Thursday, January 14, 2010

Never Change Your Workflow

If there’s one critical piece of advice I can give you, I think that’s it. Once you get a workflow “working,” changing anything – camera, software, computer – can just mess you up no end.

A couple of years ago I had two HDV camcorders, a Mac G5, and Final Cut Pro 5, and everything was right with my world. An hour of video was 13GB - which was sizeable, but quite liveable - and the computer and software seemed to be quite happy to edit the stuff. Everything was evenly balanced.

How things have changed since then; and I'm not too sure I'm in a better position now than I was back then, but I've certainly had my share of adventures. Here’s some things that have messed me up:

  1. I upgraded the G5 from Leopard to Tiger, which broke the Firewire import in Final Cut Pro 5.
  2. I bought an AVCHD camera. Since Final Cut Pro 5 couldn’t import these files, I bought Final Cut Express to import the AVCHD video using a second computer – a Mac Mini – since Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express will only import AVCHD on an Intel processor, not a G5.
  3. Using the Mac Mini to import AVCHD took longer than importing HDV (which is 1 to 1 transfer time), and the old G5 was starting to show it’s age, so I bought a Mac Book Pro and upgraded to Final Cut Studio 3. The import is still slower than HDV
  4. Suddenly everything’s in ProRes or Apple Intermediate Compressor, and taking up a LOT more space.

And it’s funny how the smallest things can completely destroy your workflow:

I’ve been using AVCHD camcorders for a number of months now, and I’ve been pretty meticulous about using Final Cut to copy/convert the files across. Then I copy the AVCHD source files (just to archive) and then delete the files on the camera Flash memory using the camera.

The other day I was doing a project, and for no reason at all, deleted some of the files from the SD card while it was connected to the camera. The camera happily accepted the card and recorded additional files to the card. Come to import those files and Final Cut has a conniption: it doesn’t like the file structure of the SD card, and won’t recognize or import any files.

I had to buy a piece of third-party software that could convert the files for me.

So remember this: change your workflow at your peril!

1 comment:

billyDe said...

With all due respect I think your thought process here is ridiculous. That's something my grandfather would say.