XDCAM is a professional recording format developed by Sony, but also used by other manufacturers like JVC.
Check this page for details on where to find QuickTime codecs and how to install them.
XDCAM codec doesn't come pre-installed in Mac computers, only with professional editing software. For contingencies, you can use this free, open source XDCAM codec.
For Windows users, a commercial codec by Calibrated Software can be used for direct playback in QuickTime. Learn about recommended workflows to use your XDCAM QuickTime files with Edius, Sony Vegas, AVID Media Composer or other NLEs.
Originally its two variants XDCAM and XDCAM HD could be recorded on expensive Blue-ray discs called Professional disc (PFD), and circa 2006 a third generation appeared, with XDCAM HD422 (4:2:2 subsampling, doubling the bitrate) and XDCAM EX, recorded on solid-state medium (SxS and SDHC cards).
XDCAM is derived from MPEG-2. XDCAM media comes inside a QuickTime mov container, a .MP4 file inside a BPAV structure, or in a .MXF file. In all cases, the file contains one video track and one or several audio tracks
The causes of failure reported by customers needing to repair files are:
- Camera stops while recording a scene with "Media Error" and indicates that "media needs to be restored", but repair failed with a "Cannot Restore" message.
- Malfunction of Clip Browser causing clips to become unplayable when importing to AVID.
- Footage accidentally deleted before transfer to hard disk.
- Card is unreadable after shooting ends.
- Unplayable files after rewrapping for Final Cut Pro with XDCAM Transfer.
- Metadata in BPAV CLPR clips folder not copied (metadata files like MEDIAPRO.XML, *.XML, *.PPN, *.BIM, *.SMI missing)
- Disk array crash
- Card ejected too early from MxR adapter
- Corruption while copying from CF card in Nanoflash recorder
- Battery failure during recording
- A bridged clip between 2 cards did not get transferred
- Missing or malformed KLV in MXF container
- Orphaned MP4 files without any other files in the BPAV folder structure
Equipment used by customers is usually:
- Camera Sony EX1, EX3, JVC GY-HM100, or through Nanoflash recorder
- Sony SxS card or class 10 32GB Transcend SDHC card
- Canon XF series (C300, XF305, XF300, XF105, XF100)
This doesn't imply that this equipment is not robust, just that it's the most frequently used.
XDCAM media is repaired without major problem. All families (XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX, XDCAM HD422, and special applications like nanoFlash), are supported.
A good file in the request is recommended.
Even if the good file contains only a few frames, the fact that it was encoded with the exact settings of the damaged file will provide useful information:
- Sample description (usually in the stsd atom)
- Pixel size (XDCAM 1920 x 1080, XDCAM 1440 x 1080)
- Composition offsets (ctts table)
- Audio format and channels layout
This information can be guessed from a damaged file, but through a very lengthy trial-and-error iterative process.
Windows workflows - Additional rewrapping needed
See dedicated XDCAM workflows page.
On the Windows side, editing software (AVID, Edius, Vegas Pro) cannot import rewrapped .mov files that our repair kits produce. The workaround is just to rewrap them again into .MXF containers with a free utility called FileConverter.
Example: How to figure out the pixel size
Using an Hex Editor, you look for the 00 00 01 B3 hex pattern.
After 00 00 01 B3 we find 24 bits that encode picture size:
5A 04 38 is 5A0 x 438 pixels (1440 x 1080)
How to repair corrupt XDCAM clips
The easiest way is certainly to ask our Movie Repair Service to do it for you.
But for those who can program, here you have a few tips:
Techniques used are:
- Patching of the file with a sample description from a good file
- Frame reordering
- Audio Scraping
Video track can have a variety of codec fourcc (xdvd and 20 more) and is organized in keyframes and inter-frames. XDCAM frames are not stored in playback order, so there is a ctts table that specifies the offset between decode time and display time.
Note that we also find two tables called cslg and sdtp (sample dependencies) but these are optional: the movie works perfectly without them. In repairs we usually don't bother with recreating those tables.
Audio tracks often come in raw PCM 'sowt' or 'twos' formats, for example 48kHz stereo 16 bits.
Repair process consists of reindexing video frames. Frame reordering is possible if the pattern is predictable. Otherwise, the result will be shaky.