I got back to Atlanta yesterday after a week at the Fountainebleau hotel in Miami Florida. The owner of the company I work for, designed a staging environment based on the ballroom space available and the budget of course. The Ballroom has low ceilings so we went with rows of four projection screens side by side to accomodate around 2300 people. Our client was sold on video elements moving freely across all four screens. This presents a video editing challenge. Fortunately CS5 arrived on time to prepare videos for this show. We couldn't have it with CS4. I designed and tested the workflow that got the job done ahead of the event . What a process though! Here are some suggestions and observations from professionals who do this type of thing regularly:
We had a great camera man with us on this trip who used the Panasonic HVX200P and a Canon 7D. He uses a Mac and is a Final Cut Pro Guy. He gave me a folder full of around 70 P2 files which I imported into the Premiere CS5 Bin. He stood in disbelief watching how fast these files became ready to edit compared to his high-end Mac using Final Cut Pro.
Animations that span all four screens were shot on the Canon 7D camera. The jpegs were brought into After Effects where beautiful Timelapse sequences were created. One of the issues I ran into is, the Mac guys were providing me with Quicktime Animation codec 3840 X 540 video timelapses. The Quicktime animation codec video performs miserably in Premiere CS5 at this dimension. To add to that, these clips had effects added to them and were sped up by around 500%. Uncompressed AVI's work much better on the timeline. Better yet are Cineform encoded files. Unfortunately the only product Cineform makes that encodes video at this size cost $1000.
Adobe and Nvidia did a remarkable job with the Mercury Playback Engine. It still needs some work though. We found that with MPE hardware acceleration enabled, cross dissolves don't work under certain circumstances. Across the four-screen editing mode for instance, we would have three cross dissolves working properly with one jumping from semi-transparent to opaque. We go in and turn Mercury hardware acceleration off to Software Only, and the cross dissolves return to normal.
Don't use aiff audio files in a Premiere CS5 project. The audio edits could end up way out of sync when you reopen the project. I don't know if this holds true for Premiere CS5 on a Mac or not. Even though we told the Mac guys not to put these type of files in a Premiere CS5 project, they did it anyway. I had to use dynamic linked SoundBooth to save as WAV's and doing a replace footage command corrected the out of sync audio edit issue.
The staging technician we used does not like the grass valley Turbo 2 that was used for the show. He told me, in his experience dating back to the model before the Turbo 2, every time they rented this earlier model in the past, he encountered a hardware failure. He always uses two units, one for a backup of course. This time with the Turbo 2, one of the two units arrived with a hardware issue and needed a replacement overnighted. If you purchase the Turbo 2, it ships with Edius, a former Canopus product. In my opinion this is a "fringe" editing software that is not attractive enough for Final Cut users or Premiere Pro CS5 users to switch to. The issue is, The Turbo 2 only takes natively without transcoding, Canopus HQ encoded files. There is no plugin for Premiere CS5 and Canopus HQ files will not play from the Premiere CS5 timeline, but WILL play from the Premiere CS4 timeline.
In my opinion, grass valley needs to come up with a streamlined workflow for people other than Edius and Procoder 3 owners/editors.
These are the hoops we had to jump through in order to get a video file ready for the staging technician:
Export from the timeline an uncompressed AVI using the UYVY codec. Initially, I was getting audio only out of Procoder 3 when encoding with the V210 codec. Exporting a 2 minute video took around 16 minutes. Next you drag this file into ProCoder 3 and export in the Canopus HQ codec. You have to tweak some settings, which I think is ridiculous. I would think, if grass valley wants people to use their Turbo 2, there should be a Turbo 2 preset ready to go. Transcoding to the HQ codec takes around 8 minutes. Next you have to copy the file to a flash drive. This takes around 7 minutes. Then you need to copy the file to the grass valley turbo which takes around 15 minutes each (2 minute video) for the primary and backup units.
I have had the privilege of working with a Fortune 500 company since 2003 who has never had a loss year since the Great Depression of the 1930's. In the worst of times, when so many businesses are losing money, they are riding their people because they aren't making enough of a profit. In the process of producing their training videos and live presentations, I have learned a great deal about how to run a successful business. Over the years, I have seen many companies in the video software business who otherwise have a decent product making incredibly stupid decisions which have a huge negative impact on their bottom line that they seem to be unaware of. I'm not referring to Adobe by the way. They have really stepped up to the plate with this phenomenal release of CS5. It really has opened up new creative possibilities.