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Old September 13th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #1
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Tips for feature movie workflow

I'm making a feature length doco on the history of Australian rockclimbing - or more accurately, I'm about to. I've shot about 10 hrs of HDV and am about to start capturing. I have a host of questions about undertaking a longer project, and would love to learn from others experience rather than recreate their mistakes!

I am on a Mac Pro, 4Gb RAM, Premiere CS3 and a Sony HVR A1 and Rode NTG1, both of which which seem awesome.

Some questions are:
Is Premiere OK for editing a feature length movie?
Any tips on structuring/breaking up the final length movie?

Also asked in the Mac section:
Is using the Apple Intermediate Codec with Premiere a good idea?
Is a RAID 0 array essential for capturing/editing? (seems to capture fine to a single disk)

Thanks in advance! Great forum, I've learned heaps here already.
Douglas
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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Hi Douglas!

Premiere Pro CS3 is much better than Premiere Pro 2 at handling large projects (although as you're a Mac user, this isn't an issue you'll have come across).

I'm editing my feature in one single project - and despite a couple of crashes here and there (which I put down to my heavy use of plug-ins - magic bullet, boris continuum), I'm very happy.

I'm on a PC with XP though, so I'd assume your Mac might have better memory management etc.

My film is 85 minutes long, around 50 hrs of footage imported (plus hundreds of sounds fx and music files) - around about 1 TB of data.

I don't use RAID, have 4 x 300GB internal HDD (standard SATA, 7200rpm), which I keep defragmented as much as possible. (my main worry with RAID0 is if one disk breaks, you've lost two disks worth of data!)

I DO use Cineform Aspect HD though, which helps a fair bit with editing performance (the native mpeg2 files are just basically 'harder' for NLE's to process - the Cineform intermediate codec improves this).

I used a Sony FX1 and Z1 for the shoot - we had soundies most of the time, but the sound I recorded myself I used the Rode NTG1 too! Not bad at all - make sure you record your audio loud though!! (don't go in the red, but boosting compressed audio makes for unpleasant noises).

Oh, and buy some 500GB external HDD ($220 from Harvey Norman) and backup everything! Also have the system disk separate from your captured video disks (physical, not just on a partition).

Ask away if you have any other questions... although you're a Mac-type, some of the basics are the same.

Good luck with the doco...
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:11 PM   #3
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Thanks heaps for the response Douglas. Stuff like recording loud to avoid boosting the compressed audio is exactly the tips I'm after - makes perfect sense, but I hadn't thought about it.

Do you have your whole movie in one Premiere file? All on the one continuous timeline, or broken up somehow?

d.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #4
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I use one sequence, one continuous timeline... plenty of people would suggest otherwise, but I'm refusing to back down.

This software and my system SHOULD be able to handle an 85 minute film, goddammitt!!

In Premiere Pro 2 I did experiment with splitting it into 6 smaller projects - it was more responsive, but a major pain when moving scenes around, and getting a 'feel' of the pacing of the film.

It's worth remembering that when you recombine the projects into the biggie that ALL the footage will be added too - and if you've imported the same footage into some of the smaller projects, then you'll get multiple copies of exactly the same footage in the final big project!

Re: sound... the soundies usually put through a tone, set to -25db (from memory) and record away - low audio suffered from 'just using the usual settings' - it's worth tweaking input volume manually for each and every set-up.

Another great thing about HDV, is the ability to zoom in slightly in post (I have gone up to 20%), and then pan, tilt etc - adding motion to an otherwise boring shot. You won't notice any quality loss when going out to DVD (still the major market).

Really handy if you're shooting the stuff yourself, or need to slightly reframe.

Also, we added slight camera shake in a coulpe of scenes where I'm on screen (being the DOP as well, meant the camera was just sat on a tripod!) - not to a Bourne level, but just enough to give the shot a nice handheld 'urgency'.
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