Monday, May 21, 2012

Notes on Adobe Prelude Webinar

Last week’s free Adobe webinar of Adobe Prelude featured Wes Plate, Product Manager for Meta Data workflows. Wes started by explaining the history of Prelude’s development. Prelude evolved from a pilot project for BBC and CNN who shoot lots and lots of video and needed a file based interface geared towards journalists, camera people, producers and assistants, for logging footage before going into post-production. Such a tool would feature creation of searchable temporal metadata in a friendly interface geared towards non-editors. The resulting tool, Prelude ingests file-based materials (i.e. it will copy and convert them to another format) and it can be extended by partners to support different media management systems. It does not work with tape.

Prelude is included in Production Premium, Master Collection, and the Creative Cloud. While it’s not really sold separately, it is available through their volume-licensing program, and the licensing minimum is just one license. So you can buy just one copy; for $399

The interface resembles Premiere. There is a Project Panel in the upper left that lists ingested assets. A viewer panel in the center lets you view a single selected clip, or multiple selected clips as thumbnails. A simple timeline appears at the bottom of the screen. It is possible to do a simple assembly edit in Prelude, but it’s rough cutting tools are very basic. Prelude is not intended to be an editing tool but to allow a producer to assemble a simple order of clips.
To the left of the Timeline panel is the Marker Type panel. This is used to add temporal meta data to clips.

Working in Prelude
When ingesting clips into Prelude, you can choose to copy to a new location, you can verify the copy, and can also transcode to another format. You can copy to multiple destinations at the same time with different options. While ingesting, you can still interact with the program. Partial ingesting is also possible by selecting the in and out point in a clip; but this function does require Adobe Media Encoder to process the clip.

Wes explained the difference between importing and ingesting: Importing occurs when the file exists on the local system. Ingesting means the file is going to be copied, then imported. Premiere Pro only does importing, it doesn’t do ingesting. For that reason, you might want to use Prelude to copy files from cards to your system.

They have implemented Hover Scrub in Prelude to let you select portion of a clip. You can do this when viewing multiple thumbnails in the viewer. You can also use the playbar and press the i key to set the in point and the o key to define the end.

Two metadata tags appearing as different colored lines

Logging inside Prelude
Prelude supports two types of meta data – static; which applies to the whole file, and temporal, which applies to part of the file. The Metadata panel is used to edit static meta data such as the camera used.
Temporal meta data is created using the Meta Type panel. You literally can play the clip and press the button at the appropriate time to indicate a different type of metadata. You can type in a commnet/tag for the metadata, and the tag will appear as a colored line in the timeline. By default this line ends at the end of the clip, but you can shorten it to indicate that the tag only applies to a period of the clip.

You can use the subclip tag to indicate a sub clip. These will appear as separate clips in the Project panel.
One interesting feature about Prelude; while you can do much of this with the mouse, it’s also possible to control playback, the insertion of tags, and the actual comments for the tags using the keyboard alone. This was described as being for “high pressure situations where you are trying to log a lot of footage.”
You can also create your own custom markers; for example for Good and Bad takes.

Rough Cuts
Creating a Rough Cut creates an empty timeline; you can then drag clips from the Project into the timeline. You can rearrange the clips, but there’s no trimming tools, multiple tracks or effects. You can, of course, use sub-clips to trim a clip before putting it into your rough cut.

Once completed, the Send to Premiere Pro function sends the Rough Cut to Premiere Pro for editing. While selecting this option will launch Premiere Pro, Wes recommended that you have Premiere Pro running because it makes it run faster and potentially avoids “a bit of a hiccup.”

Changes to comment markers made in Premiere Pro flow back to Prelude.

An interface created by one partner that uses the iPad to create metadata about
content for importing into Prelude

The project panel is a local file that contains a list of the assets in the system. If you have a media asset management system you can use ActionScript to create your own panel that works with these asset management systems. Custom Markers can also be created.

Wes demoed a version that had been customized by one company. He also demoed an graphical iPad interface which created Meta data that can be exported from the iPad then imported into Prelude.

What about OnLocation functionality? Prelude is not meant to be the replacement for OnLocation. It doesn’t read camera feed, or tape; it’s a new application for off-loading rather than monitoring.

Any limitations to ingesting to a network storage solution? No. Just bandwidth

Can you export a rough cut to FCPXML? FCPXML came out fairly late in this release and “they’ll be listening to customers.”

Can you edit Scarlet 4K? Yes it can be played, but there’s a limitation, they can’t write XMP data, so the footage can’t be logged. They suggest transcoding to an editorial format like ProRes that you can then edit.

Is timecode preserved? Yes. Prelude has a preference to display timecode in the file or timecode that starts at zero.

On Windows, Prelude is 32 bit. On Mac it’s 64.

Why no thumbnails in the Project panel? They get a lot of feedback about that, and they are “listening”

Can you export the logging data as .cvs files? You can export metadata as XMP and open in a text editor. XMP is XML. If you had some good text scripting skills you could create your own

Any rename capability? The files aren’t renamed themselves. You can rename in the Project, and that will be maintained when sent to Premiere, but the files won’t be renamed themselves.

Adobe | Prelude Help / Rough cuts
Adobe | Prelude Help / Keyboard Shortcuts

1 comment:

H. Paul said...

I've tried out Prelude CS6 and went through Video2Brain's training course. I'm disappointed largely because of the ingest functionality. It fails to perform any operations other than transcoding during ingest, a missed opportunity to add metadata in batches, and to combine video files over 30 minutes in length into one file (avoiding an audio gap), as well as renaming them in a way that still requires a separate run through Adobe Bridge.