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HD editing

COW Forums : Art of the Edit

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Del HolfordHD editing
by on Apr 6, 2008 at 9:37:25 pm

Has anyone noticed that HD editing seems to take longer than SD editing? Could someone with a couple years experience editing uncompressed HD long form (whether on Avid, Quantel, Apple, or Autodesk) tell me how long I should expect a 3 segment half hour HD magazine program to take from the ground up starting with SD off-line of the segments? Let's say there are two editors to share the work. For illustrative purposes, lets say there are no specific B-roll time codes and one editor has to scan pictures into Photoshop for cover as well. The producer cannot be there except for about 3 hours a day to view the progress and make change notes. The writer only has a first draft of each segment when the project comes to editing, although A-roll time codes are included. After going to HD we have to add XY axis moves on scanned pictures, name supers and some color correction but not a color grade. We also have to mix the audio which is then passed through a compander going to D5 HD tape. I know I can't get a definite answer to this but all comments are welcomed. Thanks.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


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Mark SuszkoRe: HD editing
by on Apr 7, 2008 at 3:49:12 am

Well I don't fit your qualifications for answering the question Del, but I was wondering why you choose to do an SD offline in these days of "plentiful" storage. If you have enough storage I'd just as soon skip an SD offline to save some time, cut as much as possible in one session, just to get the timings and key scenes down, just cuts and dissolves, then go back on subsequent days to do sessions concentrating on the graphics moves and etc. and from time to time as things get refined, purge unneeded footage if space needs required it in a consolidation session. So I'm curious about you workflow.

Heck, I'm curious about EVERYBODY'S work flow, since my shop is just starting to dangle its toes in the HD end of the pool.


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Del HolfordRe: HD editing
by on Apr 7, 2008 at 12:31:23 pm

Thanks Mark
In these days of "unlimited storage" our systems are uncompressed and limited to 1 hour 10 min. for HD and about 3 hours available for SD on the other system. Thanks for that question as I'm sure it makes a difference in workflow. In HD we have 750 Gb and I think at least 2 Tb are needed to really function fully. That should have been included in the post.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


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Chris BovéRe: HD editing
by on Apr 8, 2008 at 11:38:11 pm

Hey Del, done a bunch of long and semi-long format HD stuff since '04 at the Public Television station here in Buffalo, NY. Still doin' it SD with an HD online, because 100 tapes at 60 minutes each would require roughly 50 terabytes of storage, and that's only at DVC-proHD resolution. We've just incorporated an Avid Interplay system with a 16 terabyte unity storage system, so at least we've upgraded our SD offline from 20:1 resolution to DV_50.

Anyway... your magazine show:
- Cut it all in 16x9 SD (960x540 square pixel or 864x486 round)
- Buy and use Stage Tools Moving Picture (with the rotation option) to do all your image moves. It will be the best $200 bucks you'll ever spend. Never (repeat) NEVER use any Avid effect for doin’ moves on still images. ALSO, you can buy a separate $200 "producers version" of Stage Tools and have the moves created outside the edit bay! Best of all, you can ALWAYS operate it in high-res HD mode while inside an SD 16x9 project without hiccups. Then when you go to online, the moves are already done - no redoing any work.
- Regarding footage, delegate the bulk of the logging, subclipping and adding of locators to one editor, while the other tackles more of the creative. It's a much better workflow if you don't have the budget for a fleet of assistant editors.

Got a bunch more ideas, but my digitize just ended. If you need more than this, just yell.


______
/-o-o-
`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey
`(___)

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.



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Del HolfordRe: HD editing
by on Apr 9, 2008 at 12:45:30 pm

Thanks Chris (now that I know your other name)
I've read your posts here for years. Glad you guys were able to get "enough" storage. That's a severe limitation here. How long do you think the project as described with the storage available, would take from script delivery to finished off-line for each seg? How long for the on-line (from re-digitizing to playout (each seg and finished program)?

I'll look closely at Stage Tools and working in 16x9 for off-line never occurred to me. That's a great move. Thanks.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


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Chris BovéRe: HD editing
by on Apr 9, 2008 at 3:15:14 pm

Hey Del. I did a magazine show like that last year. Two one-hour programs though, but let me list the workflow and schedule so you can draw your own conclusions from it.

Programs:
It was a two-part program on the wineries in our region. The first one-hour program was on the wineries in Western New York. The second one-hour program was on the wineries across the border in Southern Ontario. Twenty seven wineries were presented over the two hours, at between 4-8 minutes each. A basic in-and-out approach, “Hi I’m Andy and this is my winery.” There were some interview-supported B-Roll of history and process shots and customers tasting wine; some customer soundbytes; a quick segment on the in-winery-restaurant; and cut back to interview for a happy-ending soundbyte. Dissolve to WS jib settling on shot of the EXT with the wineries sign in the lower corner. Do that 27 times in a row, and you’ve just banged-out a couple shows. The programs end, and the live TV guys dissolve to studio where the public television beggers are staring at-camera yapping about how television as you know it will die forever if you don’t make out a check for $50 bucks.

Workflow / Schedule of Program 1:
Producer shot 70 tapes with the Panny 900 DVC-pro HD camera and 6 tapes with a Canon XL2 HDV.
Dec 15, 2006 (two weeks): Digitize all tapes for both programs at 20:1 resolution for interviews and 10:1 for B-Roll.
Jan 1-5: Get script. Create Interview assembly based on the script. Be frame-exact for their soundbytes. Basically, make it a pause-free radio program.
Jan 8 – 24: Rough cut with B-Roll and best-possible sound mix one winery per day. Each day, create a low-res Quicktime of the rough cut and put it on FTP site so Producer can review and make notes at her convenience.
Jan 25 – Feb 2: Fine cut two wineries per day based on Producer’s notes. Final audio mix and off-line quality color correct are included. Quicktime/FTP.
Feb 5,6,7: Final cut all segments based on notes.
Feb 8: Producer, Exec Producer and Assoc Producer sit in edit bay for final cut/picture lock sign-off.

(Break 3 weeks for another production)

Workflow / Schedule of Program 2:
March 3 - Mar 20: Rough cuts
Mar 21 – April 1: Fine cuts
Apr 2,3,4: Final cuts
Apr 7: Dog and pony to the suits
Apr 8 – 16: Create promos, DVD elements, packaging elements, underwriting, and anything else they want.

Apr 17 – 23 (5 business days): Online in HD. As long as you cut the whole program in 16x9 dimensions, this process looks and feels no different from any other online. Only difference is a longer render time. Try to do all your finalizing color correction and effects without rendering, and then do it all at 5pm so it churns while you’re gone.

Then, schedule it up against a Sabres playoff game so it makes no money. Doh!

It was a break-neck schedule that I'd highly recommend for a quick turn-a-round program that is rich in cinematography but shallow in story. Light-hearted Travel Channel / HGTV style.


______
/-o-o-
`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey
`(___)

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.



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Rich RubaschRe: HD editing
by on Apr 14, 2008 at 1:55:39 am

Hey Chris, excellent post and invaluable info. The original poster was lookng for some kind of comparison to an SD workflow, in other words, add up all the extra render time and handling the larger files and what does it add to an SD project. As an example we mostly work in SD DVCPro50 and don't have an offline process...DVCPro50 is our online.

In the HD projects we have tackled, we went straight in to DVCProHD cut as usual, but in every case the process took a lot longer. Things like making the QT for the FTP took MUCH longer than making the same file from our DVCPro50 material. We calculated almost double, but most of it was render time, working in AE, dealing with cross conversion of SD material things like that.

Any calculations based on a straight SD workflow (30 minute program) vs a direct to DVCProHD for the same program?

Also, we are on G5 dual 2.7s, so that is part of the slower performance than you guys on your screamin' new machines!

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media



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Del HolfordRe: HD editing
by on Apr 17, 2008 at 3:00:13 pm

thanks Rich
Chris' post was very helpful in other ways but you nailed it in regard to the fact that HD rendering is so much longer. With our systems, which are 6 years old SGI computers, SD renders in seconds, while even a mild color correction or x-y axis move in HD takes at least 3 minutes. I think the accumulation of these times is what is hurting us. The independent producers who come in and edit have no experience in long form HD processes are therefore frustrated by that accumulation of render times that are necessary to see the timeline play out. Often, after seeing the rendered clip, corrections must be made and you have to render it over again. The good thing about sending to QT for FTP or the web is that we can do it as we leave at night. Having a producer patient enough to sit through the HD editing process is becoming a sticky wicket.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


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Chris BovéRe: HD editing
by on Apr 21, 2008 at 5:09:21 pm

I remember ten years ago and our old Mac Avid AVBV with a max of 45 minutes of AVR77 storage and having to cut hour-long documentaries in two chunks... all while the formerly linear bay producers-turned-nonlinear producers bitched about having to sit through "these damned annoying render times". Well, I work with many of the same producers today and they all cringe at the thought of having to go back to their linear bay days. Sure decreased render times have contributed to it, but mostly they've become devout non-linear-ites because they like the new workflows it has given them. Just imagine flying Bill & Ted’s phone booth back ten years and explaining layered HD video tracks and QuickTime files on an FTP site to a devout linear guy with 38 work tapes, two slaved decks and his finger on the Pre-Read button!

Here are some HD workflow comparisons and suggestions that have increased my productivity…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
[1] QuickTime to FTP:
Highlighting a portion of a sequence and exporting it as a QuickTime movie takes a long time and stops you from working in the Avid interface until it is done. Instead buy the upgrade to QuickTime Pro. You can then highlight the portion of your sequence in Media Composer and export it as a QuickTime Reference file. Then reduce Media Composer, find the file and open it in QuickTime. Hit Export and choose your settings (the interface looks exactly the same as in the Avid). It works in the background allowing you to go back into Media Composer and keep working with no significant reduction in performance. It sounds like a lot more steps, but once you do it 3 or 4 times, it’s fast and brainless.

I took ten seconds of an HD sequence (1080i DNxHD145).
- Creating a QT movie: 2min 10sec.
- Creating QT Reference and converting it in QT Pro: 35 seconds.

The added benefit: I’ve had up to five of these conversions happening in the background while I keep working in Media Composer.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
[2] Video Quality Menu.
If you have it on your version of Media Composer, don’t be afraid to use this. It’s the little green rectangle in the bottom left of your timeline monitor. Changing it to yellow or yellow/green drops the visible resolution and allows more things to happen in realtime. Just be careful to set it back to green before playing out to tape!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
[3] Photoshop instead of Title Tool.
An imported, full-screen flattened Photoshop file doesn’t need to render. An Avid title does. Use it even for simple things like slates in the front of a program, for the “white” in white flashes, and for full-screen black if you need to.

Also note: I created a lower-third CG super for an interviewee created in Photoshop (imported as a key) and created an identical one in the Avid’s Title tool. In DNxHD145, they both took exactly ten seconds to render. I thus like doing everything in Photoshop. There are more tools; when I make a change I save right over the original and then go into Avid and batch import it - and it trickles to all the times it appears in the sequence. They all live in a folder on our network, which is accessible by the producer who can check spelling of name supers from his/her desk. He/she can even email it to the interviewee to triple check it (without asking me to make a screenshot). Best of all when the project is done, I can archive them all onto one CD or DVD. (I still have trust issues with “recreate title media” maintaining everything when Avid upgrades its versions of the software.)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
[4] Locator notes instead of effects.
This is a goofy one, but a REAL good one once you implement it. When a producer sitting next to me barks out: “Can I see that with a sepia color effect?” Go to the head of the shot and put a red locator on the video layer and type “sepia”. Then MOVE ON! Don’t do it. Don’t play it. Don’t show them. Not now. Explain that it’s become part of your to-do list and that when they leave for lunch, you’ll implement all their red locators by the time they come back.

After a few fist fights, this workflow will become routine. You can even go so far as to create a dumbed-down Producer’s workspace in your settings. This way the producer can get to work an hour before you, watch the sequence and apply locators with notes. You get in and make the changes as they’re off on their cell phone producing other elements of the program.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
[5] USE ASSISTANTS!!!
I still hear from editors shaking their boots over the idea of Assistant Editors taking work away from them. They don’t! Once a producer realizes that Assistants cost less to tackle the menial stuff and can free you up to concentrate on actual content, they can’t wait to get into work every day. Having assistants on a project means a producer listens to you yapping less “editor tech-speak” all day long. You become more of a “storytelling partner”, and they’ll love it. They create better stories, get recognized for doing so by their bosses, then come to find you and your "specialized workflow" invaluable.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
[6] The “Format” tab in the project bin. (This one’s my favorite.)
Start your 1080i HD project. Do 1080i HD digitizing, editing, whatever. Gack! It’s Tuesday morning and the producer is gonna be here for a big session. Go to the project bin, select the format tab and select 30i. Now ALL footage, dissolves, color effects, etc are seen, done and rendered in SD... AND at lightning-fast SD speed. Make all the producer’s changes, renders and so on. Now the producer is gone. Switch back to 1080i. Gack! All the work I just did is in SD while all the stuff before today is in HD. No worries. Go to the bin the sequence is in. Click on the hamburger menu (bottom left) and select “set bin display” and “rendered effects”. Now go to the top of your bin, sort resolutions ascending, select all the rendered effects that are in the SD resolution, delete the Associated Media Files (nothing else!!!), and whammo! Go back to your sequence, render it during lunch, and when you come back you’re fully HD. All effect parameters translate perfectly.



The real problem I keep running into with HD editing is less the computer’s speed and more the mindset of the producers. It’s the “don’t move my cheese” linear bay mindset all over again. If they can slowly incorporate some new workflows (suggested by an editor they trust) into their day, they’ll soon cringe at the days where they felt they needed to be a babysitter to their editor all day long. THAT is the golden selling point.

Digitize is done. Back to work.


______
/-o-o-
`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey
`(___)

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.



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Del HolfordRe: HD editing
by on Apr 22, 2008 at 5:36:21 pm

Thanks Chris and all.

Life goes on....

Del

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


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Derek KleinRe: HD editing
by on Mar 13, 2010 at 11:50:25 pm

Chris,

I have about 85 hours of HDV footage for a documentary here. In your post it said to bring interviews in at 20:1 and B-roll at 10:1 resolution. Once I have an edit what do i do from there to get my footage back up to full or high res? I need to make this an efficient work flow but simply do not have lots of drive space and need a final HD product! HELP!


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Mark SuszkoRe: HD editing
by on Mar 14, 2010 at 3:54:07 am

The general idea here is that you make a very accurate cut with the low-rez footage, then using the time codes and edit decision list information from the project file, your editing system can re-import the exact footage and only the exact footage that was used in your master, at the full resolution quality. You erase or dump the low grade versions and replace them with their high-grade originals, render the whole mess, and you're done. You'll want to be very careful with managing your editing information and also to calculate beforehand if you have enough space for the final product before you proceed. There is a free space calculator tool you can download from Digital Heaven that will quickly show you how many hours you have open at any particular resolution you work in.


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