Category Archives: Video Production RSRC

How to Archive a Project

One of the most overlooked aspects in the production process is the final step… archiving and storing a project. If you haven’t yet, then you will in the future need to make a change to a project you were certain was all done. Here, I’ll walk you through a thorough process for archiving your footage and project files so that you always have to option to go back and make changes. One of the most overlooked aspects in the production process is the final step… archiving and storing a project. If you haven’t yet, then you will in the future need to make a change to a project you were certain was all done. Here, I’ll walk you through a thorough process for archiving your footage and project files so that you always have to option to go back and make changes. For this example we will list the ways to archive a video with music and dialogue, still graphics, and a fully authored DVD menu. First you should always try and retain 2 copies of the final project in its delivered format. For our example, we will make a master DVD that we will put into storage and a DVD copy that can be put onto a spindle with your other projects and kept near by. The next step is laying all of your video elements from your timeline to tape. I would suggest a more reliable tape format than MiniDV. If you can, try and master tapes to DVCAM, DVCPro, or another digital format. MiniDV will work, but it is more likely to have ‘dropout’ or some sort of digital glitch (so it might serve you well to watch the segments once they are layed to tape, to make sure they are clean). An important step, if possible, is to utilize both channels of audio (left and right) on your tape to separate both your music and your dialogue. If you put music on the left channel and dialogue on the right channel, it will be much easier to replace a Voice-Over, or change a cut of music in the future because the VO and music won’t be mixed together. At this point your completed video elements are saved, so now we must archive the elements used to build the project. From here you’ll need a CD (or in some cases a DVD) to burn the rest of your data. We will call this an Elements Disc. The first thing you’ll want to make sure you keep copies of is all of the paperwork involved with the project. Emails, contracts, invoices, notes and other important items should be kept on a disc that you can easily access. Another folder on your “Elements Disc” should contain all of the still graphics or pictures imported into the project. As you’ll see in a bit, the reason we do this is so if you ever need to rebuild your entire project, you will have all the media that the project files will try to refrence. It is also wise to put any music tracks on to your disc, so that you have access to the full unedited files. The final folder include all of the program project files from whatever editor you use. If you used Avid or FCP, there should be a neatly organized folder with your “Project Files” clearly labeled. Basically, any non-media files from your editor should be saved. This is essential if you ever try and rebuild the project within the editor. When you go back to make changes the following will happen: you will click on your project file and all of your media will be offline (obviously!), your project files include the most important data that includes notes about what media went where. The file won’t actually have the media in it (that would take up too much space), but it will know where it referenced those files. Then you will start reconnecting the still graphics and music from your Elements Disc. If titles were built within the editor, your editor should be able to regenerate them. If you labeled your tapes correctly and used timecode while digitizing, then re-digitizing the video should not be difficult. Your editor will ask for your to reconnect the media by importing a tape with a given name (this is why you should name each new tape you put into your deck or else they will all say “new tape”) into the deck. From here the editor should be able to digitize the original files and reconnect the media. So your set for editing, but you still have a few steps in the archiving process. If you use a third party compression program, you’ll want to make sure you save a copy with the correct settings. Also, you’ll want to save the program files from whatever DVD authoring program you use and any associated artwork for menus, etc. Do not save an .m2v files or large media. The point to save project files and not all of the media is that you can save yourself a lot of space and it is not difficult to regenerate or recompress files, it just takes a little time to finish. If you follow these steps, you will have a thorough way to archive your projects and put them to bed. You will be able to sleep soundly, knowing that when a client comes calling with unforseen changes, or a drive crashes you can go back and recreate your work.

MiniDV vs DVCAM vs HDV tapes

This is a report on a test ran at our production facility recently. We had read the articles and heard from fellow producers that MiniDV, DVCAM and HDV tapes were essentially interchangeable. We decided to actually test this theory on are Sony HV1U Camera which supports all three formats.

This is a report on a quick and not too thorough test ran at our production facility recently. We had read the reports and heard from fellow producers that MiniDV, DVCAM and HDV tapes were essentially interchangeable. We decided to actually test this theory on are Sony HV1U Camera which supports all three formats. I’ll cut to the chase… all three formats performed wonderfully as you would expect them too on MiniDV tapes. We shot DVCAM and HDV with our standard MiniDV tape and the result was perfect.

Another reason we were most interested in seeing if MiniDV tapes could be swapped for DVCAM/HDV is price. DVCAM tapes are expensive and HDV are ridiculous, upwards of $25 from some retailers, but MiniDV tapes can be found anywhere for about $5. So for those of you who are in a pinch for cash (or just can’t get your hands on any of the higher grade formats), MiniDV is a viable substitute.

However, there is a downside you should all be aware about. DVCAM and HDV tapes are more expensive for a reason, they are higher quality. And I don’t mean visual quality of the image, but the amount of drop our and errors when recording to tape is lower with these higher grade tapes.

In the end using MiniDV as an HDV or DVCAM substitute might fit your needs from both a technological and economical standpoint. But remember if its piece of mind you want, staying with the tape format that you’re recording at might make you feel better during those live events.

The challenge with music and video production

Music can be one of the most challenging elements during the production process. Original footage is not hard to create and Photoshop or AfterEffects can assist in creating one-of-a-kind graphics, but music often times becomes a thorn in the side of smaller production facilities and can even lead to some loose standards when it comes to copyright laws. Music can be one of the most challenging elements during the production process. Original footage is not hard to create and Photoshop or AfterEffects can assist in creating one-of-a-kind graphics, but music often times becomes a thorn in the side of smaller production facilities and can even lead to some loose standards when it comes to copyright laws. Great music is often vital to smaller budget projects, usually “slideshow” videos, many of which cannot afford licensing fees on popular music and have no supporting dialogue to fill dead air. While there are a multitude of options to suit your music needs, copyrighted music, without a license, should never be one of them. While prosecution, up to this point, have been relatively sparse, a lawsuit by the RIAA or related music rights group would not only tie you up in years of litigation, but send your chances of working in the production industry near zero. In this article, I will offer some advice and resources to help low-budget and independent producers find high-end music to complement a wide array of video projects. Even on a tight budget there are ways to use copyrighted music in your production. At this point, Australia has the best set-up for smaller project producers that create media for ‘domestic use.’ This process is overseen in conjunction with the Australian recording industry and allows for music to be licensed for a reasonable fee. {http://www.apra-amcos.com.au/MusicConsumers/MakingRecordingsBusinessUse/Videographers.aspx). For those producing outside of Australia, there is a similar, albeit less developed version of this concept. There are several sites that offer use of copyrighted music for domestic use. The difference, again, is the licensing fee is a fraction of what it would cost for large scale production or corporate use. Zoom is one such site that offers low cost licenses. The word on the street is that the list of available songs at Zoom is decent, but hopefully expands quickly. It is worth checking out the site, as the information changes constantly (http://www.zoomlicense.com/). Finally, there are Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) allows artists and authors to post original content for a variety of uses. The content creator sets the terms of use for each type of media (music, images, videos, etc). There are plenty of tracks to search and many that allow low cost or no cost use in return for a credit in the final production. These are just a few ways to find great music for your next project.