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Workflow order

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Owen Harvey
Workflow order
on Jan 26, 2017 at 8:58:44 am

Hello all.

I wanted to get a better understanding off all of your workflows.

For me it is:
import media
sort through media (what to use)
place on timeline
Colour grade
Audio (usually music)
Fine adjustment trim to match Audio better

Does that seem like the right order?
Any tips?

Thank you

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Eric Santiago
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 26, 2017 at 1:34:27 pm

Sounds about right.

In some cases, CGI is involved so that puts a halt of de-rails the steps.

Is this all in Resolve your planning on finishing?

For me I use up to 3 different apps to get the job done, sometimes more (CGI).

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Owen Harvey
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 26, 2017 at 1:39:02 pm

I'm a simple fellow, so I like to stay in as few a programs as possible.

I do use Xmedia Recode at the very beginning. I repack straight from SD card to the desired destination.

Then it's all in Resolve. I am happy with the results enough not to look elsewhere to fill any gaps.

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Eric Santiago
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 26, 2017 at 3:39:07 pm

Nothing wrong with that.

I think you're fine with your workflow.

Eventually, you start to experiment with different paths as you progress.

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Joseph Owens
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 26, 2017 at 4:35:44 pm

May or may not be helpful...

As far as technical involvement goes, the earliest stage of involvement for me is a pre-production meeting with department principals -- producers, post supervisor (if there is one), director of photography, supervising editor, VFX coordinator, floor director, audio engineer and whoever else might be involved in planning the media stream.

At that stage, deliverables and responsibilities are at least discussed and timetables determined. Normally, I am not involved in editorial unless specific issues arise with unconventional elements which may not be well-managed by hand-offs among various departments.

Eventually a locked (!?) approval master timeline arrives at color (with managed media, of course). The cut is reconciled - there is normally a spotting session to "keyframe" specific treatments or looks for various shots or scenes -- problem areas are identified for VFX cleanup or export - if that hasn't already occurred at the edit stage and is already out for work. Occasionally plate work (greenscreens or other composites) whether they arrive as separate elements or completed-with-mattes will need to be re-conformed back into the timeline. This is normally about as much editorial as I am happily willing to tolerate. Making other revisions at this point with a larger production is a quick way to throw the entire process into turmoil, as there are usually at least three images of a master timeline being processed - back in master editorial, *here* in grade, and also in audio mixing. So you can see it would be pretty easy to get out of sync or drop elements.

There is a branch here, where I either return the graded timeline to editorial for online or the online stays with me. External online would be where titling and perhaps audio layback would occur. Depending on that capability, the rest of the deliverable might rest with them. If the online stays with my company, I might get a master (titled) timeline to carrry forward, including audio elements (master mixes in stereo/surround plus stems and described video), at which point I start assembling texted and textless master deliverables. I also accept captioning work, whether it is a transcription that requires timestamp/caption authoring or (my favourite) either an Excel time-coded file compatible withMacCaption or a completed .scc, .mcc, or .cca file.
At that point, nearly done... work through the broadcaster or distributor contract and make either: tapes (extremely rare now) ProRes or DnX mezzanine masters (XDCam Op1a mpg most often requested) with audio hierarchy as requested, hard drives with playable assets and *EXTRAS* folder (captions, stems, textless, cue sheet documents - sometimes XML formatted by request). Some broadcasters still want DVDs with time code burns. It is pretty much a default now for producers to want Vimeo-compatible H.264 versions -- this is getting a bit tricky with federal regulators, depending on whether the need for exactly the same version to stream as to be aired. Frankly, a 23.98 master will be better quality, and can still be "sub-titled", not necessarily Closed-Captioned, even if the net result is the same, but technically they are different renditions. Tough call. Still means captions or subtitles need to exist and either as imbedded 708 or a sidecar like WebVTT. There might be a DCP. There might also be a BluRay.

Then we start thinking about International distribution, which for the purposes of Universality (and sorry, America) that means either 23.98 or 25PAL. So we work back through the master timeline(s) because an international distribution usually means an extended cut. At that point the whole process essentially re-sets to color grade and then start re-proceeding. Except this time, there will be two or three running-lengths depending on the frame-base. For the best, rejection-free QA performance, 23.98 --> 25 will be executed as 23.98@25, which means the runtime will be shorter by 4% and all the audio (master mixes, stems) will have to be re-clocked. Re-master. Ship.

If at any point, somebody needs to correct the spelling of the third assistant craft services person's odd name (which really is Dwan Sohmners), that is an entirely different matter and billing procedure.

Speaking of which, accounting practices should probably play a role in all this... don't really have any good suggestions for that. Other than cross your fingers that you will actually eventually get paid.

That's pretty much it. Pretty straightforward, every day.

jPo, CSI

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.

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Shane Ross
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 26, 2017 at 6:52:05 pm

Import media
Organize media.
Watch media...which can happen when I am organizing I know where to but it. If I have an assistant editor, then the first two parts are done by them.

Load clip into PREVIEW MONITOR...look for parts I want, add them to the timeline. I don't add ALL to the timeline and trim...I look for what I want, and add that. NOTE, I work on documentaries primarily, that have scripts. Other times on reality shows, and huge selects are added to the timeline by story producers. IN that case, I look at what they have, trim it...look at all the source footage around that...and then add more if needed.

Add while I am cutting a scene, I add music. Maybe I finish the scene's basic cutting, and then add music..and trim or expand the scene to fit the music better, add more dramatic pause to let the music swell. Music and scene work go hand in hand...unless I'm cutting scripted, then it's ALL added afterwards.

Add titles. When I deliver rough cuts to producers and networks, I need to have lower thirds and subtitles already added.

Address notes.

Lock picture. Adding in all master footage, replacing temp stock footage.

Send AAF to audio.

Color grade

Add mixed audio to final graded piece.


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

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Glenn Sakatch
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 27, 2017 at 3:12:45 pm

It really depends on the type of project you are doing.

I do a lot of live sports opens and bumpers and promos, so the music can end up being just as important, as it drives many of those pieces.

For sports i usually get my audio bed (85-90%) built. There is always wiggle room needed when the pictures fall into place.
I build a section of my timeline at the end of the music with all my selects...the shots i really want to use, already trimmed to the moments i think will work.

From there i know what i have, what i have passed over, and i start moving items around above my music, placing hits or crashes in spots designated by the music, if there is voice over, then items to represent those statements are placed.
There can be a lot of experimenting to find the right balance of action vs emotion vs epic shots...and there is usually 1 shot that gets tried over and over and over again....but in the end, keeps getting put back in the scrap pile.

As clips are moved around, they are trimmed, the music might need to be opened up if i've under estimated the impact in a section, but typically we are trying to hit a fairly specific time range, so there isn't a lot of room for that.

Final step for the edit is usually to take a look through my scrap pile to see if there is something that really "has" to be in the piece.

Once done, on to color and output. If we have the time and luxury to send to sound then obviously color then layback then output...if not, i do the sound mix after the edit is done, before color.

Docs, features, and agency commercials are a different workflow, where music may or may not drive a scene, and can be added at either the start or closer to the end of the process.

But Color, layback and output are typically the last 3 items. I very very rarely would worry about color until the piece is locked, unless there is one shot i'm worried about, and want to see if it will clean up properly, or whether i need to avoid it like the plague.


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Owen Harvey
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 27, 2017 at 4:09:53 pm

Wow what in depth responses. Thank you for the insight. That really is useful to know.

Thank you

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Marc Wielage
Re: Workflow order
on Jan 28, 2017 at 6:43:34 am

And in addition to all the other advice: Workflow is a very complex subject that you can't adequately explain in an internet forum message. It involves editing, offline, conforming, sound, VFX, color, titles, and final delivery. It's a whole lotta stuff.

Enough, in fact, that there's an entire book on the subject:

Modern Post: Workflows and Techniques for Digital Filmmakers
by Scott Arundale
published by Focal Press (ISBN #0415747023)

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