World’s Greatest Transcoder Avid’s New Mix-and-Match for Media Composer

Editors Guild Magazine by Jason Stewart

TECH TIPS: World’s Greatest Transcoder Avid’s New Mix-and-Match for Media Composer

For editors, there’s good news and bad news concerning camera manufacturers. The good news is that a stream of innovative, impressive and technologically amazing new cameras are being rolled out that shoot fantastic new formats for independent filmmakers, DPs and directors of all kinds. The bad news is that we have to edit the footage.

If you’re like me, you got into this business to put images, music and dialogue into the timeline and tell a story. I never wanted to be awesome at setting up the best workflows to crunch all my footage into the same file type, resolution and frame rate during an overnight render. Even though most NLEs can ingest these files if you have the right decks or card readers––and there is plenty of free or cheap transcoding software on the marketplace––putting these different formats and frame rates into the same project or sequence has been asking for trouble. Apple’s Final Cut Pro has been able to accommodate different formats in the same timeline for a while, but you have to render pretty much after every edit or trim, and the mastering quality is questionable.

I recently shot a documentary about comedian/director Bobcat Goldthwait; we were planning to hit the road to shoot when the question of formats was brought up. We were just going to use whatever cameras we had lying around––until I realized there would be up to five different formats in the mix: Panasonic P2 (720PN/24), AVCHD (1080P/24), Flip HD (720P/30), Mini DV (SD 29.97) and Canon HDV (1080P/24). I pleaded the case that cutting all this stuff together would be a nightmare, and we dropped the Mini DV Cam and HDV.

However, we were still stuck with two different frame rates: 24p and 30p. An online editor friend told me that I could get the 30p material put to tape at 240p (using his Teranex frame synchronizer/format converter) for about $1,000 per hour of footage. There was no budget for that, and I spent seven days transcoding when we got home. read more...

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