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Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration

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Michael Angelo
Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 2:47:35 am

FCPX Remote Collaboration - Multiple Editors, Systems and Mirror Drives

We've been using FCPX for a while now and still struggling to find the best way to collaborate on a long form show between multiple editors working on their own systems via mirrored hard drives at remote locations. Been reading other threads with no definitive answers:

https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/344/31389

Is anyone successful sharing both logging and edits given this scenario? If one editor adds a piece of temp music to an edit what is the best way to feed it into the other systems when sharing the new edit from a remote location? We're still on 10.1.4 based much of our workflow on this document:

http://www.10dot1.co.uk/content/FCPXInASharedEnvironment_FINAL.pdf

We've tried many remote collaboration approaches, NONE of them ideal. It would be great to hear a success story if anyone can improve upon our workflow, here's what we've been doing:

WHERE TO STORE FILES
We learned the hard way that proxy media is not created for images and audio files therefore we choose "copy to library storage location" for non-movie files so we can work remotely and they live with the proxies. We keep all our optimized movie footage on it's own external drive and have FCPX create proxies with "Leave in place" plus "Create proxy media" selected. Finally we consolidate (with optimized drive turned off) all media to external folders outside the library but on the same drive so the library files are tiny. Directories look something like this:

OPTIMIZED MEDIA DRIVE
OptimizedMediaDrive01/FCPX_Optimized_Media/LongForm2014/

MASTER EDIT SYSTEM
LocalEditDrive01/Fcpx_Libraries/LongForm2014.Fcpbundle
LocalEditDrive01/Fcpx_Media/LongForm2014/Bkups
LocalEditDrive01/Fcpx_Media/LongForm2014/Cache
LocalEditDrive01/Fcpx_Media/LongForm2014/Media (proxies, images, audio only)


CREATING MIRRORED DRIVES
At first we used the desktop to copy from one drive to another, that was a disaster, managed media doesn't like that. So from within FCPX we created a duplicate library on the mirror drive and copied the events across from within the application then consolidate. This is less than ideal as it ties up FCPX and if there is a crash of course FCPX has no idea where it left off. None the less it works, our remote edit system drive looks like this:

REMOTE EDIT SYSTEM
RemoteEditDrive01/Fcpx_Libraries/Project2014.Fcpbundle
RemoteEditDrive01/Fcpx_Media/Project_2014/Bkups
RemoteEditDrive01/Fcpx_Media/Project_2014/Cache
RemoteEditDrive01/Fcpx_Media/Project_2014/Media (proxies, images, audio only)


COLLABORATING METHODS
Now for the fun part. We have tried all of these methods and currently NONE of them work perfectly.

SHARING THE EVENT FILE
We were able to share all our work PERFECTLY for years by exchanging the "CurrentVersion.fcpevent" file contained in the "Library Package Contents. The file size was tiny, you could email it but ever since FCPX 10.1 came out it has stopped working properly. We do not recommend using this any longer.

SHARING THE LIBRARY FILE
We tried to work remotely with library files by uploading them for another editor to download but since the drive names varied, the paths to the proxies were lost. We then tried to trick FCPX by giving the drives the same name but still the proxies didn't link (believe this name trick died after 10.1.3):

https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/344/33945#

XML COLLABORATION
XML is the most successful method that we have found to share work remotely with mirror drives. It seems to work much more like a traditional NLE with paths stemming from the library file not the drive so it is able to relink to mirrored files. The rub is that it makes mistakes like not transferring all your edits or getting the XY values of a reposition wrong. It's really our only reliable remote option currently we see, found it originally here:

https://larryjordan.com/articles/fcp-x-collaboration-between-two-editors/

SHARING EVENTS AND EDITS WITH MIRROR DRIVES MOUNTED
Collaborating with drives mounted on same system or across a network does work but obviously doesn't allow for remote collaboration. Even with this method in some cases FCPX was copying across multicam clips that were already in destination library when sharing edits! This defeats the purpose of mirrored media and clutters events with duplicates.

INCORPORATING NEW MEDIA
The final challenge in collaboration is how to incorporate new media into the pipeline. If a remote editor drops some temp music into an edit we have them share the exact path as FCPX imports it then we copy the audio to the same directory on the mirrored drives then import it. We've had varying success and would love to hear other work flows.

SUMMARY
In our experience there are problems collaborating remotely no matter how you slice it. This is of course the downside of working with managed media but hey relational database editing is cool. This could be solved pretty easily if Apple put their mind to it but in the meantime it's up to us to find work around. It would be great to hear of a successful work flow editing with proxies on mirrored drives via remote locations if anyone is having success. Our project is huge, many editors tons of footage so the remote workflow is essential. Thanks in advance!

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 3:04:55 am

What format is the original footage?


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Michael Angelo
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 3:27:39 am

Hi Jeremy,

RED, Canon 5D and GoPro

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 5:04:43 pm

[Michael Angelo] "RED, Canon 5D and GoPro
"


And how big is that source? The reason why i am asking, is that I wondering if everyone could have a copy of the original media. This, then, makes proxy media easier.

Jeremy


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Michael Angelo
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 5:36:49 pm

Hi Jeremy,

So far 16TB of optimized media and more to transcode, proxies only systems are essential to our workflow.

Thanks for thinkin' 'bout things.

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 7:48:19 pm

[Michael Angelo] "Hi Jeremy,

So far 16TB of optimized media and more to transcode, proxies only systems are essential to our workflow.

Thanks for thinkin' 'bout things.
"


If this is the case, then I would think about a different Proxy system, mainly, running the R3D through RCX to make smaller movies, and then doing a conform later on. How much of the footage is GoPro and 5d?


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Michael Angelo
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 9:52:59 pm

Hey Jereme

Proxy size is not at all the issue. We have very little RED footage and all the proxy sizes are quite standard. The question is what is the best work flow to share work while editing and logging remotely with proxies only using FCPX (please see details in my original post).

Appreciate your time and energy

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 10:05:34 pm

[Michael Angelo] "Hey Jereme

Proxy size is not at all the issue. We have very little RED footage and all the proxy sizes are quite standard. The question is what is the best work flow to share work while editing and logging remotely with proxies only using FCPX (please see details in my original post). "


But, Proxy size is the issue, isn't it? The footage details aren't in your original post, and to me, that's where the issue lies.

If you were able to send around full res footage, you'd do that as it would be much easier.

FCPX is weird about Proxy files. If you don't have Original media, Proxy is really hard to work with.

My suggestion would be to make Proxy media outside of FCPX, use it as original media, and do the conform later and link back to the original media. This will be a lot easier in the edit, but make the finish just a little bit more difficult, but not too hard. This way you'd be able to send transfer libraries if XML isn't working out for you. 10.2 has a better XML version than 10.1.4, so that might be an option for you as well.


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Michael Angelo
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 12, 2015 at 10:51:36 pm

Hey Jereme,

I like the creativity of your suggestion to work proxy only as original source footage, definitely thinking outside of the box, nicely done. It does however create a number of obstacles. Mainly the inability to do any concurrent online work, breaking apart an established pipeline after more than 2 years, creating proxies for 1200 hours of media into a new pipeline, not using the software to it's potential, no full full rez exports, the list goes on.

The big motivator to find a proper remote proxy workflow are not only the many benefits of using the software to it's full potential but also the fact we had a perfect working system exchanging the "CurrentVersion.fcpevent" file until 10.1 (see original post), there is a way!

Great ideas though, again thank you

MA

"A life without cause is a life without effect." -Dildano


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on May 13, 2015 at 2:32:28 am

Just to be clear, I am proposing more of an "offline/online" workflow rather than fcpx generated proxies. It's an older method of working and not really thinking outside the box. :)

You'd be able to reconnect to full res at anytime and make your exports from a project that was sent over in a transfer library (without Proxy media).

As you already know, working with fcpx generated proxies isn't without challenge. Most of all, it's best if everyone can generate their own proxies. Sharing a common set of proxies does not work in fcpx very well at all, but remotely sharing original media works just fine.


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Michael Angelo
Re: Obi Wan, is XML my only hope? - Remote Collaboration
on Jan 26, 2016 at 8:44:28 pm

REMOTE PROXY ONLY COLLABORATION UPDATE 2015-0126

Discovered some new techniques in the last month so we can once again use libraries with external media for remote collaboration with proxy only drives. This is big as the XML workflow has many limitations: translating multi cam sync changes, compound clip editorial, titles, fx, etc. Now, once again, we can simply share a Library with a very low file size back and forth via the web and editorial translation is perfect!

Below find our latest workflow and this is using the 3 pool method of external media. You don't have to use this method for the main system, but we find that when creating Proxy only Remote Libraries often FCPX will still copy Optimized Media as well. Having the Optimized Media on a separate drive that we can turn off when creating the Proxy only Remote Library makes this little quark go away, among other benefits. Find more info on the 3 Pool Media Method in my article here or search the web:
https://library.creativecow.net/angelo_michael/apple_fcpx_documentree/1

Here's details for our new Proxy only Remote Collaboration workflow:

1. Create a Proxy only Remote Library on a travel drive that uses external media
2. When remote editor is ready to share library have them do this:
2a. Create a new Project
2b. Add every clip in their Library to the Project
(no need to do anything else to the clips in the timeline)
2c. Now .zip or .dmg the Library (we call this Transfer Library) upload to web
3. Download the Transfer Library to your main system uncompress file
4. Open the Transfer Library on the main system
5. Change storage location for Transfer Library to the External Location
6. Open the Original Library that you created the Remote Library from
7. Copy the Project from the Transfer Library to the Original Library (the Project that the remote editor created that has every clip in it from the Remote Library)
8. Copy that same Project from Original Library *BACK INTO the Transfer Library
9. The Transfer Library will now link to all of the External Media on the main system. Now you can move all your Remote Collaboration work to your main system.

You may have an issue with the Proxies on the Transfer Library not waking up. If this happens then simply select them, right click "transcode media". This will not actually re-transcode the clips but rather relink them. For larger libraries this can take a minute but usually we are sharing specific edits and not an entire show, so we can be strategic and only "wake up" the clips we need to transfer. Hopefully this Project swap trick and "waking up" of the proxies will not be necessary in future releases of the software, but for now it's not too much extra work

Finding a way to work remotely with proxies and sharing work with only small pointer files via the web opens many doors: traveling light with less drives, protecting full resolution material if lost of stolen while traveling, editing remotely on site with only bus powered drives, no need for AC outlets and adapters to edit, tether your phone to a laptop and share edits from a remote location like a beach, share work with complete accuracy that XML cannot provide, the list goes on. And with portable drive size on the rise (we use the LaCie Rugged 4TB portable drive), the possibilities to go anywhere with a large movie edit under your arm becomes a reality.

FCPX is a fantastic and groundbreaking edit system that is really still in it's infancy. As the product continues to grow stronger, it's through our sharing knowledge and ideas that we can all be apart of that growth. A big thank you to Creative Cow and it's community for all the sharing, and to Apple for listening to users and constantly improving the product with each release.

Cheers

MA

Harvest the compromises...


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