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Best way to move a project from Smoke to another system, any suggestions

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Michael Buday
Best way to move a project from Smoke to another system, any suggestions
on Aug 30, 2006 at 4:07:27 pm

This is a strange one, but no one said life was ever gonna be easy:

Details:

- One hour TRT for nine episodes
- Live action, all blue screen material, shot Digibeta, 16:9 anamorphic
- Background/foreground plates/animations all done in 3D Studio Max
- Offline on FCP
- Online/compositing on a Smoke

This is a huge project. Offline is done on all nine episodes. Two (out of nine) episodes are completed, three have had basic mattes cut but need more work, and four episodes haven't been touched.

Without going into sordid details, the project must now be moved to another system, and possibly to something completely different - like Shake or Combustion. Obviously, moving to another Smoke (or FIre?) would be the easiest transition to complete the remaining work, but the job may have to be moved in-house, and the company can't afford a Smoke or Fire.

They'd like to move as much of the existing matttes that have been cut to another system, but what is the best way to do that? Targa files from Smoke-->? Lay the mattes off to Digibeta and reimport into the other compositor. Would moving to Combustion be any easier then moving to Shake? Would the process be so time consuming (trying to use any existing mattes) that it would be easier to simply re-do the three episodes that have some matte work done in the new environment?

If anyone has any thoughts on this, Id certainly appreciate hearing from you!

Many thanks.

Michael Buday


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stephane labrie
Re: Best way to move a project from Smoke to another system, any suggestions
on Aug 30, 2006 at 9:37:25 pm

Hi Michael!
Did you think about renting a system? There is http://www.firestarterrentals.com/smoke.htm web site that says they rent Octane 2 system. If you go this path, make sure that the versions of smoke used are in sync (i.e. smoke 6.x can't load archive from future version like smoke 7. Smoke 7.0.11 (current version) can load an archive from any previous version of smoke.

If you really need to go to another system, you would need to output to digibeta the master timeline and the elements (somebosy would need to manually extract the needed content, i.e. processing the matte output of each VFX, create a matte sequence + output to tape.


Good luck!



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Michael Buday
Re: Best way to move a project from Smoke to another system, any suggestions
on Sep 1, 2006 at 7:43:03 am

Hello Stephane,

A very good friend of mine, Ramsey Marzouk says hello. Do you know him?

Anyway, thanks for your info. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to be forced to move to another system. However, I have to decide if it's better to try and save any of the matte work that has already been done, or just redo all the mattes in the new system.

Having said that, I'll check into renting a system anyway, but it's probably out of the question considering the remaining budget on this project. I can probably put together a decent Shake compositing system for less then $10K, and while it isn't a Smoke from an editing perspective, the offline has been done on FCP - so if I online in FCP at 10bit and XML export to Shake, I'm "hoping" I can achieve what I need. We'll see!

Why doesn't Discreet sell a lower cost version of Smoke to go with Combustion? I don't mean the old "edit" product, but a Smoke "like" (same interface) product with a scaled down feature-set? Then you could get every film school kid using it and asking for it's bigger brother when they get a real job!

Michael Buday


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moodyglasgow
Re: Best way to move a project from Smoke to another system, any suggestions
on Sep 1, 2006 at 6:41:47 pm

Smoke is the little brother to Fire, so aside from Edit or Combustion I dont know what they would do. Also, Smoke on Linux is alot cheaper then Smoke on SGI platform. As far as something for "every film school kid" to use, I thought that was covered pretty well by Apple, with FCP. I don't think Discreet really wants to battle Apple for market share in that area.
Anyways, if its not too hard to get the mattes, and you know they are good mattes, I would try and use them. Cutting mattes can be time consuming, so it could end up being a real time-saver.
good luck


moody glasgow
smoke artist / editor


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Michael Buday
Re: Best way to move a project from Smoke to another system, any suggestions
on Sep 1, 2006 at 7:10:50 pm

Hi Moody,

Well, I don't yet know if the mattes are any good at this point, but I know the Smoke artist wants $15K to send us the mattes for three episodes!

No, I understand that Smoke is already the "scaled" down version of Fire, but from what I understand talking to a local reseller, it's still around $150K on Linux. You're absolutely right that FCP (and Avid with the Xpress line) have the lower ends covered.

"Edit" is dead and unlike Fire/Smoke anyway. My point was that there's value in getting aspiring young people aligned with Discreet's user interface and methodologies so that when it's time for them to make purchase decisions later on, they may be more inclined to push for (or ask for) Discreet products because of prior experience. Plus it creates a broader base of potential talent who can come up to speed more quickly on Discreet's higher end product when that time comes. For those who do the hiring, they have a broader base of potential talent to choose from.

Anyway, many thanks!

Michael Buday


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