Assistant Editing Workflow (MFA On Set)

Overview

The Assistant Editor (AE) works for the Editor and is responsible for managing the media as it enters into the editorial phase of post-production. The key tasks are to:

  • Setup the AE and Media Bay kit
  • Offload media
  • Import media into Premiere
  • Synchronize clips
  • Organize media in Premiere
  • Organize Script Supervisor notes
  • Build, export, and review dailies sequences
  • Compile the Editor’s notebook

Offload Media

The AE will retrieve the Red Mini Mags (containing the video) , the CF cards (containing the audio), and the camera reports at regular intervals throughout the day. It is very important that sound and picture cards are offloaded concurrently. It is also important that production turns over media at realistic intervals to allow the AE to work effectively on set. 

Insert the cards into the corresponding readers, they will mount like an external hard drive and appear on the desktop.

CF Card containing Sound
Red Mini Mag Containing Video

The Media Bay will have two separate solid state drives always mounted to the desktop. You will need to offload every camera and sound card to BOTH drives. This way the media will aways be in two separate places. That way, in the slim chance that something goes wrong with one drive, the media will always be safe on the other one.

Backup 1 and Backup 2

Copy the audio from the CF card to the appropriate folder on Backup 1 AND Backup 2. Inside the day folder you will need to create a folder specific to the roll and the card. Ex:(03_CF_912) That would be the third sound roll and it was on CF card number 912.

Sound Day 1 Example
Sound Day 2 Example

Next, copy the video from the Red Mini Mag to the appropriate folder on Backup 1 AND Backup 2. Just like with the sound card , inside the day folder you will need to create a folder specific to the roll and the card. Ex:(03_SSD_61) That would be the third camera roll and it was on SSD card number 61.

Camera Day 1 Example
Camera Day 2 Example

After you have offloaded camera and sound cards to both backup drives you may then safely eject them from the card readers.

Do not return these to production until you have sunc the footage and performed a QC in premiere.

When that is complete, the CF sound card will need to be erased. Remember to empty the trash after deleting the sound card media as that is the only way to free up space on the card. The camera card does not need to be erased as it will be reformatted in the camera.

Import Media into Premiere

Navigate to the following folder on Backup 1 to open the Premiere Project.

Premiere Project Example

The bin structure is already setup for you and must be maintained. 

Import theWAV files into the appropriate bin.

02_Audio – Production – Day

Import the ProRes Quicktimes into the appropriate bin. Do not import the R3D files into premiere. To make this easier you may want to highlight them in a finder window and then drag them into Premiere to import.

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03_Footage – Production – Day

Check the audio and video clips in premiere against the camera and sound reports to make sure their is no discrepancy in the amount of media.

Synchronize Clips

Use the “merge clips” command in Premiere to sync the audio and video together. To make this easier you should create a keyboard shortcut for the “merge clips” command.

Select “Keyboard Shortcuts” from the drop down.
Type “merge” in the spyglass window to find the “merge clip” command.
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Set “control + m” for the shortcut.

Double-click on the first video clip to open it in the Source Panel. Make note of the setup and take numbers that are on the slate.

Scroll up to the Audio bin and find the corresponding audio files that are labelled with the same setup and take numbers. Each take may have multiple .wav files depending on how many microphones were used on set. More than likely, each take will have three separate WAV files (boom, radio, radio).

Command-select all the corresponding video and audio clips. With all your assets for the take highlighted use hit “control + m” to use your shortcut for “merge clips”.

A window will appear asking how to merge them:

  • Name the merged clip after the setup and take number (e.g., 2A_1)
  • Set the Synchronize Point as “Timecode”
  • Check “Remove Audio from AV Clip”
  • Click “OK”

The newly merged clip will appear in the project panel outside of any folder. Open the merged clip in the Source Panel and confirm that it’s correctly synchronized. You can check this by watching the clapper one frame at a time. You have a margin of error of one frame. The merged clip can be off by one frame and still be acceptable. If the sync is good, scroll to the footage bin and change the label color on the clip you just merged (to help you remember how many you have done).  

If for some reason the sync is wrong delete the merged clip and start again. Most likely it’s a case of highlighting the wrong takes and trying to merge them. It’s also possible that the sound mixer accidentally mislabelled a sound file, which will take a little detective work to locate the correct file.

If that does not work, then you will need to sync manually by setting in-points on the corresponding audio and video files (or out-points, if a shot was tail-slated).

Open the video clip in the Source Panel and set an in-point on the first frame when the sticks are together.

Open each of the corresponding audio files in the Source Panel and set an in-point on the first frame that you can hear the clapper.

Command-select all the corresponding video and audio clips. With all your assets for the take highlighted, use your shortcut for “merge clips”.

A window will appear asking how to merge them:

  • Name the merged clip after the setup and take number (e.g., 3A_1)
  • Set the Synchronize Point as “In Points”
  • Check “Remove Audio from AV Clip”
  • Click “OK”

To check the sync on a clip you merged manually, you will need to place it into a sequence and extend the head of the clip to get some pre-roll to the clapping sound. Once you have checked it for sync delete the clip from the sequence.

If the sync is still incorrect contact the Post Production Supervisor.

If you come across a clip that was labelled “MOS” on the slate, it means there are no corresponding audio files to sync. Instead, you should right-click on the clip to duplicate it. Then, rename the duplicate version whatever it was slated, with a suffix of “_MOS” (e.g., 3B_1_MOS). Then, move the duplicate version out of the Production Footage bin, so that it is grouped with all the merged clips.

Organize media in Premiere

After everything has been synchronized successfully, move the merged clips into the appropriate Scene bins.

Organize Script Supervisor notes

At the end of each day, after the Script Supervisor has uploaded their notes to the Locket Network, download them so they can be imported into Premiere and entered into the metadata of the individual shots.

Open a web browser and go to lockitnetwork.com:

Click the login button and enter the username and password for the school’s account. (Check with the Post Staff if you do not know the login credentials.)

In the project dropdown select your project.

Select the “Reports” tab. Before proceeding make sure to select “All Shooting Days”, “PDF”, and “English”, then download:

  • Editor’s Log
  • Facing Page
  • Shot Log
  • Lined Script

When they are downloaded move them to the “Lockit Notes” folder alongside your Premiere Project Backup 1. Email a copy of them to the shows producer. 

Locket Notes Example

In Premiere, open the “PDF viewer” extension.

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Write caption…

Dock the PDFviewer Panel next to Effect Controls Panel.

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Click the upload button and import the four documents. Each one will have to go in a separate tab. You can hit the plus button to make all four tabs.Paragraph

When they are all imported it will look like the example below.

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Write caption…

Next, you’ll need to customize how metadata is displayed in the Project Panel, so that the necessary columns are visible. Right-click on the tab for the Project Panel and select “Metadata Display…” from the menu.Image

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Search for “Description” and confirm that the first box is checked. Then search for “Comment” and check the first box.

Once you have both a “Description” and a “Comment” column, you can drag them next to the “Name” column in the Project Panel.

Open the Facing Page tab in PDFviewer. For each shot, copy-and-paste the “Shot Description” from the Facing Page document into the “Description” field on the merged clip. And copy-and-paste the “Take Comment” from the Facing Page document into the “Comment” field on the merged clip.

Build the Dailies Sequence

Under 01_Sequences – Dailies you will find the prebuilt sequence. Everything shot from the entire show will be put into this one sequence. Please do not separate each days footage into separate sequences or omit any material.

Organize the merged clips in scene order (story order) and, within each scene, place the shots in the following order:

  1. Wide shots
  2. Medium shots
  3. Close-ups
  4. Inserts
  5. Charts

Since sound starts rolling before picture on set, you’ll notice that there’s excess audio media at the head (and sometimes also the tail) of each shot.

You’ll want the head and tail of each audio clip to line up with the head and tail of the video. To trim the audio, hold down Option and drag the head or tail of the audio track. The trimmed sequence should look like this.

Makea 5 second Slate to begin the dailies sequence and fill it out as below.

Exporting the Dailies Sequence

At the end of production, after everything has been sunc and organized in the dailies sequence, export the sequence to Frame.io using these instructions. Upload to the appropriate Dailies folder in Frame.io and point the render to save locally in the “Dailies Export” folder, alongside your Premiere Project on Backup 1.      

Since the AE is already on set, their is no need to export dailies for review while still in production. The ATL can view the dailies or the assembly edit right in Premiere.

Review the dailies sequence

Prior to screening dailies Faculty in the HD suite, watch the exported QuickTime file to check for errors and to fill out the relevant fields of the Dailies Screening Notes form. Each form has spaces for the Date Shot, Scene Number, Take Number, which you can enter in the order that the shots are arranged in the dailies sequence. You can also note if the shot was sync or MOS, if it was a series take, and if it was the “best take,” a “good” take, or “no good.” Within the text box for each shot, you should also include a brief technical description (i.e., WS, MCU, Dolly into an ECU, etc.) and note any obvious technical flaws. Leave enough space to capture the Director’s notes as well during the dailies screening.

These notes should be hole punched and compiled in a labeled three ring binder to make the AE Binder.

Wrap

Once you have confirmed that the dailies sequence has exported properly and your screening notes in the AE Binder are complete you are done. Return the completed editors notebook and the media cards into the assigned cubby in the ingest room. Leave the two (the AE Kit and The Media Bay) in the ingest room for safe keeping. The post staff will transfer your work from the Media Bay to the SAN.