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An interesting Offline/Online workflow

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Matthew Celia
An interesting Offline/Online workflow
on Jun 12, 2011 at 6:23:21 pm

I wanted to share a pretty cool / interesting workflow I have set up recently in my house, since I have read other posts of people asking the same questions on a few forums (and what better place to share than the COW).

My wife and I are doing a documentary shot on Canon DSLRs in our spare time (translate: no money), so I've set up a great post workflow the both of us can do. I'll start at the beginning and please forgive the length, but I hope I help someone out who's looking for a similar set up!

It starts by making three copies of the card material that are stored on three separate drives:
1) DiskImage of the card stored on one drive (master backup)
2) I copy the contents of the card to a Uniquely named folder (My REEL name - this is REALLY IMPORTANT to the offline/online workflow - otherwise FCP doesn't know what the reel is!)
3) I injest using the EOS E-1 Plug in in Final Cut Pro as PRORES PROXY files to...

*** drumroll ***

A LaCie Big Disk 2TB Raid Array running over GIGABIT Ethernet.

I have this LaCie network drive set up on the Gigabit ethernet network with a D-Link Gigabit router so that my wife and I can access the same offline media. While not the most elegant solution, it also cost me only the router ($65), some ethernet cord I had lying around the house, and the LaCie drive. Now I injest all the media into a "FOR LOGGING" FCP project and she's able to go through and make notes, create markers, and help organize the hundreds of hours of footage we have. Then I'm able to open her project file and drag the marked clips into my own editorial file (keeping it nice and clean).

When I first started, I was concerned about the ability to edit over a gigabit ethernet network without expensive software / hardware that most people told me I needed. But I figured I'd try it. Well I can say that I have been able to edit a 4 camera multicam show without dropping any frames this way. FCP degrades the picture quality while I'm using the multi-cam edit feature, but it's more than adequate to make a rough pass at it. Prores PROXY files are truly amazing in how small they are.

When I am finished with a sequence, I online the footage by making the media offline, and then re-capture. I drag in my special named reels to the Log and Transfer window, change my scratch disk to one of my ESATA G-RAIDS, change the settings to ProRes 422 HQ and hit go. It works like a charm. Then I prep for Color, grade, and output.

Anyway, I wanted to share in case there were other impoverished individuals like myself looking for a solution. Are fibre shared storage systems better? Of course. But for those on a very tight budget looking to create a shared environment, I've found this to be a working solution as long as you understand the process of on-lining clips back in FCP, it's very awesome and saves money having to buy so many drives for the larger ProRes files.

Enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions.

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Ben Holmes
Re: An interesting Offline/Online workflow
on Jun 13, 2011 at 8:53:06 am

Have you tried other codecs with this? I'm about to invest in a Gig-E SAN that delivers around 10 streams of standard ProRes - I would think the Big Disk could handle a couple...

Also - look at Magic Bullet's Grinder app for DSLR footage...

Edit Out Ltd
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

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Matthew Celia
Re: An interesting Offline/Online workflow
on Jun 17, 2011 at 10:37:54 pm

Thanks! I'll check out MB Grinder.

I've only used the Prores Proxy codec, as I didn't want to put an unnecessary strain on the workflow and I'm onlining later anyway.

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Matt Lyon
Re: An interesting Offline/Online workflow
on Jul 15, 2011 at 4:42:41 pm

Hey Ben,

Grinder sounds pretty good. Have you ever tried using it to batch convert DSLR footage to Prores proxy, then use FCP to "online" a locked cut at HQ or better data rates? I'm wondering if Grinder and FCP "log and transfer" play nice with each other.


Matt Lyon

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