3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 13, 2012 4:56 PM by josephs51576386

    Best Wrapper/Format For Editing & Long-Term Storage/Archive?

    lbsimpson Level 1

      Hi all,


      I am working towards a workflow shift and am looking for some advice and feedback on this proposed system.  First here is some basic information about our PC-based edit system, our cameras/HD media types:


      Adobe CS5 (soon to be CS6, just need to get it installed)

      Windows 7 Utlimate

      HP z400 Workstation upgraded with two SSD drives

      Processors Intel Xeon W3450

      16 GB of Installed RAM

      SAS Connected Avid Raid SR

      BlackMagic Multibridge Eclipse


      Media Types:

      Panasonic P2 MXF Format (Shot on a PDX-170)

      XDCAM EX Format (Shot on a JVC but same format as Sony XDCAM)

      Ikegami MXF Format (Shot on an Ikegami HDS-V10)


      As Adobe is designed to do, I am currently editing in each of these formats natively, with no issues.  My concern arises in terms of long term storage/accessibility of most specifically the MXF format, especially the Ikegami MXF. 


      We are utilizing a Pro-Cache, Cache-A data tape system for our long terms storage and archive needs.  Initially I had hoped to utilize CatDV to catalog and then archive based on categoricallyly sorted catalogs to the Cache-A, but alas at this time there is no support to read Ikegami MXF files as metaclips within CatDV on a PC based system to allow for proper archive through CacheA.  This makes the entire catalog to archive goal difficult to achieve excluding greater than 1/3 of our media library.


      With the inclusion of Prelude in CS6, I am coming to terms with the idea of transcoding all of our media prior to editing, despite the ease of native editing, as I am afraid the MXF format is likely to become antiquated and is not the best format to use, especially for long term storage on data tape.  I am leaning towards starting tests with some version of the H264 codec for the initial transcode.  Ideally I would like ot transcode into a 'final' format for editing and archive.


      Can folks suggest their favorite wrapper/formats that allow for smooth editing, limited quality loss with maximum space efficiency, as well some sense of 'security' of future ability to read that particular format? I understand the DVCProHD QT format is on its way out and will be sure to avoid that, but have some concerns with H264 in terms of editing given the high compression of H264. 


      Anyadvice, tips, resources or references you might point me to further my education on such matters will be greatly appreciated!  Please respond with any questions or concerns or should any of this require clarification


      Now it's time to do a bit of digging and start reading!





        • 1. Re: Best Wrapper/Format For Editing & Long-Term Storage/Archive?
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          I am afraid the MXF format is likely to become antiquated


          That's unlikely to happen any time soon.  It's pretty well entrenched in the broadcast world.

          • 2. Re: Best Wrapper/Format For Editing & Long-Term Storage/Archive?
            lbsimpson Level 1

            Hi Jim,

            Thanks for your response.  Its comforting to know MXF is expected to be around for a while.  I suppose another big hang up for me is Ikegami MXF.


            To work Ikegami MXF natively requires a pretty pricey codec plug-in.  It was no suprise that with the upgrade to CS6 a new version of this plug-in was required.




            So far we have only purchased one license of this plug-in to accomadate our move to CS6 but really need three in total.  I am employed by a government organization and to keep up with the latest releases of the Adobe production suite as well as the acommpanying plug-in is going to be a fiscal battle. 


            Given that...can you suggest any edit/storage friendly transcode formats?  In my initial test I tried a 1080p version of H.264, but that resulted in a grainy/pixelated look.  I have my doubts about H264 will perform in editing given its high compression.  I will have time for a wider array of format tests in the next few weeks, but any helpful pointers to get me started in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.


            Thanks for your time and input,


            • 3. Re: Best Wrapper/Format For Editing & Long-Term Storage/Archive?
              josephs51576386 Level 3

              You could use DNxHD which is free and works on MAC and PC. It also does a decent job of keeping the file size reasonable. You could also use Lagarith or UT as well which both of these are great options too. Cineform is also a option although to use it for free you need to download their GoPro software and then once you install the software the Cineform export options will show up in Adobe media encoder.  UT works on mac and pc just like DNxHD does, So if cross platform compatibility is a issue for you then those two are probably a good bet.


              Honestly though the p2 mxf formats you have mentioned you're using probably aren't going to go anywhere. So if you're able to edit them with no issues I wouldn't bother transoding them. Unless you are just wanting to store a master of the final edit or something.


              Also you are correct to be concerned about h.264's editing performance. In my experince it really strains your system unless your dealing with something like AVC-Intra 100 or 50.