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Old April 26th, 2013, 04:48 PM   #1
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Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

Hi all,

I am helping my son's class movie project. I am shooting everything on my canon t2i, the audio is recorded using 2 xlr mics attached to my dr-40, along with a separate boom mic on the canon. I am having a few problems.. or possible problems with some things I was hoping to get some ideas/help from some of you here. Incidentally, I am on a beefy Windows 8 64-bit desktop that I built with 32GB ram, SSD boot, SSD cache drive for Adobe software, W5000 video card, etc.

The first thing is, I have shot now about 300 clips, most about 10 to 20 seconds, some a bit longer. I can sync audio decently, and I am not using Plural Eyes. I've been mostly using the hand clap method. The biggest problem I am having is the naming of the files on my dslr and my audio recorder. I also just discovered that I have to set the date/time each time I unplug my USB power from my DSLR rig battery pack to my audio recorder. My original idea was that the dslr files and the audio files would have the same date/time stamp. So.. how are you guys keeping track of what audio files go with what video files?

The next thing that I am not sure of is the basic workflow. I take the DSLR video files, load it up into adobe premiere, same with the audio files. Because of my previous issue with audio/video file names/dates being impossible to match, I basically have to watch the video, then listen to pretty much all of the audio (I store the audio/video in "dalies" folders so at least I only have to work with the specific days, not all days in one shot). Then I try to match up the audio and eventually sync it. It's time consuming, and I am not sure if Plural Eyes can help me in this case. I would love if I could just load up all 200+ video and audio clips, hit a button and some how plural eyes would match up the hand clap recorded with the video to the various audio files I have recorded.

Also, my biggest concern is that I am taking highly compressed (but ok looking) video, syncing audio, then I am going to render it out again adding more compression. I thought that if I transcoded all the footage to an intermediate format, synced/edited as needed, and saved it, I could use it multiple times if needed when putting it together for the final film.. without adding multiple compression artifacts each time its saved (rendered)?. Another reason I ask this is because ideally I would like to sync the audio to the video, cut the clips just right so they are ready for use, then upload them to a shared storage location that my other film partner can then use to review the clips, see if we need to reshoot, and/or start to assemble. So again, I am trying to avoid multiple compression/redner cycles, to keep the already too-compressed video as clean as possible. So..with all that said..is there a recommended way with DSLR video to transcode it to a lossless format for potentially multiple edits? I was originally going to use DNxHD but found out Adobe doesn't support that yet (hopefully the soon to be released update will add it). Also, I would like to eventually buy the BM Pocket camera and/or 4K camera, and I own a Shuttle 2 that records ProRes (like the cameras) or DNxHD. My thought was, transcode to one of those formats? Or is there an even better option? I have two computers, one can be set up to watch a network folder and run a transcode operation on any video.. so I am not worried about how much time it takes. I just want to do everything possible to avoid adding any extra video compression to the already compressed video (at least until I get my BMCC and use RAW or ProRes/DNxHD).

There is a side to this.. I have the Shuttle 2 recorder and a 256GB SSD.. but for some impossible reason to figure out, my HDMI out on my t2i suddenly stopped working the DAY of my first shoot for my kids movie. I was all set to go.. so upset. Even worse, I bought a nice IKAN 8" monitor for my DSLR rig (which just arrived) and because the HDMI out doesn't work, I can't record or view it. Saving up for the BM Pocket Camera, otherwise I'd consider maybe getting another T2i or t3i body.

Thanks all.. appreciate any help/thoughts.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 09:03 PM   #2
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

The date and time shouldn't need to be reset every time you power down your recorder. Check that the backup battery is fresh (I assume it has a backup battery for just this purpose.)

On the transcoding front: h.264 is the worst codec for editing. Transcode it to ProRes 422 HQ. Edit in ProRes, then go to your output format when everything's done.

To keep track on set, you need your 2nd AC to write down the file numbers that the camera generates (e.g.: 100-0091) for each of the takes. Then have your sound recordist write down the file names the recorder is making for each take. Then the assistant editor can take these two documents and arrange the sound and video files together. If you have a media manger/DIT on-set, then he or she can do it as the cards come in.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 10:38 PM   #3
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

Thanks Edwards. Unfortunately I am working with a teacher that is in a mad rush to get the film done because she was ill for a while and started a month or so late in filming. I am the lone camera/audio/editor of the project, she wrote the script and works with the kids and such. I don't have the time to look at the audio recorder file name, nor do I actually know how to see both the audio file name and the dslr file name being recorded when recording..?? That's a great idea if I had time to set things up before each shot.

So Windows 8 + Adobe works with ProRes? I know Quicktime is sadly 32-bit and keeps causing my After Effects to crash.. drives me nuts!
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Old April 26th, 2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post

Also, my biggest concern is that I am taking highly compressed (but ok looking) video, syncing audio, then I am going to render it out again adding more compression. I thought that if I transcoded all the footage to an intermediate format, synced/edited as needed, and saved it, I could use it multiple times if needed when putting it together for the final film.. without adding multiple compression artifacts each time its saved (rendered)?.
Transcoding H.264 to an intermediary codec is pointless. Edit native in Premiere Pro and save the project. Every time you want to render to a different format, you can either:

1. Master to a better format (That's why we have masters)
2. Render from the project itself

As long as the footage stays within the project, there's no compression or transcoding. Zero transcoding.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 11:02 PM   #5
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
...I am the lone camera/audio/editor of the project, she wrote the script and works with the kids and such. I don't have the time to look at the audio recorder file name, nor do I actually know how to see both the audio file name and the dslr file name being recorded when recording..?? That's a great idea if I had time to set things up before each shot...
From my perspective, that's crazy talk. I can't imagine working that way. "Workflow" starts in the shoot, and anything you don't have time to do in the shoot will take many times longer in post. Spotting the audio clips for the video without a log, for example. Even as a volunteer your time is worth something, you only get so much time, why waste it? Time that goes to brute-force tasks like this spotting can't be spent on the more creative and fun parts of putting a project together in post.

In a dSLR like the T2i the method to get the filename is to complete a shot, then hit the review button. You can see the filename when the file is selected for playback - takes 5 seconds, scribble it in your pocket notebook, write the audio clip number next to it, takes another 5 seconds. I've not worked with the T2i, there may be a button to push to cycle through various data in review. Does it have a "Q", or "Info" button?

I've not worked with the DR40, but typically such recorders display the filename while recording, and if you hit "Play" after recording the most recent clip will be played.

Take control of the shoot. Think how much worse things will be when you're trying to keep up and the audio doesn't get recorded because you didn't have 2 seconds to confirm that it went into record... You do need some practice time at home, work those T2i and DR40 controls until you're comfortable with quickly getting the filenames, a shoot log is the foundation of your workflow.

Having said all that, do try an eval on Plural Eyes. It will sync like magic in most cases, and anybody who has tried it never wants to go back.

If you start with freshly formatted cards in both devices each day, and are very careful in your work, associating audio with the right video should be easy - both cam and recorder number files sequentially. Careful and meticulous adding to the timeline should get all audio and video clips in the right order.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 12:39 AM   #6
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

All good info.

@Edward, I don't like the idea of ProRes on Windows. I know it's a 32-bit quicktime server thing and is buggy and slow. I also know that it definitely affects my AE, with it installed, AE crashes a bit, without it, little smoother. AE has always been problematic for me though. I have a decent machine too, plenty of ram, 2 SSD drives, W5000 workstation card (which I understand as of today does not do anything for AE since it only supports Cuda.. hopefully 6.5 or 7 will add OpenCL support for AE).

At any rate, I was hoping there'd be a buttery smooth editing format that everyone loves to use on Windows... that they typically would transcode to for editing purposes.

@Sareesh, I don't know that I agree. I've read some saying to just edit in h.264 and others that say transcode. I lean towards transcoding it.. if I transcode it the video won't get any worse than it is, and edits and such will not degrade the video any further. Once transcoded, I can upload/share the transcoded footage for others to use if necessary. With H.264, while that too can be done, each render causes more compression from what I've read. I can save the project, sure.. but what if I want to export the media to say, ProRes (which I know can't be done on Windows.. hypotehtically speaking) for another team to then assemble the clips or perhaps do color grading on or something? I believe the right solution is to transcode to a format that when saved as exported clips, doesn't degrade the video any further. That is what I am after. I am hoping CinemaDNG will eventually be that format, or perhaps Cineform? I'll spend the money if I can be assured it works well on Windows 8/64-bit (and hopefully utilizes OpenCL for speed up). I'd typically say DNxHD, but so far that isn't supported in Adobe either.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

Just a heads up, I bought a video converter app called Brorsoft. I have Windows 8 Pro and an ATI FirePro W5000 video card. I tried the trial first, and it did actually work, although when I started it, it showed in the splash screen Initing Cuda and in my tray icon my video driver crashed. Somehow, it was still working though. But I was able to transcode my DSLR footage to DNxHD 220, so I bought the software for $35. Got the reg code, it said uninstall trial and install full version, did so. When I started it, it BSOD my machine. Rebooted, tried again, same thing. From their tips, remove ALL but the video driver, so I uninstalled all my ati apps except the driver, the asus m/b software, etc. Reboot, tried, crashed again.

Surprisingly they were quire responsive on the weekend in answering my questions, even though I repeated several emails that I had ATI they kept telling me it will look for CUDA if it's installed, which I clearly said I did not have. Anyway, to me the problem is somehow their software is trying to init CUDA when it's not in my system and it's crashing the atimpag.sys file.

Now that I've asked for a refund, they are silent. I am hoping they'll respond soon and give me a refund as their software was clearly not tested for ATI video cards and/or Windows 8.

Just wanted to share that before someone else buys their software.
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Old April 30th, 2013, 02:13 PM   #8
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

Have you tried Ciniform free. I believe it works for Canon DSLR's
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Old May 1st, 2013, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: Help with workflow (adobe, dslr, audio, etc)

I did, and now I can't remember if it worked well or not. I bought some software from a company that the trial worked and the full version crashed my Windows 8 box continuosly and sadly they aren't responding to my requests for a refund either.. I think they are based in China. I should have known! Brorsoft video converter. Stay away!

I can't seem to find a good converter to transcode to DNxHD 220 on Windows 8 Pro 64-bit. You'd think as long as 64-bit cpus have been out, there would be improved 64-bit software for things like transcoding video and audio formats.
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