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The Long Black Line
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Old June 15th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #1
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Workflow questions

We recently did our first sport event and now of course it was time to process the orders and get the tapes out.

Essentially we started with a bunch of Mini DV tapes that contain lots of small segments of a skating event.

When parents buy the video they only buy one or multiple of these segments that are generally 1 - 3 minutes long. Most of them end up buying multiples.

Hardware we currently have to do this is a JVC SR-VS30 VCR that is MiniDV and S-VHS, set top DVD recorders, standard VHS VCR's, PAL<->NTSC VCR.

In order for this to go quick i think the only way is to go direct without capturing the video at all.

Now i needed a lead in with a copyright and advertisement page. I built that in Vegas and recorded it to a DVD.

Then we had someone sit and copy the lead in from the DVD to all the VHS tapes.

Next step was to go through all the MiniDV type by time and we sorted the orders by time as well and then simply copied each segment to the tape that needed it.

Question is is there anything we could do to make this work better and/or faster.

thanks for any input
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Old June 16th, 2005, 05:57 PM   #2
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well,
the only stuff i can think of to make it work better would be more like for next time. i guess i don'y fully understand your situation or why you chose to do it as customized segments amd why you're doing vhs.

personally, i would have shot the whole thing and authored a single dvd, with a dvd authoring app. (i use dvd studio pro, but it seems like encore works fine if you're on pc.)

i would auuthor a dvd that opened with a logo and advertisement page, then went to a main menu. the main menu would have 2 buttons: "play all," and "individual performances" (or whatever you want to call it.)

if you hit the "individual" button, you go to a second menu that has each performer listed alphabetically. the parent sees their kid's name, navigates to it and hits "enter," and their performance plays. (if they are group performances, you just do a button for each one-you get the idea.)

there's some more time invested upfront, with the authoring, but then you just duplicate the things, which a monkey can do. just seems like the easiest way to do it.

at one of the schools where i work, we tape the graduation ceremony each year, and sell the tape. last year was the first time we offered dvd's also. i think about 75% percent of our orders were for dvds, and 25% for vhs. this year, we only did dvd's. nobody complained that we didn't have tapes. and we did a similar thing with our menus. you can watch the whole (2 hr) event, or you can skip to any of the speeches, or, if you just want to watch your kid get her diploma, you can skip to within a couple minutes of that. (we broke the diplomas down in alphabetical chunks: a-g, h-n, etc.)

anyhow, that's the way i'd do it in the future. just about everyone in north america has a dvd player. (at least everyone who can afford skating lessons for their kid.) and i hate those stock "menu" pages that get written to disc when you use a set-top dvd recorder.

anyhow, that's my 2 cents. good luck.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #3
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Nate

These types of events work a little different. THis could be multiple days and multiple rinks worth of shooting and nobody is interested in seeing 8 - 32 hours of video from other skaters.

Generally moms and dads want to see their children and possibly some of their direct competitors in their class. Sometimes a coach might be interested in their kids.

We just started doing this so i am trying to get a feel for a way to do this efficiently. I am somewhat anal to try and get a good workflow that saves time. We did the same thing with still photography and have that worked out really well now i am trying to do the same with video.

As far as why VHS it was a decision on my part to go with VHS at first as i thought it would produce less of an issue with ordering than DVD. Actually we only had one person even ask for DVD. Next time we will probably offer both and see what people order.

One big thing is that IMO it would be too time consuming to capture all the video to PC and then actually do any post processing and rendering at all. Hours of video footage would take forever to render. But maybe i am missing something.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:18 PM   #4
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Michael,

It would probably take less time to render it all on the computer than assembling these from tape each time someone orders one.

If it were up to me, I wouldn't even offer VHS. I would go strictly with DVD. I would edit and render each performance as a separate MPEG-2 file, and have them all at the ready. Then, you could burn a DVD with your logo and whichever segments the people ordered.

Once the footage is edited and rendered to MPEG-2, it actually won't take up a whole lot of space. Plus, it will take less than five minutes to configure each DVD, and a little time to burn it down.

Josh
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:26 PM   #5
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Josh

thanks again

I will definately look into this some more. Right now we have the orders ready after the shoot. Videos are ordered on site immediately.

We have the orders based on time so i was simply going through all tapes by time stopping at performances i needed and copied them. Going through about 8 hours of footage and creating 50 VHS tapes and pack them charge credit cards and do everything else to get the orders done took about 4-5 hours. Not too bad but i would like to get it down to less than that.

Capturing would obviously already take 8 hours (of course i dont have to do anything while it is capturing) and then the render would take quite a bit.

The main reason i decided to do VHS was because i recently saw the problem some parents had when buying a DVD from an actors class choosing whether to buy a DVD+R or a DVD-R which where the choices. With VHS i thought i would have the least issues this time. One parent asked for DVD.

At the next one we will offer both VHS and DVD. Workwise and cost wise there really isnt much of a difference anyway.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #6
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michael

well that's a horse of a different color. with 8+ hours of footage i don't know where i'd even start.

i've been dealing with a client lately with tons of footage that they want to basically edit on paper without capturing anything. since you're using vegas you're obviously on a pc, so i'm not sure if this would work for you.

in final cut, there is a function called "batch list export." without capturing, you can log all of your clips, setting in and out points, naming your clips, and adding any other info you might want. nothing captured- just identifying where the clips start and end and naming them, etc. the clips show up as "offline," meaning they've been logged, but not captured. the "batch list export" function then lets you export a file that can be opened in excel, showing all of the clip info. you can edit in excel- deleting a row eliminates that entire clip, etc. you can change the in and out points in excel, etc. then, you save that file. you can then open final cut and import the newly edited batch list. you then highlight the clip or clips that you want to capture, do a "batch capture," and then capture just those clips. you get the idea. what i'm imagining is, you have an assistant with a laptop and excel. you have your monitor set up to display the timecode as the camera is recording. they enter the in and out points into their spreadsheet, and enter a clip name, based on who the skaters are or whatever you want. then, when it's over, you look at the order forms. you create new excel spreadsheets based on what is ordered. you import the spreadsheet into a new final cut project, and capture just those clips.

now, this might not work for you at all. i've never touched vegas in my life, though i know a lot of pc people who swear by it. (the only pc video software i know is premiere, and the cross-platform stuff like after effects.)

anyhow, what's cool about the above process is that much of the preliminary "editing" can be happening while the event is happening, saving hassle in the editing stage. this probably can't work with your software, but perhaps you could do a modified version. i assume that the sponsors provide a printed program of some kind. you print out a spreadsheet or something with the names of each performance before the event starts. you set your camera to display the timecode. you get an assistant to sit by a monitor, writing down an in and out point for each performance next to that performance's name. then, at least, you know where on each tape to find a given performance. so whether you capture video or just edit tape to tape, you at least know where everything is and how to quickly locte it.

ok, that's all i can come up with. i don't envy you this challenging proposition. i hope you can come up with something that doesn't drive you crazy. good luck. (and if you want more specific info about the final cut stuff i mentioned, let me know.)
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #7
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You're best bet is to record directly to the hard disk so you can limit the amount of physical searching and copying as possible. From what you described, that sounds like it takes the most amount of time. Of course, you know better if that will really work for you.

If you record directly to hard disk:
- you can almost instantaneously find, edit, and build an order
- plus, Vegas can automatically add your lead-in
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:43 PM   #8
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Nate

see thats why i like discussing things like that. You just gave me some ideas.

I am a software developer by trade. I should be able to write software that allows me to create a catalog of locations on tapes that show the start and stop of each skater. Then i could use the software to pick an event i would like to find and it would prompt me to insert tape # x and then put the tape into position and prompts for either a VHS tape or a DVD and then i could still use the VCR's to do the dubbing.

I am planning on using free running time code next time and start it ith the time of day in the monring which will also make it easier to find stuff as well and also help synching multiple cameras if we shoot multiples
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Old June 16th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #9
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Michael

i was thinking about this too but didnt have enought time to get the details figured out

If i where to record to HD this would obviosly take quite some HD space. Approx 40G per 3 hours i think so we would end up needing about 120 G per day per rink. That would pretty much mean we couldnt use something like the FS-4 which i think is currently at max 80G. But something like to FS1 would work with multiple external firewire drives.

I wonder wouldi be able to connect something like the FS1 later to the firewire port on my VCR (JVC SR-VS30) and then record that directly to VHS ?

Somehow the rendering part of the NLE still gives me the creeps taking so long for this type of work. I guess if i simply render separate regions it wouldnt be really that bad.

I think i really need to try this and see how much time it actually would take
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Old June 16th, 2005, 08:09 PM   #10
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well michael,
if you write that software and port it over to mac, i'll buy it.
the client i mentioned before seemed content with the final cut to excel workflow i described. but they really want an incredibly easy system where they type in some text (like performer name, type of routine, how many skaters, etc,) and it brings up the clip automatically.

when i first started investigating this stuff, i learned about some high-end, turnkey systems designed explicitly for logging and cataloging thousands of hours of footage. apparently the people who make "reality tv" use this stuff to keep track of all the horrible footage they shoot. anyhow, this stuff is way beyond the budgets of mere mortals. but i realized that a decent programmer (not me) should be able to come up with a relatively simple app that could keep track of all of your footage based on text and timecode. ideally it would work as a "plug-in" with your editing software of choice.

anyhow, best of luck to you. hopefully you can not only sell these tapes, but make a million bucks selling this clip organizing software.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 08:23 PM   #11
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The one thing I'd look into is if it's efficient for you to create an assembly line workflow. I was thinking something like this (assumes you're recording to disk)

1. Build all the orders first in Vegas (hopefully this is faster than searching and copying tape). The nice thing about this is that the more people you have working the faster orders get done.
2. Batch render all the orders in Vegas: AVIs for tape and MPEG2 for DVDs - no human intervention required
3. Record to the medium: VHS or DVD
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