Big Development in HDDSLR Workflow: Timecode (or very close to.)

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This is a pretty huge development for me in terms of my post workflow with the new breed of HDDSLR cameras – so I hope that many of you too willx be excited with the upcoming piece of software from Glue Tools.

I know that the developer has been working on this for quite awhile – and I’ve been waiting to share the news for a release candidate to be on the horizon.   (Check the Glue Tools website for updates on pricing and availability – don’t ping me – I’m just reviewing the beta at this time and announcing it)

Of course – this workflow only applies to Mac people and Final Cut Pro users at this point.   But for those who do use FCP – this is a very very nice solution that will solve many problems for a lot of folks.

So what does this plugin software do?  Well on a basic level – it’s “simply” a Final Cut Pro “Log and Transfer” plugin.   Stick a disk in – launch FCP – and open the Log and Transfer menu up and you’ll be greeted with the familiar FCP menu here.And that’s a beautiful thing in it of itself.   Why?  As any professional editor will let you know – the log and transfer/capture process is the cornerstone of any good editing workflow.

With this plugin you can enter a REEL name, a CLIP NAME, SCENE, SHOT/TAKE, ANGLE and LOG NOTES.   Not to mention of course – that you can scrub through the takes quickly – and even set IN and OUT points on the fly.   (While the footage is still on the card – but I’d copy it off right away… more on that in a sec.)

This alone is a big deal.   The goal of course is to get the HD DSLR workflow on par w/ the workflows that professionals out there are used to in the film world – then the entire HD DSLR “pill” becomes easier to swallow if you will.

Now comes the fun part – the plugin also allows you to make a DISK IMAGE of your CF Card.   This is very very cool feature and would be my automatic first step in my workflow.   This makes a sacrosanct copy of the disk (with all metadata, THM files etc.) in a spot you specify.  That way you have all of your originial H.264 files forever.  At some point I hope that camera manufacturers will catch on – and allow users to name their disks within their cameras… (i.e. set a REEL name on the disk) so that the whole production workflow can work more easily.

The next step?  Well of course you can enter all of the SCENE/TAKE info as well as IN and OUT points – and the Log and Transfer plugin will instantly start to churn away at converting your footage into ProRes422 or ProRes444 – or whatever you choose in FCP.  (The plugin will also import just the raw video files if you want w/o converting them- and it FLIES through this.)

The comes the NEAT stuff.

For one – this is the ONLY app that I know of that can read the Metadata from the Canon cameras – in other words – it can read out the Aperture, ISO, Lens and all other settings – and that’s AWESOME!

Until now – I’ve had to GUESS what ISO I shot this or that scene at.  Now for the very first time – I KNOW.

And lastly – here’s what REALLY exciting.   The software will create a VIRTUAL TIMECODE for you.   It can read the metadata that includes the time clock from your camera – and turn that into a useable timecode. Obviously – this is not accurate down to the millisecond – but as long as you set your multiple cameras to the same date and time – it will be accurate within the minute.   This isn’t perfect yet – but it’s HUGE – when you consider that prior to this there was NO WAY to know when a clip was shot within most editing apps.  So when you imported hundreds of clips in FCP from one day – let alone a few weeks – it was an absolute nightmare.

This was such a hurdle that I until now found myself recommending tthat documentary filmmakers   not try to shoot long term docs w/ the 5D MKII – the post headache in terms of finding what clips were shot when was too tough.

Now that’s changed.

Glue Tools will announce the pricing and availability on their site.

The plugin will work w/ the following cameras: The Canon 1D MKIV, 5D MKII, 7D, and the 500D/T1i.

I can also tell you that there are quite a few REALLY exciting things on the horizon for this emerging HD-DSLR market.  As soon as I can share – I will.