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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.


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Old November 20th, 2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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1st documentary in Vegas

Hi, I'm starting the pre planning on my editing my first documentary in Vegas. I was wondering if anyone had any tips. Ive mostly done music videos and this will be my first project that's longer than 30 minutes. I have just a few questions"

1.Any tips on working with a large amount of video files and Vegas (I'm using 10)

2.75% of the video was done on a 7D, while the rest of it was done on a mix of cameras and video files (AVCHD, M2TS, etc). Whats the best program to purchase so I can have them as the same format as the 7D. I just want to make the likelihood of Vegas crashing as slim as possible.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 11:23 PM   #2
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

everything to cineform (or as i used to do, mxf).

don't try and do everything at once. edit down material to what's needed. then work in sections then work as a whole.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Thanks for the tips. About to check out cineform now
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

As for working with lots of footage in any nle, I find it easier to break the footage into sections. IOWs, take all the footage that goes into say the opening piece, do a rough edit save it as whatever, then do all the footage from any other section of the doc. continue until you've got all the sections rough cut. Put together as nested veg files, see how long it is and how it tells the story. Make notes and use markers or regions to indicate what you want to refine in the total package, save it of course, then go back to the individual veg files of each section and do your refinements. Since you can open mulitple instances of Vegas you can toggle back and forth from an individual section to the total piece to check your edit. Put the re-cut veg files together into another total package save it, play thru it and continue to make the refinements needed and before long you've got a finished doc.
Of course this workflow might seem cumbersome but lets say you've got 80 to 100 hours of footage and need it down to 90 minutes. You're telling a story, from beginning to middle to end in a sensible comprehensive way and for me, this is the only way I can do something like this UNLESS I have storyboard, a script or a producer sitting with me to make the edit decisions.
Doing a job like this can be stressful but ends up being very rewarding when finished.
One thing though. We all want to see all of the footage we did for a job but you need to be mindful of what you are trying to accomplish, who your audience is going to be and honestly, you have to be brutally honest with yourself in your edit decisions. If it doesn't add to the story in a meaningful way, leave it out.
Have fun and good luck.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 03:18 AM   #5
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Feggans View Post
Thanks for the tips. About to check out cineform now
Just thought i would point out that I have been using Cineform in V10 and v11 with no issues but Vegas 12 dosen't want to import them. Comes up with the warning 'an error occured while opening one or more files', followed by 'an error occured while opening a codec.' These were MTS 1080 50p files that were converted through Neoscene. Another backward step in v12 maybe?

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Old December 2nd, 2012, 06:10 AM   #6
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

I released my first long form documentary a couple of months ago and I'm delighted to say it's been received very well - Jets magazine in the UK called it "undoubtedly the best aviation DVD of 2012" in their review to be published 20 Dec. Anyway, shameless gloating aside, the film is a few minutes off two hours and includes interviews with about 20 people and tons of archive material. There's a trailer and description here: The Story of the Black Arrows

The best tip I can offer is one given to me a couple of years ago by Vasco Dones, another veteran of DVi, and an established documentarian: it is to create a rough cut of your story on paper before you go anywhere near your NLE.

I did mine using a (HUGE) stack of index cards on which I wrote major themes, sub-themes, details of specific clips, dialogue spoken etc, then reordered these on my office floor until I had a rough structure. Some people prefer post-it notes but I went for index cards which were bigger, more durable and were lined. Better still I could file them in order easily. Try filing three hundred post-it notes :-)

Many of the index cards were torn up, many were renamed, new ones were added, and when I had a rough outline I then numbered them all (A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3 etc). Then I went to each card and on the reverse I fleshed out details of the interview clips, dialogue, voiceover, archive footage, stills, graphics etc that I could use in each segment. I had already created a comprehensive spreadsheet of all my media assets before starting this exercise so I used the reference number assigned to each piece of media, as well as a description - hard work up front but very well worth it in the long term.

It had been my intention to then transfer all this to Word and use the outliner functions to turn these cards into an editing script but to be honest that (for me) was an unnecessary step. By the time I'd completed the work on the index cards I knew my material so well that I was quite capable of working directly from the cards, a segment at a time (as Don and Leslie wisely suggest).

One thing I started but gave up on because it was so time consuming, was creating a written transcript of all the interviews. However that was almost thirty hours of material and not even halfway through the first interview I almost gave up the will to live (I'm not an accomplished typist!). What I did instead was to go through each interview and identify all the individual themes each interviewee commented on (along with the TC at the start of each comment). This actually became the basis for the theme areas on the index cards. After determining the rough final structure for the film I then went through each interview and chopped them up into the required themed segments, then sorted them into appropriately named bins (v12's tagging would have been welcomed then!). Only then did I start the edit proper. Two and a half years after first rolling a camera for the film, I finally managed to release it!

Hope that's of some little use.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Transcripts are really useful, but I totally get Ian's point about losing the will to live typing them out.

Here's a couple of good workarounds. First, you could use a freelancer service like Elance to find transcribers. The cost can be anywhere from $30-$90 per audio hour, and the quality varies, so choose who does them carefully. Make sure they have a good track record of delivering.

If you're committed to doing them yourself, pickup a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software. Train it for your own voice. Then, play the audio of your interviews through your headset, while repeating them verbatim into the microphone. I did this and got through each one hour transcript in about 90 minutes with excellent accuracy. Also. it's a really good way to become familiar with your material.

There is a version of Dragon that tries to transcribe audio files, but it isn't nearly as accurate as it isn't familiar with the new voices, and doesn't deal well with poor audio.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 01:51 PM   #8
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Excellent idea Bill. Where were you two years ago?! ;-)

I looked at two freelance copy typists to transcribe the interviews but the cheap one was too slow and the fast one was too expensive - they both worked out at around the same overall cost of around 900 to transcribe 30+ hours of material - sadly too much for my self funded project ;-(
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Old December 4th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #9
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Hi Ian, I noticed you're using youtube for your trailer. I recently decided it's easiest to let them worry about the format wars (flash/ipad etc) and just embed their files. Did you reach the same conclusion?
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Old December 4th, 2012, 02:27 PM   #10
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

I most certainly did Duane! Actually, it was more from the viewpoint of YouTube being such an important search engine, but the format issue did enter into things.

As the project is a commercial one (and self-funded), maximising the potential audience for people who might want to buy the DVD is of paramount importance. While Vimeo wins in most other regards, it does not (IMO) win when it comes to search engine ranking.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 04:56 PM   #11
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

agree with ian - vimeo by far better, but youtube for search...

that said, i have video's on both (though by choice vimeo, but some clients opt for youtube because that's what THEY know)), but i really don't think the thought of 'search' should come into it. i mean there's so much out there already...

i don't think any (especially my 130k hit video on vimeo) was found by 'search'. my experience has been that viewer numbers are dependent on linkage (ie. embedding from other sites), and of course viral (whether overnight or over years).
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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Hi Guys

I use Don's method as well!! It's much easier to do an edit on a 10 minute clip rather than a 1 hr 55 min clip!! For weddings I actually break up the whole thing into events and actually keep the clips independent. Each clip has a black start (Just a few seconds of a black box from Media Generator) and the end of each clip is also faded to black. When you run each video on a DVD as the clips change you get a fade to black and a seamless start black so there is absolutely no loss of continuity.

The second theory is the once that the average viewer has a short attention span so giving them a mental break by running 10 x 6 minute clips rather than 1 x 60 minute clips provides a "brain reset" every 6 minutes and they don't get bored. If the documentary changes locations, you can physically make a new clip for that section which also helps to "break the boredom"

Of course from an error/ edit POV ...small clips are easier to work with than one huge one and if a crash does occur it's only the current clip that you have to re-do!

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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:48 PM   #13
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Young View Post
Just thought i would point out that I have been using Cineform in V10 and v11 with no issues but Vegas 12 dosen't want to import them. Comes up with the warning 'an error occured while opening one or more files', followed by 'an error occured while opening a codec.' These were MTS 1080 50p files that were converted through Neoscene. Another backward step in v12 maybe?

Chris Young
CYV Productiopns
Sydney
I'm having an issue now with cineform (stand alone-not using it with Vegas). I have a lot of old mt2 and mts footage. It wont let me convert any of the m2ts files, but I can convert the mts files. It will not even allow me to select them. ( I shot a large amount of the footage on my Sony FX1000).


Has anyone else experienced this issue with avchd footage and the new "gopro" cinceform?


Also, I REALLY appreciate all of the tips. Three years of footage and it being self funded and self edited is kind of scary, but some of the tips you all have given are great ideas I had never thought of. Thanks!
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Old December 17th, 2012, 05:37 AM   #14
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Re: 1st documentary in Vegas

a little late to the thread but

in addition to client work, ive been working on a 3 of my own television programs.
2 thirteen x22min series
1 one hour one-off

needless to say, i got lots of footage coming into my system. I'll reiterate what others have said, edit in small segments. it improves nle performance and if anything should go wrong with the project file you'll only lose a few minutes worth of work.

as for logging my footage - what i do is:
- import my days footage in to my nle
- do my trims/audio sync/organizing
- use the titler to make simple notes for clips/events (doesn't have to be every clip)
- make snapshots of titled/noted clips (tip: change project to low rez so snapshots are small. I use 320x180. Also use the region number in your titled notes)
- render out my full rez trims to dnxhd without the notes
( again most important thing is having a solid naming workflow, I use "bulk rename utility" for my renaming)

- then I use powerpoint to organize each segment/episode.
You can easily drag items from folders and drag around within ppt, make notes, use colors/ borders etc. Ppt is extremely flexible and its universal so I can do it/open it anywhere anywhere. Then I print out the ppt and keep it by me when editing.

My workflow mutated from reading how Walter Murch organizes his edits. ie picture and colours
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