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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 March 27th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #1
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Clips for producer to log from

I'd like to use ClipBrowser (or something) to output a small lo-rez file from EX clips that retains the timecode, for a producer to log from. Something she can play back on her laptop with a player like quicktime, windows media, or VLC Player. Any ideas? (I'm PC but she can go PC or Mac).

I considered just giving her clipbrowser and copying all the files to her hard drive at each shoot (when I copy them to mine), but she really doesn't need full resolution for logging, and it's a lot of storage.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #2
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I haven't tried this and don't know how fast it would be , but what about exporting from clip browser to its "H264 ipod" output choice.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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Thanks Leonard - where would I see the timecode when playing back an H264 file? I don't have an iPod - does it show timecode? An H264 (MP4) file doesn't show TC played in VLC. I tried playing it in quicktime player with "show timecode if available" and it just displayed the usual counter.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 02:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ronn Kilby View Post
Thanks Leonard - where would I see the timecode when playing back an H264 file? I don't have an iPod - does it show timecode? An H264 (MP4) file doesn't show TC played in VLC. I tried playing it in quicktime player with "show timecode if available" and it just displayed the usual counter.
Doesn't VLC display a one second time code display on the bottom right hand side?
Just grabbed a H264 off my desktop.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #5
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Mine just shows a counter lower right - "04:01/13:30" for instance (meaning 4 minutes 1 second out of 13 minutes 30 seconds.) Has nothing to do with timecode. Is there a VLC menu setting I'm missing?

Last edited by Ronn Kilby; March 27th, 2009 at 02:57 PM. Reason: minutes vs seconds
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Old March 27th, 2009, 03:42 PM   #6
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Hi Ronn, I'm starting a project soon with similar needs. My "old-way" thinking was to dub real-time to DVD with a SMPTE window, but you've got me thinking (oops).

Premiere (CS3) has a filter that will display source TC. This looks much more appealing than my "tape-based thinking". Import, render, done. Small digital files would be easier for my client to handle, too.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 04:50 PM   #7
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Hey Bill I hear you.

What I did first was import footage into Avid. Cut all the clips into a sequence. Lay a "Source" TC effect on top layer. Output to DVD realtime. Very time consuming.

So then I just output composite from the camera (with display "on") direct to DVD recorder. This displays a lot of other crap that she doesn't want to see, but it works. Unfortunately, still a lot of time.

Ideally, she should leave the shoot with a low resolution version on her laptop that has TC that she can log from. Clip Browser will easily output those nice little WMV or H264 files etc. But no TC, so pretty useless. If I can't figure this out, I'll just copy all clips to her HDD and she can do it with Clip Browser. Seems so simple though.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #8
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I've been down this road. I shot three hours of footage and the client wanted a window burn so she could preview (paper edit) the project. My first attempt was:

FIRST ATTEMPT
1) Import all clips into Final Cut Pro
2) Add the Effects>Video>Timecode Reader effect (displays timecode of individual clips)
3) Render
4) Export as Quicktime (no conversion)
5) Import into Compressor and convert to SD MPEG-2

The render time in FCAP was going to take 8 hours. And that was before converting to MPEG-2! (I halted the process)

SECOND ATTEMPT
1) Import all clips into Final Cut Pro
2) Add the Effects>Video>Timecode Reader effect
3) Choose Export>Using Compressor
4) In Compressor choose DVD>90 Minutes

I let it run all night and when I got back in the morning (8 hours later) it still wasn't finished. Total time was about 12 hours to do this. (too long for a simple window burn)

THIRD ATTEMPT
1) Import all clips into Final Cut Pro
2) Add the Effects>Video>Timecode Reader effect
3) Set the timeline settings to Unlimited RT and Dynamic. The footage would play without rendering, but it didn't look great.
4) Run through our AJA Io HD which converts HD to SD in realtime
5) Connect the AJA Io HD to a DVD-R recorder ($140 from Best Buy)
6) Record DVD in real time (3 hours)

This worked the best. The footage didn't look very good (dropped frames, etc..), but it looked plenty good for a window burn. This has been my normal window-burn work flow for a while now.

FOURTH ATTEMPT (without window burn)
1) Import all clips into Final Cut Pro
2) Select them all in the Browser window
3) Choose File>Batch Export
4) Changes the Settings to convert to small (640 x 360) WMV files
5) Export (takes a while, but it does it all in one step)

This works well for letting clients view clips immediately after a shoot. I upload them to our website and send the client the link to view them.

NOTE: We use Telestream Flip4Mac to create WMV files. We like it because it lives in the Quicktime bucket which makes it available to any program that uses Quicktime (Final Cut Pro, Compressor, After Effects, etc...) I've never had a client yet that can't play a WMV. Plus, for the clients using a Macintosh, Flip4Mac has a free WMV player they can download and install.

FINAL OPTION
1) Open the BPAV folder in Clip Browser
2) Select all your clips
3) Choose File>Export>Windows Media File
4) Adjust the settings to taste (size, data rate, etc...)

This also works really well (and it's free!) but you get the Main Concept watermark on all your footage. In my case, the client never even noticed it.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #9
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12 hours! Jeez. At least with Avid the TC effect is realtime, no rendering needed. You might give my method of outputing from the camera to DVD Recorder (w/display on) a try. Your 4th attempt however (export wmv) does not include TC. That, you can do from clip browser very quickly with no importing, assembly etc. letterbox, squeeze, center crop.

I still want a quick way to output a small file from clip browser with TC intact.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronn Kilby View Post
I still want a quick way to output a small file from clip browser with TC intact.
You and me both! :)

It would be pretty easy to create a separate sequence for each clip in Final Cut Pro. Add the Effects>Video>Timecode Reader effect. Then select all the sequences and batch export them to something like H.264 or ? I wonder how long that would take? Not long if you're working with a few short clips (an hour or less?).

One last thing....
When I originally made those attempts I was pretty new at shooting XDCAM HD. Since then I've learned that if you set the Sequence Settings>Render Tab>Encoding to ProRes (instead of Same as Sequence) it makes rendering faster and supposedly better quality. Maybe that would have cut the 12 hours down to 5 or 6. Dunno....
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Old March 27th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #11
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A 500Gb USB hard drive is hardly an expensive item and simply copying the files to a drive will be the fastest option. Seems like a lot of effort for little gain burning in TC etc.

Don't forget that it the client uses clip browser to log the originals he/she can also add notes, add "Good" or "No Good" markers plus essence marks etc directly to the clips which may help find things in the edit. The client could even take the preferred takes, mark in and out points and copy them to a new folder so when you come to edit you can ignore all the unwanted footage.

If your client has a mac you could export the files to a drive using the transfer tool and then log the footage using the transfer tool. You can use the print function of the transfer tool to print out or make a PDF of all the thumbnails along with timecode ins and outs plus any metadata.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #12
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Thanks for the suggestion Allister, but that workflow makes me nervous for one reason; Enabling the clients computer to play XDCAM EX footage.

I had trouble setting my laptop up to do this (installed Final Cut 6.02, Clip Browser and Transfer and it still wouldn't play). Honestly I can't remember what I installed that enabled it to finally open XDCAM footage in Quicktime. I would be clueless on how to instruct a client to do this on a PC. (I'm a Mac guy)

If there was a simple XDCAM codec installation they could download and install, then your suggestion would work great! But until it's a proven work flow, I'm sticking with DVD's or WMV's.

Thanks! :)
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:32 PM   #13
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It's easy on a PC as all you need to do is install clip browser. On a mac it should work provided quicktime is up to date. You don't need FCP for clip browser to work.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:10 PM   #14
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If Sony are looking for feature suggestions for any "EX5" then pretty near the top of my list (after "improve hand-held ergonomics"!) would be the facility to simultaneously write low res small proxies to an SD card whilst shooting.

Finish shoot - hand over card - end of story. With main material going a separate route. What could be simpler or quicker than that? And a single 4GB card could hold many SxS cards worth of recording. Another advantage would be that the files would be more easily e-mailable.

My ideal camera would be an EX3 and an HPX301 rolled into one, with the best features of each. And proxies to SD is a very nice feature of the HPX301.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #15
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JVC HM series with optional SxS adaptor can write to both SxS and SDHC simultaneously. You'd then hand the client the SDHC cards. BTW the JVC I understand can also do overcranking to the SDHC cards as well and it has a 3 second pre-record cache. The JVC HM700 has a good shoulder design too. Drawback is the chips are only 1/3" CCD.

Now if only Sony would learn from its partner JVC.
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