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Ruprict Haacke
offline vs. online
on Sep 23, 2010 at 8:31:43 pm

I am using FCP to edit a short promotional video and for the sake of experience, I want to assemble an offline edit and then from there compile the online. The original footage was shot in 1080i HDV and captured as Apple ProRes. For the offline edit I have NTSC DV duplicates of the original footage. (I know I could easily just cut together the ProRes footage, but like I said, I just want the experience of compiling an online edit from an EDL - perhaps an obsolete skill in the DV age?).

What I've noticed is that a given clip as DV is always slightly longer than that same clip as ProRes. Sometimes the difference is only a frame but for the longer clips the difference in duration is as much as 1 second. This is puzzling to me because both the DV and ProRes clips operate at 29.97 fps. Is this a symptom of using FCP's Compressor or is it a necessary evil of switching formats?

And of greater concern to me now, how does an editor accommodate the time difference between the offline and the online? If the offline has synced sound, how does it translate into an online version if the online is of a different duration?

Ruprict


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Bill Davis
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 24, 2010 at 1:37:15 am

Ruprict,

The very terms "offline" and "on-line" are now essentially historical curiosities. EVERYTHING is done "online" today. Yes, some people are co-opting the terms to mean "do the program at reduced resolution first - then come back and re-digitize the same footage at higher resolution later" BUT that has NOTHING to do with the original meaning, which was to use a cheap, basic A/B roll simple edit suite to complete the bare bones compiling of the scenes in your program in rough order without tying up the expensive main edit suite gear - then, once that was approved, you'd go into the on-line suite where you had access to fancy effects and other outboard gear in order to "finish" your program "on-line."

Today, EVERY NLE has all the effects you'd possibly need built in. The ONLY reason to do two complete distinct passes is if your system can't process whatever full, high-rez clips you wish to use for your final - in which case you typically STILL do ALL the production work with your reduced resolution clips - then simply substitute the higher rez data when you get to a machine that can handle the full strength format.

The process is useful for stuff like doing a rough cut on an airplane on a laptop - then transferring the results to a main system back at the office - but the process is really NOTHING like the original "offline/online" terminology.

As to very small clip length drift of the type you're seeing, I'd suspect audio sampling rate inconsistencies first - followed by sequence numbering errors generated by mixing drop frame and non-drop frame timecode, followed by field dominance stuff in successive clips.

Most everything else screws stuff up by MUCH more than a frame or two here or there - but it's entirely dependent on the length of your program - since a small discrepency in inter-frame timing GROWS over a whole lot of frames.

Good luck.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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Shane Ross
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 24, 2010 at 2:34:51 am

[Bill Davis] " EVERYTHING is done "online" today"

Sorry, you are mistaken. Reality TV shows still do offline/online. When you shoot 5 cameras for 8 hours a day, that's a LOT of footage. And I have worked on documentaries with 80-200 hours of footage, and did the offline/online thing. And companies that use Avids, still do offline/online. It isn't uncommon, but it is happening a lot less than it used to.

Offline/online to me, and I have been editing for over 15 years...from 3/4" tape to tape to Avid to FCP...offline has always meant "low quality" and online has always meant "high quality." So we'd capture at AVR3s...or 15:1...or offline RT. A low quality codec that takes up very little space. Then when we locked picture, we'd then decompose the cut, or media Manage...or send an EDL to the tape to tape online...and assemble the show at high resolution.

Is that not what you think it is?

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bill Davis
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 24, 2010 at 7:37:20 pm

Point taken.

Clearly, the reality show is the exception. With that much footage to review, the process makes sense. But understand that long-form reality programming is a TINY fraction of the production work done today. I'd argue that virtually ALL of todays corporate, industrial, event, and a LARGE percentage of the traditional broadcast work - from news through episodic TV is NO LONGER done in anything resembling the traditional offline/online mode.

Reality and possibly documentary are the forms that will probably fall to the new workflow last - but that STILL doesn't conflict with the reality that today's "offline/online" process is a FAR cry from the process employed when it was originally coined in a world of 1" type C - Beta SP - and even 3/4" SP.

Also, please note that the OP specified "short promotional videos".

Can't get much farther away from the multi-cam reality format than that.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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Shane Ross
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 24, 2010 at 9:35:01 pm

VERY true. When working with projects 30 min or less, offline/online makes no sense.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 28, 2010 at 10:07:27 am

Most of our work is footage from RED ONe and Arri D-21 nowadays so I found terms like "digital negative" for source and "digital workprint" for offline copy fit better.


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Ruprict Haacke
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 28, 2010 at 5:04:28 pm

Michael,

Yeah, it was while trying to navigate the post-production workflow for a project shot with the RED when I was required to provide an 'offline' (a process that I fumbled around with for ages). That's why I was confused to hear that 'offline' and 'online' edits are a thing of the past now. 'Digital negative' and 'digital workprint' do seem to be better descriptions.

In the case of working with R3D files generated by the RED, what then is the proper workflow one should follow when cutting together a digital workprint?

Ruprict



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Bill Davis
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 28, 2010 at 10:06:42 pm

Not sure exactly how you can unlink the core meaning of the word "negative" from the prosess tho.

Nowhere I can see in the digital processing realm when black goes white and white goes black.

Just sayin - Digital Positive is at least "accurate" as would be re-purposing forms of "MASTER" as in camera masters, working masters, pre and post colorized master, etc.

When language evolves, at least to my way of thinking, it evolves best when it doesn't force the use of a term that suggest one thing to suddenly suggest the opposite.

My 2 cents, anyway.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 29, 2010 at 7:30:30 am

It doesn't bother me a bit. There is no black and white in real color negative neither. It is all shades of orange. What's more important "digital negative" takes exactly the space in the pipeline film negative does.

You cannot view "digital negative" directly. You have to apply a debayer and a LUT. That's developing and striking a workprint to me.

You cannot track, roto and compose "digital negative" directly. You have to debayer. That's striking an interpositive. Well, technically you can but unless you're one-man shop you're better off giving your VFX team RGB DPX.

You cannot make release prints from "digital negative" because it is too slow, just like with real negative. You have to make an internegative and print from that.

Actually, right now you cannot feed "digital negative" to a film recorder at all. A lab expects you to bring graded interpositive in.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: offline vs. online
on Sep 29, 2010 at 9:30:41 am

One goal is to give your editing system the footage in the format it is most comfortable with. In case of FCP it would be QuickTime movies in ProRes codec. In case of Avid it would be DNxHD in MXF wrapper.

Another goal is to give editing system as mach metadata as possible. I'm not talking about exposure index and other image related stuff. That's for colorist, not editor. I'm talking about timecode and reel name. Luckily both formats support sufficient amount of useful metadata. Still it is a good idea to burn this information into the picture. I recommend using above mentioned codecs because they support full raster HD. Both your colorist and your sound editor would appreciate a videoreference of the cut in high resolution.

When you make "digital workprint" from R3D files keep the original RED names. At some point you will have to reassemble your cut from R3D in a grading app and it could be something other than Apple Color. You may not know what flavor of XML that app support but you can be sure it supports CMX 3600 EDL. The problem is RED reel names are too long for CMX 3600. But the format supports file names in the comments so Nucoda Film Master for instance, can read them from the there.

The above is not the only workflow possible. I do it in this manner because our company has to live in the open ecosystem. A production orders "workprint" made and buys some storage space for "digital negative" initially but they usually plan on a director or may be a director's nephew editing it. When they realize it doesn't work they hire a freelancer and after that they come to us for polish. The same is with grading and VFX.


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