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How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions

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Gedi GrudzinskasHow do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:14:19 pm

Hello there,

I have to start this query by explaining that I am an inexperienced editor who has managed to gain work on a rather large indie documentary that has not hit the edit yet. Essentially I'm jumping in the deep end.


OK, so I have 2tb of BPAV footage to deal with all numbered in chronological order. There is also a large amount of DV footage and a chunk of .mov files that were converted by a previous editor.

There is a series of locations, characters, themes and dates to think about.

There is also a variety of footage from silly stunts (the lead reporter is quite quirky) to serious interviews, to voxpops, to debates, to various cutaways etc.

Now I'm receiving "scripts" from my boss, with sections of transcription outlined, but not actually linked to timecode. These scripts will each deal with a different location she shot in or interviewed in.

The method she wants to use is to tackle each location or character that way, by outlining a script in a table, with highlighted sections of transciption. So essentially tackling one section of footage at a time. These scripts link to transcriptions which link to the numbers on the BPAV rushes and previously converted .mov files etc.

Then she wants to break the edit of the footage into several "themes" and have several editors dealing with each theme.

I am here at the start of it all, before anything has actually been edited.

I need to establish a naming convention and begin to deal with this edit. But I'm a little bit lost if I'm honest... overwhelmed is the word!

I need to begin this in a very rigid manner so that anyone who picks up what I have started understands the method. Any advice on naming conventions for a project like this would be appreciated. I am doing my homework and researching elsewhere, I'm not simply posting on here for the easy route out.

I also am wondering what anyone with experience thinks of this idea of splitting the edit into "themes". I was considering starting a different project for each theme, then later a more experienced editor could pick up all the projects and start the final edit. One of the issues there would be that some of the themes will overlap.

What would be another way to edit bite sized chunks of footage seperately, then bring them all together later?

I will be using FCP 7.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing any response/advice.


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Gedi GrudzinskasRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:35:10 pm

I should also add. The transcriptions that have been done link to footage that has not been converted or named, they were played back in XDCAM browser and then transcribed. So the script she is writing links directly to the un-transferred clip names... that doesn't mean there is not room to change the names of this footage when it is transferred for edit, but it makes things even more complicated!


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Mark SuszkoRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 18, 2011 at 2:59:54 pm

Check the old online back issues of the COW magazine because I think I remember the editor for a gaming software company did an article on the naming conventions adn logging system he set up fora large long duration project with a lot of elements as well as templates for easy updating.


An alphanumeric system is what many go by, but I have a problem relating to clips, (as well as car and equipment models) by scrambled letters and numbers, they don't mean as much to my head as a real name does. There must be a happy medium between memorable names and alphanumeric designators that your logging system can auto-increment.

Speaking of logging, people take for granted the fact that the logging bin has room for a LOT of detail if you will do the work, so as far as pursuing your "themes", the metadata taggign that tags clips as suitable fora particular theme could be done there.


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Gedi GrudzinskasRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 18, 2011 at 4:45:02 pm

Thanks for your reply. I haven't had time to read it through yet but is this the article you mean?

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/media-management-nightmares-game-on


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Mark SuszkoRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 18, 2011 at 5:13:06 pm

Yes, that's the article. I thought he had a pretty elaborate setuo, but it works for him because he's consistent with it. If you set up any method, it falls apart as soon as a second person starts entering metadata and doesn't follow the same protocols or use the same values.


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Richard HerdRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 22, 2011 at 10:55:06 pm

That's a great article. Here's a quote, "All of these processes and procedures are technical. They are not easy to implement, and the people who need to carry them out won't always like them or follow them."

You cannot overestimate the value of naming conventions. In my opinion, since you have to review all the footage and name it, it might be wise to log and transfer everything into the same format, probably AppleProRes 422. You'll have to come up with your own naming convention, but obviously it will include "theme" as one of the names.

Managing client expectations here will be difficult because this isn't like moving text around in MS Word or editing an essay. If there is 1 minute of video, you will have to watch it all. There's no shortcut. Maybe one take has two different clips; clips needing two different labels and so on.

Do you know how much footage there is?

Check out the documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop." There's a scene where they show all of the boxes of tapes and every time I see it, I cringe.


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Gedi GrudzinskasRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Nov 23, 2011 at 1:51:53 am

Thanks for the reply.

Have been talking this through at work. Interestingly enough (but perhaps to our disadvantage?) so much of the footage has been "logged" or transcribed now in it's original unconverted, unlabelled format that we need to maintain the numeric names of the original clips.

The lead reporter for the documentary project has amassed about 140 hours worth of footage, and has employees transcribing the interviews and so on just viewing through XDCAM browser without converting etc...
It is her first documentary.

That said, we are realising we have massive, searchable text files with all the information in them.

The issue now is to set up a bin naming structure (editing in FCP) when we transfer the footage to project files but keep the original clip name so we know what transcription it relates to!

I'm thinking something along the lines of: we will tackle each topic in a different project file as a small group of editors (currently 2 of us), follow a bin naming structure, keep the original clip names for the converted clips but rename them in bins with a reference to the original folder number they came from (as all the rushes are numbered individually in chronological order) and then bring all rough cut projects together into one master project.

We will be editing the footage in accordance with a script written by the journalist based on the transcriptions and the visual footage she knows she has. A kind of paper edit where we have to find most of the timecode ourselves with the dialogue as a guide.

Once the footage has been pulled down and chopped up, we would hand over a final edit to a more experienced editor and post team. What do you think of this idea/process?!


I've been meaning to watch through the giftshop for some time. I have a brother who is a very well known street artist so something close to the heart. Thanks for reminding me!

PS - When shooting my own future work, I know for sure I'll be logging and transferring as on the fly as possible with a solid naming structure!


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Jon FrostRe: How do I begin to tackle this Documentary edit in FCP - naming conventions
by on Apr 9, 2012 at 5:07:15 am

Just curious... how did you handle audio for this Doc? In camera or 2 system?

Did you plan for transcoding files for use in FCP 7?

I would definitely echo the need for working in small chunks or use the theme idea and break the project into manageable pieces.

My Bin system is as follows;

Video Files
Audio Files
Sequences
Photoshop
After Effects
Voice overs
Sound Effects
ADR
FOLEY

Good luck and happy editing

Jon Frost


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