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Old May 6th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Buffalo, New York
Posts: 51
Suggestions on how to speed up my workflow?

I make TV commercials and Interview DVDs and as my work load increases, I've been looking for ways to cut back on the time it takes to get a finished product out the door.

I would be very grateful for any suggestions.

Steve Hoffman
Buffalo, NY



What I own:
--------------------------------------
Computer 1 –Main
HP Pavilion
XP Media Center Edition
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual
Core Processor 4600+
2.41 GHz, 2GB RAM
150GB generic hard drive
----------
Computer 2-backup
HP Pavilion
XP Home Edition
AMD Athlon 64 processor
Core Processor 3200+
100GB Generic Hard drive
1.99 GHz, 2GB RAM
----------
Hard Drives:
4x 500GB Seagate externals via USB 2
4x My Book 650GB externals via USB 2
3x 500GB Seagate Date Traveler via USB 2
----------
Software:
Premiere Pro 2.0
Windows Movie Maker
Serious Magic DVCPro HD Batch Converter
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Camera:
Panasonic AG-HVX 200
Sony Handycam
---------
Recording Media:
Focus enhancements FS-100 hard drive
Mini-DV
-----------------------------------------


My workflows
-------------------------------
Mini-DV Workflow(standard def)
Capture Mini-DV with Windows Movie Maker using Handycam as a tape deck
Import into Adobe Premiere Pro
Edit
Export to Mini-DV via Premiere Pro using Handycam as a tape deck

------------
FS-100 Workflow
Copy data off of FS-100 via firewire
Convert to AVI2 using DVCPro HD Batch Converter(1hour+)
Import into Premiere Pro
Render for Preview(1 Hour +)
Edit
Export to Mini-DV via Premiere Pro using Handycam as tape deck
------------

FS-100 Workflow for Green screen
(Note: sub optimal footage due to lack of experience and/or doing it on the road)
Copy Date off of FS-100 via Firewire
Convert to AVI2 using DVCPRO HD Batch Converter(1 hour+)
Import into premiere pro
Render for preview(1 hour+)
Edit
Apply Chroma Key
Render for preview(10min-1 hour+)
Edit Chroma key
Render for preview(10min-1 hour+)
Edit Chroma key
Render for preview(10min-1 hour+)
Export to Mini-DV via Premiere Pro using Handycam as tape deck
--------------
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Old May 6th, 2008, 05:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
I think you're bound to get zillions of suggestions, all of which contradict each other, but here's my take, from someone who's just a regular guy, not a computer expert:

I'm not sure any one single thing will dramatically speed up your workflow. I think you could do a lot of little things, but as the costs mount only you can decide what's the most cost effective for you.

But for starters, I'd look at upgrades to hardware, OS and NLE. You could get much better performance out of a new workstation with a much faster chip or chips (like 2 Quad Xeons) as well as multiple fast disks in RAID, and I'd definitely recommend more memory and at least XP Pro.

On the workflow side, just curious as to why you capture in WMM when Premiere does a fine job? You could also upgrade to Adobe CS3 and add Cineform Aspect or Prospect which will likely give you some improvements in both speed and stability (at the cost of more HDD space).

If most of the time you'd like to recover is in the rendering phase, then probably the new chip(s) and HDDs will help the most. If the editing itself is sluggish, then maybe more memory would be of benefit. Internal HDDs will almost always be faster than external USBs, and in fact Adobe recommends against using externals.

If your final destination is DVD, why not author to DVD first and then just make a MiniDV tape backup after the project is done and delivered? Obviously for real TV commercials you need to go out to tape first although some stations and cable systems are starting to accept stuff on DVD.

Over the last few years I've done all this and each step helped a bit. But as projects get more complex it seems that every step forward is accompanied by one step back...
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Old May 6th, 2008, 11:16 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Mount Pleasant, MI
Posts: 177
Like Adam said, just use Premiere for your capturing.

A hardware upgrade would help a lot if you are continuing to do chroma key work. I'm told that the Matrox RT.X2 can do some keys directly in hardware without rendering.

For the FS-100 workflow - you mention that you are shooting in standard definition. Are you using it on a MiniDV camera? If so, the FS-100 should create files that are ready to edit without and conversion. Why would you export to DVCPRO HD if you are delivering on MiniDV? It looks to me like this is an unnecessary conversion which not only costs you time, but will degrade the quality of your images.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Buffalo, New York
Posts: 51
Thanks for the suggestions guys!

To be honest about my abilities, whenever I'm shooting with the FS-100, I'm always shooting in high-def in order to give myself the most room to make up for beginners errors. Mostly choosing how to frame the shot.

It also helps in the fact that often clients want very different things and doing it in high-def to begin with give me so much flexibility in what I have to use as far as footage goes.

I normally export to Mini-DV and then have it bumped to Beta at a local video store, most TV stations are fine with Mini-DV, but one recently requested DVD so I included it on the list.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #5
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Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
If you're exclusively shooting in HDV -- and I think that's a good idea to give yourself the most flexibility -- I'd really suggest you look into Cineform and do your entire post production process in HDV, then downconvert only at the last minute when burning to DVD or going to the local post house to convert HD tape to DigiBeta and the like. Capturing with a Cineform preset in Premiere converts your files to CFHD-avi in near-real-time as you capture -- or at least it does for me shooting regular 1080i HDV.

Believe it or not, CS3 is vastly improved over PPro 2 in terms of AME and Encore -- and coupled with Aspect HD from Cineform I've been really pleased with the simplicity and quality of the workflow.
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