What do I mean by “transport drive?” Well, let me explain by going into the finishing workflow we are using on this current History Channel series (title TBD).

We capture DVCPRO HD camera masters at full resolution. We import Panasonic P2 footage at full resolution. And stock footage we bring in in a variety of ways, but mainly using the DV codec for offline editing. Stills might be very low res JPGs, and the music and sound effects are all full quality and the finals that will be in the show.

We edit the show at the production company on four FCP systems using shared storage on an XSAN.

When we lock picture (get the show to proper delivery time, and make sure that all the blank spots are filled with footage), we prep for online. This means that we order the master stock footage, order the master stills, and then replace all the offline resolution materials. Stock footage we capture in the same codec as our source footage, DVCPRO HD. Since most of our stock footage is on beta or digibeta, we use the Kona 3 to upconvert this to match (full article on this process coming soon). Sometimes our master footage is on DVD…so we import as DV50 using DVDxDV and MPEG STREAMCIP. The result we take into Compressor and convert to DVCPRO HD (using a modified DVCPRO HD 720p24 preset, to get rid of the interlacing and make the 29.97 to 23.98 look smoother). Stills are replaced with high res stills, and movements are recreated. Often these final moves are exported as self contain QT files so that they are now video media that matches our source codec.

Why? Because we export the project for color correction in Color…and the Color workflow goes much smoother when you have the same codec throughout.

Now what we do is media manage the project so that we have only the footage that is used in the show, with some handles…to an external drive. We give that drive to the colorist who does his magic and then renders out a final, that he too puts on that external drive and sends back to us. I then look over the cut, make sure things are all well and good. Then I duplicate the sequence, add text, like subtitles and lower thirds (chyrons, identifiers, whatever people call them) to one version (the TEXTED version), make sure the other is completely void of text and that all the graphics are provided without text (the TEXTLESS version). I then export a self contained file back to the external drive and take to the post facility for output to tape.

Thus far we have delivered 5 shows this way, and the workflow is slick.

I did want to mention the drive I use for this transport, because I love the darn thing. It is the MaxxDigital EDIT VAULT, what they have listed as a “desktop drive” on their website. I like this drive for many reasons:

1) Quad interface. eSATA, FW400, FW800 and USB 2.o. I use eSATA at work for quick transfers, and the post facilities can use whatever connection works for them.

2) NO POWER BRICK! I cannot tell you how much I like this feature. Sure, the drive is a little bigger, but there is no cord with a huge brick on the end of it. It takes standard 3 prong plugs. If you lose the cord…no biggie. Get another from an electronics store.

3) Size. 1TB…I can fit a LOT of data on this drive. All five shows are currently on it, and backed up on our SAN, but still, everything in one place.

4) Comes with a handy-dandy carrying case. Looks like a little briefcase, keeps all the cables together.

I used to use the G-Drive-Q for this…but the one I have is too small. 250GB. The company I am at has newer 1TB models, and they use them for this as well. We need two drives because one will be at the colorist while I need to work on a show, or it gets shuttled off to the post facility for output.

Both drives are great for editing too. And I use them in this manner. When we get them back from the colorist, I leave the footage on the drive and just make the adjustments I need to make. Since everything is already linked. I just backup the footage to the XSAN so that I have a backup. This way if a Color hiccup occurs (and it has) or an output hiccup occurs (and it has), we can simply hook up the drive and work off of it.

Darn cool.