Long Project Workflow

johnmeyer wrote on 11/4/2003, 2:54 PM
I spent the past half-hour searching these forums for ideas for the best workflow for handling a long project with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individual clips. My particular project consists of four tapes of volleyball matches. I want to produce a five minute music video highlight "reel." The tapes each contain the slightly edited matches. Since they were previously rendered, they now contain a single continuous timecode, and no markers, regions, or events.

I put all the tapes on the timeline (almost four hours), and then scrubbed to find "highlight" action. I created short events from each highlight, and deleted everything else. I was left with a timeline with many hundred of individual events from the original four separate (very large) AVI files.

I now need to classify these clips so that I can arrange and trim them to fit my selected music. This is where I need to develop a better workflow.

The good people in this forum seem to have developed two general ways to deal with this:

1. Create tracks for each "class" of events, and drag the events to each track. In essence, this uses tracks as "bins." [We can't use Vegas' bins because they only let us organize by "media" (i.e., files), not by events, regions, or markers within files.]

2. Put markers into your project, and then render the resulting file, making sure to check "Save project markers in media file" in the Vegas Render As dialog box. The resulting regions can be viewed in Vegas' "Explorer View," and can be put directly on the timeline.

The second approach seemed like it would help me organize and name my clips much faster than the first approach (moving things between dozens of tracks seemed like a lot of "mousing around," and scrolling between all the tracks seemed awkward).

To speed things up, I adapted jetdv's AddMarkerstoEvents script to instead create regions for each event. I have posted this in the script forum (AddRegionsToEvents).

So here's my workflow. If anyone has any suggestions of how to make this even better, please chime in, 'cause this is still going to take a long time:

1. Cut the raw footage on the timeline, leaving just the highlights. Each highlight is now an individual event.
2. Run the AddRegionsToEvents script to create a region for each event.
3. Click on View -> Edit Details.
4. In the Edit Details dialog box, set the Show drop down box to Regions.
5. Enter a region name for each region. Make sure the names entered can easily be sorted alphabetically, such as "Spike 01," "Spike 02," and "Dig 01," and "Dig 02" (this is volleyball ...)
6. Render the project to a new DV AVI file, making sure to check "Save project markers in media file" in the Vegas Render As dialog box.
7. Start a new project.
8. In Vegas' "Explorer View" make sure that View -> Region View is enabled, so you can see the regions in the AVI file just rendered.
9. In Vegas' "Explorer View," click on the file just rendered. In the Region View pane, you can now see each sub-clip (i.e., each event from original project). You can preview just that clip by clicking on the name, and you can insert just that clip on the timeline.

Two things that still make this workflow less than optimal, both of which Sony could improve in the next release:

1. When entering the names in step 5 above, the preview windows does not show the video for that region/event/clip, nor does that segment get highlighted. This is not consistent with what happens in Sound Forge when you select a region from the region list (it highlights the region). This is one of the biggest flaws in this approach because there is no way to easily know which event an entry in the Edit Details box is referring to. I'm going to look into writing a script to handle this as soon as I get finished with this post. What is really needed is an interface that has the speed of spreadsheet entry combined with a link to the preview so you can see what is being named.

2. There is no way to "Tag" an event in the Edit Details box. Instead, I have to type everything. I can use Copy/Paste to speed things up a bit, but what I really want to be able do is tag an event with the name of a player, or the type of play. This is similar to what is done by photo album software to organize photos (see Adobe Photoshop Album).

Better still would be the ability to tag each clip with more than one attribute, so I could sort, select, and then preview, based on more than one criteria.


J_Mac wrote on 11/4/2003, 3:43 PM
I have been doing the same project, only soccer, and I would suggest organizing around player names, then the action, especially if the vid is for younger kids and not competitve, or older kids. It is easier to balance the number of appearances of a particular kid, throughout the video, i.e. 20 appearances of player 01, vs 4 for player 02. It also makes it a snap to burn each individual players clips onto to a CD for the coach and/or parents.
As far as work flow, I render and name each clip separately, and am forced to type each file name separately. And you are correct it, TAKES FOREVER.
I have my teenager help with this part of the process. I also use the symbols above the number keys to rank, the clips from best to worst, as I name each clip, with the player number, name, rank, action

'Better still would be the ability to tag each clip with more than one attribute, so I could sort, select, and then preview, based on more than one criteria.'

This would help us both. Good Luck, John.
BrianStanding wrote on 11/4/2003, 4:54 PM
It seems to me rendering each clip out would be a big bottleneck.

Why not open each clip in the Trimmer, instead of loading them all onto the timeline? From there, you can set and name regions (just make sure to either hit "save" in the trimmer, or set preferences to "save media markers with files").

Then use the explorer window/Regions view (NOT Edit Details) to show and drag 'n' drop your named regions on to the Timeline. Render out the final timeline and your done.

I know lots of folks think the Trimmer is a waste of time, but this is the kind of application it was designed for.
johnmeyer wrote on 11/4/2003, 6:14 PM

Ah, a kindred soul.

I really appreciate the tip about organizing first around the player name, then the action. I was wrestling with which should have first priority (i.e., be the first name).

I thought about BStanding's idea of using the trimmer. This has the advantage of being able to preview exactly what you are labeling, but the disadvantage of lots of mouse movement to edit each region name (or event name). My goal is to get something where I can press the down arrow key (like in a spreadsheet) to get to the next event/region; immediately, and automatically, preview that clip; and then type the name for the clip. If there are keyboard shortcuts that would let me rename a region while in the trimmer, I'd sure like to know about them.

In the meantime, now that I've gotten through my afternoon meetings, I'm going to look into whether this can be done with a script.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 11/4/2003, 6:46 PM
You said you captured 4 HOURS of footage? I take it you just hit play on the tape and capture on vidcap, right? aggghh.... :)

I've done the same thing with football, soccer, and volleyball. I had about 4-8 hours of video for each and 3 weeks to make my videos in.

So... instead of capturing everything, I reviewed all the footage beforehand and decided what I wanted. i picked the best clips off the videos and captured those. Then... I had about 40 minute of footage (for all 3 sports total). Then I would pick the best of the best clips and make the videos from them.

Capturing the entire games is a waste. Most of the time nothing worth seeing is happening (people standing around in football, kicking the ball from one end of the field to the other in soccer, and bouncing the ball around in volleyball). Just pick out the action clips.

Oh, if you want a laugh, take some of your captured clips and speed them up in Vegas y about 2-3x. It sounds like a ping pong mach. :)
J_Mac wrote on 11/4/2003, 8:36 PM
I agree their seems to be a lot of wasted time, I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 minute action sequence takes about 5 minutes to get into the final form, 'before' going into the video. Any time (and disc space), saver is greatly appreciated. I've also searched the forum for workflow hints but feel we are confined by the medium and the equipment.
An added feature, of capturing the entire game, and cutting maximum clips is selling the clips to the players families. No music, just clips, organized by action. No licensing issues.
From players standing around, I made a vid of each player and the parents, family and spectators, to the song 'Worlds Greatest", from the Salt Lake Olympics. Still brings a tear to my wifes eye, and I got a kiss and hug from each mother, ...and some dad's.
To paraphrase,
...when you capture lemons....John.
johnmeyer wrote on 11/4/2003, 9:40 PM

.... i picked the best clips off the videos and captured those ...

I have done this in the past, and it lets you spread the workload over a longer period of time. Ultimately, however, you still have to scrub through everything to keep just the good stuff.

I am making good progress on speeding up the workflow with a script. I now have script fragments that:

1. Let you preview the video from within the script (and they said it couldn't be don ...)

2. Let you type the name of the region for the event you just viewed.

I may implement tagging (using dialog radio buttons), depending on how ambitious I feel.
BrianStanding wrote on 11/5/2003, 9:46 AM
"I thought about BStanding's idea of using the trimmer. This has the advantage of being able to preview exactly what you are labeling, but the disadvantage of lots of mouse movement to edit each region name (or event name). "

Depends on how you do it. I usually load the clip into the Trimmer, then use the keyboard as follows:
- use the space bar (preferences set to "make space bar play/pause") to start and stop playback;
- use the "J," "K," and "L" keys to scrub through the clip;
- use the "I" and "O" keys to mark Region in and out points;
- double-click to select the time selection;
- use the "R" key to name the region, then type in name.

Pretty fast once you get used to it. You can also use the identical technique in Video Capture to mark batch capture in and out points. Once you batch capture, you capture only the parts of the video you want. You can then dump clips into Media Bins based on whatever organizational strategy strikes your fancy. This also has the advantage of giving you a batch list from which you can recreate the project at a later date.

Since you have to watch all 4 hours anyway, it's a good way to log good and bad scenes while you do so.

johnmeyer wrote on 11/6/2003, 6:07 PM
I created a script to help me get through this project and do what I envisioned in my earlier posts in this thread. You can see the script here:

Preview, then name regions using listbox dialog