Jordan Westhoff

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SHOOTOUT! Data Usage Statistics!

Hey guys!

Over the weekend I spent a good deal of time looking at just how intensive a full RAW data workflow can be. I also wanted to compare the burden of 4K RAW vs Arri’s 2.8K RAW via a S.Two recording device and see which required the most data overhead to work with. This allows us to simply look at how much drive space is required and discount the physical CPU usage of the project since pretty much all of my machines were running at almost full bore whenever renders were required.

While storage is not really a problem for a lot of industry professionals, it can be quite the burden for independents or students. Not every student has several terabytes (a terabyte is 1,024 gigabytes) of unused, high speed storage. A lot of people wonder if they van get away with slower, basic desktop drives for data of this proportion but it really comes down to how long you want to wait. Slow drives serve information, well, slowly. Waiting for 300GB of renders to load can take ages and when deadlines are at stake, it really isn’t viable.

Below, I’ve compiled a good deal of raw statistics from our recent shootout project. Since I was in charge of managing the data, image processing and running the servers we worked off of, I have the entirety of the raw footage as well as a significant portion of the renders. This accounts for tons and tons of space, enough space in fact that I thought comprehensive statistics might be helpful to visualize where all of that information is going.

There are a couple foreword things to note though, before we get started. In some of the statistics, I pitted the total usage by camera which encompasses all of the information used, start to finish on each camera platform. In one or two other statistics, I broke up the information to reflect intermediate stages. For the Arri D-21, this required converting raw S.Two DPX files to .ARI files and then exporting them again from ARRI RAW Converter to DPX or .TIFF file sequences to color grade and then make a final export of. For the Sony there was simply taking the camera files from the onboard SD card and then grading and re-exporting. In 4K, however, there was significantly more to do. Dumping the card gave a nice, proprietary, MXF wrapper with all of the files which had to be opened with Sony RAW Viewer in order to convert them to 16-bit DPX files. These could then be graded and exported again to a DPX or TIFF sequence to be imported for analysis and editing. Each of these reflect storage as you can imagine, and it presents quite a trend in the statistics.

Screenshot

This accounts for all of the ‘mission critical’ information stored for the shootout.

Here, we can see just how much data there was overall. In total, the final aggregate size of all resources exceeded 1.6TB! This included all footage, start to finish, ARRI, Sony and Sony 4K as well as renders, CC passes, graphics for our final video and any other data in between. Keep in mind that for the actual camera footage (which comprised a significant portion of the overall data used, but more on that later) totaled only about 10 minutes per camera (and less for the Sony 4K). This is because most of the shots used in the shootout were of charts or color scenes – the longest scenes were barely over 50 seconds apiece. Therefore, shooting an entire film on any of these platforms would consume an incredible amount of data. Broke up above are four different categories and each are perhaps a bit vague so I’ll take a moment to explain them.

The first, and the largest is the Footage Archive. This is an aggregate gathering of just the base footage captured from each camera. This also incorporates some intermediate files in the case of the ARI – essentially all of the footage classified here was footage that was ready to go into editing minus any major color correction. The Shootout Archive contains all of the intermediates of the pick scenes and the color corrected scenes. This means that any footage that was observed and chosen to be good enough for analysis went on to continue the chain of picture processing. The files contained in this directory are renders from the S.Two and then processed in ARRI’s ARC as well as the Sony HD and 4K clips that were chosen – those also underwent their respective processing steps as well. Shootout MAIN is the working directory for all of the analysis, as well as the video production portion of the project. Here are all of the final renders, color correction finals, stock footage, B-roll, preliminary video screening renders and narration as well as all of the graphics that our team generated as well. Finally, there is a Web Access Point directory. This was a separate directory created on a network server in order to provide each member of the team with fast, reliable intermediary storage for their own assets in production. These could be screen captures, editing files, project files, you name it. This is the working miscellaneous that helped make the workflow so efficient – each member had a fast directory to work from and then contribute to the final project being assembled in real time.

Each day of shooting generated different amounts of storage requirement based on scene.

Each day of shooting generated different amounts of storage requirement based on scene.

Since the shootout was spread over three (technically four, when you look at 4K) days, it was useful to look at how usage varied by day. Some of the graph information was cut off but the four largest portions were indicative of the longest shots. Day 1 files came close to taking the lead in storage but our Day 3 files took the lead with 19.6% of total data usage – these stats merely incorporate the files coming from the ARRI and the Sony in HD video mode. The third largest, at 17% was from our fourth day of shooting and this comprises all of the Sony 4K raw shoot files. Each of the much smaller portions is broken up by shot – some scenes took many shots and some took far less.

final_data

This shows a better look of how production workflow can impact your data needs for each project.

Here, this is a final, final look at how much information from each step of production comprises the total. This specific figure ties directly into the final, cleaned up and organized storage stats of the shootout in its entirety. Of the approximate 1.6TB required, the most costly stage of production was generating all of the intermediate files. This was especially true of the 4K tests which equaled almost half of this information despite shooting for only about %20 as long as the ARRI and Sony HD tests. Both RAW tests required multiple intermediate steps which chewed through tons of space because of each’s respective resolution. We chose to work with DPX and TIFF’s since those are lossless formats and overall exhibited the best quality.

All in all, shooting RAW is a very exhausting process, both from a processing and storage perspective. Your storage needs will be dependent on the camera and the codec/format you choose to edit in but it’s always safe to budget one to two terabytes for shooting a short and always, always remember to BACKUP your information! All of the statistics here leave out the backups that were set in place to safeguard our information. At any one point, our information was backed up in two additional places – one in a hardware RAID attached to a workstation on another end of campus and a full minute-to-minute backup stored on a NAS. This NAS also pulled all of the web assets from each member in order to keep their assets online and safe at the same time. Feel free to contact me if you have questions as well!

In the future I’ll be making a post dedicated to the labyrinth of storage and why different types are better than others, as well as a look into what I’m using to manage all of this information! Thanks for reading!

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Hey all!

I’ve been super busy away at university in Rochester, but here is one of my most recent works. This was an editing project in which we had to combine loads of footage we had no hand in producing an re-edit it to tell a different story than was originally intended.

Be sure to read my commentary and artists statement below!

Let me know how you like it!

ARTIST STATEMENT AND COMMENTARY

I wanted to tell a very specific story with this particular piece, although it can appear to simply be a visual overload. Essentially, I wanted to use the specific scene embodied in Inception to symbolize peace in life. For the period of time that the protagonists of Inception spend sitting on the bridge being assaulted by Fischer’s mind’s projections, I wanted to to give the illusion of conflict in daily life. When the van leaves the bridge and enters a state of free fall, well this, I consider to be peace. Everyone of us can find peace in God, peace is a gift freely available to all of us who choose to trust the Lord with our daily lives and our futures. Peace, while immensely satisfying and unceasingly calming, can be short. Our daily lives ensue, chaos breaks down the walls of that peace as our weak minds and spirit draw away from the Lord in an effort to conquer things in our own strength. Thus, the free fall of the van is my projection of peace in our daily lives. It lasts only a second or two, but is so crucial and enveloping that it’s presence can seem to be that of days or weeks. When the white van hits the water again is my projection of chaos in life rearing it’s ugly head once again. Entropy governs the universe, stating that everything is breaking down at a slow, deliberate pace. Life, too, is like this. No segment of our lives is made to be travelled without trial. The only thing we can do is cherish the peace that we find, and seek it once more after we have lost it. Christ is unending and gives us access to peace and guidance whenever we seek it. It is only ourselves that cause us to withdraw from that peace.

Inception is a finely produced work of motion picture art. I didn’t chose this clip because I’m a fanboy of the film (which I totally am, don’t get me wrong) but because it spoke to me as an image of something I see and notice in daily life and the lives of those around me with whom I am close. I also felt clips from the film Watchmen deserved to be utilized because the tone of their composition was indicative of the mood that I wanted to share. Grace, beauty and calm despite conflict and ultimately death. (Sound like life, anyone?) When coupling together both clips from Inception and Watchmen, the tempos overlaid perfectly and the synthesis overwhelmed me. This was the raw framework of my piece, the rest was filled in as a mortar around the bricks, to hold the theme together, if you will. It was a pleasure to make! Every time I see this displayed I think of all of the sleep this piece caused me to lose, but I can see how worth it the sacrifice this was. This may have only been a 5 minute edit, but it took almost 40 hours of work, in addition to a 14 hour final render. I will post the workflow below for the true film boys who’d like to take a peek at my style of composition and workflow.

For the rest of you, I thank you for watching! Feel free to stop by again soon, I will be uploading work on a regular basis and if you have questions, feel free to ask!

Please keep in mind that these are all clips that are copyrighted by fantastic people. The works are beautiful, that is why I chose them. No copyright infringement is intended, or has taken place. Clips of greater works have all been used in an educational setting for educational goals and I stand by this. I make no profit from this work. In fact, I count the seconds until I get bashed by some soul from the far corners of the internet for using Inception pieces. It’s only a matter of time, I suppose.

WORKFLOW

1. Rip all film works from their Blu-Ray counterparts. (Inception, Watchmen, 500 Days of Summer, Black Hawk Down and TRON were all ripped in this fashion. This alone took 4 days.

2. Transcode all of the BluRay files to ProRes 422 HQ for easy FCP and Avid Media Composer 5 ingestion.

3. Acquire all of the Philip Bloom, ARRI and Phantom Flex footage via official YouTube pages vis shameless download. But hey, it was in gorgeous 1080p/24. No shame.

4. Transcode those assets from their native mediocre interframe mp4 formats to Final Cut Pro native ProRes 422 HQ formats.

5. After this, I began previewing all of the footage and making preliminary marks.

6. Began compiling the soundtrack.

7. Edit.

8. Sleep.

9. Edit.

10. Sleep. No, wait. Edit instead.

11. Rough cut is finished and audio mastering begins. I took all of this in as 5.1 surround and mixed it to stay this way.

12. Edit more. Final cut on the way.

13. First render. Takes 4 hours, but it well worth it.

At this point the actual editing done and the rendering/compressing work horse is mounted. These are the final render settings for all of these pieces.

1080p/23.97 Final Cut Render in Apple ProRes 422 HQ

720p/23.97 web render, encoded by MPEG Streamclip in an H.264 QuickTime file container at a 10 m/bit data stream.

This project took nearly 250gb’s of hard drive real-estate but it was well worth it.

Sleeeeeeeep.

Thanks for reading!


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HDR.

Beginning some work with High Dynamic Range editing work. I’ll post some cool stuff here when I’m done trying it out! I have a couple hours in the library between classes, so I figured there was no better place to get started on all of this. Photoshop Extended CS4 has some nice HDR tools, so I think it will turn out awesomesauce.