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The joys of editing Zoom recordings

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Kit Laughlin
The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 23, 2020 at 10:06:14 pm

I searched here before posting, assuming that a LOT of editors were now working with this footage, but I could not find anything relevant.

The footage I received from the host was allegedly HD format, and was recorded in the US—but the frame size was non-standard (I am on the boat presently, away from the editing machine) but IIRC, it was around 1664 x 740, at 25fps. I brought it into a standard HD timeline (1280 x 720p/30)

I had asked the host to check this button:



but I have not been able to confirm whether he did (he works for a biggish company, and that work gets delegated).

Working with this footage on my optioned-to-the-max iMac, I found cursor movement sluggish and all the other signs that the entire footage needed rendering, and that's what I did. Editing went fine after that.

My questions: can Zoom record in standard HD and at 30fps and, if so, what are the settings required to ensure this?

And I noticed that as Zoom automatically switched from one speaker to another, there was distortion in the new speaker's voice, until the system established the new connection.

I know I can record locally (QuickTime or similar) and I could ask my host to do the same, but is there a simpler way?

Anyhow, I will be grateful for other's experience here; needing to work with this footage regularly, I'd like to be able to create a 'cheat sheet' of optimum settings. One I can share here is under the audio tab, Advanced page, set both "Suppress Intermittent and Persistent background sounds" to Disable; this helped reduce the switching audio problem I mentioned above.

5K iMac, maxed out; MBP 15", SSD, maxed everything; MBA 13", maxed, i7, 30" + 23" monitors, KRK monitors, etc. FCP 7 and X


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Lawrence Eaton
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:01:59 am

Kit,
Recently my life has become zoom files, somewhat like yours. I’d be more than willing to offer any tips I’ve learnt.

Lawrence


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Kit Laughlin
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:04:52 am

Lawrence,

I would be very grateful if you would! And this little thread might just become the place that people who have to edit Zoom recordings come to, as a kind of compendium of everything we know and don't know about it. Please post away!

Kit

5K iMac, maxed out; MBP 15", SSD, maxed everything; MBA 13", maxed, i7, 30" + 23" monitors, KRK monitors, etc. FCP 7 and X


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Lawrence Eaton
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:16:42 pm

Hey Kit,
Just finishing off some stuff to reply to you with.... keep the faith!

Lawrence


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Terry Barnum
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 25, 2020 at 5:16:48 pm

Hi Kit,

I worked on a Zoom panel discussion a month or so ago and was surprised to find the video frame sizes all over the place. We did a trial run just to make sure things would work as expected but when we did the actual recording with a few different participants, the frame size was different. My guess is that the lowest quality camera on the call is what determines frame size.

I found that Zoom's cloud recordings were even lower quality and smaller frame size. Also, if you rely on the cloud recordings, make sure to download and backup because Zoom deletes them after a period of time.

I had two people record the call (they were set to invisible by choosing Hide participants with video turned off), one viewing in gallery mode, the other in speaker mode so we could cut between "tight" and "wide" shots. Creating the synced multicam with multiple video and discrete audio tracks was time consuming. Some of these audio tracks appeared to pause recording when the speaker wasn't speaking, so it required lots of blading and re-syncing.

Good luck!

-Terry


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Lawrence Eaton
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:25:31 pm

Thanks Terry,
Building off what you have written:
Zoom does have 'odd' resolution recordings.
it also saves the mp4 as Motion JPEG2000 - because we all like those 'crazy' backgrounds in Zoom! But it gives us headaches. Everything from now on is based on my tool of choice - Final Cut Pro X & Compressor. My guide to this is to always save your meetings to your local machine after the meeting has ended. I've found I have a better quality of recording that way. (As an aside, I"ve been downloading/ converting one meeting while also in another meeting, something that I found useful to know.)

With Zoom now attaching/ mandating passwords to meetings, if you save your recording to the cloud, you'll have to give out the password to it if you want too share the raw version and as Terry noted, if you're not careful then you'll have a surprise one day as your legacy recordings may disappear.

I have had no luck in logging into the same meeting with the same invite - in order to record it in a more acceptable manner. Zoom tells you that you are being logged out of the other log in, when you do. So it's useful to have a moderator email to be invited to, as well.

That being said, I luckily am unable to be on all the company's Zoom meetings and therefore pleaded with presenters or the host to drag the window of the gallery view or speaker view to as far to one side as they can - makes an interesting thumbnail, at times! That way you can at least crop back and scale up to fill your viewer and frame. If you detach the participants window, well let's say it's going to be an emotional day with the edit.

At the conclusion of the meeting(the vast majority of which run to 60mins) and the subsequent downloading of the meeting to your drive, you'll want to edit.... If possible, I've learnt the most efficient way for myself is to transcode to ProRes - yes its nth times larger in file size but it gets rid of the hours of background rendering(with crazy resolutions) and missed frames playback, that I've experienced on my 2015 MBP.

My workflow for this is to amass as many meetings per day - on average 40 - as I can and then set them going in overnight.

I have made a ton of saved presets for effects, audio - such as EQ and anything else I can, to save time.

I start by throwing in the corporate graphics for intro/ extro slugs and put a gap clip of the original length of the meeting, between them.

I organize my library & keywords, but if that's not possible, due to time constraints for deliverables, I'll use Favorites, Delete and the 'god-knows-what-this-if-for' option and then filter by faves.

I also use the delivered Smart Collections in FCPX.

I assemble any cutaways and b-roll by making Compound Clips in FCPX and if I know the timings of these, I will place the generator>placeholder above the main timeline and. Turn on the 'notes' section in the placeholder and start describing what should happen before it and during and after - it's a point of reference. When I have the assets, I will drag them over the placeholders and use the replace functions there.

I'll select my bunch of 'Faves" in my browser and drag them to the primary storyline and use the Replace option to fill out the gap clip. The magnetic timeline takes care of the rest. As the assets are ProRes there's no background rendering. You could of course right click your assets in the browser and 'optimize' them rather than take them through Compressor, if you don't have it. I let FCPX analyze the audio and fix accordingly and then if necessary apply an EQ to the track - BEFORE I make any edits. I detach the audio to make life a little better with video edits over audio and Video edits. If it is a software demo, I duplicate the section and place the main timeline at 35% opacity to allow me to get the person watching to only concentrate on the subject at hand. If it's a cutaway to a talking head, then I'll either go as a multi clip - as per Terry's reply - or at times, I'll use the method described above of putting in a placeholder at around the times that is needed and replace it as and when necessary.

When it comes to sharing..... I've tried every way I could, I believe. The way that best works for me is to export out as a Master file and then compress the living hell out it in Compressor to mp4. I've also used Handbrake and Handbrakebatch, as well, just for the whatever and giggles. Both very good options, but can slow things down. Any compressor that can take into account multi cores, is obviously preferable. I've also sent the timeline straight to Compressor and while this is a usable option, you are required to keep both FCPX and Compressor open during the sharing process. Again, this is what I have witnessed and discovered.

I am in the process of putting together 8 videos on this workflow, in case no one understands it. Maybe that will be better than me writing this all down.
If you have questions, then please don't hesitate to ask. (I don't think I've written so much since college!)

Lawrence


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Lawrence Eaton
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:26:12 pm

Thanks Terry,
Building off what you have written:
Zoom does have 'odd' resolution recordings.
it also saves the mp4 as Motion JPEG2000 - because we all like those 'crazy' backgrounds in Zoom! But it gives us headaches. Everything from now on is based on my tool of choice - Final Cut Pro X & Compressor. My guide to this is to always save your meetings to your local machine after the meeting has ended. I've found I have a better quality of recording that way. (As an aside, I"ve been downloading/ converting one meeting while also in another meeting, something that I found useful to know.)

With Zoom now attaching/ mandating passwords to meetings, if you save your recording to the cloud, you'll have to give out the password to it if you want too share the raw version and as Terry noted, if you're not careful then you'll have a surprise one day as your legacy recordings may disappear.

I have had no luck in logging into the same meeting with the same invite - in order to record it in a more acceptable manner. Zoom tells you that you are being logged out of the other log in, when you do. So it's useful to have a moderator email to be invited to, as well.

That being said, I luckily am unable to be on all the company's Zoom meetings and therefore pleaded with presenters or the host to drag the window of the gallery view or speaker view to as far to one side as they can - makes an interesting thumbnail, at times! That way you can at least crop back and scale up to fill your viewer and frame. If you detach the participants window, well let's say it's going to be an emotional day with the edit.

At the conclusion of the meeting(the vast majority of which run to 60mins) and the subsequent downloading of the meeting to your drive, you'll want to edit.... If possible, I've learnt the most efficient way for myself is to transcode to ProRes - yes its nth times larger in file size but it gets rid of the hours of background rendering(with crazy resolutions) and missed frames playback, that I've experienced on my 2015 MBP.

My workflow for this is to amass as many meetings per day - on average 40 - as I can and then set them going in overnight.

I have made a ton of saved presets for effects, audio - such as EQ and anything else I can, to save time.

I start by throwing in the corporate graphics for intro/ extro slugs and put a gap clip of the original length of the meeting, between them.

I organize my library & keywords, but if that's not possible, due to time constraints for deliverables, I'll use Favorites, Delete and the 'god-knows-what-this-if-for' option and then filter by faves.

I also use the delivered Smart Collections in FCPX.

I assemble any cutaways and b-roll by making Compound Clips in FCPX and if I know the timings of these, I will place the generator>placeholder above the main timeline and. Turn on the 'notes' section in the placeholder and start describing what should happen before it and during and after - it's a point of reference. When I have the assets, I will drag them over the placeholders and use the replace functions there.

I'll select my bunch of 'Faves" in my browser and drag them to the primary storyline and use the Replace option to fill out the gap clip. The magnetic timeline takes care of the rest. As the assets are ProRes there's no background rendering. You could of course right click your assets in the browser and 'optimize' them rather than take them through Compressor, if you don't have it. I let FCPX analyze the audio and fix accordingly and then if necessary apply an EQ to the track - BEFORE I make any edits. I detach the audio to make life a little better with video edits over audio and Video edits. If it is a software demo, I duplicate the section and place the main timeline at 35% opacity to allow me to get the person watching to only concentrate on the subject at hand. If it's a cutaway to a talking head, then I'll either go as a multi clip - as per Terry's reply - or at times, I'll use the method described above of putting in a placeholder at around the times that is needed and replace it as and when necessary.

When it comes to sharing..... I've tried every way I could, I believe. The way that best works for me is to export out as a Master file and then compress the living hell out it in Compressor to mp4. I've also used Handbrake and Handbrakebatch, as well, just for the whatever and giggles. Both very good options, but can slow things down. Any compressor that can take into account multi cores, is obviously preferable. I've also sent the timeline straight to Compressor and while this is a usable option, you are required to keep both FCPX and Compressor open during the sharing process. Again, this is what I have witnessed and discovered.

I am in the process of putting together 8 videos on this workflow, in case no one understands it. Maybe that will be better than me writing this all down.
If you have questions, then please don't hesitate to ask.

(I don't think I've written so much since college!)

Lawrence


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Kit Laughlin
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:30:59 pm

Wow. For some reason, I did not get notification of your replies – I am busy doing something else right now but I will definitely read the full text of all your replies, and comment there. Deep sincere thanks, Lawrence, this is deeply appreciated.

KL

5K iMac, maxed out; MBP 15", SSD, maxed everything; MBA 13", maxed, i7, 30" + 23" monitors, KRK monitors, etc. FCP 7 and X


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Kit Laughlin
Re: The joys of editing Zoom recordings
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:00:06 am

And "Yes" to those videos do you mention, once they're done. Yeah—the zoom world is full of perils, it seems. Thanks for that write-up, Lawrence.

5K iMac, maxed out; MBP 15", SSD, maxed everything; MBA 13", maxed, i7, 30" + 23" monitors, KRK monitors, etc. FCP 7 and X


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