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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 2nd, 2011, 11:38 PM   #1
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SDE workflow, Final Cut, 7D cams

I have my first SDE coming up and have a question about workflow.

Specifically this same day edit will be with (3) 7D cams video, edited in Final Cut w/MacBook Pro.

I have tested this workflow and it seems to work, but perhaps there's someone out there with some experience willing to offer advice or suggest something that I've overlooked? There is just no room for error and I want to avoid an unforeseen problem.

1. Connect 3 usb card readers with the CF card for each cam
2. Import each CF into the project without ever coping to my hard drive
3. Edit in h264 (FC chooses this when you opt to match sequence settings to clip, no rendering)
4. Output to HD projector, mini-display port to HDMI (I'm comfortable with this part)

Since time is so critical, and a full CF card takes about 20 mins to dump, multiply that time by 3 cards (worst case senario) I plan to use this workflow to eliminate approx 45 min or so of download time.

Anyone use this workflow for their SDE? Anything I may have overlooked?

Comments welcome, thanks for the help.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 01:15 AM   #2
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Craig,

If I understood what you're saying, are you editing off a CF card in h264? Unless I'm outdated, it seems like you might struggle with editing as I'm guessing you will experience a lot of trouble (buffering, loading, etc). I never tried it but that's just my guess.

Have you tried using a firewire card reader? That might save you heaps time dumping each cards files into your HDD.

I usually dump my file and convert progressively during ceremony, that way I can have my file converted and ready to edit in the afternoon.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 07:58 AM   #3
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Johannes is right, trying to edit from the card without any transcoding will mean that you will be faced with a lot of lagging and frustration during editing. I don't see how you can achieve a successful edit with this workflow.

What you need to do is to dump cards and transcode WHILE you are shooting so you don't really lose any time. If you're worried about transcoding too much ceremony part that you don't need, just transcode the bits that you need e.g. bridal walk, vow, wedding kiss.

All the best

Santo
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 08:20 AM   #4
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Hi Craig,

If this is something you would like to do more of you may want to invest in a few more cards and dump them into the computer as you're shooting. I transfer only the mov's to labelled folders and batch-transcode them during the entire the day with MPEG Streamclip. When I start the edit I can start cutting the prores lt files right away. Many times Streamclip is still working on the last few dumps as I'm working on the prep. I can see how you may have to work with h264 if time is really tight, but I'd still suggest cutting what you think you may use in the edit in fcp and creating prores files for the actual edit.

Fingers crossed that the expected update to final cut studio includes efficient native h264 editing...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
I have my first SDE coming up and have a question about workflow.

Specifically this same day edit will be with (3) 7D cams video, edited in Final Cut w/MacBook Pro.

I have tested this workflow and it seems to work, but perhaps there's someone out there with some experience willing to offer advice or suggest something that I've overlooked? There is just no room for error and I want to avoid an unforeseen problem.

1. Connect 3 usb card readers with the CF card for each cam
2. Import each CF into the project without ever coping to my hard drive
3. Edit in h264 (FC chooses this when you opt to match sequence settings to clip, no rendering)
4. Output to HD projector, mini-display port to HDMI (I'm comfortable with this part)

Since time is so critical, and a full CF card takes about 20 mins to dump, multiply that time by 3 cards (worst case senario) I plan to use this workflow to eliminate approx 45 min or so of download time.

Anyone use this workflow for their SDE? Anything I may have overlooked?

Comments welcome, thanks for the help.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 04:44 PM   #5
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Thx everyone.

I have (8) 32gif CF cards. I just got an express card to CF card reader. I tested it. Using the express card slot on my Macbook Pro, I was able to download a full 32gig CF card in just over 10mins. That's about 1/2 the time. So I now think I can dump everything to the drive fast enough.

BUT.... The transcoding is just too damn slow. Too damn slow!! There's no way. I just can't see planning to have all that time at my disposal to transcode the ceremony video from 3 cams. Yeah I could have the preceremony video done in time but I would be there waiting and waiting on the ceremony video so stressed out I'd want to jump out a window. :) You guys that are selective about what to transcode for each cam, then transcode, then edit, I almost can't believe it. Seems too time consuming and I would inevitably compromise on my initial selections to save time, then regret it.

For an SDE, I wouldn't attempt to do too much in the way of effects, filters, color grading, no full on post-production stuff. Lots and lots of straight cuts. The 7D files play in realtime on the timeline in h264. There's no problem seeing the video and choosing in/out points. I can insert clips, then after I feel I have achieved the right timing for all the clips in the timeline, add a filmy filter, a few tweaks, transition or two, and render it. Can that "fail"?
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 04:51 PM   #6
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i have the latest mbp 17inch and it cannot play my 7d/5d footage without lagging once in a while. You must have a special mbp :)

Basically the aim of transcoding the footage is to prevent lagging/crashing while editing the footage... so if you're saying that this doesn't happen with you, then i guess there's no point transcoding it first. I'd be interested to hear about your laptop spec.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Macbook Pro 17", Core 2 Duo, 4gig Ram, OS 10.5.8
Final Cut 6.0.6

If I input 7D video into h264 timeline... No lag, no crashes, playback is absolutely flawless, and timeline render manager shows no indication that video needs render (as I would expect if FC has correctly "matched" sequence settings to clip). Only after I apply a filter does it require rendering. When I do my SDE, I'll apply any filters as the last step.

On the other hand, if I input 7D video into non-h264 timeline... Yes, frequent lag

[Susanto] Are you saying that when you put your 7D video in timeline and you're prompted with "match sequence settings to clip" and you click yes, that the video in the timeline doesn't playback perfectly like it does on mine?
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 08:51 PM   #8
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Craig, you made me curious.

Last time I tried to drag my native 7D files to FCP, it's almost impossible to edit with unless you're on a 8G ram machine, which is not the case with you either. In fact, my MBP is actually more advanced than yours.

Although, I must admit I have never tried dragging the native h264 into the sequence timeline and let it match the clip settings. Would love to give it a go tonight and see if it works.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 06:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
[Susanto] Are you saying that when you put your 7D video in timeline and you're prompted with "match sequence settings to clip" and you click yes, that the video in the timeline doesn't playback perfectly like it does on mine?
yes indeed. I have no idea why your machine is cooler than mine. apparently it seems to be cooler than a lot of other machines :P you should take good care of it.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #10
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This is interesting, when I use h264 in timeline on my 8-core MacPro, 7D video playback lags very badly. This must be what everyone's experiencing. I don't understand why my Macbook Pro can handle it? hmmm
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Old February 5th, 2011, 02:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
This is interesting, when I use h264 in timeline on my 8-core MacPro, 7D video playback lags very badly. This must be what everyone's experiencing. I don't understand why my Macbook Pro can handle it? hmmm
Is your Mac Pro running Leopard & the old version of FCP? I too am amazed that you can edit native 7D files in FCP smoothly. There is of course a difference between being able to play back smoothly & actually editing.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 07:09 AM   #12
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No I can't edit them smoothly. I can only play them in the timeline smoothly.

If I add any filters, I get a red bar across the top of the timeline indicating render is required.

Tested some other 7D movie files, they all playback on the timeline (without any effects/filters) perfectly. Those same files stutter/lag/pause on my 8-core MacPro (with 16gig of ram).
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Old February 5th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #13
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I haven't tested it yet, but I believe CS5's Premiere can handle the 7d's footage natively... This would/is a Godsend to me, because I'm going to be doing some SDEs this season...
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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:13 AM   #14
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I apologize if some of this ground has already been covered. I just had time to browse some of the responses.

Firstly, I see that some people are saying that they can edit h.264 footage fine on a Macbook Pro, and not so much on a Mac Pro. Same deal here. I find h.264 can be cut natively on a Macbook Pro as long as it's simple cuts and you're not stacking a bunch of effects on the clips. My old workflow was to do a series of short rough cut sequences, then export them to a ProRes file for inclusion on the main timeline. But the operative word is "old."

Secondly, for a SDE I would very much recommend dropping the USB card readers and picking up a Firewire card reader. They are more pricy, but when times an issue you need that speed. Especially if you're editing right off of the card.

I would also recommend that you use the log and transfer tool. It is a very powerful tool that will save you a lot of time.

I connect the card, open up Log & Transfer, and pick the clips I want to import. Then I mark in and outs on every clip and only transcode the footage that I know I'm going to use. In most cases I'm just taking 3 or 4 seconds from each clip. It's entirely possible that for a 3 minute SDE I'm only transcoding 5 or 6 minutes of footage all day.

Not only does it save the time of transcoding everything, but it means I have to consider the edit as I transcode, which greatly speeds up the actual editing time. As I'm browsing the clips, I'm thinking about how they're going to be worked into the sequence.

For example, we go into every SDE with an outline. Our outline may call for 15 seconds of makeup clips, which would be maybe 7 or 8 clips. As I'm going through the bride prep card I'm literally simply transcoding 3 or 4 seconds from 7 or 8 clips. Since I know what I'm looking for, when everything is transcoded it's just a matter of dragging everything to the timeline and re-ordering.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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Hi Craig,
I do couple times of SDE, and in my workflow it need minimum 3 people (1 videographer, 1 editor, and 1 runner) I use alot of CF cards (8pcs 16Gb for each cam) I separate the ceremony into many CFs (i.e when I done with bride walk, till a moment before vow, I switched with a new CF, and my runner will give it to my editor, and I can continue shooting without have to worry about transcoding and tight timing.. because it all run parallel) yeah it quite push the runner to do 'little sport' for back and forth between me and my editor..:D and when the ceremony finish, my editor ready to edit the last CF from ceremony part, and two hours later the video is ready to watch during cocktail or dinner..:)
ow, yeah when doing SDE, I cannot use my MBP, because it often made my editor (and me) looks like hell with the lag, transcoding, and rendering time, and it affect the final result.. so I always bring my iMac..:D yeah i know maybe it sounds silly, but it works, I can cut lots of time..:)
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