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"Professional" Time Expansion?

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Brent Altomare"Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 13, 2010 at 7:00:49 pm

I have a client has us do editing for syndicated television shows.

Every now and then, we receive a show that is too short by a minute or two, and the client has to send the original tape out for Time Expansion before we can re-cut for syndication.

The client winds up paying a lot of money for this service because they have been told that it requires very special hardware equipment to do time expansion properly for broadcast.

While I believe that I can't just drop the file on a timeline and slow it down using time remap, I find it hard to believe that with today's technology there's not a more cost effective way (like Twixtor?) so that we can handle this for the client in-house (saving the client some money, and making a little extra money for ourselves!).

Anyone have experience with time expansion specifically specifically for national broadcast?

Thanks!

--

brent altomare

executive producer

groovy like a movie

c: 619.227.2818

d: 858.715.8586

skype: groovybrent
twitter: @groovybrent


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Bartek SkorupaRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 13, 2010 at 9:50:40 pm

In most cases time remap or timewarp set up properly should do the job just fine. I base on my own experience. Sometimes it requires some tweaking, but I'm sure we can do it in AE as good as others who use gazillion Dollars equipment.
I was once co-operating with a studio using Smokes, Infernos and other such systems. I asked to do a simple time remapping to slow one shot down. We were sitting at Inferno.
It simply failed. I had my laptop with me, so I asked the guys to give the sequence. I slowed it down on my AE on laptop and gave them the result. It was 10 times better than the stuff achieved on Inferno.
The most difficult thing will be not getting the result, but convincing the client that it's possible.
The client feels "safe" when something is done on equipment costing fortune. It's just the way it is. Even if you get better results using cheap AE or some open-source software - they won' believe. They will always say - "It's not professional".
Do you have access to original, not expanded footage? If so, maybe you should just try to do it and show the result to the client.


Bartek Skorupa
Warszawa, Poland


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Brent AltomareRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 13, 2010 at 10:36:45 pm

Thanks Bartek!

You're right that convincing the client is going to be one of my biggest challenges. Fortunately I do have access to the original footage, so of I can figure out the correct way to approach the time stretching, we'll be able to send it through quality control.

BUT I'm likely only going to get one shot at this - if my retiming fails QC, the client will almost certainly fall back to their original solution.

So any suggestions as to which way I should go? Not having a ton of experience with time expanded footage for broadcast, I'm not sure how to evaluate if the results I'm getting with Timewarp or Twixtor (or another tool I'm not familar with) are being successful.

Thanks!


--

brent altomare

executive producer

groovy like a movie

c: 619.227.2818

d: 858.715.8586

skype: groovybrent
twitter: @groovybrent


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David StilesRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 14, 2010 at 1:39:26 am

How much does this time expansion process cost? If it's a show with commercial breaks I would think you could just edit some quick bumpers together to pad it out rather than fake a longer run time. I've also worked on shows that have added a credit roll and recap to stretch their run time. I'm sure there must be a reason, cost/time/content that they're not doing this but just a thought.

Stiles


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Brent AltomareRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 15, 2010 at 4:18:17 am

Thanks for the suggestion, but the formatting for syndication (at least in this case) is very specific, so the show needs to be time expanded before we add in the bumpers and breaks (which have very specific timing).

--

brent altomare

executive producer

groovy like a movie

c: 619.227.2818

d: 858.715.8586

skype: groovybrent
twitter: @groovybrent


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adam taylorRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:41:52 am

you say you're only going to get one shot at trying it..

well i would suggest first of all you do it without telling them.
Then only show it if the result meets your own expectations.

I certainly don't think you should try it with the client present as the render time would surely be too long and you don't want them thinking you're wasting their time and money on an experiment.

adam

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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Brent AltomareRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:32:57 pm

Hey Adam -

Absolutely right... My intention is to give it a try - and without the client in the room... a 30-minute show rendered out of AE with any kind of FX applied is not a client-friendly operation.

When I say I'm only going to get one shot, what I mean is I'm only going to get one shot at the results passing the client's strict technical QC.

I guess the question I'm really asking is, how can *I* tell (before I send it to the client's QC) with a reasonable degree of certainty if the time expansion has worked technically? I don't know what the QC is looking for, and therefore I have no way to gage if I have a chance at passing it.

So does anyone know how to tell the difference between "real" time expansion (using high-end hardware from a Hollywood post house), and what is possible in a small shop like mine (where I have After Effects, Combustion, FCP, and I'm willing to invest a little bit of $ in plugins).

Thanks!

--

brent altomare

executive producer

groovy like a movie

c: 619.227.2818

d: 858.715.8586

skype: groovybrent
twitter: @groovybrent


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adam taylorRe: "Professional" Time Expansion?
by on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:42:28 pm

see what you mean...
is the client a broadcast station? or production company?

I'd be tempted to phone them, ask to speak to the tech dept (don't tell your actual client) and discuss it with them. Tell them you have been investigating the options available and would they be willing to have a look at the output from these tests to assist you in giving them the best materials possible.

Send the comparisons as a blind test, so they are not biased by the process - just label them a,b,c etc.

Speak to the QC techs themselves, ask for their help, collaborate. I'm sure they would rather you did that than just cross your fingers and pray!

The client only really needs informing once the tests are completed and you can stand shoulder to shoulder with their own QC nd say - we're all happy with this process

good luck
Adam

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk


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