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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 February 22nd, 2016, 10:56 AM   #1
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Newbe question

I need to create a file I can hand to a client as soon as possible after recording. The client needs to be able to watch it on a Windows PC with minimal hassle. It looks like the default HD file format is MP4 and it won't play on Windows Media player. There doesn't seem to be any other options with regard to file format beyond HQ and SP and resolution (1440 x 1080 etc) unless I'm missing something.

I have tmpgenc mastering works 6 and could convert to WMV. Does this sound like the best solution?
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 11:00 AM   #2
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Re: Newbe question

Just let the client install vlc mediaplayer, that plays about anything.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 12:29 PM   #3
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Re: Newbe question

I have about 20 to 30 clients, all in one day. Time crunch situation. I don't know they'd be real happy to have to install software just to watch a video.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 12:43 PM   #4
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Re: Newbe question

A bit of advice, do not hand the customer an "anamorphic" HD file at 1440x1080, as most playback software will display it as 4:3 video. This is because software players assume a square 1.0 Pixel Aspect Ratio and do not "see" that your video clip actually uses non-square (rectangular) pixels. So, if you need to do any conversion of the camera clip before giving it to the client, export at 1920x1080 with 1.0 PAR (will not hurt quality).

1440x1080 footage uses a PAR of 1.333 and the math shows that 1440x1.333=1920 so the playback device usually is aware of that, as is NLE software, and outputs/displays correctly as 16:9, however software players like QuickTime or Windows Media Player do not and show a squished 4:3 image.

Thanks
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: Newbe question

You failed to mention what camera you're shooting with?
What kind of workflow do you need?
Does everyone get to see all the files? Or does each client get their own?
How much image quality do they need? Are these just for viewing, or will they use these files?
What post system do you have in place already?
Have you looked at Catalyst Browse?
Do you have Adobe CC?
How long are the clips/files?
And most importantly -- do you have a PC to do this with and test the files?

All the above would help with suggesting answers.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 03:44 PM   #6
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Re: Newbe question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
You failed to mention what camera you're shooting with?
What kind of workflow do you need?
Does everyone get to see all the files? Or does each client get their own?
How much image quality do they need? Are these just for viewing, or will they use these files?
What post system do you have in place already?
Have you looked at Catalyst Browse?
Do you have Adobe CC?
How long are the clips/files?
And most importantly -- do you have a PC to do this with and test the files?

All the above would help with suggesting answers.
This is literally the directors' cut. Each showchoir director gets a copy of the locked-down, wide camera video. The purpose is just so the directors can have a copy of the performance for review. In the past we recorded to a DVD recorder and gave that to them. I thought just moving a file to a flash drive would be simpler but nothing is simple with HD.

Sony EX1r
Each client will get a flash drive with their own video
I'll have my desktop system (TMPGe and Vegas) at the show choir competition but I'll be pretty busy producing DVD's for the paying customer. I'd hope not to have to spend too much time on the director's cut.
Don't know what Catalyst Browse is or Adobe CC.
Each performance is 15-20 min
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 03:53 PM   #7
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Re: Newbe question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
You failed to mention what camera you're shooting with?
What kind of workflow do you need?
Does everyone get to see all the files? Or does each client get their own?
How much image quality do they need? Are these just for viewing, or will they use these files?
What post system do you have in place already?
Have you looked at Catalyst Browse?
Do you have Adobe CC?
How long are the clips/files?
And most importantly -- do you have a PC to do this with and test the files?

All the above would help with suggesting answers.
This is literally the directors' cut. Each showchoir director gets a copy of the locked-down, wide camera video from me for free. The purpose is just so the directors can have a copy of the performance for review. In the past we recorded to a DVD recorder and gave that to them. I thought just moving a file to a flash drive would be simpler but nothing is simple with HD.

Sony EX1r
Each client will get a flash drive with their own video
I'll have my desktop system (TMPGe and Vegas) at the show choir competition but I'll be pretty busy producing DVD's for paying customers. I'd hope not to have to spend too much time on the director's cut.
Don't know what Catalyst Browse is or Adobe CC.
Each performance is 15-20 min

My paying customers purchase DVD's I make onsite. I shoot with two EX1r cameras switched with a Panasonic HS50 and recorded with an Atomos Ronin recorder. I render with TMPGE and author with Sony DVD Architect. Then use Primera PT Publisher software with a Brovo XR robotic DVD publisher.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 04:34 PM   #8
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Re: Newbe question

what mp4 are you producing?

i have been distrib. mp4 over net and on usb for over 5 years with no problems from either mac or pc users...
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 05:23 PM   #9
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Re: Newbe question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Wand View Post
what mp4 are you producing?

i have been distrib. mp4 over net and on usb for over 5 years with no problems from either mac or pc users...
Whatever comes out of a Sony EX1r
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 05:53 PM   #10
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Re: Newbe question

mp4 @ 35mbs

this is way too high a bit rate for distribution. i use 8mbs for net and 12 for usb.

simply run camera footage through handbrake at normal profile.
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Old February 22nd, 2016, 08:01 PM   #11
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Re: Newbe question

You may find that if you have a full day of these that your computer is maxed out making your dvd's
Which would mean that to be fully productive adding a second (laptop?) pc might be advisable.
Many ways of taking the file from the card and converting...
One question involves the length of the take. Depending on the recording bitrate, you may find that the file on the sxs card actually is more than one MP4 for longer clips. This becomes an issue if you are using a 'normal' file converter such as Handbrake or Adobe Media Encoder (part of Adobe Creative Cloud)
However, you can still use something like Sony Content Browser or the newer Sony Catalyst Browse to do the conversion. I believe Content Browser will convert to WMV files, while Catalyst Browse will transcode to a variety of formats (depending what codecs you have on your pc...) My biggest issue with Catalyst is that I find it a slower option.
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Old February 23rd, 2016, 11:03 AM   #12
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Re: Newbe question

At first you say you have to "hand a file" to the customer; later you correct that saying it's only for review.
If it's "only a director's cut" intended strictly for their review and will not be edited/manipulated/cut or otherwise changed by others, and presuming it will be reviewed somewhere other than some remote location where the web isn't available, consider uploading it to an online service, e.g. vimeo.

Much of my work is in the legal video field, where a sizable percentage of work is still done in SD, (mainly because many courts don't have the budget to keep current with even HD technology). When I have a cut that needs review by an attorney/customer, I include visible timecode, then upload the video to my vimeo PLUS account in the highest quality possible, either with a password or as a private link, then send them that link and password. (A vimeo PLUS acct costs $ 10 per month with a 5 GB per week upload limit, and, if you "replace" a video, rather than delete one and upload another, it seems that has little or no effect on your weekly quota). They can watch it 'til their heart's content, and everyone has timecode as a common reference to discuss changes. I then deal with the final format if/when I need to burn a DVD, e.g. 1920x1080 becomes an .mpg as NTSC widescreen. I've done this with AVCHD footage shot at 1920x1080, HDV shot at 1440x1080, and "normal" footage at 720x480. My workhorse tool for all this is Adobe Media Encoder. Note: if working with SD, before uploading to vimeo be careful of interlacing; vimeo doesn't seem to like it and can give terrible results.
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Old February 23rd, 2016, 06:09 PM   #13
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Re: Newbe question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
You may find that if you have a full day of these that your computer is maxed out making your dvd's
Which would mean that to be fully productive adding a second (laptop?) pc might be advisable.
Many ways of taking the file from the card and converting...
One question involves the length of the take. Depending on the recording bitrate, you may find that the file on the sxs card actually is more than one MP4 for longer clips. This becomes an issue if you are using a 'normal' file converter such as Handbrake or Adobe Media Encoder (part of Adobe Creative Cloud)
However, you can still use something like Sony Content Browser or the newer Sony Catalyst Browse to do the conversion. I believe Content Browser will convert to WMV files, while Catalyst Browse will transcode to a variety of formats (depending what codecs you have on your pc...) My biggest issue with Catalyst is that I find it a slower option.
Dave,

So, I'm going to take your advice and bring a dedicated laptop just for this part of my operation. I tested Handbrake and Sony Catalyst Browse and got the following results:

Handbrake - Used "Universal" preset.
1280x720 H.264(x264)
Rendered in a little less than 50% of real time (plenty fast enough)
Produced a 85 MB file that played fine on an older Windows PC (worse case testing computer)

Catalyst - Used AVC/AAC.mp4 - Internet 480p settings
Rendered in a little less than 50% of real time (plenty fast enough)
Produced a 277 MB file that played fine on an older Windows PC

I'm not sure what the advantages of one transcoded file format over the other but they both seem to look good and work good.
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Old February 23rd, 2016, 08:44 PM   #14
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Re: Newbe question

I don't know if Handbrake will deal with reading the BPAV file structure -- or whether it only reads the MP4 files directly. In the case of longer takes (you mention 20 minutes) you may find that the camera generates more than one MP4 file. The advantage of Catalyst Browse (or Content Browser) is that they should combine them seamlessly. Handbrake might not. You might want to make that your next test...

Also -- as part of your data management, don't forget to allow time for making backups!
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Old February 24th, 2016, 07:08 AM   #15
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Re: Newbe question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
I don't know if Handbrake will deal with reading the BPAV file structure -- or whether it only reads the MP4 files directly. In the case of longer takes (you mention 20 minutes) you may find that the camera generates more than one MP4 file. The advantage of Catalyst Browse (or Content Browser) is that they should combine them seamlessly. Handbrake might not. You might want to make that your next test...
Good call. I will do a long test this morning. I had about decided on Handbrake but I better do a full 20 min test. I plan on having two laptops, each with both programs in case of unforeseen problems. I'll figure out a backup system too. Thanks for your help.

UPDATE: Yep, you're right. I ran the camera for a little over 30 min and the camera made three file folders and three files. Not a problem if I were editing but for putting on a flash drive for a client to walk away with... not so good. So, it looks like Catalyst is the ticket. Thanks again.

Last edited by Geoffrey Chandler; February 24th, 2016 at 08:05 AM.
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