Assistant Editing Workflow (MFA)

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:

  • Ingest media to CMPAFilmPost Server
  • Link and Transcode footage in Media Composer
  • Synchronize audio and video
  • Organize media Avid bins
  • Import ScriptE ALE and copy and paste notes
  • Assemble, export, and upload to Frame.io dailies sequences

Mount Show Volume

The CMPAFilmPost server would already be mounted and viewable on the desktop as shown.

If the CMPAFilmPost Server is not already mounted you can mount it by running an automated script. Hit “Command + Space Bar” and then type in “cmpafilmpost” into the search field.

That will find the automated script. Hit return and the Server will mount.

Next you will need to mount the server volume for the specific film you are working on. Hit “Command + K” to open the Connect to Server window.

When you click “Connect” another window will display the options for each shows individual volume.

Find the show you are working on and then click OK. This will mount your show volume and it will be viewable on the desktop alongside CMPAFilmPost.

The CMPAFilmPost Server is where you will offload all of the original Camera files and Production Audio to.

The Show Volume is where your Media Composer Project will live and were you will transcode your Avid Media to.

With both of those mounted you are ready to start ingesting media.

Ingest Media

At the end of each day of shooting, the AE will retrieve the Red Mini Mag (containing the video), the SD card (containing the audio), and the camera reports from the ingest room cubby and bring them back to their assigned suite on the post hall for ingest. Production should have applied red tape to show live media was on them and labeled them as shown.

Remove the tape and 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

Copy the audio from the CF card to the appropriate folder on CMPAFilmPost. Inside the day folder you will need to create a folder specific to what each card is labeled. EX: CF_919

Move the CSV files which are the Digital Sound Reports from the audio folder to the reports folder. Once its in the reports folder you can upload it to the reports folder on Frame.io.

Copy the video from the Red Mini Mag to the OCF folder on CMPAFilmPost. Inside the day folder you will need to create a folder specific to what each card is labeled. EX: SSD_66

Triple-check that the media from from each card has fully transferred to the appropriate folders. You have the show in your hands here and it would be disastrous if you deleted it accidentally! 

The CF cards will need to be erased after you have confirmed their transfer to CMPAFilmPost. Remember to empty the trash after deleting the sound card media as that is the only way to free up space on the card. You do not need to erase the Red Mini Mags as they will be reformatted the next time they are put in the camera. Return the media cards to the show cubby in the ingest room. Now that the tape has been removed production will now that they are clear to be used again.

Link and Transcode Avid Media

Navigate to the following folder on Show Volume to open the Media Composer Project.

Inside the folder “03_Footage” as another folder labeled “Production”. Inside of that folder is a bin labeled “Synching”. Right click inside that bin and select “Input” then “Source Browser”

This will open up the “Source Browser” window. Use it to navigate the CMPAFilmPost server to where the Original Camera Files (OCF) is located. Make sure the radial button in the bottom left is set to “Link” and then click “Link” in the bottom right.

That will link all of your OCF into the “Synching” bin. Notice the icon has a icon with a linked chain letting you know this is not Avid Media yet but only linked to the OCF on the CMPAFilmPost Server.

Highlight all of the linked files in the bin by hitting “Command + A”. Then right click on a clip and select “Source Settings”.

This will open the “Source Settings” window. You will use the Color Encoding tap to apply a Look Up Table (LUT) to the OCF which is in Log. Then you will use the FrameFlex tab to set the proper aspect ratio.

In the Color Encoding Tab set the Color Adapter Type to “User Installed LUTs”

Then select your shows LUT from the list. Unless otherwise instructed by production you will use the default LUT which is Medium Contrast and Medium Size shown below.

Then click “Add” and then “Apply to All”. This will change all of your linked footage from looking like a LOG video file (washed out and without contrast) to looking like a 709 video file (saturated and with contrast). This is what the DP would have been viewing on set.

Next use the FrameFlex Tab to set the proper aspect ratio. The only two options you need to modify are the “Frame Aspect Ratio” and the “Reformat” drop down menu shown with red arrows below.

The “Frame Aspect Ratio” will be set to one of the three approved aspect ratios of either 1.85:1, 2.39:1, or 1.375:1. Check with the production to see what aspect ratio they framed for.

The “Reformat” drop down should be set to Pillarbox/Letterbox.

Click “Apply to All”.

Changing these two parameters will ensure that when new Avid Media is created that is 1920×1080 it will have the correct aspect ratio burned in.

Now that all of your linked media has the proper color and framing its time to transcode to Avid Media. Highlight all of the linked files in the bin by hitting “Command + A”. Then right click on a clip and select “Consolidate/Transcode”.

This will open the “Consolidate/Transcode” window.

Study the options with the red arrows shown below. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT as it determines the kind of media that will be transcoded and used for editing in Media Composer.

The radial button in the top left should be set to “Transcode” You should select your show volume under target drive. DO NOT SELECT CMPAFilmPost. Then double check all of the red arrows on the right.


Once everything is set properly you can click “Transcode”. This process will take a few minutes as it generates new Avid Media so take a break and relax.

When the transcode is finished you will notice that now you have two versions of everything in your Synching bin. One is a linked media and one is Avid Media.

If you were to look at your show volume you would notice that it now has an “Avid MediaFiles” folder at the root level and inside are the MFX files you just transcoded.

We no longer need the linked media so you can select all of it and delete it.

Now you can repeat the process of linking and transcoding the production audio for the day. Use the source browser like before and navigate to the proper folder on the CMPAFilmPost Server.

When you click “Link” the “Audio Start-Time Options” window appears. Set it to 24 and then select OK to All.

Just like you did before with the OCF you will need to select all of the production audio in the bin and right click and select “Consolidate/Transcode”

Then make sure the settings in the Consolidate/Transcode window are exactly the same as they were when you transcoded the OCF.

Once everything is set properly you can click “Transcode”. This process will not take nearly as long as transcoding the OCF. When the transcode is finished you will notice that now you have two versions of the production audio in your Synching bin. One is a linked media and one is Avid Media.

We no longer need the linked media so you can select all of it and delete it.

Congratulations all the OCF and Production audio from that day has been transcoded and only the Avid Media that we want in the project is left in the synching bin.

Synchronize Audio and Video

Select all the audio and video clips in the syncing bin and then right click and select “AutoSync” from the dropdown menu.

The “Sync Selection” window will appear. Make sure you have “Source timecode” selected and then click okay.

This make make a new sync sub clip out of every audio and video clip taht had matching timecode. Anything that did not sync because the timecode was off will be highlighted and will need to be synced manually.

Here is an example where you can see two room tone clips and a clip with wilds which makes sense as they would not create a subclip. It also shows audio and video for 6A_1 that did not match because it was a bump take and so its highlighted as well.

While the clips are highlighted, set the clip color so you can identify them as clips with issues.

Open the subclips 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.  

For any audio and video clips that needs to be manually sunc you can use the “Sync Selection” window as well. But first you would need to place “In-Points” at the proper place in both the video and audio clip. Open the video clip and set an “in-point” by pressing “i” on the frame where the clapper connects.

Next open the corresponding audio clip and set an “in-point” by pressing “i” on the frame where you hear the slate close. You can scrub one frame at a time and listen by holding the “shift” key while scrubbing. It may also be helpful to toggle the timeline so you can see the source monitor displayed and you can see the waveforms.

Select both the the audio and video clips and then right click and select “AutoSync” from the dropdown menu. The “Sync Selection” window will appear. This time to manually sync make sure you have “Inpoints” selected and then click okay.

Organize Bins

After everything has been synchronized successfully, move the production video into the correct Production Day bin.

Move the production audio into the Production Audio bin.

This will leave the correctly synchronized subclips in the synching bin. The subclips will have the video clip name with “sync” at the end.

Label clips and import ScriptE notes

You will need to rename the subclips in the syncing bin to reflect the scene and take information on the slate. You can find this as you go through to check the sync by watching each slate clapper close. Please label the subclips in the following format: 1A-1.

Now you are ready to import the Clip Bin file that the Script Supervisor made in ScriptE. Download the file from Frame.io and put it in your shows Reports folder on the CMPAFilmPost Server.

But before we can import it into Media Composer we need to modify a few things. Open the Clip Bin file in TextEdit and in the header change the FPS to 24.

Then go to the end of the last line and hit Return to add a space. This will ensure the last clip will get imported.

Save and close the file in Text Edit. Then change the file extension to be .ale instead of .txt.

To import the .ale file into Media Composer you will right click in the bin and navigate to the “Source Browser” like you did when linking the audio and video.

In the “Source Browser” window navigate to the .ale file and make sure you have “Import” selected, then click Import.

If you receive this error message that is fine just click OK.

The clips from the .ale will now be in the synching bin with all the metadata for the Script Supervisor. They will appear as offline in the Source Monitor and that is fine because they are not actual video files.

To more easily identify the clips from the .ale you can change the clip color of them. Then scroll to the right and you will see you have more columns with lots of good information from the Script Supervisor. To keep these columns select go to your column view presets and select “Save As”.

Make a new preset called “ScriptE”. This way you will never lose those columns and the information in them.

Now you can right click on the name column and select “Sort on Column, Ascending”

This will arrange the sunc clips and the .ale clips right next to each other since they have the same names.

Now you can easily copy and paste all the metadata information from the .ale clips to the sunc clips. This will take a little bit of time but its not difficult once you get everything setup. Just go slow and copy and paste all the information to the sunc clips.

Once you have all the metadata from the .ale clips copied over to your sunc clips delete the .ale clips from the bin.

Then move the sunc clips out of the “Synching” bin and into the appropriate scenes bins.

Build the Dailies Sequence

For each day of production, you will build a dailies sequence that includes all of the footage shot for that day, as well as a master dailies sequence that includes all the footage shot for the entire show.

Inside the 01_Sequences folder is the Dailies bin. Here you will find all your prebuilt sequences.

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

Before exporting you need to add a 5 second slate to the start of the sequence. Move the play head to the start of the sequence.

Then Add five seconds of filler at Position. By default this will add 1 second of filler inform of your play head so you will need to do this 5 times.

Afterward you should have 5 seconds of filler before your sequence.

Then you can add a title to that filler to make the slate. Please include all of the information shown below.

To find the TRT to fill in the slate mark in at the beginning of the sequence and out at the end of the sequence. That will show you the duration that you should type into the TRT field.

Exporting and Uploading Dailies

Finally to export the dailies sequence out so you can upload it to frame.io mark in to out for the whole sequence. Then select “Export to File” from the drop down menu.

In the “Export As” window make sure under save as the name of the file is correct. Navigate to your show volume and into the “2_Dailies_Exports” folder. And under Export Settings select “Dailies_Export_720p_MP4” preset. Then click Save.

When its done Exporting you can navigate to it in the finder to make sure everything is okay.

Once you are satisfied that its good then you can upload the file to the appropriate folder on Frame.io.

Make sure that the dailies sequence is up on Frame.io and ready for the ATL to watch on set at lunch the next day.

Wrap Up

Save and quite Media Composer. Make sure you return the now offloaded media cards to the cubby in the ingest room. The producer will retrieve them to use again when they drop of the next days media cards for you.