drive and USB Flash Drive

IN FIELD:
1) attach and power up external fw drive and USB Flash Drive

2) insert SXS card into MBP, launch ShotPut EXpress, select 'holding' folders on Mac desktop, fw drive AND USB Flash Drive as targets; press go, and ShotPut EXpress will copy BPAV folder from SXS card into all three 'holding' folders. (*use the Auto Numbering function in ShotPut so each successive SXS transfer will create another BPAV folder in your 'holding' folder. This is important because some clips can span two cards, and it's vital to create the right structure; *by the way, should I ask ShotPut to rename the card, as it seems to want to do? What's the advantage of this?)
2) corroborate that copy of files has been successful (check all three copies), then use ShotPut to reformat the SXS card.


3) eject SXS card (Control-Eject; *do you also need to power off card in menu bar?)

4) put card back in camera and keep shooting...

How does that sound?
Cheers, Malcolm
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Old May 31st, 2008, 11:57 AM   #27
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Very important update on Shotput EXpress:

Both my cards required re-conforming on the camera, after having been "formatted" by the utility! A show-stopper for continuous shooting :(

This never happens with my old method of simply deleting all clips within Clips Browser!

Please anybody using ShotPut confirm or deny this is a rule, or just a coincidence here (I cannot repeat my tests).
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; June 1st, 2008 at 03:54 AM.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 05:42 AM   #28
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I am bumping this one (sorry ;) - but I'd really appreciate somebody confirming (or denying), that after having ShotPut formatted an SxS card, it needs re-conforming before EX1 can record to it.

I only had a one-off opportunity to test the application, and both my cards - after having been "formatted" by the Windows version of ShotPut EXpress - couldn't be recorded to without my EX1 conforming them. Is it normal? If so, it'd mean that for continuous recording, one would need to launch the Clip Browser (or perhaps just the Windows Explorer - haven't tried that) to simply delete all clips from a card, rather than let ShotPUt format it...
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Old June 5th, 2008, 05:50 AM   #29
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Hi Piotr,

I'm on a shoot right now... when I next use ShotPut, I'll report back.
From what I recall, when I get ShotPut to reformat my SXS card (this on my MacBook Pro), when I next put the card back into the camera, I get a message asking:

'Media Needs to be Restored
Restore Media Now?'

... and I have a choice: Execute or Cancel. (I choose Execute)

I wrote to ShotPut technical help to ask why I have to do this, I was told that it's just the camera rebuilding the file directory... it's not reformatting the card.
Cheers,
Malcolm
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Old June 5th, 2008, 05:55 AM   #30
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Thanks Malcolm,

This is exactly what I am talking about - it doesn't happen when you delete all clips using the Clip Browser (at least under Windows), and you're able to use the card in the camera without the need to stop recording, and "restore" anything...

I am seriously considering purchase of the utility, but I think we should push those guys to straighten this up. An SxS card really doesn't need re-formatting; simply deleting everything under the BPAV folder would be enough, and make it possible to re-use it straight away!
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