Apologies in advance for the long note. We're using Adobe CC to edit and finish commercials and are having a significant issue regarding shared project workflow. First, some context:
We often edit projects remotely. When this happens, assistants and other editors who remain in LA will have access to the media on our SAN while the editor and assistant traveling out of town will have their own copy of the media. I know Adobe Anywhere would solve any issue relating to two identical sets of media in use in different cities, but we're a small shop and the hardware and software expense don't make sense for us at this time. Please do not respond to anything mentioned from here on by stating we should just get Adobe Anywhere. Thanks.
What will regularly happen is that the remote editor and assistant will need work done on the project here in LA while they're in session with the clients. Sometimes this work involves marking up clips with comment markers so the editor can more easily locate a specific moment. Here's where the problem arises.
Unlike FCP and Avid, Premiere handles markers within the clip's metadata. So, if I have two separate projects linking to separate but identical instances of media, one of those media instances gets updated with new markers, there is currently no way to get those markers to the other project without also shuttling the new marked-up media. This is not possible when a remote editor needs dailies marked up in a couple hours and is working across the country or abroad.
But let's assume for the sake of argument that it is possible and we apply this workflow. Let's also assume that in the time it takes the local assistant to mark up the clips for the remote editor, the editor has added a couple markers of his own, which is reasonable and happens all the time. Now when the editor links to the newly marked up clips he's received via shipment, he'll wipe out all the markers he's made on his own since giving the order to mark up the footage. That is a significant inconvenience, especially with clients in the room asking stuff like "can we look at the take where the guy says 'good' instead of 'great'?"
So what happens if we just have repeating sets of media, so that every time the clips markers get updated, the editor actually imports those clips, even though the picture and audio data in those clips is completely redundant to what's already in the project. The issues with this are, as I can see it, 1) increasing the amount complexity within the project so that you'd have to scan many bins of dailies to look for a single marker, 2) increasing by orders of magnitude the amount of storage space needed, 3) even if problems 1 and 2 are handled, if you have to go to finish with multiple versions of a cut, and those versions reference separate instances of the same clip from different bins, Premiere's dupe frame detection will not work and you'll need to spend a lot of extra time locating duplicate clips manually before sending your EDL or XML off to final color grading.
At this point, I think it's necessary to interject something: we're talking about markers here. Why is this such a problem? FCP and Avid have no such issues simply by making markers - even clip markers - part of the project metadata. From what I understand, Adobe has chosen to do things differently because of dynamic link, so that After Effects and Prelude, for example, could add markers to a clip and those markers would ripple across all instances of that clip in the different applications. It's a great feature which we take advantage of here from time to time.
So what's the solution?
My workaround in CS6, which does not solve the issue of needing to merge clip markers so that an editor's markers and an assistant's markers can be applied to a single piece of media, was to turn off "write XMP ID to Files on Import." This would generate an XMP sidecar file which could be easily passed along with a project file to the remote editor, who could then overwrite his local XMP sidecars with the new ones containing the new marker info.
However, in Premiere CC that is no longer possible. It appears that if Premiere CC can access the XMP ID on a file, it will not generate a sidecar regardless of what you have set in your media preferences. We use ProRes Proxy as our dailies format (again, please no comments on this, it is not up for debate at this time) and Premiere can get to the XMP ID within the files and will not, no matter what it seems, generate an XMP sidecar.
We could change the company workflow to use DNxHD 36 instead of ProRes Proxy, which would give us XMP sidecars, but that would not solve the issue of needing to merge marker lists between projects non-destructively.
The best solution I can think of would be to have a script or some kind or built-in feature which would allow for the batch export, import and merging of marker lists. This way Adobe could keep its current clip-metadata-based marker workflow while giving professional users needing more flexible marker behavior the ability to have assistants non-destructively modify clip markers without necessitating the creation of extra media or project complexity.
I would really love some input on this and ideas from the pro community out there who has experience with shared project workflows - especially projects being shared remotely. There's not a lot of info out there about this and it would be great to hear what others are doing.
Thanks a million for sticking with this, if you've made it this far.