Skip to main content

Native Workflows outlined

For a lot of smaller productions, typically documentary makers, their projects will shoot with smaller format cameras such as DSLR or small hand-held cameras like the Panasonic AJ-PX270 or Canon XF305.

All these cameras can produce stunning quality pictures and produce relatively small files for storing and editing with. This means these productions could work with rushes in their 'Native' format removing the need to carry out a more complex offline and online conform and can help streamline the editing process and more importantly save money and time.

This approach still needs some planning as you need to ensure camera rushes are presented in similar, if not identical formats (raster size, framerate and colour space). This can still be challenging, especially when some productions have little experience and may have little technical understanding of camera equipment and formats. So what can we, as assistants, do to ensure the project runs smoothly and can be edited in its native form?


Let your work, flow and don't put costly hurdles in your own way.

The Camera(s)

Check with the production which cameras they are shooting with. Just knowing the camera model will start to help build a picture of what type of media you could expect to handle. If they are shooting with a Canon 7D then you will be receiving H.264 QuickTime files. But if they are shooting with the Panasonic AJ-PX270 then you could receive a number of different formats depending on how the camera is a setup. Productions may use multiple cameras such as GoPro or even a second camera such as an iPhone. Ask what they use.


We should also ask what format they intend to shoot with. For example, they may intend to shoot 1920x1080 25P with their Canon 7D, so we need to try and ensure that the GoPro and iPhone have at the very least the same frame rate of 25 frames per second to marry in with the main camera.

When using cameras with variable codecs such as the Panasonic P2 cameras the Codec should be established, for example, AVC Intra 100. If the production intends to use external crews make sure they have an understanding of the frame rate and codecs they need to shoot in.

There's nothing more frustrating as having great images in the wrong frame rate that may make them useless for your project.

Make up a quick check sheet which can be emailed out to camera people and producers to help ensure there are no hiccups.

Ingest Process

Avid can work with pretty much any format, but the time ingesting this content into a project will vary depending upon a number of factors.

Camera Codec: Some camera codecs are supported directly within Media Composer, for example, AVC Intra 100. This means that material can be fast-tracked into Avid by linking to the camera rushes and then consolidating it to your media drives. But some codecs, such as Quicktime with H.264 codec as used with DSLR cameras, isn't natively supported and so will need to be converted into a supported Avid format. In the case of DSLR material, this can be linked to and then Transcode (convert) it into an Avid supported codec such as DNX120 or even AVC Intra 100.

Media Composer / AMA Version: The version of Media Composer or the AMA plugin used with your camera may also be a factor in getting content into your system. If your Media Composer or AMA plugin is too old you may not be able to get the latest cameras codec into the system. Check the cameras age and codec to ensure your Media Composer version supports it BEFORE shooting an entire series! If in doubt make some test footage and ingest it to ensure it works.

CPU speed/workstation specifications: The speed in which camera footage is imported is related to the speed of the drives you are using (see next section) and speed of the workstation you are using. If you only have a low spec 4 core CPU and 8GB of RAM your machine will not function as well as a dual 8 core CPU with 16GB of RAM.

Storage

It's important to know what you editing codec is going to be as this will dictate the overall capacity you will need to store your project's material. You will also need to understand what type of connector you will be using to ensure you have enough speed for the codec to move freely between the storage and workstation.


As a rule of thumb, most prosumer codecs will be sub 100Mbs and so a USB3.0 pocket drive would be up to the job (at a push even USB 2.0 is possible.) However, RAID protected drives have a place here as they would help safeguard against any drive failure. Look for RAID 1 or RAID 5 units for editing with. In some cases, the storage will be dictated by what is already to hand with the edit suite.
Consider RAID arrays for editing with to protect content.

Summary

Native workflows have fast become the 'norm' for smaller productions, especially documentary and as an Avid Assistant starting out you will work on this style of a project a lot.

This workflow is an effective way of allowing a production to take a project from conception to a finished product in very few steps. This does, however, need content to be acquired in a uniform fashion and the footage is known to work with the intended edit suite.

If in doubt of the camera codec, carry out tests with the Media Composer system that is intended for use.











Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Edit Suite Etiquette 101

You've worked hard to get your first Avid Assistant role so you need to keep that good impression going to make sure you'll be hired again!

Stepping into an editing room for the first time can be a little overwhelming. I'm not talking about the technology but rather the day to day workplace interactions with others, especially the editor.


Relationships with your co-workers are very important. You're not just trading off your technical ability but also your reputation as a great person to work with. Are you easy to get on with? Helpful? Punctual and well mannered? Can you work well under pressure and still be polite and helpful? All of these are important life skills and can make the difference between being hired and not.

I know a number of Assistants who are technically brilliant but their personal persona has actually deterred editors from working with them.

Don't forget, the editing profession is relatively small and editors will quite regularly talk with each o…

UHD Fundamentals for Avid Assistants

This is a 'simple' post to help explain how to use Ultra High Definition (UHDTV) material in Avid Media Composer.



We're all very familiar with using High Definition content. This resolution is now the defacto 'norm' for editing with. But let's not forget the transmission from SD to HD. At the time there was a lot to get your head around. HD could be either 1920x1080 or 12080x720. It could also be either Interlaced or Progressive, it could be shot at higher varying framerates from that of SD, such as 50 or 60fps and higher. It took a while for us to become used to the format.
And here we are again with UHD.  UHD has become more and more common as an acquisition format. Even your phone can capture this 4K content. But what do we need to know about it, to work with it in Avid? Is UHD 4K? Is UHD the same as HDR? What's 2020 colour space? What's HFR?

Let's have a look with respect to using Avid Media Composer...

What is UHD?Ultra High Definition (UHD) is…

Essential free Avid Assistant kit.

When starting out as an Avid Assistant you will need to practice your skills constantly. So what are the essentials you need to be able to practice your skills and use on your first projects? Here's a short look at what you can get for free and a few items you may have to buy, but all of them under $25!

I'll be making one (rather large) assumption here. I am assuming you already have a laptop, Mac or PC it doesn't really matter. I don't however, assume that it can run Media Composer, but if it is the right specification then great as this means you can practice your Media Composer skills anywhere! But if your laptop has seen better days it still has a place. Use it as your nerve centre in co-ordinating and researching projects. Ideally, you will have access to a computer that runs Media Composer in some way shape and form, even if it is at a facility that will allow you access to their system outside of business hours.

Make sure you have a laptop bag too, you'll ne…