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TOPIC: Optimized Media Workflow

Optimized Media Workflow 25 Sep 2019 03:05 #101629

  • mindbend
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Is there any workflow (including using third party apps) that allows me to downres a project and its media?

For example, I've shot all 4K for the last few years and I'm now shooting 6K. Most of my projects definitely don't need to be 6K and some don't even need to be 4K. I'd love to have a way for a given Library to downres all its media from, say 4K, to 1080 and have it all magically link back up.

And to be clear, I purposely shoot higher res than I might actually need so I have options in the edit. I assume a lot of us do that.

I know there's no way to do this within FCPX since it doesn't have any proper media mamagemet, but is there another way I'm not aware of? I suppose I could painstakingly downres in Compressor and manually relink everything, but that would be a nightmare.

I bought a 24TB RAID just a few months ago and it's already full. I'm going to have to start taking this media management seriously!
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Optimized Media Workflow 25 Sep 2019 03:41 #101631

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Ok, so I came up with a workflow that actually kind of works. For some reason, I thought FCPX (when relinking media) would reject media of the same file name but different resolution than the source. I was wrong.

So my workflow is to use Compressor to downres my source media, but set it up to save the file as the exact same file name, but in a temporary folder. When it's done converting, I trash the original source files (from within the Library package) and relink in FCPX to the new downres ones. I then go and change the Project res to match the downres media.

Obviously, there are all kinds of wonky situations, such as projects that use a variety of media resolutions, plus things might break that I'm not thinking of, but knowing that there's a way to semi-automate a downres workflow will be really helpful. Gotta reclaim that HD space!
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Optimized Media Workflow 25 Sep 2019 11:08 #101638

  • Axel
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mindbend wrote:
And to be clear, I purposely shoot higher res than I might actually need so I have options in the edit. I assume a lot of us do that.



Yes, but what we do not is rob ourselves of the said options in the edit by downgrading the *source*. This makes no sense whatsoever.


mindbend wrote:
I know there's no way to do this within FCPX since it doesn't have any proper media mamagemet, but is there anway I'm not aware of? I suppose I could painstakingly downres in Compressor and manually relink everything ...


Well, you did this and it worked. I do think that FCPX has proper media management, it just doesn’t provide an ‘auto-destruct’ button. Feedback time.
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Optimized Media Workflow 25 Sep 2019 12:34 #101639

  • joema
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mindbend wrote:
Is there any workflow (including using third party apps) that allows me to downres a project and its media?

For example, I've shot all 4K for the last few years and I'm now shooting 6K. Most of my projects definitely don't need to be 6K and some don't even need to be 4K. I'd love to have a way for a given Library to downres all its media from, say 4K, to 1080 and have it all magically link back up.....

I know there's no way to do this within FCPX since it doesn't have any proper media mamagemet, but is there another way I'm not aware of?...I bought a 24TB RAID just a few months ago and it's already full....

You are describing the cost of shooting at higher resolutions. Yes it takes a lot more space and (with 4k and above H264) often requires proxy generation. All NLEs must deal with this. Premiere only added proxy support relatively recently.

One solution (on cameras that support it) is use camera-generated proxies and relink to those files, edit, then relink back to the originals. The exact workflow must be tested but RED camera shooters often do this.

Transcoding to downres media can provide better editing performance or workflow flexibility - e.g, edit on a laptop while traveling. However I don't see how it saves you any space -- whether you do it yourself or the NLE somehow did it for you. You have to keep the original media - somewhere. Also that media should be backed up, which means two copies. It's not going to prevent you from buying more 24TB drive arrays.

FCPX relink constraints:

- Files must have the same audio config (same number of channels), but sample rate can differ.

- Pixel aspect ratio should be the same, but it may relink even if different. This could result in a squeezed or stretched frame.

- Clip duration must be the same or longer. If longer, then later relinking to the original clip won't work because the new target will then be shorter.

- File suffix must be the same.

- Codec need not be the same, e.g. you can create 720p H264 proxies and relink to those as original media.

- After relinking to a different resolution file, the viewer may show a window-boxed screen. This is typically a cache issue and can be resolved by deleting the FCPX cache for that event, which is either stored in the library or outside as defined by the library inspector. The cache is a file bundle named LibraryName.fcpcache.

For newer codecs like Canon Raw Light, certain plugins or updates might be required to simply import the data (using "leave files in place"). Once that is done, import one full res file, then try to relink to the corresponding camera proxy. It if doesn't work check the above items. It if works, then try to relink back to the original full-res file. If that works try a larger group, after making various edits including various effects. Scale up and thoroughly test the procedure before relying on it in production.
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Optimized Media Workflow 26 Sep 2019 03:04 #101653

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Thanks for the good info and thorough response.

I realize this workflow isn't for everybody! For some of my legacy projects that dead and buried, I am willing to discard the original high res source media in favor of the downrez version. This saves me on average 75% space in my tests so far. Of course it comes at risk, which I am fine with for those particular projects.
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Optimized Media Workflow 30 Sep 2019 12:14 #101711

  • AppleGuru
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My question is regarding optimized workflow is.
I have optimized media transcoded from RED footage. But when I unplug the RED Footage drive the media is offline.
But all the optimized media is all in the correct FCPX folder??
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Optimized Media Workflow 30 Sep 2019 16:39 #101714

  • joema
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That is no different than importing media for any other camera using "leave files in place", then creating optimized media, then unplugging the hard drive with the original media files. Optimized media is like proxies - it does not eliminate the need for the original footage.

Besides this, any metadata changes to R3D media will invalidate any existing optimized or proxy files. For this reason the normal recommendation is import R3D, make "first pass" lighting/color adjustments, then create optimized or proxy media (which will contain those R3D changes "baked in"), then do the remainder of work with the optimized or proxy files.

See Ripple Training's RED RAW workflow video:

See also Frame.io's guide to RED workflows: blog.frame.io/2018/04/30/red-workflows/
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