We work on a lot of projects for other production companies who have come to us for our post production services. One of the questions we get frequently asked is, how do I get my edit/project to you?
Internally or in some cases where the footage is already located on our system a copy of the project file or better yet an XML can be sent. This small, lightweight file may look like nothing but when loaded by the editing software it will rebuild the edit almost identically. I say almost, because variations in plug ins, platforms and even things as simple as installed fonts can all cause an XML to cause problems. So be sure to render a frame accurate video file of your edit so that we can check the rebuild is correct.
Note: It’s best practice (and honestly polite!) to flatten and tidy your timeline as much as possible before exporting an XML or performing a media manage. Not only do you reduce the chance of something not being rebuilt correctly but you also make our job much easier in the grade. With an XML we also strongly recommend you remove any transitions or effects/plug ins you’ve applied to the footage. These should be discussed with the team specifically.
Messy Timeline vs a Tidy Timeline
So what if your footage is too large to easily send? Or for simplicity sake you only want to send us the footage you actually used and ignore the 200 shots that landed on the cutting room floor?
Here you would typically go through a process called Media Management. Media management is the means by which the editor collects together all the media that has been used in the project before discarding all the content which fails to make it into the edit.
Your editing program of choice does this by duplicating the clips you have used in your timeline and putting them into a separate directory. It is important to acknowledge what is going on under-the-bonnet as you will need adequate storage on an external drive to move the content from your edit suite to the post-production facility.
So how do you perform a media manage? Thankfully we have prepared this 7 step guide:
1. Choose File > Project Manager
2. In the Project Manager window, under Sequence, select the checkbox next to each sequence that you want to Send. To check all boxes, shift-click any one box.
3. Pick whether to Copy or Transcode
Ok, here’s where your first real decision lies. Going to grade? It is almost always better to consolidate and copy your original footage. While some transcodes can work perfectly fine in the grade; one wrong click and you could be about to waste a whole lot of time converting all of your used footage into something we can’t work with in the grade. Play it safe and send us copies of your original footage unless otherwise discussed with the team.
4. Premiere Pro creates a new project file that links to the selected media please click the following tick box options:
Exclude Unused Clips
Specifies that Project Manager will not include, or copy, media you did not use in the original project.
Include Handles – 24 frames
If you’re asked by our team to transcode rather than copy make sure you tick this box! This specifies the number of additional frames to retain before the In point and after the Out point of each transcoded clip. This will give us a little room on the cut should slight adjustments be required.
Include Audio Conform Files
Ensures that the audio you conformed in the original project remains conformed in the new project.
Include Preview Files
Specifies that effects you rendered in the original project remain rendered in the new project.
Convert After Effects Compositions To Clips
While Adobes dynamic link functionality is great, it can cause havoc when you have to send the project to grade. Our team will likely discuss this with you if you have a vfx or graphic heavy project. For most people however ticking this option & preserve alpha will help us see your project the way you intended.
5. Destination Path
Designates where Project Manager saves the files you specified. Click Browse to navigate to a location other than the default.
When copying a project, Project Manager creates a folder named “Copied_[Project Name]” and copies the project, footage files, and other specified files into the folder.
When consolidating a project for transcoding, Project Manager creates a folder named “Transcoded_[Project Name]” and saves the project, footage files, and other specified files into the folder.
6. Disk Space
Displays a comparison between the size of the current project’s files and the estimated size of the copied or consolidated files. Click Calculate to update the estimate. Make sure your destination has enough space, copying a long form project can consume large amounts of space.
7. Click OK
Don’t forget that in addition to the media managed files, it is critical that you also send over frame accurate time coded mp4 which can be used as vaisual reference to ensure the timeline recreated in grading suite is spot on.
If you have any issues media managing your project drop us an email at email@example.com and we can work through the problem. If you’re looking for further resources to help you prepare your project for the grade, have a look at our other blog ‘5 things to send your colourist before you grade‘