Attention camera manufacturers

Obviously the quality of the image that a camera records is the most important thing when talking about what cameras production should use.  However I want to focus a little more on meta data.

For a quick overview on what it takes to conform, feel free to have a look at another blog I wrote.   This should help you follow from here on out if you don’t understand a digital conform process and what it takes to automate.

Anyhow, on to GoPro’s, Canon DSLRs, Nikons and any other small form factor cameras that seem to be getting used more and more often as additional cameras on our scripted dramatic work.

Recording MXF’s:
If you can not record OP-Atom MXF’s don’t bother writing them at all.  The whole point of recording MXF files is so that they can go natively into Avid…  So if you need to run an import process in Avid converting the files into a usable format…Just record an MOV!

Here is an example Alexa Filename:
Reel#Clip#_YearMonthDay_R(for righteye)

Here is an example from a RED camera:

Notice any similarities?

Now lets look at some other filenames from the smaller form factor cameras I am actually writing this blog for:
GoPro:  GOPRO019.MP4
Canon: 047K9491.MOV
Nikon: DSC_8190.NEF
I would go on (and will hold my tongue on Blackmagics ridiculous filenames that are over 32 characters!?!?) but you must be able to see where I am going with this!

These filenames are going to get duplicated all over the place!  If there are multiple cameras of the same make on set on the same day, guess what…Now you have duplicate filenames…  Pull it out the next day and for some reason the clip count gets reset, now you have duplicates again…  Or maybe a new camera gets pulled out half way through the shoot… No one is going to check the current clip number and now you have duplicates again.

Not only will these filenames be duplicates, but each of these duplicates could also have overlapping TC.  Considering most of these small cameras do not have embedded TC, they will be read at 00:00:00:00.

Ie.  Guess who’s manually conforming your edit!!

When you do a proper dailies process, your dailies facility will take that filename and use it as your tape column in Avid.  Or if you do an AMA, you are going to have the Source File column.  But none of this matters if you stick with those original file names and now have duplicates all over the place…  Let alone the media management end of things and never being able to have one consolidated folder of masters that made your edit!

Other Meta Data…
The other cameras we are used to working with do indeed have a lot of other very useful meta data … Tons actually…  However I will settle for usable file names…



Jesse Korosi