Advice on efficient workflow for collaborative editing in FCP 10.1.1 w/ 4K files

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mister-cotton, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. mister-cotton macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2013
    Hi All.

    I'm pretty new to the video editing world and have a question about workflow and collaborative editing with the equipment we're working with.

    Here's what we're working with:

    My Mac:
    early 2011 MacBook Pro 13"
    RAM: 16GB
    GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000
    Processor: 2.3GHZ Intel Core i5

    My partner's Mac:
    late 2013 MacBook Pro 15"
    RAM: 16GB
    GPU: Intel Iris Pro Graphics
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching
    Processor: 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel i7

    Software: Final Cut Pro 10.1.1 (Both of us)
    OS: 10.9.4

    Camera: Sony AX-100 4K

    Codec: XAVC-S 4K

    The fastest port we both have is Thunderbolt 1.

    We choose to shoot in 4K because some of our stuff will be projected onto big screens. This may change to 1080p, but for now we're sticking with 4K which obviously limits our workflow.

    Here is the workflow we're considering given the power (or lackthereof) of our respective computers . Any feedback or constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.

    1. Dump footage to partner's computer
    2. Import to FCP 10.1.1
    3. Convert to proxy files
    4. Export library or event (we haven't yet decided how we're going to organize media) to Thunderbolt external HD (looking at Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt 1TB - rec's on external HD's appreciated)
    5. Import media AND/OR* converted proxy files from external HD to my computer.
    6. We now both have the files and can edit as we agree upon.
    7. We plan to keep all old projects on a 5TB USB 3.0/Thunderbolt external HD so we can access them as necessary.

    *Is it possible to import the proxy file to be more efficient without losing connection to the original media? We've experimented with this a little bit, but the proxy thing is still fairly confusing to me.

    The primary reasoning behind this workflow is:
    A) My computer can only edit 4K files in proxy
    B) My partner's computer can convert the files to proxy much faster than mine

    My questions are numerous but the primary ones are:
    1. Does this workflow seem efficient or inefficient given what we're working with?
    2. Any glaring holes or improvements?
    3. Any recommendations on collaborative editing workflow in general?

    Thanks for reading. If I need to share any more information to get a better answer, please let me know. Any insight is much appreciated. Cheers.
  2. ChrisA, Jul 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Even with all the file copying I don't see that you have much redundancy.

    Also it will be really slow to have to wait for the Proxy files to be built on the first computer. I'd say to not wait.

    It would likely be faster are FAR more simple to import the media twice. Import to the faster computer will go fast enough and depend on the speed of the memory cards. Point FCPX at the SD card, don't dump the SD card to disk first. Save some time that way.

    The computer will convert to Proxy in the background you don't have to wait around and can even start reviewing you footage.

    Pull the memory card out as soon as it is downloaded. Don't wait for the Proxy to complete. It could take hours.

    Put the media in the slower computer and repeat. Again, who cares if the Proxy files are not done for 5 to 6 hours?

    After this EACH computer does it's own backup and archive. You need TWO archives kept in two different buildings. The rule should always be that if a fire took out "everything" you would still have at least two copies. Each person copies file to a large Archive he keeps at his own home.

    Some other things caught my eye: a 1TB drive? That is tiny for any kind of work like this it will only hold the most recent files.

    Likelwise a 5TB external seems small for an archive but it depends on how much you shoot. Are your cameras going for hours per day or 30 minutes per week? How many gigabytes per day on average? Buy a disk system that will hold about two years work and figure on replacing it every two years, you can always re-cycle the drives for use as backups or stuff them into a RAID or whatever.

    Doo NOT re-use the memory cards until the footage has propagated through your backup system. First the import to FCPX's local library then the copy to archive and then the normal system level backup that you do with Time machine and hopefully some off site. These backups take time so keep the old SD cards in a small fire safe for a few weeks before re-using them.
  3. mister-cotton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2013
    Thanks very much for your thorough response, Chris. I have a few follow-up questions if you have the time.

    - Won't I eventually have to dump the footage to a disk?
    My understanding is that this import from the SD card store the footage on my Mac and then I can back it up to an external. Does that sound right?

    I can't review the footage until is in proxy as my Mac's not powerful enough to run the 4K optimized media. We think if we're in a crunch that we may be able to convert on his Mac b/c it's so much faster and then we can send to my Mac. From your experience, this seems to be inefficient though I gather?

    How big of an archive would you recommend? I was planning to use a 1TB external just for file transfer and then getting a 5TB external for each of us for backup.

    We shoot approximately 1-2 hours per week. How big of an archive would you recommend? 10TB? Also, what speed of an external HD would you recommend? Any particular externals that you use that we should check out?

    Thanks again for the thorough post. You've been most helpful!
  4. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Are your videos being displayed on a 4k Cinema Projector?

    If you are not entirely sure, then you could save file space and shoot at 2k.. or just 1080p.

    How long are the finished edits? 1 min? 10 mins?

    It takes some time.. but your method of editing proxies isnt bad.. but like Chris said, having reduncancy is important.

    I'm looking at this for a setup:

    and then 4 of these:

    Just take that as an example... there are larger raid arrays out there. but you can set it up in a RAID 1 for a mirrored backup.

    You can also use your macs software raid and hook up 2 of the same external drives and have them mirrored, so when you dump files to the raid, it copies them off to both drives. Then each of you can keep the archive.. seperated in case of fire, flood or famine... well.. data loss famine.


    I use backblaze for an online cloud backup system.. there may be limits ( i have 600+gbs up there) but its offsite storage that auto updates.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes. When FPC reads the SD card it does the copy from the card and then starts some conversions and analysis process that runs in the background.

    What I meant to suggest was just that. Import the media FIRST to the fastest computer you have. Then import to the next fastest computer but in this case you can let it run over night if need be.

    OK You are not shooting a lot of footage so maybe small drives will work.

    Let's assume 0.35 gigabytes per minute. 2 hours per week is 42GB or raw footage per week. In a year (50 weeks) you would still only have 2.1TB or raw footage. Of course the ProRes and proxy files will takes far more space than this but you can trash those after you complete each project. All you really need to keep is the data that came off the camera everything else can be recreated.

    I was guessing when you said you where shooting "for the big screen" you might have about 20 times more footage per week, at least.

    I still think your best bet is to try and get the footage viewable ASAP. So after the fastest computer you have has finished converting the data, don't tie it up again with a hours long copy operations, start looking and let the second computer re-process the same SD card. Seems a wages to preocess twice but it beats having to wait and extra hours or more

    One good upgrade that will pay for itself is to install SSD drives in both notebook computers. Just swap out the hard drives for SSD and everything will go faster.

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