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Old November 1st, 2010, 09:45 AM   #1
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Workflow using lo-res proxy footage: viable?

Hi...general question here...

Some NLE's provide for editing with lo-res proxy footage.I presume the purpose of this is to make life bearable for those with older/slower computers...right?

I'm saddled with just such an old & slow computer system at home (running Windows XP). My system wheezes and strains and all but dies trying to edit 1080p HD (and can barely edit 720p).

So I'm wondering about the viability of doing everything with proxy footage? Seems like if your proxy footage is low-res enough, you could edit HD like it was DV...right?

For purely casual, home video editing...would this be a viable solution? Or would the time required for creating the proxy clips in the first place (on such an old and slow system) just be ridiculous? (As well as the time required to reassemble the final cut with full-res footage.)

I'll eventually upgrade to a better (modern) system...but in the meantime, I'm thinking if I could run a batch transcoding at bedtime (to get my low-res proxy clips)...have them ready to go the next day, then run the final reassembly at bedtime...and have my finished product the next morning...I could probably live with that for the time being. :-)

But now I'm wondering whether Sony Vegas 8 can handle the automated reassembly? Hmm....

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Old November 1st, 2010, 09:39 PM   #2
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You can use proxies, the disadvantage being the conversion (transcoding) from one format to another. The time it takes depends on the hours of footage you have, the format you have shot it in, frame rate, resolution, pc/mac specs and the software you are using. It might take 8 hours or 8 weeks. The only way to know is to test it on your own system. Taken one hour of footage to test (or less if that suits you) -

Some things to consider:

1. What format will you render to? (Frame rate/resolution/pixel aspect ratio/frame aspect ratio/compression/file extension)
2. Time taken to render source footage into proxies
3. Additional storage space to keep both 'footages' and the final render.
4..Follow strict naming, logging and naming conventions. Otherwise the entire effort would be a waste of time.
5. How much speed are you gaining with proxies? How many minutes saved in the real edit per hour?
6. Final render from the NLE after pointing back to the original source files. How many hours?
7. Are you also doing color correction or other finishing work? In that case you'l need to know DV has a different color space than HD.

After you've done the test with your 'hour' of footage, just multiply it with the factor that is pertinent to your own situation. You'll get a first hand comparison between hours spent and then decide if that's the route you want to take.

Hope this helps.
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