Friday, April 25, 2008

Slowtime Ten Thousand

So, I have 5 acts to Solar Vengeance. And with the exception of acts 1 and 4, each of the acts is further divided into three parts ("a", "b", and "c".) In order to render an act, or part of an act, I have to start the render on an average of three times due to Premiere crashing while rendering.

Now, I thought that by rendering out .tga ("Targa") sequence files I could reduce some problems. Targa sequence files render out a separate, numbered, file for each frame. So if you have a failure in the middle of a render, you can just pick up where you left off.

Well, not so fast. Premiere doesn't understand that when you start a render at, say, frame 701, you want it to begin numbering at 701. It always starts its renders at frame 1.

So you put the new render (which starts at 701) in a new folder and you use some shareware utility you found to rename all of the thousands of files you've created starting at frame 701.

And it still doesn't work because Premiere doesn't really seem to be that accurate about which frame it actually starts at. So your whole sequence is somewhat out of sync.

So you go back and start your full render from Premiere a number of times more and you finally get it rendered out before Premiere encounters a "fatal error".

Now you'd think that as advanced a program as Final Cut Pro is, that it would accept Targa sequences. It almost does. But what you actually have to do is to open the Targa sequence in Quicktime Pro and then export a movie (either self-contained or not) which either has all the data you need, or points to the data you need, which you then bring into Final Cut Pro.

But oh ha ha! Quicktime seems to have a limit on the number of frames it can import. A little over 10,000. Hooray! You lose!

So you divide up the output again and put the first 10K frames in one folder, and the remaining in another folder. You import each of those frame sequences into Quicktime and export movies.

And sometimes that works! Other times, Quicktime just hangs up and it's all over for you, buddy.

So you go to the other method of bringing in frame sequences to Final Cut: you import the whole folder and , having set the "still image" length to 1 frame, you try to put those on the timeline.

But FCP only imports the frames at about 2 frames per second. You have an entire feature you have to get into the timeline. It will take days considering that you just know the dang computer will crash numerous times..

So I thought maybe I'd take some of these Targa sequences and bring them into After Effects and then export uncompressed Quicktime movies.

And so After Effects gives and error that "Error buffer multiply overrun" or some such words to equally meaningless effect.

And then you're back at square one trying to export uncompressed .mov files from Premiere so that Final Cut can import them (and render them over night.)

And you figure you have to do the export three or four times for each sequence you have (in my case there are 14 of them.)



And between that and shooting on weekends I wonder why I'm tired...


Chance Shirley said...

Wow, man. I'm sorry you're having such a tough time with post.

This might be a stupid suggestion, but is there any way to export an EDL from Premiere to Final Cut Pro? Or, worst case, re-create the edit by hand in FCP?

Andrew Bellware said...

Even if I could get an EDL to work, the color-correction wouldn't come across.
Recreating the edit by hand sounds like about 2 months of work and a LOT of computer crashes...

But we'll get this whole thing down to a science eventually...

Anthony said...

Look on the bright side. GTA comes out on Tuesday!

Chance Shirley said...

Recreating an edit by hand might go quicker than you think. I re-did a 10-minute short one time in a few hours. I figure a feature would take a week or two. Assuming you're REALLY familiar with the footage.

Re-creating the color correction would be beyond tedious, though. Wasn't thinking about that.

Andrew Bellware said...

"Beyond Tedious" should be the name of my production company...