361. FMP. Logging & The Slate Importance

A technique I was taught last year when editing for a tv broadcaster was that you need to ensure every clip in your project is logged, which makes editing quicker and more succinct, and ensures that the ‘data’ is available for multiple people to view and quickly edit if the project changes hands. I’ve retained this knowledge through all my projects since last august and it’s become standard practise for me to do on any editing project since, so i’m also using this approach for The Brother Code which has 370 individual separate clips to log and edit (not counting behind the scenes, audio and statics).

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 19.21.52One of the problems I instantly found when beginning to edit the footage was that it was all shot in AVCHD format on the FS700. Whilst this was not a problem, it just either needs converting or transcoding into FCP7. Converting the footage could have been done through clip wrap, which accepts the format, but I was wary of quality loss, so instead transferred the footage over manually through FCP’s Log and Transfer feature. This took a long amount of time (I left it on overnight) but was better in the long run as it means I have the raw video files to work from as opposed to converted copies of each clip which could potentially lead to a decrease in quality, counterproductive at the last hurdle when we spent so much on shooting with better cameras and achieving the highest production values possible.

As you can see in the image below, I’ve been logging all my clips in Final Cut Pro 7, and using the slate/audio to help match the clip metadata up, to ensure that the edit takes less time by taking some time to log the clips.

My format for logging is relatively easy, first it’s absolutely necessary to retain the file structure (which in this case would be Clip #001 001) so that any problematic or useful clips can be matched up, identified on FCP then copied over from the production folder storing the files on the desktop. Following this I then list the Scene number, Take number and Shot Type, so in this case below it’s Sc26.4 T1 W, .4 standing for a change in camera angle but still the same scene, and W referring to Wide shot (also using UW,M,C,UC,OTS & StCam).

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 19.16.38 Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 19.16.38 copy

The ‘importance of the slate’ hinted towards in the title, is exactly that. The clapperboard (or slate) as I’ve quickly learnt is the best tool for identifying what shot it is and allowing myself as the editor to pluck that metadata straight from the scene and use it in the logging of the footage during the edit.

There is other data on the slate I haven’t used, however which is also helpful such as the date of the scene, INT/EXT, DAY/NIGHT, and for anyone else who may edit the slate also contains the film title, director and camera op names, all useful information for not only the metadata of clip formats but the crediting of the film. There is also another useful part for the slate as it helps, in this case, to sync the audio from the H4N to that of the camera with the Pluraleyes software helping to succinctly match the waveforms together so we can add the better sounding audio into the film.

So what have I learnt from all this? Well I’ve been able to use knowledge I’ve been taught previously by industry professionals and apply that to my own professional production, and it’s actually relevant and useful! Which is pretty cool. I’ve also learnt more about formatting clips and how relevant it actually is, and how helpful it also is by speeding up the editing process. I’ve also learnt more about the AVCHD format and transferring footage from the FS700, which I already knew about but it was more fun and helpful to get more experience with it. I’ve also learnt more about the relevance of the clapperboard/slate and how to use that information to help myself as the editor and sound mixer in post. These skills I’ve both learnt and grown from are great for the future as I can use them for my professional practise and ‘want’ to work in broadcast, so they not only improve my employability but own professional practise.

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