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Re: Avid Media Recorder Telecine



>> Joel, I had a couple of questions about the Media Recorder.
>> 
>> It is shipping, right? 

Yes.  The Media Recorder Telecine started shipping in mid-September. 
Installations are still far and few, primarily due to a "lack of time" at
many of the telecine facilities to learn about the product and work with
it. We also need some time to refine the product based on initial customer
feedback.

>> I understand it has sort of "multiple channels" carrying possible
>> timecode or keykode data.  Could you elaborate?

The Media Recorder can decode up to 3 lines of VITC (or 1 line of LTC and 1
line of VITC).  The decoder is built for Avid by Evertz, which is working
with Aaton to create a 3 Line VITC standard.  The standard was presented to
SMPTE about a year ago but is still being refined by the two companies.

(Skip this portion if you are already well versed in VITC encoding).  Each
line of VITC (as well as LTC) can be divided into two chunks of bits
commonly referred to as Time Bits and User Bits.  Each chunk is large
enough (4 bytes) to store a (1) timecode.  What most facilities can do
today (since most do not have  a VITC encoder that can generate 3 lines of
VITC) is encode 2 lines of VITC.  This means that at most, 4 chunks of info
can be decoded by the Media Recorder.

I say at most because one of the items which is normally desireable to
encode is a Keynumber or an Ink Number.  Evertz and Aaton encode this
information using 1 entire VITC line.  The manufacturer prefix and the
upper digits of the footage count is encoded in the Time Bits and the
remainder of the footage and frame count is encoded in the User Bits.  This
is how the 4025 encodes a full Keynumber.  Another line of VITC can be used
to store the Master Record Timecode (in the Time Bits) and an Audio
Timecode (if used) (in the User Bits).

As I mentioned earlier, Aaton and Evertz are still refining the 3 line VITC
proposal which means that the current shipping Media Recorder may not be
able to accurately decode a 3rd line. We have been able to decode 3 lines
in the past but this was done by using multiple VITC encoders (the test we
ran actually used a 4025 to insert 2 lines and an Alpermann & Velte to
insert a 3rd line).

Other information that could be encoded are things such as a Shoot Date,
Sound Roll, Camera Roll, Aaton Tags, ARRI Timecode, etc.

A couple of cautions now.  Many of the existing encoders will appear to
insert 4 lines of VITC.  This is not the case.  What most (if not all) will
do is insert each line twice for redundancy.  There will still only be 2
distinct lines of VITC information.  Some of the older VITC encoders, the
Evertz 4015 for instance,  do not and cannot insert a full keynumber in
VITC even though it can burn in a full keynumber.  These boxes only encode
the footage and frame counts into the User Bits of 1 line of VITC.  This
has confused a number of colorists because the full keynumber is burned
(burnt?) into the video.  (The manufacturer's prefix is keyed into the
burnin by punching in the prefix using the front panel of the 4015).

>> One of my clients told me today that it doesn't do him much good to
>> get his dailies on a drive for the Avid with the Media Recorder, if
>> "clips" are long, because he has no way to delete a portion of a clip
>> (a subclip?).  Since he "can't do that", it saves him no time to have
>> the dailies pre-digitized.  Make any sense? 

If the clips are too long, your client can (either with the Media Recorder
or with the Media Composer) subclip the portion of the clip that he/she
wants to keep.  Using the "Consolidate" function on the subclips in either
the Media Recorder or media Composer, the good media can be saved and the
"unneeded" media deleted.


>> As you can tell I'm a bit in the dark here, so if you have a second to
>> fill me in on some details, I'd appreciate it.  If the MR can make my
>> clients' lives easier, we'll get it.  Most of our clients at Editel
>> L.A. are doing commercials, and the dailies are typically oh, say 4-12
>> 1000-foot rolls, maybe sync sound, maybe not.

It will definately make their lives easier.  One of the main drawbacks of
the Avid systems has always been the time it takes to digitize the material
onto disks.  In a film-originated job, this is compounded even further by
needing to transfer to video first.  Some clients may be concerned that by
not digitizing the material themselves that they won't be able to "preview"
their material before editing.  There are two answers to this concern.  The
first is that they can still preview but now they can preview from disk
which is definately quicker than shuttling tape around.  A second solution
is that on a few jobs which have used the Media Recorder, the editor
actually sat in on the transfer, previewing there!

Regards,
joel