01 — The old story used to go something like this:
We shoot. The digital footage needs a place to go, so we need to dump the cards. Depending on the amount of footage and the cameras used to capture it (RED Cameras are no strangers on our sets), it could take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, and there’s rarely just one card. A nice guy on set who, without exception, has boundless knowledge on both, digital storage and best Lou Bega songs (formally referred to as a Digital Imaging Technician) typically handles this end of things. From there, the DIT backs up the footage and transfers it to an online server. Now, are we ready to edit? Nope. The files are monsters that would blow a hole through the side of your grandpa’s PC, so we need to create proxies (a small copy of the high-resolution footage) to allow a fast and efficient workflow. Unfortunately, creating the proxies is neither fast nor efficient. It often takes two to four hours for the whole lot, so we put them in the proxy oven and let em bake overnight. In the morning, after a total of four to six hours of footage dumping, backing, transferring, and proxying, we are finally ready to begin editing.
02 — The new story goes something like this:
We shoot. After each take, a proxy file is almost instantaneously created on a cloud server, which is accessible to the client, crew, and editor. Not hours or minutes, but seconds after hitting ‘stop’ on the camera, we can begin editing your project.
This almost too-good-to-be-true miracle is called Frame.io Camera to Cloud (C2C), a secure camera-to-cloud workflow that lets customers instantly upload and stream images from the on-set camera to creative post-production teams, anywhere in the world. In addition to instant proxy uploads the moment cameras stop rolling, C2C can live-stream footage to a user’s device on or off set, allowing customers to watch production as it’s happening.
“Being able to bring clients, who are highly involved in the creative, on-set when they can’t physically be on-set, it’s literally a game-changer,” said Adam Kitter, Head of Production at Barbershop Films.
03 — C2C Benefits:
Previously, reviewing a take meant stopping the production to have the DP playback the clip with no audio, no graphics or text, and no colour grading. Now with C2C, after we call “cut” or while the crew is resetting, we can review any take in real time while an editor on the other side of the world (or room) is already working on the footage.
It makes collaboration simplified and streamlined. Having teams like the production designers and hair & MU, in addition to the clients and editors, able to review footage in near real-time means everyone can have creative input, allowing for important changes to be made on the fly. And, as any personal device or computer is capable of viewing on Frame.io, we will cut down significantly on accidental group hugs around a single monitor.
“We value the feedback from clients. It’s always a collaborative process. So when they’re not able to be there, this bridges the gap to get them on-set and involved in the creative process,” said Kitter.
On C2C’s maiden voyage with Barbershop, we had one production day in Saskatchewan to shoot a series of spots for Federated Co-operatives. Before moving on to the next scene, our editor back in Vancouver, Jordan Bell, had assembled an advanced cut, which included music, an initial colour grade, text, and logos.
“It was kind of amazing how fast everything worked. It starts populating instantly, and I can use it immediately. There’s literally no other way to do that,” said Bell.