[ This article was first published in the February, 2011, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
Richard Mills writes:
I have a MAC BOOK PRO running the latest version of XDCAM Transfer software (Version 2.11.0) which I use to transfer footage (XDCAM EX1) that we shoot daily from my SXS cards to an internal drive on my MAC PRO via a 1000gig ethernet network switch, which I find a very simple easy solution. More and more regularly I am experiencing ‘drop out’ on the footage, the problem is reproducible as I have run the same test on my suppliers network using their MAC BOOK PRO and network to an internal drive on a MAC PRO. Wen re-running the test on the same files the drop out always occurs at the exact frame.
I have had lengthly discussions about this problem with SONY and according to them the transfer of these files over the network is not guaranteed or supported. In their words :”I understand your point when you say that you have found no Sony release documentation regarding constraints or restrictions on the transfer of XDCAM over the network, however I don’t know of any documentation where they do guarantee this process, personally I don’t think that anyone can really guarantee anything sent over the network” My reply to them on this was if they were experiencing problems with their emails would they accept that nothing is guaranteed over a network!
They have given me an alternative solution:
1. Transfer the RAW files to the internal drive on the MAC BOOK PRO
2. ‘Unwrap’ the files using the transfer software creating .mov files on the same hard drive
3. Copy the .mov files using the network to the MAC PRO internal drive
Although this solves the problem I personally find it very cumbersome as I need extra disc space (roughly 2 X the size of the SXS cards on my MAC BOOK PRO) and it takes twice as long. It also diminishes the easy workflow solution when using XDCAM transfer over a network.
Do you know of these restrictions? Do you know if anyone else has this problem? Is there any other solution that you know of?
Larry replies: Richard, thanks for writing.
I agree with Sony. Over the last year, I’ve learned that the best practice – and the most reliable – is to transfer the ENTIRE contents of the SXS card to its own individual folder on your hard disk. Generally, a second drive, not the boot drive. One folder per card transferred.
This bypasses the latency and contention that exists in all Ethernet networks. Plus, it overcomes the several speed differential between the card and your computer (the card is very, very slow).
Then, use your Sony Transfer software to transcode the files from the folder on your hard disk into Final Cut Pro.
There are several benefits to this procedure:
The only downside is that this takes more hard disk space. But, to me, given all the benefits, the additional storage is a small price to pay.
I have one final question on this, when I use the Sony transfer software to transcode the files from the folder on my hard disk (secondary drive on my Mac Book Pro) into Final Cut Pro can I do this over the network to the internal drive (secondary drive) in my Mac Pro? Or do I have to transcode it to the secondary drive on the Mac Book Pro then copy it across (more time more disc more complicated)?
Larry replies: ASSUMING you have a Gigabit Ethernet network, that you also have a functioning Gigabit Ethernet switch and that all computers are communicating at Gigabit Ethernet speeds, you should be able to use Log & Transfer to access media on a network drive and store it locally on a hard drive. Remember that you should not use your boot drive on your laptop for data storage – it is too slow.
UPDATE – March 5, 2011
Mitch Lewis adds:
In your February Newsletter > Reader Mail, Richard Mills asks about Working With Sony XDCAM EX Clips.
He’s having problems with drop out in his footage. I would like to suggest two things:
1) When transferring footage from the SxS cards to a hard drive ALWAYS use Sony’s free XDCAM Clip Browser software. Sony specifically states in their SxS to Final Cut Pro workflow guide that users should not transfer RAW files using the Mac OS. You should only transfer files using XDCAM Clip Browser as it has built-in Data Protection and it automatically performs a “CRC check” after copying the files. Look in the Clip Browser Preferences and you’ll see what I mean. (it’s the default setting)
2) Always format your SxS card before using it again. Don’t use the “Delete All Clips” function to clear off your card, over time it will cause the SxS card to become corrupt. Always format the card before using it again.
These two suggestions weren’t mentioned in your response to his question and I think they might help with his problem.
Larry replies: Thanks, Mitch. These are two tips I did not know.
NEW & Updated!
Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.