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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old May 20th, 2017, 05:17 PM   #1
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catalyst browse--.smi files?

My producers Mac laptop can no longer open the Sony Content Browser software, soo after several failed attempts to reload it (as prompted), we downloaded Catalyst Browse. We use these programs solely to make a back up copy of the SxS and XQD cards we shoot in the field from a pair of F3 cameras.

I'm noticiing that on a few longer clips, the copied files show a little chain icon and are displayed as .SMI files in the media window, instead of MP4.

Catalyst copies the .SMI just fine, but doesn't really like to play it back without a bit of stutter here and there.

The card plays fine in the camera. Is this just a hiccup in the Catalyst system, or if we ever need to retrieve one of these .SMI files from the backup drive, are we going to have a big problem?


Thx!
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Old June 29th, 2018, 04:41 PM   #2
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Re: catalyst browse--.smi files?

So I'm thinking maybe you and I are the only people left on planet earth shooting with the F3? LOL

I am going to upgrade to High Sierra which means a new Mac Pro and by by Content Browser as I understand it won't launch on Sierra and beyond. After downloading Catalyst Browser, I saw the same thing you did. Some files were .SMI and others .MP4. SMH
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Old June 30th, 2018, 04:09 PM   #3
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Re: catalyst browse--.smi files?

My impression was that XDcam Browser / Content Browser were better for playback on older/slower computers than Catalyst Browse. I keep both on my Win10 machine.

Yes, it was frustrating on my MBP when I needed to update to Sierra for another program I needed to run - only to discover that a bunch of older programs would no longer open :-((

I think you'll find that Catalyst Browse shows the SMI file name whenever the take is one that spans more than one .mp4 file. Remember, the F3 was from the era when everything was recorded in FAT32 format - with a 4GB cap on file sizes -- so any take that went longer than would fit into one <4GB .mp4 file would be split into multiple files/folders. The various Browser programs will play continuously through these multiple .mp4 files - and can export them as a single file.

And yes, I shot an F3 job last night... :-))
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Old July 1st, 2018, 08:19 AM   #4
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Re: catalyst browse--.smi files?

Ha. We be dinosaurs. But it still takes a sweet pic, as long as you're OK being in the 1080P space.

I figured it was the long file cross over. But I was mostly curious if it reintegrated well. Not sure our editors ever had to try it yet.
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Old July 1st, 2018, 06:11 PM   #5
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Re: catalyst browse--.smi files?

Over the years I've had no problems at all with the long (multiple .mp4 in single take) files on SxS media. None. Ever.
Lately my F3 has mainly been shooting live theatre - so takes are usually 55 - 95 minutes long - or lengthy interviews, usually an hour or more at a stretch. Never a complaint from the cutting room about the files not combining perfectly.
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Old July 1st, 2018, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re: catalyst browse--.smi files?

Well that's interesting Dave, It used to be that dragging files to the HD using Content Browser would result in files that spanned cards being automatically joined into a single file. That stopped working a year or so ago and now I have to join them manually in FCP X.

What tool and OS are you using that spanned files are joined?
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Old July 2nd, 2018, 03:39 PM   #7
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Re: catalyst browse--.smi files?

Hello Les, this is my basic experience with it...
If editing I use Premiere. It reads the files directly, treating long takes as a single unit - without indicating that there are multiple files involved.
If transcoding I can do so directly from Catalyst Browse.
If re-wrapping (exporting) to an mxf for editing in Vegas (which I use for some fast turnaround assignments) I still use XDcam Browser.
I had bought the enhanced codec pack license for XDcam Browser, and still have two clients who want to also receive an XDcamHD disc copy of their footage. it still works on my Win10 machine.
No, I don't have or use any flavor of FCP and all my clients who used to use FCP have moved to other edit software -- nor have I started to do any actual editing in Resolve,
For my clients who use Avid, they get a copy/upload of the entire BPAV file - I'm not sure what their workflow is (I'm assuming it's AME??) - but I do know I've never had a complaint about long files not concatenating properly. I do of course hear immediately if the time code from the Tentacles is 2 frames out!
Of course for the most part I'm not the editor for the projects I shoot - but I sure find out quickly from the edit room if there's a problem.
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