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Feature Length Documentary work Flow

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D'Arcy Hamilton
Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:10:15 am

Hi guys.

I have a massive documentary project on my hands. We have shot about 1.3 TB of H264 footage, and it's time to start transcribing and editing.

Now here is my 'issue' that I have been tirelessly trying to find an answer to:

As anyone knows, all of this footage is in H264, a non-native FCP editing state. I need to convert it to Pro Res, however, it then becomes absolutely massive in size. So I think I need to convert it into Pro Res Proxy. (The only Pro Res conversion that's smaller than H264 in size)

So question being: Is it possible to buy an extra Harddrive, convert all the H264 to Pro Res Proxy by saving it onto the new hard drive. Edit the documentary in the Proxy format. Then convert the finished edit back to H264. Then finally converting that finished edit to Pro Res 422. (Or any higher quality)

Or could I skip a step, and just convert from Pro Res Proxy to Pro Res 422? Or would I be losing significant quality?

Ultimately, I'm concerned with converting everything with MPEG Streamclip (which I've been using), editing it on final cut in Proxy format, then having issues linking up those Proxy files with their H264 sources.

What do you think the best way of tackling this is? Ideally without spending too much money, as we are still seeking funding.

I hope this makes sense.

Thank You!


D'Arcy


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Andrew McKee
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:44:19 am

Edit on premiere so you don't have to transcode? Just a thought, with this amount of footage its probably a fairly cost effective solution when you consider the amount of time and effort transcoding will take.

I can't see a massive problem with transcoding to proxy, then relinking to H264, then transcoding the sequence to 422. But I wouldn't rely on this being an automatic procedure. Clipfinder may help, but don't rule out having to manually relink every single shot in your sequence back to the h264.

Andy


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Bouke Vahl
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:20:40 pm

My (highly educated) take on this:

FCP relinks on filename, tc and reelname.

If there is no TC track (thus also no reelname, as it lives in the same track), FCP relinks to files with the correct name, assuming the inpoint being x frames from the start, as it was with the originals.

If there is TC, and there is TC overlap, FCP relinks based on the TC
(if the filename matches)

If there is TC, and the filename is the same, but the TC is off, FCP relinks based on the inpoint being X frames from the start.

Now this can bite you, or this can help you.

I stronly suggest you keep filenames the same (Or you have to shop with me and i'll take your money in exchange of FCPrelink, a program that does the renaming for you.)

To add TC to the files, you can use my QTchange application.
(free from my site, for now...)

Make sure both your proxies and your originals have the same filenames, and you're golden.

(do test though)

warning,
DO NEVER EVER CHANGE TC ON FILES IF THEY LIVE ON A NETWORK DRIVE!

Bouke

http://www.videotoolshed.com/
smart tools for video pros


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Norman Willis
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 12, 2010 at 5:17:31 pm

Questions:

1. What's your budget?
2. Can you do a sample 1GB file conversion?
3. Can you connect via iSCSI?

I don't know how ProRes and Cineform .avi/.mov compare, but when I transcode AVCHD footage to Cineform .avi, it generally makes the file size 5 times as large. So can you give us a sample conversion?

If you purchase a Drobo Pro and stuff it full of eight each 2TB drives, it should give you approximately 10.89 TB of storage with dual redundancy (so you don't need to buy enterprise class drives).

http://www.drobo.com/calculator/drobopro.php

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Mike Cohen
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 14, 2010 at 7:03:06 pm

Storage is cheap. If you have 1.3 TB of raw footage, why are you concerned about big file sizes? You already have big file sizes and/or just a lot of files adding up to a lot of space. But a 1.5TB eSATA drive is like $99 And if you are using a RAID you have plenty of space (or can buy more drives for it) - I would convert everything to Prores from the get go and avoid headaches with relinking later. Measure twice, cut once.

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer


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Norman Willis
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 15, 2010 at 4:16:34 am

>>Storage is cheap. If you have 1.3 TB of raw footage, why are you concerned about big file sizes?

I think his concern is that once he transcodes to ProRes the file sizes will be much larger. And it may or may not fit in his internal bays.

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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D'Arcy Hamilton
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 18, 2010 at 3:45:38 am

You're right Norman.
I'm afraid to know how many more hard drives I'll need to buy to fill them up with Pro Rezed movies. I'm working with a Macbook Pro, so I have to use external ones. I also want to be as portable as I can, so I can bring one hard drive around to other people and get feedback.


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Norman Willis
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 18, 2010 at 1:59:48 pm

Can you do a sample transcode, just to give us an idea of how big the full 1.3TB will be, when it is all transcoded? Also, what kinds of ports do you have on your MacBook for external connections? (I am ignorant of these things, as I am on Vegas/PC). If we know what your exact storage requirement and your connection options are, then it might be possible to troubleshoot better. Or did you decide to go with proxy files?

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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D'Arcy Hamilton
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 15, 2010 at 2:52:08 am

Thanks Bouke

You definately know what goes on behind the scenes in FCP.

Now that I'm confident that I can relink a ProRes Proxy final edit to the original H264 cousins, lets talk workflow.

What program should I use to convert all the footage? I'm using Mpeg Streamclip, does that work?

At what point and how do I 'tell' FCP to link my final Proxy edit to the H264 files?

Also, although they are different shots, some of the files DO have the same file names as others, but none are the same length. Is that going to be a problem? Just want to make sure, it sounds like FCP is smart enough to know the difference.

Again, thanks for your response (and everyone else for that matter). This Creative Cow forum is new to me, and its becoming a real life saver!

D'Arcy


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Bouke Vahl
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 17, 2010 at 12:40:59 pm

Using the same filenames is a path to disaster...

I see if i can find some time to change QTchange to make unique, logical filenames.

Then you can batch convert any way you like, as long as the filename stays the same.

Bouke

http://www.videotoolshed.com/
smart tools for video pros


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Ben Edwards
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 24, 2010 at 10:44:17 am

Use Vagas Pro 9 and you don't have the problem as it uses the native files and does everything in real time.


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Norman Willis
Re: Feature Length Documentary work Flow
on Aug 24, 2010 at 12:30:15 pm

Use Vagas Pro 9 and you don't have the problem as it uses the native files and does everything in real time.

Ben, I am a Vegas Pro 9.0e user, and while I love the program my CoreDuoQuad 3.0GHz has a hard time keeping up with AVCHD footage at 24MBps without transcoding, let alone 5DM2 footage at 50 MBps.

Besides, if you read his thread, he is on a Mac (and Vegas is not always stable under Bootcamp).

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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