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TOPIC: Hedge or Camera Archives?

Hedge or Camera Archives? 27 Jan 2017 18:33 #85271

  • RevJimBob
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So sorry if this is in the wrong section of the forum, but I don't see anything that applies...
I am about to pull the trigger on purchasing Hedge to transfer a couple of cards at a time to several locations at a time. This seems like a great product. But the Ripple Training guys (I'm a fanboy) always make a big deal out of camera archives. What do you all think? (And I don't have drive space to do both Hedge transfers and Cam Archives.) Thanks!
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 28 Jan 2017 15:35 #85277

  • Tom Wolsky
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Can Hedge put content in specific locations on a drive?
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 28 Jan 2017 16:40 #85278

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The key functions that you will likely lose by switching away from Camera Archives Are:

1. The ability to select portions of clips from the camera archive and only import the parts you need for your edit.

This one is huge if you shoot a ton of content and only want to import small ranges of clips for editing. The alternative is having to import entire clips to your projects. and then trim them within fcpx. That feature alone is a deal breaker for me.....and why I always use Camera Archives.

2. The ability that if a clip is ever lost/deleted/corrupted, etc, that FCPX will import everything (with metadata) from all of your Camera archives.....including remembering the ranges that you had selected on each clip. Huge timesaver/peace of mind/security.

To my knowledge there is no other way to do either of those things. I might be wrong.....and there may be workarounds that are more involved like having to convert clips, etc. Camera Archives just plain make it easy.

One more thing I wanted to mention......I hear people occasionally saying "what if an archive corrupts and you lose your footage". Can't happen. A camera archive is just a folder with the extension .fcarch

You can try this by making a dummy folder in finder, throwing a few photos and clips in there, and then changing the extension to .fcarch (this doesn't mean you can make your camera archives....it just proves the point that they are folders with some metadata added for fcpx to read)

So if there is ever an issue with a camera archive......you just delete the extension and now you have a folder with all your original footage, sans metadata.

The reason I type all of this.......I've asked myself several times if I really NEED to use Camera Archives, or if I am just drinking the Kool-Aid. And whenever I research the topic I find more reasons/advantages to using them.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 28 Jan 2017 16:44 #85279

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$99 seems steep for this function. I believe there's some other apps that do this for less. I've not looked into this type of app for a couple of years now.

On our reality show, using 40 cameras each day, we manually transfer everything. Found all the apps we tested took longer to do transfers, we only had 1 bad transfer which was a bad card. But we needed the fastest turn-around time possible to get cards back to the camera folks. Nothing beat manual transfers to Libraries for pure speed. I know the arguments about check sum and such, but in our actual two weeks of shooting this past fall, we didn't see that argument hold up. Thousands of transfers, only one was bad, bad card, I'll stick with what we proved in real life work. FYI, we originally considered testing these apps against manual transfers at the advice of FCPWorks. That was what worked for us, specifically, on our unique production location. Other folks find other workflows work for their situations better.

If I wasn't pressed for speed, I'd probably go with a transfer program, though. Just for peace of mind and ease of use maybe.

We also used the Lexar Professional Workflow HR2. It is a 4 bay unit for transferring several cards at a time. You can get units for various card types to put into each bay. One insert unit had 3 micro-SD slots, so all our drone and GoPro and Osmo cams transferred 12 cards at a time. LABEL YOUR CARDS! This 4 bay unit has USB 3.0 and T'bolt on it, so you transfer as fast as a card can physically be read. If you're not working outdoors in snow and freezing temperatures, or a well air-conditioned environment, you may want to leave the bottom bay empty from time to time, or put a small fan on the unit. I can get very warm.
www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1060363-R...hunderbolt2_hub.html

But Hedge looks nice. Just verify with them that it will not change the Creation Date of your media!!!!!
hedgeformac.com

As for camera transfers vs Camera Archives, stick with camera transfers with Hedge. Camera Archives are slower, only accessible by FCPX, and Hedge won't do you any good in that case, as FCPX will be doing the work. Unless you have a specific situation where FCPX Camera Archives would actually help for a specific reason, stick with camera card transfers to a regular folder on your drive.

IF this is going to several drives at once, are they identical drives? If so, just transfer cards to one drive (much faster for you). Then have Carbon Copy Cloner running in the background every 15 minutes or so to do incremental backups. Hedge copying to several drives at once will take a bit longer than simply copying to one drive, as far as "your" hands-on work time would require. You wouldn't have to wait on Hedge for every card swap.
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2017 16:56 by FCPX.guru.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 28 Jan 2017 16:55 #85280

  • Tom Wolsky
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1 is not true. A card structure copied into a folder still has the capability. As long as the card structure is intact and the media not extracted, you can import selectively.
Last Edit: 28 Jan 2017 16:55 by Tom Wolsky.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 28 Jan 2017 16:58 #85281

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Tom is correct, as long as FCPX sees a camera card, you an selectively import. Very good catch Tom! That applies to 1 and 2, both. It's FCPX seeing a camera card structure, nothing unique to a Camera Archive. The ONLY time you can not selectively import segments of clips is when you're importing video files that are NOT part of a card structure. My BMD cameras recorded QT ProRes files. So even in that case, I could only import the full file.
Last Edit: 14 Oct 2018 11:55 by FCPX.guru.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 29 Jan 2017 15:27 #85291

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Tom Wolsky wrote:
Can Hedge put content in specific locations on a drive?

Great question. Yes.
I was able to create folders on the destination drive and then select a folder for the transfer. The transferred card is then added as a new, sequentially numbered folder (with the name of the card) to that location. Kind of hard to explain. Hedge has a free trial (that I'm still using) that will make this pretty easy to see. Just click the disclosure triangle in the upper right corner of the destination disk icon. You can find the trial version at hedgeformac.com.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 30 Jan 2017 09:02 #85298

Hi all, Paul from Hedge here. Jim pointed me to this topic, thanks!

> But Hedge looks nice.

Thanks :cheer:

> Just verify with them that it will not change the Creation Date of your media!!!!!

It won't.

Hedge does more than "just" a checksum validation, as checksums only tell you the story about what's inside the file. The Creation Date (and modification data, group rights, ACL, resource fork, and more...) are not part of this so they are checked in a separate process to make sure this is duplicated correctly as well.

We agree with Ben that Camera Archive are truly useful if you have a FCPX only workflow. We have looked into it and it would be possible to have Hedge create them on import, ready for use in FCPX. Not sure if you'd use that though,


> I know the arguments about check sum and such, but in our actual two weeks of shooting this past fall, we didn't see that argument hold up. Thousands of transfers, only one was bad, bad card, I'll stick with what we proved in real life work.

The sample size is just to small for that conclusion. Hedge was originally created for a 16 camera documentary, with 14+ hours shoots per day, synced and transcoded into Avid overnight. Quite comparable to your 40 cam shoot I think in terms of workflow. As the DIT, I processed 60TB per day for that show, and never had one checksum failure. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Hedge imports millions of files every month, and we see a very predictable checksum failure rate. But somehow those failures are never evenly spread across disk types, file types and file sizes. So you're all good for 99% of the time, and be saved by checksums on that one gig in Ecuador where card readers got a bit too warm and flipped bits in every clip. OSX won't detect this, only when a USB transfer had dropouts it will notice. True story...

I'm personally not a big fan of checksums, they're way too brute force. But there's not much else to go by at the moment until image processing algorithms become much faster. When that happens, we maybe can verify files by looking for anomalies inside the footage. But by then checksums will have sped up too.


> IF this is going to several drives at once, are they identical drives? If so, just transfer cards to one drive (much faster for you).

It's not, at least not with Hedge. Our copy engine treats all destination drives as independent processes, so they don't have to wait for each other. That saves you a lot of time if you need to create more copies than just one for working in FCPX.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 14 Oct 2018 07:06 #97383

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My workflow requires camera archives (I think). Right now, as the camera operator/editor in our small team, I offload the media using FCPX to create an archive. I then backup that archive to a hard drive which is given to a remote assistant editor. When the assistant editor is done with the file org and rough edit, she sends me an XML of the Library/project. Using that XML, I can build the media imports from the archive. As far as I understand it, this would not be possible without using the archive. I'd love to use Hedge for this, cuz making archives from FCPX is a bit clunky.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 14 Oct 2018 11:50 #97387

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Your XML workflow can work with any external media, as long as the structure is identical on both drives.

We use only Folder and Tags in the Finder when collecting footage in the field. Then when the assistant editor does all the media management and rough cuts in FCPX, they're using that metadata. When the XML is texted or emailed to the lead editor, it all works just fine.
Last Edit: 14 Oct 2018 11:56 by FCPX.guru.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 14 Oct 2018 12:43 #97388

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You are correct, that if you do not use a camera archive, then you lose the ability to use the ‘reimport from archive’ function in FCpX which is very handy.

One benefit is, if your editor only imports portions of clips rather than full clips, then the reimport feature will recreate all of that when you use it on your system.

Many people seem to challenge this workflow but I feel that archives keep my media intact, my metadata intact, and because a camera archive is simply a folder with a unique extension.....it can easily be turned into a standard folder if needed.

The ‘reimport’ feature has come in handy a few times for me when a library or project has become crashy or unstable.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 14 Oct 2018 14:11 #97389

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FCPX.guru wrote:
...On our reality show, using 40 cameras each day, we manually transfer everything. ...we needed the fastest turn-around time possible to get cards back to the camera folks. Nothing beat manual transfers to Libraries for pure speed. I know the arguments about check sum and such, but in our actual two weeks of shooting this past fall, we didn't see that argument hold up. Thousands of transfers, only one was bad, bad card, I'll stick with what we proved in real life work....

This is basically what my documentary team does. I have tested Shotput Pro 6, and had problems with it throwing spurious errors during 3 and 4-card simultaneous offloads. I didn't have time to finish debugging it so we went back to manual, although I plan on testing Hedge and the 4-bay Lexar reader you mentioned.

For us, FCPX archives are just not practical. We have a dedicated on-set DIT/Data wrangler, and all she does is off load, rename files, verify then duplicate data. It's essentially a full time job since we have several multicam teams, a fleet of drones, multiple action cams, multiple time lapse cameras, motion control cameras, several gimbals, etc. On a big day it can be 1 terabyte of 4k H264.

I understand the argument about examining material and only importing the "good" ranges, but we don't have time for that. It's also a complex decision -- on a multicam event shoot, the usefulness of one angle can depend on what's on the other angles, and whether the 2nd system audio got good material. That info isn't available when importing clip ranges from one archive. It would be very easy to exclude material which was costly to obtain, somehow didn't look right (from a single-cam perspective), but in fact was useful in a multicam context. Time is much more valuable to us than disk space.

Another issue -- ideally all offloaded camera cards should be clean except for the new material. In the real world that doesn't always happen. Sometimes older material is left on, and to avoid duplication our data wrangler must examine each case, copy the new files, verify with the operator what happened, etc. Camera archives don't allow that -- it blindly offloads the entire card.

For long-term organizational reasons and due to a bug in FCPX, we cannot ingest duplicate filenames -- even if they are in separate folders. Some cameras (esp. Sony Alpha) have no in-camera control over filenames and with multicam shooting is common to end up with 8-10 files each day named C00001.mp4. We must rename those and add a globally-unique serial number, otherwise an FCPX bug will create spurious duplicate clips when exchanging XML.

Also if the offloaded files are not immediately renamed, they end up in dallies which causes a "schism" in data handling where we have two different names for the same material. This creates all kinds of problems downstream in post production.

Another issue is we cannot import using "leave files in place" from an archive. Of course the archive is just a file bundle, can be opened and files copied out, but if file manipulation is necessary then why use the archive in the 1st place?

I fully accept that archives are useful in some cases, but they definitely don't work well for our large scale field documentary production.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 14 Oct 2018 23:07 #97390

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"You are correct, that if you do not use a camera archive, then you lose the ability to use the ‘reimport from archive’ function in FCpX which is very handy."

BUT you can relink media just as easily if your cards are simply in tact, in Finder folders.

Above all, remember that FCPX leaves you multiple ways to do anything, which makes it flexible and able to fit just about any workflow. Figure out what works for you, go with it. But Camera Archives are not THE way to work, nothing is, figure out what works for your specific needs. All of this is very obvious, of course.
Last Edit: 14 Oct 2018 23:11 by FCPX.guru.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 15 Oct 2018 22:37 #97396

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That's what I thought. Thanks for the clarification on this. It looks like in my particular case archives are the way to go. It's a shame FCPX isn't smart enough to rebuild (reimport from archive) from a copied folder.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 16 Oct 2018 03:03 #97397

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"It's a shame FCPX isn't smart enough to rebuild (reimport from archive) from a copied folder."

I'm not sure what you mean. Can you clarify for me? FCPX can reimport from a Camera Archive, and relink from an external Folder.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 16 Oct 2018 03:49 #97398

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If you import portions of clips from a Camera Archive and then lose or move your FCPX media (such as having an externally managed library), you can rebuild your media from the Camera Archive (assuming you have it). You cannot do this using any other method, which makes Camera Archives mandatory for my workflow.

My workflow involves having two media hard drives in different geographical locations. (It's important to note that the media only exists as Camera Archives at this point, nothing has been imported yet before the physical drives get separated). The assistant editor imports/keywords the media and then sends me an XML so I can build my FCPX Library by ding a "Reimport form Camera Archive" action. Again, you cannot do this any other way.

I made the foolish assumption that I could just copy over media card content and let FCPX rebuild the Library media from that. Can't be done. To be clear, I'm not talking about media that's already been imported and is therefore managed by FCPX (in the Original Media folders buried in the Library). I'm talking about unmanaged media.
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 16 Oct 2018 09:47 #97400

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mindbend wrote:
...My workflow involves having two media hard drives in different geographical locations. (It's important to note that the media only exists as Camera Archives at this point, nothing has been imported yet before the physical drives get separated). The assistant editor imports/keywords the media and then sends me an XML so I can build my FCPX Library by ding a "Reimport form Camera Archive" action. Again, you cannot do this any other way....

You can easily do that without camera archives. My team regularly does this with 10 terabyte data sets. We offload all camera media on site to two redundant hard drives. Each hard drive goes to a different geographic location. Using one hard drive, the assistant editor ingests (using "leave files in place", IOW unmanaged media) and rates/keywords the media, then emails a library XML to the lead editor who has the other hard drive.

The lead editor loads the XML. If the drive/path of the media files is unchanged, the library is built and there are no missing clips. All ratings and keywords done by the remote assistant are there. If the drive/path is different, the lead editor does a one-time relink. This procedure (and several others) for two editors working collaboratively in different locations is described in Ripple Training's 10.4 Media Management tutorial: www.rippletraining.com/products/final-cu...-final-cut-pro-10-4/
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 29 Oct 2018 01:55 #97549

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joema, thanks for the info. I'll have to look into that. I could not get it to work for me.

When you say that you "offload all camera media", what exactly do you mean? Do you simply drag and drop the camera media to the ned volume? Do you use an app to do that? And you do this without camera archives?
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Hedge or Camera Archives? 29 Oct 2018 02:17 #97550

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Also, does the assistant editor ingest portions of clips or entire clips only?
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