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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 April 11th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #1
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Deliver BPAV's to client

I'm starting a project this week for a new client who wants to edit my EX-1 footage themselves. I'm still trying to get all the details as to exactly what they will be editing my footage with (Avid, FCP, ?), but I need to know exactly what I should give them in addition to the BPAV folders. Would Clip Browser alone allow them to open and re-wrap the files or do I need to include anything else? I'm assuming that if they are using FCP, I'd need to include XDCAM Transfer as well, no?
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Old April 11th, 2010, 03:35 PM   #2
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It really depends on what you're agreement with the client is, but for clients that want to edit raw footage themselves I usually agree to give them either just the straight copy off of the SxS using Copy All in Clip Browser or MXF files from Clip Browser. If my agreement calls for it I'll provide QT files.

I don't include any programs that they may need to convert files. If they are going to be doing post I leave it up to them to acquire any conversion programs they need.

Garrett
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Old April 11th, 2010, 03:42 PM   #3
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Garrett, in a perfect world, I'd agree with you completely. But since I still don't know what their editing capabilities are as of today (shoot starts tomorrow), I need to be sure that no matter what happens, they will be able to get these files open without a transatlantic phone call screaming at me as to why they can't view the files.

Adding to your thoughts, if they wanted me to give them .mov files instead of the BPAV's, I've run into issues before where I've given a client a short, converted .mov file and they weren't able to open it. They'd usually get some warning about a codec missing or a similar cryptic messaage. When I convert a file to .mov using Clip Browser, is it "generic"? By that I mean is it still using an XDCAM codec that they probably won't have or would it be openable by ANY decent editing program?
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Old April 11th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #4
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Oops, scratch that last thought. I failed to realize that there is NO option to export/rewrap files from Clip Browser to .mov....only MXF or similar. So, if they wanted .mov's, I'd have to import into FCP via XDCAM Transfer and then do a Batch Export to .mov. But what codec would that carry with it?
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Old April 11th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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So, if they wanted .mov's, I'd have to import into FCP via XDCAM Transfer and then do a Batch Export to .mov. But what codec would that carry with it?
That is the biggest problem, they are all really just wrappers that contain files with a variety of codecs. Most problems with with FCP transfers occur because the QT files are created with the AIC which are unusable to anyone not on a Mac.

The only way to be sure they will be able to open the files will be for you to find out what NLE they will be using and to do some very short trial conversions to make sure they can use the files. If you are beginning shooting tomorrow you should be able to get some info from them on their system before having to convert any of the files. This is why it's really important to have all the technical details worked out as soon as possible and write the file delivery specs into your agreement.

In any case I still would not provide them with any conversion software. At most I would provide them with the program names an possibly links to where they could download them.

Garrett
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Old April 11th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for that, Garrett. I've been trying to get the info for nearly a week and have yet to get a clear answer. Keep your fingers crossed for me on this one! ;-)
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Old April 11th, 2010, 05:06 PM   #7
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I'd just give them the BPAV. If they're editing it themselves they should do their own re-wrap or conversion. Yes, I've gotten the follow up phone calls too and I tell the client that a current version of Avid, FCP, Premiere, Vegas, Edius can handle the files.

If they don't have a professional editor that can grasp that then they should hire you. Of course I'll offer to do a re-wrap or conversion for the client but that's another paid service.

I've had clients call me and say the editor can't handle the files because they're not AVIs or MPEGs and I tell them that's not enough info since AVI is a wrapper and actually XDCAM is certainly MPEG, MPEG2 in an MP4 wrapper. Being on Windows is certainly not a "limitation" in format as many here will attest to. Avid, Premiere, Vegas, Edius all run on Windows and all have a means to ingest the files.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #8
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Hey Dave, I really feel for you. There are a lot of people out there that think it's simple to just take some footage and edit it and create a DVD. Then, when they can't figure it out they immediately assume that there is something wrong with the files they received.

If they can't get you the specs on the NLE that will be used they can't expect you to be able to guarantee that the files will be able to just be pulled into their NLE.

Garrett
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Old April 11th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #9
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Dave, I shoot with my EX3 for multiple clients. One edits on Vegas, one on Avid, and another on FCP. As far as I know each system as it's own plug in to handle XDCam EX files. At the end of the shoot I copy the folders to hard drives and off they go. Just give them the BPAV folder, they should be able to do the rest.

Here is a link to Sony's XDCAM EX Workflow Videos and Documents page:

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/micro-x...owAssets.shtml

It gives tutorials and work flows for every NLE. You can pass the link along to your client.

This week I am actually going to FTP a BPAV file to my client. It's a small file, only 2.7GB, but to big to email or use You Send It. Should be interesting to see if it works.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #10
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Reminds me of a shoot that my wife did. They wanted her to shoot it and she signed a contract and was hired to shoot it. They also said they wanted her to edit it as well (no contract for the edit gig tho so she figured that was BS). Well... After the shoot, they said they were going with a different editor (a friend of the producer). The wife says No prob - She offloads the SxS cards onto a laptop that the producer had and lets them know that it is all XDCAM EX footage and to let their editor know that so they can deal with it properly.

About 2 days later, the producer calls and says the editor cannot read the files. The wife explains (again) that they are XDCAM-EX and to just let the editor know that and they should be able to figure it out from there...

Next call - The editor is running FCP 4.5 on a G4 mac. So the wife then offers to transcode them for a fee to ProRes or whatever they want. Now the producer is pissed off saying that we are trying to gouge them and that we knew that would happen - Or that we had done something to the footage to MAKE them come back to us and pay us more money.

So the wife tells them "Hey - You have the footage, I told you it is XDCAM EX, there are plenty of places here in town that will transcode it for you, besides us. I suggest you go and find one of them. Have a nice day.

Really sucks when that kind of thing happens. Basically if someone accuses her of things like that, she just tells them to go elsewhere - But it is a bridge burned in some respect...
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Old April 11th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #11
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The editor is running FCP 4.5 on a G4 mac.
The funny thing is the editor is probably billing out at $100 - $200 an hour :)
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Old April 11th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #12
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Shaughan, THAT scenario is the one that I envision....unfortunately. It's possible that they will figure this out, but I keep getting small clues in email exchanges with them that they don't know enough to tell me what they want. If I could speak with their editor, I think I could head off most of these potential problems.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #13
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Just give client 2 prices, in their contract:

1. BPAV folder on their drive, I sometimes sell them a usb/FW/esata drive or DVD's (this can be Bluray if they can deal with them) as part of the contract, or they provide their own, I will also rent out drives. With instructions and download links.

2. The format of their choice transcoded on a drive or FTP'd, for an additional fee. I charge $100 per hr of material transcoded.

Very simple, if they choose option 1, and then call you and say they can't deal with it. They already know of option 2. It is in the contract.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #14
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Olof has the right idea.

BTW this issue is NOT specific to the EX series. There are many stories where people hand an HDV tape to the client and then they complain that their DV deck or camera can't play it back. Depending on the HDV format their HDV deck may not play it back either. To me that's a far greater hell.

ANY PROFESSIONAL on any platform can find a way to re-wrap or transcode the EX files and even if they had to go out and buy a plugin, encoding software, upgrade their NLE, all that is likely less than buying a deck.

I have no sympathy for clients who insist on hiring editors who don't know how to do this. Transcoding is a service I offer but certainly isn't needed if they have a genuine professional editor with a modern NLE. I'm also a professional editor so they can avail themselves to either transcoding or editing.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 10:11 AM   #15
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Shaughan, I had a somewhat similar but less hostile situation.

I recently did a 4 camera shoot of a performance for a client. Actually is was three Canon Vixia and one EX1. The client claimed they were 99% certain they were going to edit with me. Never believe that as it's usually a game to get a better price. Don't fall for it. I charge separately for production, dubbing, post production and if they want to firm an edit they can pay a deposit.

I gave them the raw video in their respective folders on a hard drive they bought.

I have them three options: A dub in which all four cameras were synced with time code burn in. This was most expensive as it's essentially requires me to do the first part of the edit. They could pay for that alone though so if they wanted to edit elsewhere they'd have a visual guide and the ability to pick shots. If they wanted to edit with me, that part was paid for. I got no response on this offer.

The second option was to encode each camera video so they could view it on whatever with Quicktime or Windows Media Player. This was obviously less expensive since it didn't require my syncing the video. I got no response on this offer.

The third option was to transcode to whatever they needed although they could do this on their own with a professional editor since such editor would do what was needed to input the video. I got no response on this offer.

I did get a phone call saying they couldn't import the video since it wasn't AVIs or MPEGs. Since it was clear the "99% certain they were going to edit with me" was BS I gave them a very short and professional response. I list the current versions of NLEs that professional editors use and stated all had the means to import the video. I got no response to this. I suspect they either figured it out or are otherwise struggling with this and can't afford to pay for my dubbing or post services.

I wont treat an ignorant client hostilely. I give them the options (just as Olof suggests). If they're not going to pay for additional services I just give them very basic info if they need to look for a professionally competent editor. "These are the NLEs such editor should be using as they all handle the video import." This simply puts in back into their "court" to decide what to do.
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