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Metadata madness

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Clint Fleckenstein
Metadata madness
on Apr 24, 2009 at 4:19:05 pm

Workflow is a highly personal thing. When looking at different options for our small shop, I made my decision largely based on how our project managers work with our shooters and editors, how often we resurrect archived footage for our pool of regular clients, and that sort of thing. We've done many small jobs with the two EX cameras and have no complaints. Now that I'm working on a pretty big job, and have the time to get nitpicky about establishing a workflow that will hopefully become our standard, I have an issue. That's why I'm asking you guys for advice.

We pool our footage on an iMac with an external RAID and a SBAC-US10 reader. (It also has a PDW-U1 to use as a paperweight until they unlock the General folder.) We use the Clip Browser to combine/split folders to organize clips by project number. We then use XDCAM Transfer to log and mark subclips, title clips, and export as MOV files to a shared "dropbox" folder where they are retrieved by the editors and moved to the edit stations.

For these small projects we've basically kept the file names as the clip names, "999_xxxx_01.MP4" for example. Now that I have a project where the PM has assigned a title to each clip, I run into some options that have caused me some heartache.

In the "Import" Preferences, checking "Add clip title" puts the title she's assigned to the clip into the name of the exported file. Unfortunately, it doesn't add the clip title to the filename, it replaces the file name with the clip title.

That's all fine and dandy, until a while down the road I decide to go back to the original MP4 of the clip "Screaming Cheetah Wheelies" and have no way of knowing that it came from "999_0323_01.MP4". I want to be able to tie the .MOV to the BPAV.

By entering the source clip number into the "Comment" field in XDCAM Transfer and checking the "Write Final Cut Pro XML file" in the Import Preferences, I get an XML file that puts "999_0323_01.MP4" into the "Log Note" column of my FCP bin. When importing that XML into FCP, however, FCP loses the fact that the clip has audio and as well as the "Source Title" information (source BPAV folder name), which appears in the "Reel" column when importing the Quicktime. So I gain the file name, lose the file source, and it wants to import the clip without audio. The audio information is clearly present in the XML, by the way...I looked at the file. Something about it doesn't appeal to Final Cut Pro.

Of course, the easiest fix to brainstorm would be to type the original clip number into the filename, such as "Screaming Cheetah Wheelies 999_0323_01". Pain in the butt to type when you've got 150 clips from a full day's shoot, but possible. What I want to do is find out a way to keep the source clip number intact while exporting the .MOV, but sadly I don't know if that's possible.

Do you guys have any advice? Is there something that I'm missing? It wouldn't be the first time, as I'm doing a juggling act lately. Or maybe this is something to take up with Sony, as I'll probably do, pasting the above description into an email. I wanted to present this question to the forum first though, just in case there's an answer or someone else who is wondering the same thing. Then, if it gets answered publicly, it's available as a resource to others.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!
Clint


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Michael Slowe
Re: Metadata madness
on Apr 25, 2009 at 12:40:43 pm

Quite a problem these modern days which we didn't have with tape acquisition. Although I don't edit in FCP (Media 100 for me) I think that my method should work. I retain the file number as the clip name (for sub clips of the same clip it goes 1, 2, 3 etc) and for a reel number I note the shoot date. Provided you then have a note of the shoot schedule you can pretty easily refer to that date's media provided you named your folders BPAV April 25 for example and then 1, 2, 3 etc. I suppose that can get tricky if a vast amount of stuff is being shot but that works for me.

Michael Slowe


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Metadata madness (UPDATE)
on May 8, 2009 at 5:32:30 pm

Yeah, my goal is to tie the titled Quicktime to the numbered MP4 clip. I have since gone back and figured out a solution using the XML export:

Our HD archive RAID is not shared; we have started out using XDCAM transfer on a dedicated iMac to log and export to a shared "Dropbox" folder on the RAID. Editors then collect their Quicktimes from there. The problem with this is that the source file path value ("pathurl") in the XML file would then be different, and FCP freaked at that.

Instead of sharing the Dropbox folder on the RAID, we'll be sharing the RAID itself (read-only) for the editors. Logging will still be performed on the iMac, but the final XDCAM Transfer work to Quicktime will be done on each edit station. The resulting XML files bring in additional information, so we can put the clip number in the "Comment" field in XDCAM Transfer and have it show up in the "Log Note" column of the FCP project.

This may or may not suit others' workflow needs. That's one trick of this business: determining the way the office works, the nature of the work performed, and coming up with a routine that ties it all together. For us, this will be a relatively easy way to be able to refer to source clips if we need to resurrect all or part of a project and don't have the re-wrapped Quicktimes to work with.

Cf


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