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TOD - Time Of Day on files

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I'm shooting for a show and the editors are now insisting I slate every shot because the TOD (Time OF Day) the Inspire is putting on its files is inconsistent throughout the day
Looking at Date Created, that appears to be when the file was started and Date Modified seems to be when the file was finalized, so that may help.
I use a Crystal Sky monitor.
Any thoughts on how this works with I2 and how to make it better for a pro setting? It's a drag that actual TC is not an option

Thanks
Russell
 
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I'm also seeing that the DATE CREATED date gets screwed up by copying files sometimes, but the MEDIA CREATED date seems to stay consistent... so I wonder if the issue is not with the Inspire, but with the guy who is ingesting the media not understanding which date he should be looking at...
1596562586397.png
 
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This guy seems lack basic computer file system knowledge. The files of inspire have pretty good naming order and the modified date to be a problem is something I hear for first time. Modified date is changing every time the file is copied, doesn't matter is it windows, mac or linux.

For the past 4 years we are working for universal, sony, hallmark and many other companies and never had a complain from their editors or post supers for the files comming from the drones. We never were asked to do anything related to file naming or time code even to reset the file count wasn't necessary because the file name contains the shooting date and there is no way to get 2 files with same name which can be a serious problem for editing. Usually the files are put in folders for every day like DAY_01, DAY_02 and etc. It's so simple and all are doing it the same way.
 
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I'm also seeing that the DATE CREATED date gets screwed up by copying files sometimes, but the MEDIA CREATED date seems to stay consistent... so I wonder if the issue is not with the Inspire, but with the guy who is ingesting the media not understanding which date he should be looking at...
View attachment 29373
Just saw your screenshot, don't you shoot RAW? RAW files have professional naming convention. Shooting on mov or mp4 will make a total mess with the file names. Usually the mov and mp4 files for offline editing are made out of the raws keeping the original name. That way later the original file can be referenced.
 
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actually I shoot ProRes 422 to CineSSD which is what they keep... I keep the h264 from the MicroSD
So their files look like this
1596588071227.png
There are 4 ground cameras on the shoot and sometimes a bunch of other in-car cameras as well (it's Top Gear), so the AEs are laying up a pretty heavy shoot, but still... trying to figure out exactly what issue with my TOD they are having
 
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actually I shoot ProRes 422 to CineSSD which is what they keep... I keep the h264 from the MicroSD
So their files look like this
View attachment 29377
There are 4 ground cameras on the shoot and sometimes a bunch of other in-car cameras as well (it's Top Gear), so the AEs are laying up a pretty heavy shoot, but still... trying to figure out exactly what issue with my TOD they are having
We never use the files from the sd card because of their different names, this add huge confusion. We only use the RAW. The assistant editor is making offline proxies out of any raw file no matter is it RED, Alexa or DJI. All offline files are with exact names of their coresponding RAW files also have burnin containing the file name and timecode for making the things even easier for the later process of conforming the offline to master. Your problems came out from providing the sd files, don't do it ever or if your editor want to save time from creating offlines from you raws then you should rename all mp4 files to correspond to their raws before giving them to the DIT or the editor.
 
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We never use the files from the sd card because of their different names, this add huge confusion. We only use the RAW. The assistant editor is making offline proxies out of any raw file no matter is it RED, Alexa or DJI. All offline files are with exact names of their coresponding RAW files also have burnin containing the file name and timecode for making the things even easier for the later process of conforming the offline to master. Your problems came out from providing the sd files, don't do it ever or if your editor want to save time from creating offlines from you raws then you should rename all mp4 files to correspond to their raws before giving them to the DIT or the editor.
Sorry if my post was confusing.... I don't provide the sd files to them... they only get the ProRes files from the CineSSD
 
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Sorry if my post was confusing.... I don't provide the sd files to them... they only get the ProRes files from the CineSSD
I see now, so it's up to the guy who complains. I've never heard of using the file date attributes for any type of sorting or management of the files. He should forget about looking at modified date and all will come to place.
 
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The way Windows arranges metadata is unintuitive and confusing. As your screen shot shows, the "Date Modified" metadata STAYS with the file regardless of how many times it is copied. Conversely, the "Date Created" metadata is created as soon as you copy the file, every time you copy the file. In the eyes of Microsoft, file COPY was just "created," and therefore gets a new Creation date. Think of it as a copy machine. Though you're copying a 10-year-old document, the copy was just created, and therefore has a different creation date from the original 10-year-old document.

While most folks don't fully understand the Windows file metadata conventions, this seems like DIT 101. I've used my Inspire 1 on well over a dozen film sets (back when compressed files were acceptable) and production never complained about file dates. And though we eventually DID start slating, it wasn't because of file metadata. It was to better organize the scenes.

The hack around this is to MOVE the file, NOT copy it. If you MOVE the files, the "Date Created" metadata will follow the files. But then as soon as the DIT copies the moved files, he'll have two sets of files with completely different "Date Created" dates. Plus, moving the files circumvents the file redundancy you want. So Niki is right. The DIT should be looking at the "Date Modified" date, NOT the "Date Created" date.

A workaround....

Windows has an option to show "Date," which may be more user-friendly for those who may be confused by "Date created" vs. "Date modified."

1596644308597.png



Pro Tip: If you slate, take a photo of the slate. This has many advantages over taking video of the slate.

1) You're not burning video while you fly to position 1.
2) The photo files create a series of flags in the file folder tree that quickly allows editors to locate the slates.
3) Photos have ExIF metadata data that video files do not. This includes "Date Taken" data that follows the photo regardless of how many copies are made. This can be very useful in creating a timeline (assuming the DIT/Editor is confused by the "Date Created" data).

I only had a chance to use the photo slating on one set. They seemed to like it. I didn't get any complaints.

D
 
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I should add that having an intimate knowledge of Operating Systems, File Systems, Metadata, video anomalies, etc., is a huge advantage on any set. Your situation is a prime example. Twice on set my COMPUTER knowledge "saved the day."

The first time was a DP who couldn't copy our files to his Mac. He assumed the files or my thumb drive were "bad." They were not. Not all Mac's (especially older ones) read the NTFS file system. Some can READ the files, but not MOVE or COPY or MODIFY them. And I believe none of the old Mac's read ExFAT. For this reason I always keep a FAT32 thumb drive with me. His Mac was able to read the FAT32 file system and was therefore able to get the files. Up to that moment that I created a solution, all eyes were on me BLAMING me for "bad files."

Another time a DP's Mac was unable to play the DJI 4K h.264 files smoothly. Immediately he blamed the files. I explained it was his Mac, to which he replied, "I've never had problems before." For this reason, I always bring my i7 HP Envy with NVidia GPU and Samsung 860 Evo SSD so production can view the files smoothly. I can now prove to production that not all Macs can play 4K files.

And finally a third time, playing the 4K video of a bridge on my HP Envy (which has a 1080p monitor), we experienced some Moiré Effect. I was not only able to explain that this was because of aliasing due to scaling, but I was able to instantly able to digitally zoom to create a 1:1 pixel ratio, which completely eliminated the Moiré Effect.

All 3 times eyes were on me like I had just screwed up the entire production.

D
 
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I see now, so it's up to the guy who complains. I've never heard of using the file date attributes for any type of sorting or management of the files. He should forget about looking at modified date and all will come to place.
the confusion there may be on me... I have read in many places that the Inspire does not embed TC into files, so I was assuming he was looking at file attributes. Now I see that he is looking at TC in my ProRes files in Avid, but he says it drifts throughout the day as much as several minutes.
So, at least we have confirmation that the Inspire 2 does, in fact, write TC to ProRes files... a fact I have not been able to find written out plainly anywhere else. Now I'm trying to find a good way to set the time on the Crystal Sky as close as possible to the TOD on the slate... then maybe if I simply do that several times per day all will be well.
 
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the confusion there may be on me... I have read in many places that the Inspire does not embed TC into files, so I was assuming he was looking at file attributes. Now I see that he is looking at TC in my ProRes files in Avid, but he says it drifts throughout the day as much as several minutes.
So, at least we have confirmation that the Inspire 2 does, in fact, write TC to ProRes files... a fact I have not been able to find written out plainly anywhere else. Now I'm trying to find a good way to set the time on the Crystal Sky as close as possible to the TOD on the slate... then maybe if I simply do that several times per day all will be well.
I'm mainly using Davinci Resolve for editing and reviewing of the footage. You can very easy check the timecode inside Davinci Resolve. When the clip is placed on the timeline just go to the top menu and choose workspace > data burnin and then you can choose various options for the burnin, one of them is the timecode and it will show over the picture.
I have never had to readjust the time of my crystal sky, I simply connect it to internet when I'm back from a shooting day only to sync the flights with airdata. I guess it automatically adjusts the clock while connected to internet if needed. Maybe the internal battery of the CS is too weak and when replacing the external battery the CS looses it's time, that's just a guess.
 
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I asked about this last year and never got a satisfactory answer. Am having issues again this year
Here's a good example.
The I2, when recording to ProRes on SSD, gives you TC and datestamp that looks like this
1614438131876.png
If you look at the highlighted sequential files, P00001 comes right after P00000 with no gap... however, the MODIFIED date, which is the only starting point we have for dropping into a timeline as TOD, because the I2 gives us a 00:00:00:00 start time on every file... the MODIFIED DATE is NOT the actual time we started recording the file, as you can see... because if P00000 started at 11:15:06 and was :00:04:49:18 long, then P00001 would not have started recording at 11:16:16
What the editors have found, once again, is that even if I make sure my TOD is good on the Crystal Sky and I2, the I2 creates file times that don't seem to mean anything useful.
Those GX### files are GoPro files, which DO give you good TOD TimeCode... go figure.
Any thoughts?
It's a multicam shoot, so unless I slate every shot, my footage is headed for the b-roll bin unless I can get TOD to work properly.
Thanks!
 
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I'm thrilled to report that I have a good solution to this issue finally!
I've been working with the amazing Bouke at http://www.videotoolshed.com and he has modified/updated his QTChange utility so that it will now allow you to create proper timecode in your drone files AFTER the shoot... properly corrected for timecode drift.
Here's a video I made about it
I've been testing it on Top Gear America for several weeks and we finally got it working great.
End of day, I enter the TOD when slates were jammed and it calculates timecode based on the drift from that time, using file creation dates, as it copies them from the card to my drive.
Works a treat
Cheers
Russell
 
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Update: Several weeks in, just got some screenshots from Post and even in the afternoon, we're still within a second or two of the slate... and as far as I can tell, that's just because the CREATION datestamps on the files are so variable. The QTChange utility is working perfectly.
My workflow now is to point QTChange to my Inspire files, tell it when we jammed slates in the morning and let it copy files across to my drive. It writes in the timecode and keeps the creation dates as they were. BOOM
1617728153643.png
1617728169660.png
 
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Good on you! So if I'm reading you correctly, the roughly 2-second discrepancy is not a problem for post production?

D
 
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Well, for the type of show that I'm working on it works fine because the only time we're shooting drone we're either chasing cars around a track or we are filming non-sync wides, so at least this gets me close enough so that they can drop my shots into the groupings with the rest of the cameras and they at least get close enough. With no timecode at all, if I didn't slate the shot, then those shots would just go into a b-roll band and hopefully get found. Because apparently by the time these clips made it into the avid, the time stamps had all been screwed up because proxy files were made or whatever was happening, I don't know. So yeah, this is a game changer :)
We should still keep riding DJI on this because it's unacceptable that a premium professional piece of equipment like this couldn't have a simple firmware update to just create proper time code from the start, you know?
 

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