September 11, 2009

Although every video and film program has different needs, the truth is that the post-production workflows of most programs, from music videos to feature-length documentaries, follow a very similar path. Every program needs to have its source media ingested, organized, edited, and color corrected; its audio mixed; and the entire program mastered and finally output; more or less in that order.

Where the workflows of various projects differ is in finding the best way to match the acquisition format of the source media to the type of output that’s required for exhibition, at the highest level of quality appropriate for the budget.

For example, if you’re working on a documentary or narrative feature, your workflow will vary depending on the combination of acquisition and delivery formats you use. Possible combinations include:

•Shoot using a high definition camera for a broadcast release

•Shoot using a digital cinema camera for film output

•Shoot on film for a direct-to-DVD release

•Shoot on film for finishing via a digital intermediate workflow

•Shoot on film for finishing via a negative conform

There are many more possible combinations of input and output formats, and Final Cut Studio can accommodate nearly all of them. The important thing to remember is that the type of program you’re working on has less of an effect on your workflow plan than do decisions concerning how best to match the original acquisition format of your media to the required output format of your program’s final master. Once that’s settled, everything in between can be determined based on your hardware setup, how much time you have to complete the project, and how you like to work.

As much as is possible, Final Cut Studio Workflows attempts to provide a universal guide to creating a workflow using the Final Cut Studio applications, based on the factors that will have the greatest effect on increasing your efficiency in post-production. For a full lesson on Final Cut Studio Workflows, click my link below. On a broader note, Apple provides a large array of online documentation on all of their major apps including Compressor, Motion, Logic and Cinema Tools which can be found here. The days of thick reference books are now gone, which could be why the price of the recent Final Cut Studio 3 from version 2 is about a thousand dollars cheaper. It’s Apple’s way of going green.

Save a reference book, save the world…

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