First Shoot Day on New Series

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We’re currently performing post-production and DIT duties on a new music series called Abbey Road Studios: In Session With Volkswagen Beetle, working for the same production company behind the Live From Abbey Road series.  As a freelance editor I’ve cut the last two series of Live From Abbey Road, and now my company is taking control of all the post, including the onlines and grades.  It’s an exciting time, made all the more challenging by my decision to move away from Final Cut Pro and the all mac pro set-up we’ve used on the last 4 series of the show.

We all know about the developments of FCP X and what that meant for certain sectors of the pro market, so I’m not going to go into that here.  Suffice to say that my reaction to the initial release, without multicam, export to .omf and a host of other pro functionality pretty much made my mind up to move away from FCP at the first opportunity.  Although they’ve now added some of that funcitionality back in, my mind was made up.

Initially we looked at Avid, but being an FCP editor for the past 10 years, I always get a bit twitchy about Avid!  That prompted me to look at Adobe Premiere, the editing software I first started out on at University.  After talks with Matthew Gyves from Adobe Europe, it was obvious that here was a company committed to the pro editing sector in the long term, who listen to their customer base.

So to cut a long story short, we made our decision to switch from Apple (FCP7 running on 4 mac pros) to Adobe Premiere and HP workstations, with Nvidia graphics cards.  We’re currently running 3 HP Z820s, with Quadro 6000 graphics cards and 32 GB of ram, and one HP Z1, which is a back-up editing workstation as well as our portable DIT station which comes with us on set to transfer rushes and preview shots to our director Matthew Amos.

After in-depth tests with rushes from our last series, it was pretty obvious that these machines and the software could handle our needs amazingly well.  We’re running 2 fibre channel raids for our series – fast drives that were always needed on the macs to be able to run 5 streams of HD multicam in FCP7.  On the Z1 – the lowest spec machine in our set-up, we were able to multicam at full res with 5 streams of HD camera originals, direct from a USB 3 drive!

So our plan is to edit the entire series on Premiere, and grade using Speed Grade.  So far everything is working like a dream.  Setting up multicamera edits is much easier in Premiere than in FCP7.  We run Plural Eyes on the entire live music session, then nest each track and we’re ready to edit.  Obviously there are a few shocks to the system having been an FCP user for so long.  At times it feels like I’m wearing someone else’s trousers.  However, we’re committed to the move and not scared of learning new things.  Like all editors faced with moving from FCP7, we’ve chosen what works best for us, and after a year of weighing up all the options, that combination is Adobe CS6 and HP workstations.

There’ll be more on this blog in the coming weeks and months about our progress on the series using this set-up, so please look out for updates on my twitter feed – @mylittleeyetv.

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