Aug 17, 2010

R3D QT Workflow

Part of my on-set data management workflow includes visually scrubbing through every take. I will playback 10 seconds or so to ensure the pictures match, and the timecode was synced. I'll scrub through everything forwards, then backwards, and do it on two separate copies. I don't have a RED Rocket card, so the most effective way is to back the QT Wrappers.

It is really tedious to open 20+ quicktime files at once. And it doesn't help that the QT Wrapper files are 3 folders deep. It's like an old Street Fighter code. Right, Down Down Down Down, Cmd + O, Cmd + Tab, left, down, right, repeat that 10 times and you've opened the whole reel. This becomes rediculous when opening hundreds of these files.

I mean, just look at all these folders!

But in comes Automator. With Automator, I can open all of the clips in a target folder at once! No more fancy fingerwork necessary! You can download my script, or you can build it yourself and tailor it to fit your specific needs.

The Automator icon even looks like a boss.
I think he's holding a rocket launcher.

 To start, open Automator, and created a new Application.

 Step 1. “Ask for Finder Items” Start at: “DAY ##”
This I set up at the beginning of each day to direct to the day's folder. Type: Files and Folders

 Step 2. "Get Folder Contents" Check the box "Repeat for each subfolder found."
This step collects all the files within the specific folder (and subfolders).

 Step 3. Filter Folder Items
Self-explanatory, but this allows you create rules limiting which files we will eventually open. The first rule is: "File extension>contains>mov" This filters out the txt file checksums created by R3D Data Manager. The second rule is: "Name>contains>_P", or "Name>contains>_M" depending on whether I want to open the Proxy or Medium.

 Step 4. Sort Finder Items Sort by NAME in DESCENDING order
Before opening the files, I sort them in descending order, so that when they are all open it starts with C001, and goes up. That way I can watch everything in sequential order.

 Step 5. Open Finder Items Open with: Quicktime 7
I prefer opening everything in legacy Quicktime 7 because it does a better job of scrubbing through the files, and I can view the timecode.

 Step 6. (outside of Automator) Drag Shortcut to Dock
This makes everything that much faster. I have two icons in my dock. One opens the _M size of my primary copy, and the second opens the _P of my Shuttle drive. This saves me one more step and streamlines things just a little bit more. When it's time to view the proxies, I just click on the dock icons to run the scripts!

The finished script.

With a RED Rocket card, you can playback the full quality R3D files using RedCine-X without blinking an eye. However, I still like the simplicity of Quicktime Player and this script. It allows me to cycle through a lot of material very quickly. RedCine-X is still *very* buggy and viewing 20 clips in RedCine-X involves a lot of precision mouse movement. RedCine-X crashes frequently, and it doesn't do a great job of saving your workspace layout.

My workflow is still in development. Maybe someone else out there is doing this in a completely different way, and they're looking at this and thinking, "what is this guy thinking?" But that's the exciting thing about this position right now. The description of the "Data Manager" isn't one that is written in stone. There isn't one specific workflow that everyone uses. I think there's a lot more work that the "data manager" can do on set to make editors jobs a lot easier. Instead of just dumping footage, we can create rich metadata that will trickle through the post-production process and act as another checkpoint of QC.

As soon as The Foundry's Storm hits, I'm sure my workflow will change drastically. Seriously, Storm looks awesome. Not to mention when the Scarlet and Epic finally hit the streets. Supposedly they will have a lot more metadata embedded already, which would be awesome. I'm having some great discussions with a few editors and other data managers, and the conversations we are having are running parallel with what Storm is promising to deliver, easy previewing/color correction of RED files, embedded metadata, etc... But until all these new toys arrive, Automator is helping speed up my workflow, and it isn't costing me a dime.

Clipfinder looks like a fantastic way to review and create metadata with r3d files. I just downloaded the free version 2.2 and it appears to be everything I've been dreaming about for the past few weeks. I've just started digging around into the settings and tools it has to offer. It has some powerful export settings as well, and version 2.5 has Rocket support. I will stick to my automator workflow for the moment, but if the editor and data manager are on the same page, Clipfinder could be a powerful tool to create metadata on-set.

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