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Monday, June 03, 2013

Problems Managing Media

I’ve been using Adobe Prelude to ingest media from my cameras for the last six months or so, and apart from a slightly rocky start, have been generally happy with the way things have worked.

But I had an interesting ‘adventure’ last week with some media management issues.

I had recorded an hour-long presentation (and some other material) using three cameras, and then used Adobe Prelude to ingest the content. Part way through one ingest, I ran out of disk space! I had to cancel the import, then spend several hours moving data back and forth to clean up enough space on the work drive to continue working.

Once I had enough free space, I went back to Prelude and checked the last clip that it had imported, and then continued importing the rest of clips on the camera. Then I moved the clips to Premiere Pro and started editing.

Half way through the edit, I realized that one of the clips was only 22 minutes long, not the hour-plus of the other two; I had just synced up the tracks, put them in the timeline and started working, I hadn’t checked that they all ended at the same point, I just assumed…

Surprise! The camera actually records in 4GB segments, so the hour long clip was really three or so sub-clips; this is something that’s sort of hidden in Prelude which displays the “clips” you recorded, rather than all of the sub clips. It’s not really obvious, especially if you happen to overlook the odd numbering of the clip names in the ingest window (i.e. the numbering of the clips isn’t continuous…another thing I hadn’t really paid any attention to.)


FORTUNATELY, I hadn’t deleted the memory cards yet, so I could reimport the problem clip using Prelude.

BUT, I had already done a bunch of editing in Premiere that I didn’t really want to lose. Could I replace the original clip with the new imported clip from Prelude?

Here’s what I tried:
1. I first tried finding a way to substitute the clip, but nothing in any of Premiere’s menu’s leapt out at me.

2. So I figured I’d just delete the original media and reconnect.
Since Prelude had imported the new clips into a new directory on the drive, I decided to cheat a bit; I quit Premiere, renamed the original clip (just to save it in case it didn’t work) renaming both the .MTS and .xmp file (I don’t know what the xmp file is, exactly, but I believe it’s a metadata file that Adobe uses.)
Then I relaunched Premiere.
It now let me extend the clip in the timeline, which was a good sign, BUT Premiere wouldn’t play the video beyond the last frame in the first segment, even though it let me extend the clip in the timeline beyond that point. Rather odd.

3. In a bit of desperation, I relaunched Prelude, thinking I’d resend the clip to Premiere.
Now Prelude was unhappy with the new clip because I’d moved the media in step 2), but the ‘old’ clip still appeared, AND it played all the way through in Prelude.
So I sent that ‘original’ clip a second time to Premiere, figuring I might have to replace the clip manually. This added a second occurrence of the clip to the Project in Premiere BUT I didn’t have to do anything more; the ‘original’ clip now also played correctly in Premiere, solving my problems.

And all was right with the world…

TAKEAWAYS:
  1. Never Assume.
  2. Check the beginning and the ending points of all your media.
  3. Don’t delete your original source files until you are certain they have been moved across to your computer correctly.
  4. Oh, and check that your work drive has enough free space before you start a project.

2 comments:

H. Paul said...

Such a pain. It's that damn European import tariff concerning footage longer than 29.5 minutes, to avoid classification as a professional video camera. If it weren't for that, you'd get continuous files for shoots longer than 29.5 minutes. People often errantly attribute the limitation to FAT32, but it's really just the stupid tax.

Michael Murie said...

I'm not sure if that's the cause - it was shot on a camcorder, not a DSLR.

I'm sure it is using FAT32 and I think camera makers have kept using that primarily because they couldn't be bothered rewriting the camera software to use a different file system!

But yeah, I'm guessing.