Sony NEX-FS100 Super 35mm User Group

AVCHD Media Content Manager for PC what about MAC

Andrew

Andrew

Hi is there any AVCHD media content manager software for MAC as per the PC, that can move clips around from contents folder to folder etc for the MAC.

Why haven't Sony created such software for there new flag ship AVCHD camera the NEX-FS100!

uraystudio

uraystudio Plus

please anyone heard any rumors about them creating content management utility for mac any soon? will they ever?

Atticus Lake

Atticus Lake Plus

As a PC user, I've never used CMU. I have yet to find anything it does that is of any use at all, really.

I just drag the entire "PRIVATE" folder off my SD card into my project folder, rename it appropriately, then import the folder (NOT the .mts files, the entire folder) into Premiere Pro. PP takes care of correctly stitching split clips, and it all just works.

If you're using a different editor, then of course YMMV, but I would think this should generally work.

H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon Plus

How timely that this discussion of the Content Management Utility arose, just when I was about to head here (at my own site, no less) to vent anger! I'm techie, anal, careful, etc. when it comes to managing files, but last night I saw my life pass before my eyes when MY ENTIRE DIRECTORY AND SUB-DIRECTORIES OF ORIGINAL AVCHD FILES FROM THE PAST FOUR YEARS GOT WIPED OUT BY CMU.

Sony's program is so poorly coded that even selecting a single file, before doing anything to it like playing it back in the mini-window, sets off a pause of at least five seconds. Same for any operation like deleting a file, or dragging-and-dropping. I admit it's remotely possible that I missed something, but without confirming any dialog box or such, I watched in horror after some backed-up, hung operations (as usual) within CMU resulted in that "disk space full" bar in My Computer animating downward, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Of course, there's that famous dialog box common to all Windows programs, some files may be too large and will be deleted immediately. I didn't confirm that with a lick, though it's also remotely possible that because the damn program is so sluggish (= poorly coded), a couple of cached mouse clicks confirmed deletion of everything...SOMEHOW. Perhaps it has to do with accidentally selecting the left-hand pane, then hitting the delete key. In order to see all your video files in the thumbnails area, you need to select all the folders in the left pane, and a deletion with the wrong pane active could do the trick. WHICH IS A STUPID WAY TO CODE SOFTWARE.

The lesson is, of course, do regular backups, which I did -- though my 2 TB restore took all night and I woke up to a "restore successful" prompt that made me drop to my knees and say a prayer.

The other lesson is: never use that POS program called Content Management Utility. Problem is, it's the one program that can stitch together files that exceed the individual AVCHD file size limit, and your solution, Atticus, is not ideal because the files stay segmented on your hard disk relying completely upon the sidecar metadata files for stitching together the segments into a seamless flow. Not good.

Another problem: PMB (which comes with prosumer devices like the NEX-VG20) is a far superior and zippier program, but fails at dealing with 28 Mbps AVCHD 2.0 files.

I'm at a loss for finding solutions, but had the scare of my life last night from CMU and will never go back.

Thoughts, everyone? It's an important issue, because great footage is nothing without file management (not to mention, losing everything).

Studio En Fuego

Studio En Fuego Plus

Well.. they way I have been taught to do content management is this:
This will be mac based, as that is what I use.

Step one: Create an .ISO image of your card.
Open disk utility, select the card from the list, select new image.
Step two: back up the image.
Step three: Log and transfer the footage into FCP 7 (or FCPX). I have no Idea about PP.

That is my workflow anyway. When I am in FCP X I usually choose to transcode the media as well.

H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon Plus

So remember, due to some nutty import trade restrictions, AVCHD files abruptly cut off between large file sizes and need to be stitched together; even when you line them up back-to-back, you get an audio drop-out. The only programs that permanently stitch together the segments are CMU and PMB -- while the latter can't even play AVCHD 2.0 files. For seamless playback of the segmented AVCHD files, metadata sidecar files CAN help, but you're risking that they get overwritten, or separated from the actual video files, or blended into a master directory.

I actually see this as a major, underestimated issue for this product.

Dionicio Pascual, Jr.

Dionicio Pascual, Jr. Plus

Hi Paul. I've used CMU from the beginning & am glad to report that I've had absolutely no problems with it. Not only does it stitch the segmented files & files that bridge two or more memory cards properly but it also corrects the flash bands (CMU v2.1).

In the Mac environment, you'll need Clipwrap to properly stitch the segments together.

H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon Plus

Thanks; now I'm especially intrigued by the possibility (which still seems remote) that I've got things configured wrong, even on a beefed-up Core i7 Windows PC -- because I can't imagine you would be so satisfied if the program behaves as I described: for example, just clicking on a thumbnail locks up the entire program for at least five seconds until it "loads" into the mini-monitor for playback. That's a huge reduction in productivity, of course. Any ideas why yours is (I assume) running so much faster? How much delay do you get when clicking on a thumbnail?

Atticus Lake

Atticus Lake Plus

Hey Paul, Wow, so sorry about your experience -- and glad you at least managed to restore everything.

I totally agree that the "sidecar meta-data files" is a dumb idea, but that's AVCHD, sadly. As you point out, those files contain the info needed to stitch split clips correctly -- but they also contain all your other meta-data. So, in my view, the correct answer is to forget about what's inside the PRIVATE folder -- just never go in there -- and treat it as an atomic entity. If you never mess with those files, then the fact that Premiere stitches on the fly shouldn't be an issue.

The only sad part is that Premiere shows all the elements of a split clip in the project. However you can easily tell which are the "subsequent" ones as they have no meta-data, then just delete them from the project (NOT the hard drive) and forget they were there. Works for me, anyhow.

Yup, it's not ideal, but it's been working fine for me across a fair few projects now. If I found a GOOD utility that would stitch the files, merge the meta-data INTO the files where it belongs, and convert to an Iframe-only format, I would use it; until then, I'm pretty happy with Premiere's stitch-on-the-fly approach.

H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon Plus

Thanks for your thoughts, Atticus. I suppose I still can't get around the unease of worrying about those sidecar files becoming dissociated even given the dogma you describe of keeping separate directories. As it is now, I actually don't organize footage into file directories, since those are really date/time-of-import based anyway and not useful for dividing subject matter.

And the main reason I'm still reluctant, and still wanting Sony to fix this poor software, is that I really do want the files to get stitched together permanently upon import. Also, I'm reluctant to rely upon Premiere for consulting the metadata sidecar files because I likewise think the file management functions in Premiere are piss-poor. Hell, you can't even sort files by specific criteria in the thumbnail view. The only way to rearrange the thumbnails is to drag and drop the tiles, crudely.

I'm still hung up on Dionicio's comment about CMU running adequately fast. For me, on a super zippy, optimized system, it's the slowest program I've ever used. Anyone else?

Atticus Lake

Atticus Lake Plus

Well, I have to say, for me it's not a dogma; I just drag the folder over and forget about it. The clips appear in PP and that's it.

I organize stuff into bins; when you import a folder it creates a bin from that folder, which I would think of as a "camera" bin, but then I create bins for subject matter and organize the clips into those, as the first step of editing. Putting stuff in bins doesn't alter or depend on its location on disk, except for the initial default bins PP creates on import.

That way I get any organization I want without ever touching the stuff that came off the camera, which to me is the core point of non-destructive editing. If I completely screw up my project and start over, at least I still have the original camera output -- one folder per card shot -- completely untouched.

I can totally sympathize with wanting "real" stitched files... but this workflow is at least working for me.

Studio En Fuego

Studio En Fuego Plus

I'm confused about the whole "stitch together" and "sidecar meta-data files" talk.. do you all not transcode your media anyway? Editing AVCHD directly is a bad idea. Once you transcode them, they are one continuous clip without the need for any of that.

Is it because I live in the FCP ecosystem, where this is done automagically, that I am missing something?

Jamie De Pould

Jamie De Pould

With CS5.5, editing AVCHD isn't a problem like it is in FCP. Basically, because of the 4GB limit with the file system, the camera breaks up big clips into separate files, then writes XML explaining where everything is. If you don't "unpack" everything, and read the XML, then you'll have gaps in continuous clips. Sometimes you can get away with it, and there's no gap, but often that isn't the case.

Log and Transfer is doing all of this transparently. CS5 reads everything and assembles the clips correctly on the fly.

Studio En Fuego

Studio En Fuego Plus

I still don't think it's a good idea to edit in avchd. Using an all Iframe codec seems like a much better idea.

Jamie De Pould

Jamie De Pould

I used to think that too, but putting it in a different container won't change the data the camera wrote to the card.

If you're on FCP, or a machine where you don't get GPU acceleration, then it might make sense to transcode, otherwise you're not saving any time, or changing the quality.

H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon Plus

I think you really nailed it on the head, Jamie, by noting the overall principle that you can't get more data out of the original file by transcoding. That's always been the major drawback of the Apple OS workflow, now worsened by their abandonment of the professional NLE in favor of X. In terms of marketing -- the one thing Apple does really well -- they have been able to leave the impression of zippy system builds merely by downgrading to a less processor-intensive codec via mandatory transcoding, but it simply doesn't improve the footage...and of course, actually degrades it as a generational loss.

Atticus Lake

Atticus Lake Plus

Absolutely correct, transcoding can not improve your footage and will certainly degrade it by some (hopefully minor) amount. However transcoding to an all-intra format may dramatically improve editing speed. Given that we're stuck with AVCHD, that's the choice we have.

I think it's clear that AVCHD for a camera is junk. The idea of recording in a format that can be copied direct to Blu-Ray, without editing, is insane, particularly on a high-end camera like this one! It's high time the camera vendors came out with a better codec. H.264 High 4:2:2 Intra Profile or High 4:4:4 Intra Profile look to be perfect. Maybe we should start lobbying for these.

Jamie De Pould

Jamie De Pould

I wouldn't even mind a 4:2:2 long-GOP. The spec supports a lot more than what we're getting from any manufacturer right now.

Atticus Lake

Atticus Lake Plus

Well, like I said, if you can find me a good transcoder for Windows, I'd use it... I guess ClipWrap is the Mac thing, bit it's not for Windows.

Jamie De Pould

Jamie De Pould

Holy cow Paul, that's a nightmare, even with a backup.

I usually create a read-only disk image of the card before I do anything (then back up the project folder), and lately I've just been running straight from the image (Dual-quad Mac Pro w/ 16GB RAM). I ordered a Quadra 4000 last week, so I'm excited to see how it's going to work. From what I've seen, the FS100 footage grades the same native or ProRes, though I'm still coming to terms with the Adobe color correction paradigm.

Media encoder can transcode .mts files, but I doubt it'll stitch properly.

Satva Leung

Satva Leung Plus

@ Andrew regarding mac solution

I am running FCP X, got the FMU 128 gig drive with the FS100, just did a test recording for 2 hours straight, copied footage off the FMU to SD card, it created 7 .mts files, used clip wrap to stitch files together seamlessly (no audio drop outs), and brought the full 14 gig file into FCP X with no problem, no need to transcode as FCP X can edit the native AVCHD.

Jamie De Pould

Jamie De Pould

FCPX still transcodes, it just does it in the background. You can force it not to, but it doesn't like it.

Satva Leung

Satva Leung Plus

I know I just meant with FCP X you don't need to convert your footage in programs like streamclip before importing the footage in.

Athens Video

Athens Video PRO

Does Clipwrap batch rename files as they are transcoding. We are running into a problem where we have multiple cards and each card starts the clip names back at 00000. Not cool man, not cool.

Odd Man Out

Odd Man Out PRO

Certainly not cool! Just found the same problem after my first week's shoot. Five more weeks to go! And bin management in Avid with multiple duplicated file names is going to be hell. Here's hoping I never have to relink to original AMA files.

Regarding the Content Management Utility or a Clip Browser, all I wanted it for is checking footage at the end of the day on a Mac laptop.

The only way I could do this (at short notice) was to play the MTS files with VLC player. Not ideal but at least the DoP was happy.

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