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I'm going to shoot a low budget music video next week using a tapeless workflow for the post production.

We are shooting in RED the dance sequence and story, while we'll shoot in film super16 the singer playback.


Film footage will be HD telecined on HDcam SR tape and then the tape acquired in Apple Prores422 format and the RED footage will be exported in Prores422 as well. All the footage will go on the same hard drive.


Well now the problem: we are going to grade in Apple Color on our FinalCut workstation but, prior to the grade, we need to create an offline version of the whole footage and give that to an editing company where an editor will probably use an Avid system to edit it.

How does the offline/online thing work in a tapeless workflow? What about the timecode and EDL? What kind of offline version of the footage I have to prepare for the editor? Then how do I conform the footage in FCP and so make the online timeline so that I can "send" it to Color for grading?


Please help me if you know anything about this type of workflow.


Many thanks



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For a "tapeless" workflow to be easier to deal with than conventional post production, the main prerequisite is to stay entirely in one software environment. Either all Apple or all Avid.


Given that you already own Final Cut, get an offline vendor who also uses Final Cut. You can move the whole project back and forth on hard drives. Everything they do in offline -- effects, credits, the whole shebang -- comes straight across with no tweaking needed.






-- J.S.

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Hi Maurizio,

I guess one main question I would have for you is wether or not, after editorial but before grading you need/want to conform back from ProRes to the native R3D sequence of your RED footage and 444 uncompressed video from your SR Tapes? If you do it's going to be difficult to keep this project "low budget" as you desire. HDCAM-SR workflows aren't usually considered a low budget option for shortform work because the decks are so expensive.


Since this project is a music video and will be for broadcast and web (not large screen) I would recommend not conforming back to RAW & 444 Uncompressed and just staying in ProRes HQ to save yourself a lot of money. Our side-by-side tests show that even film students (who have the most critical eye :) ) can't tell the difference between 1080p ProRes 422 HQ and Uncompressed on a 50" plasma so I think you'll be fine for broadcast delivery.


In fact, I just shot a mixed media documentary where I mixed Sony EX3 footage with Super 16mm footage transferred to 444 HDCAM SR. We ingested the 444 footage to ProRes 422 HQ and for budgetary reasons never conformed back to SR for the final file-to-file grade we did here at Cinelicious with Steve Rodriguez from C03 who killed it. The film just screened in NY last week for 750 people on a 30 foot screen from a Christie 12k projector and it looked gorgeous with no artifacting whatsoever.


Caution... shameless plug ahead... I normally don't use this board to promote our services (other than our ad on the right) but in when it comes to tapeless workflows (especially ones requiring film scanning to direct to ProRes) I can speak with some authority as this is sort of our specialty at Cinelicious. We telecine film direct to drive in whatever native codec the digital camera is producing (ie. P2, XDCAM-EX, or in the case of RED... we'd go to ProRes 422 HQ) so it drag and drops into your editorial timeline. It also saves you lots of digitizing time and money by avoiding having to ingest from SR for editorial. We also have online suites, online edit bays attached to the same central SAN for a conform-free workflow. Here's is how we'd handle your project here:

1) Ingest R3D Red RAW to our central SAN

2) Telecine Super 16mm to HD ProRes 422 HQ at 1080 23.98psf... also on our central SAN for $275/hr

3) Walk upstairs to one of our HD Edit bays and, since they're also connected to the same SAN over dual 4GB fiber begin editorial immediately.

4) Edit your project with our in-house editor Jeff Conrad (ex-drummer from Phantom Planet) for a great rate... or bring in one of the top music video editors in the country through our guest artist program

5) After it's cut do a file-to-file final color in our grading suite with our in-house colorist Andy for $300/hr or one of the top music video colorists in the country (Bob Curreri) for $400/hr.

6) Render and output master quicktimes, and if you want a tape master we can go to SR at the end.


Hope that helps.





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Interesting post - SANs do make life easy. I'm too used to scrambling around with firewire disks, dragging a workflow together at four different sites, so it's quite valuable to hear about how the big outfits do it.


And hey, they're upfront enough to put their book rates on the net.



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