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Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability

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Chad Greene
Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 5:54:56 pm

We are installing shared storage this week (Jellyfish system) and plan to keep ALL of our documentary footage online in Proxy mode. The original video will be backed up to LTO and taken offline and only what we use will be brought back online for finishing.

I need to decide if it is smarter to let FCPX (10.3.2) manage the proxies or use a manual process to relink back and forth.

1) Final Cut Pro X Proxy Process
This seems like the simplest way to work. Point all libraries to a central location on the shared storage and tell FCPX to create Proxies. But if a library forgets where the proxies are and they go offline, I can not relink the proxies and will have to bring the original footage back online to "recreate" the proxies. This could be time consuming.

2) Manual Proxy Relink Process
Use Compressor to create proxies of all original media and keep the proxies organized on shared drives the same way the originals are organized on local drives (when online). Then relink our libraries back and forth between the original local drive or proxy shared drive. FCPX will always think it is connected to original media. If proxies go offline I just relink. Sounds straightforward, but will I have strange relinking issues because the footage isn't actually the same codec and will relinking cause more headaches than the first option?

Does anyone have any experience with something like this? Which way do you think would have the fewest issues and take the least amount of time to manage?

Chad Greene : Mahoney Media : Minneapolis, Minnesota : 2x2.66 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon, 12GB Ram, OS 10.11 FCPX, Kona-LHi


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 6:49:25 pm

[Chad Greene] "We are installing shared storage this week (Jellyfish system) and plan to keep ALL of our documentary footage online in Proxy mode. The original video will be backed up to LTO and taken offline and only what we use will be brought back online for finishing.
"


Is this because you have lots and lots of footage? The FCPX proxy workflow is great for a single station, it gets more difficult with shared media, especially since ALL media will need to be converted to Proxy including any alpha channel graphics (which will lose transparency).

I suggest looking at this white paper which talked about a "cloud" proxy workflow but would apply to shared storage if you think of your storage system as a cloud device of sorts: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1kct2ejcfsbrmd7/FCPX%20Web%20Proxy%20Workflow%202...

Here's a video based on the white paper:





Here's some tips with using Libraries with shared storage: http://www.10dot1.co.uk/content/FCPXInASharedEnvironment_FINAL.pdf


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Noah Kadner
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 7:30:56 pm

Highly recommend doing proxies within FCPX directly as the preferred workflow you try.

As long as the projects are intelligently managed at the Library level you'll be fine. Manual proxies are a much more prone to something going wrong not to mention they take away from one of the automation areas FCPX really excels at.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Chad Greene
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 7:50:48 pm

[Noah Kadner] "not to mention they take away from one of the automation areas FCPX really excels at.
"


I agree FCPX managing the proxies is a great time saving feature. But over the last year I have had multiple times where the Final Cut forgets the proxies and I have to tell it to re-create them. In the coming months we will be filming more footage and I won't be able to keep the originals online, thus if the proxies go "offline" the downtime to get them back will be frustrating.

[Noah Kadner] "Manual proxies are a much more prone to something going wrong"

My gut says you are right with this point, but do you have any examples?

Chad Greene : Mahoney Media : Minneapolis, Minnesota : 2x2.66 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon, 12GB Ram, OS 10.11 FCPX, Kona-LHi


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Chad Greene
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 7:45:25 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Is this because you have lots and lots of footage? "

Yes we have over a 1000 hours of interviews and broll that is being referred to and called out for multiple projects. We can not afford a large enough shared storage system to have all the original media online at one time.

Thank you for the whitepapers. I have seen this cloud uber proxy workflow before. I find it interesting, but it still relies on FCPX proxy management. If the proxies go offline, I can't reconnect them without connecting to the original media and telling it to transcode proxies again.

Have you seen problems with relinking external media when the codec or size changes?

Chad Greene : Mahoney Media : Minneapolis, Minnesota : 2x2.66 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon, 12GB Ram, OS 10.11 FCPX, Kona-LHi


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 8:15:21 pm

[Chad Greene] "Thank you for the whitepapers. I have seen this cloud uber proxy workflow before. I find it interesting, but it still relies on FCPX proxy management. If the proxies go offline, I can't reconnect them without connecting to the original media and telling it to transcode proxies again.
"


Yes, it's not very efficient, but it is reliable as long as you stick to the 'rules'.

Codec isn't a big deal to relink, and file type isn't either (MXF vs mov), it's the audio configuration. That will hose a relink faster than anything. Even then, sometimes FCPX doesn't want to relink as something about the file has changed.

I have resorted to using Resolve to relink problematic files but that is rare.

In your case, it might be best to do a transcode before import to your "proxy" format/resolution, and then save the relink until the very end, and use Resolve, as the Proxy workflow is kinda weird in FCPX. What format is all of your footage?


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Noah Kadner
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 8:16:35 pm
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Feb 6, 2017 at 8:18:02 pm

Hmm I've never had an issue of proxies not reconnecting in 5 years of using FCPX mostly in a single user environment. Are you sure the issue is not a file system issue with the way you have your network setup?

For example if permissions are not setup for all users on a local network to be able to access them, the proxies will appear to be offline when in fact they are on a volume that the current FCPX system doesn't have permission to read.

As you're already buying the hardware from Lumaforge, I'd suggest hiring them for an additional day of workflow consult on top of that to figure out why your proxies disconnect. If everything is setup correctly with the shares, this shouldn't ever happen. The speed it will add to your workflow is massive over a manual proxy creation workflow.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Chad Greene
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 8:27:58 pm

Jeremy we shoot mostly on the Sony F5, but I often get footage surprises like broll shot by others.

Noah we have three editors all working of local storage so I don't think it was a permissions issue. I did talk with Sam Mestman about these two workflow ideas and he suggested I stick with Final Cut Management. I respect his advice as well as both of yours and will go this route first. If I have too many issues I may do some heavy duty testing.

Thanks guys.

Chad Greene : Mahoney Media : Minneapolis, Minnesota : 2x2.66 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon, 12GB Ram, OS 10.11 FCPX, Kona-LHi


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 6, 2017 at 8:44:27 pm

[Chad Greene] "Jeremy we shoot mostly on the Sony F5, but I often get footage surprises like broll shot by others. "

The only real problem footage is when there isn't a 1:1 relationship between tc, audio config, and format.

AVCHD is problem, as is P2. In those cases, it's best to let FCPX rewrap the footage to ProRes (as it combines all of the errant clips, adds tc, and joins spanned clips and audio). Then, make the Proxy files from those, and keep the original ProRes Rewraps as the masters.

Test test test.


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Eugeny Korkhin
Re: Manual Proxy Workflow with Relinking Ability
on Feb 7, 2017 at 3:51:41 pm
Last Edited By Eugeny Korkhin on Feb 7, 2017 at 10:34:23 pm

Hi

In the office we have workstations with thunderbolt RAIDs.
For one of the projects that has thousands of files and terabytes of video (HD and 4K) we keep original files on a server which isn’t fast enough to feed 4K to all the editors. So we use proxies to edit. But because the project is still being filmed, we do not use FCPX built-in proxy workflow or that would make every mac busy generating proxies every time new media arrives. Instead, I use one mac for that purpose. Here’s the process:
0. Back up
1. Import from cards using FCPX import dialogue. That rewraps files to MOV no matter what it originally was (we have cards from FS7, A7S, some P2, XDCAM and other). Those MOV files are copied to the server and will be later used as originals.
2. Use FCPX to generate proxies.
3. Organize proxies in finder
4. Relink
When it’s time to go online we have no problems relinking back to originals.

Important:
Import with FCPX or rewrap camera originals to MOV using third party software. Relinking files with different extensions is a pain - you can do it but you’ll have to point FCP to each file manually. And because FCPX proxies are MOV files, your originals should be MOV as well.

Side note:
I also wanted to make it possible to edit outside the office on my MacBookPro on a portable USB drive, but the proxies have grown to almost 2TB and they keep growing. So I took it one step further. I used EditReady to create “even smaller” proxies (h264 960x540 5 Mbit/s MOV). Why EditReady? Because you have to keep the original amount of audio channels (most files we have from FS7 are 8 channels) in your proxy files, and Compressor only allows to choose from Mono-Stereo-5.1. Or "Copy audio tracks from source”, but it makes my “even smaller proxies” not that small. In EditReady it was possible to convert audio to AAC and preserve the quantity of channels. In the end I have light copy of proxies (about 400GB) on a portable drive.

And even more!
I have identical volume names and folder path to the “ProRes proxies” on my office RAID and to the “h264 proxies” on my USB drive. Now, I simply transfer my small library file between MacBook and iMac and no relinking needed. It relinks automatically.

So I guess your MANUAL PROXY RELINK PROCESS should work just fine.


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