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Chapter 17. Premiere Online

Chapter 17. Premiere Online

Chapter 1 outlined the offline/online editing process, in which you edit your program at low quality (offline edit) and complete it at high quality (online edit).

Typically, the online edit takes place in a traditional online editing suite, complete with all the professional (and expensive) gear available to finish the program at the highest possible quality. This kind of online edit uses your Premiere-generated edit decision list (EDL) as the blueprint for quickly re-creating the program from your source tapes—or, in some cases, a pristine, uncompressed digital version of the source footage. This offline/online editing strategy was developed to save money by staying out of the online suite. The time-consuming editing is accomplished on less inexpensive gear, making your stay in an expensive online suite quick and efficient.

You can accomplish the offline and online edit on the same system, however. For the offline edit, you can digitize clips at relatively low quality. When you finish editing, you simply recapture the clips—this time, at a higher, final-output quality. Fortunately, you don't have to recapture all the source clips—just the clips that you use in the final program.

This type of offline/online strategy is designed to save money by saving hard disk space. Capturing at a lower quality maximizes the amount of footage you can store on a hard disk. After you narrow down the footage to just what you need in the program, recapturing the clips at higher quality becomes more feasible. This method is suitable for editors who use capture cards that allow for different quality settings but who don't have ample disk space for raw footage. Because most capture cards compress the footage, you can't achieve the same quality you would get by using the source tapes in an online suite. For many applications, however, the card's image quality is more than adequate.

As you know, using any offline/online strategy means using timecode. The clips that you use in the offline edit must have timecode that matches the timecode on the source tapes. When you recapture the clips for online editing, you need your timecoded source tapes, a deck that can read the timecode, and device control. In addition, your capture card and drives must be able to capture and play back the clips at your desired output quality.

What if you work at output quality from beginning to end? In that case, the intricacies of offline and online editing don't apply to you. Nevertheless, this chapter may contain a few useful techniques for creating hard disk space and doing some housekeeping before you archive your finished project.

DV Offline?

Because DV is relatively inexpensive to shoot and to edit, many people are able to avoid the offline-online process. However, even those using DV sometimes consider the offline strategy.

In some productions, the shooting ratio—the ratio of the footage shot to the amount used in the final program—can be very high. A documentary might have a shooting ratio of 20:1 or more. Digitizing at a low quality could allow you to use more footage before exceeding your hard drive space. However, most capture cards allow you to scale the amount of compression (and thereby the file size), DV does not: the video is encoded in the camera, at DV's fixed 3.4MB/sec data rate. Though you can install a variety of DV codecs on your computer to decode the DV, they can't change its data rate.

Instead of adopting an offline strategy, it's often better to invest in additional storage. If a new hard drive isn't an option, you can try to buy a copy of ProMax's DV Toolkit, which does include a low-resolution codec for capturing DV. But because the DV Toolkit's primary purpose was to provide a better DV codec than had been available, it was discontinued with the introduction of QuickTime 5. If you can't capture with a lo-res codec, you'll have to recompress your DV files after you capture them. This can be a time-consuming extra step, and you won't be able to preview the video through a DV camera or deck on a video monitor; the clips won't be DV clips anymore. But the recompressed clips will act as stand-ins, or proxies, for the original DV clips, and they'll take up less storage space. Whether the trouble is worth what you save on hard drives is another question.



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