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Khashyar Darvich
Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:15:09 pm

Hello Everyone,

I just returned from a 3 month overseas documentary film production trip that resulted in over 200 hours of Canon DSLR video (h.264) and ACVHD video files (from a Panasonic TM700).

I know that the recommended procedure is to convert both the h.264 and ACVHD to Prores 422 for editing.

I also understand that if we convert these files to Prores 422, that the resulting new Prores files will be 4 to 5 times larger in file size than the originals.

Since we accumulated about 5 TBs of footage during the production, if we converted all of the original camera files, we might end up with 25 TBs of Prores 422 footage to edit with (about 12 two TB drives).

Thank you for offering your suggestions regarding how to make the file conversion process as quick and apace-efficient as possible.

Here are a couple of specific questions that I would appreciate help with:

1) Is there an alternative format other than Prores 422 to covert files for a kind of "offline" edit? On this portion of the edit, we are using a G5 Quad core and FCP 6.06, which plays converted Prores 422 files fine. But, in FCP 6.06, there is no Prores LT option.

2) What is the most efficient way to name reels so that we can best organize the clips? Show we use shooting date as the reel numbers/names?

3) What is the quickest way to convert the production files to Prores 422 files? I know compressor can do it. For the ACVHD files, I believe that we are going to use Clipwrap.

4) I tried to use the Canon "movie" DSLR plugin for Final Cut (which incorporate a date stamp into the timecode, and although it installed fine without a report of any erros, Log and Transfer still does not recognize the Canon files after the plugin install. Is there a way to use the plugin that I am not aware of?

5) How many hours would you guess that this conversion process will take for 200+ hours of footage? (I'm almost afraid to ask :) ).

Thank you for your help and suggestions.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:44:52 pm

[Khashyar Darvich] "1) Is there an alternative format other than Prores 422 to covert files for a kind of "offline" edit? On this portion of the edit, we are using a G5 Quad core and FCP 6.06, which plays converted Prores 422 files fine. But, in FCP 6.06, there is no Prores LT option."

This question is asked a lot, and it's a question that is "il-formed." Any answer you receive to that question will invariably ignore the bigger issue, which is that it is inevitable that you will have to pay the piper now, or pay later.

Since you went out in the field and acquired 200 hours of footage without knowing the answers to these questions in advance, and since you've already suggested that Log & Transfer isn't working as expected, realize that any offline you create will almost inevitably be a bitch to deal with when it comes to your online at hi-res later in the process. So, while you can in fact save yourself some hard drive space, what you gain compared to what you will lose in the process will be inconsequential by comparison.

In other words, bite the bullet, transcode to ProRes 422 and resist the temptation to cheap out on hard drive storage, which can be had these days for $60 to $70 per Terabyte, all over.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:23:20 pm

Thank you for your thoughts and feedback, David.

I understand that you are saying that it I will save time, confusion and frustration to transcode all of the footage now.

The cost of the hard drives aside (which, will probably be double since it is probably smart to have a backup of all of the converted footage as well), how much time do you think it will take to transcode 200+ hours of footage to Prores 422?

We will begin ASAP with the transcoding :)

Khashyar



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 10:29:05 pm

[Khashyar Darvich] "how much time do you think it will take to transcode 200+ hours of footage to Prores 422?
"


The answer really depends on the speed of your computer and how you do the transcode. Compressor can utilize multi-core, multithreaded computers to do the job faster than realtime, and the faster the procs and more cores it has, the faster the transcoding process.

Do a few hours and time it on your computer, then extrapolate from there...

Once you really get going on the job, I would advise that you create a Compressor droplet and do batches of files at one time, with reboots in between, to clear RAM and to make sure your computer encodes at it's fastest.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 16, 2011 at 1:58:01 am

Thank you for your suggestions, David, and for sharing your expertise.

I have begun to transcode the ACVHD footage via Clipwrap, and it is taking a long time.

It is better to begin this now than later :)

Do you know off-hand whether Compressor can transcode ACVHD files?

Thank you again.



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Zane Barker
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 16, 2011 at 3:24:12 am

"On this portion of the edit, we are using a G5 Quad core"
"how much time do you think it will take to transcode 200+ hours of footage to Prores 422"

With a G5 it gong to take a really really long time.

If there is any possible way you could move to a MacPro then do it. This would also give you the ability to move to FCP 7 and have access to the newer forms of ProRes.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 12:18:58 am

Thank you, Zane...

It is possible that we can use a new Mac, and use FCP 7.

Since this first step will involve A LOT of transcoding (over 200 hours of footage), I didn't want to use the time of the newer MAC.

Do you think that the newer versions of ProRes available on the newer Macs looks noticeably better than the FCP 6 versions of ProRes?

Thank you again.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:25:23 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "In other words, bite the bullet, transcode to ProRes 422 and resist the temptation to cheap out on hard drive storage"

In the words of a 17th century Protestant reformer, "This is most certainly true".

The good Mr. Weiss has been working in Final Cut Pro for many a year, and he is sharing hard-won advice with you. I suggest you follow it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:30:56 pm

Hi Dave,

I do appreciate yours and his advice.

Thank you.



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:29:49 pm

Another issue is...

If I have 20-25 GB of converted footage, how do I access all of the drives during editing?

Do I build an array?

Do I choose footage for the rough cut and then save only the files I need to a separate drive?

What do you suggest?

Thank you again.



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Everest Mokaeff
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:59:01 pm

It's kind of belated question you ask. Actually all of them. How you organize your workflow depends upon too many factors, let alone financial issue. The most reasonable approach is hire specialist who dealt with such problems before and is fully aware of the needs of your production. Again, depending on your needs there are lots of quite affordable solutions that let you do preliminary work of logging clips and preview without conversion. If it fits your pipeline why not to utilize it. If raid is something off limits to you consider renting edit suite with enough capacity to store your material.

Everest Mokaeff
http://www.mokaeff.com


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 15, 2011 at 10:17:07 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Everest.

I producer and direct feature documentary films, the last one an international theatrical doc, and this is the first time that I have worked with footage from Canons or ACVHD.

So, I thought that Final Cut Pro could edit the footage natively, and did not realize they needed to be converted.

This is why these new questions have arisen for me.

Thank you for your thoughts about how we can most efficiently move ahead with editing at this stage.

If we feel that we need to hire a specialist later, then we will. Thank you for that suggestion.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 16, 2011 at 2:40:18 am

I have no idea what your budget is.

30TB of storage is not going to be cheap when assembled in a useful manner. A "loose" 30TB made up of a bunch of drives is going to be downright unmanageable and might as well be impossible.

My suggestion? First, buy fcp7. No questions.

Then, Buy grinder which will allow a transcode of your dslr to ProRes Proxy with burn in. I think your AVCHD footage should come in through log and transfer.

200 hours of 1080p23.976 ProRes proxy is just under 4TB.

Edit. Edit. And edit.

At the end, you can conform your final dslr shots with Grinder, and rebatch your avc with l&t.

Make sure you test this or any workflow. You have no tc, be careful.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 16, 2011 at 6:54:57 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "30TB of storage is not going to be cheap when assembled in a useful manner. A "loose" 30TB made up of a bunch of drives is going to be downright unmanageable and might as well be impossible. "

Jeremy, 200 hours of ProRes 422 more like 13 to 14Tb. Are you calculating backup too?

But I do agree, doing this job with daisy-chained firewire drives would not be fun.

[Jeremy Garchow] "My suggestion? First, buy fcp7. No questions."

I think Khashyar has a G5, so FCP7 ain't a happening thing for him without a new computer.

So, all things considered, this is why I suggested he bite the bullet and simply transcode to ProRes, and his only other real alternative is AIC, which is doable, but just not a great codec.

In any case, no matter what, he's looking at (8) 2Tb drives at the very least and an 8-bay enclosure or RAID.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 16, 2011 at 1:41:03 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Jeremy, 200 hours of ProRes 422 more like 13 to 14Tb. Are you calculating backup too? "

I get 12TB, but if you're going to drop some dough, might as well spend it smart. An 8 drive raid5 with 2TB drives formats to 14TBs. That is not enough overhead when your footage is 12 TBs alone in ProRes. He said he wanted backup, too. At this point if all that footage isn't already backed up, there's a problem. The backup could certainly be spread out over single drives.

[David Roth Weiss] "I think Khashyar has a G5, so FCP7 ain't a happening thing for him without a new computer."

Missed that little detail, thank you. Ok khashyar, buy a new computer, or a new used computer. Basically, get yourself an intel Mac. You are using modern production tools, your post tools must reflect that. Yes, dslrs are cheap, but the footage is expensive to process.

AIC could work, but that would be a nightmare. I agree an 8bay raid5 (14tb usable) and get yourself a solid offline workflow. I'd use ProRes proxy myself.

Jeremy


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 12:28:18 am

Thank you, Jeremy.

Yes, I already have a backup of all of the originally shot footage.

I think that once I have all of the footage transcoded, I may back that up as well.

I think that I will go step-by-step with this project, the first step being the transcode all of the footage as ProRes 422.

Thank you for your thoughtful advice.



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 12:25:51 am

Thank you again, David, for the expertise and advice.

I think that what I might do is:

1) First, transcode all of the footage (long process :) )

2) assemble a rough cut, and then copy all of the used video clips onto a new single drive, and then copy any new clips onto the single drive that I am using eclusively for editing the project.

Thank you for the kind advice.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 1:25:04 am

[Khashyar Darvich] "1) First, transcode all of the footage (long process :) )

2) assemble a rough cut, and then copy all of the used video clips onto a new single drive, and then copy any new clips onto the single drive that I am using eclusively for editing the project.
"


That's pretty close to what I was thinking... Good luck on your project Khashyar, I hope everything goes smoothly for you.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums. Formerly host of the Apple Final Cut Basics, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 2:04:10 am

Thank you, David, for the thoughtful advice, as well as the good wishes.



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Khashyar Darvich
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 12:23:31 am

Thank you for all of your great advice, Jeremy.

I will take a look at Grinder.



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Steve Eisen
Re: Workflow questions for 200+ hours of h.264 and ACVHD
on Apr 17, 2011 at 8:05:33 am

As an alternate, by the time you finish looking at the footage, FCP X will be out.

Just need to buy a new Mac Pro, upgrade FCP and edit natively.

Of course, none of this has done this workflow. So as of today, ProRes is the way to go.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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