Video Project Sony EX3 and FCP

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Vel, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. Vel macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2008
    Hi All,

    I'll be honest I've never done any video editing before and normally stick to the Photography forum.

    Anyway my situation is as follows. My employer does voluntary work on an annual basis and to help local charities. The voluntary work normally involves a lot of manual labour and video is shot during the event.

    This year instead of getting in a professional to edit the footage into a 3 minute video (to show at conferences they hold on a regular basis). Both myself and a colleague have been asked to shoot some footage throughout the day which, then needs to be edited to a 3min video (the edit needs to be carried out on the fly) the day finishes at roughly 17:00 and the footage needs to have been edited and rendered and burnt to a DVD by 19:00 when both myself and my colleague will get ready for the dinner in the evening and play the video to everyone.

    Prior to doing this I have a few questions/concerns.

    I currently don't own a video camera (as mentioned above I prefer photography...). However my employer is going to be renting a Sony XDCAM EX PMW-EX3 which is apparently a fantastic camcorder. In terms of using the camcorder that's not really an issue as that role will be managed by my colleague, however my concerns lie with the editing and rendering of the footage.

    My employer is in the process of ordering the current version of FCP which will be used to edit the footage, however as this isn't something they do very often they have no hardware to run the software, which I have agreed to provide (seen as it will be me who's editing the footage and using the system). The current macs that I own are a) Alu MacBook b) iMac 2.8Ghz Extreme Edition w/2GB RAM.

    Realistically it will be very painful to use the MacBook to edit the footage so the obvious choice will be to use my iMac (the MacBook will be used to generate a slideshow from stills which will be taken throughout the day).

    Unfortunately due to how expensive it is to rent the camcorder I'm not going to be able to have a few sample shoots to check how the iMac performs for my required task. In order to make the day run as smooth as possible I have the following questions around editing the footage on the iMac.

    1. How will it handle the editing of the RAW video files created by the EX3, is it going to be painfully slow and laggy, if so would it be better to convert the files into a different format before trying to edit in FCP. If so does anyone have any suggestions. Also on the day there will be a maximum of 60mins worth of video shot by the EX3 which will be split into numerous shorter files which will be dumped to the iMac at regular intervals throughout the day.

    2. Thinking logically I don't want to be rendering the final file to the boot drive (for performance issues). So seen as the iMac only has one HDD, I understand I'm going to have to render it to an external HDD. I currently own numerous USB2 external HDD's and I'm curious as to the rough (I know specifics won't be possible) time of render on my iMac to a USB2 drive or in comparison to a FW800 drive (I don't mind trying to locate a FW800 HDD caddy if it significantly improves performance). As stated the video is going to be roughly 3mins in length an will rendered using my iMac (it won't be performing any other actions).

    3. The iMac I will be using will only have 2GB of RAM, which I feel will be adequate for the general editing of the footage (seen as I have the majority of the day to carry out the task) however my main concern is getting the footage rendered and burnt to a DVD in the 2hours I'll have. I am just wondering would an increase in RAM improve the speed of the render or does rendering only use the CPU (sorry if the sounds like a daft question).

    4. As I have never used FCP but will be able to play around with sample video footage as soon as the copy arrives at work. I feel I'll be happy with using the software as the project isn't due to commence for just over a month. I am also wondering if anyone has any other advice or suggestions of anything else which should be considered before carrying out my project,

    Sorry for the long post, but I thought it would be best to try and give as much information as possible, also if anyone has any other questions feel free to ask,


  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    The camera records its footage with MPEG-2 codec, which needs to be converted to something editable using the Log & Transfer window in FCP, for example the Apple Intermediate Codec.
    That will take its time.

    Use a FW800 HDD, as FW800 offers speeds of up to 70MB/s, USB only offers 30-34MB/s.
    To get better performance don't store any video onto the internal HDD, save it to the external HDD.
    It is recommended to do so, as the OS needs the internal HDD to access its own files, and the video needs its own HDD to read the video during playback.
    But if FW800 are too expensive, USB 2.0 will suffice, I once edited a 20 minute short film via USB and it was okay.

    An increase in RAM will enhance the performance but it will not noticeably speed up the conversion process.
    My 2.8GHz MBP took 47 minutes to convert a 20min video using Compressor from an SD DV video to an SD MPEG-2 video.

    So try to make some test runs with your HD samples, you could use QuickTime movie trailers for example.

    Take a look at the manual, maybe even or some guides on YouTube.

    And time your processes so you'll see how long it really takes.

    Btw, why can't your boss rent a slightly cheaper camera and get an editor/cameraman for that day?
    It's quite a responsibility to give you and your colleague, especially if you don't have any experience in that field.
    Has your colleague it least handled a camera of this size?
  3. mjsanders5uk macrumors regular

    May 11, 2009
    As someone who does this on a professional level I would say you are possible biting off a bit more than you can chew. I am a very fast editor and have been using FCP since it came out. Even using the multicam function of FCP editing a video of a conference down to 3 mins in two hours is a tough job.

    If you are going to do it then in a word you need to practice and get to know your workflow inside out.

    Here are some tips: Using a Macbook pro with a Express 3/4 slot and Gtech mini raid on FW800, a full 16GB card takes about 20 mins max to copy into the computer. But that is using a 2.5Ghz MBP with the SxS card in the card slot. If you use an external card reader your load times will be very very slow. At least make sure you have a fast hard drive (G-Tech mini raid) and a firewire card reader. USB will be painfully slow and will screw you up.
  4. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008

    So I don't mean to sound like a jerk but....

    This project has SO MANY THINGS that can go wrong with it.

    1. two hours to edit, compress and burn
    2. never used FCP
    3. sounds like you have a cheap boss
    4. I hope you don't lose your job
    5. did I mention this was insane?

    My best advice has nothing to do with your gear, it has to do with your shooting. STORYBOARD.
    I have taken on insane $h!te like this before ONLY because it was a freebie for a friend or something. You want to shoot every frame like it's your last 30 seconds.
    On the other hand, if your boss has NO EXPECTATIONS, then giver hell.

    have you ever taken on something like this before?
  5. Vel thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2008
    Firstly, Thanks for the comments.

    Just to clear a few things up this will have no effect upon my current role, and its not really as tasking as it sounds. My employers issue is they paid £5000 last year for two events and they are wanting the whole experience to be a lot cheaper than last year. My colleague and I have previously created a Quarterly magazine for the company in 24hours. This did involve a lot of work and wasn't a simple word document with text, this involved writing material going out and shooting stills for the magazine for the articles and also compiling the whole thing in Adobe InDesign (that was my first time using InDesign) and that went pretty smoothly.

    My colleague also has a media degree and has a fair bit of experience shooting with high value/quality camcorders.

    Prior to the event we will be shooting some trial footage with his old SD cam and editing this in FCP so we can get an idea of how we want this to work on the day, and also so we can learn our way around the system. We will also be getting together to assertain the message the clip needs to portray and this will be his aim when he shoots the footage. He will be keeping the shooting down to a minimum and will only be shooting footage which he feels he will need.

    The footage will be imported to the iMac at regular intervals (roughly every 30mins) and this can then be edited to by myself whilst he is out shooting the footage. By 17:00 the edit should be completed (as everyone should be leaving then and there will be no more footage to edit). So the two hours will be just to check it over with my colleague to ensure he is happy with the final edit, render the footage and burn it to a DVD.

    Also I have just purchased a Western Digital HDD with FW800 so I will be using that to store the imported footage.


  6. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    i would suggest renting a spare set of memory cards & a card reader so you don't tie up the camera while you are importing the footage in to FCP.
  7. Vel thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thanks for the suggestion, the camera comes with two 8GB cards and a firewire card reader, so I am planning on only having one card in the camera at any one time, as I wouldn't expect to fill the 8GB card at anyone time,

  8. mjsanders5uk macrumors regular

    May 11, 2009
    Check it is a firewire card reader - The Sony one that comes with most kits IS USB.

    Also, if you're only shooting with one camera - and unless there is a specific reason why you need to shoot in HD with an EX3 - why not get a EX1R (make sures its the R!) then you can shoot onto card but in DVcam.
  9. Vel thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2008
    Sorry if this sounds like a daft question, but would that remove the need for the footage to be converted before importing it to FCP
  10. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    It dosent take that long to ingest a 8gb card. Your WD disk will work fine, so will your iMac.
    To get the right setting in the timeline you just drop one clip onto your time line and fc asks if it should change the setting. Say yes.

    The latest fc have a se of templates under "share". You can chose to make a DVD and it will take caer of everything for you. Just insert a DVD when it asks you. The rendering and coding of a 3min DVD won't take pong on your iMac.
    Best of luck. Remember to try to burn a DVD first AND bring he same kind of DVDs for the actual job. Sometime certain brands won't work
  11. mjsanders5uk macrumors regular

    May 11, 2009
    I can't of the top of my head remember what file format it uses to record DVcam but chances are, like XDcam EX it might need rewrapping which is what your doing when bringing in EX into FCP. FCP natively supports the XDcam EX codec but Apple use the Quicktime/MOV wrapper as opposed to XDcam's (and Avids?) native MXF so it rewraps it - basically putting it in a different envelope and re-adressing it with new instructions on whats in the envelope.

    Whatever the process it will also be quicker to transfer as DVcam is only 25Mb/s as opposed to XDcam EX's 35Mb/s.
  12. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    You will also need to download a few things from Sony. The SxS driver for mac so your machine recognize the cards, the log and transfer plug in for fcp and the xdcam transfer software.
  13. Vel thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2008
    I've emailed the company we will be hiring the camcorder from to ask for some sample footage. This will then hopefully help me perfect the workflow prior to the event.

    Thanks for the positive comments, and good thinking about getting the drivers from I'm not sure if these are provided with the cam, and I won't have an internet connection on site,

  14. mjsanders5uk macrumors regular

    May 11, 2009
    Just a thought - but check the time it takes to download the footage! an 8GB card gives you about 25mins of record time at XDcam EX HQ. The last thing you want is not to be able to film because you are waiting for a card to finish downloading.

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