XDCAM EX workflow overview for FCP, Avid and Premier

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XDCAM EX workflow overview for FCP, Avid and Premier

Post by alisterchapman » November 7th, 2011, 9:54 pm

XDCAM EX Workflow with FCP, Avid and Premier Pro.

I get a lot of questions from new users about the best way to work with XDCAM EX material. This document isn’t meant to be a guide to editing, just a few pointers that should help you get your material in to your chosen NLE.
Before going into the workflow itself, a few housekeeping points.

1: When backing up your files from the SxS cards (or SD cards), always, always, always save the entire BPAV folder and its contents. Don’t be tempted to save just the MP4 files, most edit applications will need the whole, intact BPAV folder to work with the files.

2: Save each BPAV folder in it’s own parent folder. The BPAV folder must keep the name BPAV, you cannot change this. Don’t try to combine several BPAV folders into one single folder other than by using XDCAM Browser, see below.

3: It is preferable to use Sony’s “XDCAM BROWSER” software when making your backups as this includes file verification and will also re-combine any clips that have been split (spanned) across cards. To do this take all your cards and copy the clips from them into a single new folder by dragging them from the source cards window to your chosen destination folders window.

Very simple. Mount the card or drive with the BPAV folders on your computer. Open Premier and use the Media Browser tool to navigate to the folder or card containing the BPAV folder and drag the clips from the Media Browser window to the project bin. Could not be simpler, but only works with valid BPAV folders. You can import .mov’s that have been created by XDCAM Browser for FCP (see below) but these files don’t play as smoothly as the files directly from a BPAV folder.

You must be on at least version 6.0.3, earlier versions do not have the XDCAM codec’s. You will need to download and install the latest version of the free Sony XDCAM BROWSER software (try www.sonybiz.net/ex ). Once you have installed XDCAM Browser, from within FCP select “import” “xdcam browser”. The xdcam browser should open. Within the browser navigate to the folder or card that contains the footage that you want to use. Select the files you want and then right click or choose “register for FCP”. XDCAM Browser will then import the files into a new folder (selected in XDCAM Browsers Preferences) as .mov files. These files will then be included in the open project in FCP. It’s tempting with the FCP workflow to only keep the .mov files and to not bother saving the original BPAV folders. I don’t recommend this as if you ever need to work on your project with another NLE then you may find it impossible to import the non standard .mov’s.
FCP can also export XDCAM clips back to an SxS card (or any folder). This is done by choosing “file” “export XDCAM” which will open the Sony XDCAM exporter window. Select one of the standard EX presets if writing to SxS or one of the XDCAM HD or HD422 presets if writing to an XDCAM optical disc. There is a file size limitation of 4Gb or about 12 mins for XDCAM EX files.

At the time of writing, XDCAM is not officially supported by FCP-X. However if you use XDCAM Browser to “register files for FCP” you can use the generated .mov files in FCP-X. This is a two step process. First you must generate the .mov files with XDCAM Browser and then from within FCP-X you have to import the .mov files.

Probably the most efficient way to work with XDCAM files in Media Composer is to link to them using AMA (Avid Media Access). This is different to importing files into Avid as the files will remain on the original media, so if working with multiple cards you will first need to copy all the cards to the same drive or folder. I recommend using XDCAM Browser (free download from Sonybiz.net/ex ) to combine all the SxS cards to a single new folder first. You will need to install the free XDCAM AMA plugin (provided by Sony, www.sonybiz.net/ex). From within Media Composer select the bin you want to use and then go “File” “Link to AMA Volume” or “Link to AMA files” depending on whether you want to link to all the files on a drive or virtual drive or files within a folder.

Copyright Alister Chapman 2011
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Re: XDCAM EX workflow overview for FCP, Avid and Premier

Post by Finbo » March 5th, 2013, 10:38 am

I was just wondering how up to date this guide is seeing it was published in Nov 11?
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Re: XDCAM EX workflow overview for FCP, Avid and Premier

Post by Peach » March 8th, 2013, 7:53 pm

This may be a slightly dead thread but it's a very relevant topic.

I work on BBC news and current affairs programmes with my Sony PMW500 and I edit with MC 6.5.5. Occasionally I would love to be able to write back to the SxS card (when I'm not shooting onto SD cards) however I'm still unclear as to whether this is even possible.

Another one of my clients is about to make the switch from disc to SxS cards (no names - no pack drill but they are a very large international and will be obliged to record at 50MBS due to carriage rights restrictions) As I already shoot with with SxS cards and optical discs I've had various chats with them regarding the relative merits of the XDCAM options but I find myself in the embarrassing position of being unable to fully recommend the work flow.

There are rumours that ITV News may also be switching to SxS - no doubt this would be a useful option for their shoot edits too.

AVID/Sony - any advice please?
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Re: XDCAM EX workflow overview for FCP, Avid and Premier

Post by Peach » March 10th, 2013, 12:04 pm

Well, after posting the above I had another look at my problem and did the most obvious thing as a work around (that I should have tried in the first place)...

Saved the MXF file in XDCAM Transfer and then moved it via transfer to the SxS card.

Success! I was able to edit the rushes and transfer the cut piece back to the card then hand the whole lot to the sat truck engineer to blast into the ether.

The downside to all of this is that I have to keep my beady eye on the precious card.... Which possibly could negate the benefits of my new found technique.
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Re: XDCAM EX workflow overview for FCP, Avid and Premier

Post by hass » August 27th, 2014, 8:14 am

Peach, i have the same problem, but i am on Avid MC 7.0. I am wondering if you have heard what to do if you are using Avid for write back to the SxS cards?
its most disturbing, as that feature was so great on the PDW700!
HELP is needed badly!
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