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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 October 24th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #16
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If you must use consumer media I think it's well worth spending the little extra the Sony adapter/Memory stick combo. You will need a firmware update to the camera so that the camera can talk to the adapter, I believe this is to prevent the camera from going in to record before the previous recording has been completed and thus prevent the majority of the errors that are cropping up with SD cards.

The media restore function should not be something to be afraid of. It is simply the camera performing house keeping on the SxS cards. As I understand it, every 4 seconds the camera writes a packet of data to the the cards file system that allows any damaged clips to be restored to that point. Periodically the camera checks these files against the video files and if it thinks there is any kind of problem it will flag up the restore media message. When you run the restore function the camera uses the restore data to rebuild any damaged files or close the damaged file at the restore point. Another thing that can trigger a restore message would be if the restore information was missing, which could occur if the write speed of the card is not high enough for the camera to write both the video files and the recovery data at the same time. Removing a card from a computer without properly ejecting it can also trigger a restore error as the computer can leave data on the card that then means that there is a miss match between what the recovery file thinks there should be on the card and what is actually on the card. I can not be sure all the above is totally correct as Sony are a little reluctant to reveal all the inner workings of the file system, but having spoken to various people I believe I have the bulk of this correct.
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Last edited by Alister Chapman; October 25th, 2009 at 03:48 AM.
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Old October 24th, 2009, 08:28 AM   #17
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To Adapt or not to Adapt...that is the question

It's a point which l raised exactly, hey, major league conglomerate, versus small manufacture, hmmm, please understand that l too find it hard to believe but for a great analogy, "where there is smoke, there is fire' but having said that, it would be a damn shame if they did and turn a lot of people off Sony, for the record, there is no proof of this happening on paper...yet... but thanks to the people like MXR cards, we have been able to get up and running and not spend huge amounts extra to get space, ok, we have had a few minor problems..sort of...lol and truth be told, it might not even be associated with the MXR cards but there is just something that doesn't feel right and tomorrow, l am filming a music clip and l must admit, l am worried, don't have time to buy other cards etc, will keep you posted....oh, by the way, that card l restored did give me some problems with transfer and kept bumping me out, l just one non important clip but hell, it could of been worse...!
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Old October 27th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #18
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I have an EX3 and I'm using MxR and Transcend 16GB cards. If I stop recording and press the record button again before the red card slot light goes out the camera will NOT go into record mode. I tried it a number of time to see if that would create a "restore" error. I can't recreate it - the camera won't allow it.

Just the other day I loaded two MxR cards in the camera and every shot produced a "restore" error on both cards. This was the first "restore" problem I had since I ditched my one bad card. I reformatted the cards and now they work fine. My new procedure is to format before using. These were two cards that I had not used in a while so I don't know what I did last time I used them. Maybe I had them in my Mac and they had a ".DS_Store" file written on them - I should have checked them before formatting...
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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #19
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Totally over it

This thorn in my side has been these adapter cards, look, they may work for some and l am sure they work well and never have had any problems, for me, l am not taking the risk of losing work and looking bad in front of the client when it fails.
I was on a shoot recently and doing these interviews etc and as l needed to get the last shot, mind you, l didn't touch anything, had the camera on tripod and was bringing it up the stairs, it was a horse race and client did his piece before the race and then l saw, media error, l cringed and after 25 years of production, l went into "melt down" but obviously, to the client, assured him that the rare footage from a hard to get interview with a trainer, would come off the card, anyway, l had already looked after him on price and wasn't fussed about the extra time there but then....omg, then, as it was my bad, l didn't have the SXS pro card with me, look, it was a total disaster that l will not repeat, l had to re-shoot the following morning and then a few days later, had to go back to get a race and some other cut away that we missed out on that day. Very embarrassing for me and it won't happen again as the US dollar for us here in Australia is pretty good and the lure of the SxS card is too good and yes, l know they are bringing out much cheaper version but can't wait till then as work coming up and no trust in adapter cards.
Now, on return to the production house that l frequent when buying and hiring, l brought to there attention, the fact that it was a stifling hot day and when l got the card out, it was bloody boiling, l am sure the SxS does that too but l can't help wondering if it couldn't handle the heat of the day, which made for a hot camera....
Now, l have those adapter cards but will only use them in an emergency and even then, l can't trust them anymore. When l did return to the track for the re-shoots, l did use the SXS 8 gig card and it worked like a treat...thats all folks, cheers, Michael
Oh yes, if ever anyone has seen the film from the "Lawn Mower Man" 1992, the scene at the end where he is trying to gain access to files...that was me, frantically trying to get the footage off as the card would not restore and kept getting bumped off so l used my trusty little multi card reader and what a night mare and another 3 hours on top, just to add salt to the wound...lol
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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Michael De Florio View Post
...that was me, frantically trying to get the footage off as the card would not restore and kept getting bumped off so l used my trusty little multi card reader and what a night mare and another 3 hours on top, just to add salt to the wound...lol
I know that feeling, and that film.

Hey, Michael, I just sent you a PM.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #21
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"where are they now...!"

Oh my god.....l can't beleive it is you....damn, that was how many years ago that we worked on your film......wow...i will email you asap, cheers, Michael
This forum should be changed to "where are they now"....in the industry...lmao
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Old November 11th, 2009, 12:54 AM   #22
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Yes, the EX1 & 3 run HOT... just feel the back after being on a bit. The double whammy comes in when there is also high humidity which doesn't let the camera air-cool. The camera will then simply shut down until the internal temperature drops to a safer level. Happened to me everyday about 1pm when shooting on the Gulf coast in July... 98 degrees with 95 percent humidity. Wouldn't power up until later in the evening.
PS...Even in that condition, had no problem with the early Transcend SDHC cards.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 05:28 AM   #23
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Hi,

If you suspect an error on a media or if you have a media error, with every try fix the error, you may destroy even more data. Therefore my suggestions on media errors would be (these suggestions are just informational and without any warranty and have not been tested on SDHC/SxS cards as until now I didn't have media restore errors, but they worked well for defective hard discs and should work for any media):

1. prevent further damage to the card: don't try the media restore, switch the camcorder off and get the card off and don't use it until you have tried to restore you data manually
2. do a raw sector by sector backup of the card to a backup file: under linux, you can use dd to do this
3. copy your backup file
4. mount the backup file as file system and copy all mp4 from it to a safe location
5. if the file system is not readable try using a file recovery application to get your mp4 files copied
6. check if the mp4 files are playable and if all your footage is there
7. if one mp4 file is not playable try using specific mp4 recovery tools
8. either don't use this card again or do a sector by sector check and format it in the EX1/3 prior to using it again

Also for new cards SDHC/SxS I would suggest to always format new cards in the EX1/3 prior to using them. I even prefer to format cards before every shooting in order to get a clean file system but there are arguments in favour and against this.

I hope my post was of any help
Bye,
David Arendt
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Old November 11th, 2009, 02:03 PM   #24
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Thank you for the comprehensive list, David. Which mp4 recovery tools do you use?
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Old November 11th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #25
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Maybe newer EX3 don't have this problem.

Or is reading into 32GB storage starting to run these wee camera's brains ragged?

I've just spent about 36 hours in the field switching intensively between a Transcend 16GB/MXM adaptor and a 16GB SXS Pro, doing 'delete last shot' aplenty.

The only media errors I've seen have been when I forgot to knock off the overcrank before pressing record on the MXM - fair enough.

Cam didn't ask for a reformat, but required ejecting and re-inserting to get up again.

No data other than the unwanted overcrank was lost.

Folks were happy once with short Beta tapes, less on film - an hour is still a good slice of time.

Having more, smaller cards is surely better insurance than a smaller number of large cards.

JW
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Old November 12th, 2009, 11:13 PM   #26
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Thank you for the comprehensive list, David. Which mp4 recovery tools do you use?
Well generally I use ffmpeg as it is relatively tolerant to files containing errors.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 11:14 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by John Wallace View Post
Having more, smaller cards is surely better insurance than a smaller number of large cards.

JW
I think these are wise words. With any media, even SxS, you don't want all your eggs in one basket. Not only are media errors an issue but simply loosing a card.
Production insurance often won't insure P2 users with a camera with 4x 64Gb P2 cards in it, simply because the loss of a camera with so much material stored in it could be catastrophic to the production.
I also find it easier to manage my media in smaller chunks. For me at 35 Mb/s a 16 Gb card is as big as I want to go.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 03:23 PM   #28
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I'd like to add that the chances of losing or improperly handling a card are higher when you are working with more cards. Some of the Media Restore errors (or at least mine) seem to occur while the device is switching from one card to the other. Bit errors on a card in the file system are at greater risk on a larger card, but overall, bit errors in files are at equal risk. A lot of flash issues, such as significantly reduced write performance, occur as the card reaches capacity, which occurs more often when using smaller cards. The firmware in some cards may not handle this as well.

Other cons are that higher density cards are often made with more layers (Multi-layer cells or MLC), resulting in lower data integrity. Some larger cards have higher data rates simply due to the use of more flash chips and parallelism.

Though, I agree. Handling cards with one hour sizes are convenient due to past conditioning.
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