XDCAM Usage FAQ
- Is it necessary to format a disc prior to use?
- What frame rates are supported in the XDCAM HD system?
- Can the HDCAM format be recorded on Professional Disc media?
- Can I record HD and SD on the same disc?
- Can XDCAM HD decks or camcorders also record standard definition?
- Can XDCAM HD decks or camcorders play back my current XDCAM SD discs?
- We want to manage Professional Discs using bar codes. Can we stick a bar code label on the front of the cartridge?
- Are there any effects from magnetic fields or airport X-ray scanners?
- Which models support dual-layer media?
- What is the archival life of the XDCAM system's Professional Disc media?
- Once a Professional Disc media has been partially recorded, can I record more video without first initializing (erasing) the entire disc?
- Does the XDCAM system's Professional Disc media have copy protection?
- Is it possible to erase recordings on a disc?
- Is there protection from accidentally erasing data on a disc?
- Can I erase the disc (or files on the disc) without using the deck?
- Is there a possibility of a bulk eraser type machine?
- Is there protection from accidentally scratching a disc?
- Is there any way to recover data from a damaged or corrupt disc?
- Does the product line allow for direct file access to the disc in any model?
- We have a Sony XD Camera and would like to reuse our XDCAM discs. What is the best format to lay off the raw materials once the editing is complete?
Yes. Formatting, which creates a file system, is required for brand new discs; however, this is a very quick process that is done when the disc is inserted into a camcorder or deck. Because this happens so quickly, an end user will not be aware that the disc is being formatted.
The base PDW-F330 camcorder shoots high definition at 1080/59.94i, 50i, 29.97P, 25P and 23.98P. The camcorder also captures standard definition at 480/59.94i, 480/29.97P and 480/23.98P or 576/50i and 576/25P. The advanced PDW-F350 adds variable frame rate capture from 4 fps to 60 fps in 1 fps increments. The PDW-F70 recorder and PDW-F30 player support all the frame rates of both the PDW-F330 and PDW-F350 camcorders.
No. With today's technology, it is not possible due to the data transfer rate. The higher quality HDCAM format is a 140 Mbps stream at a lower compression level, while the XDCAM cameras utilize a much lower data rate (18 - 50 Mbps) at higher compression levels.
No. The XDCAM HD file system requires a disc to be all HD or all SD. However you can freely select HD bitrates of 18, 25 or 35 Mbps for each clip you record on the same disc and 60i, 30P,50i and 25P can be mixed as well. However a dedicated disc needs to be used when recording 24P material.
Yes. The PDW-F350, PDW-F355, PDW-F330 and PDW-F335 camcorders and the PDW-F70 recorder will all record DVCAM 25 Mbps standard definition in NTSC or PAL.
The XDCAM HD products can play back DVCAM standard definition discs only.
We want to manage Professional Discs using bar codes. Can we stick a bar code label on the front of the cartridge?
Yes, adhesive labels, including bar code labels, can be attached to the front of the cartridge.
Since recordings on Professional Disc media are not made using magnetic material like tape, or light sensitive material like film, it is highly unlikely that magnetic fields or X-ray scanners will affect the media.
The PDW-F335 and F355 XDCAM HD camcorders, the PDW-F75 deck and the PDW-U1 drive all support both single-layer and dual-layer media. The camcorders and deck also incorporate added operational features.
When stored at room temperature (68°F and 40% relative humidity), the estimated archival life of the Professional Disc is greater than or equal to 50 years based on Sony's own accelerated testing.
Once a Professional Disc media has been partially recorded, can I record more video without first initializing (erasing) the entire disc?
Yes. The disc media is fully rewriteable, and always appends new recordings after the last clip, regardless of what clip was being viewed. You can keep recording more video/audio until the disc is full. Even then, you can delete the last clip or all clips on the disc to free up needed space.
Yes, all XDCAM camcorders and decks can delete the last recorded shot, one by one. A "Quick Format" of a disc, which is equivalent to "all file delete," can be done in about two seconds.
Yes, there is write protection tab on the disc cartridge. This is similar to a rec/save tab on DVCAM tape media or a rec/inhibit tab on other professional tape media. There is also a REC INH function on all deck products to help prevent a user from accidentally erasing material.
The camcorder has a DISC MENU this allows the ability to delete that last clip, all of the clips, or perform a "Quick Format."
At this time, there are no plans to develop a bulk eraser type of machine. Unless desired for security purposes, there is no need to bulk erase data because unlike tape, directly overwriting data on discs does not degrade quality.
Yes. A polycarbonate cartridge shields the disc from dust and helps prevent the disc from being scratched. Even if a disc is accidentally scratched, robust error correction enables data on the disc to be played out. If the scratched portion of the disc happens to contain the file system, the data that allows access to all other data on a disc, a mirrored file system is located on the disc in a different physical location allowing the XDCAM system to access files.
The error correction on Sony XDCAM products can recover extensive lost data. However, just as with videotape, if the damage is too severe for error correction to recover, or if the media is broken into pieces, there is no way to recover data.
Direct file access on the disc is provided over FireWire interface (via 'file access mode'). "File access mode" over FireWire enables such operations as Browse File Directory, Direct read, Get File, Put File, etc. Since it occurs over FireWire, all products support the feature as all XDCAM units include FireWire as part of the standard offering.
We have a Sony XD Camera and would like to reuse our XDCAM discs. What is the best format to lay off the raw materials once the editing is complete?
There are a few ways you can handle this:
Backup to LTO tape:
To back-up to LTO, you'll need an LTO drive and LTO tape, preferably LTO-5 or greater.
Starting with version 5, LTO has a new file format called "LTFS" that allows a tape drive to show up in Finder or Windows Explorer just like any other drive. It eliminates the need for a heavyweight piece of software between you and the drive.
Keep your footage on XDCAM:
Backing up your footage to another, somewhat less expensive format can save a few dollars, but there are hidden costs. These costs are shifted to the end of the production workflow. It takes time, labor and discipline to maintain a consistent backup regimen. Even then, there's a risk that the back-up didn't work. When you think about it, your footage is already backed up, on XDCAM! If you're unlikely to be diligent with backing up to tape, just keep the footage on XDCAM and put on the shelf. Task complete. ,
If you're footage is really valuable, do both. Keep the XDCAM dailies and back them up to tape. Just be sure to keep the two geographically separated. If the building burns down or a tornado comes your way, you'll have another copy on the other side of town.
Backup to hard drive:
If you're someone who would park your baby stroller on the edge of a cliff, consider this method. Unfortunately, lots of people use hard drives as their primary backup source.
Drives fail all the time. We hear about it everyday. Here's a story from NPR that discusses this very topic.
If you go this route, make two copies AND/OR spend a few extra dollars and go with a RAID drive. We've got an article that explains RAID in detail.
DO NOT use hard drives for long-term storage. Hard drives are mechanical devices and need to be run occasionally to keep the moving parts from seizing. Chances are very high that months or years later when you need it most, the drive simply won't spin up.