GENERAL GUIDELINES and F.A.Q.
By Reels, Parts, or whole film? (IGNORE FOR NON FEATURE FILMS)
This is up to you. If you are planning on going out to film each reel must be under 2000ft including leaders (~22min). If your unfamiliar with finding reel breaks, the goal is that the break be in a place where slight discontinuity in sound or picture is less problematic. Look for places where there is a change in location (good for color variation), and no music or dialog. This is quickly becoming less of a problem as modern theaters often have platter systems where changeovers are a non-issue, and digital projection which doesn't have this issue is becoming the norm.
Leaders and Sequence Timecode:
I typically work with “film style” or "academy" leader, which means an 8 second count down starting at 01:00:00:00 with a 2-pop at 01:00:06:00 and FFOA (first frame of action) at 01:00:08:00. If your working in reels, each reel should start at a new hour timecode corresponding to the Reel, e.g. Reel 2 starts @ 02:00:00:00.
I'm also fine working with “video style” leaders with a slate starting at 00:59:30:00 (or similar), and then 2-pop @ 00:59:58:00 and FFOA beginning at 01:00:00:00.
Either of the above methods is fine as long as sound turnovers get exactly the same timing and 2-pop remains the same. Please include a tail pop on all reels except the last reel. As is always the case, the “pop” of the tail pop should come 2 second after LFOA (last frame of action). Even better is to use my leaders which will automatically relink in the DI… ask us to send them!
The color and file format pipeline for VFX should be worked out as early as possible in the process. Final VFX need to be turned over to the DI in such a way that the color is identical to the raw media. This seems obvious, but sometimes is overlooked. I can tell you how to set this up in Nuke, AE, or whatever software you are using.
The timecode and file naming of final VFX turned over to DI (either DPX or high quality Prores QTs) must match exactly the naming and timecode of what is turned over to editorial.
Please provide your aspect ration that you shot at and also what you are delivering. Make sure all references have the appropriate aspect ration and or masking. If there was a framing chart shot, please include this. Specify if there is a “safety” (sometimes called look around) area on the neg that is being recorded but is not intended to be part of the final framed image. For most aspect ratios a simple description is all that's needed. For final output most theaters are setup to frequently project 1.85:1 (commonly referred to as "flat") or 2.39:1 (commonly referred to as "scope"). Other aspect ratio's are possible of course but must be framed inside one of these containers (which is easy).
Versioning and Naming Conventions:
It really helps me out if you can use a consistent naming convention when turning over your film to me. Even better is to use my naming convention. But whatever you do PLEASE NEVER VERSION THINGS WITH THE WORD "FINAL". USE A VERSION NUMBER. If you can, please label your timelines as follows:
ThreeLetterCodeForYourFilm_EditVersionNumber_ReelNumber. So if your film is called "The Cat's Pajamas" and your final locked picture is edit v37 and your working in reels, then your reel 1 timeline would be TCP_v37_R01. If your version numbers have periods in them such as v3.7, replace the dots with the letter "d" for example TPC_v3d7_R01. Some people like to use dates instead of a version #, that's fine. The version number MUST get incremented with ANY change no mater how small. In other words, if you trim a single shot by 1 frame, that is a new version number.
the below lists everything that you need to deliver. Please deliver everything all in a single clearly organized delivery all at the same time. DO NOT DELIVER IT PIECEMEAL VIA WETRANSFER AND DROPBOX LINKS.
1) Original media.
Depending on the shooting ratio of the film and how much media is involved this can be either all the media that was shot, or just a consolidated subset. If prepping a consolidated set there are a number of tools which can take an EDL or XML and just copy the files used. Contact me for more details. If there are a variety of formats, some transcoding may be neccesary and we should discuss this in advance. This is particularly true if there are any framerate conversions.
2) Quicktime reference with burn in:
These should be Prores (LT, SQ, or HQ) if on FCP and DNXHD if on Avid. You may be able to simply use your offline codec which might save some time. Burnins should include at a minimum the sequence TC, and ideally the source TC (although this is tricky on FCP). Reference Qts should include audio either of offline audio or final mix. If you have done temp color grading include that in the reference. It's important that the reference QT have correct embedded timecode. Open the QT up in QTPro7 and change the window in the lower left to view timecode and confirm that it is the correct sequence TC.
3) XML or AAF and EDL
Whether you use XML or AAF depends on if you are coming from Avid, FCP or Premiere. Before exporting an XML or AAF prep your timeline by flattening it to a single track or the lowest possible number of tracks. There should only be two tracks if you have a picture in picture effect or a two track dissolve effect. Sometimes it may be organizationally useful to keep VFX on a seperate track, that's fine.
Most information such as dissolves and even repos/zooms should come though. If you are using the Avid, you MUST use the 3Dwarp tool to do your zooms and repos. Otherwise they wont come through. Potential problem areas should be flagged and logged into a simple log so an assistant can double check them (see conform and VFX log below). Understand that some speed changes should really be handled as VFX, and may cause artifacts (if your not sure about this we can explain!).
We also also ask for an EDL (Plain vanilla CMX3600 EDL). We wont typically use the EDL for the actual conform but we use this as a backup for the XML / AAF and also for troubleshooting since its easy to open with a normal text editor. For the EDL only include your single track of source shots (since you have collapsed everything to a single track). Don't include audio. Do include source file names in the EDL comments (if that's an option).
5) Editorial Effects and VFX Log.
The "Editorial Effects" log should be a simple list (google doc spreadsheet is preferred) of the potential tricky areas for the conform. This should include all repositions, zooms, speed changes, flopped shots, reversed shots etc. List the sequence TC and a brief description of what was done. The VFX log should be a similar document which lists all the VFX in the film. It will list the name of the VFX, the approved version # and file name, and a description of the VFX.