Recap problems during post production of large tv show
Last year the post production process for a serialized tv-show within Premiere Productions turned into living nightmare, because it seemed like it couldn't handle the amount of imported footage, coming from all sorts of different sources: Sony camcorders, such as the PXW-FX9, GoPro's, drones, phones etc, all using their own specific codecs and color spaces. XAVC, Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, Sony S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine, D-Log etc.
Even though the projects were set up in XDCAM50/1080p, some footage came in at UHD or 4K. Some footage came in, being converted to ProRes.
We're talking about 10 episodes, 14 days worth of footage, and all being accessed all day, every day, for about 5 weeks by several editors on multiple 10GbE iMac machines. As for the separate projects within Productions: one containing all the raw footage, one for converted videos, one for music, one for assets, etc, and one for each episode. Each episode project basically containing a sequence with all the synchronized and grouped footage of that episode (partially containing synchronized segments, coming from Tentacle Sync Studio) and a separate sequence to build the montage of the episode.
The problem we encountered lied in the responsiveness of the projects (on other projects we've never had so much slow projects). On each iMac (even a Windows PC), in every way possible. For example the playback of a timeline. Hitting the space bar to start playback too at least 8 seconds consistently. From within Productions, but also when opening the project separately. Even when starting a fresh non-Productions project and copying all the clips from the source timeline to a new one didn't bother. Every symptom we encountered seemed to be 'intergrated' into the project. Or at least it felt that way.
Upcoming second season
In about two months, we're starting the post production of the second season. As you can imagine, I've tried to analyze the issues from last year. The main goal is to prevent every bit of lag. During the montage itself, but also when trying to import a simple mp3, extending certain types of clips or simply trying to find an audio or video clip from within a project bin inside Premiere. For example: when you opened the Productions project and tried to open the footage project (containing a LOT of heavy footage), it would take up to an hour before every file was loaded. Or so it seems. There was no way to scroll down to the last file to see if you could open it, because it would tell you it was offline until it was done 'progressing' (the Progress tab was constantly busy trying to link everything, EVERY time Prodcutions was opened. For EVERY project.
Is there anyone who is like: "This sounds familiar and I know exactly what they should do!". I kinda doubt it, but I sure do hope so 🙂
Right now I'm redoing all the steps I did last year, to see if I can catch a moment where things went sideways. To see what we can change (if possible at all).
Perhaps it was just a bug inside Productions. Perhaps I should've downgraded from Premiere 22.0 to Premiere 15.0, for example.
Right now, I've been thinking about transcoding ALL footage to the same codec. From what I know, MXF files with a Intra 100 codec are very light and should give no problems at all. Or very little at most. I'm just wondering if that is a workflow other people use as well. It would mean I have to transcode all GoPro, drone and phone footage to Intra 100. If my theory is correct, that should rule out codec issues.
One other thing I want to do differently, is spreading the footage more evenly over several projects. So each episode now gets a project, containing all the footage and audio for that episode, besides the sequences.
I've been trying to think about improving the synchronized sequences I prep on the front side. These sequences can grow very big, depending on the amount of multicam recordings, the ProRes converted footage and all of that. From what I remember, these timelines would contain about 2 TB worth of footage each. These 'sync timelines' were used to easily and quickly form stories and build scenes in the montage sequence.
I hope all of this made sense. For now I just hope there is someone who's willing and able to think along. For example connecting an SSD drive to each set to regulate the local cache, telling me if Video Previews are a GO or NO GO (last year we tried several options; Video Previews - stored on the server - as well), certain settings, something else...? We do wish to use Productions over normal Premiere projects, especially because there's several editors and other people working together on scenes and episodes.
Thank you so much for now!