FORUMS: list search recent posts

CatDV for a two-person documentary company?

COW Forums : Square Box CatDV

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Jason Mann
CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 10:08:12 pm

CatDV seems like a great product, but I'm not sure if I've been using the demo version in the right way.

Here's our situation: I work with one other person. We shoot and edit almost all of our own stuff. That includes one long-format documentary (all XDCAM EX footage), and several shorter paid projects. We shoot on the 5D MkII, Panasonic P2, and a Sony EX-1, so any solution we use has got to be pretty flexible.

We edit in FCP, and we are not (not yet anyway) using any of the solutions to edit MXF/MP4 natively. We use FCP's Log & Transfer with all of our footage, including 5D. (Using Canon's plugin.)

I would LOVE to have the ability to catalog our footage, ideally with the ability to have thumbnails/previews of offline footage. (It seems like CatDV would excel at this.)

Possibly more importantly, though, I need to come up with a better system for managing archiving. Currently, we use a RAID 5 Editbox for our editing, and a Drobo to archive media and project files. But the Drobo fills up fast, and until I can afford a Cache-a device, I need to take my chances on archiving to multiple HDs. (Or maybe Blu-Ray.)

Can CatDV make that process any more organized? For instance, does it have an "Archive" function that can move media and project files to an external device, such as a HD or, eventually, LTO?

Another question that is still unresolved for me after playing with the demo is this: If the offloaded cards (CF, P2, SxS, etc...) are my true "masters", then how do I link those files with FCP projects in CatDV? As far as I can figure it out, when you add a FCP file to the catalog, it finds the clips that have been created in the Capture Scratch folder, not the original media. Does anyone out there use CatDV and Log & Transfer? Should I be considering a different method of ingesting media before attempting to use CatDV?

Does anyone have a good suggestion for how to organize footage and files in a better fashion before creating a CatDV catalog?

I hope this doesn't sound like a bunch of complaints. I'm sure these are very basic questions about the software, which looks AMAZING after a short trial run. I just want to make sure that I really get the most out of the program if we decide to use it.

Thanks in advance...

--
Jason Mann
http://www.pull-start.com


Return to posts index

Kevin Duggan
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 11, 2010 at 11:45:46 am

Hi Jason
you raise many good points about modern workflows that give us all immense benefits and also some headaches and conundrums. The answers typically flow from what I regard as the "deliverables" ie for what marker segment or segments is the final product intended. We are in a what has been termed a "good enough " world. By this it is generally meant our choice of formats to shoot in is determined by the budget and the end use of the media. So is a RED shoot at 4.5 K the right approach to deliver a U-Tube movie? Well it can be done but the lighting package to shoot a cinema style product could easily exceed the clients total budget for shoot, and post. So is XDCAM HD overkill for this work?

Well the iron law of compression is that the better the source the better the compressed result , so maybe these high end cameras are a good choice. However as you know in the real world our choices of camera and format are dependant on the cameras we own, the type of shoot it is and what we are going to do with in post with it as well as the clients wishes and budget . And boy do we have choices now..and this is reflected in what you say about using XDCAM ,5D EX-1 ,P2 etc etc. So at present you opt for LOG and TRANSFER and in FCP this means typically PRORES. So we get the dilemma that this process generates new media which is often larger ...for no gain in quality than the original. Also as you are well aware it poses the problem of which do I archive. It seems a no brainer that you archive the source until you realise that this is not the media that FCP is tracking. Now this is easily resolved if you build native workflows ie using Qtime extenders like CALIBRATED SOFTWARE or MXF4Mac as CATDV can play,track and create proxies from these mxf native codecs and with our ARCHIVE option can send these directly to a CACHE-A device. Typically the proxy is kept online and is fully editable and the high res purged off the drive or SAN . RESTORE at a later stage is either achieved by bringing the FCP timline of proxies back into CATDV and selecting these clips and right clicking the batch and selecting RESTORE which brings the high res clips back from TAPE. Following best practice the proxies and the high res have identical names and it is trivial in FCP to relink the proxy timeline to the newly restored High Res clips .

WIthout a LTO device your best practice would be going to any RAIDED device to backup your rushes.. Again CATDV can help you move files to another disk from within its interface. You note that CATDV cannot help you with the choice which is the ARCHIVE footage, this is your choice. We can also do some good things like mapping descriptions of shots into FCP clip names so you get man readable clip names inside FCP not the " 123qwrt3i453lki.mxf " camera generated ones without changing or destroying the original filenames that FCP tracks in its database.

Sadly with these types of questions I cannot give you definitive answers only qualified ones.
I am happy to offer further advice once you have determined in your own mind what is "good enough " within your workflow but be aware that there may not be an "economic" , again a relative term , solution to all of your archiving needs though in the long term my vote goes to LTO , but it has an upfront cost which in these times of shrinking budgets can seem daunting. However you have to weigh this up against the cost of re-shooting and the relative intrinsic value of the subject matter of the footage.
In short the equation is something like Go with PRORES ..bigger files need more disk space or LTO tapes. Problem of one stage of removal from source media.

2. Get CALIBRATED or MXF4mac shoot edit natively . Smaller files , less disk space or LTO tapes I can ARCHIVE the original . Quicker workflow no waiting for LOG AND TRANSFER . Problems ;- need a Calibrated Mxf3mac licence for each machine and format

3. Some hybrid approach which smoothes the majority of you work with the understanding of the up`s and down`s of both.

CatDv can help you with all of them , workflows is what I do, however CATDV can`t make these decisions for you. :-)

Hope this helps a little

Kevin Duggan
CatDv







Return to posts index

Jason Mann
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 12, 2010 at 4:54:54 pm

Kevin - I appreciate the thoughtful response... A couple of follow ups:

IS there an additional cost for the ARCHIVE option in CatDV? If so, how much is that?

What is the cost difference for the MXF-aware version of CatDV? (If we were to go with Calibrated Software...)

Let's say, for the sake of argument, I shoot a bunch of footage and keep the archive copy on a Drobo, with the Capture Scratch folder on our edit drive, a RAID 5 box. (The capture scratch is organized by FCP, so there's a folder inside for "Project A", "Project B", etc...)

If I want to keep the Previews generated by CatDV on the RAID after I'm done with the project and the original media is archived to a different drive, how should I have the preview paths set in Preferences > Media Search Paths? Should it be Path-based Previews: /Volumes/RAID and Original full-res media: /Volumes/RAID/Final Cut Pro Documents/Capture Scratch?

--
Jason Mann
http://www.pull-start.com


Return to posts index


Kevin Duggan
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 12, 2010 at 5:45:32 pm

Hi jason
not sure of protocols on list but you can get pricing from your local CatDV VAR or contact Matt Stamos at JB&A distribution for your nearest local dealer.

Regarding Path based previews CaTDV is intelligent when it comes to these paths. They can be updated .. Update Media Location or use what is termed MEDIA EQUIVALENCE . What this does is it shortens the long path names which may include another drive to the last significant part this is why CATDV asks you for the original location as it uses this to update its preview paths. I know this is often confusing but what counts is the last part of the file path... as CATDV can substitute the first part . It will also keep looking through paths it know about until it get a right answer.

Hope this helps


Kevin Duggan
CatDv



Return to posts index

bryson jones
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 12, 2010 at 4:59:45 pm

I agree, you are raising some great questions.

One thing that you will see on this board is the workflow whereby the Canon files are used as the "proxy" and then the rendered ProRes is the full res. This gets you around one of the worst workflow problems.

As to the others, I find that a ton of folks are archiving the camera master as a last resort and actually treating pro res as the master since it's relatively transportable and a solid editing format.

As to archiving to hard drives, note that you can right click on clips and move them and CatDV will update their location. That's a pretty good way to note what went where and make a searchable record of your drives.

The final thing is yes, a small shop has it tough in this world since you are really only splitting costs of large purchases over 2 systems. Asset Management used to be only for the big boys and at a certain level, it still is, but the standalone client of CatDV helps small shops bring some sanity to their workflows.

Perhaps you can check with your dealer about having them help you develop some workflows or maybe purchase some traning from them? The tools are all there, but like any app, it's all about who's using them and how.

Stay in touch on here and as you run into things, bring them to the forum, we're jsut all getting started here and every question builds the knowledgebase.

bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


Return to posts index

Carsten Orlt
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 14, 2010 at 7:02:26 am

Jason

I thought maybe I just tell you how I set myself up as we're exactly like you: a couple doing their own docu work.

I wanted to have a long term archive solution which makes me independent from any source footage requirements e.g. hiring different VTR's for pre tapeless footage we have. I also wanted a system where I do have preview clips of all our footage over the years online so I can look at everything without! restoring it from a backup system.

I also will when I have the time recapture all footage from the last 10 years so we end up with a quasi everything online situation. One way to do this is of course get enough hard drives. But they should be raid-1 so everything costs double. And even than I couldn't find any reference (and believe me I looked everywhere) that gave a guarantee on long term reliability of drives.

So only way is LTO unfortunately! and I'm glad we made the investment!

I bought a HP 1840 SAS LTO4 drive and a Atto H380 card for my MacPro. I also got BRU PE archival software. The reason I didn't get the Cache-A was that this would have been way more expensive than the 1840 and as I only have to manage one client (us) I figured a little manual labour is worth the saving.
I also got a Network Attached Storage box (I have a Netgear box but get anything you like (if you like what I say next of course))

And here is how I set it up now:
If its tape based: capture in ProRes - Archive via BRU PE to LTO
Import clips into CatDV - describe and build preview clips in H264 640x360 to NAS (network drive)
import clips via XML into FCP for editing.
If its tapeless: Archive the original files via BRU PE to LTO
Convert everything to ProRes and archive those files as well via BRU PE
rest as above (I do not log the original tapeless clips as all of them have some form of compression/trickiness about them. Why bother installing endless extensions or extra software when all is so much easier if I have one editing/mastering format: ProRes)

Here is what I think are the benefits:
Lowest setup cost for getting best long term archival solution, namely LTO4

Having the preview files on NAS gives me the flexibility to excess the material in the future from many computers at once or easily transport the whole preview archive to a different location.

Yes I do not have the luxury to retrieve my online footage from within CatDV but it's really easy as I can either create a custom field which tells me which cartridge a given clip is on or (as I do) I code my clip names in a way that it'll tell me project and tape name which I only have to look up in the list I have for the LTO archive. Once the clip is restored via BRU PE to a hard drive I can easily tell CatDV where to look for it and everything is back online.

Another benefit for having an LTO drive is that you only need very cheap Raid-0 setups as you don't have to worry about hard drive failures as everything is backup on the most secure system. I buy Raid-0 boxes for AUD$300 and naked eSata drives and build 6TB Raid-0 boxes for about AUD$2000. Again saves a lot of money long term!

Cartridges for LTO are about AUD$80 for 800GB so pretty close to hard drive prices BUT so much more reliable.

I do convert everything to ProRes because its the one codec I can use from start to finish. No offline-online nightmare. And because I pay little money for my editing Raid-0 drives I have enough to have about 100 hours of ProRes 1080i50 footage online. Enough for a film at a time. And if I would need more its cheap.

CatDV was crucial in this mix as it allows me a much more sophisticated way to describe and preview my footage. And the preview clip handling is something FCP doesn't do. Also CatDV does so many more things that it's really a bargain!! even if you never archive anything :-)

Hope this will give you some food for thoughts :-)
Cheers
Carsten

Carsten


Return to posts index


bryson jones
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 16, 2010 at 3:32:59 pm

This is an excellent post. Thanks for taking the time to lay this out man. This kind of sharing is exactly what forums are about.

bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


Return to posts index

Jason Mann
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:41:20 am

I'll second that! Great help for me...

--
Jason Mann
http://www.pull-start.com


Return to posts index

Carsten Orlt
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 22, 2010 at 11:27:51 am

You're very welcome!

Boards like this made it possible for me in the first place to make an informed decision so only fair to pay it back :-)

Cheers


Return to posts index


Carsten Orlt
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 22, 2010 at 11:31:47 am

You're very welcome!

Boards like this made it possible for me in the first place to make an informed decision so only fair to pay it back :-)

Cheers


Return to posts index

Jiggy Gaton
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jul 24, 2010 at 6:23:52 pm

I just wanted to say we are very much in the same situation as the OP and we just got our license to CATDV extended, and I gotta say this is the best software since iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom et. all. In fact, it's probably the best of anything that I have seen out there for creating media catalogs.

As soon as I figure out how to make it catalogue ALL my media to include billing documents, proposals, and specs, I will just live there along with in all the other creation apps that I use.

It's just peachy!
Jigs



Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.


Return to posts index

Jeff Orig
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jan 22, 2011 at 7:35:49 pm

Hey Carsten,

In the setup you describe above, what version of CatDV are you using?

And what are you thoughts on the Student bundle of Bru found here: http://www.productionbackup.com/info/bundles.php

Our production is mostly centered around 30 minute local talk show television production shot on Canon 5DM2 and old footage shot on HDV.

This might be too little information.

Thanks.

-Jeff


Return to posts index


Carsten Orlt
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jan 22, 2011 at 8:57:11 pm

Hi Jeff,

I use the Pro - standalone version (always latest version number)

As for the Bru student bundle: I personally wouldn't buy a DAT tape drive as I think it doesn't provide a high enough storage per cartridge amount. Working with 1080 ProRes or Prores(HQ) fills up the 800 Gb LTO cartridge quickly. Last time I looked DAT had a max capacity of 80 or 160 Gb. The drive Bru is offering is only 36 Gb. Also it only has a USB connection which I do not think is fast enough to be workable. Yes time is your friend when you're are your only client but the last thing is you want to spent it on is waiting for backups to finish...
All said I'm very aware of the very high cost for a little shop but in the moment I do not see a way around it :-(
LTO drives are expensive to buy but very cheap to run long term.

Hope this helps.
Cheers
Carsten


Return to posts index

bryson jones
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jan 22, 2011 at 9:17:47 pm

A good compromise might be an LTO-3, if you could find one.

I have to agree that USB plus slower smaller tape, is a bad idea.

bryson

bryson "at" hidefcowboy.com

hidefcowboy.com


Return to posts index

Carsten Orlt
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jan 23, 2011 at 12:08:21 pm

gee - can anyone decipher my english with half of it missing..
sorry guys :-)
I need to work less and get more sleep...

Carsten


Return to posts index


Jeff Orig
Re: CatDV for a two-person documentary company?
on Jan 23, 2011 at 6:12:18 pm

Thanks for the tips, guys!

I'm liking CatDV. Still getting the hang of it and figuring out my particular workflow.

I have been looking for a solution like this for a couple of years. Thank you, creative cow for the info and great community.

-Jeff


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]