Final Cut Pro vs. XDCAM EX — To the Death!


You can now transfer footage from the CAMERA directly, but when you try to add files from your HARD DISK, Sony XDCAM Transfer says “0 clips.” But you can see them! You know they’re there! YOU ARE GOING MAD.

Alas, Sony XDCAM Transfer needs every last bit of the delicate ecosystem of files that it creates in the camera. Just having the MP4 files won’t do it. Having the MP4s and the XML files won’t do it. Having it in mis-named folders won’t do it. IT MUST ALL BE EXACTLY THE SAME.

But the rest of the files from your movie are long gone! You only have what you have! YOU ARE PWNED.

No — it is okay. You can get your stuff back. I got the scoop on the Apple Forums, and here’s the short/detailed version.

  • First, you need the directory structure (files and folders) from a transfer that worked (f’rinstance, one you did directly from the camera). If you don’t have one, shoot some test footage with the XDCAM EX just so you GET a correct directory structure. Copy and paste ALL of it — from BPAV on down — to a location on your hard disk.

    An example of a healthy directory structure:

    XDCAM EX healthy directory structure

  • Copy each MP4 from your broken directory into your working directory. Delete the original MP4 from your working directory, and rename the MP4 from your broken directory so that it effectively replaces the original MP4.

    Like this:

    You have
    Working Directory > BPAV > CLPR > Working_0011_01.MP4

    Broken Directory > BPAV > CLPR > Broken80619095600_01.MP4

    Delete Working_0011_01.MP4
    Copy Broken80619095600_01.MP4 into Working Directory > BPAV > CLPR
    Rename Broken80619095600_01.MP4 as Working_011_01.MP4

    If you’ve done it right, Working Directory looks exactly the same as it did before.

  • NOW in Sony XDCAM Transfer, add Working Directory. It works! Happy dance! GLEE.

If it doesn’t work, try it again with another pristine working directory. Be advised that “BPAV” must be “BPAV.” I changed my working directory to “BPAV 1” to distinguish it from my broken one. That’s OK, but I had to change it back to “BPAV” in order for Sony XDCAM Transfer to recognize the clips! Strange but true!

**Update 6/30/08**

This process worked for three out of four projects, but the fourth one didn’t work. I successfully imported the footage into Final Cut, but there it was deeply corrupted (video/audio out of sync, skipping around, pieces missing).

There is another way (probably better, definitely more graceful):

From my new best friend PPavel at :

Choose in any of Clip Browser windows the folder in which you want to create a new card file structure
in Clip Browser Menu File -> Import,
press button […] in Import origin dialogue row. Find the unrecognizable / abandoned MP4 file and press OK,
now the file is in Import origin row,
press Add button,
file appears in a list below.
Add all the MP4 files which you need in one virtual card.

When you are finished, press Start.

In selected folder is then created SxS card structure and MP4 are copied to the right folders and their XML files are created. You can see those files in Clip Browser now and after that you can happily export them to MXF as well.

It works for me, I hope it will work for you.


Ahhh. That makes a lot of sense. Delicious, delicious sense.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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5 Responses

  1. rp says:

    brother, you save my life thank for your post. big wel come from prtugal

  2. Tory says:

    YAY! I’m glad to be able to pay forward the caboose-saving that was given to me!

  3. txes says:

    Thanks, you saved 3 lives!

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