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Keeping track of the creative proccess

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Rick Sebeck
Keeping track of the creative proccess
on Nov 10, 2005 at 5:54:15 pm

I am knee deep in FCP - cutting two feature films. I have come from the commercial, promo, short film world, where keeping track of various versions of edits is as simple as duplicating timelines and renaming them.

When you work on a feature, how do you keep track of the different versions of the edit. Specifically when you are in the beginning stages, and you may be restructuring the over all arch (moving/deleting scenes). Sometimes scenes are cut from one arc, while they are in others. Sometimes you make a small change in version 7A, and it doesn't end up in the 6 other versions because you don't copy and paste!

Do you nest scenes? Do you nest reals? Do you have multiple sequences in one FCP project? Do you have several FCP projects?

I just wanted to hear what some of your creative work-flows are.

I was chatting with Sean Cullen about this at the last FCP meeting, but what he was saying went right over my head. I just assumed he was on a different playing field! He mentioned something about having a different FCP project for ever 3 minutes of screen time. Anyone know why you would need to do that?

On the same note. Walter Murch and Sean both mentioned that FCP was too slow when opening new projects. I have to say that both projects I am working on (one 35mm telecined to miniDV and the other on HDcam 720p) open in about 2-3 minutes. It doesn't seem like that much of a set back. Is this just because shooting ratios on a blockbuster and an indy are that drastic?

Also, just a little note on our workflow - the director, myself, and my AE all have FW drives with all of the media on them. We then pass FCP projects around and re-link the media (which takes about 5 minutes). Its a pretty cool workflow, thought I would share.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

-Rick

P.S. sorry for the repost from other forums, but I haven't been getting any responses!


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person
Re: Keeping track of the creative proccess
on Nov 11, 2005 at 2:46:43 pm

not an fcp user, but in the avid you can create multiple bins and organize them in folders. you could create your pix, audio, cuts, etc bins by section/scene types, create a folder named with this section/scene and put those bins withinn that folder. can fcp do this? not sure why one would want to put 3 minute clips in new projects. that could be problematic i would think. but what do i know? good luck.


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boydmcc
Re: Keeping track of the creative proccess
on Nov 12, 2005 at 5:59:20 am

Two features at one time...that might be half of the problem! Keeping a mental picture/roadmap gets easier over time as you get used to the volume of material and the form of a feature as opposed to shorter stuff.

One thing you might want to do is keep an editor's logbook. You could have a couple of sections in it, one that deals with the broader elements in the film: story elements, character arcs, themes, objectives for specific scenes etc..., then another that you'd update daily with what you did that day and why. That way, you can always come back to see how you got to where you are.

[Rick Sebeck] "Sometimes you make a small change in version 7A, and it doesn't end up in the 6 other versions because you don't copy and paste!"

Decide on what kind of version control to have and stay consistent. Everyone works differently and has different organizational structures. In the above example, if 7A is the most recent, why make any changes to 1-6? If 7A doesn't work out, go back to the previous one that did, maybe version 5, name that one version 8 (or whatever) and keep moving forward. If weeks or months down the line you come back and say "didn't we do something that was interesting back weeks or months ago?" you can check your logbook.

[Rick Sebeck] "He mentioned something about having a different FCP project for ever 3 minutes of screen time. Anyone know why you would need to do that?"

It could be a couple of different reasons. From a workflow perspective, the smaller projects are easier to work on and share among the different areas of production (from the director reviewing a cut, to the sound department). They probably keep one scene to one project file. It would also be easier when sharing files and to know what the status of each project file/scene was. Imagine having a whole series of scenes on different sequences in one project file - which one needed foley work, etc? Though I think they just shared QT movies between departments. Also, by keeping discreet project files of 2-3 mintues segments, you keep the actual file sizes down. I've heard FCP project files growing over 10-15MB can cause problems (not an expert here!). And if one project file gets corrupted or lost or whatever, it's not as critical. It'd be interesting to chat with Sean about it.


[Rick Sebeck] "On the same note. Walter Murch and Sean both mentioned that FCP was too slow when opening new projects. I have to say that both projects I am working on (one 35mm telecined to miniDV and the other on HDcam 720p) open in about 2-3 minutes. "

Probably when you have 40, 50, 60+ project files, and you are moving back and forth between them, constantly waiting a couple of minutes or even a minute can be irritating. Yes it's blazing fast compared to the old days, but when you get into a rhythm and then in specific areas hit a traffic jam, well you complain about that traffic jam. And if they are opening a project file to just check something in another scene that will take all of 2-3 seconds, but they need to wait 1 minute or 2 minutes each time, that is an area for improvement :-)

[Rick Sebeck] "Also, just a little note on our workflow - the director, myself, and my AE all have FW drives with all of the media on them. We then pass FCP projects around and re-link the media (which takes about 5 minutes). Its a pretty cool workflow, thought I would share."

It is. Thanks for sharing. What's cool is you can all be in different locations and just email files to each other. (This is one area where version control is absolutely critical!)

Good luck on your films.




Boyd
"Go slow to go fast"


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Timothy Allen
Re: Keeping track of the creative proccess
on Nov 19, 2005 at 12:54:48 am

I'm working on an Avid Media Composer Adrenaline these days, but I imagine (or hope) that my suggestion translates to Final Cut Pro...

If you have bins open with multiple sequences, the application has to poll the drives to make sure it knows where all the raw media files, and pointers (clips and sequences or timelines) are. Getting all that information ready for you to instantly access it takes a little preparation. That preparation is part of what the editing application is doing when it loads a project up for the editor to work on it. So the more complex the project, and the more media files associated with it - the longer it's going to take to start the project (or launch the application).

When you launch a project in Media Composer, the NLE has to poll the computer and find out where all the data associated with each bin is. So... one "trick" is to keep only your most current sequence (or timeline) in an open bin and put all of the older versions you might still want access to in another bin that is always closed unless you are in the process of opening an older sequence to work on. When you start working on that older sequence, it's no longer "older" - so you put it in the "Most current version bin", and put any other versions into a bin that you close. That way, the application doesn't have to spend its resources actively keeping track of the metadata in all of those older sequences. (At least not to the point where it's instantly available for you to pull up.)

That technique would also let others who open your project quickly know that the one sequence that's in the "Most Current Version" bin is the latest version that's being actively worked on. It also keeps your interface less cluttered, which is good for you, and more


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