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Old January 5th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: recife, Brazil
Posts: 13
Workflow advice: combing HDV and SD in FCP?

I am starting to edit a feature length documentary and am seeking advice/tips to facilitate my workflow and avoid major headaches downstream. I am editing from a massive amount of raw footage – close to 200 tapes – most of which has already been captured – currently with 500GB of raw footage on my drive.
Most of our footage is HDV – 60i, however we have decided to edit our final output as SD for a few reasons. Firstly, about 25% of our footage was captured by a previous editor – though it was originally recorded on tape as HDV – he converted on capture to regular SD anamorphic – and we don’t have the time to revisit the original tapes. Also, we are using a bunch of archival historical footage from the 50’s which is fairly low-res. We figure that upscaling this footage for a hig-res output will contrast too harshly with our full res HD – so are opting for a final output of SD anamorphic - a happy compromise.
Had we known that we would go this route, we would have converted all of our HDV footage to SD on capture – as I know it would greatly facilitate my workflow if all our footage was the same format (SD)– unfortunately all our footage has already been captured in HDV – so we are forced to combine the footage.
About 75% of our raw footage will be HDV, often times whole scenes are exclusively HDV and so I have been editing these in HDV sequences – which I later drop on to the “final output” timeline – which is SD – and the entire sequence downscales to 50%. The nested sequence plays choppy, dropping frames, etc. vs. its smooth playback as an independent HDV sequence.
My primary query revolves around combining these formats, specifically issues relating to nesting sequences – but would be grateful for other tips regarding combining different formats. My secondary query relates to keeping organized in the browser – how to not become overwhelmed buy the enormous number of folders, sequences ,etc.
Any advice is very much appreciated, Thanks.
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Old January 5th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,650
I'm working on a documentary that has similar issues. Shot half in HD and half in SD with an HD camera plus lots of archival footage in SD. The previous editor decided to down res everything so I have to do the same with the new footage. Actually if I was involved from the start, I would have told them to shoot all the new footage in HD and make a decision in the editing process whether the archival footage was too messed up to up-res successfully. I think that the archival footage would have worked fine in HD but the decision was made way down the line and so I work with what I have.

Edit sequences in HDV and bring them into the SD timeline. If you are making an 16:9 SD timeline it should work simply. If you are working in 4:3, you'll have to zoom in.

Build chapters, by subject or time. Keep all related footage in a bin specific to that chapter. You can even make separate projects for each chapter. At the end make a project for the finished documentary and just cut and paste from each entire chapter timeline into the finished timeline. This way everything is kept where it relates the most until the very end.
William Hohauser - New York City
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