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Media Composer Workflow for Documentary

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Terry Anderson
Media Composer Workflow for Documentary
on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:41:01 am

I have a question about importing media for a feature length documentary. I am getting back into editing and have never dealt with such a large amount of media files. It was shot full HD 1920x1080 H.264 at 100mbps. AMA is not really an option because the clips are slow and stall. I have about 45 hours of files to import What would be the best workflow for this? I have a 6TB drive and want to capture at a low resolution (DNxHD90) which comes in around 2TB of media, which is manageable. I am mostly concerned about the final online upres. In the past, I would capture from tape at 20:1, lets say 50 hours of B-roll which fit fine on a drive. The online was done by taking the media offline and batch capturing just the clips in the final sequence and it didn't take the clips in their entirety just what was needed in the final master sequence, then output to tape. I guess my questions are:

1. With 100mbps raw footage what res should I online with, when does quality not get better, should I still do a DNxHD 440x for final master or is a lower res fine to master in?

2. Should I find the maximum amount of resolution I can fit on my drive and capture all my 45 hours at that res so I will not do any onlining, it's ready for output?

3. Finally, with a file based 90 minute sequence, when I am probably pulling some footage from most of my clips and they are long interview clips, is there any way to batch recapture just the part of the clip used in the final master, or does it always re-capture the entire clip? It just seems that if I have to recapture everything again at a higher res (considering drive space), why not just do a higher res the first time?

Thanks for reading my way too long post

MC 8.6.1, MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Core i7, 16 GB RAM, AMD Radeon 2GB graphics


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Shane Ross
Re: Media Composer Workflow for Documentary
on Sep 11, 2016 at 10:12:03 am

[Terry Anderson] "AMA is not really an option because the clips are slow and stall. I have about 45 hours of files to import What would be the best workflow for this?"

AMA IS the option for this...but don't AMA and work with the AMA footage. No...AMA link and then transcode to your offline codec, onto your media drive. Edit...and then when locked, take the media drive offline, or rename the Avid Mediafiles so you lose the link...connect the drive with the master footage, duplicate the sequence, and then RELINK TO AMA...it'll relink to the original files. Then transcode the sequence to a high res codec, like DNxHD 175x.

TEST THE WORKFLOW...to make sure you get it right.

[Terry Anderson] "1. With 100mbps raw footage what res should I online with, when does quality not get better, should I still do a DNxHD 440x for final master or is a lower res fine to master in?"

Your camera masters are 8bit. Going to 440x is so much overkill. You'll see ZERO difference between that and 175x.

[Terry Anderson] "2. Should I find the maximum amount of resolution I can fit on my drive and capture all my 45 hours at that res so I will not do any onlining, it's ready for output?"

That's another option. But I think even at DNx145, 6TB might not cut it. But it might be close. DNx145 is 53GB per hour...No, that should work. Just about 2.4TB. And that's not a bad mastering format, works fine for broadcast, when your camera master is 8 bit. Dnx175 isn't much more...and that's also a great mastering format. So, worth thinking about.


[Terry Anderson] "3. Finally, with a file based 90 minute sequence, when I am probably pulling some footage from most of my clips and they are long interview clips, is there any way to batch recapture just the part of the clip used in the final master, or does it always re-capture the entire clip? It just seems that if I have to recapture everything again at a higher res (considering drive space), why not just do a higher res the first time?"

This is very different in the tapeless world. As I said before, you RELINK to the masters, the native rate, and then you TRANSCODE the sequence to your wanted codec, with handles. And that, is in essence, batch capturing only what you need.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Terry Anderson
Re: Media Composer Workflow for Documentary
on Sep 19, 2016 at 8:08:13 pm

Shane

1. Thanks for your help, you answered a lot of questions. I tested the online for Avid MC 8.6.3 using media files and it worked sort of. The sequence I tried to online and link to the original clips worked with my .mov file, but not my .MTS files, they are inside the AVCHD and BDMV packages. Could it be Avid can't get past the AVCHD and BDMV packages in relink to get to the .MTS files?

2. Most of my media is 1080p, so my project is 1080p/59.94. I am dealing with 3 types of source files:
.mov 1080p 59.94
.MTS 1080i 29.97
.MTS 1080p 59.94

3. Since I couldn't relink, I did a straight import of the files , and the project wont take the 29.97, how can I use this footage in my project? I did a batch import of offline files and got this message in the console:
"Exception: Cannot quick import a mixed resolution QuickTime movie.
Batch imported 0 of 1 clips"

4. Basically, the .MTS files wont relink or import (29.97), I'm worried about the online later down the line.

5. Finally, my media composer only shows DNxHD 90 as the lowest res available. Is there a way to get it to a lower resolution for the offline?

Thanks again for your help


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Shane Ross
Re: Media Composer Workflow for Documentary
on Sep 19, 2016 at 10:06:45 pm

Mixed frame rates is a wrench in the works, as is AVCHD. Best bet would to import everything at high res, and either edit with that, or use that as your masters, then make offline transcodes to cut with, then relink to the full res transcodes when locked. This does mean, of course, a few sets of hard drives. One for the camera masters, one for the full res imports, and a possible third set for offline cutting.

DNx36 is a 23.98 and 29.97 option. if you are cutting 60p you won't have that option...DNx90 is as low as you can go. More frames means a higher data rate.

Will you be delivering 60P? or 29.97? 60P is a rare deliverable.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Terry Anderson
Re: Media Composer Workflow for Documentary
on Sep 25, 2016 at 3:32:41 pm

Shane,

I just get frustrated because it seems Premiere can do mixed frame rates in the same project and most 1080 footage links instantly in the program without transcoding, ready to edit, but I still prefer Avid.

I think I solved my problem. I created1080p 59.94 and 29.97 projects. In the 29.97 project I linked all the29.97 footage via AMA and transcoded to DNxHD45 converting footage to project frame rate. Went back to 59.94 project and did the same process with all the 59.94 footage. I opening the bin with all the 29.97 footage in my 59.94 project and did a test. Cut a few shots in a sequence from both projects then took the footage offline. I relinked the sequence to the original files and they all were relinked! I transcoded the sequence to DNxHD90 and it played great. I now had a 59.94 sequence. If I wanted a 29.97 sequence, I went back to my 29.97 project and opened the bin from the 59.94 project containing my final transcoded sequence and MC gave me the option to convert to a 29.97 sequence. It played fine. Hopefully this workflow won't let me down.

Any other words of wisdom or possible land mines I can avoid?

Thanks again


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Dennis Kutchera
Re: Media Composer Workflow for Documentary
on Sep 26, 2016 at 2:37:19 am

I hope you have a video I/O card and a real HD video monitor that can play all frame rates. Working off a computer screen with a mix of interlaced and progressive formats in any editing application is a bad idea because you cannot see field and cadence issues properly.

Media Composer is excellent at mixing frame rates and playing them smoothly. If some clips don't play well, you can always alter the profile of the time warp effect that is doing the conversion on that clip to get a better conversion.

If you AMA link and transcode, you should maintain the native framerate and frame size and let the frame flex and sequence take care of the conversion. If you import directly into the project, it will convert (poorly) to the frame rate of the project. This is one of those times you would want that broadcast monitor to play back on rather than a computer screen, so you can see if such a mistake occurred. If you have to import rather than link and transcode, then create a project for each frame rate and import into that project and then open the bin in your master project.

One more thing. If you created a sequence in say 29.97p and changed your mind and made the project 59.94i, your sequence will still be 29.97p. I can't recall sitting at home if you can convert it or not, but you can certainly copy and paste from the old sequence to a 59.94i sequence. Then use the update sequence function to remove all the invalid frame flex modifiers that remain. If you don't remove them, they will degrade the picture and consume one effect stream from your real time performance. It will only remove the invalid ones.

One more thing, correct me if I am wrong, but Premiere will create preview files on the time line for mixed formats, won't it? So this is not a whole lot different than transcoding linked files in Avid, except in Premiere, you can break your preview renders. In Avid, the transcodes are forever.

Dennis

Dennis Kutchera
Online Editor / Colourist
Halifax, Canada


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