Adobe Premiere adds XAVC support!

About a month ago I saw a demo of the coming  Adobe Premiere upgrade but was asked to keep a lid on until now.  I was really interested to see if the software only machine would playback 4K XAVC footage from the F55.  It played (on a maxed out HP laptop) back the 4K footage in full resolution without any problems.  Even more so, it scrubbed the footage like it was a 25Mbit/s DVstream, not a 300Mbit/s 4K stream!!  It updated the timeline window as fast as I could move the cursor and played back instantly when I hit play.  I was blown away!

This release will add full XAVC support (all flavours) to Prelude, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Media Encoder but with read-only at first. As for Speedgrade there is more surprises ahead…
Playback will require some pretty heavy system requirements to playback 4K 50/60+ fps but the support is there.  Just in time for NAB, how lucky is that….  😉

CS6 Premiere Pro and XDCam – Solution

I finally figured it out! With some online suggestions and trial and error it finally works, No thanks to Adobe who’ve managed to side-step several cries for help…

You export the entire, or selected bit of your edit (sequence) . Use OpMXF1a and save your MFX file to the desktop for example.
Rename the file in a manner Sony’s Professional disc will like: C0001, or other non conflicting file number. I found that C9990 was not accepted and I guess there is a limit to the amount of clips allowed on a disc.
However C0800 was accepted and will be my first numbering on export.

When this is done simply drop your C0800 in the CLIP folder on your professional disc. The File will now play back on camera and you can output via HdSdi.
Thats it! 🙂

CS6 Premiere Pro and XDCam…?

We are in the process of leaving Final Cut pro and are looking at Adobe CS6.
But there is one thing that keeps us from making the move. From time to time we need to edit in the field and deliver an XDcam optical disk.
So the question is: How do you export a finished edit/sequence back to Xdcam Optical disk from a Premiere Pro timeline? I can import footage but I need to be able to export it back to a camera or deck, not via SDI but via file transfer/export. For example: shoot, import to laptop, edit, export back to disk, feed from camera SDI…

I can’t figure it out and I am starting to think its not possible…
In Final Cut it was really really easy: File, Export, Xdcam!! Simple as that.

I have posted on Adobe forum and asked Adobe over twitter 3 or 4 times without receiving any useful help…
Any ideas!?

XDCam log your footage

I bought the XDCam system (PDW-530P) early, in the summer of 2004 when it was still a new unproven format. Since then XDCam optical disk has almost become an industry standard for a lot of broadcast shows reality/news/sports and shows with lots of footage. During this time we’ve also invested in both the PDW-700 as well as our baby F3.

The 530 and the 700 both record to an optical blue laser disk (with disc media inexpensive enough to just hand off to clients) and the F3 to SxS solid state cards. They all fall under the XDCam format (with different bit rates and color sampling) and they are all file based. So you ask: Everything is file based now a days, so what?

Well there is more to file based video than just the ease of editing in your favorite NLE.  One thing that often surprises me is how few people actually take advantage of the benefits of file based acquisition.  I am going to focus on one of these aspects; how to easily log your footage.

Thumbnail view in XDCam PDW-700

We often work with clients who have no idea they can walk away with all the material we shoot, on their laptop, at the end of the shoot, and log everything with audio and timecode. The best thing is they can do this on the trip back, in their hotel room or even better; on the couch at home…  I still hear producer/directors saying they have to go to the office and log their footage using a deck or an edit suite…just like the old days.

For every take, the camera creates one high resolution and one low resolution ( proxy) clip on the optical disc/SxS card. It is the low resolution clip (proxy) we are looking at for logging. The proxy file contains video, audio, timecode and meta data.  The data rate is really low (1,5Mbit) so you can’t judge focus, color or video/audio quality but it is perfect for audio  transcribing and performance review.

On the PDW-700 for example you can even add all these proxy files to a USB stick at the time of shooting.   We use 1 USB drive per disk, which the client can bring home at the end of the shoot or send off to have transcribed.

USB drive to add proxy files when shooting

If you choose not to add the proxy files to a USB stick while filming, you can add them to a computer later.  This is a quick and painless process which takes a couple of minutes per disc.  Simply hook up the camera via firewire (or even ethernet) and transfer your footage.  Sony has specific softwares for browsing your proxy files i.e.  PDZ-1 XDCAM Proxy Browse.  Since we are Mac Based we use the very simple and easy to understand XDCam Transfer software intended for Final Cut Pro.  We run this software as a stand alone application.  Some clients scare at the thought of learning a new software but after 3 minutes they just smile.

XDCam Transfer

It installs in a minute and takes no computer skill what so ever, which is a must sometimes 😉 .  Click on a clip and hit spacebar. Look, Listen and note timecode. Make your notes, enjoy your cup of coffee.
Information about the clip is right there in the proxy window. Timecode, in/out marking, clip name, bit rate audio channels.  If you use an external recorder you can, depending on what brand/model, set it up with matching clip names and of course timecode will always match.

This is a broad overview on how we try to get producers/directors/clients to log the footage if they have a need to.  You can of course take this 1, 2 or even 3 steps further within the proxy softwares to add comments, change clip names, create sub clips, export rough cuts, in/out points and so on, but then you’re talking about operations that require a little more than just hitting space bar… 🙂

 

Disclaimer: Usual stuff, no one asked me or payed me to write this article.

H.265

There is a new kid in town.  H.265, H.264’s big brother. So now when everyone’s  finally got the H.264 thing down and got their new shiny LED tv with a built in H.264 receiver, here comes a new codec.

Considering that during 2011, mobile networks delivered over a BILLION Gigabytes of data, a new compression codec might be a good idea. For us on the video side we are happy to see a high quality codec to deliver our content in.  I am not sure 8K UHDTV will be anything to look for in 2013 but another 5-10 years perhaps.  Either way its an interesting article.

http://www.neowin.net/news/the-h265-codec-brings-ultra-hdtv-resolution-in-2013

Hard Drive Failure – Backup?!

This morning an awful sound came from the closet that houses my server at home. It sounded like someone had stuck a fork in a blender… Funny enough, just yesterday, I made a comment about how my hard drives spin, day in and day out. EYEtv is running 24 hours a day recording tv to the disks. Well the computer must have heard me… cause it showed me a big red text that read “stripe slice failed” 🙂

I’ve been lucky through the the years and despite failed drives I’ve lost very little data. I know of people who’ve lost enough data to make a grown man cry. Because as you know, it’s not if but rather when the next hard drive will fail. I don’t think it’s an option, it is a requirement to have a good backup system setup, both at home and at the office. How would you deal if you lost all pictures of your kids/friends and family becuase they were on that drive with no backup. Not to mention work related files.

I have an elaborate backup system setup, involving both redundant drives on-site as well as an off-site backup in case of fire/theft/flooding…but I am a nerd. 😉

Nowadays there are many great options for automatic backup solutions. External hard drives thats sense a new file and automatically makes a copy  or Cloud solutions costing next to nothing that synchronize your data as soon as something new is added. I am just surprised how few people use them… How do you backup all your data?