Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Just in the nick of time Sony’s Catalyst Prepare arrives allowing you to batch capture all your XAVC LongGOP 1920 x 1080 50p footage to Apple ProRes 422 HQ. Got to be honest I like this programme and it gets all my LongG footage into FCPX…NOW…not when Apple decide to include it !


Firstly you import your footage at this stage you can set in and out points, very useful, and rename your clip in my case SVC01X180…a far better way of keeping tabs on your footage.


Next before batch export you set…ProRes, 422 HQ and Rec.709 and all your clips arrive as the same, way beyond Catalyst Browse.


In my experience the importer had problems importing all my 52 clips and got stuck at clip 28…good news is that it did not fold, I simply stopped the import left clip 28 out and brought in 10 clips at a time which seemed to do the trick, after importing the rest of the clips I went back to clip 28 and it came in fine !

If you open the destination folder while importing you can watch the clips being rendered thats how I noticed it had stuck at clip 28.

Catalyst Prepare has a lot more to offer like transcoding to 422 HQ 2048 x 1080 50p but for now I am very happy with the program and slightly less happy parting with £124.95 but it does the job and more.

Heres a link to the UK download


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

15 thoughts on “Sony’s new Catalyst Prepare £124.95

  1. If you had bought Catalyst Browse ($12.95), there is an impending discount on Prepare, so don’t buy yet

  2. If Sony has its heart in the XVAC L then it should be developing plugins for the major editing systems to allow direct import. Asking users of the new codec to shell out an additional $200 to batch transcode the XVAC L files is unreasonable. Besides, this editor wants to import his video clips in one step not through the multi step process necessitated by secondary software.

    HDW : I have it on good authority that Sony and Apple are working on such a solution but having the ability to change the clips name is a major bonus for me and I would bypass the direct FCPX route for that one feature alone. Say I do a specific shoot I can name it with e.g. kelpie001X70R so I would know that clip is at the Kelpies shot with the PXW-X70 for a review…that info is gold dust to me.

  3. Catalyst Prepare looks to be a powerful software, with its ability to batch rename and transcode as well as set in/out points, colour correct and more. I hope to see Apple develop FCP X to import XAVC clips directly from SDXC cards, although with EDL and sending to Pro Tools they’ve allowed third party developers to carry the ball. The U.S. price is $199, which works out to $226CAD based on today’s exchange rate. By the way, I’m still waiting for my PDX-X70…November 14 is the ETA in Toronto.

    HDW : I had an issue bringing the footage in via the camera the audio was distorted (Blackmagic issue) so I got an SxS card reader from a colleague and Catalyst Prepare saw it 1st time imported it I changed the clips name to gavin001x180R and brought in the 3 clips of Gavin being interviewed with no problem.

  4. prepare does pretty much what browse does but it can batch for transoding so I don’t have to select and transcode one clip at the time. Ok I can live with that but now the dilemma follows: after a clip is transcoded (so I can use it with vegas forexample) the size goes from the 80MB in the card to 300something MB transcoded. hmmm . I use to backup every shoot on external hard drive right away , but which files should I backup? the original (which I can’t open it nor edit) or the transcoded (and useable) ?
    The camera is nice but this absurd workflow is really aggravating my operations , with such an enormous waste of time never seen before with any workflow (from tapes to SxS). Come on… people… it CAN’T be like this

    my last shoot counted 115 clips… I mean… it’s not like who buys this camera then doesn’t use it… we do!

  5. more info on the transcoding PXW-X70 material of both prepare and browse:
    the original X70 mxf is 50 mbps (1920x1080p60) (46mbps recorded actually).
    I tested the same clip of 80MB
    transcoded as XAVC becomes 100mbps (380MB)
    transcoded as AVC becomes 63mbps (100MB)

    no difference in resolution but the AVC file is sharper (that I don’t really like because in case I’d like to decide if I want to apply sharpness or not)
    At this point I don’t know the resulting depth , if 422 10bit still or not, but I believe that what really counts is the source no the intermediate processed clips (I might be wrong of course)

    a note about prepare: when you import it will pile-up on the default folder (media) under users/xxx/my videos/library_cpreplib
    you may want to empty that folder periodically before your drive becomes full. That’s the folder where prepare places the imported clips and will stay there even after transcoding (so in the end you’ll have the original files, the imported files and the transcoded files which is kind of heavy in terms of repeating the clips twice if you just wanted to transcode (so you can edit).

    in the end the workflow is complicated, no doubts: aggravating for at least 4 more hours of work for my average projects just to begin the editing

    I see that premiere CC 2014 will open the mxf from the card directly right now avoiding this nonsense of having to transcode first, but learning a new software to produce is (to me, right now) out of the question after years of producing with vegas.

    /end of the rant

  6. Does Catalyst Browse also store the source files? If so where on the Mac?

  7. I agree with this work flow challenge. Why wouldn’t you develop the appropriate plug-ins for the common editing systems when you introduce a new codec. Also, in your post you indicate if you save transcoded file it is “unusable”. Don’t understand.

  8. @Carl Ward : no only prepare does that. The problem here is that many “internet reviewers” didn’t mention the XAVC nonsense with the X70. Philip is actually the only one who did it. And I had no idea about the incompatibility of the XAVC with pretty much all the major editors including Vegas (Sony) when I bought it. Because it is important to be able to actually edit the footage without going crazy between converters. People like chapman for example looks lost about the xavc implemented in the X70. the guy wanted to impress the internet without actually using the camera because for Pete’s sake that’s the VERY FIRST thing that you see when you actually use it. We don’t need “reviewers” like that one, who does.. LOL
    Philip instead not only used the camera, but gave us great tips on how to make it work. Meaning that he clearly knows the camera well. Unlike all the others.
    There… I said it, and in my opinion it was due and well deserved.

  9. ok but this xavc and the x70 affair here is getting ridiculous . a new firmware and still edius and premiere cc can read the x70 files (and even before the x70 came out) while sony vegas can’t (still)-what’s today? november the 17th?). I mean it’s not like will be about time now to let the teens play outside and the adults go back in charge? no? come on…

  10. The firmware updater does not support Mac OSX 10.10 and will not work on my system.

    HDW : I like most people have not updated to 10.10 because FCPX although seemingly works with V10 has not been updated to officially work with V10 yet.

  11. I can confirm it, PXW-X70 Firmware Update V. 1.02 does not work on Mac OSX 10.10. I get an error message after running the updater.

  12. I feel your pain Roberto… Last time I updated my OS on my Mac Pro to Mavericks,a bunch of my older, legacy programs ended up with digestion problems, thus I have held off on installing Yosemite. Regarding the X70 firmware update V 1.02…. what is it supposed to fix or improve?
    Right now X70, Prepare and both FCP X and PP CS6 are working well together. Hate that transcode step but I am using the X70 XAVC-L for fairly short projects.

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