To start off…read this post to see what the details were for the online I was doing.  These are the INITIAL details.  It got worse.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

All done?  OK, let’s move on.

Well, after a normal shift onlining two acts (we decided to do the online act by act), and then a marathon 25 hour online session over the weekend, I am done.  And that is all I pretty much did…online.  No color correction as there was no time.  This was the fastest and most down and ditry online I have ever done.  I finished 10 min before the producer had to jump onto a plane with the tape and drive with all the media managed footage.  So all I really did was make it air-able.  Make sure that it would pass QC.  That’s all there was time for.

NOW…I would like to point out that those first five formats I listed in the previous post were not the only formats that I was given.  By the time all was said and done there were H.264 files, MPEG-4, WMV files (that I had to convert to ProRes…so I had to buy Flip4Mac Pro) and Animation files the graphics).  It’s like they were grabbing every format they could and throwing it at me…a snowball fight that I was obviously losing.  And unfortunately, due to the rush, I was unable to convert any of them. I just had to render and go.

The show was initially edited on an XDCAM timeline, as that was the majority of the footage.  But that caused crashing left and right, and the machines slowed to a CRAWL.  So we switched to a ProRes HD timeline and that seemed to solve the issue. Because at the start we thought we had to deliver and HD show, and it wasn’t until later that we found out it was destined for SD, so I said I’d deal with that when we got to the online.  And I did.  I made a new sequence with the ProRes SD PAL Anamorphic settings and then copy and pasted the footage into this.

Actually the first thing I did was media manage the acts to a local drive, from the SAN.  I wanted to have ONLY the footage used in the cut, with handles, so that I could send them the drive (keeking a copy here, JUST in case) for all the changes they needed to make on their end.  They did have a copy of the original footage they gave us, but we had added a lot of footage since then, so they wouldn’t be able to reconnect to all that new footage, that was scatter all over the SAN (6 editors).  I wanted things to be easy…everything in one place.  So, I media managed…then moved on.

And then I moved on to the resizing.  I spent a good amount of time resizing and changing the distortion of the clips to fit into this ProRes SD timeline.  Yes, this was time consuming…thanks for asking.

Then I quickly applied the COLOR CORRECTOR 3 way and BROADCAST SAFE FILTER to every clip.  Then I went through the cut clip by clip and adjusting things so that they fell well within the safe area.  I didn’t want to take any chances, I just wanted it to pass QC.  Now I did color correct a few clips, as some people were greenish, or had an orange hue, and I can’t just let that go.

Then I moved on to subtitles and lower third identifiers.  I changed the fonts to match the specs, and I had to replace all the TEXT generators with TITLE 3D, because I needed the white subtitles to have a black border to be more visible, and TEXT didn’t offer that option.  Yeah, that took a while too, thanks for asking!  I had to make sure that the titles and the lower thirds all stayed within 14:9 title safe in this 16:9 picture, so for that I used ANDY’S GUIDES 3.1. VERY useful…and free.  All of his plugins are free…check them out.

MOVING ON…

I did each act, then pasted them into the main sequence.  In there I had to make sure that there were 32 seconds of commercial blacks (emptyness between the acts)…that every act break landed on a 00 frame (so 1:06:07:00, not 1:06:07:12)…and that the show was to time.  EXACTLY to time.  Since each act was cut by a different editor, sometimes multiple editors, working simultaneously, getting proper timing was impossible.  So they left that up to me.  So after I got all the acts into the main project, and found out what my timing was that I needed to hit…I was 57 seconds short!…I started added ‘breath’ to the cut.  Pauses after one scene finishes to then another begins.  And there was plenty of breath to be added…things were slammed together.  Well, after an hour or two adding breath and fixing audio to still work, I was still 26 seconds short.  GAH!  But the exec producer said that we can be up to 30 seconds short…so we were fine.

YAAY!

So I then made the acts all hit the 00 mark on the act breaks, made sure the text was all good…and rendered.  For over an hour.  A little break.  And let me tell you, the HD downconverted fine to SD when I rendered, and the PAL DV, uncompressed 8-bit, and ProRes PAL looked OK.  The mpeg-4 and h.264 files were a tad rough, but since some were 320×240, I didn’t expect greatness.  And the NTSC footage that I didn’t have time to convert…I just had to render and let it be.  All in all the quality was fine, but there was a stutteriness and jerkiness to the footage that looked back.  Not really acceptable in my book, but, good enough for air… this time.  I’m sure they’ll color correct and convert when they have time for a later master.

I’m telling ya, this is a project that I would have LOVED to have edited with the new Avid Media Composer 4.0.  It seems build specificially for this purpose.  Because when I mix PAL and NTSC, I don’t see the stutteriness and jerkiness that I saw in FCP.  And the Motion Adaptive plugin not only dealt with that, but also upconverted or downconverted footage in very smart ways, and utilizes better technology (the only way I as a non-engineer can describe it) to make it work better.  BUT, this project was handed to us with 90% of the footage already captured, so he had to deal with what we were dealt.

Oh, one cool thing.  We were still editing the cold open/tease of the show when the producer had to catch the flight, so I had to leave a 1:20 hole in the show for it to fit into.  When the editor was done, he did the final online of that small segment and exported as a self contained QT file, and used YouSendIt (the pro version) to upload this to the client overseas.  And I used YouSendIt a lot to send them OMFs and MP4 of the cut.  Fine for stuff 2GB and under.

OK…that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!