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need to catalog a lifetime stock footage library

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martin holt
need to catalog a lifetime stock footage library
on Jan 3, 2010 at 1:02:19 am

I have 3000 hours of movie rushes over a lifetime of event shooting. It is film from 1954 to 1985; since '85 it is video. About half of the media is dv cam. I understand that it will all have to be archived on a single media format.

I want to log this material using a uniform set of terms to describe the action and a terminology to identifiy camera directions (pan, tilt, follow, zoom, close shot, distant shot, time of day, location, certain dominant elements such as color or material, etc.) I think of this a kind of vocabulary and grammar that can be used when writing scenarios for movies to be invented and made using this lifetime footage library.

I want the scenario to use key words and phrases to search and identify shots that satisfy the criterion of the scenario. There will be multiple shots that are suggested by the search. The program should identify the set of shots and perhaps display a thumbnail movie to represent the shot. Each identified shot should be tied to a specific address (or location where the shot resides in the archive.) From this, I could build an EDL from which to build the movie.

After the grammar, the ability to set up and search the database seems like the most important element I am looking for.

Is this the kind of thing that Cat DV is capable of doing?

I use Final Cut Express as my edit program. It suits my needs, and I am reluctant to up grade my self to FCP if I do not need to. I am a one man band, making personal movies within my own production house. I do not need to share material with other editors or clients.

Finally, I would like to retain as high a quality finished product as possible. Currently I am satisfied with the quality of the image when projected on an art house movie screen after being editied in fcx and exported to tape or burned to dvd.

mx


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bryson jones
Re: need to catalog a lifetime stock footage library
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:37:25 pm

CatDV will do what you want, I've actually just done, basically, the same exact setup for an action sports archive of 4,000 feature films which are being turned into a library. Also, Fox Digital is doing the same basic thing for their short format web movies.

The main thing is getting the fields and layouts setup correctly in the beginning. CatDV is amazingly flexible, but as is often mentioned here, it's not a plug and play off the shelf solution, unless you want to invest the time learning to program/install it. The data you are asking for is easily collected and managed but that might not be immediately clear from the downloaded demo, as most users have highly customized the interface. (Sony, for instance, had over 8 panels of metadata fields when I last saw their setup) So don't be frustrated or confused if the program seems limited out of the box. There are so many features that it's nearly impossible to find them all without some help.

As far as your archive format, that's your business, but you might consider some higher res formats for the items coming from film as then you'd be able to sell them in HD in the coming years. Any good integrator can offer suggestions but I know that Pro Res has been a standard for several of the recent archives that I and others have done, starting with NASCAR, set up by the guys from SquareBox (makers of catdv). Older "Big-Iron" houses have traditionally favored MPEG-2 and MXF formats although that is changing.

Regarding FCX, I'll let Kevin or Rolf answer that one. I've never used CatDV with FCX but I do know that the XML should translate fine, even if the "tree" won't allow you to drag and drop. (the Magic Door, as Mr. Duggan calls it) However, you do get access to higher quality codecs with the Pro version which is a long term consideration.

In the end, the expense of a full copy of FCP will be negligible when compared to the cost of storage and conversion of your library (time!!), as well as server hardware and a license of CatDV server so that you can search your entire library of clips.

This sounds like a pretty large undertaking but you are on the path and compared to other custom built solutions, CatDV can do most of the hard stuff out of the box. Find a good dealer and have them give you a demo and see what you think.

bryson

bryson@hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


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martin holt
Re: need to catalog a lifetime stock footage library
on Jan 5, 2010 at 3:26:03 am

Since you have done this kind of thing before, could I engage you in a more indepth discussion of 1) how and where can I learn to "program/install" it. 2) what is the big picture I need to be studying to know what to program for 3) after the programming is done, what is the search methodology for building the movies I will want to make 4) can you suggest some people to talk to about how to build the logging language that can be turned around and searched from a scenario 5) I am not sure how much value "metadata" will be in this case. Much of this material was originated pre metadata, or at least, the metadata is minimal, and probably not of much use in the application I envision. I will not consider budget at this point; but as we know, it will control in the end.

mx


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