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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old September 20th, 2005, 12:36 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St Louis, MO
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Do you back up your footage?

When you shoot a documentary or movie, do you copy the tapes?

I have a documentary with around ~200 hours of camera original tape. Originally my workflow was to capture those tapes and back them up on DLT.
However in calculating how large the amount of work will be to log this stuff, and much it will cost to back up the whole project, I'm thinking of just exporting useful clips and maybe putting those on DLT. That will take less time, cost less, and while I might have to recapture a camera original now and then, I will always have the "Best Of" clips laying around and cataloged.

I ask because I was told early on during a movie project to dub the tape before you work it. Now if I shot a movie, by all means I would copy every tape. But my documentary stuff might only have ten minutes of clips per one hour tape, so it just seems smarter to back up only the good clips. I also ask because I've never worked anything this big before and am interested in how the people here work stuff.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: switzerland
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yes, with direct to disk capture, i simply record on both tape and HDD.
the tape is usually not used (backup) and editing done from the HDD.
the advantage is the tape is used only once and can be reused to save the rushes once sorted if necessary, or given to the owner of the pictures.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #3
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Location: San Mateo, CA
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Two hundred hours is a lot of footage. If youre cutting a doc from it, then you are going to have to look at all of it at some point. Depending on what you cut on, my suggestion woud be to "Log for capture" as you screen it. First, make sure each tape is distinctively labeled so there is no confusion between tapes. Then Load Tape Number 1 - a and start watching. Hit the 'log' button (in avid) when you come to a good sequence. Make notes in your log field "Good interview with Martian" or "Great shot of landing sequences"... whatever. Also a good idea to qualitatively mark the clips. Perhaps a 1 for low level quality, a 5 for the very best, must use clips.

Then take a look at all the footage you have 'logged' but not captured. Perhaps its 20 hours worth of footage that rates 3 and above? Capture that on your hard drive to begin to edit. Don't forget to capture decent handle lengths. Sit through it again as the computer captures it. Now you are watching the 'circle takes' the ones you've chosen as good going into the hard drive. Make some choices as this is happening. Perhaps note some that weren't as good the second time around. Perhaps you're missing some that you dropped the first time. At any rate, the story and continuity will also start suggesting itself.

Now you have twenty or so hours of 'good footage'. Back this up on another exterior hard drive. Depending on the size, could be anywhere from two to four hundred dollars. Put it on a shelf (ALONG WITH THE ORIGINAL TAPES) and start editing on your project with the stuff on your drive.

A final method, and one that I use with AVID. The doc is finished. I'm happy with it. I "Consolidate" the media, with specific handles. That is, all the media that's actually IN the doc is saved to a seperated drive, and save THAT alone. That way, you're only saving the media necessary to re-create the doc on another drive, plus a bit of handles.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 05:45 PM   #4
Major Player
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Location: St Louis, MO
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::yes, with direct to disk capture, i simply record on both tape and HDD.::

That is awesome... I'm not at the direct-to-disk phase yet, but I think we all will be in a few years with the rate flash cards are growing :)

Thank you for the long explaination. Some of that seems obvious now but I wouldn't have thought to do it. The Avid stuff sounds awesome but I don't really have any of that, the logic still applies though.

The idea I had for review varies a bit from yours. My plan was to :
Capture the whole tape, watch it on the editor and set some in/out points. Then, watch it again, this time export what I like to raw DV files. This reduces use of the camera original tapes. I can jog shuttle around without using a tape deck. Then the stuff I export goes straight to DLT, and/or I can leave it on the editor to work on. There are some workflow and speed tradeoffs both ways, but the same thing in the end, do you think?

Thanks again for all the help.

Last edited by Jeff Miller; September 21st, 2005 at 07:47 AM. Reason: editted my editing
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