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Common Video Workflow Bottlenecks

by Brian Reisdorf, on Nov 28, 2019 9:00:00 AM

So let's talk about common bottlenecks in a video workflow.

There's really three things. We want to focus on here.

  •  Ingest time
  •  Footage prep time,
  •  Render time.

So ingest time you come back from a shoot with camera cards or a client brings you hard drives.

The question is are you using the fastest method possible to get that data into your environment? So your team can work on it first things first.

If you have more than a couple of editors you absolutely want to be using some kind of shared storage environment. It's actually cheaper than direct attached storage these days because now you're talking about connecting a thunderbolt array to a single device and sharing it to everybody instead of everybody having their own thunderbolt array.

So it's a fantastic way to speed things up immensely. When it comes to ingest the other consideration is how are you actually getting the data from the cards into that shared storage system. A few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have a dedicated work station to do it?
  2. How is it connected to the shared storage?
  3. Can it be faster?
  4. Can you drop a 10 gig card in there or something?

Those are very inexpensive options to speed things up. There's another option as well, with some shared storage systems you can actually plug a camera card reader directly into the server itself or plug the hard drives directly into the server's themselves using Thunderbolt or USB 3 and transfer the data directly to the storage. Meaning you don't go through the network at all can save a ton of time if that's an ability that your server has.

So those are a few quick ways to think about increasing or decreasing your ingest time.

I'm talking about footage prep. So what I mean by footage prep is your data on the drives. Your data is on your storage. Do you do anything with it to prepare it for edit?

Maybe this is cropping everything. Maybe it's rendering it into ProRes. You have a mezzanine codec of some kind setting into DNX.

If you're in avid, there's a lot of value in a mezzanine codec like that from a stability perspective, but is it really worth the time when you know programs like Premier these days do a really good job of having multiple formats on the timeline. There's always exceptions to the rule and there are always formats that will throw things sideways.

So you have to find that balance, but in general footage doesn't need a lot of preparation these days.

So if you are spending a lot of time in a lockstep workflow to render everything ProRes or set everything DNX might be time to take a look and consider an alternative there because you can really speed things up without having to truly prepare footage as much.

Anymore, the other side of this for footage preparation is some facilities will add metadata to a piece of footage before it goes into edit so that the editors can search and find stuff. Metadata is absolutely a double-edged sword.

It is very valuable when used correctly. However, if you spend a lot of time entering metadata in the preparation phase are you really saving that much time on the search phase? Chances are you're probably not so it's a really good time and there's a really good idea to re-evaluate, you know, is it worth doing metadata that point in the workflow?

The third thing we want to consider here is our render and transcode type.

So this one's pretty easy because all about preparation when we set up a render. We basically hit go and we walk away so that the real question is do you have the right equipment do it?

You know, if you are doing a lot of high-end renders, or you're finding yourself doing more color correction stuff that increases your render time, seriously consider looking at video card and processor upgrade sooner rather than later because it can make an enormous difference and it's not terribly expensive.

To get there and also, you know consider as you render instead of rendering out, you know your master and then the various deliverables that you need one at a time.

A lot of programs will allow you to render in parallel so you can set up the master and then three or four deliverables all in one job and queue it go walk away.

It'll take a little longer overall, but you're done at that point. So it's a really good way to just make sure you're not wasting any time or it doesn't sit there while you come back from lunch or something like that get everything out.

So those are some common bottlenecks and video workflows and some thoughts about them.

We'll see you next time.

Topics:workflow tipsVideo editing

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