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    Importing MXF files (originated from Panasonic HVX200/P2) into Avid
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    Cinematographiliac DC's Avatar
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    Importing MXF files (originating from Panasonic P2 devices) into Avid

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    SECTION 1


    For Avid Xpress Pro v5.7 and later

    For Avid Media Composer v2.7 and later


    Importing P2 files is mainly a 2-step process . . . with some rules. The Avid documentation is a bit vague and incomplete regarding this process. You will need to do this if you want your clips to stay online.


    Step 1:
    Clips to Bin
    (This is from the Avid Documentation and it is the correct first main step)

    To import P2 clips directly from a P2 card or a copy of a P2 card on any accessible
    drive:

    [a]
    Open the bin into which you want to import the Master Clips. Make sure it is the active window.

    [b]
    Go to: File > Import P2 > Clips to Bin
    Then Browse for Folder. The dialog box will open.

    [c] Navigate to the P2 volume:
    Navigate to the actual P2 card. If you copied the card to another drive, navigate to that drive and then to the folder that contains the Contents folder. Do not navigate into the Contents folder or into other folders in the volume. The Import P2 option imports all the clips on the card.

    [d] Click OK

    Now, if you stop here, you can edit with your clips. However, if you close out the program and try to come back, your clips will appear "OFFLINE." This is a common "problem" that many seem to encounter.

    This next main step is crucial for keeping your P2 clips "ONLINE."

    Step 2: Import Media

    [a] Select all the clips in that same bin from Step 1.

    [b]
    Go to: File > Import P2 > Media
    Avid will now copy all the files (video & audio) from your P2 directories and put them into the video drive(s) that is designated for your Avid. Now your clips will stay online all the time!


    CAUTION: HERE ARE THE RULES FOR IMPORTING:

    (Even though you may have followed the steps listed above, failure to follow these rules below could result in media that is offline.)

    RULE 1
    You can only do "Step 2: Import Media" to a single bin once. If you want to import more cards but already did the second step, simply create a new bin to import to.

    RULE 2

    You must have all other bins (besides the one that you're importing to) closed. It should have that little blue icon next to it in the project window. This also includes sequences. If you do not do this, any other bins that you have open during this second step will result in the clips in those other bins going "OFFLINE."

    RULE 3 (this is actually more of a tip)
    You can import multiple cards into a single bin. Just repeat Step 1 until you have all the clips you want in that bin, then do Step 2. This is the correct method if you have spanned clips over multiple P2 cards and you want Avid to see them properly.

    Your media will now stay online even if you quit, restart or whatever. Just remember to follow these steps and rules every time that you want to import P2 media.



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    SECTION 2


    For Avid Xpress Pro v5.6.7 and earlier (that supports P2/MXF)
    For Avid Media Composer v2.6.6 and earlier (that supports P2/MXF)

    The method described in this section also works for later versions of Avid but is generally not the preferred method.





    [1] Copy the MXF files into the Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder on your designated video hard drive's root level. Pay close attention to the folder name in red (if it reads anything other than this, you will not see any files appear in your Media Tool - an incorrect folder name is a common mistake). The MXF files to copy are only the ones located in the VIDEO and AUDIO folders (under CONTENTS) that were created in the original P2 directory structure. Always do this while Avid is not running.

    [2] Start Avid then create your project (likely a 720p/23.976 project).

    [3] Go to Media Tool and then search only for Master Clips on the video drive that you transferred the MXF files to. Once found, simply drag them into your bin. The Master Clips in your bins can be renamed however you wish and the name change will be reflected in the Media Tool window.

    [4] Edit.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    Notes
    :

    As you read these notes, keep in mind which version of Avid you are using (Section 1 versus Section 2 of this tutorial) . . .


    With the inclusion of the MXF format in Avid HD products, a new folder called Avid MediaFiles was created. This is separate from the original and still present OMFI MediaFiles folder. HD footage can only be captured in the MXF file format. You can select this format for capture in the Media Creation Tool from the Tools Menu. On the Media Type tab, select MXF for the video format. For MXF audio, select the PCM (MXF) file format from the Audio Project Settings.

    In the Avid MediaFiles folder, there is a separate MXF folder. Avid Technologies structured it this way to reserve the option to support other media formats in the future. Inside the MXF folder are folder(s) that/will contain the actual MXF media. If you’re a Unity client, you will see multiple MXF folders – one for each system. If you’re only using local storage, then you’ll see a folder simply labeled 1.

    You cannot just take the whole CONTENTS folder that was created by the HVX200/P2 and drag it into the Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder. You need to drag the video (from the VIDEO folder) and the audio (from the AUDIO folder) into the folder labeled 1.

    You’ve already "imported" MXF files after you copy them to the Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 folder. Avid doesn't make another copy of the MXF files. Avid works with the native MXF files. So again, no copies are made or files harmed in the process of using the Media Tool which is simply for browsing the online files and associating them with your particular project.

    If the Avid MediaFiles directory structure does not already exist on your Avid video drive, you can create it manually. However, as stated in Step 1, you must create it exactly as it appears here (Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1) and it must be placed in the root directory of your designated Avid video drive.

    The Media Tool will still import the MXF files if you create and utilize folders beyond 1 (such as 2, 3, 4, etc.). Hence, you might actually want to assign a unique number to each P2 card imported. In fact, if you don't, you'll likely run into organizational issues. Again, you can minimally keep track of things by creating these other folders (2, 3, 4, etc.) for each P2 card transfer and still be able to use Media Tool to import from each folder. Do not try to eliminate the number names of these folders. Keep them labeled numerically and sequentially or else the Media Tool will not recognize them and hence will not load your MXF clips.

    However, you do have one other welcomed option [NOTE: You can do this only after Avid builds and indexes your MXF directories' database files.]. If you want more conventional names for these folders, you may do so and are encouraged to do so as this will help keep you even more organized, especially for lengthy projects. You can go with a naming structure such as:

    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1.YourProjectNameHere-Day1-Card1

    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/2.YourProjectNameHere-Day1-Card2

    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/3.YourProjectNameHere-Day1-Card3

    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/4.YourProjectNameHere-Day2-Card1

    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/5.YourProjectNameHere-Day2-Card2

    . . . etc.

    As long as the folder name contains number dot whatever, you should be fine when using more conventional names for your P2 Card folders on your video drive. That way you can see where all your clips came from. Plus, you can rename the clips to whatever you want within Avid itself.

    This process was tested with certain versions of Avid (listed above) that were available at the time of this writing (see the last edited date of this sticky post). Other versions may vary in this process or even be unable to import MXF files. For example, with the release of Avid Xpress Pro HD v5.7, there are some major improvements in the P2(MXF) workflow from versions that came before it.

    The Panasonic HVX200 is just one example of a P2 device. Other P2 devices should work roughly the same way.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    In addition to this tutorial, be sure to check out Avid's official P2 tutorials here:
    http://www.avid.com/p2
    http://learn.avid.com/content/tutori.../tutorial.html

    And Volume II of the HVX BootCamp DVD Series:
    http://dvxuser.com/articles/hvxdvd/
    Last edited by DC; 03-03-2009 at 04:54 PM.


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    Cinematographiliac DC's Avatar
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    I compiled the above from various sources to make it as easy and informative as possible. Many thanks to Avid and various members of the DVXUser community including, but certainly not limited to, krestofre and dirtysanchez!
    Last edited by DC; 02-15-2008 at 10:28 AM.


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    Thanks DC, very good stuff.
    .


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    I have also been doing some experimenting.

    I have been doing what DC described, except that I have been throwing the MFX files from multiple P2 cards all into one Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 directory. I have not created a different subdirectory per card. So far every MXF filename has been unique, so there have been no conflicts.

    I noticed that if you run Avid with a P2 card in the PCMCIA slot, Avid sees the media even though it is under the original CONTENTS directory structure. As an experiment, I copied the images of several P2 cards, complete with directory structure, on top of each other onto a hard drive. I ended up with about 40 gigs of MXF files. When I lit up Avid, sure enough, I could see all of the media with the media tools. The interesting thing is that with the Avid MediaFiles/MXF/1 structure, Avid builds and maintains a media database, whereas with the CONTENTS structure it has to scan all the files each time you start the application.

    I have looked all over Avid's site to see if any of this is documented, but so far no joy.

    geo.


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    For the record - you can also add a better description to the folder name other than a number.

    Try Avid MediaFiles/MXF/2.reel7 or:
    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/3.bootcamp1

    You can get as descriptive as you need.


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    I seem to remember that normally Avid itself takes care of creating the /mxf/1, /mxf/2, /mxf/3,... subdirectories to prevent overflow. To keep the folders from overflowing, Avid switches from /1 to /2 after about 10.000 files. Someone told me this, so I haven't actually verified this. So, I'm wondering what the impact is if you create a folder yourself with relative few files in them ( <<10.000), especially for very large projects.

    It sure is a nice way of managing cards if it turns out to be stable. It would also prevent duplicate filenames from overwriting themselves. Once we've figured out the complete hvx200 to Avid workflow for a long-form project, I'm planning on writing a small software tool to automate the copy process from P2 cards to the Avid mediafiles folders. One of the features will be to automatically copy to multiple HDD's for redundancy.

    @GeoMar: Avid actually also creates a database for each P2-drive, but the database files are hidden in a Avid subfolder( .../Program files/Avid/XpressProHD/something, can't remember which one). When starting up, or when using 'refresh media', Avid scans both its Media files folder as well as each P2-card/-drive, only the P2 scan is more visible.


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    Cinematographiliac DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlone
    For the record - you can also add a better description to the folder name other than a number.

    Try Avid MediaFiles/MXF/2.reel7 or:
    Avid MediaFiles/MXF/3.bootcamp1

    You can get as descriptive as you need.
    That is great news. I've modified the sticky above to reflect these changes.
    I just want to make sure the info I post is as accurate as possible. Going for gospel here!


    Quote Originally Posted by eLeventy
    I seem to remember that normally Avid itself takes care of creating the /mxf/1, /mxf/2, /mxf/3,... subdirectories to prevent overflow. To keep the folders from overflowing, Avid switches from /1 to /2 after about 10.000 files. Someone told me this, so I haven't actually verified this. So, I'm wondering what the impact is if you create a folder yourself with relative few files in them ( <<10.000), especially for very large projects.
    Hmmm, I suppose Avid might automatically create a 2 after 10,000 MXF files fill up 1, but I haven't tried it. And I don't think I'd want to because then it would get pretty hard differentiating which clips came from which P2 cards. Nonetheless, eLeventy, that is good to know. And again, let's hope MichaelP will confirm/deny this.


    Quote Originally Posted by eLeventy
    . . . I'm planning on writing a small software tool to automate the copy process from P2 cards to the Avid mediafiles folders. One of the features will be to automatically copy to multiple HDD's for redundancy.
    I was anticipating Avid doing that but hey, go for it! That would be a SWEET tool and maybe you could even sell it to Avid? Please keep us updated!
    Last edited by DC; 06-05-2006 at 12:26 PM.


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    Here's a question...What if you were to digitize in Avid using MXF format to the same drive that has the P2 media, will the resulting media be put into the 1 folder or will Avid create a new folder, 2 I assume?


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    Quote Originally Posted by dwrecktor
    Here's a question...What if you were to digitize in Avid using MXF format to the same drive that has the P2 media, will the resulting media be put into the 1 folder or will Avid create a new folder, 2 I assume?
    It'll all be put in the same folder. But that's not a problem. If you were to simultaniously capture live in Avid, and to P2 cards, and later copy the contents of the card to the Avid folder, you would end up with duplicate media, but with different filenames( Avid uses a different naming scheme than Pana). For Avid, it's different footage.

    If you were to insert a P2 card, and use that as a portable HDD recorder to capture live within Avid, your old, originaly recorded P2 footage would be in the CONTENTS folder, and Avid would create a Avid Mediafiles/mxf/1/ folder and put its stuff there. This is just theory of course, it would be a tad expensive to you a P2 card as a media drive.

    In short, it'll all end up in the same folder, the way Avid likes it best.


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    There is timecode issues with this - not sure if there is a good solution - on our feature we shot over 30 hours - so timecode wrapped at 24 hours. After import into avid there is no way to differentiate the files because there is no tape name associated with the mxf files and you cannot set the tape name.

    This doesnt cause a problem for editing - but it does for a EDL because there is no way to know which clip a timecode refers to if it is part of the wrap around
    SLM Production Group
    http://www.slmproduction.com - HPX500 available


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