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Codec Workflow Question


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#1 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 01:12 PM

Ok, bizarre question here but I'm hoping for some input. I'm working with a group of folks (really great folks I might add) who want a specific workflow for their studio and I'm having a really tough time figuring out the best way to help them.

Is there ANY prosumer camera that can shoot immediately editable (in Final Cut Pro 7) formats directly to an external hard drive?

My clients are interested in speed of post production and would like to avoid both transferring from cards to hard drive and (more importantly) transcoding. They also don't want to switch to Premiere so I'm kind of stuck here. Anyone with any suggestions for me? Even if the camera is perhaps toward the $9k mark. I just want to know.

So, to recap, It MUST be 1080 @ 24p, shoot to an external hard drive, shoot to a format that is immediately editable in FCP7 (this is probably the most important to them) and audio inputs would be a major plus (XLR even better).

I know this is the perfect storm of features but I've sort of run out of ideas. Perhaps the reason I haven't found it is that it doesn't exist, but there's so much out there that I have missed fairly obvious things in the past.

Many thanks,

Nick J.

Edited by Nicholas Jenkins, 14 October 2011 - 01:12 PM.

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 02:28 PM

There are various approaches to this. What I think you're asking for is a way to avoid a copying stage, as opposed to being desperate to shoot to a spinning disk.

Almost all recorders now use flash, because it's much smaller, lighter, less power-hungry, produces no noise, and isn't (as) sensitive to shock as a hard disk, all of which is good. On this basis you will likely find yourself editing off a flash device, be that a compactflash card, SSD, etc, if you really are desperate to edit off the shooting media. There's nothing wrong with doing that and it is possible to edit straight off the card with anything that presents itself to your computer as a normal drive, from a Blackmagic Shuttle recorder (17 minutes uncompressed 1080p24 10-bit 4:2:2 on a $200 SSD) to a Focus Enhancements FS-CF. Depending on connectivity these are all recorders that can be jacked onto the back of whatever cameras you already have. Of course, you'll end up needing to buy more shooting media as it'll be tied up during your edits, but if you really do need that last zenith of speed in the workflow, that's what you can do.

You might also look and see if you can find a Firestore FS-4, which took hard disks, but they're end-of-line now and may be hard to get.

If you are really desperate to record to a spinning disk, you can do that with a server or laptop with some form of removable disk - USB, SATA, etc. That would only work out in certain circumstances, given the cumbersome nature of the setup, noise, power requirements, etc. Ultimately whether it's editable depends on what sort of output the camera has, what the recorder does with it, and what your particular FCP configuration will deal with.

What's the application?

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#3 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 02:43 PM

So we're trying to shoot several vlogs per day that can go directly from shooting to editing with no intermediate steps. We're trying for 24 hour turnaround times because they're topical news vlogs. The whole process of transcoding is the biggest slowdown so that is what we're trying to avoid.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 05:05 PM

You could look at any number of onboard recorders that do ProRes, that'd go straight in. Sound Devices has their Pix range that will do that to either SSDs or compactflash.

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#5 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 05:34 PM

Thanks Phil. I'll check into that.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 05:44 PM

Could you also output directly into FCP through a camera with Fire-Wire? Granted, you're limited to HDV, I think, then, but you'd open up "log and transferr" and then go with camera connected to firewire.
Another option is something like a Motu boxsetup to take in HDM or SDI and have FCP transcode it to ProRes.
This will only really work if you're in a studio only. On location, I'd look into like a KiPro or the like to CF Cards.
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